GONG: More than just a dance show

Monday, September 12, 2016

Photo taken from Saung Budaya's FB
Who would have thought that dancing can give you so much lesson about management and leadership? But that's the reality in my case. I just had my very first dance show in New York on September 9th and 10th, 2016. Yes, a dance show "GONG: Spirits of the Archipelago"As you may already know, I am not a dancer. Okay, I know some basic footwork of salsa but that doesn't make me a dancer.

Photo taken from Sutawa Suradji's FB. 
A month ago, an offer from Ms. Amalia Suryani (the founder of Saung Budaya-Indonesian Dance Group in NYC) came. She asked me to join and fill in a spot for Papua's dance. I don't know what she saw from me, but I nodded absently. On August 5th, 2016 I started the dance practices. During the only one month practices and preparation for the show, we are taught by Bang Ucuy as choreographer and Bang Victor as music director. It was quite an intense training that I and other dancers had. Almost everyday we practice either as a group our by ourselves (I even practice my footwork while I took shower everyday).

Photo taken from Annisa Tyas Purwanti's FB

The time constraint was really a challenge for us. Most of us have daytime schedule. Some have an office work, some have school, some have other business. We only practiced after office hour and weekends. Changing places of practice also was  a challenge because we need to transport all musical instruments from one place to another place. During that one month, I got home at 12 am or 1 am almost everyday. Not to mention that I was also responsible organizing the Consulate's annual street fair "Indonesian Street Festival New York". Instead of being overwhelmed and stressed over by the already overload schedule that I had, I enjoyed every moment of the dance practice. I realized it was because I was surrounded by great people with positive vibes. I felt how their energy has affected me to give my best shot in this important moment of my life.

Photo taken from b_nar_d

Ms. Amalia showed me a real example how to be a great leader. She is a mother of two great kids, a wife to a nice man, a teacher to dozens of pupil, and an influencer to many. I couldn't imagine living her life, tackling and balancing all those roles on daily basis. I could see myself how she managed the team and encouraged everyone to do more and more. Despite so many dance pieces that need to be practiced, She managed to make her team run automatically in a different smaller group. They worked separately yet simultaneously and interconnectedly to each other just like a cell in human body. I believe this kind of team could only work if supported by a great leader and marvelous team members (which Saung Budaya has).
Photo taken from Sutawa Suradji's FB
Bang Ucuy and Bang Victor also exhibited an exceptional chemistry of a leader duet. I felt how they communicate easily one to another in an "insider" language and terminologies. One thing that I really noticed about their leadership skill was their ability to assess their team's skills. I realized so many times they adjust their directives so we can comfortably follow them. I believe that was one particular leadership skill that I need to learn.
Photo taken from Michelle Saraswati's FB
For someone who just started dancing, I had problems to follow most of the moves. Sometimes I felt like I held my teammates back. I was afraid that I will bring them down to my level. The fact that I was surrounded by great leaders, nurtured by positive encouragement, and accompanied by excellent teammates made me went through everything. I know I still made mistakes here and there, but I can say with pride that I DID my very first dance show really well. Thank you for having me in the fantastic show. Special thanks to Papua's dance crew Nella, Intan, Kiki, Glenn, and Mas. Herman.

The Unspoken Words

Sunday, August 7, 2016

I often hide under the mask of silence. It's not because I like the mask. I am just scared to open my mouth and say something that might hurt you or me. But let me put it into alphabets which form sentences after sentences coming from my mind. These are my unspoken words.

I just wanna say "I am so sorry. I do truly apologize"

I am sorry for never held you tight under my arms. I am sorry I couldn't say "let's hanging there and we are gonna be alright". I am sorry that I couldn't throw my ego away to accept you back into my "virtual" hug. Not that I didn't love you. I was scared that you were confused with your feelings toward me. Was it love or was it fear of being alone that you had.

I don't remember why it turns out to be this way. We were occupied by our days and nights, separated by thousand of miles in distance. I am sorry I was so busy with myself, my work, my study, and my friends here. I didn't realize I put you aside until I am losing you. I have had losing so many people so I thought I would be okay if I am losing another one. I was wrong. It was never easy to loose someone. Especially losing you.

It's no one's fault. It's just another path that we must take to lead us to our next journey.

I feel at ease now. My pray for you.

Travel Companions

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Solo traveling could be really challenging and fun but the fact that you are alone out there in the land of strangers may scare many people of the idea. You may think "who's gonna take my picture with those beautiful sceneries?", "Whom am I going to speak to during my dinner?", With whom should I share this memory?". During my year-end trip to Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, France, and Spain, I had blank moment when I think to myself that it would be nice to travel with friends or family. Especially if you see many other travelers around you share their laughter, hugs, and kisses with their loved ones. But my journey wasn't that lonely. I had many great people as my companions, so here they are:

Companion 1:

First night as I arrived in Israel, my first stop was Tel Aviv. I just checked-in to my hostel and the staff invited me to tag along with them for a bar-hopping. I was like "Why not?" So, I ended up surveying bars in Tel Aviv and had the most serious conversation ever happened during a vacation. I discussed about refugee, dangerous contagious desease, chemical weapons, the next potential world war, and spy. My responses back then more often nods and headshakes. I enjoyed every detail of the conversation and absolutely I enjoyed the drinks that helped me to understand the conversation.

Companion 2:

The next evening, I met an Israeli, Elad, who was learning Indonesian languages as part of his study. We had conversation over a tasty veggie soup. He taught me a lot about Jew's tradition on the last day of Hanukkah. I ate Jew's donuts and an americano. We headed back to hostel to enjoyed multi-language meetup as well as celebration of Hanukkah. I didn't think that a hostel's bar could be that amazing. I got a bracelet indicating languages that I mastered. Everyone was with somebody. They were speaking in many different languages, you name it, French, German, Hebrew, English, even Indonesian (well, it was me and my friend who spoke in Indonesian). Not only the multi-grammar and structure, the band was awesome. Beyond awesome to be exact (you know I never exaggerate how I see things, right?). It was one of my best night during my trip.

Companion 3:

The next afternoon, I was enjoying my lunch alone near by the bus terminal in Jerusalem. A nice Jew, Avi, came and sit at my table. Just like me, He likes having his lunch while embracing the sunshine. He spoke a lot but I love it. He told me every details about technology especially mobile devices. It was so amusing, knowing that a stranger could be that nice. It might be a coincidence we have the same type of smartphone thou different operating system. Not only that, he told and showed me how to take public transportation to Dead Sea. Though, another Israeli pushed him away from helping me. I thanked enough that I had a nice conversation while enjoying my lunch.

Companion 4:

There was this guy and this girl who I met when I crossed the border between Israel and Jordan. They were really nice. The guy is an Australian who works as project manager for one of UN agencies responsible for assisting refugee at the border of Jordan and Syria. The girl was a nice Taiwanese girl, she was currently unemployed but surely has very deep knowledge about the world. As it was my first cross-border experience, I had no clue at all. I followed them until we reach Jordan. We shared a rusty cab from Jordan side of the border to Amman city. I used to have this dream to have a field work for UN agencies and work for humanity. The fact that I met someone from that field, I was amased. I thrown many questions about the works and how he feels. They also gave me suggestion on what should I do in Jordan (I only had 12 hours to spend at that time). I went  with their suggestion and had revelation experience visiting Jerash Archaeological Site.

Companion 5:

I know you can experience flying on  a hot-air balloon anywhere in the world, but I guarantee you can't have the same experience as what await you in Cappadocia. After an awful flight from Jordan to Turkey, I practiced my self-calming meditation and got my cool instantly. Though the weather wasn't that great during my visit, but I was lucky to have my hot-air balloon experience after it was cancel the day before and the day after (I only had 3 days there). I had a wonderful experience not only because the ride itself but mostly because this Lebanese-Australian family who welcomed me into their circle. They offered me warming clothe up on the sky when they saw me start to shiver due to the cold weather. I also met them again when I was in Istanbul. They showed me a video post on facebook of our hot-balloon ride and they told me that I was part of their family. I was sure felt the warmth.

Companion 6:

After an exhausting-lonely hiking during the day, I visited a small coffee shop in Cappadocia in where I met a very nice lady, Azizah and her two princess from Malaysia. Just like a mother to her son, Azizah told me many story about places that she has visited. It was like listening to a bedtime story which made your mind fly away to those imaginary places and wishing for a genie who will take you there. They were fantastic. We talked about many things and we enjoyed it. Thanks to their advice, I went to underground city by local by the next morning.

Aside from above travel companions which I met on the journey, I also felt the hospitality and warm hugs of my friends Iyuth, Corry, and Anita who accompanied me in France and Spain. They were really nice and beautiful. They worked it up to make sure that I feel comfort and enjoy my holiday.

So there is an American fire and Indonesian fire?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

So, I have told you that I have moved to New York since 8 months ago. The thing when you move to English speaking country and you think your English is already good enough? THINK AGAIN! I have some major problem with my English, not only I often make mistakes with grammar especially in writing, I also make huge mistake when I speak English. Whenever I pronounce "s" sounds, they always sound like "shh". So I pronounce city as shitty, national as nashional. One of nice guys who teach me English was joke that maybe I love the "h" sound sensation in every word. To make it more worse, I also pronounce "t" like "d" sound to native ears. How about listening and comprehension? Well I got a true funny story to tell.

Couple weeks ago, I and my roommates had a conversation in the kitchen (the only place we hang around). We were discussing about basic safety and cooking and the discussion continue into fire. So here is the story:

(previous part of this story won't be tell for your own comfort - too long to read)
Me: "So that's how you put off the fire using the extinguisher"
R1: " But sometimes you can't put off the fire with extinguisher, there is some type or fires that you can't put off with that"
R2: "Yeay, yeay"
Me: "What kinde of fire?"
R1: "Like the GREASE fire when you cook"
R2: "Yeay the GRASE fire, it's hard to put it off"
Me: "GREECE fire?"
R1: "Yes, GREASE fire"
Me: "So there are different fires for each country? Like GREECE fire, AMERICAN fire, and INDONESIAN fire?"
(they were like "HUH?")
R2: "We mean like oily when you cook"
R2: "Yes"
Me: "Hahahahaha"
R1 and R2: "Hahhhahahahaha"

When we remembered that thing this evening as we chat, we laugh out loud. I was so dumb and naif. LOL.

Escape to Dominican Republic

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hola! Yes I have been learning Spanish now for almost 2 months. That's why for my thanksgiving holiday (well, I got 4 days off), I went to Dominican Republic to practice that little Spanish that I've learned. Why Dominican Republic? Well It wasn't really plan that way. It was a month before thanksgiving holiday, I was thinking that I need a break aftere 8 months straight work with no chance exploring USA. So, when my friend said there were quite affordable flight to escape from NY, I said YESSSSSSSS. We got the tickets 3 days before flight and not until a day before flight I got confirmation for the accomodation which was from couchsurfing.

DAY 1 - Arrived at Santiago

Yeayyy, I was overly excited. I woke up at 2,30 am. It was too early but I couldn't take the risk missing my flight which was at 7 am. I took subway and airtrain to JFK. It was a great flight with DELTA and the wifi on board worked well. We took some selfie.

Arrived at Cibao Airport, Santiago, DR. As what we've expected, we didn't need visa to get into DR because we already had USA Visa. We still need to pay the tourist card though for $ 10. With the very basic Spanish that I have, I was pretty confidence to speak with local people and the lady from the bank at the airport was the first person. We changed our dollars to pesos. After that, we headed outside the airport to find barato transportation to my host. We did get a great deal for 600 pesos. The driver put his best effort to get me to the address given by my host. Since our host was still in the school teaching dances, we were welcome by his brother Yunio and sisters.

We put our bags and went to the school catching him up. Then we took public carro, but instead went directly to the school. We took a few minutes escape to cemetery. It was a beautiful cemetery full of catholic ornaments. We then took another public carro  to the school and asked people if they know my host. We met a group of students who can speak some little English. One of them was super kind and escorted us into the school looking for my host. After we met our host, Israel, he asked us to get into his friend's car and went with them to the centro ciudad. We had  a chance to see Israel rehearsed for his performances. Then we closed the night for dinner and a quick sightseeing to the Monument.

DAY 2 - Jumped off of the waterfalls

We started our day as early as possible despite the chaotic music played by neighbor at 3 am. We didn't take shower because the water was off and we thought there were not enough water for Israel's family. We went to the nearest cafetaria to get some breakfast and they only had sandwich. It's funny that they served "alcoholic" drinks in the early morning. We didn't take any booze though. After that small breakfast, we took public carro to La Aurora Cigar Factoria. There wasn't much problem to get to the Aurora thanks to friendly local people who showed us how to getting around. As we arrived at the Aurora, 2 other groups of tourist came. We were the only Asian, other groups are French speaking and Spanish speaking people. So yes, the guide spoke in 3 different languages at the same time to explain everything there. The tour was awesome and I love the experience to smoke to handmade cigar. Anyway we get the tour for free (I think the other groups paid for their tour).

After the cigar, we were planning to go to 27 Charcos Cascadad and right as we asked the security guard on how we can get there, the bus tour of other group offered us to with them until the location we can take bus to the waterfalls (thanks God for all the free facilities). We arrived at the 27 Charcos and paid the fee also bought mosquito repellent (it's very important). We took the 12 waterfalls and it was awesome. I wasn't sure that 12 waterfalls literally means 12 waterfalls to jump into because I don't think I did 12 waterfalls (big one). It was fun though. I slided down from waterfalls and even scarier I jumped off of the side rock of waterfalls into the pool. I did it. I conquered my fear and I enjoyed it.

After all those adventurous tours, we decided to go to Carberete Beach. We were offered by a private tourist bus to go there for only 100 pesos for 2 people. We got at the Carberete at night. We had dinners at local cafetaria and headed to hostel by mototaxi (we call it Ojek in Indonesia). Before we called it a night, we had beers at local bar.

DAY 3 - Tanning on the beach

Morning sunshine. Yeay we went catch the sunrise at 6.48 am to the beach. We did it and enjoy it. We met local fishermen and had great conversation with them in basic Spanish. Then we had our breakfast at Fresh Fresh Cafe and hunted for coffee at Carberete Coffee 
Company. We went back to hostel for checking
out and then running for the beach. We lay down on the beach. I swim and got so much sea water into my mouth. Too salty.Yuck. I was thinking for the windsurfing but had not enough money and time.

After the beach, we took tour bus to Santo Domingo. The bus was clean and cool. There was indian movie played in the bus. For almost 4 hours, finally we arrived in Santo Domingo and headed to the hostel. Since we didn't book the room in advance, they only had 1 private room left. So we tok it for $ 45. After taking shower, we went around the area and was looking for salsa club. I did it baby. I did salsa with the local people. My salsa might not the best but I had the best moment at that night.

DAY 4 - Catching the flight by hitchhiking

In the early morning, we played with the dogs in our hostel after make our own pancake. I really recomended the hostel named Island Live in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo. Anyway, We decided to enjoy the old time in the morning before we went back to Santiago for our flight. I had cachapa for breakfast before craving for pasta. We bought souvenirs for people in NY and also my favorite thing was have a conversation with local people.

So, it was almost 1 pm and I need to catch my 6 pm flight back to NY from Santiago. We were running to Cabire Tours to get bus from Santo Domingo to Santiago. It was  a 2 to 3 hours ride back to Santiago. As we arrived at Santiago we were running out of pesos. We only had 550 pesos. We tried to get taxi or public caro. Most of the taxi driver asked for 800 pesos until we get public caro from outside the bus pool and get ride to airport for 500 pesos. Yeayyyyy we did it, but appearanly our journey wasn't complete without hitchhiking. Our car stuck, we almost get at the airport though but not a walking distance close. So, we jumped out of the car and made that hitchhiking sign. A private tour car stopped and we asked them if we could go with them to airport. The clients of that private tour said yes and thanks to them. We arrived safely in time at the airport. So see you Dominican Republic.


Hello New Place

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's more than two years since the last time I posted something on this blog. Lot of things have change. I move to New York for job. I don't know for how long but I know for sure I am gonna visit Indonesia some day. I have many things I dream about my hometown.

Anyway, haven't I told you guys that I usually can't stay away from my family especially my mom. Now, I am here more than 8 months alone and far away from home. I never know that I can do what I thought I could never do. So, hello everyone. I am gonna post more things in this blog.

Me on My First Thailand Trip

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last April I was visiting Thailand for the first time. I went there by AirAsia and spent my nights there by sleep at local people's house and hostel. I visited Bangkok and Ayutthaya. I was alone and did my first backpacking thingy. I found Thailand is amazing, full of nice people and nice parks. I definately will go back there to capture more moments. Anyway, here are what I captured before: