A (Relevant) Old Doc

Tidak bisa dipungkiri, jarak satu samudera antara Amerika Serikat dan Indonesia membuatku tak mengenal keadaan sebenarnya, dan kondisi terkini dari tanah kelahiranku. Saya hanya membaca berita selewat, atau mendapat informasi dari teman-temanku di tanah air yang mengirimkan satu dua pesan soal sesuatu yang bombastis, atau ‘sekadar menarik’. I admit itI’m biased. 7 tahun di Amerika Serikat tentu saja mau tak mau mengubah kerangka berpikirku, yang dulu mungkin cenderung tradisional dan ABS, alias asal Bapak senang.

Anda tahu saya akan membahas soal apa.

Continue reading “A (Relevant) Old Doc”

The Old Days When I Was Doing Liesegang Experiment

Time passes by really fast. Before I have a full grasp of what is going on this year, the year has come to an end.

Ritual akhir tahunku dimulai dengan membersihkan Google Driveku yang sudah merah dan minta diselamatkan. Tinggal tunggu waktu hingga akhirnya dia menyerah dan bilang, “Bayar extra storage sekarang, atau kamu tidak bisa menyimpan hasil kerjamu!”

Mumpung semester musim dingin belum mulai dan aku belum disibukkan oleh kelas Learning Science through Cooking yang akan kuambil (kabarnya, di kelas terakhir kami akan pergi ke pabrik cokelat!), dan dengan mengumpulkan niat yang menguap ditiup aroma liburan, akhirnya aku mulai menyortir Google Driveku juga.

Aku pun mengklik “Sort files by last modified”. Tak dinyana, aku menemukan banyak kejutan, terutama di tahun pertama aku berada di UWC.

Continue reading “The Old Days When I Was Doing Liesegang Experiment”

Happy New Year 2012!

From the highest place in Zacatecas, Mexico: Happy New Year 2012!

Doomsday? No, that was not the first thing that came to my mind when the date in the corner of my laptop screen changed into 1/1/2012. It is going to be an interesting year: I will finally graduate from high school in May -the moment that I have been waiting for, do IB Exam, get into college, spend my second ‘summer holiday’ in Indonesia, and more things to do. Another life transition from high school to college, obviously. I am wondering if it will go smoothly. I hope.
In my personal (read: password protected) blog, I have written twenty nine resolution for this year. It will still increase, since I always encounter new things and experience every day. I hope those dreams will come true this year.
In less than 24 hours, I will leave Mexico and go back to The Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, United States. As you can expect, I already feel like home here, in Mexico, so it is sort of hard to just leave like that. What makes my feeling worse is the fact that next semester is going to be my last semester in UWC, the school that has changed my perception about the world.
One of my resolution for my last semester is, “Enjoying every second I have, socializing with my friends, and reflecting about my target more.”
Rooftop of Zacatecas, in the afternoon.

Nicol, my Costa Rican friend who shares the same room with me during this winter break, was really homesick. New Year’s Eve is a great deal in Latin America, but here, we celebrated it simply. Barbecue and fireworks, of course, are the two main actors in this event. However, due the fact that I am a vegetarian, I did not eat that much.
The best thing was when my best middle school friends got together in Jakarta to celebrate New Year. We spent the countdown together (Indonesian time, absolutely), which was kind of weird because it was still midday in my place (13 hours difference!).

OK, I have some more pictures from the Rooftop of Zacatecas. First, there are three cowboy sculptures whose horses that have different poses. The first horse has both front feet on the ground, the second horse has one foot up, and the third horse has both feet up. They represent the horses that die because of oldness/sickness but not war, war, and sickness after war.

The second horse.

The second horse from the hill.

La Bufa, the hill.

View from the hill.

Mausoleo de Los Hombres Ilustres de Zacatecas. What is it?

This is it. How does it look like?

This is how it looks like.
I do not know where my feet will bring me this year. However, wherever I am going, as long as it gives me new experience and air to be breathed, I will be happy. I welcome myself to another adventurous year, 2012.

¡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. 

¡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! 😀

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.

"God Has No Border"

Project Week adalah bagian integral dari kehidupan di UWC, setiap tahun, kita berkesempatan mengikuti Project Week dua kali. Dan pada tanggal 3 hingga 13 Maret 2011 lalu, aku berkesempatan pergi ke negeri telenovela: Meksiko! Untuk menemani kalian membaca postingan kali ini, silakan setel lagu Tito El Bambino-El Amor (salah satu lagu berbahasa Spanyol favoritku!) di bawah ini, supaya kalian benar-benar terbang ke Meksiko sana! Bienvenidos a la Mexico!

Salah satu siswa sebuah sekolah di Agua Prieta, Mexico. Baju seragamnya putih-merah, mirip anak SD Indonesia!

Perjalanan dari Montezuma ke Agua Prieta.

Hari pertama, aku terburu-buru dan berlari-lari dari kelas Bahasa Inggrisku yang selesainya super telat karena Cheikh membagikan hasil in-class paper Scarlet Song-ku. Nilainya? Jangan ditanya, hahaha. Yang penting sekarang saatnya Project Week! Mexico, I’m coming! Hampir telat, karena 12 temanku yang lain sudah duduk tenang di dalam minibus di depan Old Stone Hotel. Setelah orang terakhir datang, kami segera meluncur menuju highway, dan meninggalkan Montezuma.

Ke-13 temanku yang ikut dalam perjalanan kali ini adalah sebagai berikut:
1. Andrea Sanchez (Mexico)
2. Julie Trolle (Denmark)
3. Selen Ozturk (Turkey)
4. Nicol Chincilla (Costa Rica)
5. Inviolata Chami (Tanzania)
6. Kripa Dongol (Nepal)
7. Joshua Leon (USA)
8. Ikhzaan Saleem (Maldives)
9. Max Heng (Singapore)
10. Javier Lux (Guatemala)
11. Pedro Monque (Venezuela)
12. Paul Cicochki (Austria)
13. Andrew Nalani (Uganda)
beserta faculty sponsor: Tom Lamberth, juga Albert dan Ray. Dan aku berterimakasih untuk mereka semua yang membuat perjalanan ini luar biasa. Dan juga untuk foto-fotonya. Sebagian dari foto-foto ini berasal dari mereka, haha. Terima kasih banyak, thank you so much, muchas gracias, merci beacoup!

Perjalanan kami ke kota perbatasan di Meksiko ini bertujuan untuk menggelar international show di kawasan perbatasan ini. Tak hanya untuk menyambung persahabatan dan membuat mereka senang, tetapi juga untuk menunjukkan pada dunia bahwa walaupun Meksiko sedang menghadapi perang narkoba, kehangatan dan senyum dari warganya masih sama dan hangat.

Jadi, secara keseluruhan, perjalanan kami ke sana dibagi menjadi dua tujuan: mempelajari isu kota perbatasan, dan menggelar international show. Untuk pertunjukkannya sendiri, kami yang dari berbagai negara ini menyumbang tari dan lagu, dan aku menyumbang tari saman! Yes, haha. Walaupun terlalu banyak remake-nya, tapi hasilnya tetap luar biasa dan membuat mereka terkagum-kagum dengan tarian satu ini. Bangga rasanya!

Running order pertunjukkan. Lihat nomor 11! Yes, Saman Dance! 🙂

Aku sendiri berada di beberapa skits, jadinya harus ganti baju lari-lari. Setelah Opening with Map (di sini aku memperkenalkan diri dalam Bahasa Indonesia!), aku juga memperkenalkan agama Islam di World Religions. Nepali Folk Dance berikutnya oleh Kripa, memberikanku waktu untuk bernapas dan ganti baju mengenakan dress untuk Waltz. Pasanganku adalah Max Heng (Singapore), dan di setiap sekolah yang kami kunjungi, anak-anak meneriakinya dengan sebutan “Chinito”, atau Little Chinese Man dalam bahasa Spanyol.

Kemudian, aku berlari kembali ke ruang ganti baju dan mengganti baju dengan kaos AND (African National Day) tahun lalu untuk menari Gumboot. Sementara itu, Pedro bermain biola dan Javier bermain gitar. Ada cerita menarik tentang Pedro. Dia digila-gilai oleh banyak gadis di Mexico. Sempurnalah dia karena bahasa pertamanya adalah Spanyol dan dengan senyum khas latinnya dia memikat dengan alunan lagu dari biolanya. Biasanya, setelah show, banyak sekali gadis-gadis yang mengerubunginya untuk minta tanda tangan dan foto bareng. Aku pun pernah jatuh karena fans Pedro yang berlari-lari dan mendorongnya. Bahkan, saat akhir trip, Pedro menyadari bahwa dia kehilangan kemeja birunya, and I suspect those girl steal it from him! Haha. Tak hanya sampai di situ, begitu kami kembali ke US, friend requests berdatangan di Facebook, dengan Pedro sebagai profile picture-nya!

Dan berikutnya, adalah Gumboot. Kalau tak tahu apa itu Gumboot, silakan cek di Youtube. Tariannya agak rumit, tapi benar-benar menyenangkan.
Aku pun mengajari temanku yang lain: Andrea (Mexico), Max (Singapore), Kripa (Nepal), Andrew (Uganda), Pedro (Venezuela), dan Julie (Denmark) bagaimana menari Saman. Dan hasilnya luar biasa!

Selain itu, kami juga menampilkan Belly Dance dan Maahi Ve (tari India) sebagai penutup. Antusiasme yang luar biasa dan semangat serta senyum yang datang dari penonton menjadi energi kami semua untuk menjalani tiap show kami dengan luar biasa (FYI, total show yang kami lakukan sekitar 7 shows loh!).

Belly dance, cowok. Hahaha. Tapi mereka luar biasa loh! 🙂

Belly dance, sebenarnya, dimotori oleh Selen (Turkey).

Antusiasme penonton yang luar biasa, anak-anak Meksiko dengan senyuman yang cerah.

Tari khas Meksiko oleh Andrea. Dia mampu menyihir semua yang hadir di sana untuk melihatnya!

Salah satu clown skit: Blind Date. Ya, Tom pakai stilt biar kelihatan lebih tinggi!

Bahkan, salah satu stasiun TV lokal (APSON TV) mengundang kami untuk tampil dalam acara livenya, dan kami mengucapkan halo dan selamat tinggal dalam bahasa kami masing-masing!

Selain menampilkan pertunjukkan, kami juga mengorganisasi kegiatan untuk anak-anak SD di sana. Kami mengajarkan tari Afrika (Dem Ba Nieuw), dan Maahi Ve, bahkan Belly Dance!

Mengajarkan tari Maahi Ve (tari India).

Meksiko juga luar biasa, kawan. Ramahnya itu loh, mengingatkan aku pada Indonesia. Setiap habis show, kami pasti disuguhi makan besar di tiap sekolah. Selain itu, Agua Prieta juga kota yang indah (dengan segala sesuatunya serba murah!) dan makanan yang enak. Di mana lagi mencicipi es krim mangga dengan cabe kalau bukan di sini? Di mana lagi mencicipi tortilla yang enak kalau bukan di sini?

Tarian Meksiko yang indah dan sungguh luar biasa.

Dinner besar sebelum kembali ke USA. Minuman enak: Horchata (dari beras), dan Jamaika.

Menginap di salah satu sekolah. Ya, berantakan. Ya, sleeping bag di mana-mana.
Hidup bagaikan gypsy.

Salah satu kelas, mereka punya televisi dong. Padahal di UWC saja tak ada televisi 😦
Menonton telenovela dalam bahasa Spanyol, walaupun tak mengerti.

Paul (Austria), bersama salah satu anak Mexico.

Gereja terbesar di Agua Prieta.

Josh (USA) dan AND T-Shirt.

Bagian kedua dari tulisan ini adalah fakta sebenarnya tentang kota perbatasan. Apa yang terjadi, dan kenyataan lapangannya. Pada hari Selasa tanggal 8 Maret, kami menyusuri gurun luas di antara Mexico dan USA, dipandu beberapa orang yang menceritakan kenyataan pedih tentang para imigran ilegal yang mencoba melintasi border demi hidup yang lebih baik di USA.

Para imigran ilegal ini dikomandoi oleh seorang coyotes, mereka melintas border ini. Mereka harus berjalan sekitar 4 hari untuk mencapai kota terdekat di US, dan mereka hanya bisa berjalan pada malam hari untuk menghindari polisi perbatasan. Ya, mereka memanjat pagar tinggi ini, dan banyak sekali orang yang meninggal karena dehidrasi atau masuk jurang yang tak terlihat saat malam hari. Tak hanya itu, perbatasan ini juga rawan karena banyak sekali penyalur narkoba yang melintasi tempat ini.

Pagar perbatasan Amerika Serikat dan Meksiko. Menghadap ke sisi Amerika.

Kakiku berada di Amerika Serikat, badanku di Meksiko, dan hatiku di Indonesia.

Hiking di siang terik, membelah gurun demi melihat perbatasan.

Tali yang dipakai untuk membantu mereka memanjat pagar tinggi.

Berfoto bersama di pagar perbatasan.

Sungguh, rasanya miris. Apalagi tiba-tiba aku teringat dengan konflik Indonesia-Malaysia dan TKI. Mulai sekarang, aku mau tak mau harus memikirkannya. Dan seperti judul tulisan ini, “God Has No Border“, sebuah kalimat yang menyentuhku saat aku tiba di Centro Communitario, dengan mural besar bertuliskan kalimat ini. Ya, Tuhan tak punya batas. Karena itu, untuk apa perbatasan jika hanya menimbulkan sakit? Dan dalam Project Week Report-nya, faculty sponsor-ku, Tom Lamberth, menulis hal ini, “As Alma Socorro said in a speech before our show: If there is something that is not separated by a dividing line, it is friendship. If there is something that is not divided by a border, it is culture.

Dalam telingaku terngiang-ngiang lagu yang sering kami nyanyikan selama di Agua Prieta, “Me gusta Agua, me gusta Agua, me gusta Agua, Agua Prieta.” Aku bersyukur karena aku berada di perjalanan ini dan banyak belajar. Terima kasih, Ya Allah. Alhamdulillah. Terima kasih untuk 17 orang luar biasa, dan terima kasih untuk orang-orang di Agua Prieta.