Monday, August 19, 2019

Kukka Goes To Hanoi

So... It started with a phone call from a number I didn't recognized. I almost ignore it like I always do to unknown numbers. But this time I decided to take it. It turned out it was from Skaci, Kukka's computer course. The first thing that popped in my head was "Uh oh... What did she do?" :)) Skaci told me that Kukka was chosen to compete in ASEAN Cyber Kids Camp 2019 in Hanoi along with Cloudine, another student from Skaci. I was like "...HUH...?" ASEAN??? Hanoi??? Kukka???" I asked her to repeat everything from the beginning. Slowly. :)) It took a bit of a time before I told Hubster about it. Because... Well... Kukka did win the Skaci Bintaro Cyber Kids 2 years in a row but I didn't expect this to happen. 

Anyways after that surprising phone call, the commotion began. Starting from discussing whether or not we should let Kukka go to Hanoi alone (with Cloudine & 1 Skaci chaperone) to finally deciding that I do have to come along with her to Vietnam. The (next) biggest problem was right on those dates when the event was held, August 12th - 15th, Hubster's schedule was packed. Really. I saw his timeline and there's no free time at all. Finding the right person to go with us was not an easy thing. Why not just me? Well... You know :) Or not? Well... There's always a possibility that I might get seizures like...anywhere? Plane. Hotel. Tourist sites. I could even get lost!!! I still get lost in the middle of my favorites malls for god sakes! This is so annoying -__- So yeah... I really had to have a chaperone of my own :)) Now... I can't really remember how this idea came and who had it first, but after lots of well-thought-out discussions Hubster and I finally decided that I should bring Dewi along to this trip. Yes. THAT Dewi. Our maid. She's been with us a long time now which means we can trust her. Dewi knows my condition and has experiences how to treat me if anything happens. She's smart, healthy and quick. Dewi also has great initiative to do this and that. Basically she was the best person to come along with me and Kukka to Hanoi. It was Hubster who told Dewi about the news. I don't really remember exactly what Hubster said but when he did Dewi surely was very surprised and obviously happy. Next was making a passport for Dewi since she didn't have one. I had the duty to find the best deals of airlines tickets and hotel. We decided to take the same planes, Singapore Airlines, and stayed at Melia Hanoi, the same hotel with the kids and Ibu Sofie, the chaperone from Skaci Pusat. And so the adventure began.

Day 1, August 12th
When we arrived in Hanoi a guy from the event picked us up and took us to Hotel Melia Hanoi. His name is difficult for us to pronounce and too hard for me to remember :)) But he is a very nice guy. The minute we all sat comfortably in the car he gave us a box of Vietnamese local cake. They look and feel sort of like mochi. But more colorful. Anyways... After exchanging phone numbers I finally understand the chaperone's name: Dan Le. But still. I couldn't pronounce it correctly. :)) On the way to the hotel we passed by some historical buildings and famous local places. Dan Le gave us informations just like a tourist guide would do. But I didn't pay too much attention because all I wanted was take a shower and just lay down on the bed. AND SLEEP!!! :)) Yes. Those were the first things I did when I finally got in the bedroom which I shared with Dewi. Kukka stayed in the same bedroom with Bu Sofie and Cloudine as she supposed to. I told Kukka again and again that the fact I was there shouldn't change a thing. That she should...pretend that I wasn't there. Just because I tagged along didn't mean that she could sleep in my bedroom and be with me all time. I told Kukka that me being there in Hanoi with her was for my (and her Bapa's) peace of mind. least I was in the same city, the same time zone, the same country with her :)) Then after an evening stroll to a restaurant named Quan An Ngon and back to the hotel,  Dewi, Kukka and I decided to go to sleep. Because we needed it. Very much. Zzz....

Day 2, August 13th

Alhamdulillah I had a very good sleep. I don't think I woke up even once which I usually do since I'm taking the necessary pills. Then at 6am in the morning, when it was time for me to take my morning pills I heard "Selamat pagi Bu..." I almost jumped out of my bed!!! LOLOLOLOL!!!! I TOTALLY FORGOT THAT DEWI WAS ON THE OTHER BED NEXT TO MINE!!!! Dewi laughed and thought I was being hilarious. Well... The shock was real!!! :))) Then it was time for breakfast. My favorite moment. My baby and I met in the restaurant. She said she had a pretty okay night sleep :) BTW this was Dewi's first time enjoying breakfast buffet in a hotel. I told Dewi that she could eat whatever she wanted which was served on the buffet. She was like "Huh??? Ngga bayar Bu???" My mistake :) I didn't explain how things are working in a hotel. I guess it was because I assumed that everybody knows :D Minutes after I told her that everything is free, the food, the drinks, the dessert and other stuff, Dewi ate a lot! :)) She basically tried every single thing in the buffet, I had to remind her that we still had 3 more mornings/breakfast times. After breakfast I saw this lady on the Buffalo Tours tourist desk. Her name is Nham Thi Van and her english name is Lucy. Lucy is probably the first and only person in Hanoi who I can understand very well. Her english is excellent! Because I could understand her very well, after I booked a half-day trip to Ha Long Bay, I decided to ask Lucy about other tourist sites in Hanoi. Thanks to Lucy, Dewi and I finally had a tourist map! :)) She circled and written all the places that we should visit. Starting from the hotel and back. Meanwhile this day was Kukka's first day in ASEAN Cyber Kids Camp in the hotel's Function Room. And since I already booked a tour for tomorrow, today was the only time Dewi and I could walk around the town and buy souvenirs. Most importantly Mom's wish: a handbag :) 

But first thing first: The Vietnamese Women's Museum. It's on my list and was worth every minute of it. After that Dewi and I went to the Red Bridge on Hoàn Kiem Lake. 

The park was beautiful but the weather was too damn hot for me to be on the famous bridge. And there were too many people taking pictures on it. Just looking at the crowd made me dizzy already. So I took some pictures with the red bridge as the background. Just for the sake of having a proof that I was at least NEAR that bridge. Right??? Right???? :)) I took some time to relax on the park bench right next to Hoan Kiem Lake, enjoying the shade under the trees, looking at the people here and there. It was really nice. I think I even managed to snooze a little bit. I can't really remember where Dewi was. I think she did manage to be on the bridge after I told her to go. She made sure I was okay  and bought me a sausage stick for snack. Then the journey continued. It was already noon and I thought it was time to look for some souvenirs. So we went to this area which is apparently quite famous for buying souvenirs. Luong Van Chan Street. I walked passed lots of souvenirs shops but none of them felt right. For example, shop A is too expensive while I considered shop B's owner to be rude. Why rude? Well... I don't want to spend my money in a shop where the owner just sit around on a leaning chair, sweating and "offered" me by pointing the stuff with words that I couldn't understand. She didn't even bother to stand up. No thank you. So I continued to walk and walk again with sweat all over my body. After about 3-4 shops I finally found this souvenir shop which has nice goods and most importantly the young lady in the shop was polite and friendly. After I looked around and finally set my heart on cute notebooks for Kukka's friends and a gorgeous handbag for Mom, it was time to bargain. The bargaining was quite tough because of the language. It was hilarious too. The three of us, the shop lady, Dewi and me used everything to be able to communicate with each other. English, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Sunda, Bahasa Jawa, Vietnamese, Google Translator, fingers, hand gestures, drawings, calculator... :)))) At the end, the young lady gave up :))) I got everything I wanted and didn't have to spend too much. At least not as much as if I went to other souvenir shops. Finally my heart was at ease so I decided to go back to the hotel. After all... The next day would be Ha Long Bay. I needed all the energy I could have. I even ordered room service for dinner so I wouldn't have to move my butt :))

Day 3, August 14th
While the girls were getting ready to impress everybody with their presentation, my destination was Ha Long Bay. Ah yes... The second you hear that name you'll be thinking of this beautiful place ALLAH has created. To be honest I was a bit worried because I did read here and there that Ha Long Bay now is not as beautiful as it used to be. That there's a lot trash in the water etc. But... When I got there........ WOW. I said good luck and goodbye to Kukka and Cloudine then I got into a luxury bus from Buffalo Tours with Dewi. The bus was full of tourists #DUH. Mostly old couples. The guide's name was... Well... I only remember his english name: Ben. Ben's english is very good. Very understandable :) He's funny too. Ben explained almost every historical building we passed by. The first stop was the pearl farm on the way to the harbour. Ha Long Pearl. OH. MY. GOD. The pearls....... EXQUISITE!!!!! I really wanted them all!!!! Even the smallest one caught my eyes but of course they're very expensive. Even the tiniest earrings cost about... Oh nevermind :)) And so the journey continued. Next destination was the harbour. We got into a cruise ship, one of Genesis Cruise. I recommend it. Worth every penny. Seriously. Anyways... Our cruise stopped at Hang Luón or Luon Cave and it was time for kayaking. Yes. :)) At first I hesitated because it was a medium-sized kayak (10 adults) but then I thought "I'M HERE!!! MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT!". I got in with Dewi and 7 other passengers from the Genesis Cruise and 1 kayaker. We caused quite a ruckus when we got into the kayak. It turned out it wasn't that easy!!! The kayak kept swaying left and right everytime a passenger stepped it. And all of us screamed like it was the end of the world :)) Ben said some passengers did fall down into the water and that story certainly didn't make us feel any better :)) Then we all finally sat down and the kayak moved slowly. All of us listened to Ben carefully and enjoyed the breathtaking view. The kayak moved in to Surprise Cave. When we were in the cave I wondered how it would be like to spend the night inside :D Then we passed by The Monkey Island. It was beautiful AND funny. Why? Well... First of all it's beautiful because the island itself is full of lush trees in the middle of serene water. It's stunning. Aaaaaand theeeen... The monkeys! They were just...there. Minding their own business. I saw a mother with her baby. Then there were these 2 monkeys hanging from the trees. The funniest part of it was the fact that it felt more like they're the one who are watching us. Not the other way around :)) It's like "Oh hey! Humans!!! Aaaawww..." :))) 

Next was Ti Top Island where you can climb on 400 stairs and if you get to the top of the island you can get the best view down into Ha Long Bay. You CAN. Me? I COULDN'T :)) I caused quite a ruckus here. Before we got out of the cruise Ben already warned us about the 400 stairs that we have to climb to get up. He also reminded us about the heat. So if you think you couldn't make it, just stay in the cruise, enjoy the cold drink and wait for us, he said. Dewi reminded me to think it through. I felt...challenged? I said again and again that I could make it. I would just walk slowly and take my time, I said. Dewi gave up. I think not only she was worried that something might happen to me, but also IF something happened, she would be the one who is responsible for it :)) So yeah... I joined the others and took about 5 steps on the steep stairs. Did I tell you that the weather was very very hot??? Yeah... Okay. 5 stairs more or less. Then I started to shiver. My eyes were blurry and my hands were shaking. Still I thought I could make it. But then my sane self warned me something like "Hey you! If you keep doing this and somewhere in the middle of these steep stairs you get a seizure... You are a danger to other people. You fall down, the person behind you will be next and so on. There are old people here. Think about them" ................. I gave up. I told Dewi I would wait for her in the ship. As if walking back down the stairs didn't already cause a lot of trouble... Our cruise ship already got off the dock because it would be harbouring on the other side of the island!!! It took Ben, the people on the harbour, a very loud speaker and the people on the cruise to come back just to pick me up. Sorry guys... :D Oh yes! Did I already say that IT WAS VERY VERY HOT?????? :D When I got back in the cruise ship the first thing the crew did was giving me a wet towel :D GOD! At that moment all I could think about was the bathtub back at the hotel. But the experience was totally worth every drop of sweat. So while Dewi and the rest of the gang were "fried" outside, some old couples and I were enjoying cold drinks and leaning on comfortable seats. I don't know how long it took until they came back looking like they just got beaten up by sunrays LOL!!! Dewi kept saying that it was the best decision for me to go back to the ship. By the way the most annoying part of this whole trip was the lack of communication I had with Kukka. Although I already connected to the local operator, the signal was bad. All the time I was having fun I also couldn't stop thinking about my baby back in the city. After all... Today was Judging Day....  

And theeeeen finally at 16:05 I received the news from Ibu Sofie - Skaci. "Alhamdulillah dapat SILVER". WOW!!! I was sooooo surprised and obviously proud! I mean... The fact that Kukka was chosen to be one of the kids who represent Indonesia in this event was already a big prize itself. I didn't expect her and Cloudine to win an award. Not to mention Silver!!! Ibu Sofie called and I spoke with Kukka on then phone. She sounded very happy and I think the first thing she asked me was "Are you proud of me?" My precious Godsend :* I couldn't wait to go back to the hotel and shower my baby with kisses. After taking a long bath of course :D So yeah... When Dewi and I finally got back to the hotel, my baby came to my room. I hugged and kissed her like crazy! And of course. The most important part of this winning thing was the fact that if she won any prizes, her beloved Bapa would buy her Robux -_- She reminded me again and again about this. #SIGH 

Anyways since it was the last night in Hanoi, I decided to get an extra bed for Dewi and pushed the twin beds together so that Kukka could sleep with me. While I decided to stay in the room and rest, Dewi asked for permission to go out. She said "Kapan lagi Buu..." :)) I think she came back around 11pm. We flew back to Jakarta the next day and alhamdulillah we arrived at home safe and sound. Healthy and happy :) 

Tuesday, August 06, 2019


About a month ago or so I realized that I’ve always wanted to do some kind of a month challenge. 30 days of this, 30 days of that. I did it once or twice but for some reasons I never finished it. This time though… I DID IT!!!! I DID 30 DAYS FLOWER CHALLENGE!!! YEAY!!!! FINALLY!!!! :)))

It started when I was Pinteresting. I found this pin and I thought “Hey! Here’s something special to do to celebrate Kukka’s birthday in July! Kukka. Flower. 30 Days Flower Challenge. That would be nice and fun to do!” And since now I have an Apple Pencil I thought I could use it for something useful. I also thought that now drawing with an Apple Pencil maybe it would feel… You know?! Different? Maybe it’ll make the drawing more fun and practical? All I have to bring whenever I go are just my iPad and the pencil. No drawing book, pencils, watercolors, brushes etc. So yeah… Using the Apple Pencil and the Paper application, I started the 30 Days Flower Challenge and posted every drawing on my instagram (@farika). But since drawing isn’t exactly my talent, I googled lots of cool drawings that I like, took the ideas from them and then made some changes here and there. Like for example adding my…personality into every drawing so to speak :p It was fun! Although it felt like I was being chased by a deadline but still. It gave me some kind of happiness and the second I drew the last line it felt rrrrreeeeally good. Relaxing. Soothing. I remember I told dr. Rocksy about this current hobby. And like always, if it gives me pleasure just do it, she said :)

Although I did miss a day or two but I’ve successfully drew different flowers everyday. If I missed one day of drawing, I finished 2 days of flowers on the next day. I promised myself that I will finish the 30 flowers. By the end of July or not!!! And finally… I finished Day 30!!! I’m proud of what I have accomplished. They might not be 100% original but still :) I have some favorites. I also have some drawings which whenever I look at them again I’d think “Damn. I can do better than this!” :)) Oh! Something annoyingly funny happened when I was checking all the drawings. I noticed that I actually missed 1 day!!! I checked again and again and yes. I missed 1 day of flower which was Day 14: Gerbera :)) So just before I blogged about this whole 30 Day Flower Challenge thing, I had to draw Gerbera flower. Good thing I noticed it just before I showed off my flowers everywhere :)) 

Here they are. The 30 flowers I've drawn from July (- early August), inspired by lots of very talented painters around the world :)

Day 1 - 18

Day 19 - 30

I'm pretty proud of myself. My favorites are Day 11: Dahlia because it felt like it took forever to finish it :)) But I had super fun and when the flower was finished I felt very thrilled. Second fave is Day 12: Mother's Day Bouquet. Why? Because when I was doing it I was thinking about Mom the whole time :) Third fave is the last day, Day 30: Inspired By Another Participant. In my case the flowers were not exactly inspired by another participant. But it was inspired by my favorite Finnish brand Marimekko

And Kukka... These flowers are dedicated to you, my precious Godsend. :* 

Updated: I showed all the flowers to Kukka. She likes lots of the drawings but her most favorite is Day 20:
Kukka: My favorite is Pansy.