Ubud: The Memento

It is my third year living in Bali. And I guess, I am leaving soon… Therefore, I feel the need to write a small note about the place I call home in the last three years.

It’s still fresh to my mind the first time I arrived in Ubud to visit my friend, Azhar, as he played his drone on the second floor of his friend’s house in Jalan Gootama. It was a short reunion after almost 4 years we didn’t meet each other, due to… Eh, long story short, his (thankfully) now-ex-wife wasn’t feeling secure that I hang out with her husband, just for the record, Azhar and I are totally platonic from the beginning.

It was 4pm, the traffic was crowded, I went here with Blue Bird Taxi. The only reliable taxi with a fair price I could get back then. There was no Go-Jek, nor Uber, nor Grab Taxi (although the last two services are banned by the local drivers community now).

I remember I saw Betelnut in front of Museum Puri Lukisan and told myself, ‘this must be a popular place here’. And then I saw Starbucks on the left side of the road. It’s a bizarre contrast to see Starbucks located in a Balinese building. But I could imagine myself ordering peanut butter panini and non-sugar raspberry frappe for breakfast there. (Yes, I was such a city girl trapped in a lifestyle created by those genius marketers. :p)

Now, I just figured it out that I came from Sayan through Tjampuhan to reach Ubud back then. Pura Gunung Lebah wasn’t as breathtaking as it is now, they haven’t done any restoration. I was more lured into the restaurant called Bridge. I could imagine having a dinner in there. ‘Oh my! I like this place already!’ so I told myself. And then I went through the Ubud Palace. This place is chaotically beautiful, I said. The kind of traffic I can bear every day.

Let’s take a note that this place is nowhere near the place I imagined before: a small town with rice fields and jungle all over. Hence, I saw international brand like Pandora, Nike, and Ralph Laurent open their shops here.

Oh, and I said I can bear the traffic, right?

Well, being someone who lived in Jakarta for too long, my patience was running thin as I reached Oops restaurant. I told the driver that I want to stop there and continue on foot to Jalan Gootama. I miss walking anyway, after a week staying in Kuta, I never had a chance to walk, it was too hot there. I spent most of my time in air-conditioned rooms (read: malls and indoor cafes, restaurants and my friend’s apartment).

I walked pretty fast, I arrived in Azhar’s friend place less than 10 minutes and got irritated to see people walk in slow motion, but then after I realised this is Bali, people are on their holidays. Yeah, it rings the bell… aight.

I happen to like Jalan Goutama, it’s a unique small road with small shops and small food parlor on both sides of the road. I spotted Balinese small temples with beautiful offerings on top of them, it pleases my eyes, them colors are beautiful. I can imagine myself walking around there in a flowy long dress and thong sandals, big earrings. (Well, it wasn’t what I wore back then. I wore turquoise tank top, with khaki shorts and flip-flops).

Fast forward to the first evening, Kelly (Azhar’s new girlfriend) took me to Betelnut, exactly the place I mentioned before, and I was right. It’s a cool place where people do movie screening, doing a show, or hold a cool event like Pecha Kucha Night, the one I attended that night.

Kelly and Azhar lived in the outskirt of Ubud, in Payogan. The air there is colder (tropical kind of cold) compared to Ubud center. I stayed there for a night. Then I went back to Kuta to pack my stuff and move to Ubud.

I was sold. I want to live in this town. Especially after Kelly offered me a job in the company where she worked. It’s a combo!

A week later, I worked as a copywriter. I started to write in English constantly since then, with basic knowledge of English grammar and syntax. Well, with me it’s always: just go for it, do it now! You will know how to fix problems later when you have it. It works like wonder so far.😉

To sum it up, basically, I left Jakarta to get a dream job, started to write in English, learned how to write a screen script, and learned how to do basic digital marketing. And oh yes,  in that office, I met Danny who’s then became my boyfriend, my writing mentor, my family, for two years. Nowhere near to Eat Pray Love kind of relationship, but I learned a lot from it.

During my first year in Bali, I didn’t drive a motorbike. Those fellow drivers on the road scared me to death! They are like the apes on the motorcycle, they don’t understand traffic rules. Frugal drivers who shouldn’t get a driving license, hence they don’t even have it!

Holy cheesus crust…

For that reason, I drove a push bike for a week until the bike got stolen when I stayed in Kuta over the weekend. Sucks, right? It made me being a motorbike hitchhiker with a personal helmet. There were Okta, Kelly, Ignat and Danny who generously gave me a lift every time I needed it. Well yes, it wasn’t a problem, until I moved to Penestanan, 15 minutes drive from Ubud center and 20 minutes to the office.

Not long after I moved to Penestanan, Kelly forced me to bring her motorbike from the office as she drove another bike… to her house. I had to drove through the most chaotic traffic in Ubud with random people across my way, they took my line, ugh! Basically, they are just being assholes on the road. I spent a year long of my cursing quota in that 15 minutes drive. But I do not regret it that I said yes to Kelly’s idea. It was an important milestone. Now I drive like a frugal Balinese, being one of those assholes I cursed back then, had one accident (and not looking forward to more) when someone took my line on a muddy road. Well, they say, “one does not simply drive around in Bali without having an accident or two.”

***

I am getting an intense nostalgia as I write this.

It’s amazing to remember how much experience I have had during my stay in Ubud. I am no longer the same person who met Azhar in Jalan Gootama. Obviously, I managed to transform myself to be someone I always wanted to become. Through pain, doubts, questions, heartbreaks, and many things else I can not mention here.

But, one thing that everyone who knows me might have noticed, I was an extremely angry person back then. If my eyes could tell you how I saw the world, it will mention fire, ruins, dark sky, tears, blood, and weaponry. I was angry over every-single-thing and as an expressive person, I expressed my anger in many ways except killing. I can’t even kill an ant in purpose. Some of the new friends back then, they took a few step backs and sort of blacklisted me from invitation list to hang out session. You know why.

Not that I didn’t have any good reason to be angry. I had all the good reasons, I enjoyed  being angry. Until I couldn’t stand myself and decided to tame my personal demons, let go of the grudge, turn on the light in my eyes, and change my perspective. Wasn’t as easy as it might sound. But I made it happens.

Which is good.

Maybe it is true what people say about Ubud, that this town is a place to heal. Yes, I didn’t come here to find asylum. I came here “for a change”, to celibate, to stay away from whatever happened in my life. Little did I know it was my subconscious mind who pulled me here. I am glad I agreed to it and made it happen. Now when I look back, I understand why all those things had to be there, why I had to get through all that. Why those puzzles came in place. Not everything happens for a reason, but, when there is a reason, it must be the good one, despite how much pain you got as you are on it.

Healing is a lifetime process, I think. You can’t force it. You just need to go with it and endure it as it goes. And for sure Ubud’s still giving me its series of an interesting lesson to learn until this day. But in a deeper level, I regret nothing. I forgave myself for making mistakes, I accept the fact that I am on a continuous journey to be a better version of myself. I accept the fact that I can never be perfect, but I will always be enough for whatever circumstance I encounter.

I am looking forward to the new adventure ahead of me. In a new place with new people. It’s always nice to breathe deeply during the dawn, as we wait for the sunrise. Ignore the cold.

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5 Things You Must Do Before Ending Long-term Relationship

Edwin and Sara have been living together for four years. They have been dating for half a year before Sara moved in. She decided to move to make the relationship works, it’s easier for her to move to Edwin’s place than the other way around.

Time goes by, they lived as a happy couple until last year. Edwin has to work in another country to work on his startup for three months and as expected, the problems arise before they know it. Every single thing they have been ignored all along came up to the surface.

Of course, Sara understands that the startup is very important for Edwin as much as it is important for her to see Edwin doing good in his career. At least for once, she wants to see him being successful. It is the first time for Sara to see Edwin wanting to achieve something -as Edwin could be anything, but an over-achiever.

All in all, three months felt like hell for her, it was a real struggle to gather the crumbs of her feelings toward Edwin. After hundreds of devastating fights, the color of her love finally washed out. The voice in the back of her head who says: “you are in for an endless pain if you continue this..” gets louder as she ignores it.

Nobody knows when this feeling-apocalypse has started. She has no clue, nor Edwin. Well, for Edwin, it’s more because she hides this from him, this sounds cliché, but she really wants him to focus on his startup. She thinks this is something that she needs to work on on her own. All Edwin needs to know is, she is waiting for him at home. For her, it was the right thing to do at that moment. Little did she know it was a bad decision to make.

Three months have passed, turned out, Edwin has to stay longer, this time… for another six months. She was exploded in silence as she maintained good communications with him. He visited twice during those six months, she appeared happy during those days when he was home. She replied “I miss you too” to Edwin’s affectionate texts, calls, video calls… she made everything looks normal, until he proposed to her, to which she replied, “let’s see in a year..” not “I do” nor “Yess!”

Two weeks after the proposal, she told him she wants to live in Nordic country, in other words, she wants to fly away from him and he noticed that. Then, two months after the proposal, they decided to talk it out. Edwin came back home, then she revealed everything.

Finally, after almost a year, she told him every single pain she had, which are a thousand stabs on his chest as he listened to her. She told him that she has failed to gather the feeling that has long gone. She thinks it’s time to let him go, so he can be with a better woman, who can treat him better, who can love him better than she did, someone who fits better for him. But of course, for him, at that moment, she was the only woman who’s perfect for him.

For her, she was saving them both from future misery. For him, she killed his hope and the future he has planned. That’s the end of the story.

***

Now, back to the title. Let’s do not do what Sara did to Edwin. Although she did right on some points, should we learn from what she did wrong and not do that to our (future) partner.

1. A couple should be able to talk about every-single-thing in any kind of situation.

Before you start a relationship with someone, you should make sure that you can reveal every single thing to him / her, you have to feel comfortable enough to talk openly to him / her, from petty-mundane stuff to the darkest secret, if you have any.

Once you feel comfortable enough to openly talk about everything, then you can consider him / her as a potential partner. Ignore those butterfly in your stomach for a moment, think of having something eating you up from the inside (just because you can not talk about everything with your partner) after years of dating, it feels a like hell, I tell you.

But then if you are in the same situation like Sara’s, you really should talk it out with your partner, as soon as possible, no matter how impossible the situation between you two. If the relationship meant to be broken, it will be broken no matter what.

Love and trust in a relationship are like oreo. Once it’s crumbling on the floor, it is not possible to assemble it, nor eat it.

By the time you are trying to mend it, you have wasted yours and their time to meet someone new, someone who fits better for you, or simply to be happy. You are not doing anyone a favor by living a life that is not making you happy, aren’t you?

2. Find at least 3 essential reasons why it’s better for you two to split up.

Long term relationship is like a marriage without legal stuff getting on your way when you want to split up. But even though it’s as easy as it might sound to you, make sure you can mention 3 essential reasons. The reason should be something you can no longer improve (like trying to feel the love that has long gone), something you can not fix (his or her characters), something you can not change (anything beyond your reach and beyond your capacity).

You know the saying: “if you can not fix it, let it go…”

3. It makes two parties to make mistakes in a relationship.

I am sorry to say that this is not a one-man show. “No matter how wronged you are, if you the two of you are arguing, you are part of what’s creating that argument. Even if she or he is acting crazy, your reaction to that is not helping. This argument, all arguments, are as much about you being in the wrong as about her being in the wrong. Until you accept that, you will never find a mutually satisfactory outcome.”

Enough said.

4. Remember how it feels like being single.

It is easier for introverts to think about being single. It will be so much liberating, you don’t have to think of another party and involve them (nor anyone) in a decision-making process. It feels like riding a car as fast as you want, without having anyone screaming on the passenger seat asking you to slow down or go faster. All those good stuff.

But if you think it’s the other way around, meaning you think you still want her / him in your life as long as they can, then there must be something you can actually improve. No?

5. Treat him / her the way you want to be treated.

Isn’t it a basic courtesy?

Well.. Not really after years of living together. Sometimes we forgot the right way to treat our partner. Do not do this, kids.

Give her / him some respect they deserve. Talk to them gently, cool-headed, calmly. Don’t yell at them, nor saying things that might hurt them even worse. Fulfill their wishes to be left alone, if they ask you to do so. It’s an adult relationship, end it like those grown-ups do.

Tracks

No More Wasted Year

Have you ever sit down  and think how many minutes you have wasted today? How many hours have you spent on something meaningful, hence impactful? Either for yourself or for people around you?

I had this awakening moment last year on November, on that exact Tuesday morning when I felt the need to achieve everything I have been wanting to achieve but somehow I didn’t do anything about it. My pride bleeds as I write this…

I used to call myself a hard worker and an overachiever person. But at that exact moment, I felt that I was nowhere near the person I used to think I am. It kills me to realize that. I needed to find a way to get out of that situation. I don’t want to waste more years… Not that I am gonna get any younger, am I? It scares me to the bone to realize that this time I have been wasting is going to end at some point and will never comes back, obviously.

This can not go on forever.

This has to change… So I told myself.

A wise man ever told me, to reach the summit, the first thing I need to do is to take a thousand repetitive steps to the right direction.

So first, I set my goals = the summit I want to achieve. Then, I break down the steps I am going to take and being mindful as I take each one of them. In this case, let’s call it: maximizing time management.

I did my quick research in order to copy what those successful people do during their 24 hours. Google leads me to Tom Ford, yes, that Tom Ford, the man behind YSL and James Bond’s impeccably-sleek suites.

Tom Ford

This handsome legend, Tom Ford.

He revealed his morning routine to Harpers Bazaar. I am so so grateful that he revealed his morning schedule. It’s definitely not the easiest thing to do as he starts his day at 4.30am in the morning, so I gave myself some time to adjust.

It took me two months to finally being able to wake up that early. I started with waking up earlier than my biological alarm which usually makes me wake up at 5.30am to 6am every morning. I tried to wake up at 5am then gradually, I start waking up at 4.30 every morning.

Yes, I weigh myself as I woke up, just to remind me that I have to do that goddamn exercise. Then I make myself an iced coffee in a tall glass, the volume is 500ml including the ice. Similar to Tom Ford, I don’t like hot / warm coffee. And I swear, sipping iced black coffee as you dip yourself in a hot bath is the best way to wake up. I let my mind wander as it wants as I lay my body in the bathtub, it feels very much meditative. Somehow it makes me feel great about myself.

I do that for half an hour. Then I will start my morning exercise. 20 minutes of intense training then followed by 30 minutes of moderate or casual training. Sometimes I like doing it at the gym, sometimes I like doing it at home. I prefer the later most of the time, as it is not time-consuming, plus the fact that I don’t have to wear anything except my sport bra, it’s a bonus. I’d spent at least 20 minutes to go back and forth between the gym and home. That precious 20 minutes… I could have used it to prepare my breakfast.

I would finished the exercise around 6am. By that time, the air in my terrace still so fresh, I will breath it in deeply and exhale slowly and stretch my body like a cat. I would see Komang sweeps those dry leaves at the yard in front of my room, I would say hi to her, she will smile back at me, then I get back inside my room, cutting fruits, prepare my breakfast as I listen to my favorite podcast channel. Those duo: Chuck and Josh are my favorite.

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No podcast in the morning is a wasted morning.

I will not read anything until I finished listen to the podcast. One podcast from The Nerdist usually lasts for 60 minutes. I make the bed as I listen to it, make breakfast, eat breakfast and cleaning up the room also packing up for all day activity. There is something zen as I do all that in the morning.

I believe a peaceful morning makes a great day.

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That is the last view I want to see before I close the door.

I will be finished doing all those above around 8am. By then, I will get the hot shower, use my favorite scented shower gel: vanilla raspberry, or jasmine, or red musk. Then take a shower like James Bond. Mr. Bond uses hot water in the beginning of rinsing the soap then cold water afterward. It is important to feel like a badass when you start your day. Well, it works for me big time.

After getting ready to work, I will hit the road at 9am to start my day.

I have a daily theme for my days. I set mandatory tasks for each day. It helps me to stay navigated during the week and helps me to make sure that I get done all of those mandatory tasks.

On the side notes, it’s pretty much irritating when I miss one action in a day or when things don’t go as planned. Like unproductive meeting, someone coming late to an appoinment, and many other irresponsible and disrespectful acts. But then, thanks to Google Calendar, it helps me to keep on the track and stay navigated to reach my destination by the end of the week.

In a perfect world…

I will be finished working at 5pm then hang out with friends or simply have time to watch my favorite tv series or the movies I have downloaded, or talk to my loving boyfriend who resides on the other side of the globe.

But this is a flawed world, the summit I want to reach makes me working on 5 jobs (soon will be six). So I will finish working around 8pm or 11pm. Sometimes at 2am. So, just so you can understand, when I am willing to show up, meaning I respect you that much.

As I called it a day, it would be my time to have a quality time with my loved one. Then go to sleep at least at 2am. So yes, I sleep 180 minutes to 300 minutes a day. Sometimes with power nap after lunch for around 20 minutes, when I can.

Is it enough for me? Will it help me to achieve my goals?

Let’s see in a year.:)

Quentin Tarantino: Blown Heads, Racism, and Psychotic Women

I just watched The Hateful Eight recently. Just like any other Tarantino’s movie, it left my soul crumbled on the floor and I had to pick it up until I watch something else that is as light as a feather and as comforting as a wool blanket during winter.

The first thought that came to mind after I watched that movie was, “why does he really like to show a blown head? With guns or whatever weapon that can make the head exploded, literally and figuratively…” and he likes bloody blood spread all over the place… a lot. To the level he makes me see it as a human’s property that painlessly withdrawn if not flowing from their body, he made it fun to watch people bleeding and died for no reason. He made me a psychopath for some period of time as I watch his movie.

Remember Inglourious Basterds? Or the more recent one, Django Unchained? Let’s take these three movies as incomplete samples for this content.

The other similarity amongst those movies, other than being human’s-body-parts-rain show is, it’s all emphasized the clash between human races back in the days. And he made the defeated parties (in reality, based on history) to be the winner. He basically made an alternative reality for us to see. Those intense, often sarcastically funny, and beyond witty dialogues clearly depicted utopic situations in the movie. And again, those intense brutalities are just some spices to make the movies colorful. The best part of the movies are always the dialogues, no matter how dark the jokes can get.

Does anyone ever observe the female characters? I did. And I think female characters in Tarantino’s movies are either psychotic (Daisy Domergue) or naive, weak and unworthy (Cora, Broomhilda).

The only female character who got a fair image is Shosanna Dreyfus (on the side note: oh my god! She is drop-dead gorgeous isn’t she?), which is also my lifetime favorite character. She was allowed to be vengeful, yet powerful at the same time. (Well, revenge gives you power).

Shosanna Dreyfus

Sweet lord, Mimieux! (Source)

Apart from unfitting female characters in his movies, I get it that he erased the boundary between women and men stereotyping by treating women like inferior men. That’s how I see it when John Ruth beats Daisy repeatedly just to shut her up. Not so manly in terms of common mannerism. But then Daisy is the mother of the crazies.

daisy

“When you get to hell, tell them Daisy sent you..” (Source)

 

25 Marriage Rule of Thumb

First of all, before you read anything, I’d like to warn you, don’t take advice about marriage from a single person.

I am not married, I am as single as a banana, never married and not planning to get married unless someone like Vipertongue wants to marry me and please take a bold note that we are mutually not interested in matrimony. So, you see what I mean.

And over the years, I have been surrounded by people whose cohabitation and or marriage life don’t work as smooth as they planned before (nobody plans for chaos, isn’t it?). And I figured it’s happening everywhere, thus, this note might be useful for some people.

Marriage is a total bitch. It’s clearly not for everyone. But, if you are inclined to weather ‘live happily ever after’, ’till die do us apart’ or have a short memory and an abundant amount of sense of humor. Then, you might want to read further.

25. The honeymoon phase will be over eventually. Be it in six months, or after a year, or after five years, the person you fell hard for will show you their whole quality. They don’t change, they are still themselves, you just didn’t know them enough to see that part. Or, you ignored those red flags for some reasons. And don’t worry, it is common to happen when you fall in love.

Some people can prolong this honeymoon phase by showing more affection and being a perfect match for each other. Nurture the love every day together and earn more love from their partners. But, just in case this honeymoon wears off, the first move you should take is stay as long as you can and do whatever you could to keep the fire alive.

24. Preserve the privacy of yours and your partners’. I get that feeling when you see your partner goes tell-it-all in public, posting passive aggressive stuff which they can actually tell you in person and talk it out like an emotionally stable person. Be it on social media or on magazines. Well.. you can’t do anything about it, it’s their choice.The last thing you could do is doing the same thing and tell people the story from your side. Other than that, stay classy, and keep it for yourself, your closest friends and your lawyer.

Let me tell you something everybody knows, no matter how heavy the problem you have, nobody on social media gives a fuck. Nobody in public care.

It’s either they are being cynical about it.. or, laugh at your problems. Those cats’and dogs’ pictures are way more valuable than the sad story of your marriage with the beau you call perfect in the first three months of your relationship.

So, stop posting those passive-aggressive post on facebook. Especially the ones that similar to “Sebagai istri harus selalu ikhlas dan sabar..“, do you hear that sound of my eyes got stuck in the back of its sockets after I rolled it too hard?  I learned my lesson, and I think it’s not a cool thing to do.

It’s marriage, it’s an adult stuff, treat problems in your marriage like an adult. Have some dignity to not reveal it in public.

23. Always forgive and forget… until it’s no longer worthy. Forgiveness sets you free. It’s not about the other party you forgave, it’s about letting go of things that hurt you. Holding onto grudge won’t make you a better person, nor makes you happy. And erasing something from your memory is not something you can really do. Especially when it’s related to something essential.

In short, when it comes to something essential and the situation requires you to forgive and forget, that is a loud reminder to forgive and leave.

22. Be a good teammate. Life can come at you hard. One of the nice things about marriage is being able to have someone else in the bunker when you’re getting shelled. When problems come at you two, focus on solution, panicking over something won’t help, let alone being fussy about the small stuff around the problem.

Remind your partner to stay focus, then give yourself a time to process the whole stuff. When you are ready with solution and talk it out, give them a sign that you are ready. ALWAYS talk about problem when you both completely composed and calm.

21. Grow and adapt. Things are changing, (most) people don’t. But if you want a rewarding relationship, please make sure you and your partner are encouraging each other to be the better version of yourselves.

Please make sure you are a different individual compare to the person who said “yes” to that marriage proposal -in a good way. Make sure you are more successful in your career, you are a happier person, and you are a better you day by day in your marriage. Because if you don’t think you need all that, they do, and that is the moment when you two are not on the same page, then, one of you will have to catch up in order to preserve the balance. Balance and structure are essentials in many fields.

20. Own your compass. Be it moral compass or mental compass, marriage is for people with a strong sense of belief. Moral compass helps you to be your own voice of reason. You know where you are heading, and you know what to expect from your partner and your marriage.  Moral compass won’t let you manipulate and lie to your partner, it keeps you honest and trustworthy. While mental compass, is the quality of your relationship with yourself. It helps you to be in touch with reality and sustain a healthy mind. With a healthy mind, you can decide and process problems then find the right fix for it.

19. Travel together or travel alone. It is great if you can travel together most of the time. Since I know how it feels like when you want your significant other to see how beautiful the view that you see, or when you want to share the excitement you had when you did that dirt bike racing with your friends and wish your partner can experience the same adrenaline rush as you did.

But sometimes, he wants to go to Bora-bora and you want to do a trek to Galdhøpiggen in Norway. Well, go for it, see him / her in a week and share your stories over potato gratin and spicy meatballs you cooked together.

Life is not always about being together all the time. We gotta do what we gotta do. That’s how we grow together, and contribute to the relationship, by broadening our worldview. Thus, it can change the way we value our relationship.

18. Develop your own interests. Have passion on something, the thing that makes you feel happy when you do it, something that makes you want to excel on it.

Be it singing, cooking, do modern dance, watch movie, play video games, videography, make clothing design, writing, or whatever science related hobby. Have your own interest, the thing that makes you want to spend your time doing it -just for the sake of it, and produce a useful result, at least for your own happiness.

By having your own interest and develop it from time to time, it helps you to grow, meet and connect with new people, it keeps your mind healthy. You will always have something to share with your partner. Happy people make a healthy relationship.

Or just in case you don’t know what to learn, first, maybe you can learn to be self-sufficient. Learn to do your own laundry. Know how to cook a meal; how to navigate the grocery store; how to make an online purchase; how to turn off the water to the house; how to erect a camping tent; how to unclog a toilet. So at least, you know how to do all that.

17. Cultivate a wide, diverse circle of friends. I personally like to keep my inner circle narrow. Although, I don’t close it for new people to get into it altogether. New perspective is always refreshing. That is why meeting interesting people is one of the greatest joys of living. You will get to hear new story, new perspective, new personality to understand and new stuff to learn.

When you are in a healthy relationship, the more people you know, the more you can appreciate your partner and strengthen your relationship with them.

16. Take care of your health and your shape. Yes, your partner loves you for who you are, despite the size of your wardrobes. But, good shape is not always about the look, it’s more about how good you maintain your health. You owe it to each other to be in the best physical health possible. Exercise is also beneficial for your mental health.

Take pride in your appearance. Your marriage license doesn’t give you a free pass to always wear sweat pants and T-shirts. Those batik pants, fedora hats, 3/4 shorts, beach shirt, gym shorts… please take it off. Except you need a contraception to wear, well, go ahead. Other than that, please maintain good hygiene. Could your armpit odor make someone who stands behind you, faints? Could your breath shrivel the whole field? Take care of that, please.

15. Practice self-awareness. Be mindful of what you say and do. Before you say anything, take a deeper look at what you want to say, before you do anything, make sure the things that you want to do is not counterproductive.Take frequent looks in the mirror. Reflect on who you are and the contributions you are making to your relationship. Are you being judgmental? Unfair? Nitpicking? Verbally abusive?

14. Admit that you’re wrong (even, on occasion, when you aren’t). No excuse, no one else to blame, own up your mistake, then don’t repeat. It is easier to forgive someone who owns up their mistake and does some effort to make the situation better. This simple gesture will pay immeasurable dividends; it will help you grow and it’s just the right thing to do.

13. Surprise one another. Fill up the gas in her vehicle, buy him some bacon, buy her a bucket of white roses on the day she accomplished something at work, buy him Sagami 0.01 and put it next to his dessert plate. Give your partners a small pleasant surprise.

12. It’s the good little things, it’s the bad little things. The simplest act and almost effortless gestures like holding the door, bring the shopping bag for her, push the trolley for her at the grocery, suggesting a movie night, rubbing his back, paying attention when she talks, wipe his spoon before he uses it.. can be so much rewarding, the reward is greater than the sum of the parts.

While the little bad things does the contrary, drops of urine on the toilet seat, forgot to buy something important your partner asked you to buy, cancel the plan in last minute, forgetting the promise you made last month, spitting in public, insensitive jokes. These are death by a thousand cuts to your relationship.

11. The bathroom session is private. If you think it’s an old-fashioned to brush your teeth while I use the toilet, you’ll change your mind about that eventually. We spent the whole night sleeping next to each other, give me some space in the morning, especially when I want to say goodbye to the food I ate yesterday before I flush it. And, the only voice I want to hear in the morning is my morning music or, my favorite podcast, or the voice similar to Obama’s.. Other than that, please do it some other time.

10. Don’t make sex a taboo subject. Not right after or right before you do it. But you can do it, say, during dinner or at the grocery store when the isle is pretty much quiet. Sex is an important part of any marriage or cohabitating life. But for some reason couples don’t want to discuss it unless they are in the throes of passion.

9. It’s okay to have secrets. Be open since the beginning that you will want your secret garden secluded and untouched. It’s not that you want to hide someone else in your life, or you (still) want to do something he doesn’t like on his back. But a secret room is something everyone needs. We don’t have to know all things that are not essential about someone.

But over everything, please make sure that you don’t have a Poison Ivy in your secret garden.

8. Avoid subtext. This is a cowardly way to communicate. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hint about it. Hints are for dummies.

7. Put it down. His cellphone, her cell phone. Period. It’s an invasive behavior. Normal people will ask their partner what they want to know and their partner will answer the question. If you don’t feel secure enough in your relationship to the level that you think you need to check his or her cellphone, you need to see a therapist.

6. Don’t over-romanticize past (or future) relationships. I know that for some couples, pre-wed pictures are the only evidence for a couple that they were once a happy couple. It is tempting to repost it on Facebook after 5 years of marriage.

And I know that for some couples, updating their relationship situation on Facebook to get the impression that they are TOTALLY happy with their relationship is cool. Of course, you do it with the hope that your union will be as perfect as you want it to be.

Let me tell you something, you weren’t that great and she isn’t that hot. Keep your feet on the ground, stop longing for someone they aren’t, stop thinking they will change eventually to be the person you wish them to be.

5. You are equals. It doesn’t matter which one of you makes the most money. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the better collection of Marvel Comics vintage edition. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the cutest ass. It doesn’t even matter which one of you can run faster or fart louder than the other. You are in this together.

4. Respect each other’s friends. You know his friend Fredy is loud mouthed. And you know her friend Cathy thinks you are not as reliable as her ex. In this case, know when to keep your mouth shut. No list would be complete without the “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” lesson.

3. Respect space and time. Have we not evolved as a species or watched enough Dr. Phil to realize our mate does not want to answer the question “How was your day?” the minute he/she walks in the door?

2. Be responsible with money. No one lives on love. You need money. If you earned it, you will almost certainly respect it. If you didn’t earn it, you must respect it even more. When it comes to money, everyone being extra sensitive and will take it very seriously. Basic manner and respect will help you to survive this subject.

1. Adapting beats abandoning. There will be moments when you want to quit, walk out, give up, fly away. You can do that. You certainy can. But you will probably be doing so without giving due consideration to the new life that awaits you.

When the problem gets too heavy on your chest, take a helicopter view. Will this worth the effort of adapting? Will it worth the wait? How will you feel about this problem 10 days from now? Will you feel better off in 10 months? 10 years? You know the answers to those questions. If you think you don’t, remove your fear.

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Digital Marketing: How It Works

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In a nutshell

Some people call it internet marketing. Others say it’s about posting ads on social media. Some people think it has something to do with search engine optimization. Others think it’s about hiring a social media buzzer or a products’ endorser to reach more viewers. Some people think it’s about the engaging web content or social media content. Others think it has something to do with measuring website performance through various metrics.

Which one is right? My answer would be, it’s a little bit of everything I’ve mentioned above.

A Digital Marketing Practitioner crunches all of the data, measures the impact, and then creates content out of it. Content that leads viewers to take action (sales or share). Content that goes viral within hours or days. Content that is making targeted result.

Is that all?

Well, I can’t really make it sound like rocket science,  as it really is quite simple. Although, there are variables one needs to comprehend fully before creating content. Those variables involve several subject areas, from psychology (consumer behavior), business management, strategic planning, linguistic, web analytics, to mastering -at least, half of the English lexicon (if you write in English).

Why do you need digital marketing?

If I have to mention one single feature that digital marketing has and traditional marketing doesn’t, it would be: an exponential exposure for your brand, service and products in an exchange for relatively low-cost, compared to traditional marketing budget.

Let me break it down for you

First of all, there are 3,17 billion internet users around the globe. While traditional marketing can only reach people in your area, digital marketing, however, can reach beyond your vicinity. Not only that, you can set the demography you want to attract by using the right keywords!

Insert those keywords to your content, be it social media content, or web content. Then accompany those engaging contents with a strongly appealing design graphic, or gif, or short video, or a picture that can steal viewers’ attention span (whose length lasts less than 8 seconds).

Secondly, spend the right amount of time to be present on social media. Consumers are social, thus, being on social media is a necessity, it’s no longer a choice. Social media is a strong marketing channel nowadays, every business have to seriously adopt and add to their marketing plan. It is utterly important that Google integrate social media data into its organic search engine algorithm since 2009.

So far, there are 426 million of active facebook users in Asia Pasific, 47% of them reside in Oceania region and 26% of them reside in South East Asia region. That is a gigantic cake for everyone to savor through social media channels.

And please keep in mind that 97% of all social media users access their account via mobile device(s) – enough reason to keep on making those mobile-friendly contents and make sure that your content is accessible from any size of device and from any Operating System.

At last, in digital marketing, high search engine ranking is critical. One group of powerful tool that cater all your needs comes from search engine giant: Google, through Google My Business which harnesses the power of AdWords, Insights, Google+, Maps, and Search all in one place. Because of the unparalleled reach of Google and their services, plugging into the Google My Business network means your customers and clients can now find you easier than ever.

How to start?

Contact the right person to set up digital marketing template for your company. Someone who can bring you a tailor made marketing campaign that incorporate both direct and online marketing tactics.

Dear My Future Partner

Hey, I write this because I am done dealing with those guys whose chemical reaction in their brains don’t have the same components as mine -also not at the same time. You know, that dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin spikes in the brain thing.

And I hope that you really exist. Yes, you: someone who’s willing to share your life, shit, happiness, money, debt, foods, drinks, love (I want to fall hard, real hard for once and for all), cuddles, and hugs. Your everything… with me, in a monogamous – committed relationship. Someone who call me ‘home’ and mean it when you say it.

You, someone who have been wanting to see someone like me, and someone who find me fit you the most. Yeah.. I do hope you exist. At least, I still have a little-faith-the faith-is-so-little-I-can’t-believe-that-I-have-it.

For early notice. This open letter will say about my thoughts and expectations about you and what we might have in our future relationship.

So here is how I put it…

Nothing is permanent in life, you know that. That’s why I wouldn’t promise I will love you forever, never stop loving you as you are and all that jazz. That’s an utopic yet idiotic thing to say and do. And a bad choice as well, if I must say. BUT, I’ll promise, I will hold onto our commitment instead and I’ll love you as you grow to be a better person that you want to be. Be better every day. I am looking forward to seeing your keep-on-growing-self.

And before that, let’s keep things real between us.

We must be really intellectually connected to each other. We arouse each other with those conversations in hours, have a good laugh and share the stories we had. And that will be the biggest reason why I’d decided to be with you. I want to be able to talk to you about almost everything. I want to be able to completely strip off my masks and show you my whole skin.

I’m gonna love you because your openness on almost everything: including on your thoughts about beliefs and religion. You might be a Christian or a Buddhist or maybe a Moslem or, even better, a non-believer. But you wouldn’t force your belief towards me or our kids (if we wanna have any, so far, nobody ever makes me want to sacrifice my life for their future child). For you, your belief is something very personal, so is other people’s beliefs. If we happen to have a different point of views on this one, we’ll be able to respect each other’s thoughts and supporting each other to live with it. And we’ll be happily doing it.

I’ll be someone you run into when you find little things to talk about and to examine your thoughts about it. And so you’re to me. We wouldn’t be afraid of having a bunch of different point of views when we examine our thoughts. We’ll be able to discuss petty-cute-things to significant-shitty-things in a good tone of voices and mannerism.

We’ll love each other deeply. So that we’ll take care of each other in our better and in our worse. In cold winter of Westeros and the heat of Sava… Okay forget about it, you got what I mean.

I’ll be the one who lovingly rub warming oil on your belly, on your chest and on your back when flatulence bugs you in the middle of the night. And I’ll make you some hot chocolate or corn soup when it’s too cold outside. I’ll also be that particular person who will lovingly give you a gentle massage on your forehead, or on your glabella, or on your palms, or simply stroking your hair when you get tired. I’ll do it when you lay your head on my chest or on my lap. You can choose which one you like. I’m fine either way.

We both know, that the world we are living in is a very fucked up world. But it won’t hold us back from being kind and gentle to the other humankind. Although, every now and then, we would express our disappointment over humankind.

Okay, I think that’s all I wanna say to you, so far. A long letter to someone who doesn’t even exist (yet). I feel schizophrenic now. Errr… Okay, let’s watch our favorite movies. Let’s do our adventures. Let’s do what we want to do. Until somehow, we manage to make our paths meet in the middle of somewhere we never visited before.