Chicago Architecture

Once upon a time in 2012, I got an opportunity to visit Chicago as part of International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). During our free time we were taken for a Chicago Architectural Boat Tour, which enables us to admire Chicago’s architecture.

We set off from Navy Pier, which offer great view.

And here are the building and architecture pictures. The tour guide explained each famous building and land mark, but I was too busy taking pictures so I did not remember any of it.

All these pictures were taken with my old Sony Cybershot digital camera. Looking at the pictures again, the neck pain that I got after looking up to take them is all worth it.


Why Change is So Hard?

As a human we don’t live in an empty space…We live in our environment. Unless you are an exceptional human being, most people tend to conform with their environment. It does not mean that we are happy with it. Most of us just don’t wanna face the hardship of changing. We fear the unknown. Its a natural trait.

Last year I had an opportunity to teach Change Management course. One of the book that I used is  Cadle and Yates. One of the things that they proposed is a Change Equation that goes as follow:

D x V x F must be greater than R

This equation means that for a change to happen the Dissatisfaction (D) of current situation times the Vision of what could happen (V) times the achievable First Step (F) must be greater than the Resistance to Change.

Lets take an example. Say that you are unhappy with your current job. But, you would not change to another job if the level of your dissatisfaction of your current situation is great enough, or if you don’t have ideas whether other jobs would be better (more beneficial) for you, or if you do not think that the first steps on the way to get the new job is easy enough.

Now, that is only you against yourself. Consider if the change involve several people, an entire organization or even an entire country. We can now see, why Change in a certain environment would be difficult. Some people may be dissatisfied with the current situation, but then again some might not. Some may have different visions. Finally, some may willing to go the extra miles to get to their vision. Some may not.

But should we do nothing?

One of my lecturer once said, you probably cannot build an entire wall by yourself. But you can certainly help by putting one brick.

I guess, if we cannot change others, at least we can change ourselves. For the better of course.

Stay positive!


Hita’s First Day at Elementary School

My second girl, Hita, reached an important milestone today.

She is now a first grader at Elementary School.

We put her in kindergarten a little too early… at that time whenever her big sister went to her kindergarten she cried and wanted to join her. She would watched and hung around her kindergarten so we decided to enrol her…But, it turned out she just wanted to be with her sister and not really joined the activities :(( She did not socialise much with other kids too. There were times when she just did not want to turn up to her playgroup. It really was a bad decision on our parts. Thankfully, with the support from her teachers, she gradually grew…She is naturally shy to others. Being a the youngest in the family, she also had a penchant of having things her ways. But now, she listens to others more, trying hard to understand and a lot more responsible.

Last year, Hita was 6 years old when the kindergarten year finish…Some of her friends opted to ”graduate” from their kindergarten and enrolled straight to elementary school at the age of six (and over). But, her dad and I chose to let her stayed another year in kindergarten. First and foremost because we want her to be ready to go to elementary school. There are also other consideration. Hita wants to go to public school that her sister went. Public school in Indonesia has a strict rule that children must be at the age of 7. Children at the age of 7 or more will be guaranteed a place in a public school. Younger children will be ranked according to their home location (within the same neighbourhood and district with the school) and their age.

She started her day very early. I told her that I would wake her up at 6 because she should be by her school at 6.30. But, when I woke up at 5.30 she jumped right off her bed. I asked why she woke up very early. She said that she was so excited that she could not sleep well 🙂

Then, she ate her breakfast and get ready. I can see that she was really excited. Ratih joined me to take Hita to school. She was assigned to class 1B with 31 other students. As she entered the class, she opted to sit alone in the back. But her teacher was quick to react. She asked her to sit with another girl.

Ratih and I watched on from outside of the class as her teacher started the lesson with introduction. The teacher called out each student and asked what the child’s nickname. Then comes Hita’s turn.

Teacher: Kadek Erahita

Hita: shyly raised her hand…

Teacher: what is your nickname

Hita: Hita


Hita: started spelling her name…H..I…T…A

good girl 🙂

Then, we left her at school.

I came back at 9 to pick her up. Her face beamed as she saw me…As I took her hand, she proudly mentioned that she made 1 new friend. All the way home in the car she could not stop talking about her first day.

Congratulations on reaching this important milestone Hita. Hope you will enjoy your school years!

Harvesting Shallots in Songan

Being born and bred in bustling city like Surabaya, spending the holiday with their grandparents in Songan, Kintamani, Bali offers a much needed break for my children. Different weather and different environment gave them a lot of opportunities to learn and experience new things.

This time around they got a chance to join their grandparents to harvest shallots in their field. Shallots are an important produce for Balinese and Indonesian in general as it is used as seasoning in almost every dish. In Bali, Shallots are also eaten raw as condiment.

My two girls are really excited to harvest the shallots. Its not that hard to pull them from the ground. The difficult part is actually judging whether the shallots should be pull at that time or it should be left to grow for a couple more days. But their dad and grandparents pointed out which part to pull. So in the end they did really well.

Gunung Kawi Historic Site

One of the most important historic sites in Bali is Gunung Kawi. I visited it several times when I was a kid. Once with my school friends during a field trip and other times with my family. Recently, during our stay in Sabasanti Villa, I went with my husband and two girls. It was actually the same day as former US President, Barack Obama visit! We were two hours early 😦

I have never been very good at history lesson. I almost forgot all the history of Gunung Kawi. I have to Google it to find this information.

Gunung Kawi is located in Tampak Siring, Gianyar. Its a complex consisting of temples built in 11th Century by King Udayana. King Udayana played an important role in Balinese history. He married Mahendradatta and has three children: Airlanga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata. Mahendradatta came from Medang kingdom in East Java. Airlangga eventually left to Java and became the King of Kahuripan, an area known now as Sidoarjo Regency. Airlangga has a large territory all the way to Central Java. The capital of the kingdom was eventually moved from Kahuripan to Daha (now Kediri regency).

There are many many steps to get to the complex. Going down is not hard, but climbing back the steps may take a lot of effort so make sure you are in good shape!

Here are some of the pictures from our visit.

The Color of Songan

We started the new year with a several day breaks to our home in Songan, Kintamani. We timed it perfectly so we can attend the spiritual activity, Odalan, in one of the temples. Of course while at home, we always use it also to have a walk to our garden by the lake.

Here are some of the pictures 🙂

Skipton Wild Weekend

One of the biggest additional advantage that I obtained during my study in the UK is the opportunity to have many many new friends.

I was especially luck because when I did my Ph.D, my supervisor has several research assistants, Jo, Jane and Philip, who were also pursuing a Ph.D degree. They became my colleagues and friends. Since most of them are British, they also introduced me to a lot of British culture and tradition. Each of them also invited me to their hometown.

One particular adventure was when Jo invited us (my husband and I and Jane and several other friends) for a weekend at her parents house in Skipton. It is a town in Yorkshire. It turned out to be one of the best getaway that I have ever had.

It has been a long time a go, so I might not recalled every single detail. I arrived at Jo’s parent house feeling really excited because the town and the house feel like it has been taken out from a postcard. A typical British country side with steep and meandered road. That night, Jo’s parent have prepared dinner for us. We had a nice talk before went to bed. It was really cold…brrrr…

The next day, our adventure began. Jo took us on a very British culture…Walking to the town center. It was quite cold, but also very bright. A lovely winter day.

As we arrived to the town, we went to Skipton castle. Then, I think we took a break at one of the local cafe by the canal. I ordered a really sweet chocolate milkshake 😀

Then we head back to the house…later on we drove to the border of Skipton and Lancaster for a dinner at an Indian restaurant. It was a really good meal. On our way back, we stopped to watch the stars.

The next morning, Jo took us to a river and a dam. I remembered we park our car in a restaurant that also have a barn and farm. So I got to be really close to the Lambs…

It certainly was a great “wild” weekend 🙂