29 December, 2009


This year was my first time welcoming Christmas without family presence. It doesn't help that there would be no church service in Maastricht since people normally spend Christmas Eve having dinner with their family or closed ones. 

"We traditionally go to church on Christmas day," David Mackelburg --a classmate-- told me.

To avoid feeling lonely and miserable during Christmas Eve, I emailed Agnes, a friend from Junior High who is getting her Master degree in Utrecht, to check if she already has a plan for Christmas. Luckily she agreed to spend Christmas in Amsterdam and she even has a friend that could sublet his apartment to us!

So on 24th morning, I took the 2,5 hours train ride to Amsterdam. Her friend's place, Tri, is about  10 minutes by bus from Amsterdam Centraal. Located in a quiet neighborhood with little shops and a supermarket --Albert Heijn-- near.

Tri's place is a studio apartement and it reminded me of Anne Frank's hiding place with steep stairs and (what I called) super effective arrangements. Since his apartment doesn't even have a bathroom sink, I either wash my hands in the shower or in the kitchen's sink. However, it's quite a nice place filled with unique fireplace and modern (read: practical) furnitures mix several second-hand antiques. 

I enjoyed strolling around Amsterdam Museum Quarter. But then she refused to buy --admittedly-- an expensive museum card Agnes, so I went visiting Van Gogh Museum alone. I promised to meet Agnes near IAMSTERDAM giants in one hour, so as impressed as I was with Van Gogh paintings and early sketches I must did the tour very quickly. Both Van Gogh and Rijk Museum have extensive collections but Van Gogh has this nice shop selling beautiful stuffs. Including cute leather bags with 'cuter' price tags....*youknowwhatImean*.

Apart from exploring Amsterdam, we did two kinds of simple yet delicious cookings during Holiday. The first one was Mashed Potatoes with mushroom sauce for Christmas Eve dinner. The second one was spaghetti Aglio Olio that looks more like a fried noodle for our Boxing Day lunch. 

"So far I only do simple figuring-my-own-recipe kinda cooking. I still not a good cook like most Indonesian girls in Maastricht..."

"Not yet, we're on our way...," Agnes replied.

Overall, I had a nice time celebrating my first Christmas without family in Amsterdam. I also grateful to be able to attend a Christmas Day service in a church. The service was in Dutch and although we didn't understand most of it...still it's a church. 

Because (for me) it won't be a proper Christmas without a church service. 

Happy Christmas!

22 December, 2009

Na-Da-Na-Da Maastricht Winterland

After Vienna's Christmas Market, Maastricht's Kerstmarkt "Maastricht Winterland" seems so petite and simple. But at least it has a cool Ferris Wheel.

My new flat mates turned to have the same thinking as I do, so on one Thursday evening, we agreed to go visiting Maastricht's Kerstmarkt together.There were eight of us girls and boys, all of us were International students with minimum experience for Holiday season in Holland. So we took every chance to get the taste of it: taking a ride on that Ferris Wheel, ate ginger bread, bought candies and tried several traditional winter beverages available.

We enjoyed the Winterland so much we almost missed the last bus to Vijvardale.

New York, I Love You

New York I Love You at first glance is more like Woody Allen kinda thing: based in New York and presents dysfunctional relationship we used to call love.

In turn New York I Love You is much more than that. A film based in big city (New York!) with complex love story is easy to find. Yet one without succumbing to typicality of Hollywood's romantic comedy is a rare.

New York I Love You offers subtle, sweet stories without unnecessary cynicism the world seems to be presenting these days. In such unfriendly world, New York I Love is a piece of audience-friendly compilation. 

One of them also happened to be Natalie Portman's directing debut too...couldn't ask for more.

21 December, 2009

Classy Vienna

On one winter day, I received an email from my Auntie Mir. She was invited to be a speaker for an Economic Conference in Vienna. So I went there to see her and to give myself a break from this hectic Module 3 assignments.

The trip to Vienna taken place on my second week living in Vijvardale. The flight was schedule on a Tuesday noon so I arrived at Vienna Airport around late afternoon. I made a wrong decision and bought super expensive City Airport Train tickets (which I found out later was not even necessary).

First thing I did is to find a room for one night because auntie Mir was only to be arrived the next day. Fortunately near Vienna's flower market area, I immediately found this pleasant place for 70 EUR per night. I got in, paid, check-in, put my things, and in a few minutes was back in the street again for dinner and a night stroll.

Just before got back to the hotel after taking a walk on my 1st night in Vienna

The next day after breakfast I went to Vienna's favorite shopping area Kantner Stase. After spending some high-quality time at Zara (aka. shopping), I picked up my things at the motel and went straight to Hilton Plaza Hotel in this nice cozy street not far from the Parliament area. Auntie Mir was already at her room, and her first comment after opening the door was, "Wow you looked stylish!"
Coming from a lady with purple hair like her it's really is something :). Then she told me that her luggage with my Tarivid and the food I ordered from her super-cook housemaid: frozen chili sauce with Indonesian traditional crispy beef or dendeng balado went missing in the airport. Singapore Airlines has found the luggage and would send it to the hotel tomorrow afternoon, she says. But I must go back to Maastricht tomorrow day time while it's also important for me to get back with Tarivid in hand because this antibiotic ear drops could hardly exist in Europe.

Finally I decided to cancel my morning flight back to Maastricht and instead took the OBB train later at night. The train's route was not a simple one either: Vienna-Salzburg-Munich. From Munich I took a German night train and arrived at Utrecht Centraal in time to catch an Intercity train back to Maastricht. The German night train was uncomfortable experience and I spent the entire night without sleep, but taking Holland's Intercity train that day turned to be even worst experience...I couldn't find a seat at all and was stuck near the door, spent half of the trip standing. Then I finally got tiny spot to sit at the stairs. Never before I could be so happy to find --even an improper-- place to sit.

After spent more than 10 hours on the train you must think one would want a nice rest as soon as she arrives at her comfortable tiny (and new) room... but no! I had promised Gogo I would met him in the library at 1 o'clock. And then from noon till dawn we did recordings for our radio documentary project, fourth module finale assignment. The next day after attending Sunday Service at church, I once again met Gogo at the library and did our last recording.

Well, I often describe myself as a hardworking person and walk the talk*wink*.

Places visited:
Vienna's famous and truly impressive Christmas Market "Vienna Magic of Advent" at Rathausplatz (there are also several Christmas Markets in the city but not as big); shopping street Mariahilferstrase at night; Vienna's famous Opera House; historical Cafe Central (I hesitate before finally found the courage to get in because the place has this intimidating ambience for a cheap-looking tourist like me); spent most of my time in Karntner Stase --Vienna's favorite shopping street (a quality time at Zara!); oh...and Sacher Cafe.

Matching outfit with these folks at Vienna's Opera House
Cafe Central

A friend from Arts & Heritage program, Bianca is Australian-Indonesia decent and Vienna's original, before I left, I Facebooking her and asked for a-must-try cafe in Vienna. She told me about this place, Cafe Sacher, where I should try Vienna's famous Sacher Torte. I did and it taste superb! Like Cafe Central, Sacher Cafe has a European classic feel too.

Cakes & Chocolate @SacherCafe

To sum up, things cannot be missed in Vienna: 
Christmas Market during the winter and the city's beautiful cafes with its beautifully-taste desserts.

Vijvardale 10

I consider myself lucky to get a room in Vijvardale 10. The place was an old building bought by the university and turned into a student dorm. 

So the place is a bit used but it has an elevator, and I am lucky enough to live in one of the nicest floor, 2nd floor room 102. 

Located a little far from the Centruum and might be the only one in the building who cannot ride a bike, I now depend a lot on Bus number 10 and 51.

Good thing there is a nice Albert Heijn around 10 minutes walk from where I live.

Another good thing is I now have fellow Indonesians living in the same building as I do...Mone, Billy, Diena and ka Wulan. Sweet!

04 December, 2009

Student Flat Experience

When I first arrived in Maastricht, my cousin's close friend Batty picked me up at Schipol and took me to Brouwersweg 100, the address of Maastricht University guesthouse where everything is nice and decorated in Ikea-esque manner.

However, I have to share bathrooms and 2 toilets down the hall with like 10 other people and the cleanliness of the toilet after 5 PM became a serious issue for me. Not to mention I got an unfriendly roommate from Singapore who likes cooking but hates cleaning and whose side of bed was so messy it hurts my eyes.

Well I do can be very high-maintenance when it comes to cleanliness. That's when I decided to find another room in different part of the city that I like, Centraal Station area. In a short notice --and in the middle of a busy week-- I got a room in Heugemerweg. Fourth floor with no elevator, and another shared toilet and kitchen. It's like an apartment but with no living room and no television. I lived with fellow students from Korea, Spain, Serbia and two girls from Milan. One of them is a lesbian with a shy Dutch girlfriend. Both of them have high cheekbones and cool pixie haircut. Stylish!

But one my roommates (I'm not sure which one) also has a serious hygiene issue. When one day I came to a smelly toilet and turned out someone was not doing his/her flush properly...well, that's when I decided to get a room a bit far from the Centruum with my own toilet and my own bathroom,Vijvardale 10.

On my last day,  while waiting for the guesthouse car to arrived, I went to Bonnefanten Museum, the one and only art museum in Maastricht with a very nice gift shop and cafe.

29 November, 2009

Love Song

I spent the last few days convinced myself that he doesn't matter anymore.
Yet this morning I woken up and immediately thinking of him...
I thought I have lost my ability to feel
I thought I have gone numb
But I had gone back and forth playing love songs
and spoiled my mind away...

For me love always happen accidentally, in an unexpected way. Despite my-oh-not-so-young age, I only have been in love four times; the first one when I was in elementary school, the second one was with a boy in my confirmation class, the third one when I was 21, and the fourth happened here in Maastricht. 

My first to third love were these light-skinned good looking men, so I first thought I have these 'shallow' taste when it comes to men, heavily influenced by his physical appearance. But this time the story is more like that Tiffany song..."love is blind". 

Now, I fall by what I sense in him; a leadership quality in him, heavy burden he carries in his shoulder, his warm heart and kindness, plus a sharp mind that is able to see through people nonsense as well absorbing science theory. 

But how many women could be lucky enough to dating her crush? No matter what continent it is, relationship usually starts by men.

Men get to choose, women learn to love. Men love with his head, women love with all her heart. 

And then, after seeing his woman at her worst moment, some men could easily retracts his love. 

That's why a woman in love is a woman in danger, a woman at risk of being miserable, of being jealous, of being hurt. A woman who opens her heart is a woman putting herself in a very fragile state. 

As sick as it sounds, the world goes exactly like those Patti Smith's lyrics..."baby sometimes love just ain't enough". 

Because in order to stay in love and always be loved by her partner, a woman needs strategy.

28 November, 2009

A 3-in-1 Day: Aachen - Cologne - Dusseldorf

We --a group of Indonesian students in Maastricht-- were invited for a dinner at Tante Jane's place. As an Indonesian we will always miss our Indo food, as a student we shall not miss the chance to enjoy a free-meal. So dinner at Tante Jane's is apparently one of the highlight moment for Indonesian students living in Maastricht, a chance to enjoy a free Indonesian meals that shall not to be missed. 

I met Rio and Kenneth at the Centraal Station, the three of us then took bus number 5 to Tante Jane's. She lives near my old dorm in Brouwersweg. A clean and simple house in a good neighborhood. Having only met her twice, first when I came to the Ayu's farewell and twice when we traveled to Den Haag for Lebaran, she still doesn't remember my name. Oh well...

The three of us were the first to come. Then Mas Doni and Ka There arrived by bike, followed by the rest of the group which is almost the entire of Maastricht students minus Mita and Mbak Wulan. Among them were the MSM MBA's trio Mone, Billy and Dina. Tante Jane has prepared a long table for us to eat together and three of them were sitting next to me. They talked about their plan the next day when suddenly Mone turned to me, "Do you want to come with us?"

"Uhm...I have classes on Monday," I said. 

"C'mon, study hard, play harder,"  Ka There joint the conversation.

I looked at their faces and see that I had say too many NOs in the past, so I agreed to come. Actually I wasn't thrilled with the idea of travelling Germany during the end of fall. Germany is colder than the Netherlands, so without a winter jacket that I kept postponing to buy...I would find myself freezing! But they needed the fifth person (Kenneth would also joint us) for the 7 EUR day-pass train ticket.
So there I am with my warmest spring coat on a 6 AM Sunday morning at Maastricht Centraal. Thankfully that day the weather was not too cold although it's a rainy day in Germany. 

We firstly took Bus No. 50 that goes directly to Aachen. Our original plan was to go straight to Dusseldorf to see the largest Esprit Factory Outlet there (Mone...Billy...shop?? :D). But we missed the train that goes directly to Dusseldorf. So we took the train that went to Koln first which turned to be a good decision...I love Koln (Cologne)! Cologne is great, I like the city's zentrum, Cologne has really nice views.

By taking a bus from Cologne we finally stepped our foot in Dusseldorf and visited Esprit's headquarter in Ratingen. The place is super big and impressive but too bad it was closed. The good side was, me-Mone-Billy-Dina and Kenneth could have the entire factory (as big as football stadium) by ourselves. Yeah!

We spent the night in the crowded Dusseldorf zentrum, visiting winter stalls that reminded us that Christmas is near.

Having spent one third of the journey in a train, bus and a subway, we all didn't have the chance to eat properly the entire day. We only had some bread, canned drinks and stroopwafels  to satisfy our hungry stomach.  Yet the night was no longer young when we arrived back in Maastricht.

There is love and hate relationship between Cologne and Dusseldorf || Historically, there was a kind of hostility between the citizens of Cologne and Dusseldorf || Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany || Dusseldorf is Germany's 7th largest city || Get this guys: order Altbier beer in Dusseldorf and Kolsch beer in Cologne, don't get them mixed up || It took 632 years to build Cologne Cathedral so the immensely large church can hold 40.000 people (lucky we made the time to visit the church during our short stop that day in Cologne) || Both Cologne and Dusseldorf lie along Rhine river || Cologne was a Roman city with a strong ties to Rome and Catholicism and has an easy-going vibe || Dusseldorf started from a small village, raised into a prominent economic hub and becomes a modern city with the largest Japanese community in Germany.   

German is the largest beer consumer in the world after Irish || Germany was known as the Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Prussia || There 300 variants of bread in Germany || There 1000 kinds of sausage in Germany || The Christmas tree (called Tannenbaum) tradition came from Germany || The first Oktoberfest was a wedding celebration for Prince Ludwing of Bavaria and it actually started in September || The first printed book was in German ||  Germany has over 400 zoos || Most taxis in Germany are Mercedez Benz (woohoo!), and Karl Benz along with Gottlieb Daimler are the creator of first motor-driver vehicles || Germans are known as brainy people, there are more than 100 German nobel laureates including the world's most recognized scientist, Albert Einstein || Who says Adi is Indonesian name? It actually a nickname from Adolf as Adolf 'Adi' Dassler, who founded Adidas || Adi Dassler's brother, Rudolf Dassler, founded Puma || The world's tallest cathedral is in Rome? Uhm no, Ulm, where Einstein was born || Beethoven, Bach, Schumann, Wagner, and Strauss might have established their names in Vienna but they were all Germans. 

22 November, 2009

A Saturday Spent in Den Haag

This time I went with Cumaziye. During our class Halloween party Cumaziye and I talked about our separate plan to go see other cities in Holland. And so there we went on a nice Saturday morning when the air was clear and the sky was blue. Lucky for us because a good weather is a rare in a November.    

I have been to Den Haag before, with a bunch of Indonesian students from Maastricht during Ied-Dul Fitr day. I only went for a chance to eat a proper Indonesian food that I have been missing my arrival in the Netherlands. At the time we went straight to Wassenaar, the area where Indonesian Embassy located. We only stopped in two places during that trip, one is Den Haag Centraal and the second one is Utrecht Centraal aka. spoor station.

Fortunately during this trip I had more chance to see Den Haag, exploring the Plein, and ate at V&D cafe'. V&D is a department store similar to Metro. As Cumaziye is also likes walking around, we were exploring the city with our foot. Without taking a bus or a tram at all.

DEN HAAG FACTS: Den Haag is famous for its Madurodam - a mini version of Holland || Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands but Den Haag is the residence of Dutch King and former Queens as well as the centre of Dutch parliament and government || Home to 150 international institutions including foreign embassies, the Hague holds reputation as the International City and is known as 'Judicial Capital of the World' ||  Almost each cities in Europe has 'City Centrum' or a city center where shopping area, government building and church can be found within walking distant, in Den Haag this city centruum is in the Plein area || Every year in Den Haag, Indonesians from all over the Netherlands and even Belgium have the opportunity to visit Tong Tong Fair, the largest and famous Indonesian food bazaar in the Netherlands.  

21 November, 2009

Deeper Than Death

Gorgeous words by Jeffrey Eugenides & beautiful film by Sofia Coppola

   They made us participate in their own madness, because we couldn't help but retrace their steps, rethink their thoughts, and see that none of them that led to us. We couldn't imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to ther wrists and opened her veins, the emptiness and the calm. And we had to smear our muzzles in their last traces, of mud marks on the floor, trunks kicked out from under them, we had to breathe forever the air of the rooms in which they killed themselves. It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death.

Beautiful image from the film

17 November, 2009


Darling, they can have their universe
We'll be in the dirt designing stars...

These photos were taken on my way home from the Centrum after meeting Olivia for a nice simple dinner at McDonalds :). I always love the small alleys in Maastricht's Centrum. Maastricht is truly a pretty kind, and looking even more special during nightfall.

07 November, 2009

Her Kind by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, possessed witch
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve fingered, out of mind
a woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind

04 November, 2009

i'm not there

After In the Mood for Love; Dancing in the Dark; Me, You, Them; Pasir Berbisik, and Persepolis, I'm Not There is another film presents beautiful images great for our eyes. In several parts the film can do a bit of effectiveness, but by the end I bow in for an applause since great performers and neat images have it all covered.

25 October, 2009

A Day Trip to KZM - Karlsruhe

The best part of living in the Netherland is we can always go to the neighboring countries without our passport. And the best part of living in Maastricht is we can always go to Germany in an hour and Belgium in twenty minutes.  

Maybe that's why MA Media Culture class has an annual day trip to Karlsruhe, Germany, to visit the famous Media Arts Museum, KZM or Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe. It is one of the largest and important media art museum in Germany.

It takes around 4 hours from Maastricht to Karlsruhe. So we were told to be in front of Maastricht Central Station around 5.30 AM, where the university has prepared a bus big enough for the entire MA Media Culture. Good thing the bus has large seats that comfortable enough for us to take such a long journey. Not a good thing was the person I have chosen to sit next with. 

10 October, 2009


On a Saturday I took the train with Rajee Kanagavel --an exchange student from India-- to Utrecht. Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and home to the country's largest university, Utrecht University. 

It was not the first time I stepped foot at Utrecht Central Station, one of a very few places in the Netherlands where we could find a nice Starbucks Coffee :). When I went to Den Haag with a group of Indonesian students from Maastricht during the Id Dul-Fitr day, we stopped at Utrecht Central for a transit. Utrecht has one of the largest (again?) Central Station in the Netherlands which holds several stores and restaurants. 

Rajee and I decided to go early on a Saturday morning so we could enjoy our time without being in a rush. We first strolled around the Centrum area and visited several stores selling unique souvenirs like beautifully designed postcards and matchboxes with a picture of Frida Kahlo which I could not help purchasing. 

We also found this cute store on Utrecht shopping district, the name is a slank for "congratulation" or "be safe" in Indonesian.

Then we walked by the Oudegracht or curve canal where there is this unique wharf-basement of interesting stores where I got a pair of Converse for only 3 Euro. Hmmm...

It's felt like a unique experience when we stumbled to this newly married couple. It seems in the Netherlands people often do a simple yet beautiful wedding due to Europe's classical vibe and surroundings. 

Oh, we also tried to take nice picture in front of the tallest architecture in Utrecht, Dom Tower, but without success. It just too tall! Or we just don't have the right camera (we both only brought old model pocket camera) to do it right.

After strolling down Centrum area we took the bus and went to see Utrecht University, a large complex about 15-20 minutes from the city's central area. Utrecht University definitely a lot bigger than UM, but I like my Uni better. Although Utrecth University Library is one of the largest library I've seen so far (it's nice too!), I still like UM University Library -the one in the centre area-- more.

We did not spend much time in the University complex since we had not have lunch yet and were starving. So before returned back to Maastricht we had a very late lunch in an Indian restaurant near the city centre. Only then, after our tummies were full and happy we crossed the street back to the Central Station. 

Groetjes Utrecht!