Palm Springs Day Trip

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.ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

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What to Expect In Your First Year Abroad

This is another post from the โ€œStories from the Westโ€ project which I am doing with Dixie. We will be writing 1 post each month with the same topic, to give you a glimpse of our lives as new immigrants in our respective countries. This monthโ€™s topic is about โ€œfirst experiencesโ€ and I am sharing a summary of my first year in the US. Read Dixieโ€™s here and hope youโ€™ll enjoy our stories!ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Just like that, my first year in the US has passed. Even so, I still remember my first day clearly. R and I were very tired from our long journey, but I was excited to start our lives together. I remember the crisp yet fresh winter air that I felt the moment I stepped foot outside the airport. At that moment, it felt so refreshing and it got me so excited. Adventure awaits! So I thought.

Anyway, you are welcome to see a glimpse of my first year abroad on Instagram with hashtag #ChristasFirstYear. For this post, I am going to share a few things that you may expect in your first year abroad – based solely on my own experience ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Home ๐Ÿ™‚

Discovering New Things About Yourself

When you move abroad, you are going out of your comfort zone, and you will discover new things about yourself. As for me, I discovered a new fondness of cooking! It took me a while to get some recipes right and just this holiday season I had the courage to cook for other people besides R ๐Ÿ™‚ To my surprise, it was a hit! At the moment I only have two things in my “repertoire” – kastengel (Dutch – Indonesian cheese cookies) and macaroni schotel, but now I’m more confident to try different recipes. I never thought I’d love cooking this much because my cooking used to be pure survival – I cook just so I don’t starve myself ๐Ÿ˜›

Homesickness

I’m sorry to say this to you, but homesickness is inevitable. I have experienced it and it was ugly. Funny enough, it didn’t happen right away. In fact, it happened to me after a good couple of months living here. I thought I managed to adapt well, I thought I was doing ok until it happened all of a sudden. It took me a while to realize that all this time I have been feeling bits of homesickness but I tried to push it away. Then boom! it hit me, and it hit me hard. If I could turn back time and speak to myself in the past, I would definitely say that I need to embrace whatever feelings I had – the good and the bad. Perhaps this way I would be able to deal with homesickness better. 

Friendship

In Indonesia, making new friends was easy for me. I have friends that I have known forever, I have friends at work, and I also have friends that I know from other friends ;). Here, making new friends is not as easy – I felt like I’m always gonna be the “new girl” because of my immigrant status. Even though R has close-knit friends that I love as well, I felt that I still need to make new friends, so I used to come to a lot of different Indonesian group meetings just to meet new friends, but I couldn’t seem to blend in. It took me a while to realize that I don’t need a lot of friends. I’m happy and content with our close-knit friends. They are family, and I know for sure that we got each other’s back ๐Ÿ™‚

Self – Love

Moving and navigating yourself through changes are not easy. Give yourself credit for taking that leap of faith and leave the comfort of your home country! The first year can be tough, but it can be exciting too. There will be a lot of firsts – like your first holiday season, first road trip, first this and first that. Things may be different for everyone – you might be thriving already, you might be still adjusting, you might find it easy to adapt, or you might still be struggling with all the change. Whatever your condition is, one thing that I know for sure is that you got to give yourself some loving. This will help you to make sense of your surroundings better and ease the adaptation process in your first year!

If you have lived abroad for more than one year, what was your first year like? Did you experience the things I mentioned above? I would love to read your stories in the comment box! ๐Ÿ™‚

365/365

If you have been following me on Instagram, you might have seen a project that I have been doing for the past year. Started when I arrive in the US a year ago, I put out a picture every day on Instagram with the hashtag #ChristasFirstYear. Well, picture no.365 is still on the draft because I wanted to take a break from Instagram for a bit (posting each day for a year turns out to be a little bit overwhelming), and I also noticed that I have been feeling quite a lot of emotions leading up to day 365!ย 

You see, I am the type of person who are so used to having plans, checklists, projects, and all that. Every year I like to reflect on my life’s adventures that year and I would expect to see some accomplishments – travel to new places, career related, relationship related, anything that can give me a sense of progression. Unfortunately, as I look back at the past year, at first I found it hard to see that I am progressing this year.ย 

It made me sad and affected my mood for a couple days, I even had a small breakdown during a video call with my mother and R. I had this urge of wanting to limit contact with my friends in Indonesia because I felt jealous to see how their life is progressing while I felt that mine is not. Poor R did not know what to do, and I did not know what he couldย do to make me feel better. It wasn’t until I heard my mother’s words that I really get it.ย 

Life is not always about plans, checklists, projects, progression, and all that. Sometimes life can put you on hold, letting you navigate through it in your current situation. The situation for me is that I am still waiting for my permanent residency, and the chance to finally settle as a resident here. It’s okay. It takes longer than I expected, but it’s okay.ย 

Come to think of it again, I am being unfair to myself if I think that my life hasn’t been progressing at all this year. The progress may be different than what I planned and projected. But once I was finally able to see the silver lining of my current situation, I can now see the kind of progress that I’ve been making this year. As a newlywed, I have been progressing to become a better partner for my husband. My mother always said that getting married is a lifetime process of learning and understanding, and I think we are moving in the right direction. As a new immigrant, I am progressing too! At least now I can navigate myself through this city that I’m living in and I can definitely take you around Los Angeles if you decided to visit me ๐Ÿ˜‰ And as for myself in general, this year has taught me that I have more patience and strength that I can ever imagine.ย 

That, my friends, is how I believe my life is still progressing despite everything that is happening ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading and wishing you happy holidays! It’s getting festive here and I hope it is in your place, too ๐Ÿ™‚

Pertama Kali Nonton Football

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.

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The Tales of a Newlywed

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.

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Emo & Me

I’m going to start this post by saying that I’m not a pet person. I mean I don’t hate them, but I like to think that I’m always awkward with them. I don’t know how to react around them, especially around dogs because they’re always barking/sniffing and somehow leaves me feeling uncomfortable when they do that.

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