Back to Work

Today is the official day after 10 days of holiday

We had a 7am flight. I set my alarm at 4.30am. But my mom was a better alarm. She woke me up at 4.20am

We had a small breakfast then went to the airport. Thankfully, no congestion on the road as well as the checkin desk. The flight was on time too. But we have to wait for our luggages.

I am writing this post while waiting for our luggages.

Its gonna be a busy morning. I need to take Ratih to her school to get her PIN for middle school admission.

Then my institution has a big gathering for all its employee.

Then so it goes. We’re back to work again!


End of Holiday Note

Finally, this holiday must end

As I packed our stuffs

My mind race to the things that I must do

Tomorrow, then the next weeks, within the coming months up to the end of the year

Apprehension starts creeping in

Looks like a pretty challenging time ahead

Both at home and at work

But for now, I just take one little step

That is to set my alarm clock to 4.30AM tomorrow

Final Day of Holiday in Songan

Its our last day in Songan. Having spent the last 7 days here. It has been a quiet week that I spent the days cooking, eating, doing some house chores and catching up with the family.

It is always a welcome break from daily routinity in Surabaya.

But, everytime I came to this village there are always things that intrigue me. The village has a lot of potential. Located right by Lake Batur means that it has beautiful sceries. But the village is in urgent need for major development in many aspects.

First and foremost is the narrow road in the center of the village created a lot of bottleneck. The road is cramped with houses. The already narrow pedestrian walk (if even there is one) is also used as parking space.

Second, the water flowing systems need to be developed. At the moment there is no such system. Therefore during the heavy rainy season the village is flooded.

Third, there is no waste disposal system. People finds their own way to manage their waste. Sometimes they just put their wastes in the bushes or the river. Clearly there needs to be a better way to handle this.

Finally, it would be good to have a fresh market. At the moment, the village has so many shops scattered around the village. But there is no guarantee that we can find what we need from a single shop.

These are all basic needs for continuity of a village. I sincerely wish that some days it will come true ^.^

Restoran Apung by Lake Batur

Whenever in Bali I divide my time between Denpasar, Saba and Songan. I was born and raised in Denpasar, the Capital Province of Bali. So, I would spend most of my time in Denpasar revisiting my childhood places and culinary ๐Ÿ™‚

More recently my family and I also regularly visit ย Villa Sabasanti in Gianyar. We just love to relax by the pool and also explore neighboring areas such as Sukawati or Ubud.

But most of my time in Bali is now spent in Songan ย with my husband’s family. It is a Balinese tradition that when a woman get married then she will joined her husband’s family.

Songan is a very unique place in Bali. Along with Trunyan and Kedisan, Songan is the place where indigineous people of Bali live. The rest of Balinese are said to be descendants of People from the Kingdom of Majapahit in Java.

It was located around lake Batur. The people speak local language, which is a variant of Balinese. Being close to Mount and Lake Batur means that it has cooler temperature compared to other area in Bali. The lake, the mountain and its landscape have been the object of my cameras and blog posts such as this post ๐Ÿ™‚

The people of Songan main activities are farming. We have experienced Shallots harvesting here. Other than that, we also enjoyed the hot springs and fishing.

Last week, we tried to have some culinary experience. Not in Songan, but neighboring areas of Kedisan. I have some colleagues who have visited Restoran Apung (Restoran = Restaurant, Apung = floating) and send me wonderful pictures.

So we came there in the afternoon. The restaurant is part of a bigger complex consisting of a hotel, meeting room and floating dining room.

The floating dining room

They served local food called Nila Nyat Nyat which is basically a fish sauted with local spices. But they also served chinese food such as Egg Fooyong, Cap cay (mixed vegetables). We combined our order, Nila Nyat Nyat with Fish Soup and Egg fooyong with mixed vegetables for the girls.

While waiting we looked around and I got several nice shots of the mountain and lake from a different side.

We then opted to enjoy our food in one of the floating dining room. The food came in no time at all. It was also tasty.ย 

By the time we finished our food it was almost sunset. The golden sun shines perfectly lit the entire area. It was truly stunning.

Perfect spot to enjoy snack and coffee
The sun is perfectly framed
Sunset over Lake Batur

An afternoon at Tegalalang Rice Terrace

Although I grew up in Bali, there were still so many places that I have not seen. Particularly now that I worked and lived in Surabaya. Everytime I have an opportunity, I try to discover new places that I can explore.

Last Sunday while on our way home to Songan after buying some stuffs in Gianyar, we passed Ubud, the most cultural village in Bali. Along the road you can see shops selling various paintings, pottery, and many other ornaments. They were brightly colored and really made the street alive. I imagined one day to just strolled around the street to appreciate all these beautiful hand made crafts.

After Ubud, we stopped by at Tegalalang. It is well known for its rice terrace. Second only to Jatiluwih in Tabanan Regency. It was actually quite a narrow street. At first we just passed the street to find a place to park. But it turns out most of the view has been blocked by restaurants and cafes so you have to buy something in the cafes in exchange for access to the rice terrace.

We then ordered afternoon snacks in Carik Terrace Warung: Banana fritters with ice cream, pancake with vanilla ice cream, young coconut ice and a cup of tea for me.

While waiting for our snacks we got to enjoy the rice terrace. The hill upon was perfectly layered. We were quite lucky as the rice were all golden colored, just about ready to be harvested.

Just like in many other places the restaurant has special swings for guests to take Instagram friendly photos.

Swing above the rice field

After taking some pictures we enjoyed our snacks.

But then my husband want to go to the rice field. We then followed a narrow path that lead us to the field.

It was quite steep so definitely need a proper shoes/sandals.

It was really good to see the rice up close. We met the lady who own the field. She gently reminds us to give some donation. Considering the many tourists that roam her field every day, it was quite natural.

It was much harder for me and my older daughter to climb back up. In fact we were almost breathless by the time we reached back to the turned out to be quite an impactful exercise ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have plenty of time, a day of trekking around the field will be nice.

Re-visiting Lancaster

During my postgraduate study in The University of Nottingham, UK, there were several cities that I frequently visits. At the beginning of my study, I went to Birmingham frequently because my older brother studied and lived there for a while. Then, I met my husband who studied in Lancaster University. So it became quite familiar for me too. In the last year of my stay in England, we lived in Didsbury, Manchester.

Last September, we went back to England for a conference in Cranfield University. After the conference we had two extra days. Among many places that we would like to visit, we decided to take the girls down the memory lane to visit Lancaster.

We took the train from Milton Keynes. It was around 2 hours journey. Along the way, I recounted all the stops including Crewe, Preston then Lancaster.

Crewe train station
Preston train station

I remembered the first time I set foot in this city, I felt so cold. Naturally, it was colder than Nottingham, because it is further north. I got a second surprise when I visited Lancaster University. It was surrounded by farms. Many sheep wondered around the field not far from the Campus.

One corner of Lancaster City Centre

We walked from the station to Royal Hotel and Bar, where we booked a room. We were unsure at first when we entered the place as it looked more like a bar. Turns out that our room were located in the Second floor.

To our delights the room was so lovely. The bed was accessorized in baby blue, Hita’s favorite color.

After putting our luggage we took a cab to Lancaster University. But, as soon as we got off, I saw the buses that we used to take from University to the city center passing by.

We used to take this bus from University to the City

We walked around the places that we used to visit. There were a lot of changes here and there. One of which is the huge TV in the Square.

Lancaster University

We also stopped by at Management School where my husband used to study.

2002 – Just the Two of Us, 2018 – Four of Us

We ended our journey at the Uni by visiting the University accommodation. From there we headed back to the hotel.

The next morning we left Lancaster for Nottingham very early.

Goodbye Lancaster, until next time

It was a short visit down the memory lane. There were many places that I wish to visit but we dont have enough time. We used to dine in a restaurant called Golden Jade. Hopefully we can visit it next time!!



Nottingham Reunion After 14 Years

One of the highlight of my life was the time that I spent in Nottingham. I did my master and Ph.D degrees at Nottingham University from 1999 – 2004.

I have so much fond memories of my time there. The university, the environment and mostly the friends that I made.

So, when I got the chance to visit England again, I made sure to squeeze in a time to visit Nottingham.

I contacted my former supervisor, Prof. Bart MacCarthy about my plan. I used to call him Prof. MacCarthy but he insisted to call him Bart. It took a long time for me to call him that. But the fact that every body else called him Bart, I eventually got used to it. I also contacted Jane and Jo, who were both doing PhD study around the same time as me. Thankfully they were all available. Yayy!!

We travelled to Nottingham from Lancaster by train. We passed through Beeston station before the Nottingham Station.

Beeston train station. I once lived quite close to this station
The all so familiar Nottingham Train Station. Could not count how many times I came to this station over the period of 1999 – 2004

We were picked by Raras, my colleague who was taking her Ph.D at University at that time. Raras and her husband Ghofur took us to their home in Lenton which is quite close to the New Campus.

We only have limited time so we couldnt visit as many places as we would like. So we decided to meet Bart, Jane and Jo at the university. We then walked to The Business School…It was a bright sunny day, just perfect for walking.

We arrived at the uniquely shaped Library. We took a couple of pictures. But, not so long, Jane came. I am so happy to see her again after 14 years. She has not changed a bit. Jane brought an album with our pictures in it. She showed them to Ratih and Hita who were both so excited to finally met her in person. I talked about my friends at Nottingham a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

All of us then headed to Bart’s office. He came down an greeted us. He looked well and cheerful as usual. So good to meet him again. He brought us to his office and we all catch up about the old days.

With Jane and Bart

Bart then treated us for lunch at the latest restaurant at the new campus. It was spaghetti and noodles for us. After lunch we headed back to the office where Bart treated us with a cuppa tea. It reminded me with the old days where we had countless tea breaks in campus. Its quite nostalgic.

After the tea I told Bart that we wanted to see the Old campus. Since Jane offered to take us, we bid our farewell to Bart. I invited him to come and have a reunion with all his former students in Southeast Asia. He seemed quite like the idea. So I am hoping that it will come true, one day ๐Ÿ™‚

When we arrived at the lake in the University Park, it started drizzling. So we decided to wait at the Cafe. Jo then came and joined us. So we had another reunion over hot chocolate and cakes. Jo also brought the girls some chocolates so they were both so happy.

After the cakes we decided to stretch our legs and walked around the lake. It was such a short meeting. But I am delighted to meet them both. I hope there will be another reunion in the future for all of us.

Nottingham University Iconic Trent Building

The Beasts of Nottingham roam freely
The all new Portland Building. Look at that giant screen.