Catatan: Olahraga Waktu Hamil?

SONY DSCBagi beberapa-banyak orang, berolahraga saat hamil adalah ide yang sangat gila. Banyak yang khawatir bahwa olahraga dapat menyebabkan keguguran. Bahkan banyak bapak-bapak atau laki-laki kabur setiap kali melihat saya masuk ke ruangan gym dengan perut besar. Tapi apakah betul bahwa perempuan hamil enggak boleh neko-neko dan lebih baik duduk anteng dan makan sebanyak mungkin? Well, saya ingin berbagi pengalaman saya. Bukan sebagai dokter kandungan ataupun personal trainer tetapi sebagai fitness enthusiast.

Kalau boleh jujur, saya seneng dan juga agak sedih ketika saya tahu bahwa saya hamil. Lho kok gitu? Well, mungkin karena saya sangat egois, saya tidak ingin kehilangan bentuk tubuh yang sudah saya bentuk selama tiga tahun terakhir ini. Mulai dari legs, abs, shoulder, back and also chest. Dibutuhkan disiplin dan ketekunan selama beberapa tahun untuk mendapatkan otot-otot tersebut. Saya enggak mau kehilangan semuanya itu begitu saja. At the same time, I was very excited with the little one inside my womb and I want him to be healthy and happy baby. 

But then again, there was a fear within me. Kenapa? Well, sebagai trailing spouse yang baru saja gave up my job and beradaptasi di tempat baru, saya takut tiba-tiba mendapatkan anxiety attack or even worse depression. Di mana dulu, tak jarang, saya mengkonsumsi xanax ketika kedua hal tersebut menyerang ketika saya tinggal di J-Twon. As a result, saya takut untuk mengkonsumsi obat tersebut. So, how can I have a healthy pregnancy? Being fit and staying sane.

Luckily, seorang kawan memberi saya buku berjudul What To Expect When You’re Expecting yang ditulis oleh Heidi Murkoff dan Sharon Mazel.  Pada Chapter 3 buku tersebut yang berjudul Pregnancy Lifestyle, Murkoff dan Mazel menulis “Workouts are not only a-can-do for most pregnant women but a definitely do. In fact, the vast majority of workout work well with the vast majority of pregnancies, which means you can almost certainly count on continuing your usual routine through your 9 months.”  langsung loncat-loncat dong waktu baca chapter tersebut. So that was the answer! Saya enggak perlu anti depressant dan lain-lain untuk tetap waras selama hamil.

IMG_4492Lalu apa keuntungan berolahraga saat hamil? Well, banyak! Baik untuk ibu hamil maupun janin. Untuk ibu hamil, olahraga dapat meningkatkan stamina, kualitas tidur, kesehatan, mood, otot dan punggung serta menjaga sistem  pencernaan agar lancar. Plus, lebih cepat sembuh setelah melahirkan. Sedangkan untuk janin, meningkatkan peredaran oksigen dalam tubuh dan dipercaya akan jauh lebih pintar.

Nah selama hamil, saya justru tidak melakukan yoga tapi tetap melakukan jogging, running dan weightlifting. Saya berolahraga setiap hari dua sampai tiga jam per hari. Hasilnya, saya hampir enggak pernah merasa depressed selama hamil. Boleh dikatakan bahwa olahraga saja enggak cukup. Makan makanan bergizi pun penting terutama buah-buahan, sayur-sayuran, susu dan juga daging-dagingan. Kalau bisa, jangan terlalu banyak konsumsi makanan yang mengandung gula. Selama hamil pun berat badan saya  naik 12 kg dan sekarang tinggal 2 kg. Saya masih punya banyak PR untuk membawa tubuh saya kembali kebentuk semula. Bukan, bukan kurus namun sehat dan berotot.

Tentu banyak orang yang berpendapat berbeda-beda namun saya akan jauh lebih mempercayai hasil riset daripada mitos tentang ibu hamil. Oleh karena itu, kalau ingin sehat dan dapat terus berolahraga selama hamil, alangkah lebih baik jika mulai menyukai olahraga sebelum hamil sehingga badan kita enggak kaget dengan berbagai macam perubahannya. Bagi saya, sembilan bulan hamil bukanlah waktu yang susah, gamping banget! Yang susah justru tiga hari setelah melahirkan apalagi saya melahirkan secara c-section. Bahkan sampai sekarang kalau saya enggak olahraga bekas jahitan malah sakit.

Btw, saya baru bikin akun Instagram yang berisi fitness dan makanan sehat. Follow @ibuksehat yuk!

Ride the bus

Notes: My Clothes, Your Clothes

Are you wearing fast fashion products either it is from Zara, Pull & Bear, H&M, Bershka and any other? How often do you buy a new outfit? And….have you ever wondered who makes your clothes, under what condition, how do they make it or where do they make it? Well, let me tell you a story.

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Yesterday, my friends and I went to an interesting yet eye-opening trip. We visited one  ready made garment factories in Bangladesh. This trip gave us the opportunity to see how our clothes are manufactured from the scratch. Located 35 kilometer from Dhaka, the factory is owned and run by Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi multinational company. The company manufactures products for a wide range of clients ranging from Zara, Pull&Bear, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger to DKNY. According to its official website, currently the company’s Textile & Apparel Division employs more than 5,150 people.

Bangladesh is known as the second largest ready made garment producer after China. The industry has become one of the largest export earning contribution to the country. According to Dhaka based newspaper The Daily Star, the industry has generated export earning up to USD 28.67 billion as of December 2016. The industry hopes to increase to USD 50 billion by 2021.

SONY DSCThe Bangladesh textile and garment industry employs approximately 4 million people. Most of the workers are women. Every month, they earn approximately 7,000 to 10,000 BDT, this figure is actually slightly higher than its minimum wage which is at 5,300 BDT. According to various local media report, the worker union is demanding that the minimum wage should be increased to 16,000 BDT.

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Some of you might remember the 2013 Rana Plaza incident which caused more than 1,100 killed and 2,500 injured; this incident is known as the deadliest industrial disaster ever. Since the incident, the Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry claims that they have been making effort to improve the factory condition that meet the safety standard. Yet, as we walked around the factory and learnt about its production process, I noticed that many textile and apparel workers are exposed to high level of noise from the machines as well as chemical hazards without any protection which you can see from my pictures. This condition is feared to have a significant impact to the worker’s health. Not forget to mention that many of them spend hours to standing or sitting while doing their work. This made me wonder how much the 2013 Rana Plaza incident has really brought changes to the textile and garment’s industry in Bangladesh.

I must say that this trip has reflected upon me that despite the fact that Bangladesh has become a centre of ready-made garment manufacturing for many global fashion brands, the country is still severely underdeveloped. Additionally, workers tend to have terrible conditions while others get massive profits. Yet, without this sector millions would be unemployed.

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Ride the bus

Photo: Bangkok’s Foodie

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The Glorious Stink [2016:EO]

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Bangkok’s Street Foods are The Best [2016:EO]

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Lek & Rut Seafood in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown [2016:EO]

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Papaya Salad’s Ingredients [2016:EO]

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Yaowarat’s Vegetarian Food Festival [2016:EO]

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Sago [2016:EO]

Catatan: Tentang Nama

Beberapa bulan terakhir ini, saya sedang bingung mikirin nama anak. Saya enggak mau nama yang hanya sekedar keren tetapi nama yang punya arti dan makna. Apalagi kata orang, nama adalah doa. Ya toh? Setelah berminggu-minggu bahkan berbulan-bulan mencari nama, saya baru menyadari bahwa mencari nama itu susah apalagi kalau sudah memiliki berbagai macam syarat.

Yang pertama, saya enggak mau kasih nama yang kebarat-baratan. Kenapa? Masak anak hasil kawin campur namanya barat banget, identitas emaknya dikemanakan? Belum lagi nama barat seperti Richard, James, John atau Kevin pasti sudah dipakai oleh sejuta umat. Enggak unik dong apalagi kreatif. Ya kan? Nah berhubung saya enggak punya nama keluarga maka saya memutuskan untuk menggunakan nama keluarganya. It is a form of compromise. Dengan demikian unsur barat sudah ada, tinggal mencari unsur Indonesia.

Yang kedua, nama dengan arti. Awalnya saya pengen kasih nama anak dengan bahasa Yahudi. Huh, Yahudi? Kamu kan bukan orang Yahudi? Hubungannya Yahudi sama Indonesia apa? Enggak ada sih. Cuman karena saya keranjingan dengan hal-hal yang berhubungan dengan Israel, saya ingin menamai anak saya dengan bahasa Yahudi.

Tapi… ternyata eh ternyata, setelah saya melakukan desktop research, kebanyakan nama bayi dengan bahasa Yahudi seperti nama orang Kristiani. Belum lagi, arti nama Yahudi selalu berkaitan dengan cerita dalam alkitab yang bisa jadi hanya sekedar dongen belaka. Namanya juga tulisan manusia. Sedangkan saya enggak mau anak saya diidentikkan sebagai orang Kristiani atau agama apapun. Oleh karena itu, saya buang ide tersebut.

Beralihlah saya ke Bahasa Sansekerta dan Jawa Kawi. Setelah melakukan riset, akhirnya saya menemukan nama tersebut. Artinya pun tidak terlalu berat untuk disandang dan cukup humanis. Enak pula didengar di telinga dan mudah untuk dieja. Sepertinya belum banyak yang menggunakan. Tapi masih rahasia ya…. 🙂 Nah sekarang adil dong, nama depan Jawa Kawi, nama belakang nama barat.

Sayangnya perdebatan enggak berhenti sampai di situ saja. Kami masih dipusingkan dengan nama panggilan, kalau dia sekolah di Indonesia atau sekitar Asia, mungkin namanya akan mudah dieja oleh kawan-kawannya. Lalu bagaimana kalau kami ke negara barat? Bukankah nama tersebut akan jadi bahan ejekkan atau bullying di sekolah.

O boy… here comes a problem!

Mungkin karena saya enggak pernah mengenyam pendidikan sekolah dasar di negara barat maka saya enggak paham dengan masalah tersebut dengan baik. Padahal saya sendiri selama ini mengalami kesulitan ketika saya memberi tahu nama saya. Jangankan di negara orang, di negara sendiri pun orang kerap salah mengeja nama saya. Oktofani jadi Oktafani atau Oktaviani atau Oktapani. Saya pun sebenarnya kerap kesal tetapi saya enggak mau ambil pusing. Tapi kan beda cerita kalau hal tersebut terjadi pada anak kecil dan bagaimana kalau jadi bahan bullying?! Apalagi isu school bullying sudah di level yang cukup mengkhawatirkan akhir-akhir ini. Doh! 

Well, di era globalisasi ini, banyak orang yang bermigrasi. Banyak negara yang perlahan berubah menjadi country of immigrant. Dengan demikian, banyak institusi pendidikan yang memiliki nama murid dengan bahasa negara asal dong. Misalkan saja, orang India atau China. Mereka yang terkenal sebagai immigrant. Komunitas mereka ada di mana-mana dan kebanyakan dari mereka masih menggunakan nama dengan bahasa mereka. Melihat hal tersebut, saya lihat sepertinya enggak masalah kok.

Nah kata orang, di era globalisasi seperti sekarang ini dan sebagai ‘global citizen‘, lebih baik jangan memberi nama berbau etnis, kasihan nantinya, kasihlah nama yang familiar di telinga orang, nama yang internasional. Yaelah, kalau begitu nama barat dong?! Kalau begitu kita dipaksa untuk menanggalkan identitas kita dong?! Apakah berarti globalisasi sama dengan westernisasi?

Oh well, rempong amat ya?! Ternyata memberi nama anak enggak semudah membuatnya sodara-sodara. 

Ride the bus

Indonesia: About LGBT

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Goodbye 2012! Hello 2013

You know what makes me upset about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) debate these days in Indonesia? Well, let me tell you.

Last night, a good friend of mine sent me a message telling me how concerned (s)he is about all these LGBT debates. (S)he wondered what the government/parliament next step toward it whether they are going to ban it altogether, ban foreign funding for LGBT activity (including reproductive health awareness) or even worse if they plan to stop distributing subsidised ARV in the country. (S)he is wondering. 

Honestly, this condition would not just have a negative impact to the LGBT community but also all the patients, let me repeat myself again ALL PATIENTS, (which also include heterosexual people) who have been getting ARV for free so they can survive and live their lives as a healthy person. So, I said to a good friend of mine that everything will just be fine. Let’s have faith in it.

Since the fall of  President Soeharto in 1998, religion has been used as a political commodity to control people. Sometimes I am wondering whether we, the people of Indonesia, can have a discussion about certain issue without bringing a religious perspective or not.

It is very devastating because I feel that this country is heading to a dark age than moving forward to the future. What about if we discuss what really matters and crucial to citizen’s daily life such as food supply, education, health and infrastructure, instead of the sexual orientation or religious preferences, which are very personal?! Can we?

PS: If you do not know what ARV is, you can search on the internet. It is very googleable.

Notes: Let ‘Em Talk!

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As I scrolled down my Facebook’s newsfeed, I came across to an article by The Guardian on a Philadelphia born model Amber Rose titled “Amber Rose interview: Even when I was a virgin, I was called a slut“. I must say that I have been admiring her spirit, I have also been listening to her interviews and following her Instagram as well as Twitter account to understand her perspective on women’s world, as a result, I immediately read the article because I think that Amber is an awesome woman who is outspoken about woman issue. So, I assumed that this article would be worth reading.

As I finished reading the last sentence, this article got me thinking about my personal experience. As time passes, we grew up, we learnt and we choose our own value of life. However, everything that we do, it often becomes the subject of discussion for others.

Why? First of all, because they have nothing else to talk about. Secondly, that is how society taught us. Our society constructs standard what we can and cannot do, the standard of what is right and what is wrong. I would understand that those standards are constructed based on scientific research with sufficient evidence but when it is based on morality, it is very subjective.

In my own experience, I have been called slut or gold digger even right in front of my face over and over again. It still happens until today sometimes. At first, I felt hurt but I grow thick skin by now. At least, I do something real and some (or many) recognise it.

So, if I may say….. do whatever you want to do as long as you do not hurt other people, as long as you are being responsible about it. Never do something just to please others while you are suffering from it.

Notes: Faith and Relationsh!t

LRG__DSC6447I often heard people saying “I cannot marry this person because we do not have same religion” or “I cannot marry this person because (s)he doesn’t wanna convert into x religion”. It got me thinking and wondering what love really is.

Frankly, I just do not understand when a lover asks, demands or even worse sometimes FORCES their partner to convert into certain religion or belief simply to get married, simply to prove that (s)he loves him/her.

What is the point to make them convert into certain religion, has it on the paper but they just do not believe it. Even worse, it is not uncommon that some of them would make fun of it and disrespect it because they do not believe it.

Meanwhile, if (s)he does not convert, one of them will consider her/him for not sincerely loving them. And sometimes, if (s)he does not convert, it is often translated or concluded or defined that their lover does not respect one’s parents. Really?! 

First of all, your love should not be measured based on their belief, race or social status. Secondly, you marry her/him and not her/his parents. And last but not least, you just cannot force one to convert into something that they do not believe in. I just find this dumb and stupid!

Sadly, it is pretty common practice in Indonesia because regulation only allows the legalization of marriage to be done in a religious institution. You cannot just go to the civil registry. Even worse, those religions are imported religions in this country.

Forcing an individual to convert into certain religion means that one forces others to lie to themselves. If one can lie to themselves, it is not impossible that (s)he will lie to their partner too.

You see how religions play with people’s mind. Lovers forget what love is. Lovers forget that when you love someone, you must love them unconditionally.

Notes: To Sacrifice or Not To ?

ORG__DSC5026.JPGAs I scrolled down my Facebook’s news feed this morning, I came across to a piece titled “I didn’t realize my husband was depressed until we divorced“. It was published by British media outlet Telegraph. It is a very interesting piece. Worth reading. And when I read it, I feel like deja vu.

Over the years, I learnt that the key to understanding that other people are being depressed is by looking into ourselves first. Whether are we at the right stage of mind or not? And then, we will be able to see other people’s problem.

When we are in a serious long term relationship be it being married or engaged, communication is very important to keep the relationship going. It is true that we should not ignore any behaviour-changing of our partner as humanely as possible. However, it is not as easy as it is said especially when both of them are not at the right state of mind.

In that situation, the couple then normally will not be able to communicate rationally, the couple will not be able to see things clearly. The woman will always sound nagging and the man will always sound angry all the time. And if the couple is not willing to see it within themselves and admit it (that they are not at the right stage of mind or depressed), it’s hard to change the situation.

The thing is many people do not want to accept or admit that themselves or their partner are being depressed because many still consider or associate depression with mental illness, which is embarrassing for many.

It then causes depression rooted in oneself and makes the situation worse because of ignorance. Screaming. Yelling. Glass shattered. Hospital. Self-harm. Committing suicide. Getting drunk. Saying nasty things to each other. Etc. It can be very horrible and traumatic.

For me, the only solution is that I have to learn to love myself before I love other people. “Loving yourself” might sound easy but if you are an ambitious person and living in the fast-moving world yet competitive, it’s just not easy.

Why? You just want to achieve more and more for yourself. And when two ambitious people get together, “loving yourself” becomes difficult because the individuals have to sacrifice one thing and another for the sake of the relationship. The question is are we ready to do so, place the relationship before the career?

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Jakarta: Pasar Pocong

Mrs. Atun has been a traditional herbal drinking beverage jamu seller for decades in Pasar Pocong, Jakarta [2015: EO]

Mrs. Atun has been a traditional herbal drinking beverage jamu seller for decades in Pasar Pocong, Jakarta [2015: EO]

Selama lima tahun tinggal di Jakarta, baru beberapa bulan terakhir ini saya dolan ke Pasar Pocong, sebuah pasar tradisional di Kelurahan Menteng Atas. Hampir setiap pagi saya ke Pasar Pocong untuk  berbelanja kebutuhan sayur dan buah-buahan. Selain untuk mendapatkan sayuran dengan harga lebih murah, saya pun bisa berinteraksi dengan para pedagang dan mengetahui cerita masyarakat yang bekerja di luar gedung perkantoran maupun pusat perbelanjaan di Jakarta. Cerita masyarakat biasa yang mungkin jarang saya dengar di food-hall shopping center, bar atau restaurant-restaurant di Ibu Kota.

Enggak jarang para pedagang bertanya pada saya mengapa saya lebih memilih untuk ke pasar seorang diri ketimbang meminta pembantu saya untuk berbelanja, termasuk Mbak Tatik, seorang pedagang buah asal Klaten, Jawa Tengah “Ngapain mbak ke pasar? Kan bisa nyuruh pembantunya ke sini.

Saya bilang ke Mbak Tatik bahwa dari dulu saya memang suka ke pasar tradisional untuk berinteraksi dengan masyarakat pada umumnya. Selain karena harganya lebih murah ketimbang belanja di supermarket seperti FoodHall atau Farmer Market, saya pun juga bisa kenal mbak Sri pedagang sayur, Bu Atun penjual jamu dan Mbak Gethuk penjual tiwul.

Dari mereka, saya bisa tahu kapan harga pangan naik dan turun, saya bisa tahu apakah akan mempengaruhi penjualan mereka dan lebih tahu kehidupan orang-orang yang mencari uang di luar gedung kantor atau shopping center.Mana bisa saya berinteraksi dengan para pelayan di supermarket yang cenderung jutek setiap kali melayani pelanggan.

Memang sayuran di pasar tradisional enggak seindah atau sebersih sayuran di supermarket. Bahkan saya harus mencucinya berulang kali saking kotornya. Belum lagi, akhir-akhir ini saya mulai kecewa karena brokoli, daun mint, cilantro dan beet roots cepat busuk. Sayangkan kalau dibuang begitu saja?

Jujur aja, saya sebenernya sempat berpikir untuk berhenti belanja di pasar tradisional karena buang-buang uang. Harga murah tapi cepat busuk. Buat apa? Namun, saya tahu bahwa saya tetap ingin ke sana untuk mendengarkan cerita para pedagang Pasar Pocong.

Untung aja setelah berbagi cerita ini melalui Facebook, beberapa kawan saya di Facebook menyarankan agar saya merendam sayuran tersebut ke dalam air es selama satu jam. Sayuran tersebut kemudian dibungkus di dalam koran lalu di lemari es. Dengan begitu, sayuran akan tetap segar.

Nah dengan begitu, saya enggak perlu khawatir untuk belanja sayuran di pasar tradisional lagi dan terus mendengarkan cerita para pedagang pasar yang diiringi dengan lantunan musik dangdut dari pedagang MP3 di Pasar Pocong.

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You Never Miss What You Had Until It’s Gone

ORG__DSC6329It was 10:06 p.m. when I stepped into the house last night. I just got home from watching the premiere of Indonesian film “A Copy of My Mind” at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. I felt restless and extremely exhausted. All I thought about was good night sleep. After I finished the shower and got ready to bed, I heard my phone beeping. It was from a good friend of mine. Yet, I did not answer his message until I woke up this morning.

Beb,” my friend wrote.

Yes,” I answered.

“I want to break up (with my lover). I’m a sex addict and he said to me that if I slept with other guys, we’re done” My friend wrote.

“Well, if it is the best for you then go ahead. But remember, we have a certain condition that everybody cannot just accept it easily. Unless you enjoy being alone and do not need or want to have somebody to come home to or make you feel complete, then you should break up and continue the adventure.” I went on,

“At the end, casual sex only gives us temporary happiness and temporary sense of acceptance. Those hot, rich and handsome guys normally give no shit about us at all. As soon as they’re done, they are just gonna go.” I continued.

“So I think, we have to ask to ourselves ‘Why do we want to trade one great guy with a beautiful personality and most importantly loves us so much, who also can accept us the way we are, with those dickheads? What are we looking for?’. As they say ‘You never miss what you had until it’s gone.'” I said.

True,” he answered.

Sometimes we just take our lives for granted until we lose everything and regret it. When it is gone, it is gone.

PS: This writing was inspired by my conversation with a good friend of mine. Of course, I shared this story with my friend’s permission.

Notes: Liar

DSCF1124Let’s ask ourselves these questions. Do you put heavy make-up to cover your pimple or skin imperfection? Do you need to purchase brand-name products? Do you max out your credit card to purchase fancy things that you cannot afford it? Do you use a photo filter or photoshop before you upload your photo online? Do you work in a company only for a monthly pay-cheque? Do you cheat on your lover or partner and stay in a relationship even you are no longer happy? Do you know that all of those are the form of lie and there are just many more forms of lies out there?

Well, the individual is not the only liar in our society. The governments lie, the companies lie, the religious institutions lie, the politicians lie, the religious leaders lie, the public figures lie and almost all the citizens lie. Eventually, almost all of us are liars.

However, have you ever asked yourself why you need to lie? I believe that we begin to lie because our society often tells us that we are not good enough as individuals. They say “You are not good enough because of your skin colour”;  “You are not good enough because of your ethnicity background”; “You are not good enough because of your weight”; “You are not good enough because of your job”. And you are just not good in so many ways.

Their judgment makes us feeling insecure; their judgment makes us to not accept yourself, and their judgment makes us feel to have the need to fulfil their demand/ requirements. The worse, their judgment makes you stop loving yourself unconditionally.  Ultimately, you have the need to lie. We do it consciously or unconsciously, to other people as well as to ourselves. As a result, we become liars.

We do not know anymore whether we need to keep our mouth shut and tell the truth or we just need to lie. In the end, lying seems to be much easier than being honest and truthful; being perfect seems to be more acceptable than being imperfect and that is what our society wants from us… to be perfect! Hence, we lie. Correct me if I was wrong!

Xoxo

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Notes: The Magnetic City of East Coast

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“Straight Outta Compton” Film of NWA will be released on Aug. 14 [2015: E O]

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that most of the fans of Sex and The City television series have the desire to visit New York City in the United States of America. Just from the SATC TV series, NYC always appears to be very magnetic and magical; its lifestyle, its fashion and its environment seem to be very electric yet unique. Since then, it becomes one of my top travel list destination over the years and finally, my dream came through. Last week, had the opportunity to visit NYC for five days. I was super super excited.

Considering to get in touch with local people, I tried to book accommodation through the famous site AirBnB. After a few e-mail exchanges with one of the host, the host mentioned that she had room for me. I was glad that I would stay at a local’s house, but it did not happen. My request was cancelled just a few hours before my flight.

I was so worried. I was freaking out. It was about 10 p.m, my flight would be at 8 a.m and I realized that I would not have accommodation upon my arrival. It must be a joke! However, it was not a big deal, it was manageable. I immediately booked a room from booking.com. Even though it was manageable, this experience gave me the impression that my NYC trip might not be going to be as fun as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, I was still excited anyway.

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Friday morning, I arrived in the U.S. It took me an hour and half-hour of flight from Toronto Billybishop Airport of Canada to Newark Liberty International Airport of the U.S. I have not reached my final destination yet. I still had to take another 30 minutes of train ride from the airport to New York Penn Station with NJ Transit Train to get to downtown Manhattan.

However, as soon as I stepped out of  New York Penn Station, I got my heartbroken. My excitement level dropped significantly. The city does not appear as magnetic as it is on the television. In fact, it is very repellent. New York City is just very dirty, messy and crowded. There are just too much traffic as well as construction works. This condition made me thinking to cut my trip short before I even tested the water.

Are you sure? I asked myself. No! I guess I am just tired. It is not wise to make a decision when I am unhappy. I answered.

It was only 11 a.m when I reached to Manhattan. I immediately checked-in to the Rogers New York Hotel in Madison Avenue; unfortunately, I could not get into the room until 3 p.m. I wondered what I should do for the next four hours and where I should go to. I do not know. As this was my first visit to NYC, there were just too many tourist attractions that I wanted to visit, including Times Square, Liberty Statue, Ground Zero, Central Park, etc.

In order to go to those places, I had to use google maps on my iPhone because I simply was not familiar with the city; but then again, I had other problems because I only had 40 per cent of phone battery power and I had no portable charger. On top of that, I was so starving. Darn!

It made me more annoyed, cranky, devastated and also frustrated. The perfect combination to be grumpy and dislike NYC. Nevertheless, I must not let it ruin my weekend gateway and all I need to do is to grab some foodie before I wandered about and did anything.

***

As I walked down in 33 Street to grab some foodie, I saw some grey line city bus tour‘s salesman offering their services to tourist. It attracted me so I seek for the information about what kind of deal that they had for me. After 10 minutes of conversation, they offered me 51 bucks of NYC Pass. NYC Pass can be used for Downtown, Brooklyn, Bronx as well as Night Tour within 48 hours. He also mentioned that the NYC Pass is including a ferry ticket. So I guess, it was not a bad deal at all!

Considering the deal that they offered me, I decided to use their services to stroll around downtown Manhattan on the top of the bus. I thought it would be the easiest way to get Lil bit of everything in the city. That way, I did not have to depend on my phone and keep some battery.

Frankly, I used to be very sceptical about the city sightseeing bus services, it seems very tacky to me. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the tour and got a sense of downtown Manhattan. It was 5.30 p.m; I ended my bus tour in Rockefeller Center and walked down to Times Square, the most crowded tourist attraction that I have ever been and I H.A.T.E it!

***

Since I left Toronto, I was up for 14 hours and had only 3 hours of sleep. I just felt very drained out. I really wanted to go back to the hotel and took a nap. However, I had no idea how to get there. My phone was off, the almighty google maps were unable to help me. I tried to grab a cab but I could not get any after hailing cabs for nearly an hour. I was about to cry.

Geez…. what a start?! I wore the wrong footwear to walk around, I got lost, I got sunburn and my phone was off. I just want to lay down now but how?!.

I looked away to solve my minor yet devastating problem. I said to myself that I need a portable charger. So, I went to the nearest electronic shop to get a portable charger. However, after purchasing the portable charger, I realized that I actually did not bring my iPhone cable. What a drag?! How could I turn my phone on?! Should I purchase for iPhone cable (again)? No way! I felt so stupid. 

Recognizing that I had a problem, a friendly Israelite shop keeper showed me how to get back to my hotel. He told me that my hotel is actually only three blocks away from his shop. I was so happy to hear that. I just could not wait to lay down and catch some sleep after all the long walk in uncomfortable footwear and the sunburn. All I wanted to do was sleeping.

Honestly, I  actually hate the idea of using it because it can shorten the longevity of battery; but, somehow it just is the best life safer while you are travelling.

***

On my way to the hotel, I stopped in a convenience store to get myself some snacks; I was extremely starving and thirsty. A friendly New Yorker said hi and talked to me; he asked how my day was going. As I was tired and upset, I started rambling. I just told him that I got my heart broken because NYC is not as magical as it is in the film or tv series; the city is dirty and crowded; it was just hard to get around to and thought to cut my trip short and return to TO.

Don’t cut your trip short, I can give you a lot of recommendation for places or things to do here,” he said. “And I’d love to take you out for a drink. Perhaps that way you won’t think that everyone in NYC is an asshole,” he said.

He also offered me to go to the beach to celebrate “Beach Day” with his friends because the country celebrates “Beach Day”, I am not sure what Beach Day actually is. Another stranger offered me the same thing because the city celebrated “Beach Day”.

I was so surprised that a total stranger could just talk to me and ask me to go out for a drink like that in NYC. It did not only happen once but a couple of times in a coffee shop and convenience store on the daylight. I mean, I understand if it happens in the bars or social media; but in the convenience store or coffee shop on the daylight?!  Really?!

I mean, not trying to show off but I often got compliments in TO as walking down the road, either because of my hair cut, my shoes, my shade or my outfit by total strangers. But getting an invitation for a drink, coffee and dinner by a stranger on the street? It is surprising!

Other than that,  some people also said that New Yorkers are ignorance and rude; yet, it did not appear that way while I was there. I was wondering whether it is just the nature of New Yorker, friendly and nice, or is it something else? I must say that even though it is surprising but it made me feel very welcome and flattered at the same time.

After all, It was a fabulous five days NYC trip, I will definitely return to NYC while I am in this region.