R and I went to Palm Springs for our anniversary trip a couple months back, and it was super fun! Palm Springs is a desert town located about 2 hours away from where I live now. I heard that it is famous as a tourist destination as well as a retirement place for the rich.
We left for Palm Springs on Sunday night, stopped by Morongo Valley Casino for a dinner buffet (YES we love to eat dinner buffet!). The buffet is not bad at all although the food selection is not as diverse as the ones in Las Vegas. After buffet, we continued our drive to Palm Springs, checked in to our motel and rest for the night.
We stayed in a newly renovated motel called Infusion Beach Club. It is located not too far from the city center, but Palm Springs is a small town anyway so there’s nothing too far here. Last time we checked the motel was still in soft launch phase, so there were a couple of works being done, but I could tell that it’s going to be a great motel once everything is finished.
After a good rest, we started the day early because we wanted to catch the sunrise at Joshua Tree. The national park is located about an hour drive from Palm Springs, so we left at around 6, arrived just in time before sunrise and managed to see the beautiful view within the park. It was magical! We didn’t explore the park much (it’s a BIG park), just drove by and stopped here and there to enjoy the scenery, but we still managed to see a lot of out-of-this-world scenery. Here are some pictures 🙂
Before going back to the motel, we stopped by Crossroads Cafe, a small diner in Joshua Tree’s main street. It was one of the best breakfast that we have had, R even said he would make the drive from Orange County just to get the breakfast 😀
We had about an hour and a half to kill before our check out time so we decided to enjoy the pool in our motel, there was barely anybody besides us so it felt like swimming in our own private pool hehe. Although tiny, the pool area had this Bali-style beach club so there’s nothing to complain about!
After checking out, we decided to explore Palm Spring’s downtown and stopped by a couple of cool spots. One of my favorite spots is Ace Hotel Palm Springs, where we had THE BEST Nutella cheesecake at their King’s Highway Diner.
Our next stop was Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Now, this is the coolest spot. The tramway gets you to Mount St. Jacinto Peak from the desert with just a 10-minute ride. It cost $25.95 per person, which I think worth every penny. The view at the top is really pretty – you can also hike and even camp at the peak. Enjoy the pictures 🙂
We went back after sunset and drove home. It took us about 1,5 hours to get home – it was a long day but very memorable. I really recommend Palm Springs if you want to have a quick getaway from Los Angeles or Orange County. Now, tell me, when’s the last time you had a quick getaway?
Today’s December 31st and here I am sitting down comfortably at the house. I don’t have any plans for tonight’s New Years Eve but I will be spending it with family 🙂 I always miss my family in Indonesia more during the holiday season but I’m hopeful that we can be reunited soon!
I just decided that hope is my word for 2019. I am hopeful and holding on to hope. Things have not been as good as I wanted in 2018, but only today I got to be reminded of hope. There is really no reason for me not to be hopeful and keep my faith because all this time God has been so good to me and my family. Anyway, here are my 2018 in retrospect.
January – We had a car accident the second day I arrived in the US and we had to let go of our car 😦 so, we made our first big purchase as a family this month! There were also other firsts this month for me… I re-learned how to cook (I was able to cook during my UK days but it was pretty much a grad student survival cooking :P), learned to make my own latte and smoothies, and started to pay attention to skincare! I also went to Passion Pit concert which was great. Unfortunately, this was also the month where I lost my aunt due to her illness 😦 may she RIP.
February – This month was quite busy for us – we had our cousin visiting from Indonesia for their honeymoon, and at the same time we also had a mini staycation as a belated wedding gift from our family. This month was the month I started to get to know my neighbourhood better – I learned to navigate myself around and get used the public transportation system. February was the coldest month, but the family made it warmer.
March – I realised that I have started to gain weight since I moved here, so I started to exercise more regularly. I joined a local gym to take PoundFit classes and I loved it! However, I stopped going after a month because they change their class schedule and it does not fit mine I should stop making excuses and go back to this routine next year. On the other hand, we went exploring Los Angeles whenever we got a chance, playing tourist in the big city. I went to museums, gardens, and the beach! I started to fall in love with the city ❤
April – This month started with a HAIM concert with R. I also became a member of the public library in my city and started to read regularly again. I started a Goodreads challenge – 12 books for 2018, knowing I might fail it like past years. But turns out I was wrong! Not only did I manage to finish it, but I also managed to read 22 books in total this year! YAY me! Perhaps I should write a “books of 2018” post sometime this week… hmmm.
May – One of my bridesmaids / best friend came to visit this month and we had so much fun together. I went to stay with her for a couple of nights and it was so refreshing to be able to get a girls getaway like the old days. Another thing that made this month special was Justin Timberlake’s concert! It was a dream come true since I have been a fan since his NSYNC days 😛 We also started the month of Ramadan this month and it was my first time fasting in the US.
June – My brother and sister in law along with aunts and cousins from R’s side came to visit for Eid, making my first Eid here in the US so merry and warm. I missed my family in Indonesia but I am thankful for new experiences this month. With the days that got warmer and longer, we also spent a lot of time at the beach which I had no complaints about. I guess this is one of the perks of living in Southern California!
July – It’s R’s birthday month and went on a couple mini trips. First, we went to Las Vegas for a weekend with our family, then we went to San Francisco to meet my grad school friend who was visiting from New Zealand! It was so good to reunite with her after 8+ years 🙂
August – Summer is officially here and I think I spent most of it at the beach… it’s really a privilege to live close to the beach! I also scored a last minute ticket to Sam Smith’s concert at Staples Centre for only $20. Woohoow! And…. followed by a Smashing Pumpkins’ concert the next day with R. I can say that summer was a blast and I have no complaints.
September – Fall was around the corner and this month I was disappointed for the first time. Despite the delayed good news, I managed to go to my first football game to watch Rams vs Cardinals. Football is a big thing here and although I still don’t understand the game, I enjoyed the atmosphere of watching a live game.
October – I became the coordinator of our friends’ wedding here. It was an Indonesian – American wedding because although both bride and groom are Indonesian, the wedding culture was a mix between both countries. Through this experience, I met new friends and also relive my love of coordinating and organizing things – something that I haven’t done since I am currently taking a break from the corporate world. Ooooh how I can’t wait to go back! 😉 On the downside, I caught a pretty bad cold and it made me very homesick at the same time. It took me a week to recover, can you imagine?!
November – It’s our anniversary month and it’s our first! Yay! how time flies when you are having fun 🙂 we went to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park for our anniversary and we had a good time. I’ll surely post the story here sometime later in the new year. I also celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time with R and our cousins. It’s also the end of #ChristasFirstYear – a project I started on Instagram when I first arrived in the US. Unfortunately this month I also experienced several anxiety issues which I am currently dealing with.
December – My birthday month! Since I finished #ChristasFirstYear project, I took a little break from social media and also started to practice mindfulness more regularly. I found it helpful to tackle my anxiety issues and I started to have a better understanding and awareness of my feelings. I am yet to receive the good news that I have been waiting for, but I am patient and hopeful.
So there goes my 2018. It has been an eventful year – full of firsts but it is also a challenging one. Adjusting to life in a new country, becoming a wife, dealing with uncertainty… but I am certain that with hardship comes ease and that I am so blessed. ❤
Happy New Year 2019 to you! May you have a blessed year ahead. Thanks for reading and see you in the new year 🙂
Christmas is undoubtedly my favourite holiday of the year for obvious reasons (pssst… it’s my birthday! :P). It will be my second Christmas in the US, but only this year I am starting to notice more things about Christmas here because last year’s Christmas was like a whirlwind – I was too busy with moving, adjusting, and everything.
Although I don’t celebrate Christmas religiously, I have been celebrating Christmas all my life. To me, Christmas used to mean family gatherings, which means food, presents, and more food. Here in the US, I began to view Christmas a little bit differently.
As I am celebrating my second Christmas in the US, I can see how everyone is excited about Christmas. People would start to decorate their houses with lights as soon as Thanksgiving passed. Speaking of decorations, they are no joke!
Yes, people would decorate their houses like that. Another common thing that people here like to do as Christmas is approaching is buying gifts. I am familiar with gift exchange as I used to do that with my family back in Indonesia, but it seems like Americans give gifts to everyone. Colleagues, friends, family, even the mail lady or your newspaper boy! It’s similar to how THR is during Lebaran in Indonesia, but instead of giving money, it is more common to give a present here.
There is a unique gifting tradition in the US that I just discovered called White Elephant. It is a game where a group of people exchange gifts with one another. However, there is a special rule which lets people steal your gift. So what happens is you gather with your group and each person bring a present that they will swap with each other. Everybody has to open their present in public and the next person has the option to steal the previous person’s present or open a new present. It’s interesting and can be a great party activity especially if played with people that you are close with!
All in all, I can see now that Christmas here means more than just food and extra holiday. It means celebrating the presence of the loved ones in your life – and because Americans like small talks a lot, Christmas can also mean extending your good wishes and positive vibes to everyone that you meet on the street. It can be as simple as saying “Happy Holidays” to the cashier lady in the grocery store or listening to your barista’s holiday plans while she was making your latte 🙂
I hope you are surrounded by warmth and love this holiday season, wherever you are. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Sunny California ❤
This post is the first out of a blogging series titled “Stories from the West” which I am doing with Dixie of Her Little Journal blog. We will be writing 1 post each month with the same topic, which revolves around living abroad and settling down in a new country. We are both from Indonesia and we moved to a new country around the same time. She now lives in West of Sweden while I am here in the West Coast of USA, hence the project title 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy our stories, and don’t forget to read Dixie’s here.
Sudah hampir satu tahun saya menikah dengan R. Nggak berasa banget ya. Perasaan baru kemarin kami saya sibuk ngurusi acara pernikahan dan siap2 pindah. Eh nggak berasa, udah mau satu tahun aja usia pernikahan kami. Ya, satu tahun memang seakan tidak ada artinya dibanding pasangan2 lain yang sudah lebih senior. Tapi bagi saya cukup spesial, karena saya masih suka nggak percaya kalau kini kami telah menikah, apalagi setelah menjalani LDR bertahun – tahun.
Kalau ngomongin pernikahan kami selama setahun ini dalam satu kata, rasanya saya akan pilih kata seru. Seru soalnya kami banyak mengalami dan menjalani kejadian2 yang menarik. Beberapa highlight nya akan saya ceritain disini.
Yang pertama soal adaptasi. Semua orang bilang namanya nikah itu 180 derajat sama pacaran. Dari dulu saya udah kebayang, tapi namanya nikah setelah LDR itu lebih seru lagi, soalnya kami tadinya hanya pernah menghabiskan waktu bersama selama kurang dari 1 bulan selama 5 tahun kenal. Sisanya jarak jauh semua. Nah pas udah nikah, saya pindah, kami tinggal bersama, kami jadi hampir 24 jam bareng terus sampai bosan 😛 . Kami harus adaptasi terhadap banyak hal – beberapa hal sudah saya bahas di post ini, dan kami juga harus adaptasi terhadap hal – hal yang lebih “serius” misalnya cara mengatur keuangan, cara menjalani hidup, sampai cara komunikasi satu sama lain. Iya, semuanya udah dibahas sebelum nikah, tapi tetap aja begitu dijalani tetap kaget dan perlu adaptasi! 😀
Terus yang kedua adalah soal momen2 pertama kali yang kami lalui bersama. Namanya juga tahun pertama, apalagi tadinya kan kami jauh2an, jadi banyakkk banget momen pertama yang kami lalui di tahun pertama pernikahan ini. Mulai dari pertama kali mengunjungi tempat baru, pertama kali road trip di Amerika, pertama kali naik pesawat domestik di Amerika, pertama kali beli barang2 untuk rumah tangga, pertama kali masak bareng, pertama kali sakit, pertama kali A B C….. termasuk pertama kali berantem hebat! Hahahaha. Ya coba ngaku ada nggak yang di tahun pertama pernikahannya nggak berantem hebat? :))))))))
Pokoknya, menurut saya tahun pertama pernikahan itu seru. Seru karena kami akhirnya bisa bersama – sama setelah bertahun – tahun LDR, seru karena kami bisa menghadapi berbagai masalah bersama, dan juga seru membahas hal – hal dan mimpi – mimpi yang akan kami capai bersama di tahun2 berikutnya. Iya, seperti pasangan2 muda lainnya, kami punya banyak mimpi dan rencana. Semoga rencana2 kami di-ridhoi Tuhan dan dibukakan jalannya. Amiin.
Untuk merayakan anniversary pertama ini, minggu depan kami akan liburan singkat. Nggak lama2, 1 malam aja, dan nggak jauh2, hanya 2 jam perjalanan ke national park dekat rumah. Nggak sabar, karena saya belum pernah kesana dan merasa udah lama nggak liburan 😛 nanti saya cerita2 lagi yaa pas pulang… 🙂
Hari Minggu kemarin saya diajak si R nonton pertandingan NFL. Buat R yang emang hobi nonton pertandingan olahraga, waktu itu bukan pertama kalinya dia nonton pertandingan football secara langsung. Tapi buat saya, kemarin adalah pertama kalinya saya nonton pertandingan football secara langsung.
During our earlier days of marriage, I discovered a quirk that my husband has, that is, the way he makes our bed! I think he is obsessed with making the bed and at first, I found it hard to understand this particular behaviour of his. I mean it’s not like I never make the bed, but he wants the bed to be made in a particular way.