Money.I'm in a slight financial jam.

There are a number of ways to fix this, even though most of them are a bit complicated; since I live in the middle of financial-nowhere.
I can just call the folks in Jakarta, Riyadh, Jeddah for some extra cash...
I can just directly ask any of my friends here for a loan...

Then I thought..."Heck, if I don't have it, then I don't need it."

Problem solved.

Didn't I tell you that it doesn't take money to impress me?


Coming to One Year.

I’m approaching the one-year commemoration of the end of my marriage, and I was actually getting excited about it.

I thought that it’s because my social frame is so fucked up that I could get so excited over something as depressing as that.

Then something that my brother said reminded me of the real reason to why I’m so excited about the approach of May.

No, it’s not my father’s birthday, which is on the 2nd of May.

Neither is Valin’s birthday, on the 12th of May, could get me as pumped up and excited about the entire month. (Although I always blow a candle and sing the birthday song every year this date passes – for you, Valin.)

The fact that I left the Hamra house on the 14th of May, and saw Jai the last time on the 23rd of May of 2006, aren’t sufficient reasons for me to feel so celebrative about the month of May.

Yes, that’s the word, “celebrative”.

I’m celebrating my departure from one country, and arriving in another.

I’m celebrating the actualization to my definitions of freedom.

I’m celebrating the realization of my lonely ideals.

In one year of living in Indonesia, I’ve done so many things that I’ve only longed for in the other gender-biased country.

  1. I’ve walked to and from work on a daily basis.
  2. I’ve managed to live on $10 a week, $40 a month, budget.
  3. I’ve lived and established a small network in Aceh.
  4. I’ve taught English to full-grown adults.
  5. I’ve kept a Labrador.
  6. I’ve traveled on motorbike, becak, bajaj and every other public transportation more often than in a car.
  7. I’ve been to Medan and Gumati.
  8. I’ve owned three cameras: one SLR and two pockets.
  9. I’ve been to Takengon with 13 other people I’m not related to by blood.
  10. I’ve been kicked out by my landlady.
  11. I’ve spent long nights; fueled just by conversation, coffee and cigarettes.
  12. I’ve ridden a motorbike wearing high-heals and skirt.
  13. I’ve been inspired to write more than I’ve ever bothered to write.
  14. I’ve been called pretty so often that it’s not even nice to hear anymore.
  15. I’ve been in a situation where losing the man I love is preferable than being married to him.
  16. I’ve bought my first bottle of alcohol. And the second. And third. And so on.
  17. I’ve been more promiscuous than I’ve ever been in the last 6 years.
  18. I’ve lost all the things that I thought were essential to my sanity, and realized that even without them, I’m fine.
  19. I’ve tested every principal in my belief system and realized that they’re fine too.
  20. And this is the best: I have never savored the absence of Anger for as long as I have in the last year.

With such deep feelings for freedom, and the satisfaction for self-actualization (yes, you fool, fucking up and making mistakes are part of self actualization), what in the world would make me, ever, want to go back to where I hated myself so much that I would marry Jai?

Mother, Father, Brothers, do you have to be so blind, or cruel, or selfish to still expect me going back to where you live?


GuestHouse II Emergency Procedure:

In case of electricity outage, call the logistician to come immediately to confirm the following observation:

1) Resident I is found brushing her teeth and resuming her candlelit dinner,

2) Resident II is bathing and carrying complicated conversations from inside the bathroom

3) Resident III is being her usually autistic self and is taking photographs in pitch-black darkness, while at the same time laughing hysterically,

If the observations above have been clearly noted, suggested action plan is to immediately stop wasting your time in this nuthouse and leave.

Follow-up Procedure: Have the Expatriate Resident from further Indonesian-Insanity by sending her to Banda by closest Monday.

What’s the inside joke in your house?


I took that picture, and saw a beautiful moment.

Everyone was tired and hungry.

Everyone’s relieved to be seated in front of food again.

Everyone’s waiting for that first warm bite of dinner in the cold mountainous climate.

Everyone was happy to be there.

Someone suggested to offer prayer.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let us offer thanks to the Lord who has brought us here together tonight. Allahumma barik lana feema razaqtana, wa qina azaab an-naar. Amen.”

“Amen,” said three or four members of the congregation.
“Amen? You mean that’s it? That’s all the prayer you’re gonna offer?” said one member.
“Well, now you know how Saudis pray, don’t ya?” said the only atheist, before digging into his spoonful of rice.

Amen to that.

It was the third and last long-weekend of the month.
Most of the Demi-Gods in the office were spreading into oblivion.
And His Royal Majesty King of the Logistic Kingdom was restless.
So out of the blue, he just said: “Let’s go to Takengon.”

And thirteen other fools agreed to escort him through his momentary insanity.

The next morning, they gathered at the office,

Had their communal breakfast together,
Then drove for about five hours,
Through thirteen vomit/pee stops later,

To arrive in a town in the middle of Aceh, called Takengon

When so many people are forced to spend that much of time together, they usually find out new things about each other.

Most of which nobody wants to know about.

Such as the English teacher who’s still on her childish ideas of fun, Or His Royal Majesty’s tendencies to abuse her,
Or the Communal-Father’s longing to fly.
Nevertheless, on the way back,
All fourteen, street-dancing, fools, six hotel bedrooms, and two ford explorer cars agreed on one thing:

“No regrets. We’ve had a lifetime’s worth of fun.”

The End.

One Hundred Books in A Year: 17 Lessons Learned

Pexel 1.      Readers will read. Regardless to format or income or legality.   2.      Something to remember: The Prophet was illit...