My Dad

My Dad was an extraordinary man. I also like to believe that he lived an extraordinary life. He fought an extraordinary battle with lung cancer before God decided it was his time to rest eternally.

He was the fourth out of five children, the second-born son in his family. He was the cheeky one, with an outgoing personality. As a father, he was the wheels that kept our family moving. He was loving, he was present, and he was fun.

He wanted the best for this family, so he worked hard. He wanted us to see the world, so he took us. We didn’t have a lot but somehow he always managed to spoil us with presents, family vacations, family outings, and his time.

His time was precious – he was a busy man. Often times he would leave for work before I woke up and only came home after I went to bed, but then my mom made a deal with him – that he had to take me and my brother to school everyday whenever possible. (I guess this made my mom the rock that holds our family together but that’s a story for another day…)

So he did. No matter how late he came home the other night, he always took me to school until I graduated high school. I remember the drive, where we would talk about anything. I cherish that moments, and I kept replaying that moment over and over, wishing that it never goes away.

I guess I was too small when he left, or maybe the tragedy of losing him left a mark on me, that I now startung to struggle to remember details about my encounter with him. It breaks my heart that memories of our togetherness are starting to fade away, that I now only see snippets of images instead of the whole picture when I try to remember.

But I remember the kind of man he was. He was a hardworker, one that still had the time for family and friends. He was much loved by his friends, I know that his staffs and colleagues loved him too. He put family first, always with open arms to help. He was stylish, presentable, neat. I remember his polo shirt and the way he always brings a handkerchief in his pocket.

I remember his upbeat personality, how he lit up the room whenever he walked in, how he liked to sing on events (his favorite karaoke song is Separuh Nafas by Dewa 19 haha). I remember his love for sports, how he played it all – basketball, hockey, golf… and how his love for sports guided me to finish my first 5K race.

Although it has been 12 years since he passed, every day I try to live my life following what he showed me. One can only hope that he’s happy to see that person I have become 😊

I wanted to post my favorite picture of him but I couldn’t find a digital version of it, so this picture will do (and yes, that’s baby- me! :D)

Happy Father’s Day to my #1, and to every outstanding Dads out there!

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Finding Peace

For a while I refrained myself from writing about this, even though I have been thinking about this (a lot) for quite some time. I understand that it might be controversial to some, but hey this blog is called ‘Christa Bercerita’ because this is where I tell my stories.. and today it’s about faith.

I was born and raised Muslim, I am still a Muslim and I should note here that I was brought up in an interfaith household. My dad was a devout Muslim, my mom is a devout Christian and together they raised me as a Muslim. Whole my life, I am used to the exposure of the two faiths, and strangely enough my husband comes from a diverse background too – half of his family is Christian, while he is born and raised Muslim. So – that’s a little background about me.

Fast forward to the last few years, I started to question my faith. Not the Islam that I grew up with, but particularly the way some Indonesians Muslims practice their faith …. (I don’t want to generalize but that’s how I see it). In the past few years, I’ve seen more and more people / friends / colleagues / family / acquaintances getting more religious and especially with social media they are spreading their “newly-found-again” faith out loud.

I get it, I’m all about free speech and I (try my best) to value everyone’s opinion. But there’s this thing that I found very disturbing. I found that the narrative of this whole “newly-found-again” (or in Indonesian – hijrah) Islam is mostly (again, I don’t want to generalize) fear.

I’ve lost count of the times I went to a sermon, only to hear about how I’ve done soooo bad as a human being and I’m super sinful that I will burn in hell. I’ve lost count of the instagram posts telling me that I will get X punishment in hell because I don’t cover my hair or because I didn’t do this and that.

Truth be told these things don’t make me feel peace at all, instead they make me uneasy, and I thought being religious is supposed to bring peace on to my daily life.

I mean I don’t want to pray because I’m afraid that if I didn’t I will burn in hell. I don’t want to give to the poor and needy only because I want something in return, as I often hear, “give to the needy, your prayers will be heard!” I mean do I really have to have a motive in giving back? That does not feel right. I want to give because I feel like giving, because I feel thankful, and I want to pray because I want to feel close to God, because I want to feel peace. Not because I’m afraid. And definitely not because I want something in return!

So yeah, I kind of stop following Indonesian Islam (if there’s such thing.. but you know what I mean). Which is a bit sad, because I know Islam is all about communities and at the moment I don’t feel like I belong in my own community.

Thankfully, I am starting to find peace at my mosque here. Although I am yet to go there often, I love what I’m hearing so far. Every sermon I heard made me smile, made me feel at peace, and maybe I’ll find my community here. For now, I’ll continue observing Ramadan with an open heart, may this month brings Peace to you and I ❤

Sunday

I woke up early, and we decided to get breakfast. We tried a brunch cafe not far from our house, only 10 minutes drive away. We were the first guests when we arrived at 7AM, right when they just opened. Not long after, another couple came in. Then another. And another. It was a full house by 7:30AM. Wow, it looks like the cafe is quite popular in the neighborhood. Why haven’t we been here before, I asked R. Let’s try the food first, he said.

I ordered a typical American breakfast menu – eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast. Only I asked for the toast to be changed to english muffins. It’s the closest I can get to crumpets here :)))) R ordered pesto bagel – it was really good, he said. I also had a cup of latte which was not bad at all, similar to what I usually make at home. But it’s Sunday, I want someone to make my coffee because I don’t wan’t to deal with the dishes :)))))

After breakfast we spent a bit of time at the beach, then went back home. I did some freelance work, R went on relaxing. He needed the rest&relaxation day after his long week.

I was too caught up with work when I realised it’s already past 4PM and we haven’t had lunch. I woke R up, we were both starving. Well, it’s the perfect time to use our Gyu-kaku points, I said. Let’s go! He said. There’s nothing better than eating good food with points, which brought down our bill to 50% less! 😀

Btw, tonight is the start of Ramadan. We will be fasting for a whole month starting tomorrow. So we went to Target to stock up on some pantry items. I haven’t finished my meal plan so I just stock up on some fruits, oatmeal and protein bars for our suhoor. We will be fasting for 15 hours this year, and this is going to be my second Ramadan in the US. I’m excited! I’m hoping for some miracles this month and I’m also looking forward to reflect and give back.

Now I’m relaxing at home. It’s been a long day. R is right beside me, watching Game of Thrones. I don’t follow the series, I just don’t get the hype. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to watch a couple of episodes… Anyway I let him have the TV every Sunday night, so here I am typing in my WordPress app while listening to Spotify with earphones on. All good, it’s been a good day, and I hope it will be a good Ramadan for us all 🙂

Kunjungan Mama (part 3)

Oke jangan bosen yaa baca cerita kunjungan Mama hehehe. Rasanya pengen cerita yang lengkap gitu, baru deh lanjut cerita2 yang lain. Anyway, di post ketiga ini saya mau ceritain soal road trip kami ke San Francisco.

Jadi, waktu tempuh perjalanan dari Los Angeles ke San Francisco kalau naik mobil itu sekitar 6,5 jam. Tadinya saya dan R sempet bingung, mau naik pesawat (mahal), naik bus (mikir repot di SF nya gak ada mobil karena kali ini kita bawa mama), atau bawa mobil aja dari LA. Akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk bawa mobil supaya seru, dan dihitung2 juga biayanya sama aja kalau kita naik bus plus transportasi di SFnya.

Kami berangkat hari Minggu sore sekitar jam 6, itu juga mampir dulu makan malam dan sempet berhenti beberapa kali untuk beli kopi, isi bensin, jajan, dan sebagainya hehe. Perjalanan ke SF lumayan ngebosenin, karena malam hari kali ya, nggak ada pemandangan yang bisa dilihat dan sepanjang jalan kosongggg melompong. Soalnya kami pakai rute paling cepat, padahal sih sebenarnya ada rute yang lebih indah pemandangannya tapi lebih lama waktu tempuhnya, yaitu lewat Pacific Coast Highway (inget lagunya nggak?). Kami sampai di SF sekitar jam 3 pagi. Langsung istirahat karena jam 10 pagi nya langsung diajak saudara kami yang kebetulan tinggal di SF untuk jalan2 ke Monterey.

Monterey itu kota kecil di pinggir pantai yang jaraknya sekitar 2 jam dari SF. Monterey seru banget, kotanya cantik, banyak yang bisa dilihat, sayang karena kami perginya rame2 jadi agak susah berhenti2 sesuai keinginan, jadi saya mau banget balik lagi suatu hari apalagi kalau lagi panas 🙂

Setelah seharian di Monterey bareng keluarga, kami menghabiskan waktu di kota SF nya selama 2 hari 1 malam. Hari pertama saya ajak mama ke Pier 39 dan Ghirardelli Square. Dari Ghirardelli Square kami naik SF tram lanjut ke Union Square. Tram ini cukup terkenal di SF, dan biasanya selalu antri. Tapi kalau kamu naik dari Ghirardelli Square, antriannya nggak separah itu kok! Harga sekali jalan $7, cukup mahal sih untuk ukuran transportasi umum, tapi boleh juga dicoba untuk atraksi wisata mumpung lagi di SF 🙂

Hari terakhir sebelum pulang kami sempat ajak Mama lihat Golden Gate Bridge karena ya memang nggak lengkap ke SF tanpa lihat jembatan ini, ya nggak sihh… dan kali ini karena kami naik mobil sendiri, jadi bisa lihat jembatannya dari Marin Headlands yang letaknya diatas bukit, jadi pemandangannya lebih keren! Kalau memang kamu ke SF dan ada mobil sendiri, coba deh lihat Golden Gate Bridge nya dari Vista Point/Marin Headlands daripada dari visitors centernya. Musti bayar tol sih, tapi pemandangannya worth it kok!

Setelah itu, kami mampir juga ke Lands End. Ini sesuai namanya bener2 kayak di ujung dunia deh. Tapi pemandangannya juga bagus banget! Sayangnya lagi mendung ya (tapi di SF emang hampir selalu mendung kan… kalo mau cerah ya ke LA hehehehe :P), tapi pemandangannya, suasananya, bener2 menarik. Kalau nggak pakai mobil sendiri, transportasi umum kesana agak susah karena ya letaknya emang jauh dari mana2, jadi kalau kamu ke SF dan ada mobil sendiri, wajib banget ke Lands End!

Karena terlalu terpesona sama Lands End, kami akhirnya pulang jam 8 malam dari SF… padahal tadinya mau lihat pemandangan sambil pulang, batal lagi deh. Perjalanan pulang lebih parah dari berangkat karena kami udah capek banget dan memang jalanannya luruuuuus aja tanpa ada pemandangan apa2. Kami harus stop berkali – kali untuk istirahat dan akhirnya sampai dirumah jam 4 pagi 😀

Pengalaman yang cukup seru road trip bareng Mama ke San Francisco, walaupun kalau boleh pilih mungkin besok2 road tripnya siang2 aja jangan malam hari supaya nggak terlalu capek hehe. Kalau kamu, kapan terakhir kali road trip?

Kunjungan Mama

Halo blogku yang sudah hampir berdebu! Hehe, mau cerita kalau saya lagi kedatangan mama dari Indonesia selama sebulan. Yay! Kedatangan mama ini emang agak mendadak. Sungguh tadinya saya dan R rencana mau jalan2 ke Boston karena nemu tiket murah buat bulan Februari ini… tapi mau beli tiket mikir 1000x soalnya takut kedinginan hahaha.

Terus sekitar awal bulan kemarin saya iseng liat2 tiket dari Indonesia, awalnya coba2 pas bulan September jadi biar mama bisa ulang tahun disini. Eh taunya tiket bulan Feb-Mar malah murah! Akhirnya kami sepakat buat beliin mama tiket Jakarta-LA untuk bulan Februari ini. Belinya dadakan, kami juga nggak ada rencana apa2, yang penting biar mama bisa kesini dan kami bisa menghabiskan waktu bersama. Alhamdulillah, sejauh ini semua lancar dan gak kerasa sudah setengah jalan mama disini.

Minggu pertama mama disini kami sempet bulak balik RS karena kebetulan ibu mertua ada jadwal operasi katarak. Semua berjalan lancar, dan mama juga akhirnya ketemu sama bapak-ibu mertua yang memang tinggal disini. Habis itu kami sempat jalan2 ke LA berduaan ketika R kerja, seru juga quality time bersama mama berduaan, jadi inget masa2 terakhir sebelum pindah kesini, kami hampir tiap hari berduaan terus pas ngurusin nikahan dan pindahan saya hehe.

Terus minggu kedua kami sempat muter2 Orange County, gak gimana2 sih tapi saya ajak mama ke tempat2 yg biasa saya datengin, kayak perpustakaan kota, restoran favorit, supermarket, ya intinya saya kasih liat tempat2 yang saya sering datangi sehari – hari.

Tapi selain itu kami juga sempet nginep di rumah mertua yang letaknya agak tinggi elevasinya. Semacam bukit gitu lah, masih di Southern California siih. Biasanya daerah rumah mertua ini emang lebih dingin daripada rumah saya yang letaknya lebih di pesisir. Musim dingin ini juga sempat beberapa kali turun salju, tapi namanya juga di California, saljunya tipis2.

Eh taunya pas kami disana kemarin, turun salju lumayan tebal lho! Wooohooow! Seru deh. Salju turun semalaman hingga sekitar jam 10 pagi. Pagi2 kami juga sempet ngerasain salju turun, jadi walaupun sebenernya bajunya nggak pas (soalnya ramalan cuaca bilang cuma 30% chance of snow), tapi bela2in deh keluar dan nikmatin salju turun. Kapan lagi kan 🙂

Bener2 nggak nyangka bisa kedapetan salju, lumayan berkesan juga jadinya 🙂 yang pasti sih saya senang sekali kedatangan mama untuk sementara. Semoga mama sehat terus jadi besok2 bisa datang lagi dan periode nya agak lamaan sedikit 🙂

Selamat berakhir pekan ya teman2! 🙂

Tempat Tinggal di Amerika

Jadi setelah saya nulis post yang ini tentang gaya hidup di Amerika, saya jadi punya beberapa ide tulisan tentang hidup disini yang ingin saya share di blog. Pas banget tau2 kemarin Rika ninggalin komen soal bedanya rumah di Finlandia (tempat dia tinggal) sama di Amerika. Jadilah saya mau ceritain soal tempat tinggal di Amerika hasil observasi selama saya disini hehehe.

Continue reading “Tempat Tinggal di Amerika”