travel

Travel Bucket List | Europe

I traveled to the west side of Europe last year, and managed to have visited plenty of countries that left me quite the impression, that I would very much like to go back again someday to experience more of it afoot. From the notoriously intriguing city of canals: Amsterdam, the small, significant, yet interesting city slash country: Liechtenstein, the city of love in which I’ve had huge expectations for that failed to suffice: Paris, to the romantic, humid, and raw city of Rome.

I have seen, learned, and grabbed ahold of so many new, exciting things from that journey that looking back from the amazing adventures I’ve taken, I figured that I just had to find my way back towards gallivanting though this breathtaking continent again some time in the future. Europe seemed like this very grotesque destination where you sometimes feel as if you’re inside a movie as you scan yourselves through these vintage-looking buildings, featured in with the blissful peace the nature that surrounds it it has to offer. There is just so much to see, you guys. I promise.

Listed down below are essentially 5 beautiful cities in Europe that I aspire to visit someday, and reasons as to why I find them really intriguing to explore. So here goes!

Side note: Do be alarmed that I will be writing posts like these for the next few days to come because I am so much in the mood towards writing them, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next, if you really enjoy reading posts like these! (:

Salzburg, Austria

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I, for one, really enjoyed my last brief half-day stay in Austria last year in Innsbruck, and have yearned to again revisit the country starting off with this lovely gem. Salzburg is a lovely town where you may find world-class musical performances in almost anywhere: churches, streets, and/or music halls. A perfect spot for those of you who possess an exquisite taste in real music. I’m a sucker for live musical performances, and seeing all these people performing a free live orchestra committed to charity back in Innsbruck last summer has left me to wonder what really lies in the other gorgeous lyrical cities this country has to offer.

Prague, Czech Republic

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One of the most enchanting cities I’ve ever heard, Prague delivers a magical vibe where all who wonder through it may get lost in its divine beauty. This city is definitely on my radar, for it has every trope a European paradise could possibly send across to tourists everywhere. Visiting the Prague castle, and admiring the architectural aspect of it being an inspiration towards the ever famous Disneyland castle, strolling around streets where you may see most folks here walk, and enjoying the brisk air that revolves around the city itself is all I could ever ask for from this seemingly attractive jewel from the East.

Brussels, Belgium

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I didn’t get to visit this wonderful city where one of the best chocolates are made from, due to it not being thrown in my tour itinerary last year. It was quite a shame, because I really looked forward to visiting the place and admiring the iconic Manneken Pis statue, along with a visit to the Herge museum, dedicated to the creator of Tintin, where it filled up most of my childhood days with its bold tales. Brussels, I will most certainly come back for you.

Munich, Germany

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 Munich is especially known as this lively city in Germany where you can imagine all sorts of exciting things happening there daily. A lot of people can be found gathering to drink beer in means of celebration, or just enjoying general get-together sets in day-to-day evenings. It has beautiful parks, live music, markets, and marked historical pinpoints where the legendary dictator Hitler once plotted his plans to reign over Europe. However, what intrigues me the most is how rich this city is with its diverse culture and their never-dying aspect of it that surely completes the look. Attractive at its own pace, Munich had succeeded to find its way to sway me into falling in love with it, in the best way possible.

Budapest, Hungary

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Another mideival jewel in Europe I’d like to put on this list, is Budapest. Where history was made, and inspirations born at its very finest form. From its sublime beauty to its wondrous architectures it provides throughout the entire city. A lot has happened here aside from what I can tell, a massive Jewish quarter lives up to this city until now where we can follow their story in a variety of historical relics and museums. Budapest is without a doubt, a sight I would surely not like to miss.

Disclaimer: This is one of those posts that took me quite forever to finish, due to the extensive research I’ve gone through in each of the city on this list. However, if you find anything that may have been misinterpret or some false mentions I may have also have written anywhere throughout this entire post, do be kind enough to comment down below for me to correct them later, for your thoughts and opinions are warmly appreciated. (:

So that leaves off to exactly 5 cities in Europe on this ambitious travel bucket list! Thank you guys so much for taking your precious time to dive into this, I hope you all enjoyed. This was by far one of those articles where I put in so much effort and time into writing, to relevantly keep track on the places I’ve been dying to visit in Europe someday, it being a truly belle of a continent where I will be forever in love with. As for my next post, you have probably read the side note from the above, mentioning that I am in such a huge travel-writing mood from which indicates that I will be writing more of posts like this, in formats of different particular continents or specific countries enlisting at least 5 cities that is right up my alley.
Let me know in the comments down below if you especially want me to write more travel related content here? Or if you have any specific travel related content to request for me to write about, as I would love to know. Also feel free to comment your version of the top 5 cities in Europe you would like to visit the most, because I would also like to hear all about it! Once again, thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have an amazing day ahead of you.

with love,

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thoughts · travel

My (secret) Wish(es) | 2

“No matter how your heart is grieving, 

if you keep on believing,

the dreams that you wish, will come true.” – Disney, Cinderella

Here I am back again creating another post upon sharing my (secret) wishes on the blog this afternoon. If you happen to have read the previous one, which overall concerned a huge element of my love towards books, then I hope I won’t loose myself again when writing this one, for it will focus more on the wishes that do not actually revolve around books this time. I promise. In addition to that, by all means of writing this post, I should want all these to come true someday, so to reiterate once again, wish me luck?


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Remaining first on top of my 2nd list regards taking my beloved parents (and grandparents) on holidays to new, exotic, yet intriguing places they have yet to visit. I personally have first experienced travelling ever since I was a little ungrateful 5-year-old brat, and have learned to actually love it since then. My parents are the ultimate reason as to why I crave and love travelling to newfound places. Discovering new things along the way, and trying completely different stuff with the people I treasure most are one of the many reasons why I enjoy the true means of travelling with them in the first place.

In conclusion to that, it will be my turn soon to steer our togetherness wheel by placing responsibility on taking them overseas someday, just to simply repay the splendid sincere deeds they’ve done for me in the past, and bond with them throughout the journeys that should lie ahead of us. Shoutout to mom and dad, if you’re reading this, your daughter will definitely make you proud by doing so. ASAP.

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The last but not least, is a wish I think that I would personally be glad of it happening, and that is to travel alone. I have yet gone around to plenty of spectacular destinations around the globe with my family annually for the last few years of my life, and I am very much content with where I’ve been, and what I’ve had come to learn and experience with them throughout every unique and unforgettable journeys we have yet to overcome. But my current wish (and life goal) is to explore at least 1 city. A strange, yet beautiful and diverse city to explore and get to know of for a month, more or less.  

I haven’t got the slightest idea as to what city I’m planning to explore in depth with, but when I do, I simply am excited to get along with all the preparations that include planning, booking tickets, research, and anything that has to do with pre-travelling, not to mention the journey itself. The adventures I’ll face, the contrasting atmosphere I’m about to breathe in, the locals I’ll have yet to meet, and the things I’m going to end up learning along the way. All in all, I can’t wait to plan on my first solo trip to a specific city and/or country to just get myself lost in them, then bringing something back after. 

I mean, technically, if travelling was free, you’d never see me again, and I believe that’s all there is to say about that.


Here’s to another continuation post talking about my (not-so-secret-anymore) wishes! I hope you guys enjoyed reading as very much I did writing it, since this list only consisted of two travel-related things, while I threw in three literature-centered ones last time. I’m super glad that I got to write the things I really want in life via posts like these. It’s super refreshing for me to really reflect upon what I desire most in life by writing like this, and believe me when I say that I’ll cast upon some more wishes in the coming future. However, I suppose 5 wishes will do just fine for now.
from a blogger who dreams a lot,

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REVIEWS · travel

Redback Specialty Coffee, A Rising Star From the West

As always, though, a typical disclaimer before jumping into anything else: this post is only created to serve a genuine purpose in sharing, with a 100% honest opinion based on experience and no intentional monetary fund. Anyhow, I hope you guys will enjoy, so happy reading!

The reason why I wanted to write a post about this café is because truth be told, you guys, being a glutton-tied enthusiast when it comes to pastries, I’d reckon jolly flagging this place for serving the best pastries in town. But not only that, of course. Since I have been devouring their pastries for quite some time now, learning that they actually managed to open up a new branch that locates a lot closer to where I live got me pretty dang excited about trying it out.

Their new branch opened not too long ago, and have been kept busy by the never ending customers that never ceased to stop dropping by. The place was super packed by the time I arrived earlier, and it still was when it was time for me to go back home. I must say, the atmosphere felt 180 degrees different than their previously original branch back at Papaya Supermarket, except for it not being a bad way, but in a much more cozy-defined way that is equally as unique compared to the other one.

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As I began to line up to place my order, the thought of analyzing what lied around me was surely unavoidable. A series of customers enjoying their time chatting, sipping small cups of coffee accompanied by a platter of pastry beside them, laughing their way through, being lost in conversations, or just simply chilling while enjoying the moment. The way I see it, the view had so much sufficed to a high-end level of it being refreshing.

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I personally loved seeing how things are different here in the new branch, the concept of it being insanely huge and comforting made you wish to just wanna kick back, relax, and seize the moment to take in all to yourself. My dad and I managed to pick a spot at the outdoor smoking area where you can entirely witness a spectacular golf view, which in hindsight, not something common to get whenever you find yourself visiting caféin Surabaya.

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Aside from all that, the pastries we got tasted spot on like always, just the right texture and crisp topped with the perfect amount of filling coming from both my danish au hazelnut and my dad’s almond-coated croissant. Redback really has a way with the recipes they throw in towards their pastries, so make no mistake about them serving the best rich-in-flavor and mouth-watering pastries in town, and for that reason, I highly recommend you guys to go and try any displayed pastry on the menu because they are once again, the absolute best.

Now to discuss more about the coffee, as I myself personally don’t happen to be a huge fan of consuming them, I’d say it worked out really good as well. Hence, if any of you guys happen to come around being coffee addicts yourselves, if you haven’t heard or been to this place, then yes. I encourage you guys to try having this place a go, because well the way I see it, the attitude they placed upon serving coffee here is quite different than any other coffee joints I’ve visited in town. They preserved a strong level of passion towards serving high quality coffee that can be seen through any naked eye, which definitely alters the experience of the sippers to enjoy them in a thoroughly maximized way possible.

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Luckily enough this time, I had the honor of speaking to the owner himself, Mr. Jimmy, who was also behind the coffee bar counter monitoring and helping his baristas into brewing all the non-stop demands of coffee made by his customers. He was very kind enough to answer all my questions, that again, I learned so much from just listening to, and elaborate on them as well so eagerly to me personally.

He told me the reason why he opened this branch in the first place, with an overwhelming concept that differentiated from the previous one being instant and practical, to this warm, calm-collected and comfy approach had originated from none other than his beloved customers’ feedbacks. I’m assuming that people wanted so much more than just great quality coming from the products being delivered, but also an additional soothing atmosphere, space, and location that perhaps needed to come along with. The fact that he highly took that in consideration and actually made that happen deserved more than a 10 minute standing ovation from the hands of a glorious amount set of crowds, because honestly, it acceded too well beyond expectations in the end. I believe this place will acquire such a premium and outstanding reputation in town, for they obviously deserved it.

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The one thing that left a powerful impression on me behind the existence of Redback is the actuality of it being born out of pure passion. The owner, Mr. Jimmy, claimed that he had no past experience related to coffee and that he learned all things that revolve around coffee entirely on his own. Everyday. He is a high-level coffee addict who indulges an advanced knowledge and severe understanding towards coffee, who only wishes to share it with the people around him by opening this wonderful coffee joint himself.

Passion-driven and all, Mr. Jimmy sure did a splendid job of portraying as an excellent qualified living proof that having devotion towards something you love doing, and intending on no ulterior motives of quitting from it in the middle of the way, will beyond any doubt, take you to places you never thought of going from the start. Bottom line? Follow your passion and make sure it impacts the people around you. Dig deep and don’t give up or get bored too easily. But above all that, never forget to keep yourself a reminder to always stay humble. 

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In conclusion to this post, allow me to place a special thank you to my dad for taking most of the aesthetic pictures above and for allowing me to use it on my blog. Other than that of course, Mr. Jimmy for the few extra minutes of sharing your thoughtful insights in the midst of your busy schedule, for answering my questions and most certainly, for the experience. You’re a super awesome person whom I look up to so much, so once again, thank you!

Also thank you so much for those of you who happen to spare a few minutes of your time into reading this post, I highly hope that you guys too will pick up several valuable things after reading from this post, and if you do, be sure to give it a like and leave a comment down below to let me know!

Until next time,

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books · REVIEWS · thoughts · travel

7 Days In New York by Tompi

A quick overview about this photobook: Captured by the photographer/musician/doctor, Tompi, this book is compiled with a series of both film and colored pictures taken in New York City, USA. The skilled artist had managed to successfully depict the lively surroundings that happened along his late visit to the city that never sleeps, revealing the untold stories he shared within each shot.

Now in retrospect, I do not have an excellent background when it comes to holding a camera, let alone a remarkable skill towards street photography, so a slight warning to everyone who reads, I just wanted to let you guys know that this review comes only from the eye-viewed lens of a person who isn’t as much as half amazing compared to an average photographer, but still generally knows a thing or two about it. With that being said, let’s just go ahead and jump right into it.

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So, wow. New York City, The Big Apple. The thought of visiting this somewhat audacious city someday was merely a dream until I finally wandered around to meeting this book. It was almost as if I was there, witnessing the New Yorkers’ lives right before my very eyes within the turn of every page. Each picture got me in awe. The shots were glorious. Eye-pleasing. Aesthetic. Tompi never ceased to disappoint when the time comes for him to put his impressive versatility to use.

What I absolutely admire most about street photography is that it’s pretty dang spontaneous, right on the spot, where chances are the events that occur might not ever be similar to the next few things that happen for the next few seconds. You can never tame the objects that move right before your lens and from there, you’ll find the mobility of life in the most relatively outspoken way possible.

I love, love, love the fact that Tompi had chosen to set foot on New York for his bold street photography hunt, though I must admit, that the reason mainly revolves around me being a huge fan of the city itself, but really, though, why wouldn’t you choose to capture the lives of Manhattanites? The city where dreams are made of, where inspiration flows like the currents of a river, and valiant histories are born. I couldn’t have chosen a better location myself.

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Several of his shots involved elements like shadows and majorities in darkness that beautifully stood out the minority of brightness in the area where the pictures were mostly taken, which I personally think is very interesting to see because you don’t get to know what really happens in the picture, but instead you are allowed to analyze and make speculations on your own regarding to what’s happening inside of it.

There were also a lot of play in out of focus, where the pictures were mainly a spotlight on what a New Yorker was currently doing at the time which was also a remarkable craft towards the art of street photography itself.

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The landscape pictures were also as breathtaking as the other ones as well, because truth be told, you guys, becoming such a dork when it comes to New York myself, I’ve always enjoyed watching the skyscrapers in Times Square and Manhattan, or just downtown New York decorated with busy crowds that indirectly becomes the icon of the busy city itself through movie settings and images on tumblr, assuming the obvious fact that everybody from everywhere would also enjoy viewing it as much as I do.

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I think what Tompi is trying to show us through these pictures are the series of the average restless everyday life events of the people in New York that goes offhand, the mobilized citizens that distinctively represents the empire state of mind that is done so well to the point where it captivated the pairs of eyes, of a photographer or whatnot, that viewed through these set of images beforehand.

Here’s one that I would mark as my favorite photo throughout this entire album:

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The reason why this picture shined a little brighter than others is that, in my defense, it had such a strong potential of showing a range of animated components. The first element that caught my eye was the 3 Asian (not to be crude or anything because I too happen to be one myself) people taking a selfie under the bridge, declaring diversity upon New York, and not only that, see those jumbotron ads there on the upper corner to the right? As you all may look closer, one of them is practically written in Arabian, which conducts another oblivious fact that New York preserves such a diverse set of humanity that understands not only English, but a mixture of other languages communicating indubitable content as well. Let’s not forget about the slow speed technique he used capturing the moment being shown on the car next to the Asians, revealing the legitimate fact that it’s still there and still moving more rapidly compared to the other elements in this picture.

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In the end, I find myself really appreciating what Tompi has to offer by scanning through the pages of this deluxe looking masterpiece. Tompi empowered me to see New York on a very contrast angle by maximizing his skilled techniques he successfully brought to the table within each picture imparted throughout this book, and I certainly will without a doubt look forward to his next new releases sometime in the near-end future.

So what did you guys overall think of this post? Do you happen to have a similar interest to photography as well? What are your thoughts on Tompi’s latest hunt for street photography in New York? Do leave a comment down below to let me know!

from the writer who will also soon find herself strolling the streets of Manhattan,

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travel

3D2N of Star Cruises’ Very Own Superstar Gemini

So about a week ago, my mother took us on our very first cruise trip for approximately 3 days and 2 nights to Malacca, Malaysia. We embarked from Singapore’s Harbour Front at midnight on January 4th, after a stressful long period of time queueing through immigration to board on the ship.

As you all may notice, we were to board on Superstar Gemini, one of the 6 types of ships from Star Cruises, an Asian cruise line that is owned by Genting, Hongkong which is also the third largest cruising line in the world after Carnival Corporation and Royal Carribean that dominates the Asia-Pacific market at hand.

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Our cruise had swimming pools, jacuzzis, and over 10 restaurants to choose from to satisfy the passengers’ needs for a luxurious gourmet experience on board. There were 3 free complimentary ones that I managed to give a shot of, and each and every one of them got even better and better after every next visit.

The first and most likely the best restaurant we tried was: Dynasty Restaurant, located on deck 11. The place served Chinese food in a form of buffet, so we were more than liberal to take as much as we wanted to.

This was definitely our first choice for dinner on the very first night where we first got on the ship, and believe me, they served a huge variety of Chinese food that made me want to devour them all at once. From dumplings, to fried rice, fried noodles, sauted vegetables, wheat cooked prawns, they also provide both plain and pork mixed porridge during breakfast that are commonly known as “Yum Cha” which in Chinese is a traditional way of eating dimsum while drinking Chinese tea.

What I personally enjoyed most was their hot milk which I took from their condiments section which was unlike any other milk I have ever come across of drinking before. It was literally creamy, yet not too sweet or plain completed with a pile of white foam on top of it, bubbling hot. I decided to dip in an additional bun to kick it up a notch, which then ended me to taking another one because it was that worth it of the extra few calories to chew from.

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Our cabins were on deck 5, which happened to be the lowest level of this ship the passengers are allowed to step foot on. It was freezing cold all the time even after we turned the heater on, but despite that, at least we got a view of the ocean right before our room windows that were unsurprisingly breathtaking to have a look at, especially during embarkation, where we could see that the water is moving from beneath us down below.

The ship embarked right on schedule that night, and the experience I felt when the ship started maneuvering was pure excitement. We were to arrive near the coasts of Malacca the next morning, so I was super giddy about riding a cruise for the very first time, sailing the ocean in the midst of slumbering inside a cabin and waking up the next morning someplace new. I could literally hear noises from machines that were working beneath my pillow while I was trying to sleep, and several thuds from the walls in the morning, indicating that the anchor was thrown down and that the ship was finally put to a stop.

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Next on our itinerary was none other than: breakfast. We have decided to try out another restaurant that’s not far from our reach, which was none other than Bella Vista. The place served Indian dishes also in forms of buffet, and we were intrigued on trying them out on deck 9.

I did not manage to take shots of the breakfast we had that day though, but we had beef bacon, turkey ham, muffins, samosa, well-done eggs, and so many more. The food was exquisite, of course, completed with a desert and salad station that satisfied our cravings for a complete breakfast just right.

Continued over lunch, we were left with the last complimentary choice on our list: Mariners Restaurant, which happened to be located on the same deck as Bella Vista and was only separated by a walk to the duty free shop and a bar.

Mariners was an International and Indian buffet joint, they provided a line of all kinds of international dishes on board along with an Indian Vegetarian section next to it, I took a lot on my plate but ended up not finishing them all because some were not as good as they seemed.

What I liked about Mariners was their milk tea. It was warm and enjoyable with a rich combination of milk and tea (obviously) compiled with sweetness and creamy flavor to it. The milk was okay too, even if it didn’t top my list of favorites in Dynasty’s, I still overall enjoyed them both.

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My brother offered if I wanted to join him for another round of lunch at Bella Vista, and I just couldn’t say no. So after we finished eating, we crossed the duty free shop to reach Bella Vista and soon found out that there was no buffet but a menu prepared for the guests to enjoy for lunch. There were at least 3 choices for main course which were all free of charge, and I knew my brother was gonna end up ordering his all-time-favorite fish n’ chips, and I just had to pick something else. So I ordered a chicken wrap then after a few moments of waiting, the food finally came.

I tried my brother’s fish n’ chips, then he tried mine in return. Meh, they were okay. They provided us with cold lemon water as beverages, but as expected, I was too full to continue because the portion of it was massive.

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I then spent a lot of energy by exploring the entire ship, it was huge and filled with guests, although some were already in Malacca and was currently not on board at the time being. All it took was a 15-20 minute ride on a boat that was provided by the ship to get there, which I will tell you all about later on my next post.

We managed to catch the sunset that can be seen from the upper decks of the ship and like all sunsets, they were all lovely and breathtaking to watch, especially when you’re in the middle of the ocean with a nearby city to complete the background.

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There was a scheduled performance of “The Queen of Hearts” in Stardust Lounge which was a must for me to see because I was currently reading a novel about it as well (Heartless by Marissa Meyerand would love to see a performance that was coincidentally related to it. The show started at 8:30, if I recall correctly, and ended at 9:45.

It was about a girl, who finds Wonderland with the help of her two new acquainted friends, which had 2 Jokers, one black and the other white, as the rulers of the newfound kingdom. She soon met them and then ended up being captured, but was then freed by her comrades who showcased such incredible acrobatic performances.

The entire show was a compilation of  a bunch of choreographies, singing, and dancing. It was epic. Every one of the characters had succeeded to play their parts very well, and the ending when the girl ends up becoming The Queen of Hearts, was an utterly amusing finale. I couldn’t help but gawk the entire show, breath taken by their actions and dazzling performances.

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So to summarize, I had one of the most wonderful time on board of this ship, my one complaint was the lines of getting on and off of it, though. It took us forever to pass through immigration because there were over a thousand people who happened to be guests like us on this cruise. With that being said, I guess the never ending lines were certainly worth it for the splendid experience I got to witness on board of this ship.

Thanks for reading, guys. I hope this post was worth your time reading and not disappointing at the same time. Have you guys ever tried riding a cruise? What was it like? Or are you planning on cruising anytime soon? Comment your thoughts down below as I would love to hear all about them.

Have a good evening!

Janice K

 

travel

A Very Unpopular Thought On: Paris

Before I jump into anything, I would like to quote a little disclaimer out there because I can. No matter how annoying it sounds because I often put disclaimers on my posts, so here it goes:

All thoughts are based on my personal experiences and is not intended to make fun of Paris in a highly insulting way, please do not take this post subjectively or a certain type of boundary for you to not visit the city itself. These are my thoughts and I’m only here to share what I feel about my first visit to Paris, so there you have it.

Okay now in the midst of July, I got a chance to visit the beautiful (or as I’ve been told) city of love in the middle of the West Europe journey with my family. We stayed there a couple of nights, in a number of 3 days, and needless to say, Paris did not turn out to becoming the breathtaking city I had hoped for.

First things first, traffic. The streets were super crowded. There were vehicles all over the place. We went there with a tour bus on our way from Cologne, Germany. Our hotel was located on the outskirts of the city, just in front of a crowded highway. Believe me, it wasn’t a regular 10-15 minutes of average traffic, but a horrendous one that took about half an hour. I thought to myself, “Oh, this probably happens because the Euro Cup 2K16 is going on and tonight’s the big game between Germany and France.” until my tour guide told me that Paris was really just another big overloaded metropolitan city with traffics like these that occur everyday. One thing’s for sure: Paris sure did leave an impression on me alright, but it most certainly was not a good one.

The next day came and I believe I’ve had set my hopes too high that day. We were supposed to go on a city tour around town, to the famous landmarks I’ve always been dying to visit ever since I was a little kid, but unfortunately couldn’t enjoy for too long because time was ahead of us and we were literally running towards it along the journey of every location we visited.

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Don’t get me wrong, the sites were of course, beautiful. But not the kind of beautiful you see in movies. Do I have a favorite? Yes. The very first site we managed to visit, Musée du Louvre was as near as breathtaking despite its humid weather. As for the others, I liked them, they were okay. Notice the fact that I used the word like instead of love, because I had such higher expectations upon them before I arrived here.

We managed to shop at a mall somewhere in the midst of the city where they showcased a ton of branded products, such as Prada, Salvatore Feragano, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. There was an entire floor dedicated to brands selling products similar to them, and it was crazy. But to my disappointment, we spent around 2 hours just to shop where it could have, should have, but did not spend sightseeing a little bit longer on the other landmarks we passed through quickly earlier.

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The day ended with another traffic on the way to the place where we were reserved for dinner, which just pissed me off even more. But here’s the better part: my dad told me that he got us e-rail tickets for our journey to Zurich, which was the next scheduled destination on our itinerary, spending half the time needed to get there instead of riding the tour bus. This triggered me with 2 last anticipations going on my mind at that very moment:

  1. Gare de Lyon.
  2. Riding the Euro-rail to Switzerland.

I couldn’t wait for tomorrow. Finally, a chance to enjoy a true Parisian atmosphere within the time that was apparently on our reach. We have been played “The Tourist” on our way here the other day, so I was still pretty overwhelmed by the fact that this was the very station of where Elise took her train to Venice and met Alexander Pearce that occurred in the beginning of the movie.

So my expectations were finally satisfied with the fact that the station was gorgeous. The building looked very victorian like, and oh I just loved the idea of a visit to the train station in the morning, located in Paris, which completely made up to the previous day I spent here. I could finally breathe in the refreshing air that circulated beautifully among Paris. Now this was what I’m talking about. What I’ve been yearning to feel since the first day I got here.

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So all in all, I’m not trying to say that Paris is an awful place for anyone in particular to visit, because it is absolutely beautiful in general. But it just wasn’t for me. I’m probably saying this because I’ve had such an awful first impression on it and perhaps several other issues with time along the way. I am going to re-visit Paris again someday without participating on a tour so I can try and re-enjoy the city with a longer period of time and a much more proper weather to go along with.

Guess that’s pretty much it for today’s post. I hope you guys liked it? What are your thoughts on Paris after reading this post? Are you planning on a trip here anytime soon? I’d love to hear all about it on your comments down below.

Merci et au revoir!

Janice K

travel

[161116 – 171116] Business Talent Exploration, Tangerang

Disclaimer: To whom it may concern, this post was written originally based on the author’s full personal experience. It does not contain lies, alterations, or scams, and is properly provided with real proven events, time, and information.

The Creative Business Idea

Back during the midst of October, my counselling teacher got an email inviting the school to join a “Business Talent Exploration” competition held by one of the most well-known schools in my country, UPH-Karawaci. I asked him the details of the competition and he told me that he would gladly forward them to me. And of course, I immediately checked my inbox, to see that the requirements for this competition were a group of 3 people (like most competitions are like these days), and it also mentioned that the business idea had to be written in a form of a thesis, which was indeed unlike any other business competitions I have participated in the past, and to top that, the groups whose business ideas were chosen would have to travel all their way to Jakarta, to continue their journey throughout the upcoming semi-finals and finals, which would be to present what their business ideas are all about. But unlike any other average business plan competitions, this is one where they would specifically hand us a real case of an existing area with certain issues that need speculating. This is therefore, more than just another typical business competition, since there was a need of intellectual yet analytical skills packed with well-driven business mindsets in order to cope up with the competition itself. So thus, I partnered up with two of my dearest friends, Ica and Evan, who were coincidentally also my two team-mates of the CEC Debate Competition I joined last year. And without further ado, we immediately got ourselves registered for this competition, so there were indeed, no turning backs!

Moving on, we finally got the materials we needed for our thesis, and was given a full week to establish our business idea, and work on our business report. They sent us a series of files that consisted videos, slides, and points of information about Mauk, a small distinct area that is not too far from the city. There were several mindful potentials upon aspects that got us thinking about what the creative business idea should be all about, but we were bloody confused to pick just one fitting idea to comply. After all, we were only students with no excessive experience beforehand, so we decided to call on for help from our outstanding history teacher, Mr. Petra.

Here’s a massive shoutout to him for helping us with the idea of the “Perna Viridis (green mollusc) Project”, and giving qualified, intellectual insights along the way. We would have never done it without him.

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The Pre-departure

And so, the business report was finally done and sent through email, I’m not gonna lie, we were desperate for a reply that would simply get us to the next exciting stage of the competition: GOING TO JAKARTA. Well, Tangerang, to be precise. Our counselling teacher, who informed us about this competition, Mr. Tri, also had faith in us and joined the anticipation as well. All our hard work was finally paid off because the email from the official UPH committee itself finally came to our short notice, confirming that we have succeeded to the next round, and was to arrive there on the spot next Wednesday, on November 16th   at approximately 7:30 sharp. You can probably tell that we were the three happiest people on earth that day and was super excited for whatever was going to come.

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Then it’s off to the rough part: getting the approval from our beloved guardians, well in this case, MY parents. So yeah, I sort of forgot to mention that I was participating this competition to them when I first registered, which of course led me to telling them soon after I finished registering. Of course, they were not happy about me joining this because it involved going out of town with no further clarifications, but then I kind of soothed them gently by saying that there was still a chance of us not making it to the next stage, so we should really get into this matter once it really happened. Primary to that, yes. I was invaded with a mixture of feeling thrilled but also terrified as hell because it was inarguably hard to get their approval on my departure.

Those few days were the toughest. We were in a state where the information being distributed to us were a complete minimum, whereas all we could do was wait until Monday comes because after all, we did, apparently ask for further information to the contact that was included in the email, but failed on getting the full-on response and information we hoped for, because apparently, the person did not want to be disturbed during weekends, when we only had roughly a number of days until departure. Meanwhile, Ica, Evan, Mr. Petra, and Mr. Tri decided to take this really seriously and looked for real products of green molluscs in Kenjeran, where I wasn’t allowed to come with. But long story short, we finally got the information we needed, and needless to say, I finally got their permission to continue battling through this nation-wide competition.

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Then it was set. We were finally going: us and Mr. Petra as our mentor and superior guardian. Our beloved principal, Mam Sioe Ie, was very supportive of the fact that we got into the semi-finals, and offered to help acquire the funds needed from school regarding our travel expenses. Thankfully, the school booked us a flight for Tuesday evening to Jakarta, which was the day after I finally confirmed my permission of departure, and another flight on Thursday night back to our city, so all we had to do was brace ourselves to the hysterical journey that lied ahead of us.

The next day came before we knew it, and I was of course, super stoked by this short getaway, since the competition would immerse first thing in the morning on wednesday, with an observation to the designated destination, Mauk. The day started off with school, of course. We were to leave at 1 PM with Evan’s car to the airport, for our plane departs at 4.30 in the afternoon. Also, we had a religion test that morning, which was quite the burden for us because we had to also study for our upcoming presentation and fully prepare the materials the night before we depart, but we all managed to acquire grades that, to say the least, was above average. Thank goodness.

A few moments later, it was finally time for us to bid our farewells. We said our goodbyes to mostly everyone we met, and even willed ourselves upstairs to our beloved class, 11 IPS 1 during gym class where they acknowledged us warmly, wishing us the very best of luck. Then we went downstairs to meet the teachers in the cafeteria, where they were having lunch, then we finally bid our final goodbyes to Mr. Tri, who had so much hope in us, and whom I suppose, supported us the most. It was a completely marvelous feeling, having to leave the city to bring upon the school’s name outside of it, nationally. I guess God had such a great plan for us that day, because to be fairly honest, never have I expected anything like this to actually occur in my life so far. The most predictable thing about God sometimes, though, is that He is highly unpredictable upon His wills He planned for our lives, and I humbly will be forever grateful for what He has done.

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The Arrival

We experienced a short delay and turbulence throughout the flight, so we were 30 minutes late for the arrival. Now during the flight, though, Mr. Petra, Evan, and I used our time *~wisely~* and slept almost the entire journey, while Ica worked her bottom off with the Power Point presentation and chose to stay awake. She told us that several flight attendants that approached her seat had offered her airline products in the most startling way while we were asleep, which kind of pissed her off at some point. Hehe, sorry to hear that, Ca. #peace ✌

Shortly afterwards, we carried our luggage towards the exit and found the driver from UPH that was supposed to take us to the campus. We were staying at the campus’s practice hotel, originally made for the Hotel Management majored students, for the next couple of nights, and to be quite honest, although I forgot to take a decent picture of it, the place was very nice and there was a lot of space for us to walk around and everything. The showers had a heater, and the room temperature was splendid, completed with two double beds and a desk, and then again I still couldn’t believe that we were blessed enough to have experience all this.

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The night was still young enough for us to look for food outside of the UPH Campus, and while we were walking, I was completely drawn to how the environment around it looked like, there was an entire full green space with tall trees that surround them, and buildings that are insanely huge representing multiple majors inside of them. We decided to keep walking (using flip flops that hurt like hell because we didn’t know we had to walk that far) in search for the famous “Bakmi GM” (which happened to be Ica’s brilliant idea), so we kept on exploring the restaurants and malls around the campus, we even managed to get ourselves lost for a moment, got into the wrong side of the road (thanks to Evan), but managed getting directions and went straight into the mall where our growling stomachs finally devoured a decent meal.

The Observation

It was finally time for us to enrol to the semi-finals. We reached UPH Business Building F, at approximately 7:20 ish and waited till 8:00 to commence our registration. While we were waiting though, we got to witness the competitors. There were 12 our of 200 groups in total that got into the semi-finals, and to top that, we were the only representatives from our city, which was a total shocker and a decent motivational pride that got us even more anticipated into winning this competition.

They provided us all with a bus that transported us to the village with an additional breakfast to eat along the way. The journey took us about 2 hours long, and after devouring breakfast, we started to doze ourselves to sleep until we reached our destination.

There was a lot to see in the village, from the non-hygienic water they consume, to the pile of green mollusc shells that were left untouched and not recycled, the less-saturated pig farms, diverse cultures that can be seen through temples, etc. Our business idea revolved around using the green mollusc, a main commodity in the area, and start using them to their fullest potential, using them as a coagulant that filters contaminated water, decorations, seafood ingredient, and so on. The main point of the observation was to prove whether or not our business was practical to improve the welfare of the people that lived there.

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The Presentation

After all day exploring, we managed to get back to campus and was informed that the presentation was due tomorrow afternoon immediately right after Mochtar Riady’s seminar, which was located in one of the seminar buildings in campus. So after we got back and showered, we knew we were off to working our bottoms all night on our presentation tomorrow. Ica was of course, the one who bombarded the designs of the slide presentations, as for Evan and I, we practiced, practiced, and practiced on presenting our ideas for the judges. There was a slight conflict between us three about equality towards presentation materials, since we all couldn’t get a hold of ourselves and were extremely tired that day, we even ordered delivery service from KFC to boost up our energy so we could continue pulling a late shift that night. Mr. Petra, being our mentor, helped us along the way by tweaking a few words and arrangements here and there, giving us great mental support, and motivation as we continued practicing. We finally got ourselves to bed at 1 AM in the morning, while according to Evan, Mr. Petra continued doing his piled up work for school until 3 AM.

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So on our next day, we managed to get up at 5.30 AM first thing in the morning and took ourselves quick showers then continued practicing again for the very last time before heading to the seminar. The slides were nicely done, all we needed to do was print 3 copies of them to give to the judges. We embarked at around 7.30 to look for someone who can print these out for us. We managed to find a print center just in front of campus, and printed our slides there.

We were scheduled for a seminar by Mochtar Riady and ended up listening to him for a few hours, talking about his achievements in life so far and how he got to the point he was then, interviews,  etc. Mochtar Riady is the CEO of UPH, Carrefour, and several other big companies that are located in Indonesia, an inspiration for people of all ages to accomplish big things in life. Right after the seminar, we were directed by our friendly group mentor from UPH to the building where the presentation was supposed to take place. So that was it, I guess. The moment we’ve all been waiting for at last.

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To our surprise, the waiting room was chillier than usual that day and we were still using the little pieces of time left on our hands to keep practicing in order to not make any mistakes during the presentation. Then a few moments later, our kind and lovely mentor finally summoned us to the presentation room where we were introduced to three judges sitting before us, and one of them, a lady, told us that she came from Surabaya and that she recognized our Surabayan accents when we first marched in. So I personally handed them the printed slide papers before the presentation began. Everything was smooth at the beginning and we all did a very good job at presenting our ideas for the first 10 straight minutes until it was time for Q&A, where we blew it. Now allow me tell you guys why:

  1. We didn’t exactly get the idea that this was supposed to be a formally written business plan from the start, because of some type of miscommunication thinking that this was supposed to be just a business idea, not a business plan. Hence, we failed to explain the details that were supposed to be included in our presentation and simply just lost track on answering almost all of the judges’ questions.
  2. Our team was too busy practicing on presenting the ideas the night before and seemed to have a loose focus on research. The judge lady was not satisfied with our work and had sternly advised us by correcting all the things that went wrong in our presentation, which in other words had put our business ideas to waste.

We had lunch just after that with the coupons they gave us to buy food in their campus cafeteria. Just to put it out there, we didn’t fully enjoy the lunch due to our disappointment towards the presentation we brought upon, and all the critiques we got on our business ideas. Believe me, it was like the judges (especially the lady) told us right in front of our faces that we weren’t valid enough to get into the finals. We wanted to go home so badly back then, but our mentor managed to cheer us up a bit with a tour around campus while waiting for the finals announcement.

The tour was okay, I mean, we got to witness a real campus life right before our eyes, with students carrying books running to catch their next classes, working on their projects, or just having playful conversations with each other. Our mentor was super nice and friendly as she showed us around then. But was not much of a help on making us forget the fact that we failed the presentation.

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The Finals

As many of you all already know, we did not get into the finals. We had so little hope going on, and many more disappointments later, but we managed to stay in to watch several teams that actually went into the finals presenting their ideas in front of everyone. Each team was very unique in their own way that we were very much inspired to be just like them one day on our next presentation. And although we didn’t win, us getting this far, was an absolute struggle and achievement itself that we should really be proud of having.

Were we embarrassed? Absolutely. Were we scared of facing the people back home? Of course. But did we learn from our mistakes? We sure did. So for that, we would like to humbly apologize for not bringing home an entitled winner’s trophy despite our loss, but we promise that we have fought our very best and are eternally grateful for having this incredible opportunity to represent our school on a whole new level nationally. What we truly know is, that failure will not stop us from moving forward, for we believe that failure is the unknown road to success. Thank you so much to everyone who had supported us from the very beginning.

I’ll see you on my next post!

xx,

Janice K

shoutout: all polaroid picture edits are made by Gracia Tumakaka.