Catatan: Playdate

SONY DSCSalah satu alternatif bagi anak-anak ekspatriat yang tinggal di Dhaka untuk dapat berinteraksi dengan anak-anak seusia adalah dengan mengikuti playdate. Selama ini playdate diorganisir oleh ‘ayah‘ atau ‘baby sitter‘, diadakan dari rumah ke rumah, diikuti oleh anak-anak sepantaran dan diadakan selama dua jam pada hari kerja. Boleh dikatakan, sebagian besar orang tua dari anak-anak tersebut sibuk bekerja atau keluyuran seperti saya sehingga daripada mereka di rumah berdua dengan ‘ayah’ saja maka mereka lebih baik bermain bersama anak-anak seusianya. Lalu bagaimana aturan mainnya?

Well, tidak ada aturan khusus. Hanya saja, orang tua diharapkan menyiapkan ruangan khusus atau playpen sehingga anak-anak tersebut dapat bermain dengan aman. Selain itu, tuan rumah diharapkan untuk menyiapkan snack baik untuk anak-anak maupun ‘ayah’; baby snack untuk anak berupa buah-buahan seperti apel, jeruk atau anggur dapat pula berupa baby biscuit sedangkan untuk ‘ayah’ berupa cookies dan minuman baik teh atau soft drink. Meskipun diorganisir oleh ‘ayah’, ada saja orang tua yang berpartisipasi untuk mengawasi anak-anak yang biasanya berasal dari sang tuan rumah.

Nah sudah satu bulan baby A mengikut playdate dengan anak-anak sepantaran. Sejak ikut playdate, keseharian baby A jadi lebih teratur mulai dari  jam makan, jam istirahat, jam minum susu, jam bermain dan jam tidur. Selain itu, makan lebih lahap, mau berbagi dengan orang lain dan enggak nemplok terus sama Daddy atau Ibu. Akhirnya kami pun bisa istirahat dengan lega hi hi. Selain itu, playdate merupakan stress reliever bagi orang tua karena anak jadi punya aktivitas dan enggak bosan. Meskipun demikian, kadang saya khawatir kalau lagi ada yang meler idungnya bisa ikut ketularan. Tapi sejauh ini hal tersebut belum terjadi.

Bagi saya, playdate adalah cara yang bagus untuk anak-anak dapat bersosialisasi dengan orang baru, belajar berbagi atau berinteraksi serta belajar berkomunikasi lintas budaya. Selain itu, orang tua dapat berbagi informasi dan bukan saing-saingan. Tak ada pula yang peduli dengan embel-embel suku, agama atau kelas sosial. Sayangnya, sebagian besar dari mereka adalah anak laki-laki; hanya ada dua anak perempuan yang kadang-kadang ikut.

Belum lama ini, saya dengar bahwa akan ada satu anak yang akan pergi meninggalkan Bangladesh karena orang tuanya harus pindah tugas ke negara lain. Entah kenapa, saya jadi sedih. Saya jadi membayangkan ketika baby A harus say goodbye dengan mereka. Apa yang akan dia rasakan? Mungkin mereka akan merasa sedih juga? Meskipun boleh dikatakan, mereka terlalu muda untuk mengingat hal tersebut. Jadi mungkin yang sedih ibunya ha ha ha.

Anyway, ini beberapa foto dari playdate hari ini di rumah. Kami sengaja enggak membeli terlalu banyak mainan karena memang belum diperlukan. Selain itu, mainan di sini mahal, kualitasnya tidak begitu bagus dan tidak begitu banyak pilihan educational toys. Saya juga sengaja tidak memposting wajah mereka karena belum tentu orang tua mereka menyetujui kalau foto mereka diunggah.

P.S: Playdate tidak harus dilakukan oleh expat family lho

Ride the bus

Photo: Trip to Lahore

Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, Pakistan [2015: EO]

Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, Pakistan [2015: EO]

This is certainly not an easy life for average Pakistani especially during the summer [2015: EO]

This is certainly not an easy life for average Pakistani especially during the summer [2015: EO]

Chaotic [2015: EO]

Chaotic [2015: EO]

Pakistani Street Barber Shop [2015: E O]

Pakistani Street Barber Shop [2015: E O]

Various public transport from rickshaw to donkey cart [2015: EO]

Various public transport from rickshaw to donkey cart [2015: EO]

One leg Pakistani dancer in the Wagah Border Ceremony [2015: E O]

One leg Pakistani dancer in the Wagah Border Ceremony [2015: E O]

Two religiously devoted Pakistani men went to Friday praying [2015: EO]

Two religiously devoted Pakistani men went to Friday praying [2015: EO]

Two Pakistani women in saree went for shopping in Lahore's market [2015: EO]

Two Pakistani women in saree went for shopping in Lahore’s market [2015: EO]

Pakistani women went for window shopping in traditional market of Lahore [2015: EO]

Pakistani women went for window shopping in traditional market of Lahore [2015: EO]

Toiling [2015: EO]

Toiling [2015: EO]

Pakistan v. India [2015: E O]

Pakistan v. India [2015: E O]

Even though there is a no parking sign, they parked their motorbike anyway [2015: EO]

Even though there is a no parking sign, they parked their motorbike anyway [2015: EO]

Even though the temperature reached up to 42 degree Celsius, an ordinary Pakistani elderly kept riding his bicycle [2015: E O]

Even though the temperature reached up to 42 degree Celsius, an ordinary Pakistani elderly kept riding his bicycle [2015: E O]

Handmade Punjab Shoes Store [2015: EO]

Handmade Punjab Shoes Store [2015: EO]

Chilling in Badshahi Mosque, Lahore [2015: EO]

Chilling in Badshahi Mosque, Lahore [2015: EO]

signature

Notes: So I Run

Trying to catching up on my time [2014: E R]

Trying to catching up on my time [2014: E R]

When I am upset and depressed, I run. While I am running, I am crying. Nobody knows but I feel good about it. Nobody sees the tears behind the shade that I  wear; nobody sees that there is a weak and fragile soul behind the strong body. Nobody.

At the end, everyone has their own struggle that they have to deal with. Hence, I prefer to run. It gives me time to talk to myself and do a self reflection. So I run, I run as far and as fast as I can shake my burden away.

signature

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

signature

Notes: The Magnetic City of East Coast

DSCN0148

“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.

***

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.