28 Desember 2011

¡Estoy conquistando México! (2)

Oh, hello, Guadalajara!

Having two Mexican friends who live in different states is a great advantage. After exploring Zacatecas with Andrea, I spent my Christmas in Zacoalco de Torres and Guadalajara, great cities in Jallisco state. I don't really know where to start, but... let's see.

My journey so far: from Montezuma to Albuquerque, then Zacatecas, Guadalajara, Zacoalco, Sayula, and Colima.

I had my second Christmas this year. It's not like in United States, and it was so Mexican. I made and broke piñata. It was so sad to break something that was made carefully. So, the pictures will tell you more about my second Christmas in Zacoalco!

Nicol, Adilson, and I also visited Adilson's relatives in other cities like Sayula and Colima. The most interesting thing about these little towns is the church. I have been in many small towns in Mexico, and they always have impressive church architecture.

Sayula


Colima church

Colima plaza

Rice in front of the church. It was from marriage ritual: rice was sprinkled to bless the newlywed.

 Zacoalco plaza.

We also went to Guadalajara, the third biggest city in México. For me, the city was big enough to be compared with Jakarta, Indonesia (but it has fresher air and vacant streets).

Huge church. Wait until you see the main church.

The main church!

The view of main church from the government office.

Mexican are very creative. I found an interesting painter. He could paint in only 10 minutes, enjoy the video and pictures!

Not interesting? Watch the video.

Still not interesting?

Yes. Using acrylic paint and lighter, he created fire to dry his painting quickly.

Some of the results.

We also went to a wax museum there, and it was great to see the public figures and took some pictures with them.

First part.

Chaplin.

I just got some pictures from Nicol, when we were conquering Zacatecas. Because of someone's request, I also got some food pictures!

Christmas show in the Centro.

Found my countrymate... a microwavable container.

I will give you some tips for travelling to Mexico, especially for Indonesian. I really recommend you to go to this place, because you can not only learn about the Mexican culture in general, but also try many types of delicious Mexican food: real tortilla -not the one like in States, gorditas, tostadas, guacamole, tacos, and many more.

1. Bring a good amount of peso (Mexico currency), because you really cannot expect what you can find there. For instance, I was planning to spend only 30 dollars of money here, but I saw so many great things -from clothes to bags, so I ended up going to money changer many times to exchange my dollar to peso. I also cannot withdraw any dollar here (of course, their ATM's have pesos, not dollar), so I'm depended on my friend who is really kind to lend me some money.

2. Try every food that you find. Most of them are so tasty and original. As Indonesian, I found so many 'strange' foods, like guacamole (the avocado sauce) that is eaten with tortilla and sometimes with rice. For tacos, they have up to ten different sauces and chili; one of them is similar to cabe rawit/cengek that Sundanese always eat with fried tofu.

3. They have good quality of shoes, with so much cheaper price compared to US (not Indonesia, sorry). The shoes sellers are called Zapaterias. I found so many great pairs of boots, flat shoes, heels, tennis shoes, and others.

4. Buy some candies in Dulcerias. Seriously, Mexican candies are so good. Try the ones with milk, fruits, and other fillings. Be careful, some of them have alcohol. Don't be shy to ask to the seller what the contains of the candies if you are not sure.

5. They are really creative. I mean, really. As I have shown you before (10 Minutes Painter in Guadalajara), so many Mexican merchandise sellers sell their stuffs and show how they make it. What I have seen so far are the fast painter and the fast glass artist (he can make a bird from glass in less than 15 minutes!).

6. What I have bought for merchandise are: the dream catcher (the one that you see in Twilight movie to prevent from nightmare), a backpack with Mexican fabric, and some postcards.

7. Enjoy the church architecture. Every time you see a church, don't hesitate to go there and see the hugeness and the windows.

8. Mexican manner is somehow like Indonesian. Don't forget to say thank you (gracias) and please (por favor) appropriately. The common greeting in Mexico is hugging with touching each other's cheeks and making a sound like kissing. If you are uncomfortable with it, you can just shake hand.

9. If you are offered with some foods by the host, it will be rude if you do not try it at all. It's better to try to eat it, although for only a little bit. 

10. Tortilla is their staple food. Just like rice for Indonesian. The food will taste more Mexican if you eat it with tortilla. Just saying. They also add chili, cheese, and lemon almost to every single dish.

11. Try to drink horchata (water from rice extract) and jamaica (water from dried flowers -I forget which flowers, prepared in the same way like tea). I don't really like horchata, my Indonesian tongue always refuse to eat/drink something related to rice that is sweet. You can also find a dessert called rice pudding which consists of rice, condensed milk, and cinnamon. Yes, although I have tried this dessert several times, I still don't like it. However, I really like jamaica

12. Try bengkoang or jicama in Spanish with lemon and chili. Best thing ever.

I am going to add more if something comes to my mind. Only one week left before I go back to the Land of Enchantment. I really do not want to leave this place, but I want to spend my fourth semester with my best friends and cherish my last semester in UWC.

I really hope that you enjoy this post. It was painful to upload all the pictures and videos, haha. 

17 Desember 2011

¡Estoy conquistando México!

Yes, I'm conquering Mexico!

After 24 hours of bus ride, finally we arrived in Zacatecas, Mexico, where Andrea lives. A beautiful city (still on the desert, though), with a lot of things to do and many tourist places.


No, I haven't been really anywhere here. One week of winter break, three second years from UWC (me, Nicol-Costa Rica, Andrea): what do you expect? Pile of supplemental essays for colleges are waiting to be done, in my case, there are four lab reports due after winter break, and for others: Math homework or Environmental Systems IA. Not too bad.


However, sometimes we released the stress by going around the plaza and centro, enjoying the colonial architecture there, and guessing what people talk in Spanish. I am pretty sure that my ability in listening Spanish has increased exponentially. A good thing for me, because once I go back to the Land of Enchanment, I can hear some Latin gossips while they don't know that I can understand them, haha.


Apart from that, I love Zacatecas. This place is beautiful, and the best thing is, of course, the food! You don't know how much I was craving for good food last semester (that's why my friends and I bought tons of Indomies online last semester), so when I see those OMG-those-look-so-delicious foods here, I just cannot hold it anymore. No, I don't care even though I will gain some weight. I need it ;)


OK, I will tell you about this place later. Enjoy the pictures! :D


Feliz Navidad, which means "Merry Christmas."


Colonial architecture


Piñata!


One afternoon


Dulcerias, the candy seller in Mexico. So good!


Crowd


P.S. My birthday last week was celebrated here as well. It was great, yet simple and meaningful. People from all around the world congratulated me using their own ways, and I really appreciate my Indonesian friends who try to give me something special. One thing: I'm so glad that I was born to this world.

06 Desember 2011

One Step Closer

Badai Salju, -13°C

Semester ketiga hampir berakhir. Tinggal seminggu lagi hingga “the greatest escape”, winter break kali ini aku akan pergi ke Meksiko, bersama dua teman dekatku, Andrea (Meksiko) dan Nicol (Kosta Rika).

Masih segar di ingatan, betapa kakak kelasku bilang kalau semester ketiga adalah semester terberat di UWC. Bukan hanya karena beban pelajaran dan tugasnya yang luar biasa, tetapi juga karena posisi sebagai second year sendiri yang kadang-kadang bikin diri sengak tak diundang. Ya, semester ketiga adalah waktu saat kamu merasa benar-benar dekat dengan teman-temanmu, sehingga dengan mudahnya kamu melemparkan ejekan atau lelucon –yang kamu tak tahu seberapa masif efeknya hingga teman kamu menjauh dan kalian bertengkar.
Hal yang sama terjadi padaku.


Semester ketiga juga membuatku sadar akan sesuatu. Proses aplikasi ke universitas memang lebih susah dari yang kupikirkan sebelumnya, tiap universitas memiliki supplement dengan pertanyaan yang harus dijawab dengan essay. Aku merasa aneh, tetapi essay-essay yang aku tulis benar-benar penuh dengan pikiran dan perasaanku, tidak jauh dengan bagaimana aku menulis untuk melihat refleksi diriku sendiri. Essay-essay ini membuatku mengenal diriku lebih jauh dari yang kubayangkan: hal yang paling penting bagiku, pelajaran terpenting yang pernah kudapat seumur hidupku, bagaimana aku melalui masalah terberat dalam hidupku. Semuanya demi satu tujuan: universitas-universitas ini menginginkan siswa yang tak hanya memiliki nilai bagus, tetapi juga kepribadian yang sesuai dengan misi sekolah mereka. Kapan ya, Indonesia bisa begini?


Common Application: Aplikasi Universitas di Amerika Serikat

Ternyata aku dapat waktu tidur yang sangat cukup semester ini, tidak seperti yang kubayangkan sebelumnya. Aku tahu kalau aku mengurangi waktuku untuk bersenang-senang, dan mengalihkannya untuk tidur, juga mengurangi waktuku dalam bersosialisasi.


Tetapi semua temanku melakukan hal itu.


Karenanya, kami lebih menghargai waktu yang kami habiskan bersama-sama di kelas atau di ruang makan. Satu jam saat makan malam, kami menumpahkan segalanya. Memastikan kabel di antara kami tetap terhubung.


Inilah hasilnya. Aku memang berhasil melalui semester ketigaku, tetapi aku benar-benar merindukan teman-temanku. Karena itulah rencanaku jelas, sejelas prediksi cuaca tiga hari lalu bahwa badai salju akan mendera Montezuma, semester depan aku akan berkonsentrasi pada pengalamanku sebagai UWC-er, seseorang yang tinggal dengan 200 orang lainnya dengan total kewarganegaraan hingga 80.


One step closer. Lebih dekat dengan apa, Titan?


Semester ketiga ini, aku merasa lebih dekat dengan tiga hal terpenting dalam hidupku: Tuhan, teman, dan impian. Jangan tanya mengapa keluarga tak ada dalam daftarku, aku memang mengabari mereka hanya untuk membuat mereka mengerti keadaanku -aku tak terlalu sering mengobrol dengan mereka, karena biasanya aku akan merasa homesick.


Tuhan. Percayalah pada kata mutiara, "Semakin kamu didera, semakin kamu percaya." Hal yang sama berlaku padaku. Setidaknya kali ini aku selalu berusaha untuk puasa Senin-Kamis dan puasa sunnah lainnya. Aku lebih percaya dari sebelumnya bahwa hanya Tuhan yang bisa membantuku melewati ini semua.


Teman. Satu jam mengobrol dengan teman-temanku, baik di sini maupun di Indonesia adalah obat yang paling ampuh untuk membuatku tersenyum. Kotak surat dari teman-temanku, serta boneka, souvenir, dan foto-foto dari mereka selalu membuatku bangkit lagi. Aku selalu berdiri di depan cermin dan berkata, "Hei, Titan, kamu sudah omong besar di depan temanmu: sekolah di Amerika-lah, main salju-lah; lalu mengapa sekarang kamu bertindak selemah itu?"


Karena aku selalu percaya: nikmat yang besar selalu datang dari ujian yang besar.


Impian. Kamu tahu betapa aku menginginkan masuk universitas di Amerika Serikat. Betapa aku menginginkan untuk menjadi fusi Pak Habibie dan Bu Sri Mulyani. Betapa aku ingin mengangkat harkat dan martabat bangsaku.


Ternyata selalu ada jalan lain dari impian-impian itu. Aku sudah pasrah, walaupun tidak berarti menyerah. Aku percaya pada kekuatan Tuhan, di manapun aku ditempatkan tahun depan.


Ketiga hal ini menguat sebagai bagian kecil dari aspek kehidupanku. Aku juga bersyukur karena ketiga hal ini menguatkanku sebagai manusia. Lebih baik.


Refleksi semester ketigaku selesai di sini. Ulang tahunku sebentar lagi, dan aku merasa bangga karena kecondonganku berubah positif lebih besar dari negatif.


Selamat ujian yang akan ujian, dan selamat liburan yang akan liburan. Beberapa foto penghibur dari badai salju hari ini semoga bisa membuatmu senyum di bibirmu melebar.


Dari Jendela Kamar

Dari Depan Asramaku

Jalan Menuju Kelas

Membersihkan Salju dengan Traktor

20 November 2011

Kekerdilanku Adalah Kebesaranku

Andien-Pulang

Aku baru saja kembali dari AND (African National Day) Show; pertunjukkannya memang luar biasa. Hal yang paling kusyukuri adalah kesempatan untuk mengenal sisi lain teman-temanku yang tak pernah kulihat dalam hari-hari biasa.

Aku duduk di atas tempat tidurku, dengan piyama warisan dari ibuku yang berwarna biru dan bergambar boneka berbagai pose. Teman sekamarku pergi ke after-party-nya AND; awalnya dia tak akan datang, tetapi karena gennya memang gen pesta, apa boleh buat dia pergi juga.

Boleh jujur?

Aku merasa kerdil. Malu rasanya setiap kali melihat jurnal daring berkatakunci milikku. Aku menulisnya hampir tiap hari. Mencari tempat untuk menuangkan segala sesuatu yang tercecer dari otakku. Tetapi belakangan ini kulihat hanya keluhan yang ada di sini.

Nilai kecil. Tugas yang tak pernah berakhir. Masalah dengan teman. Proses masuk universitas yang sulit.

Mengapa aku tak bisa membesarkan hatiku sedikit saja untuk menjadikannya semakin besar? Mengapa aku susah sadar bahwa hidup ini tak hanya kimia, fisika, matematika, ekonomi, dan Bahasa Inggris saja? Mengapa aku tak sadar-sadar jika hidup ini tak hanya soal skala 7 dari 7 di kurikulum IB? Tak hanya soal SAT, tak pula soal TOEFL. Juga bukan hanya soal universitas-universitas top tersebut.

Karena aku yang bermimpi, aku yang jauh lebih mengerti keadaanku sendiri.

Aku hampir menangis ketika menonton pertunjukkan AND hari ini. Mengapa aku baru terdorong kali ini bahwa UWC terlalu besar untuk dihargai dengan akademik, IB, dan SAT? Tak banyak yang punya kesempatan seperti aku.

Aku bertekad untuk berbagi melalui blog ini, tetapi jika aku tak punya hal yang dibagi selain hal-hal akademik, buat apa? UWC terlalu spesial untuk itu.

Benar sekali,
"Banyak hal yang terlalu spesial untuk dihargai dengan hal-hal kulit saja."
Setidaknya aku sempat sadar ketika aku masih di tempat ini, bukan ketika aku sudah meninggalkannya; aku yakin hanya penyesalan mendalam yang tersimpan saat itu.

Aku mencintai tempat ini sebagai sekolah yang luar biasa.

Kekerdilanku dalam hal menikmati segala sesuatu yang ada dan tersedia, kali ini merupakan kebesaranku.
"Hari ini Sayang, aku akan pulang, berlabuh di dekap cintamu. Karena pelukmu akan selalu membuat diriku jatuh cinta." Andien-Pulang
Terima kasih, UWC.

17 November 2011

Winter Expedition!

I was curious. That was all. When I signed up for this expedition and came to the meeting at 7:00 AM in that legendary room: Room 415, I was not aware how cold it was going to be.

Tom Lamberth, the one who is responsible for any wilderness activities, as well as my faculty sponsor during Mexico Project Week last school year, said, "Yes, the weather forecast said, that it will be around 0 degree Celcius here in Montezuma. So, you just need to subtract it by 2 or 3 degree."

Yes, I was arrogant and said, "You know what, I survived running from Hot Springs to my dorm on March, and the temperature was around -30 degree Celcius."

Yet, the expedition was harder than what I expected. The wind was crazy, and the weather forecast put, "Severe Weather" notice the night before I departed.

Javier, my friend from Guatemala, told me several times, "You should go to Hermit's Peak! It's really easy to hike."

Unfortunately, when I saw that peak, 3128 m above the sea level, I lost my motivation suddenly. It is high. No, it's not connotation; it's denotation.

However, the fact that I was in team 2 with Simona (Bulgaria), Pedro (Venezuela), Frida (Denmark), Joanna (China), and Minori (Japan), helped me. I am close to Simona and Pedro, and they understood me really well that I could survive and make it with extra support.

Yes, with extra support, haha.

Yes, and as you probably know, I made it. The greatest moment was when we did not know that we reached the peak, just because the walkie-talkie did not work and we could not contact Tom Lamberth at that time. So, with a hungry stomach, I just grabbed a bag of tortilla, took 2 tortillas at the same time, and poured Nutella onto it.


Yes. Nutella. For the first time. After I came to US. I will buy it this weekend. Yes.

I do not regret it.In fact, that was the best expedition I've ever come so far (Oh, yes, Titan, you only have gone to two expeditions so far, haha). So, I guess, picture's time? 

So, happy weekend, everyone! And I'm so excited for having AND (African National Day) 
this weekend! Almost Thanksgiving!


Love, Titan

06 November 2011

What A Coincidence: I Just Had SAT (Again!)

I'm really sorry for not updating of my experience here. I really feel guilty- but, anyway, I'm going to tell you some stuffs that I've been doing these days. Yes, I just did SAT today. What a-.

First:

Hello Montezuma, can you stop having special weather statement, please?

"Weather in Montezuma was always random and unpredictable," that was the lesson that I got last year. I tried to apply it this year, but it is too random to be called random. Several storms, windy days, snowy days- I cannot even count how many extreme weather that we have had so far. As one who comes from a tropical-stable climate country, I do not only concern, but I REALLY concern about this. It has gone beyond my tolerance point, where I always question, "How many degree Celcius is outside right now?"




But, it's beautiful. I admit that. Wind makes the leaves falling; while snow makes everything looks pure and clear. "What is beauty?" raised in my TOK class a few weeks ago. Beauty, for me, means, a peaceful feeling after looking at something. As simple as that. 

So, Montezuma, at least you give me surprise every day. Something that I can wait for, something that I can think before going to bed, "How is the weather going to be tomorrow?"

Second:
European National Day was such a good reliever in a good time. The food was great, the show was even the best one so far (although they made fun of themselves too much, sorry). In a short word, it was great. The best foods were banitsa (I have gotten addicted to this Bulgarian food since last year!) and the desserts. I really love the strawberry mousse!

As usual, people tried to drag me to the party. For thousands times, I tried to explain my uncomfortable feeling in a dark place with super-loud music, and sweaty people everywhere. Yeah, of course, there were still some people who could not understand it, which made me kind of upset. Well, don't take it seriously, maybe I was just in high pressure and swing mood.

That's the thing: in this kind of place, where people live in a very crowded dormitory, sometimes I just need to find my  "own space". I sometimes always want to be alone, just by myself, and reflecting (or writing blog!) what I have done so far. This is the only thing that can keep me sane, otherwise I will just be sunk in the social life and lost track of myself (or even my aims).

That's why I suggest you (yes, YOU!) to take time for yourself every day, before sleeping, for instance. Write, keep track of what you're doing, and just enjoy it. Yes, as I said, it will keep you sane.

Third:


The Kitchen Musical, a Southeast Asian drama! Picture taken from here.

Before I explain it to you further, watch this video below first! Enjoy!


First, yes, they have Christian Bautista there, who is my favorite Filipino singer. Second, yes, I really like the concept of this drama which combines foods, musics, and love. Who doesn't like this combination?

This drama is a hit, at least this is what I know in Indonesia and some Southeast Asian countries. This makes me want to say, "Let's beat those irrational Korean dramas!" Haha, yes, I'm chuckling right now.


The main protagonists. Maddie and Daniel. Picture was taken from here.

Fourth:

Yes, the holiday season that I've been waiting for is coming!
Give me winter break! Give me thanksgiving break!

Yes, I really cannot wait for Mexican foods. Uh, did I tell you that I'm going to Mexico for winter break? Yes, I'm going there. Only in one month. 

Eid mubarak (I'm having UNM Math Contest during Eid ul-Adha), and don't eat too much beef/ lamb otherwise you'll gain more weight, or the worse one, your cholesterol will increase! :)


Much love, Titan.

Quick update: I finished (OK, let's put it in better way: I SUBMITTED) my EE, aye! I retook my SAT Reasoning Test today. I will have MAAD (Middle Eastern, Australian, Asian Day) soon (the meeting is next week!), and I cannot wait for AND (African National Day) which will be in two weeks. I will go to winter expedition in Hermits Peak next week, wish me luck. Two tests on Friday next week, which means I need to study. I cannot just rely on my active participation in class to seal a 7. Have fun, people!

02 Oktober 2011

SAT, Fall, and Love


I finally took SAT yesterday. I tried my best, and I had prepared it as much as I could, so I will not regret it. I am pretty optimistic about the result, actually. Yeah!










Fall's wind is up, and I really love this season because everything is turning yellow or red. It also gives me different energy to ace this semester. I wish this season could stay longer.



I know, it seems that I posted so many photos of my room. But, everything that I do is always here. Although I am in north side of my dorm (again) this year, which guarantees a cold room during winter, I really love this side. Despite the fact of having an awesome hallway, this side also faces the castle, and the other 2 upper dorms (Chum and MB). My room is also next to the bicycle parking place, so when someone goes to town, I can ask him/ her to buy me a bar of chocolate or a bag of chips. Talking about chips, I fall in love with Lay's Kettle Cooked Jalapeno. Viva Jalapeno! Seperti peribahasa Indonesia: tak ada rotan akar pun jadi, tak ada keripik riki, Lay's Jalapeno pun jadi, hehe.




And... I finally got the postcard, from my friend in Singapore, Fitri Fatimah. She is genius, I mean, genius. She got a scholarship in National University of Singapore, which is one of the best universities in the world.

I fall in love again with Depapepe, and these new Thai guys: Singular. Singular just made the lyric based on Depapepe song, Kitto Mata Itsuka, and the title is Some Other Day. Although I don't understand Thai, but it sounds really good and I love it so much!


きっとまたいつか - カバー


Singular feat きっとまたいつか - Some Other Day


Have a nice weekend, and get some rest, people.

Love, Titan