Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Small Trip: University and Pink Buildings

Alright, my third post about my small trip in Europe.
This time, the highlight is a small town called Mainz.

And again, you're maybe wondering, what is Mainz's significance so that I just have to visit it?
Well, back to the reason where I want to know basically everything about my hostsister's, Lisa, life, Mainz is a big part of her life.
Lisa goes to University of Mainz, or nowadays they call it Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

The university is huge. Lisa told me that they actually have more than 30.000 students, which is more than three times the size of my own university.
They have every major that you can imagine. From engineering to cinematography, from science to theology. Lisa, herself, is taking 2 majors: Anthropology and Philosophy. (I think it's supposed to be 1 major and 2 minors: culture anthropology with biological anthropology and philosophy)
Later on my small trip, I met people with the most interesting subjects: Philosophy, Theology, Social Work, Education, Languages, Renewable Energy, and so much more.

Meeting very interesting people with very interesting subject to study made me think about my long-lost dream: what would I take if I can afford my own university tuition? what would I study about?

Unfortunately, despite all of the above, I don't think the university is very nice. They have ugly-boring buildings, the same ones which you can see in most universities. Tall, square, dull colors building.
There are basically two types of classes in the university. There are big classes, with 200 people there and a lecturer talking. There are also small classes, called seminar, which was the place for students to talk.
The thing that I found very interesting was that they actually have some work or exams to do during summer holiday. For example, Lisa had to do one long paper (20 pages) during the summer for one of her classes. My other friend, an Indonesian studying in Germany, said that he actually had exams during the summer holiday.
That way of learning in university I consider to be a mood breaker.
I mean, you're in the middle of summer holiday and you have to worry about papers or exams? man! that sucks!

Anyway, enough about university, I guess.
The thing is, I am always interested about the education system in other countries. I like to compare the system that other countries have with the Indonesian one.
You know, I even have a tiny wish that I could be an Indonesia's minister of education and change the whole system. Well, maybe not the whole system, but great part of it.

So, after the university, Lisa and I took the bus to go to the city center.
Below are the pictures of the city center. It's basically a plaza with a bunch of buildings around it. The special thing about this plaza was that it is called a carnival plaza. The reason? well, look at a picture of a statue that I took. The statues around this plaza shaped like a bunch of people going to carnival put together. funky looking and all that.

Walking around the city center, I found the city market.
The picture below is a glimpse of the market.

Walking around the city, I found that the city was not as boring as Lisa said. There are a lot of shops and old buildings.

Lisa also took me to the best ice cream in town.
Unfortunately I didn't take any picture of the ice cream parlor, or ice cream, or us eating ice cream.
The ice cream flavors were very fancy. Some of them I never heard before. The flavors were rich: all kinds of nuts, chocolate, fruits, liquors, syrup, and many more. I literally had to ask Lisa about every flavor and we each took at least 5 minutes before we decided what flavor we wanted.
Plus, the ice cream was very cheap. I think for two scoops of ice cream, it cost me not more that 3 euro, or something.

Talking about building, though, there is a highlight of the area that I haven't mentioned.
The PINK color!

I wonder if you notice it or not, but from the southwest of Germany, this pink colored buildings are the typical old buildings.
The pink color was from the stones they were using.
And as you can see them on the pictures below (and from previous post), a lot of buildings' color was pink.
It may look (somewhat) 'normal' to you, but when I was there and was looking at these pink buildings, I felt weird. It was almost corny.

Aside from the pink buildings, churches was also the highlight of my small trip.
Below is the picture of one of the churches in Mainz.

The picture shown the church pipes and the stunning details of the reliefs on the wall.
On my trip, I went to a lot of churches and it is very interesting to see the different styles in them.
Another amazing thing about churches are the echo and the amazing acoustic system in the room. The amazing pipes also help a lot.
I usually pretend to cough to hear the echo, which was very fun, since you're supposed to be very quiet inside a church.

So, I'm finally done with my third post.
I should kick my lazy ass harder and write more.

Well, all in all, the short period of time in Mainz gave me the urge to go back.
especially for those wonderful ice cream! *wink wink*

Boom Boom Boom

Okay. I just HAVE TO post this on my blog.
I'm sorry. I just simply have to.

For the records, I know nothing about this Korean fever, which I think is bigger than the Bieber Fever in Asia.
I mean, take the whole country of Thailand for example, a huge number of people are crazy about Korea.
And I know some girls that are head over heels about Korea. The korean drama, the boybands, the hair, the make ups, the way Koreans dress, the food, the language, every single little thing!
It's crazy!

and no matter how hype the Korean fever around me, I have no interest on Korean stuff, whatsoever.
Well, I would like to go to Seoul and see the city, but it's because I like traveling, not because of the fashion, the music, the drama, or other crazy things.
I could not care less about the crazy Korean hair, or the supposed to be cute Korean guys, or the supposed to be very touching Korean drama.

But, I take it that Seoul and Korean government has a very good tourism department.
the advertisement about Seoul and Korea is unbearable on TV.
and this particular song and video has been played too much time on TV and still making me laugh.
So, whatever makes me laugh deserves to be put in here.

Below is a video of 2PM's Fly To Seoul (Boom Boom Boom).
It has been played constantly on different channels on TV for a countless number of time.
and it has been my favorite commercial ever!
I mean, the song was very catchy, the broken accent in those couple English words were undeniably irresistible, the unbelievable fashion, the impossible dance, and the extremely hilarious chest bump!!!
come on, when you see a bunch of guys doing chest bumps that rhyme with a song, you just have to laugh. especially when the guys wear make up and have unacceptable hair cut.

So, watch the video and have as much fun as I am, everytime I watch the 2PM's famous chest bump!

p.s. bear with me on watching the video, the chest bump doesn't come out until the video rolls for 1 minute and 45 seconds. but don't worry, it was all worth the wait! :)))))

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Small Trip: Vineyards, Castles, and River

Here's the second post about my small trip in Europe.

Before telling more stories about my small trip in Europe, I should tell you that I wouldn't have been able to do any of the trip if I didn't go for a year to Canada. Without realizing it, my Canadian experience has countless effects in my life.
This story below wouldn't have existed if I didn't go to Canada for a year.

The next part of my small trip in Europe was meeting a friend of mine, Elisa.
Elisa and I met in Canada when we (and a bunch of other exchange students) were traveling to Vancouver and Victoria in spring 2005. Then, Elisa came to Indonesia in summer 2008, followed by my little trip to Europe in winter 2008.
So when I was in Germany, Elisa and her family invited me and Lisa to come and visit her.
Very kindly, Elisa and her family also invited me (and Lisa) to do a very cool sightseeing.
The theme of the day were vineyards, castles, and Rhein River.

The first thing we did was (well, aside from driving to another town and walking around the town that is very famous to Japanese tourists) taking the cable car to go up the hill.
The picture above is the shadow of our cable cars flying above the vineyards.
Pretty cool, eh?

Then, when we got into the top of the hill, we were walking around the vineyards.
The view was very beautiful.
Below is a picture of the vineyard with grapes waiting to be harvested.

We actually 'stole' a few grapes (yeah. it was actually stealing because the vineyards and the grapes were someone's private properties), just to taste the grapes.
I was expecting the grapes would be sweet, similar to the normal grapes that were grown into eat-able grapes, not for wine. But it turned out that the grapes didn't have strong taste, it was rather bland.

Come to think of it, what Lisa said was true.
I took like thousands pictures of the vineyards and Lisa said,
"So Alien, for you it's the rice fields, for us is the vineyards."
After looking at the picture below, I cannot agree more.
The vineyards below are very similar to the terasering (terracing) rice fields.

So, Lisa, Elisa, and I were walking around the vineyard when we found a waiter-less cafe.
There was actually a very small cafe up in the middle of the hill without any waiter. The cafe has awesome view and great drinks. It has great grape juice and the Germany's most famous apfelschorle, which is basically sparkling water mixed with apple juice.

The coolest thing with this waiter-less cafe is that the owner basically trusts in everyone who came and got some drinks. there were two little compartments to put the drinks, there was even wine too. and there was a little box to put your money in.
The three of us got extremely excited about this based-on-trust cafe.

So we had our walk, we had our drink in a very cool waiter-less cafe, then we started walking down the hill towards the extremely well-known Rhine River.
On our way to the river, I took this picture below. A very nice small village.

Then, what would a European trip without a glimpse of an old house?
Below is a picture of one of the oldest houses in the region.

Thanks to Elisa and her parents, the three of us got to cruise along the Rhine River.
The cruise ship that we were taking was similar to the one like this one below, but less crowded. The cruise was very nice, mostly because we had a great day with the warmth of the sun and all the summer-y feeling.

Plus, from our cruise ship, I could see all the fascinating castles.
Of course, to me the castles were fascinating since I haven't seen that many castles in my life. I saw castles in three different Disneyland, but that was about it. Real castles were far off more fascinating.
I mean, imagine all the rich people who used to live in a castle. Imagine the way they live, they way they built the castle, plus they didn't have elevator or escalator back then, so they had to climb all that stairs to get to the top of the castles. That is fascinating.

Before you can see all the pictures of the castles, below is a picture of a small island in the middle of the river.

Both Lisa and Elisa told me that the small island in the middle of the river was used as some kind of gate. So basically, way back then, if you wanted to go through a river and cruise pass a castle, you had to pay a certain amount. The small island in the middle of the river was the place where you can drop off your gold or other things in order to pay off you're passing in front of a castle.
That was how they make money back then.
Pretty sweet, huh?

And finally, below are the pictures of the castles that I saw that day.
very fascinating.

Over all, I had a great day.
and of course, the biggest thanks have to go to Elisa and her parents to welcome me (and Lisa) in the most friendliest way possible.
The trip was lovely.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Teman Baik (Bagian 9)

Akhirnya, I came to my senses, aku menendang kemalasan aku dan memutuskan untuk melanjutkan tulisan tentang Teman Baik.

Di Bagian 9 ini, aku mau memperkenalkan teman-teman baik yang aku 'temukan' sekitar satu tahun empat bulan yang lalu.
Mereka adalah teman-teman KP Pertamina.

Aku gak bakalan pernah bisa melupakan pengalaman Kerja Praktek aku selama 1,5 bulan di Balikpapan.
Pengalaman itu membuat aku belajar banyak banget dan bertemu dengan berbagai teman-teman baru yang baik-baik. salah satu grup teman yang aku anggap baik banget udah pernah aku bahas disini.
Entah mengapa, aku belum pernah menuliskan tentang grup Teman Baik aku yang satu ini.

dari kiri ke kanan: Pras, Frizda, Alien, Tere, Cella, Cita

Jadi intinya pertemanan aku dan lima orang Teman Baik ini dimulai karena kami sama-sama melakukan Kerja Praktek di sebuah perusahaan minyak Indonesia yang bernama Pertamina.

Pertemuan aku dengan grup Teman Baik ini diawali dengan bertemunya aku dan Cella. Kami berdua bersekolah di SMA yang sama. Tapi karena kami bersekolah di sekolah negeri, dimana murid di sekolah negeri itu selalu terlalu banyak untuk diingat dan ditambah lagi kami yang sebenarnya berbeda angkatan, kami hanya sekedar tau nama, tanpa berteman dekat.
Kemudian, pertemuan aku selanjutnya terjadi di Balikpapan. Saat aku pertama kali menginjakkan kaki di Kantor Besar Pertamina RU V Balikpapan, ada dua mahasiswi lain yang juga baru akan memulai Kerja Praktek di perusahaan ini, Frizda dan Tere. Waktu pertama kali berkenalan, aku cukup kaget ketika mengetahui keduanya adalah mahasiswi ITB angkatan 2006. Aku sama sekali tidak pernah melihat wajah mereka berdua di kampus. Tapi, setelah tau ada anak ITB lain yang juga KP di Pertamina, sementara anak-anak ITB lain berlomba-lomba untuk KP di Total dan Chevron, aku sungguh lega.
Setelah bertemu dengan ketiga Teman Baik cewek, aku kemudian mulai bertemu dengan Teman Baik cowok. Aku tidak terlalu ingat bagaimana aku bertemu Cita dan Pras. Yang pasti, entah bagaimana caranya, kami hampir selalu bermain bersama.

Teman-teman KP Pertamina ini benar-benar membantu aku melewati hari-hari KP yang sangat menantang.
Cella dan Cita adalah teman-teman satu kantor di bagian Lindung Lingkungan. Kami bertemu hampir setiap hari. Senin hingga Jumat sekantor bersama, Sabtu dan Minggu bermain bersama. Mau tidak mau, kami berbagi banyak sekali cerita.
Cella yang ternyata berpacaran dengan temanku sejak SMP yang juga tetangga dekat aku. Aku menjadi saksi mata bagaimana pacar Cella bertemu dengan orang tua Cella untuk pertama kalinya. Benar-benar pengalaman yang tidak terlupakan.
Cita, cowok cerewet yang senang sekali bercerita tentang segala macam hal. Sewaktu KP, dia adalah salah seorang cowok yang tampak memiliki rencana jangka panjang dalam hidupnya. Aku dulu sungguh yakin bahwa Cita akan menjadi orang pertama yang menikah di grup KP Pertamina ini.
Frizda, Tere, dan Pras juga hampir selalu ada setiap hari selama KP. Kami terlalu sering makan siang bersama. Terlalu sering bermain di hari Sabtu dan Minggu.
Frizda ternyata sekamar kostan dengan salah satu teman TL aku. Kalau mengingat pertemananku dengan Frizda, aku selalu ingin tertawa. Sekitar seminggu pertama berkenalan dengan Frizda, Frizda selalu salah memanggil namaku. Katanya dia enggak enak memanggil aku dengan panggilan "Alien", rasanya salah aja. Aku sampai harus dibantu Cella membenarkan persepsi Frizda mengenai namaku.
Tere, pertama kali melihat dia, aku sangat yakin kalau Tere orang Batak. Bertemu dengan sesama orang Batak membuat aku cukup tersenyum lebar.
Baru-baru ini saja, kami semua mengetahui salah satu rahasia terkelam dalam hidup Tere. Kalau sudah begini, rasanya kami semua akan berteman sampai mati.
Pras cukup membuat aku terheran-heran saat aku tau bahwa dia berpacaran dengan salah satu teman yang aku temui di tahun pertama di ITB. Aku masih ingat bagaimana aku menginterogasi Pras tentang hubungannya, malam-malam di Balikpapan, di sebuah parkiran ruko. Aku, Pras, dan Cella duduk di bangku seadanya di parkiran tersebut.

Setiap mengingat-ingat apa saja yang sudah pernah aku lakukan selama berkuliah di ITB, masa-masa KP adalah masa-masa yang sangat tidak mungkin terlupakan.
Karena itulah, teman-teman KP Pertamina juga menjadi bagian yang tidak akan pernah terlupakan dalam hidup aku.
Mungkin kami memang tidak berhubungan setiap saat, tidak seperti hubungan Teman Baik pada umumnya. Tapi setiap kami bertemu, dan kami berusaha untuk bertemu, kami selalu merasa senang. Rasanya selalu ada cerita yang harus diceritakan, selalu ada curahan hati yang harus didengarkan, dan selalu ada hinaan yang harus dilontarkan.

Semoga kami bisa selalu saling mendukung seperti kami mendukung satu sama lain saat kami KP dahulu.
Semoga kami semua bisa menjadi orang-orang sukses, sesukses kami menjalankan KP di Pertamina dulu.
Semoga pertemanan kami berumur panjang, sepanjang hayat dikandung badan.

100 Years

I don't even remember the first time I heard this song.

It's been too long of a time.

To be honest, when I first heard the song, I was not a big fan.

I think the song was just too slow, the melody was too whiney, and the singer was someone much older than me (and not cute too)

It's not until I really read the lyrics that I love this song.

Plus the countless number of time this song was chosen in the karaoke time.

(karaoke is a really good thing to do if you want to understand the in-depth meaning of songs. trust me!)

Then I get it.

This song has unbelievably deep meaning.

What if you have 100 years to live?

Considering how greedy a human being can be, I also in the same page with Vladimir John Ondrasik.

I think, if I would have 100 years to live, I would be too easy on myself until I was 99. Then, I would be freaking out, because I would only have another year to live.

Pretty classic.

And now that I'm currently planning on my near future, I think about the lyrics of this song a lot.

I think I have been wasting too much time, unfortunately.

I wish I would have another 100 years to live

Five For Fighting - 100 Years

I'm 15 for a moment

Caught in between 10 and 20

And I'm just dreaming

Counting the ways to where you are

I'm 22 for a moment

She feels better than ever

And we're on fire

Making our way back from Mars

15 there's still time for you

Time to buy and time to lose

15, there's never a wish better than this

When you only got 100 years to live

I'm 33 for a moment

Still the man, but you see I'm a they

A kid on the way

A family on my mind

I'm 45 for a moment

The sea is high

And I'm heading into a crisis

Chasing the years of my life

15 there's still time for you

Time to buy, Time to lose yourself

Within a morning star

15 I'm all right with you

15, there's never a wish better than this

When you only got 100 years to live

Half time goes by

Suddenly you’re wise

Another blink of an eye

67 is gone

The sun is getting high

We're moving on...

I'm 99 for a moment

Dying for just another moment

And I'm just dreaming

Counting the ways to where you are

15 there's still time for you

22 I feel her too

33 you’re on your way

Every day's a new day...

15 there's still time for you

Time to buy and time to choose

Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this

When you only got 100 years to live

Friday, November 05, 2010

Small Trip: Weisbaden

So, thanks to Eat Pray Love the movie, after watching it I got self-actualized. Unlike after reading the book, I got nothing!

My self-actualization resulted that I had to kick my own lazy ass and start writing about a little trip I made around Europe.
It was a fairly small trip, considering I only spent a month in the continent and only went to 4 countries. So I thought, since I was only traveling to 4 countries, I should just write something based on the different countries I went. I tried doing it that way. It just doesn't work.
So, bear with me. I'm writing it based on different cities that I visited.

My first stop (well, aside from the mighty-because it was HUGE-Frankfurt Airport) was a small city called Weisbaden.

You might wonder why I went to such small city like Weisbaden.
Well, in this city lives my hostsister, Lisa.
Below is the building where Lisa and her boyfriend, Peter, is now living.

Although you can't really see both Lisa's or Peter's face, you can clearly see their building. It's a nice old building with big windows, which can bring in enough warmth when the sun shines. Their room's windows are the ones exactly above their heads.

I think it is very interesting they way they live.
They are renting this huge apartment (it has 7 rooms with kitchen, two bathrooms, and a balcony) with eight or nine other people. It is actually a custom for German students to get together and rent a big apartment and share the rent. The concept is almost like Indonesian's 'kostan' but in this 'WG' (that's how they call the shared-apartment), you know who you're gonna be living with, while in 'kostan' mostly you didn't plan to live in the same 'kostan' with your friend(s).

One of the coolest things that we did was the 'WG Party'.
One of Lisa's flatmates was going away for a year Erasmus in Turkey, so they decided to throw a little going away party.
The party was nice. The food was good, it was vegan and good! and the people were very friendly. They were very kind to me as many people were making effort to talk to me in English. And some of them were actually very interested in all sorts of things about me, my origin, my religion, my degree, and a bunch of other stuff.
It was also nice because people were respectfully smoking in the balcony. and though there were lots of alcohol and several glasses were broken, nothing crazy happened.
My first European party and I like it.

When I was still planning my trip, Lisa asked me a question, "what would I like to see in Germany?"
That was a pretty easy question.
Of course I wanna do some touristic stuff: visiting historical sites, taking pictures, etc, etc.
But the main thing that I wanted to do was to know about her life.
I always think it is interesting to see how the local live. and because Lisa is considered to be my family, it is extra interesting to see the way she now lives.
So I stayed with her in her WG, experienced the WG party, and I went to her work place.

Lisa works voluntarily in a garden. It is a pretty big garden with a castle that is now turn into a some kind of science center. The garden is pretty big and it has various kind of plant that I have never seen before.
One of the weirdest things that I found was shown in this picture below.

On the picture, you can see that I was holding one kind of flower. Surprisingly, you can eat the flower! Some people in Germany actually eat the flower, they usually put them in their salad.
Lisa was very insisting that I had to try the flower. I thought, and still think, it was too weird to eat flower, just like that. It took me sometime to finally put the flower in my mouth and eat it.
The Germans who eat it consider the flower to be spicy. Although it was nothing like chili, I could remember the little bite of spiciness when I chew the flower.
Peter actually took a video of me eating the flower, but watching it back now, it is just too weird to put it up here. I decided to put on a picture instead of the video.

As I said, Lisa works in a garden with a castle that is now turned into some kind of science center. The science center has some of the coolest things that can blow your mind. Some of the things works on very simple science, it blew my mind.
But, one of the coolest things was in this picture below: a wind harp.
It is a harp that make a sound when there's wind blowing.
Lisa said, in a very windy day, the harp can play beautiful tunes, it sounds almost like a song.
They should have put a lot of wind harps in Regina, the wind was unbelievably strong, when I was there.

So besides staying at Lisa's WG and went to her work place, I also went around the city of Weisbaden.
I was very surprised when I was taken to see this thing, below.
It is actually a volcanic hot spring source.
It turned out that Weisbaden is a city that was built in the volcanic region. The volcanic hot spring is now used as a spa and sauna. There is also a spot of the hot spring source with a list of different kind of minerals that were contained in the hot spring. Plus there is a suggestion to drink the hot spring one glass per day because the water is actually nutritious if consumed properly.
I mean, I come from a country with the most volcanos in the whole wide world, but I never knew that it is okay to drink the volcanic hot spring.
Despite all the chart of minerals and the suggestion of how good the effect of drinking a cup of the volcanic hot spring, I decided to not risk it. I just thought it is TOO WEIRD to drink the volcanic hot spring. and even if I would drink the hot spring, maybe I should try the Indonesian's one first.

Speaking of volcanic region, Lisa told me that they actually got earthquake in the city a while back. She said the quake was extremely tiny, no one felt it, but the news blew it up.
and I could imagine how panic people were. They live in Germany, a country in the middle of the continent, earthquake was one of the least concerned catastrophe that they would expect.
Although we, in Indonesia, are still freaking out everytime we feel the earth's movement, I think we would handle it better than they do. We just get so used to it.

So, in my opinion, Weisbaden turned out to be a lovely city to live.
It's not that big, so you don't get all the big city stress and all that, but it's that small either.
The thing that made Lisa decided to stay in Weisbaden was the nice architecture all around the city. There are still a lot of old buildings. While they're not necessarily historic, they were very lovely to look at.

The picture below is one of the very first old houses that I saw in Germany.
It didn't look like a real house or building to me, it was more like a Barbie house or something.

Below is a picture of one of the main squares.
The tall-red building is one of the famous church in the city. Besides that is one of the government's buildings.

And the last picture of this entry is the city's theatre.
Very nice and very European.

I didn't spend that much time in Weisbaden, but I totally understand why Lisa would choose to live in the city.
Weisbaden is very european, indeed.
*well. d'oh!*