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.


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.


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


One afternoon

Dulcerias, the candy seller in Mexico. So good!


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