KBE : Miss Billy

Kalau lagi sibuk beruntun segala hal sampai gak bisa ngeblog. Anyway, mau laporan KBE bulan Juli alhamdulillah berhasil ketemuan setelah beberapa kali sempat ketar-ketir bubar.

Bulan ini KBE in the mood for romance jadi kita memilih buku Miss Billy oleh Eleanor H. Porter. Bukunya menarik, chick-lit jaman dulu tentang Billy yang sebatang kara pindah untuk tinggal bersama teman ayahnya, Paman William. William mengira Billy adalah laki-laki sehingga konflik pun berlangsung seputar kesalahan identitas, bagaimana mereka beradaptasi dengan Billy yang ternyata perempuan dan kemudian berlanjut ke konflik percintaannya lah.

Karena buku ini ditulisnya tahun 1910an, 1913 kalau tidak salah, maka meskipun settingnya di Amerika tapi gaya pacarannya masih sopan banget. Ga ada deh yang namanya bobo2 bareng sebelum menikah jadi refreshing juga sih. Sebenernya bisa toh gak usah buru2 bobo bareng? Hehe…

Kali ini KBE kedatangan bintang tamu mba Rahmadiyanti, CEO LPPH dan Orange Books. Kami mengundang mba Dee karena kita sudah beberapa kali membaca Orange Books, kebetulan Eleanor H Porter semua lagi yaitu Pollyanna dan Pollyanna Grows Up. Sehingga kami penasaran apa sih yang membuat Orange Books memilih tante Eleanor?

Mba Dee yang ramah, baik hati serta tidak sombong mengupas kiat-kiat memilih buku untuk diterbitkan. Pertama, cek rights atau hak cipta dari karya tersebut. Ini penting untuk proses pembayaran royalti. Setelah itu cek resensi buku tersebut, apakah sambutannya baik di manca negara. Kemudian baru diputuskan apakah buku tersebut akan diterjemahkan.

Setelah itu mulai proses ‘audisi’ penerjemah. Ada yang mengirim sampel karyanya, ada juga yang diminta untuk mengirim. Mereka akan diminta untuk menerjemahkan 1-2 bab pertama buku tersebut. Kemudian dilihat apakah terjemahannya sehati dengan textnya. Kalau semua oks baru lanjut. Terjemahan selesai, masuk proses editing, lalu kemudian layout, cover, dll. Seluruh proses ini makan waktu sekitar 6 bulanan, bisa lebih. Waow! Ternyata panjang juga ya perjalanannya πŸ™‚

Mbak Dee juga sharing bahwa memilih buku juga gak ada formula pastinya. Ada buku yang populer di manca negara tapi ternyata gak populer disini. Sebagai publisher harus siap dengan risiko ini meski tentunya sebisa mungkin diminimalisir. Meskipun demikian Orange Books gak akan asal pilih buku laris untuk diterjemahkan, kriteria dasarnya tetap ada antara lain: menghibur, bersih, bermanfaat. Sejauh yang KBE baca buku2nya memang memenuhi kriteria tersebut ya.

Acara ditutup dengan pembagian doorprize bagi 2 peserta yang beruntung (bukan saya πŸ˜‰ Terima kasih banyak mba Dee telah bersedia jadi bintang tamu KBE kali ini. Sukses terus dengan Orange Booksnya yaaa.

Terima kasih juga kepada mba Ifa selaku tuan rumah yang sukses mengenyangkan perut lewat martabak dan nasi bebeknya. Hmm… Nyaaam. Memang bukan KBE kalau gak ada sentuhan kulinernya πŸ˜‰

Buku berikutnya adalah Garis Batas oleh Agustinus Wibowo. Namun kabarnya beliau bekerja di Cina. Well, kita lihat saja nanti ya πŸ™‚ sampai jumpa di KBE berikutnya!

Saturday Morning Muffin

Fresh from the oven

As I was passing the dinner table I saw the bananas were getting very ripe. I also saw Ms Carla’sΒ postΒ about her baking the other day. Then my Quran teacher texted me saying he can’t make it this Saturday. Put all those together, I zoomed straight for the banana bread recipe is my trusty red plaid Better Homes and Garden cook book. A quick check in the pantry shows I don’t have the baking soda, but I do have baking powder. Flip another page and yes, I do have enough for banana muffin. Ok I could probably do with another banana and some nuts but hey, no biggie.I put aside all the dried stuff, clean out the tins so come Saturday morning I don’t have to search for them. Yay baking!

So Saturday morning. My maid eagerly assisted me in the kitchen. Well, she basically watched cuz making muffin is not the most complicated things in the world. As I was pouring the liquid mixture to the well I realised I made it using the direction for generic muffin instead of banana muffin. Oops! Too much milk! Oh well. Not much I can do but pressing on stirring the mixture together.

With a prayer I put the batter into the pan. Set the timer and hope it turned out well. Turned out I should’ve put more batter into the mold or maybe that’s because of too much milk; the muffin didn’t rise as much and it didn’t have that bready (is that even a word?) consistency. I was a bit deflated. Taste one. Edible, not that bad. Β Babeh came home from golf just in time to taste the muffin. He took a bite. Ponders a bit and asked, “Banana?” Yep! Kakak came bouncing down the stairs, awaken by the smell. She took one look and start taking a huge bite. She likes it too! I do hope they don’t turn blue but so far they’re all ok πŸ˜‰

What do you think?

Cerita Jumat : Mencari Surga

Saya selalu percaya pada Allah. Percaya pada kebesaranNya. Semakin kita mempelajari bumi dan seisinya semakin kagum pada ciptaanNya. Tapi apakah itu cukup?

Sebagai manusia, percaya pada Allah memang menjadi basis keimanan. Tetapi sebagai seorang muslimah, percaya saja tidak cukup. Percaya perlu disertai beriman, yaitu mematuhi dan menjalankan perintahNya serta menjauhi laranganNya. Sederhana? Sebetulnya iya, tapi kehidupan itu menjadi menarik dengan adanya tantangan. Tantangan terbesar adalah ya mematuhi dan menjalankan rukun Islam, terutama yang nomer 2; shalat 5 waktu, dasar dari segalaNya.

Lahir dan besar di Jakarta saya beruntung dibesarkan dalam lingkungan serta masyarakat Islami. Berpuasa di bulan Ramadhan adalah bagian dari kehidupan. Idul Fitri dan Idul Adha adalah waktu libur yang ditunggu-tunggu. Masjid dan mushalla bertebaran dimana-mana, adzan pun bisa dengan mudah didengar setidaknya sekali sehari. Lain halnya ketika kita tinggal di tempat yang mayoritasnya adalah non-muslim.

Lepas dari segala masjid dan adzan mampukah kita terus menjalankan perintahnya? Tentu ada yang bisa. Banyak malah. Sayangnya saya waktu itu termasuk dalam minoritas yang tidak/belum berhasil. Oh saya bisa menjalankan puasa dan tidak tergiur dengan hadiah Natal. Namun, ketika adzan tidak terdengar maka shalat pun lewat begitu saja. Β Hmm… Β Sungguh bukan contoh yang baik.

Lalu 9/11 terjadi. Ironis. Perlu suatu kejadian besar yang membangunkan keimanan saya. Sebegitu tak terduganya kejadian itu, menyulut banyak pertanyaan di benak. Benarkah karena Islam? Rasanya agama saya tidak mengajarkan kekerasan. Tapi, apakah agama saya itu? Bagaimana saya bisa membelanya kala saya sendiri tidak menjalankannya? Pelajaran SD pelan-pelan merangkak keluar, memberi kesadaran… Yep. Belum beriman! Tetapi, sebagai seorang yang percaya pada Allah, saya pun percaya pada rukun Iman. Lha, pegimane mau masuk Surga ente kalau begini caranya?

Allah pun memberikan tanda-tandanya. Pertama, Indhie datang mengunjungi saya sebelum pulang kampung. Jalan-jalanlah kita, ngobrol panjang lebar. Indhie yang mulai membangunkan saya untuk kembali mengerjakan perintahnya. Dengan gayanya yang bossy itu dia bilang, “Sita, misalnya kamu pake jilbab, hari ini kamu dapat +1. Trus kamu gak shalat, jadi -1. Tapi karena berjilbab hitungannya jadi 0. Sementara kalau enggak, hitungannya jadi -2. Tetap lebih untung kan?” Ya saya yakin hitungan pahala tidak semudah itu. Namun disederhanakan seperti itu membuat saya berpikir. Kemudian saya bertemu temannya Indhie, Ahmad*, seorang yang mengaku sebagai ‘born-again Muslim.’ Eh? Maksudnya? Β Jadi Ahmad ini African-American alias kulit hitam. Keluarganya keturunan Muslim. Namun karena mereka lahir dan besar di Amerika, Islam hanya menjadi bagian dari sejarah keluarga, bukan sesuatu yang dijalankan. Sampai ayah ibunya mendapatkan hidayah. Bagaimana caranya saya nggak ingat pastinya setelah itu ayah ibunya pergi haji, kemudian mempelajari Islam kembali. Hal ini menular kepada Ahmad. Melihat orang tuanya serius mendalami Islam, dia pun turut mempelajari dan menjalankannya. Ahmad begitu serius sampai ia mengganti namanya, dari nama Barat ke nama Islam. Ia pun fasih menyitir hadits dan ayat dalam bahasa Arab. Saya tertegun. Kok bisa? Saya ‘kalah’ dari dia. Tanpa bantuan adzan, Ahmad menyimpan jadwal shalat di agendanya. Ketika waktunya tiba, iapun mencari tempat shalat. “Dimana saja kita boleh shalat kok, nggak harus di masjid,” demikian tegasnya ketika menggelar koran sebagai alas shalat di taman.

‘Ceramah’ Indhie, pertemuan dengan Ahmad, membulatkan keputusan untuk pulang kampung. Ya, saya juga masih kepingin masuk surga. Hal itu rasanya sulit didapat kalau saya terus merantau. Teman-teman saya orang baik-baik, boss saya malah sudah siap untuk membantu mengajukan visa tinggal kalau saya mau. Namun, masih ada dunia setelah dunia. Saya harus belajar kembali, mencari guru, mencari teman, mencari lingkungan yang bisa menolong. Bagi saya itu artinya kembali ke tempat asal. Dimana adzan berkumandang setiap saat, bila arah anginnya tepat maka kita bisa mendengar 2-3 adzan secara bersamaan.

Maka, ke Jakarta saya kembali. Mencari surga untuk 2 dunia. Insya Allah bisa!

 

*bukan nama sebenarnya

Love is All You Need?

I’ve never subscribe to the notion that love is all you need. Dunno whether that’s because I’m a cynic, pragmatist or realist, but ever since I can remember when the rest of my friends were still busy describing their perfect prince in great physical details I’ve gone past that and gone straight to the personality and character. My thinking is that whoever catch my eyes, he’s gonna be good-looking to me. Who would knowingly be with someone they find ugly and repulsive? Β S&M fanatics perhaps? Not me for sure. Of course I had an idea, ideally he would be taller than me, well-built, handsome, etc but again, I just know I must have a complete package or as pageant fan would say, ‘Beauty and Brain.” What use is having a drop dead gorgeous guy who has space for rent between their ears?

So anyway, Β I was a little surprised when someone asked me for relationship advice. Not because I can’t dish it out, just ask my mailing list, I love to give a piece of my mind πŸ˜‰ But because this is someone I usually ask advice from. I must say I’m flattered. Β Apparently it is because of my somewhat no-nonsense approach to life that she asked me. Her question is quite simple, at what stage of relationship do you start talking about serious life issues, such as money management, home trips etc? Well, IMO, when you know for sure that this is going to be a serious relationship. If you both see that this is going towards marriage then yes, start asking. But if you’re still not sure then just hang on to those q’s. No point asking if neither is going to be committed to one another.

When do you know that? She asked again. I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a set timeline when you should be asking these things. Some people know on the first date that this is the person they want to marry, others been going out for years and still unsure. It depends. Β For me, after a certain birthday I started getting seriously looking for a husband so when I started seeing my then-boyfriend, I think it was after the 3rd date I told him that if this works out I expect a marriage out of it. If not then let’s part ways amicably. Sounds cold? Well, no point spending time with someone who doesn’t want the same thing as you do.

Lucky for me, he wants the same thing too so bit by bit we started having these life conversations. Things like, how many kids do we want, the kind of education they’ll go to, what if we don’t have kids, money and how to manage them, etc. Some friends were quite surprised at how direct we were but I do think it is important we enter into a marriage with our eyes wide open. Love alone is not going to sustain you. One still need to eat, to sleep, work, pray and laugh after one gets married. I’m not the kind of girl who’ll sacrifice everything for love like in romance novels. Yes eating from the same plate is cute in Disney movies, but not in real life. I like my own plate thank you.

Perhaps he really was meant to be, because he was unfazed by my many opinions. Some that would definitely drive away lesser guy. But not him. He just move on forward asking for time with my dad. And the rest is history.

So, going back to my friend, yes I do think you should have these conversations before you marry him. Not during the first date obviously but definitely when you feel that this is going to end at the altar. Better you know and work out these things during courtship rather than at a divorce court. As to ‘when’ that time is, only you and him know when that would be. Listen to your heart, listen to your gut. They’ll tell you when. And of course, pray for God’s guidance. Together Insya Allah you will not be led astray.

Good luck. Don’t forget to send the invites πŸ˜‰

Β 

The Two that I already have

Heard a wonderful news this morning, a dear friend is expecting her third child. Congratulations! So happy for her πŸ™‚

Being pregnant certainly is a joyous thing. I’m lucky both pregnancies went off without a hitch save for an early scare during the first one but being mentally happy while receiving adequate healthcare works wonders. A bit of r&r, proper nourishment (over nourished some might say) and the first one was back on track in no time.

While I never pray for a specific child, Babeh used to get a feeling whether we’d have a daughter or a son. I just prayed for a healthy baby thus that’s how I got two perfectly formed, healthy babies. I guess I was a bit freaked out because the first thing I asked Babeh after the baby come out was if they have complete set of fingers, toes, is everything in the right place,nose, eyes, mouth, etc.

After I have both a boy and a girl, we’re quite happy. There were thoughts of having more but my thinking is that I would only have more babies if Babeh wants more kids. There’s nothing worse than an unwanted baby and I’d have none of that. I also believe that God knows what’s best for you. If God thinks I’m worthy of having more then nothing would prevent us from having another. However, I’m fully aware that even with just two kids I am already among the blessed ones. I have seen the angst some friends go through to have a baby. No complaints from me about that.

So there we have it. I’m very thankful for the two that I already have. I hope to raise them to be good, great people. All my love to you kids. Thank you for gracing my life with your presence.

*A, hope you have a safe, healthy, happy pregnancy πŸ™‚ *

That First Night and First Morning

Humans are a creature of habit. After you’ve lived in a place for a while, you get used to the sounds, the lights, even the smell. When that is disturbed, it took a while to get adjusted to your new surroundings. It’s different with sleepover say like on holiday. You know on holidays that your ‘move’ is just temporary so you just shut your eyes and sleep. When it’s home it’s a bit different. This is where you’ll be spending the next chunk of your life, so yeah, the first night in a new house is always different.

As I was lying there, the tv makes familiar noises, sounds of newscasters, commercials breaks, these helps adjusting to new surroundings. But the outside noise, the low hum of the ac, the gentle noise of passing motorist, the smell, the amount of light one receives is all quite different. I tried absorbing them. This will be the sounds that will lull me to sleep from now on. It doesn’t get pitch black dark. The ac emits a sort of low night-light I can still see shades of my hands. It’s quiet too. I was giddy mostly from thinking, the dream is now reality!

The next morning…

Babeh woke me up as usual. There’s no question we’re in a new place. I felt giddy again. The first morning for the rest of our life! Ok I know I’m being repetitive but after dreaming about this for 9 years and finally see it happening, forgive me for being super excited and a bit high πŸ˜€ It just feels different to open your own window to breathe in that fresh morning air. I look into the garden, it looks inviting. I went downstairs, made a cup of tea then I decided to sit in the garden. How wonderful it was! To just sit and enjoy. We’re so blessed and so lucky. Hearing the passing motorist I had to chuckle. It feels just like being back in our apartment, back when we were newlyweds. Β I take that as a good sign of things to come.

I turned to look into the living room. Oh boy. Tackling those boxes ain’t gonna be fun. But it just have to be done. The price for being able to sit in a small quiet garden. Yes, I’ll get through those boxes eventually. But for now, I just want to sit in this little corner, sip my morning tea and appreciate my new life.

Moving Day

Moving is always chaotic no matter how small or how big the move is. Even though you’re prepared as much as you can before hand there’s always last-minute things to be packed, last-minute things to take care of. If like me you’re doing in on the budget, you hire bodies to help you. Not movers, not those efficient people who make moving effortless, but bodies you command to carry heavy stuff for you.

As it is we were helped by our domestic crew; the cook, the maid and the driver goes to a bar… eh no, though it does sound like the beginning of a joke doesn’t? Then my hubby called his cousin, hire 3 extra people to help with the moving. With 6 people you think it’ll go fast, but noo… again, doing in on budget we manage to rent a truck virtually free. Then the truck came. Our SUV is probably bigger than that. It’s so tiny it’s the art truck – the vehicle I used to rent for the art dept in productions. So it came in many loads and one day was not enough even though we started from the morning.

To my husband’s credit, he was a real trooper. I was exhausted around noon, and when 3 pm rolls by I was a mush. He kindly told me to just take a nap and don’t worry about it. Love you so much babe! So I did. When I woke up I realise that he had managed to move most of our belongings. but where is our bed?

I went downstairs and there was the bed. They couldn’t move it upstairs. All of them racked their tired brains and the way the house is constructed the only way to get in the bed was to take out a long side window. The stairs were too narrow to make it though and they couldn’t pull it in from the balcony like they do in downtown Amsterdam. Of the two kids’ room, my son’s room were the neatest (meaning not so many boxes were in there) I proceed to hunt down 2 clean sheets, made the bed, sweep the room, generally tried to make it clean and comfy for the night. Thank God our children were staying over with their cousins so they don’t have to sleep in the mess.

Around 6pm we called it a day. Took shower, grab dinner, then went home. How nice that sounds, went home. To our own home. But of course that’s not the end. As I was getting ready for bed, I heard hubby was moving stuff around. I thought, oh give it a rest babe, we can continue tomorrow. But then… Voila! turned out he was installing the tv. Look, he said, we can watched TV! I had to laugh. The man loves his tv. Bless his heart. Thus ends a very tiring day πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

On Teaching

When I first start teaching, I wanted to pass down knowledge so that it doesn’t stop with me. I also want to make sure the students understand so they would do well, pass their exam, graduated and move on to better and bigger things. What I didn’t realise is that in the course of doing these things somewhere along the way these students grow on me. I teach writing and when someone writes, even if what they wrote is academic paper, they left an imprint of them in their writing.

Perhaps because I taught non-fiction, often they reveal insight about themselves. Β I’m not sure whether they realise it or not, but through their assignments, I get to know them a little better, their family, their friends and sometimes, their dreams. Some of their essays made me sad like when a student was writing about television, he was writing about how parents should spend more time with their kids so the kids would learn how to behave from them, not from tv shows. But there’s something about the way he wrote it that made me suspect that it’s based from experience. Some others made me chuckle, like when another student wrote an adoring profile about her father. She actually ends it by saying, “I love my father very much!” Aww… how can your heart not warms up?

And so, given that I’m privy to some of their thought it is no wonder they grow on me. It’s funny, after a while these kids starts to feel like my kids. I care about them, I want them to do well, I get to admonish them if they’re lazy (and they do get lazy, they’re college kids, not angels) but I don’t have to worry about them coming home late or feeding them daily. Great eh?

It really is funny considering you only meet them for what a couple semesters? You don’t raise these kids, they pass through your life briefly and yet they left an indelible mark on you. I totally didn’t expect that. Come graduation, my insides were bawling. Seeing them walking up that stage to receive their diplomas I clapped just as hard as their parents. Hugged some of them, took pictures and that’s it. You won’t see them again next semester.

Then holiday is over, you find yourself with a new class and start the whole process over again. Life eh? One thing for sure, I think I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I have much bigger appreciation for my own teachers. Thank you.

*Congrats K, the world is yours. Much love*

Cerita Jumat : Bersyukur itu Mudah

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Image via Wikipedia

Ibu saya selalu mengajarkan kami untuk mensyukuri segala nikmat yang kami terima. Seperti dalam surat Ar-Rahmaan, “Fabi ayyi aalaa irobbikumaa tukadzdzibaan .. ” Apalagi karena beliau bekerja di LSM yang menangani anak-anak difabel, YPAC (Yayasan Pembinaan Anak Cacat) sangat banyak nikmat Allah yang telah diberikan kepada beliau dan kami, anak-anaknya. Alhamdulillah kita semua lahir normal, tidak kurang suatu apapun. Otak mungkin bukan yang paling moncer, tapi juga nggak payah. Pokoknya oks semua, berjalan baik sebagaimana mestinya. Rezeki keluarga juga Alhamdulillah ada, makan yang enak, tidurnya di kamar nyaman, sekolah bisa. Pokoknya nggak kekurangan deh.

Tapi yang namanya orang usil, ada aja yang suka nyinyir ke ibu. Segala rumahnya dibilang kecil banget, anak-anaknya nggak ada yang juara, dan lain-lain. Ibu saya paling cuma senyum-senyum aja. Kata beliau, “Buat apa marah? Buat dia rumahku kecil, buat orang lain rumahku besar. Gak masalah, yang penting kalian semua ada kamarnya sendiri, kalau hujan nggak bocor…” Β Ya bener juga ya. Ngapain juga dipikirin. Ketika masih ada orang-orang yang tinggalnya di kolong jembatan, buat apa marah?

Apakah trus ibu saya tidak dapat masalah? Oh tentu ada. Yang namanya hidup pastilah penuh masalah. Namun ya itu, dengan prinsip bersyukurnya, ibu saya selalu terlihat cerah ceria. Nanti kalau sudah di rumah, diantara orang-orang tercinta, baru deh keliatan klo lagi kusut. Sehingga gak heran pernah ada yang komentar, “Kamu tu hidupnya enak bener, gak pernah susah…” Lagi-lagi ibu saya cuma senyum-senyum aja. Yah, buat apa juga masalah diumbar-umbar? Emang artis, bentar-bentar kudu ngadu ke inpohtenmen?

Jadi ya bersyukur itu memang mudah. Baik dalam keadaan bahagia maupun susah jangan pernah lupa bersyukur. Hidup sudah susah. Untuk apa dibuat tambah susah? Kalau kita merasa susah maka beneran dikasih susah sama Allah. Tapi kalau kita berusaha, berikhtiar mencari jalan keluar dari permasalahan hidup, insya Allah akan diberikan jalannya. Mungkin tidak sekejap, mungkin kesabaran perlu diuji, yang penting kita selalu husnudzon sama Allah. Kadang memang mungkin sulit ya kala persoalan membelit, tapi nikmat itu disyukuri dari yang kecil-kecil. Kalau orang Jawa bilang, “Untung…” Untung mata masih bisa lihat, untuk jari masih bisa menulis, untung kaki maih bisa jalan, untung telinga masih bisa mendengar. Ya iya kan? Coba kalau mata diambil, pendengaran diambil, apa enak? Bersyukur ternyata mudah kan? Gak perlu tunggu sakit atau ada musibah dulu baru bisa bersyukur. Kapanpun selalu bersyukur, karena nikmat mana lagi yang kau dustakan?

 

Moving House

The main agenda for my family this summer is to packed up and move from our rented house into our own house! Yes, our very own. We got a mortgage to prove it πŸ˜‰

What I didn’t or in denial about is how effing chaotic moving is. Sure I move about in my youth but moving oneself from one student digs to another, which is just one room, is quite different to moving a whole house. Somehow I got moving amnesia since it was only 2 years ago we moved from our apartment to the rented house.

So anyway, for a whole weekend and the week afterwards the house resembles a warehouse. Boxes upon boxes everywhere. There’s no ready internet connection in the house so I haven’t been able to go online for about a fortnight and it was awful. More on that in another post tho.

Now, a lot of boxes have been unpacked. Majority of things have found their places, our cats have returned and resume fighting among themselves, in short things are gradually returning to normal.

I installed the internet yesterday so can start blogging again. Yipee! The house has really turning into a home and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you thank you thank you so much dear Allah. Alhamdulillah.