Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflection of 2013 - Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!

It's time for me to contemplate on what's going on in year 2013. Tonight I take my time, alone, to think through what has been going on this past one year.

Overall it's been a blissful and smooth year for me. My families (parents, spouse, son, siblings, in-laws, etc.) have been blessed with a good health all year round, with nothing serious to worry about. I've been blessed with a stable job and stable income, working in a great place with a great working environment, together with great colleagues from every department. Most of them are friendly in nature, respectful to each other, and always try their best to work together as a team.

With my team :)

Although my position has been the same for quite few years, I am happy and content with where I am. There was a change with staff that I worked with. However, it's been a smooth transition and I am grateful to find someone that suits and able to adapt with our working environment.My team and I have developed a deeper love, care, and understanding towards each other that makes office a better place to work at.

~~ Best Friends Forever ~~

I am grateful too for having many great friends in my life. Our friendships have grown older each and every day. It's not how long that matters, but how we keep this friendship along the time by meeting more often, supporting each other, spending time together in different occasions, developing similar hobbies or interests, even traveling together, and so on. I'm keeping in touch as well with many of my best friends who stay overseas. Sometimes we exchange our good news, challenges that we face in life, experience, and so on. Although we are separated by distance, we still connect in our hearts. That what truly matters and what I feel blessed with. For me, friendship is priceless and I treasure every friend that I have :)

Family reunion :)

This year, I am very lucky being able to meet all of my siblings. My second sister and her children, who stays in Hong Kong, finally came visiting us in August. My third sister and her children, who stays in Australia, also came to Singapore in October. My eldest sis and mom also came here from Jakarta. It's our luck and fate for being able to meet and spend time together. In May, I was able to go back to Jakarta and spend a quality and valuable time together with both of my parents. They brought me to short staycation 3 days 2 nights in Garut, a beautiful place rich with natural resources, plantation, and so on. The reflexology massage was inside the package too hehehe... to have a better blood circulation resulting in better health.

I spent the Chinese New Year or Bhutanese Losar with someone I never met before in Kolkata, India. It was a last minute plan that went a bit out of a plan. I supposed to meet with another friend as well, but something happened that made him unable to go there on time. However, I had a great and memorable time, also met up with more new Bhutanese friends who study there. Read my post here.

Bhutanese friends - Glad meeting you all!!! :)

I'd saved my annual leave this year in order to have a three-week long vacation in Bhutan. My friend, Karma, had kindly invited me as a guest so I decided to take a longer time to stay and explore. It's been a while since I took such a long vacation in my life and it's been a wonderful and memorable trip. I've met lots of new friends (mostly related to Riku, like his besties, family members, etc.), and finally met up with those friends that I knew from blogging. Blog has given a new dimension and altered my phase of life. Here, I managed to know lots more Bhutanese bloggers, especially. By reading their posts, their experience, their expression towards their feelings or some other things, it has developed kind of friendship in different ways that I'd never experienced before. It's more connection, rather than just like that. Thank you everyone for reading my blog and encouraging me to write more. My wish is also the same for you - keep reading and keep writing. P.S: Due to space constraints, I was unable to put in all the friends I met on the photo above. But I am thankful and grateful meeting all of you.


There were cousins wedding too this year. Some of them had been waiting for a long time for that moment to come and I am glad that they finally found their other half and very happy with their lives now. Hope all of you are blessed with a good marriage, full of understanding, love and care towards each other.

I'd developed many new habits this year, such as: reading books, writing journal, cycling, yoga, eating more healthy food (less junk food) - more fresh vegetables less rice, drink or eat more fresh fruit / juices, stay more time at home during weekend, spending very little time watching TV and drama, and so on. But there were some bad habit being developed too, such as: spending lots of time online (especially Facebook-ing), concentrating on hand phone while walking, watching too much Running Man to entertain myself, and so on. I tried to de-activate my Facebook for some time but it didn't last long. Hahaha... Nowadays, I am still using it, but try to spend less time on bothering things that 'Not my business' :)

I've developed great interest in learning more in spirituality, also I am eager to find ways in order to have more peace and happiness in my life that I found it crucial for us to have. I've learned many more things that is not academically and certified, or useful for my career life or better opportunity to get a promotion in office. It's more on how to live a life that is short, unpredictable, full of challenges, and so on. It's more on how I could make a change within myself rather than blaming onto the situation, or the environment outside us, for the sadness, anger, disappointment, etc.

I am blessed to have few friends who taught me about wisdom, about life, about many other things to encounter that. I am also blessed to be able to know about Rinpoche, Karmapa Lama, Je Khenpo, and so on. I met with the 70th Je Khenpo of Bhutan end of June this year in Singapore. Hopefully I am able to meet with Karmapa Lama and Dalai Lama in person next round. That has been my dream to meet them. But most importantly, I feel very lucky being able to read their books. They teach Dhamma there that is useful as a guide to lead our life. Because in the end, I am just a normal human being, full of imperfections. I made mistakes in life. I faced challenge and I needed Dhamma to overcome. Like one time, I was suffering for a deep attachment toward something. I found myself in dangerous position if I kept it with me. So, their teaching and my friend's wisdom, have helped me, awaken me, and change my own self to be a better me. I am very glad that I was able to finally overcome it and hopefully I won't fall into the same mistake again. I will try my best to put the barrier over something that I shouldn't do, so that my karma won't re-appear again, even in next life. Let me pay back whatever I owned in my past life and that's it! When it's over, let it over fully.

Thank you SB for everything! I am grateful with my life: with what I have, with where I am living, with whom I am living with, with love and care that I receive, with access of wisdom and learning for compassion that it taught me, and so on. Hopefully I am able to give it back to those who needs it: to help those who are feeling sad, who are lost and no direction in life, who feel attached over something, who can't find peace and happiness, and so on. I will try my best to give it whatever I know to them.

Well, I wish you all the best for the year 2014. Hope you have a wonderful life throughout the year!!! Be happy!! Enjoy your life and live life to the fullest :)

Happy New Year 2014 - Wish all of you life full of peace and happiness, and blessed with good health too!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bhutan trip day 12 - Mon, 16 Sep 13 - Chuzargang Village and Gelephu Hot Spring (Tshachu)

Riku's village in Chuzargang, Gelephu

We woke up at about 8am. The sun had shone brightly in the sky. I had a good sleep at night. Time to wash my face and brush my teeth. Riku brought me to another place. See photo below - below part. It was a shallow pond, water with small fishes swimming there. I asked him, "Here??? I wash my face here???" "Yes," replied him. "Are you sure??? There are fishes swimming around here... inside the water," I still couldn't believe that I had to wash my face and brush my teeth there. He didn't reply me this time. Instead, he started brushing his teeth using the water from the pond.

Life in the village - Gelephu, Bhutan

I had no choice but to follow him. Lolx!! I brushed my teeth there using the water there, also washed my face. Felt bad with the fishes around though... :P Luckily I didn't have to take a bath there last night, I told myself inside my heart hahahahaha......... I mean, I could take a bath in the river, but hopefully no fish around la... I didn't know if there were any fishes in the man-made pond that I used to take a bath the night before though as I forgot to visit the place again and watch it in closer view hahaha...
After refreshed ourselves, we sat outside the house. Riku's mom brought breakfast for us. We had few slices of roti to be eaten with dhall. His big Mom brought two glasses of curd for us to have. Wow, what a luck to have a fresh handmade curd :) Thank both of them for the delicious breakfast! While eating, I watched chickens, chicks, rooster walked around, also the black pig belong to Riku's mom. So cute! Riku was chit-chatting with his two Moms. Life was so simple there.

Paddy fields in Chuzargang, Gelephu

In a while, we had a walk among the paddy fields belong to his brother and his father. I still preferred to walk barefoot, felt the warmth and humid soiled under my feet (also because I was too clumsy to walk using slipper :P). The weather was quite hot until I had to open my umbrella to prevent myself from the sunlight.

Tourist got lost in the middle of rice fields :P

While walking, I could feel the similarity of this place with villages in Indonesia. There were many places like this there, but I was born and grew up in city. Didn't even have friends who stayed in villages and never experienced walking barefoot between paddy fields too. So, this was still my first time experiencing life in village (in my whole life - alamak!!!!). Usually I just watched this view from inside the car. No wonder I was so 'tourist' la! Lolx!

Inside the groceries shop

He brought me to his father's groceries shop. His parents opened a small shop selling basic necessities, like soap, detergent, battery, food (instant noodles, biscuits), drink (soda), some liquor as well like Rockbee, Sonfy, etc. This place would also be their living place during a night time. Although the weather was very hot outside, it felt cool inside. We stayed there for a while.

Riku was trying very hard repairing the watch that he bought previously for his father (the chain part). With a limited tool, he almost gave up. However, with his perseverance, he finally managed to make it right and he put it on his father's hand. Just viewing it, it melted my heart. I could feel how much he loved his dad. He also bought him a new hand phone from Thimphu, replacing the old Nokia phone that had been broken in some parts. This was what "action speak louder than words" in real life and this was how he showed his love to his dear and respected father. Am I right Riku? ;)

Rice mill and maize mill in Gelephu, Bhutan

While he was busy repairing the watch, I took a look how his father used the rice mill machine. It was to separate the husk from the paddy, resulted in a white rice as per shown in the photo above. Interesting!

Local products of Chuzargang, Bhutan

His Mom came back with few pomelo inside the sack. She took one and cut it, then added some salt. His Dad cut the papaya, grown from nearby trees. Both fruits were to quench our thirst in such a hot weather. Next to the shop, there was a hut where they made local pickles using dorle chili and some other vegetables. They also dried some maize, hung it on top.

Oh, did you see me on the photo above? I was using the manual weigh machine owned by them. Hahahaha.... I guess they used it mostly to measure the weight of the rice. The stones seemed heavy. That's why I dared to sit on it. Riku counted my weight correctly. Yalama... He knew how much my weight was then!!! Lolx!!!

Walking through the paddy fields in Chuzargang, Gelephu

We left the shop and walked back home. Last chance to take some photos with beautiful nature of the green paddy fields. Quite lucky though that it wasn't harvested yet, otherwise the color wouldn't be as nice as that :)

Once reached home, we took a rest for a while. Riku immediately lied down on his bed and took a nap under the ceiling fan. He couldn't stand the sunlight and the hot weather. I still couldn't believe it since this was his village where he supposed to spend more of his childhood time here. He defensed and said that most of his time spent in cold area, like Bumthang, Trashigang, and Thimphu, and only went back to village during winter time. Laso la! But still.....

His Mom cooked rice with fried chicken, chicken liver and dhall for lunch. Nyummy!!! The weather was too hot to walk back through the Maokhola river. His father worried that I couldn't take it and decided to call the taxi. At the same time, he could go to town to buy some groceries to replenish his shop.So, three of us plus the taxi driver took taxi back to Gelephu town. Before leaving, I hugged Riku's Mom and shook hands with the rest, thanked them for the hospitality they had given to me. 

On the way back from Chuzargang to Gelephu town

They sent us until we sat inside the taxi. It took us one and half an hour to go to Gelephu town. The taxi went through a rough, stony, sometimes muddy road. But the taxi and the driver didn't give up with the road condition. It went through all the bumpy road and obstacles with a goal to reach the destination safely. We took a look at the view outside, passed by many houses, villagers, chortens, buildings, paddy fields, Maokhola river from afar, etc. We stopped one time for us to take a rest and freshen up ourselves. Once reached the Gelephu town, both of us went down while Riku's father continued his journey.

Riku and I decided to enter one fully air-con restaurant and had two plates of beef Momo there :) Riku was ordering a glass of milk shake. In such hot weather, he and I imagined that what would come was a tall glass filled with blended ice with milk. But what actually came was a cup of hot milk, and it seemed to me that it was made of water and creamer powder. Lolx!!! Riku was disappointed to the max ya!!! Hahaha.... Luckily I didn't order that :P

Gelephu Youth Center

Riku was about to meet his college and also best friend, called Purna. But he wouldn't come so fast. There was still time for us to wait. He decided to visit the Youth Center in Gelephu and met up with Durga Mohara, the person-in-charge there. We took a cab there. Riku was talking with him about their work in Dzongkha while I was sitting down at one side, resting. I was too tired to do anything.

Gelephu Hot Spring (Tshachu), Bhutan

After some time, Purna came. Before going to Gelephu, I was asking Riku if it was possible for us to visit the hot spring in Gelephu. I read it in the book called "Treasures of the thunder dragon: A portrait of Bhutan", written by former Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. She wrote about the hot springs in Bhutan, including the one that locates in Gelephu. Since I visited Gelephu during the trip, why didn't I visit this hot spring too, whenever possible. I was curious how the hot spring looked like. He said, "Yes, of course possible." His friend's wife works at village nearby the area, they called the place Tatopani. That's how Purna came and fetched us. He drove us to the hot spring right away. It was located up in the hill. It was one of the popular hot springs in the country and was believed to cure several diseases, particularly skin diseases, even ulcer, joint pains, and tuberculosis.

Gelephu Tshachu or Hot Spring in Bhutan

So that was how the Gelephu Tshachu looked like. It consisted of few circular places where the temperature of the water in each place was different from one and another. Some was warm, some was hotter, while some was colder. One place could fit about 10 people inside, but could be more during winter time where most people would love to visit. However, there was no proper drinking water facility in the area. As you know, we had to drink water after soaked inside for some time. Luckily we brought our own water. The toilet was not clean and no water inside too, which made us unable to have a proper cleaning. I just changed my cloth and made myself dried using the towel and took a bath later on when reached home. However, it was a very good experience for us. It was Riku's first time soaking inside the hot spring too. He too became a tourist at his own hometown hehehe...

After the hot spring - Me, Sanu, Purna, Sabi, and Sanu's eldest sister

We went up to Tatopani. Near the hanging bridge, Purna's sis-in-law operated a small groceries shop plus eating place. We dropped by there. Riku and I was interested with the hanging bridge. We headed there and walked over the bridge. It was made with metals. Below us was the river streams. The place was surrounded with beautiful natures. There was a chorten too. People turned the big prayer wheel and prayed there.

We went to the shop, sitting down there, resting. We were served with local Gelephu ara and some chang-pa. We chit chatted and waited until Purna's wife came. We then went to their rented house in Luckytar, where we stayed there for a night. There was a place where I had a full dining experience mentioned in this post.

We were very full after the dinner. Riku and I had a walk outside their house, nearby the area. It was a great night, with a lovely weather. We just walked, walked, and walked, let our food digested, before going back into their house. Purna even called Riku, worried that we might get lost since we walked for quite some time. Once reached home, I took a bath and went to sleep. It was a tiring day but lots of good experience. Thank you very much Purna, Sanu, and Sabi for your warm welcome and hospitality. I was really grateful meeting all of you. Hope our friendship remains forever even after we separated. Take care and have a happy life out there!!! Thank you for Riku too for giving me a great experience in Gelephu and made my dreams came true. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Treasure what you have before it's too late...

Life is fragile. It's like a drop of snow falling from the sky. It can melt fast and disappear before we can fully realize its existence.

Four days ago, one of my distant relatives passed away due to liver cancer. He was quite old already, but I just felt sad that people from that generation was slowly disappearing from this world,  leaving their wives alone with numbers of children and grandchildren.

Two days ago, on Christmas Eve, my senior school mate passed away too due to kidney failure. He was 40 years old. I never met him before. I heard about him few years ago. At that time he had already suffered from kidney disease and he had to undergo dialysis almost everyday. Our Indonesian school alumni tried to collect donation from us to help him as it wasn't cheap to pay for his medical bills. Never thought that he left this world so soon. People said he was such a nice and funny guy during school time.

About weeks ago, I saw my friend's photo in Facebook. She was lying down on the bed in hospital surrounded by many of her friends, smiling and happy. I never thought negatively seeing that photo. I thought she just did a minor operation. Then, few days ago, I saw her photo again in Facebook. This time, she was bald,  no hair.  Oh no! Then I knew something bad happened. But her face was shining brightly and smiling in the photo. I sent her message and asking her what happened to her. I also sent message to my sister, asking about her.

She replied me. She said she was having uterine cancer. My sis said she had to undergo few rounds of chemotherapy. I was so sad hearing the news. She used to work with my Mom as shop assistant when I was 6 years old. Now she is in he 40s. But I'm happy to see her full of positivity in facing this sickness. She is Christian and many of her church friends are supporting her all the time. I hope she is full of strength and can recover soon.

See? Life is so unpredictable. Buddhist may think it's a course of karma. Life is impermanence. People come and go from this world is a very normal activity, so does suffering or dukkha.

As my friend said, gloominess and sadness are part and parcel of our lives. It's true. However, this post is intended for us to treasure more about our life. Our health, especially.  It's the greatest wealth and gift that human is ever granted. Usually only when we were sick and feeling pain, then we realized how good and lucky we were for being healthy.

I often remind myself how grateful I am,  being able to walk, run, cycle, as legs are important assets to travel around. When I was getting burn on my shoulders after swimming, I could feel the pain and hot on it. Then I was thinking how about those who suffered from real burn due to accident. They must be suffering million times than this. So I told myself to be grateful that I'm not suffering like that.

Many people take their health for granted. They smoke, drink,  as if it brings no harm into their bodies. They think they will always as strong as a bull.  Nothing will last forever la. Slowly the effect will come. By that time, even though you regret,  nothing can be done already.

Our loved ones too. Usually only after they're gone then we realized how important they were in our life, and so on.

Well you only need the light when it's burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you've been high when you're feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin' home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go

Anyway... Just treasure what you have now and be grateful with it. Take care my friends! Live life to the fullest, be positive always, and choose happiness! Jia you! :)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 ^^

My besties and I wish you a Jolly Merry Christmas 2013 ^^

Few weeks ago, one of my besties, ET, was asking me and PY (another best friend of mine) to meet up for lunch or dinner so that we could meet up and exchange gift before Christmas. Suddenly PY was asking how if we had steamboat at my home during Christmas Eve. PY stayed not far from my house, so it shouldn't be a problem for her to come to my place. However, ET stayed quite far away. Last time, she said she wanted to come to my house to have steamboat, and last minute she 'fang fei ji' (a Chinese phrase which literally means to free the aeroplane. It is commonly used to describe someone being stood up), twice. She said she wasn't feeling well. Hahaha... So this time, when she agreed to it, both PY and I was quite surprised. More over, she was such a party goer, who would usually go for clubbing with her group of friends. Such an important occasion she would like to come to my house?? Of course very much welcome, but we were just worry that she would 'fang fei ji' again... Lolx!!!

At the same time, 24th December was my sister-in-law's birthday. So, I informed both of them, hope they didn't mind if my family members were going to join the dinner. So, the plan was set and we all were very exciting about it. ET would bring sparkling wine and PY would bring Log cake cum Birthday cake. I would prepare the food.

Last minute, I changed the menu. Instead of having steamboat, I told them how if we eat western food? Because it was Christmas Eve. They said, anything would do. So, days before that, I planned what to buy, where to buy, what to cook, etc. I informed my sister-in-laws too about the dinner.

On 24th December, all of us went to work, but only half day. We were allowed to go home after 1pm. I only left office after 1.30pm. I went to shop some clothes and other things first since there were 'Sale' at many shops :D Reached home at 4pm. I took a bath to refresh myself. Right after, prepared Salsa for the Nachos accompaniment.

While doing it, ET came. She helped me up. I asked her to boil the spaghetti. While waiting, she took a look how I did so that she could learn some 'kungfu' able to prepare it herself in the future ^^ She was amazed to see how I prepared the salsa, spaghetti and the sauce. She said, "You have a restaurant standard in preparing your food, very western style." Hahaha... "Thank you for your compliment,"I said. At the same time, I winked to her,"Yeah, my hubby should know how lucky he was to have a wife like me." He was just smiling while deep-frying the Nachos. "She is good in preparing International food, but I am good too in preparing Asian/Chinese food," he replied, didn't want to be outdone! Lolx!

Our Xmas dinner - Nachos w/ dressings, wraps w/ smoked chicken, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Xmas Log Cake, Moscato Sparkling Rose, Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and Martell VSOP with green tea :)

Everyone did their part that evening. PY who came late, was helping up too, preparing the wrap and rolling it. I was so happy that everyone was helping up. Within two hours time, we managed to prepare three dishes for the night.

Wonderful time together :)

We started eating at 7pm. It was a great night. Accompanied with a glass of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, my favorite white wine, continued with Moscato Sparkling Rose - a sweet sparkling rose wine - suitable for women. Hmm.... Nice food, nice wines, great accompanies!!! I enjoyed it very much!

In a while, my sister-in-laws came back from their shopping. It's their turn to have dinner. I prepared the food for them while my hubby entertained my two friends. While they're eating, my friends and I chit chatted and we opened our gifts.

Thank you for the wonderful Xmas presents!!!

While opening our gifts, the two kids (my sis-in-law's sons) couldn't hide their curiosity. They turned their head back and looked at the three never growing up women opening their Christmas presents lolx!!! I got a fleece Doraemon blanket from PY and Forever Friends pen holder from ET. Thank you both of you for your lovely presents!!! Love it!

After that, it was time to cut the Log cake cum Birthday cake :)

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas

My friends and I continued with drinking session until 1am. I was quite in a mood for drinking, a happy mood, since I was accompanied with my two besties and I was at my own home, so didn't have to worry about how to go back home hehehe....

Btw, if you noticed the photos above, some of us wore the same shirts. PY bought a shirt for ET while I bought the shirts for others. I didn't manage to buy the shirts for the other sis-in-law and her families as I was running out of Ringgit after buying all those shirts... Sorry... But I bought them other shirts as replacement. Hope she would understand, not that I didn't love her :)

Overall, it was a great gathering session. It was my first time ba inviting friends for Christmas Eve dinner. Hope they enjoyed it as well ^^ Hope all of you had a great time as well!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Peace Begins with the People You Live With by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Peace by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Despite busy month,  I still spared my time to read books :) Last week when I went to the library, I had a good karma to borrow another book written by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. It seemed that they knew I was looking for a guidance, yearning to know more about Buddha Dharma,  and hopefully be able to practice it into my daily life.

The book title is "Peace". It's a compilation of short teachings. I loved the way he convey the Dharma starting with the first chapter - Peace beings with the people you live with.

Lots of us may have no idea what Dharma is. We often think that practicing Dharma is difficult. Below, I summarized what he wrote at the first chapter. Since most of you may not be able to access this book, I hope he won't get angry if I share what he wrote there here as I find it useful and can be practiced by all of us.

"Take full responsibility for your action" -  Tsem Rinpoche

“Dhamma is the love, harmony and the greater understanding between you and people surround you. It is when there are fewer arguments, and brings people closer together. It always encourages us to love other people, to forgive the wrongs that others have done to us and to forgive ourselves for the wrongs we have done, to live harmoniously with our partners and to create more peace. Then we move on to becoming happy, light, carefree individuals who can bring this light to other people. 

Buddha is not trying to turn everyone into monks and nuns! That may have been the predominant method and practice during Buddha’s time, but the situation and times have now changed. To be a monk or a nun, for those who can and want to do so now, is certainly incredible and beautiful, but the main Buddhist teachings at this time are about creating inner and outer peace, because peace is very important to all of us, within and without. Right now, we may not be able to do anything about things happening on the outside, but we can do something about what is within, here and around us.

We must realize that everything that we have is only for a very, very short time. And the most important thing in our lives is the people who care about us – these are the people who have loyally stayed with us and have been by our side through all our bad habits, bad temper, bad words and anger. It is these people – who have stayed with us over time – who are important. 

We may have had a lot of bad experiences with some of these people but it does not have to remain this way forever – we can change it. And this change begins with very small steps in whatever you are already doing. If you have one less argument with your partner, that is Dharma. If you have one less attachment, that is Dharma. If you control your anger once a day, that is Dharma. If you forgive your partner, that is Dharma. 

Dharma is about harmony, love, care and forgiveness. The most important thing we must learn to do is to let go. Stop looking for money, windfall, for the other person to change, for outer transformation – instead, look inside and transform ourselves immediately. Change yourself, not them. By accepting who they are, it is transformation. 

Gifts do not necessarily have to be material. Sometimes, living peacefully with our partners, friends and family, and not screaming and fighting are a gift in itself. We must not wait for other person to start. We have to start. Your effort to bring harmony to your family has to be continuous.

You know what you are inside. You know your good points and your flaws. Start Dharma practice today by transforming your few flaws. It is to stop being cold, calculative and angry, and stop holding on to the past. It is to begin to forgive, to let go of envy and expectations, and to stop blaming and pointing fingers at others. 

I am not asking you to chant more, or recite more prayers and mantras. I am asking you to practice real life Dharma. The real practice right now, for all of us, is to bring incredible harmony and love into our families and to every single person who comes into contact with us. Start there.

Our ability and motivation to create harmony does not come from some mystical sign, like Buddha appearing to us in a dream. The motivation comes from knowing that life is a very short and we have already made a lot of mistakes. It comes from an awareness of our own shortcomings and knowing that if we let them continue, they will only become stronger and bigger. However, when we face and overcome those shortcomings, and when we are nice to people regardless of whether they are nice to us – that is Dhamma.”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lovely December ^^ - Part 2 - Legoland in Johor, Malaysia

Saturday, 21st December 2013 
Our first visit to Legoland near Christmas time :)

Our block RC (Residents’ Committee) organized a one-day trip to Legoland (Lego-themed theme park). It’s a Malaysia’s first International Theme Park located in Johor, opened in September last year. I heard about it before but had never been there before. So, at 8.40am, we departed from our house's block together with other residents in our neighborhood. There were 40 of us in one bus. Mostly it was family with children, lots of children!!!

Two kids tried to barge in the Legoland :P

Below is how the Legoland Map looks like. See how big the place is!!! When I first looked at it from the outside, I thought the place was so small. I was a bit disheartened and thought not going to visit it again. However, there were lots of places to see and play. We were there from 11am to 5.45pm and not every corner been visited yet.
Legoland Map
Other than the theme park, there are also hotel (will be opened next year) and water park. The water park seemed fun too! Perhaps next time I will go to visit both theme park and water park, and stay for a night or two at its hotel. Let's see!!! ^^

Merry Christmas 2013 Ho Ho Ho :)
Here we were!!! There were lots of things made of Lego everywhere we went. It was amazing how they could build it from the small piece of Lego bricks!!

Lego everywhere!!!

Even built the animals from Lego!! They were cute, weren't they???

Animals made of Lego bricks

My friend and I couldn't stop taking photos. My son was showing his black face since his purpose there was to play. Lolx!!! He was afraid that the sky was going to rain and asked us to walk faster and stop taking photos hahaha... 

Below was the first game we played. There were some quite innovative and interactive games that you couldn't find at other theme park. One of them was this one, called Lego Rescue Academy. This game was specifically meant for a family with 2 kids. Four people to board into one of these 4 vehicles. Two adults were there to push the handle so that the vehicle could walk forward. Once it reached the building which was on fire, they had to immediately go down. 2 adults were to pump the water and 2 kids were to aim the water to the spot which was on fire. 

After shooting enough water, the sign would change, which means the firefighters had done a great job in extinguishing the fire. They had to ride the vehicle back by pushing the handle again, returned back to the original position. Sounds easy, wasn't it?

But, do you know how hard it was to push the thing for the vehicle to move?? It was very tiring la!!! At first, my son was so exciting when he pushed the handle. After a while, he felt so tired and had no energy to push anymore. Yalama!! We were sweating and our hands stiffed after playing this game. 

Only after it's over, I then recalled on what my eldest sis told us during chatting. That time my 3rd sis was complaining that her son made her to have a ride on a duck pedal boat when they visited Garut. Her son would happily sit next to her and enjoy the ride while my sis had to pedal the boat by herself. After that, my eldest sis told us that my 3rd sister's son made them (she and my brother) to exercise too (this time was hand exercise) when playing the fire extinguishing game in Legoland. Then I understood why she said so. But it was too late for me as we had finished playing the game. Lolx!!! No more next time on this game, I guess!! Not for me, at least! Hahaha.... :P

See how tired we were!!! Lolx!

Another game was called Kid Power Tower. Here, two persons to play together as a team. I played with my son. We had to pull the cable up in order to let our seat going up. After reaching the top, we could choose to stay there or to go down. If you chose to go down, you had to go up again, whatever you wanted. See photo below (right below part)

Many different games to play!!!
This park was marketed to families with younger children (11 years and below). However, there were other games that adult could play too, such as Dino Island. See photo on top (left top part). 

Before playing, my son and my friend had already warned me that we would get wet. We could choose not to get wet by either buy their poncho (raincoat) or don't play at all hahaha... I didn't want to spend unnecessary money (like buying poncho) just to play this game. So I told my son, "Don't worry la, it's only wet a bit. Why you were so scared of water??" He had no choice but to follow my words.

My friend was waiting for us as she didn't dare playing the games like this. That day it was crowded in the park, but luckily we didn't have to queue for so long at each ride. We could store our bags at the provided rack before we got into our boat. Before going up, like usual, the boat would bring us around and let us see many Dinosaurs made by Lego bricks. It was quite nice, but the journey wasn't long and we went down. I had no time to get scary at all as what I could feel was a BIG splash on my face and body!!! Both of us was wet like hell!!! Hahahaha......... 

My son looked like after swimming... Lolx!!!

My son was wet from top to below. Both of us didn't bring any cloth from home. At the end, I had to buy a t-shirt for him as I didn't want him to catch a cold and the cost was much more than the price of two ponchos hahahaha.... :D Seriously, I had played this game in many different them parks, everywhere in the world, but this one was built really to get people wet like hell ya!!! You could see also in the photo, the rest of the passengers were all wet too!!!

After this ride, we watched the 4D movie at Lego Studio. We watched Lego Racers 2. We wore 4D glasses inside. The side effects, like the wind and snow, were really good. I really felt like flying or in mountainous snow. It blew my pants dry but I was freezing cold since my cloth was still wet. Yalama, I thought I would get sick immediately, luckily I didn't. After the show, I immediately went to toilet and made my cloth dried-out.

Lego bricks inside the Pizza Mania

We had our lunch after the show. We order family pizza combo (1 big Aloha Chicken pizza w/ 4 soups - mushroom or broccoli - and 4 soft drinks), a la carte pasta (Spaghetti Bolognaise) and a set of chicken wings at Pizza Mania. Nyummy!!! We ate until very full!!! Ready to continue our day!!!

We played a big roller-coaster games called The Dragon inside the Lego Kingdom. It was fun! But when we're about to reach the station back, there was some technical problem. It made us grilled under the heat of the sun for some time. OH, I thought I was dying by the heat from the sun and kept praying hard for a miracle that we could enter the station soon. I think there was some effect on my body due to the sun :( 

At Lego Kingdoms

The sun was suddenly so hot. I let my son playing the smaller roller-coaster called Dragon's Apprentice and The Dragon again while my friend and I was resting under the roof, sometimes browsing inside their store, looking around for some souvenir to bring back home. 

There was another fun game not to be missed, called Project X. It was like riding a car, but more like roller-coaster. My son played twice while I played once.

Project X at Legoland

While walking, I took picture of everything that related to Lego. Body dryer, dust bin, decals on the glass windows, Coca Cola advertisement, etc.

Once done, we went to visit Miniland. There were lots of building made by Lego - resembling well-known places from Asia. Check out the photos below.

Singapore, Malaysia, China, Brunai, Vietnam, etc.

Cities mostly in Malaysia

Many different places from Asia

Cruise, ports, airport, etc.

It was beautiful, wasn't it? All was mostly made of Lego. Sometimes I wondered how creative the person who built all that. They deserved a well-praise la! Well done!

We still had about an hour time and we used it for shopping :) My friend and I bought some stuffs back home. Oh ya, btw, there were lots of stalls for playing games inside the theme park. They offered an attractive prize to bring back home like big Minion dolls, big panda dolls, big cow dolls, etc. They were all so cute :)

Three of us together in front of The Big Shop
We gathered with others at 5.45pm and departed back to Singapore at 6pm. Reached at 8pm. We had our dinner at coffee shop nearby my house and finally returned back home. It was a wonderful trip!!! We had a great time together!!! Thank you for the good karma given to all of us :)

Lovely December ^^ - Part 1

December is my favorite month of the year :) Although it’s not me  – usually it’s my son who is having the holiday – but I can feel the atmosphere and mood it brings hehe… 

Baobei 11th year Birthday - 12 December 2013

Starting with celebrating my son’s Birthday on Thursday, 12th December 2013. As per previous blog post, it went smoothly. My son was satisfied and happy with his favorite Korean food and his birthday’s presents adding his precious collections – what a lucky chap he is!!!

Friday, 13th December 2013. Last Friday 13th of the year. It's time for year-end Karaoke with my colleagues. I asked other colleagues to join us, also from our department, but they had already arranged their own. We couldn't join them as there would be too many people, which meant less chance for us to sing as we were only allowed to stay for three hours in one session. Therefore, we organized it and went on our own at a different place because we had to become a member in order to be able to book that place, which no one from our side was the member.

Year-end Karaoke session - 13 December 2013 :)

We went to Party World at NEX Serangoon, right after finished our work. My ex-colleague joined us and she came late due to unfinished work. At the end, it was only 4 of us. It was only few of us so that we could sing more songs hehehe.... Don't know why, this time my song lists were mostly slow ones and some were sad ones. Overall, it was good. We had a great times. We ordered 5 bottles of Carlsberg and 5 bottles of Corona. I drank 3 bottles, enough to make me sleepyzzz.... hehehe... We went home after that :)

Sunday, 15th December 2013, my son and I joined the X’mas BBQ gathering party organized by my colleagues in one of my colleague’s staying place in Bishan. There were 7 of us. Some brought their spouse, I brought my son, and the person who stays there would automatically invite her family members. We went there before for our Finance BBQ party last year, but this time, my friend managed to book the BBQ pit where there was roof on top. Other than that, the grilled machine was using electricity – not charcoal. There were chillers, oven, washing area, dining tables, and outdoor round chair made of rattan provided. Wow!! What a wonderful place! It located near swimming pools too.

Few of us met up at the nearest MRT station and went to buy some items required at the supermarket. After that we took bus there. At that time, the weather was quite hot. Once we reached the place, my son immediately went to the swimming pool and enjoyed his relaxing time there. I helped up preparing the things for the BBQ. About half an hour later, suddenly heavy rain poured the earth. Luckily there was a roof. We didn’t get wet. Only that many times the loud thunder and lightning scared us. Hahaha…. 

Christmas BBQ Party @Clover by The Park - 15 December 2013

While raining, we started barbecuing. Different type of sausages, enoki/golden mushroom wrapped with bacon, pork/chicken satay, otak otak (made of fish paste), and marinated chicken wings were grilled. Hhhmmm… It smelled nice. We cooked first for the children to eat. After that, while barbecuing, me and my friend were eating it too. Hehehe… 

My friend prepared the sangria – fruit based wine punch – made of red wines, green/red apples, and soda mixed with ice cubes. Perfect for the raining day as it warmed our bodies up ^^ She also prepared Sherpherd Pie – meat pie (beef) with a crust of mashed potato. My son loved it so much and ate it for few rounds hahaha… She also mixed tortilla chips with some minced beef and mozzarella cheese then put it into the oven until the cheese melted. Nyummy!!! I bet your saliva drops while reading this hehehe… just kidding ;)

We also barbecued the corn (brushed with butter and honey) and sweet potatoes. In the evening, another colleague came and his wife made Macaroni & Cheese for us. As the Sangria finished, I started preparing ‘Malibu Ananas’ – mixed of Malibu liquor (Caribbean rum with coconut flavor) and pineapple juice. It’s been always my favorite mixes since my school time until my schoolmate called me “Ms. Malibu” :P It’s a refreshing, not a heavy drink, suitable for women. 

We ate, chit chatted, listened to the Christmas songs, enjoyed the cool air, drank, laughed, and so on. For desserts, we had beautiful crunchy watermelon (chosen by my guy colleague who phoned his Mom to ask how to choose a nice and sweet watermelon :D), cut by my friend’s Mom into this kind of beautiful shape.

Not only beautiful but also sweet and crunchy!!! ^^

We also had Bubur Chacha – it’s a dessert made of coconut milk with taro/yam, sweet potatoes, and tapioca pearls. Oh, we were all very full!!! Not forgetting Vanilla ice cream with hazelnut as our last touch! It was a wonderful and enjoyable evening and I was glad being able to bring my son there to join in my activity again and again; let him socialize, mix around, learn something new, and not forget feasting the food together. He has joined in most of my activities with my friends. Lucky him ba! ^^ We stayed until 10pm then went back home as I need to work the next day. 

Tuesday, 17th December 2013. While Bhutanese celebrated their National Day all across the country and even outside the country – Happy belated 106th National Day to all of you! – I also took my last childcare leave from the office. 

My hubby, son, my brother’s daughter and I went to Adventure Cove Waterpark at Sentosa Island. This place was opened last year in November. I didn’t even know about it until my brother and his families went there few months ago. This year, I really didn’t touch the swimming pool at all. One of the Running Man series had allured me to visit into this place hahaha… I was craving of water park adventure lah and since this place provided the entertainment, I decided to visit it, at least once. Apart from my own interest, I also wanted them to have fun. 

Adventure Cove Waterpark - 17 December 2013

Whole day I’d been praying so that we could have a nice weather during that day. It seemed that my pray and wish came true. It wasn’t that hot (the day before that the weather was very hot and burning!), and it wasn’t rain at all too! Fiuhhhh….. You know, I’d been avoiding swimming since I couldn’t stay under the sun. Therefore, the weather that day had made my day :) 

Once we entered, we changed our outfit and applied sun block cream all over the body. My hubby went buying goggles. Ours had broken since it was stored and wasn’t used for so long. When coming back, he forgot to apply the lotion. Poor hubby!!! Then we put our belonging into the rented locker. The locker was very expensive. Medium size one costs $10. Since we seldom used it, we didn’t know that once we locked it, we still could re-open it without additional charge. We put our things in, except the glasses that my hubby and son wore. Hahahaha….. We looked each other after we locked the locker. At the end, we just put both glasses on top of the locker, of course, with a risk of getting lost or broken. Luckily Singapore is considered a safe country with majority of its people being honest in their behavior. Lots of people put their slippers on top of the locker cabinet too. Also, in front of each ride, they had open round-shape rack provided for us to store our goggles as we weren’t allowed to bring it into the ride. So far, our four goggles were safe at all times. Felt grateful living in this country! :)

We started our day by dipping ourselves into Adventure River. We made half round following the water flow and went up. We saw the Rainbow Reef where people could snorkel to view the beautiful and colorful tropical fish. The place is 2.9 meter depth and you must be able to swim in order to experience snorkeling there. We didn’t try it. The queue was quite long and without doing that, we still could see the beautiful fishes from the glass mirror from the outside.

We chose to play the rides :) We started it with Riptide Rocket. We had to queue for some time before our turn came. Two persons sat in the tube. We had to go up using the elevator (sitting on the tube), then we started our rollercoaster ride on water in a high speed, plunging us up and down, twisting us here and there before coming out from inside the pipe. It was fun, but we felt the journey was too short for half an hour queue :P

Once we went out, the waves came on the Bluwater Bay. We dipped in ourselves there, jumping and playing with the waves. Ohhh… it felt so good!!! :) Everyone enjoyed it so much! Once it’s over, we continued with other rides: Pipeline Plunge, Twidal Twister, Whirlpool Washout, Spiral Washout, and Dueling Racer. Everyone was having great and fun time.

After that, we went to Adventure River again. This time we saw the fishes on top of us and from the glass window next to the river. We had so much fun watching the different kind of stingrays and tropical colorful fishes. 

We played most of the rides there and went back to Bluwater Bay again to enjoy the waves over and over again hehehe… We reached there at about 10.15am and went out at about 4pm. We spent almost six hours there until I got hungry. They had a restaurant there, but we felt like eating outside. Therefore, we went to Bugis to look for the chicken rice plus steamboat restaurant. But it was closed :( We ended up eating steamboat plus grill near the Bugis Junction.

Steamboat and BBQ at Bugis :)

All of us were soooo hungry. We immediately put in the ingredients into the pot and cooked some meat and prawns on top of the transparent glass. We ate until very full. Once finished, we had a walk in Bugis Junction (shopping center) and went back home at around 8pm. I had an early sleep since I had to work the next day. 

To be continued at part 2 here
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