Monday, April 08, 2019

Fly to Makassar and Spice Your Life with Picturesque Sceneries and Distinct Gastronomic Delight

My experience as an expat in Jakarta, Indonesia was filled with nostalgic memories beyond the confines of the classrooms. I was blessed to indulge myself in various travels that helped me to totally immersed to the country’s culture and traditions. Conversely, it also opened the opportunity for me to taste the best gastronomic delights that Indonesia is famously known for. Flying to Makassar was one of the best travels that I had wandering in the quaint city and delicious cuisines. 

End of the school year means very stressful days of processing papers of the students so the travel came as a way to alleviate it. The trip was a generous gift from the parent of one of our students. Our student’s mom booked our flights and the hotel where we stayed. Her family also ensured that we got to visit all the tourist spots that Makassar's known for. The airport was really impressive and could compete with the most known tourist destination- Bali.

We stayed in a new hotel located right in the city and we have beautiful view from our bedroom. I remember waking up in the morning and just looking down at the city. 

Makassar is a maelstrom of diverse ethnic group. It is the largest city in eastern Indonesia and the capital city of South Sulawesi. Remnants of the Dutch colonization was evident with the historical sites all over the city. There’s the 17th Century Fort Rotterdam where you would find Museum Negeri La Galigo. It was one of the first places that we visited. As expected, it was full of beautiful stories dating back the time of Dutch colonization.

Our trip was a lavish decadent with plethora of culinary treats. My student’s mom made sure that in every meal, she introduced us to at least one famous dish in Indonesia.

The feast did not end with filling our bellies, there were also very relaxing walks along the boardwalk waterfront, architectural landmarks, and a trip to an island.

The island hopping was my favourite. We spent the whole day lazing at the white sand beach, snorkelling, and again pampering ourselves with delicious foods. The sand was so fine but the water was a bit scary when one of the divers emerged with bloody foot. He stepped on one of the sharp corals while swimming. My student’s mom made rented one of the floppy beach slippers so we could swim without worrying.

Another part of the trip that I truly deemed unforgettable was the visit to Bantimurung Park with meandering river that feeds the majestic waterfall. Beautiful hordes of colourful butterflies surrounded us while listening to the sound of cascading waterfalls. The park also offers the 200-old caves in the entire Bantimurung Karst system. You could also go on hiking. The park has an entrance fee and foreigners need to pay more.

Makassar was absolutely the authentic poetic definition of nature. There were no words needed because its picturesque sceneries elucidated the rhythm itself. We also enjoyed the magical sunrise and sunset. It was so beautiful and meaningful. 

When we had our last meal in one of the best restaurants, it was a feast of wide array of cuisines that are the best I have ever had. 

More than the experience, I was at awe with the generosity that was shown to us during our travel. Indonesians are the kindest people I have ever known. In every place we visited, I was reminded why moving as an expat there was the best decision I have ever done in my whole life. Leaving Makassar was sad but then, it gave me special memories to reminisce in a lifetime. 

Makassar, also known as Ujung Padang, is a port city on eastern Indonesia’s Sulawesi island. Inside its 17th-century Dutch colonial Fort Rotterdam is the Museum Negeri La Galigo, housing local exhibits. A promenade along Losari Beach is known for its seafood restaurants. Traditional pinisi sailing ships pack the harbor of Pelabuhan Paotere. Offshore, snorkeling is possible on the coral reefs of Samalona Island. -Source: Wikipedia

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

11 Best Malls to Visit in Jakarta, Indonesia

As an expat for almost four years in Jakarta, Indonesia, my best form of relaxation was shopping. There’s no better place to do this than in Jakarta since the city is a home to more than 100 malls.

In my last year of teaching, my apartment was in the 6th floor of an apartment complex which was located right at the back of Baywalk mall. Five minutes of walking brings me to many restaurants and shops. As a matter of fact, I barely prepared my food when I was there since going to the mall was more convenient.

I am not even kidding, I have different malls for variety of purposes. If you are in the city of Jakarta for a limited period of time, this list might come in handy.


This is conveniently located about 20-30 minutes from the house where I first lived. It has all the luxury brands that you could think of- LV, Chanel, Coach, Gucci and many others. This mall is special because I used to dine here with my former school director.


This is located near Senayan City and is overlooking the tranquil Senayan Golf Course. It has many of the known brands both local and international. There’s also an Asian dish and an amazing donut that I really love at the Food Court.


This is probably my favorite mall and the most visited one. It has about 400 specialized stores located in its seven-story building. It has also residential buildings with access to the main lobby of the mall. I love looking for the best deals here because they practically have everything at affordable price.


This is a very special mall because I have done a lot of shopping with David there. It is a huge shopping complex located in affluent Pondok Indah. It is referred by its acronym, “PIM”. It is comprised of three large malls- PIM1, PIM2 and the newer Street Gallery interconnected via two elevated multi-storey pedestrian walkways.


I did not do much shopping there but my favorite restaurants are located in this mall. Just like any other malls, it has all the famous International brands of shops and apparels.

This is one of my favorites. It has the largest Sogo in Indonesia and the second largest cinema blitzmegaplex which has 10 auditoriums. Central Park also presents the largest Gramedia Bookstore. Most of my visits in this mall were spent dining with my former co-teachers who live in the residential complex. 


This is one of the newest malls in Jakarta. The last months of my stay in Indonesia was actually spent a lot there because they offer free ride from the apartment where I used to live. It’s more convenient and it also so near and there are many restaurants that I really love.

This is another mall which has a special place in my heart. David and I were dining there when it suddenly hit us that he was about to go back in the United States. We ended up in tears and people were staring at us. Whenever I go there, I used to see a lot of foreigners which could be attributed to the fact that the mall offers many known International brands.


Baywalk is the mall that is located right at the back of the apartment where I used to live on my last year in Jakarta. The location is not only convenient but it has the best Seafood restaurant. The restaurant has all the type of seafood that you could think of. You choose the live ones from the aquariums and decide how do you want them to be cooked. You couldn’t ask more for a fresher food!


If you want to shop for affordable apparels, this is the place to go. There are so many shops to choose from and though they are cheap, the quality is actually good.


This was the first mall that I have ever visited. It is about five minutes from the first apartment where I lived when I arrived in Jakarta. The mall has many beautiful memories because that’s where my friends and I used to spend a lot of time shopping and dining.

When I think of Jakarta, it is not just the malls that I remember. An array of memories always come to mind. My husband and I had our wedding there and we left so many good friends behind.

As always I am reminded, “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

As an expat for almost four years in Jakarta, Indonesia, my best form of relaxation was shopping. There’s no better place to do this than in Jakarta since the city is a home to more than 100 malls.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

A Beginner's Guide to Remember in Walking at the Frozen Lake (Lake Michigan)

One of the most fascinating discoveries that I had living here in Michigan is the fact that you can actually walk on the lake- that is when it’s frozen! However, this post is by no means an encouragement for people to try it. The danger of the Big Lake is well-documented with accidents and deaths.
People here in Michigan do not only walk on the frozen lake but they also love ice fishing. They bring shanties at their chosen spots, cut holes, and fish to their heart’s content. Other times, they also try to live a dangerous life by driving on it and as you could guess, their cars end up buried under water. If you are like me who has never been to a frozen lake, chances are, you would love to experience this so you might as well take some precautions to heed.

Lake Michigan does not completely freeze during winter. That is why it is so dangerous to try walking on it because there is no way to know for sure that the lake is frozen enough to handle your weight. It is easy to have this illusion that the lake is completely frozen especially when there’s fresh snow dusting but read these reminders before you traverse on it.

1. Gauge the ice thickness. Frozen lake is very susceptible to breakage and it is not safe to walk on if there’s only thin sheets of ice. Experts advice making a hole and using a tape measure to know its thickness. But, doing it in one place is not enough. Make sure that you also check other parts where you will walk. At least four inches of thickness is safe enough for a simple walking. As for us, we saw fresh traces of snowmobile so we know that the area where we walked was pretty solid.

2. Look for the cracked ice. Don’t step on a cracked ice because it means the stability of the ice has been compromised already. Watching out for little details like this might save your life. Lake is beautiful when it is frozen and it is easy to get distracted but remember to always take cautions.

3. Prepare for a rescue plan. Things could happen quickly. Recently, a couple of men who were fishing in their shanties were rescued while clinging with each other for survival. One was able to call for rescue since he had with him an emergency phone complete with a GPS tracking. The tracking system helped the rescuers to locate them.

4. Bundle Up. An additional clothing can save your life. Make sure that you are properly clothed to keep you warm. The are special kinds of clothing designed to handle extreme cold.

5. Go with another person. Do not venture into the frozen lake alone. With another person, at least someone can make the call when something happens. The first time I did it, I was too scared to walk that far but I was braver the second time. I didn’t need much prodding from my husband because I do enjoy doing it.

Lastly, do not try it if you love your life. Lake Michigan is beautiful when it is frozen but it can be utterly dangerous. Again, so many accidents happen every winter. Have fun but always take precautions at heart.

Remember, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Based on studies, once a thin layer of ice film forms on a lake, it will add 1 inch of ice for every 15 freezing degree days in a 24 hour period. Example: If we had a day with 5 freezing degree days, you would use the formula 5/15 = .33.

Once the surface water falls to 32 F, it freezes. The freezing then spreads downward into the lake and the ice thickens. Unless the lake is very shallow, you will find liquid water below the ice. This deeper water is about 40 F; fortunately fish can live in this cold temperature.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Things I Learned Watching for the First Time Ice Hockey Game (Muskegon, Michigan Lumberjacks Team)

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

I was never into any kind of sports before coming here in the U.S. I remember that one time, I was forced to join a volleyball team when I was still teaching in Indonesia just to complete the number required so our school could participate. Our team was hailed as the champion but I could hardly claim any credit since I did not contribute any score. Coming here in the US influenced my interest in sports. After getting into football, I finally had the chance to watch for the very first time an ice hockey game courtesy of our friend in the church, John, who gave us free tickets. He even gave me an original puck that the players used!

Ice hockey is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players per side on the ice at any time, one of them being the goaltender, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, which is placed at the opposite end of the rink. The players use their sticks to pass or shoot the puck.
Ice hockey is played on a hockey rink. During normal play, there are six players per side on the ice at any time, one of them being the goaltender, each of whom is on ice skates. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a hard vulcanized rubber disc, the puck, into the opponent's goal net, which is placed at the opposite end of the rink. The players use their sticks to pass or shoot the puck.
It was an amazing experience because we sat right on the first row where we had a better feel of all the actions in the rink. Two words describe it- fast-paced and physical! The rink is surrounded by thick glass (bullet proof, I think), and net. Players slammed each other on the glass and they come flying by. Although our team lost, it was still an amazing experience.    
Here are the photos that would give you a glimpse of the action-packed night.

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Ice hockeygame between two teams, each usually having six players, who wear skates and compete on an ice rink. The object is to propel a vulcanized rubber disk, the puck, past a goal line and into a net guarded by a goaltender, or goalie. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Players are also prohibited from kicking the puck into the opponent's goal, though unintentional redirections off the skate are permitted. Players may not intentionally bat the puck into the net with their hands.

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
The hockey stick consists of a long, relatively wide, and slightly curved flat blade, attached to a shaft. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Ice hockey is a full contact sport and carries a high risk of injury. Players are moving at speeds around approximately 20–30 mph (30–50 km/h) and quite a bit of the game revolves around the physical contact between the players. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer
Within certain restrictions, players may redirect the puck with any part of their body. Players may not hold the puck in their hand and are prohibited from using their hands to pass the puck to their teammates unless they are in the defensive zone. 

First Time Watching Ice Hockey Game- Teacher Wanderer


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