A Guest

A guest, Beloved,
Makes host happy yet confused.
Smile sweet and thank, too.

I’ve met hosts with different types of personality or characteristics. When the host is a person, it’s just about that particular person. When the host is a company, it shows me the company culture or local culture.

I’ve got a few “cute” treatment from some hosts.

One company in Koka was informed that I’m a Muslim. My colleague told them “Rike eats halal, please find the food source from now.” They didn’t clarify to me and just followed that pranking colleague blindly. And in my 3-day visit they fed me halal food they ordered online and had to be delivered long trip to that remote area.

“Is it good, Rike-san?” The host asked me on the last day.

“Do you expect honest or polite answer?” said I laughing.

“Be honest please ha ha…”

“I tried NN-san’s food from your canteen. I love your food much much better. This online food tasted good but didn’t taste fresh.” It was impolite like hell for most Japanese host I guess. 😂

“Our canteen food is not halal. I’m sorry about the online food.” He must have wanted to commit suicide after that. 😁

Then I started preaching what halal meant to me. And they said they would not order the halal food for me anymore and give me their canteen food the following years. 😂

delivered from Kanagawa 🙏🏼

The second was one company knowing I’m a Muslim as informed by the branch in Malaysia. So they knew I pray although they never knew I only pray when wanting to.

So they brought me to a small room to do afternoon prayer. I asked if they have Muslim employees so they had the room, they said it was prepared for me. They moved out table, chairs and other cultural ornaments. 🙇🏻‍♀️

The first day I prayed, the other days they asked if I would pray. I said no. Then again I preached what type of Muslim I was and they nodded heads looking confused— they might think how would a human being can be this obedient yet disobedient to her God.

prayed in the prayer room specially prepared for me one day then chanting the same prayer in this shrine another day; God isn’t discriminating 😍

The third is also about being a Muslim. I came with 6 other people for 2 days and the company gave me fruit salad while giving nice beef/chicken/pork, egg, vegetable, rice lunch to others. They said they only had salad as halal food and no restaurant near the industrial area cooks halal and non halal food separately.

My colleagues explained that I could eat this and that but “not pork only”. So the next day they provided my favourite Vietnam spring roll with “vegetable and pork” not “pork only”. I left the lunch box untouched and went back to the yummy salad. I’ll come back next year, please give me pho. 😁

special salad for me – thank yow!!! 😘😘😘

Some people are so naive not knowing what to do and deciding to do their bestest best to respect the guests. God bless them.

I enjoy being a (not so good) Muslim. Misunderstood but still well treated by those willing to respect others. God bless you! 💝

Salaam….

a cute torii in Minakuchichohinokigaoka (damn not easy to read and write)

Gifts to You

These gifts, Beloved,
Peace and love hummed to loved ones
Living here and there

One of the Javanese and Islamic teachings that I will never leave for the rest of my life is sending gift of prayer containing peace and love to my loved ones wherever they are, whether they are physically wandering on earth or spiritually gathering around life.

I believe that my passing-away ancestors are living in different levels of consciousness (call it hell, heaven or somewhere in between up to your liking) and they are watching their offsprings without being able to directly communicating with us. They deserve my gift as they have been my line to get the chance to be here now. They deserve peace and love as they have done the best they could to draw a meaningful family tree. Yes, some might have made silly mistakes but hey that’s what Buddhism calls “karma”. Yes, some might have caused shameful stains on the family picture but hey that’s what Islam calls “alam syahadah”. Whoever and whatever they were, all of my ancestors deserve good wishes sung to them.

I also wish peace and love to those I love still breathing the air. Wishing all of them health and happiness. 💝

We Javanese Muslim will send gift by reciting some Javanese prayer closed with Alfatihah, a short chapter in the Quran containing peace, love, praise, forgiving, protection and guidance. A basket of beautiful wishes—

How light this heart is to be sure that all whom I love are well.

Alfatihah to all whom I love. You’re loved. You’re blessed. Don’t shop too much. 😁

Happy weekend!

born as part of a nation doesn’t make someone higher or lower – being born a Javanese, Aborigine, African, Arab, Chinese, English, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Sundanese, Vietnamese or whatever is a gifted tool to contribute the best quality of culture in sustaining and respecting humanity – respect yourself, respect other human beings 💕
if not respected (by you), your origin will be a boomerang (spun around hitting you) – be grateful for being born as you are, never wasted, fully loved, surrounded by beloved only if you accept who you are 💕

Little Bird

Little bird, dear love,
Telling her to soar then go home
To where her heart is—

Home. Is it a what, a who, a whom, a whose, a which, a when, a where or a how? She knows hers and it doesn’t always the same as others’. 💝

shared rice with a little bird in Cointrin Airport before boarding for Amsterdam then home – a trip worth doing she should repeat 🥰 …

With Love

With love, Beloved,
All is done and completed.
How would she not thank?

one of the doors of my humble abode should be adorned with climbing rose like this 💝
and one of the windows, so when the window is opened I breathe love from the pink roses 💗

Dream Home (lunch break)

Dream home, Beloved,
Sitting with all senses on,
Capturing moments—

Lunch break + very very heavy rain = early wish of birthday getaway to come true!

sitting here while writing a bunch of love letters to whomever I want – 2023
long chat in Ubud – 2024
tranquil nights in Angkor – 2025
ocean air breathing in Ninh Thuan – 2026
walking in the depth of souk – 2027

To be continued with more destinations in 2028, 2029, 2030, 2031, 2032, 2033, 2034, 2035, 2036, 2037, 2038, 2039, 2040, 2041, 2042, 2043, 2044, 2045, 2046, 2047, 2048, 2049, 2050, 2051, 2052, 2053, 2054, 2055, 2056, 2057, 2058, 2059, 2060, 2061, 2062, 2063, 2064, 2065…. As if I knew how long I will wander around here? I hope to live as long as time is mentally and physically enjoyable with family and friends without bothering them.

Long life, fresh and sane!

Then came the calculation part…. A lot of coins to spend to comfortably celebrate that way in those particular places. Easy! Just need a clover pendant to make it happen. 😝

4-leaf good luck charm immediately wanted!!! to make dreams come true 🍀

Thanks for the rain and daydream. I know there is more than meets the eye! Life is so rich and I accept all the gifts.

Morning

Morning, Beloved,
When seeds of joy is planted.
When dewdrops slide off.
What hues are painted for skies.
Whose voice will define the day.

Leadership is about being able to discriminate my own thoughts and making conscious decisions for the best of the agreed direction.

🍂🍃

after morning prayer, certain day is just so….

The Gate

Sky gate, Beloved
Once opened, cannot be closed.
Blessings shower down.

How would it feel to be showered with rain of blessings? Intuition is truly a blessing.

Dear, Sky. Thanks for the bright half moon last night which kept reminding me to not regret for telling genuinely with no anger about my intuition that might have offended someone.

Intuition is to be listened. Intuition is not always popping out; yet once popping out, it is always right. Yes, yes, this person is better in to be genuine than to look gorgeous. 🙂

Let’s go out to breathe the freedom and victory. Today still with Blue, let Red take a rest. 💝

Salaam.

i will, forever

after morning prayer

(Stupid) Weekend

Weekend, Beloved,
When heaven moves to kitchen
Where AirPods are on—

It’s always good to hear from good and best friends especially at weekends in which time feels like unlimited, calls can be done while cooking or cleaning the house. Topics vary from food to rubbish, celebrity to annoying friends, spirituality to sexuality, neighbourhood to social media, history to future, measured dream to dreamy imagination, everything.

This morning a group call stopped abruptly in the middle of a topic “what’s your most interesting experience in social media”.

F1 (friend #1): You all know. We married.

F2 (friend #2): That’s happy. Try again.

F1: Scammer! It was long before this marriage. A guy put a French guy photo uploading activities of the rich handsome guy who was actually not himself and after one month I found that he was from an Asian country trying to get my money. It became a twisted plot when finally I found who he was. He made up stories that he lost his business, he tried many things but could not make it and had no choice but doing what he was doing.

F2: Was it the one you told me?

F1: Yes. You?

Me: I stalked my crush. I thought he played numbers to align with the numbers of my postings, followers and followings until finally I knew he was adjusting his numbers of postings, followers and followings to align with his fiancée’s numbers! 😫

F2: How did you know that she was the fiancée?

Me: Long story short: I found their photos having vacations to many different places every single year with one particular hashtag of their nicknames put together. They’re liking each other’s postings, too. Since then I stopped stalking him. I guess they are secretly married. Why was I so stupid? 😁

F2: Better stupid then knowing you are and so you learn. 🙂 Ok my turn. I watched porn videos.

F1, Me: What?! Where?!

F1: When?!

F2: 😂😂😂😂😂 Prank youuuuu! Of course not! I don’t have interesting experience in social media. I’m too busy with my work. Hey! Why are you both so excited? You want?

F1, Me: No!

F2: I do want.

F1: What? Say that again! I guess you have done it, you just don’t want to admit it! You’re a man and impossible to not watch that kind of videos! Don’t lie!

Me: Hmmm…. Ok, ok. That’s interesting. It’s fine just admit it.

F2: What’s wrong with you, ladies? I’m joking!

F1: (left group call)

Me: Are you there?

F2: (left group call)

Me: (feeling confused and stupid after talking to husband and wife who probably started a fight because of one failed joke)

What a (stupid) weekend! May all beings be happy.

Lesson learnt: plan your joke well esp in front of your wife! 😝

writing is about mixing time, place and characters from real plots 🥰 to tell the truth 🥰 gotcha, gotcha, gotcha!

Dream Home (ranting)

Dream home, Beloved,
A place where nature meets hearts;
Hearts warmly greet souls—

The conversation with a long lost friend came to a topic of “where we want to live if ending living alone?”

Living in Singapore was never part of my dream. A visit in 2010 gave me impression that I would die of hunger in a week with Indonesia salary. 😁

Now this city is a lovely second home; my impression has changed. I won’t die because of hunger but I will die because of loneliness if I stay single retiring here. I still can’t find enough friends like those in home country. There are three but all of them will retire in Bali and New Zealand sooner than me.

Residing in a landed property where gardening and backyard dining is affordable is a preference, yet I don’t have the luxury of living in such place here. And I don’t want to die alone in a locked condo found rotten after days or even weeks. Oh God, please protect me from such horrible thing. Amen….

F: I’ve always wanted to live in Ubud and it will happen very soon. I’ll open a spa with all traditional herbal from all over Indonesia. I’ll quit my job soon. I want to live my own life as me, no one can tell me to do this and that anymore! No bloody politics anymore! Visit me often! You’ll find my spa super special! I’ll give you discount! Be a regular customer! Hey! You once wanted to live in Thailand?

Me: Someone informed me about a good property in low price near my favourite hotel in Ayutthaya. Yet Thai have controversial life style I’m not comfortable with in a way. I’m too simple, sometimes too honest and can be against those status-oriented that I might not be able to adapt well. Not a true dream! Hey! Actually love to live in Kyoto!

F: You’ll die in three months after you complete second round of shrine, temple and ancient house hopping! 😂

Me: Dying of walking! 😂

What a refreshing conversation! And yes, I’ll visit her spa soon! 😍

Lesson learnt: Will only live with those I love and loving me where home is a real feel. No excuse.

Salaam…. 💝

gebyok – the Javanese teak wood door symbolizing the host’s living in welfare, peace and harmony with nature 💝
angkul-angkul – the Balinese gate symbolizing warmth welcome to guests and privacy of the host at the same time 💝

Weekend

Weekend, Beloved:
Hopping corner to corner
Building joyous vibe—

What a busy weekend I have! One living room, one kitchen, one balcony, one bedroom, one bathroom, one storage room, one laundry corner — all must be done on one day by one person.

Professionally it is called one on one! 🤡

little mess under work desk 🥰 what’s on is even merrier (don’t like using the word “messier”) – working from home, sometimes I wear shoes as if working onsite; vibe is built at times 👍🏽

Not Lost

I’m lost, Beloved.
This maze takes me a hostage
I need to grow wings.

You might feel lost yet don’t get lazed. Open your eyes. This is not that maze maze. It is just an abandoned garden where trees are growing high touching the sky blocking the sun ray, grasses are growing wild covering the paths disguising directions. Look! There is something blinking from afar. Follow it, it might be a star. Or at least there is something moving you out of where you are.

Firstly open eyes! Your cat is getting impatient to go for adventure. Don’t let it leave you. This cat is a precious traveling companion indeed.

WAKE UP!!!

💝

the cat is reading the mind of fellow traveler whose eyelids have imprisoned one from a pretty autumn – wake up! live this dream! 💝

after morning prayer

Self Discovery (ranting)

Point zero, my love
Here now, unshakeable ground
After the earthquakes—

I’ve been a full time thinker for the past one week…. Thanks to the physical weakness brought by the virus! 🥰 And here is the ranting abridged 🙃

Life has always suggested me to walk through places where paradoxical situations exist and has made me weigh what life path should be chosen. Luckily life has always sent me angels (fallen angels included 😄) who remind me that life isn’t only about exploiting what’s considered lucrative and physically pleasant; it’s also about exploring what’s wising-up and spiritually enriching.

When I was young; books, courses, lectures, workshops were kind of “subscription” I had to shape a level of mental toughness. Yet there was exhaustion and anti-climax for intensity every now and then (good deed included 😄). Losing faith, difficulty to trust human beings and skepticism to almost everything triggered me to deconstruct my own mindset.

Another “point zero” came and brought a decision to take a course inspired by one friend named Eva (not one of my close friends but she is definitely one trusted human being). I promised to myself that this would be my LAST course to finally be unshakeable me.

I flew to Edinburgh and was driven from the airport to a place called Chisholme House by Mr Brix who became an excellent opening of my self re-discovery. He introduced me to the richness of self re-discovery even before the course started. That was when I felt so lucky to have read Ibn Arabi, Rumi and English literature although not extensively and to have learnt Javanese wisdom that is considered “local” by many of my friends (which I always disagree) as Mr Brix’ languages were using all those keywords in the repertoire from my literature reading and cultural wisdom. Indeed Mr Brix was a “gate” welcoming me to a true friendship or fellowship bonded by humanity.

The course was simply daily schedules for us to an experiencing life or “human beings who work” — physically, mentally, spiritually, socially in connection with their own self, other human beings and nature. Of course the classes was the superb! Collins, Hiroko and Aaron were excellent facilitators and to me they are role models of ordinary yet impressive human being! Collins was a loving husband and father cum the best administrator. Hiroko was a loving mother and wife cum an excellent painter! Aaron was an excellent chef cum wise philosopher! 💝

It was so normal a life that I felt so blessed. We woke up in the morning then took a bath or at least took ablution. We started the day with a group meditation — everyone: the course participants, kitchen staffs, office staffs, garden staffs, etc except those who overslept. Then we had breakfast — English breakfast! After that we started the class; the staffs started their duties. After that we had tea break then WORK! Work meant doing the assigned chores (garden, kitchen, house, laundry). After that class again then English lunch! Then lunch break for one hour. Class again. Mediation again. Work again. Afternoon tea. Personal time (we could go to the hill, forest, sleep, talk to staffs or participants, whatever). English dinner. Discussion time. Free time. Sleep…. Repeat.

Completing the “self re-discovery”, I found that life is like riding bicycle, balancing while moving. I lose, I win. I fall in love, I break heart. I get sick, I get cured. I trust, I distrust. I think, I feel. I work, I take a rest.

Balancing is about knowing the limit. I lose against someone/something but I gain wisdom. I fall in love at the same time I have to accept the unpredictable responses. I get sick then I will be cured. I trust with or without reasoning yet can also distrust because of the true or false reasoning. I think based on logic yet when logic doesn’t count, only feeling of acceptance will neutralise the situation. And, when I am tired, I should take time-out. Just like that!

And I actually graduated with flying colours from many “extra” lessons: doing laundry, washing dishes, house keeping, potato harvesting, making bread, cooking English lunch, preparing dining table, raking dry leaves, going up and down the hills in the rain, walking in the moorland, listening to silence, listening to others’ opinions, identifying and recognising true intelligent people, trusting the right people at the right time in the right place, respecting stupid idiot (myself included 😂), taking a bath in the cold morning, and more and more!

And yes, that was the last course in my life. Ordinary yet impressive, like what I always want myself to be to and for those having in touch with me.

I want to be back there not as a participant but as a guest in the English breakfast or lunch bringing a best friend who deserves an ordinary yet impressive life.

…. 💕

Thanks for today! 😴

Salaam…

farmhouse where participants and volunteers slept during the “Self Discovery” in Chisholme Institute (there are male house, female house and couple wing) – missing the place and good friends there 💝
the main house where we meditate, contemplate, brainstorm, do household chores, enjoy meal and good company during the “Self Discovery”
‘The Monument to Man”: this place is one of reminders for me to stay on this track: a track where life abundance isn’t always represented by or captured through social high class and luxury show off – ‘ve lived among those with abundance yet humbly bowing to the underprivileged – thank you for this decent life 🎀
hi, Edinburgh! I’m sure I’ll be back 🥰 next time with someone I love with heart and soul 😘

Negation Is (Now) Good

Negative, Beloved,
New paradigm that builds life;
Breathing is blessings.

I thought that virus was reluctant to approach me until that funny doctor said bitterly to me last week “The Gov will SMS directly to you but these sudden symptoms give me a hint. Take care.”

After some inconsistent (+) and (-), being a lethargic patient (the virus pulled all muscles down) and a slow thinker (MZ sent me a confusing email of mine) of home quarantine, I’m back to my own self!

Thanks for toning this pride down. I was not that healthy.

Thanks for curing me. I’m dependent on You.

💝

hey, Mr Sun! I wanna go out everyday just like you if the next is (-) once more!

Nowhere (good memory)

Nowhere, Beloved,
To depart. Wait for next train.
Look around and pray.

Checking my old photos, I saw an almost forgotten one. A station that was giving me the most alarming experience in that trip.

Back in April 2017 I was in a solo travel for 20 days in EU region when the train from Lyon left me no choice but changing train in Bourg-en-Bresse. It was rainy and windy, almost 5pm local time, some passengers got off with me but all of them went out of the station (perhaps to go home) and only I stayed to wait for the next train at 7:15pm.

For almost 45 minutes and no one was coming. A group of young men entered the other side of the railway. They sounded chatting and giggling. I tried to avoid looking at them. It was my first time feeling insecure in the trip.

I continued reading my book (now pretending) as I felt so uneasy with the noise across the lines.

“Hi! Lady!” I looked around. No woman but me. Damn! They called me.

I didn’t say anything, my eyes looked back to my book.

“Hi! Hi!” Don’t say anything, Rike. Don’t look at them. My left hand slowly moved down to my Swiss knife in the inner pocket of the jacket.

Only prayer in heart and some strategies that were taught by my brothers on how to use the Swiss knife and simple kicks to defend myself from bad guys.

“Lady!” They shouted at me more loudly after some time.

“Lady!” The guys laughed out loud among their French words. I saw them waved their hands to me. They whistled at me. I wondered why no one was here but those guys. In my country there are always many people selling things around railway station. There are always tricycle riders moving around.

When those guys got even merrier and happier, I saw a shadow moved the tall doors behind the guys.

A tall black lady drew a trunk and went across line 1 to line 2 and to line 3 where I was almost ready to hurt any of the guys if they approached me.

The guys stopped their noise. The lady walked towards me.

I didn’t feel better. This lady could stop the guys’ laughters and whistles, she must have been able to do stronger thing than that including killing me— I had to be alert!

“Hi! Going to Geneva?” A soft voice greeted me.

“Hi! Ya! Are you?”

“Yes! The train will arrive soon.”

“Thanks God!”

“No, it is just the schedule.”

😁

We eventually were sitting in the same cart. She was working in the UN headquarters and traveled back from personal leave. She said I was lucky to take this train, not later one that might have made me encounter with more men in the station unluckily often drunk.

“Thanks God!“

“No, you just need to choose the right timing.”

😁

I almost forgot that I met this smart wise tough lady. Wherever you are, Madam, I wish you good luck! Thank you for saving me with your timeliness.

Salaam.

Bourg-en-Bresse station

No Losing!

I will win
In any battle.
My flag is rising
As high as the farthest star
Reaching you
Bravely!

In me is a girl who dares!
I’m brave!

Don’t try me!

I am….

Brave!

I won’t give up! You sell, I buy! ALL!