Posted in life

The sky answers my challenge

Be careful what you wish for, it might come true!

Buying clothes for teenager is tricky. Especially, if you’re trying to buy the perfect outfit in the Netherlands for a 12-years-old-Asian-boy back home, whom you haven’t met for more than a year.

I noticed and concluded when I was in junior high school that boys started to grow in an accelerated pace on their thirteenth year of age. According to my memory, that time, on average, before thirteen girls were usually taller than boys, and boys were usually a lot shorter than their mother. When these boys reached thirteen, suddenly they were one head taller than their mother and the girls. Hence, I noted that thirteen years old is a critical time for a teenage boy. If I could improperly say, thirteen years old is “the tipping point”.

Nowadays, probably because nutritional factor (or else, I honestly don’t know…) I noticed that youngsters back in my country are matured quicker (physically) and, maybe, earlier. When I visited my junior high school, the students, on average, were bigger and taller than me-an undergraduate student at that time. As a living evidence, my middle brother is also way taller than me. I couldn’t really comprehend what’s going on, how could they become so-gigantic-so-early? What happened?

These mixed memories brings me to a constant self-doubt when I tried to buy a winter jacket for my youngest brother, the 12-years-old-Asian-boy back home whom I haven’t met for more than a year. Whatever decision I make will be problematic. I cannot depend on anything else than my undependable estimation. How big is he now? What exactly is his body size? Has he reached “the tipping point”? What if I bought based on size-misjugdement and it doesn’t fit him?

When I saw him by skype, he seemed small “as usual”, but my father said that now he is as big as me, he uses my T-shirts, he grows so fast, and so on, and so on. Does it mean he already reached “the tipping point”? Does it mean he is bigger than my mother? But, he doesn’t seem to be! Even when he sit side by side with my mother, he’s still a lot smaller!

… or is it the the visual effect of video-cam?

Not only that. Being “size-blind” in the Netherlands is also not helping at all. My youngest brother is 12 years old, t-w-e-l-v-e years old! Yet, based on my “stubborn” estimation, he should wear a jacket for 7-8 years old! I cannot recklessly buy the “11-12 years old” size, because I believe Dutch children are way bigger than Asian children. Or is it just because I refuse to believe that my little brother is not little anymore?

My first attempt to buy a winter jacket for my brother was not convincing to me. Today, I brought back a jacket that I bought two days ago in HEMA. In Netherlands, as a rule, you can return items (such as clothes) that are purchased maximum three days before (or a week, I’m not sure. It depends on the shop, I guess). I’m not really aware about the details, but as far as I know, I always try not to remove the price tag and save the receipt carefully for three days, just in case I would like to return it. Some shops will only allow customers to exchange the item with other item in that shop. Sometimes customer have to add extra money if the item they want is more expensive than the item they want to return. For my surprise, today I just found out that in HEMA, customer could literally return the item. They even have a special cashier for it. I got the whole money back and run to another shop across HEMA, which provides more product variety for teenagers’ winter jacket.

I have a bad habit of buying present for others based on my feelings and unreliable imagination. I mean, it’s hard for me to surrender my guts and believe the quantitative measurement. This time, I could not avoid to at least try to use my logic in determining which size I should buy for my brother. What to do, what to do, what to do? It comes down to me and the jacket. What I did, a little hopelessly:

  1. I tried to use my palm to get a slight of self-assured measurement. And … “nope, totally failed, this method doesn’t work,” said my inner measurer.
  2. I put it on, considering what my father said about my brother being the same size as myself (assuming that my size stays constant for more than a year). And … nope, it just doesn’t feel right. “How come he can be this big right now?” speak me to the mirror.
  3. and finally … “Gosh, these numbers are useless! Could I just ask my father to measure the size with a ruler and tell me the exact result …?” Without clear reason I rejected this idea. I just … didn’t like it very much.

My fingers moved to the jacket for 9-10 years old. My feeling said it’s still too big. So I bravely bought the jacket for 7-8 years old and not thinking any further. I didn’t try it on, I didn’t even measure it. I sealed my inner-dialogue with a final sentence, “Winter jacket is better tight than loose, so as to prevent the mindless wind from coming inside the jacket.”

The cashier asked me whom is it for. When I answer, “my brother”, she wrapped it with a beautiful paper like a Christmas present. I like this gesture and went outside to the dark 6 pm evening with a smile.

I turned on the red bike lamp and attached it to the back side of my jacket’s belt (to avoid losing it … I put my previous red bike lamp on the back of my bike and it was stollen 😦 ). I turned on the white lamp on the front of my bike. Okay, ready to go!

Just as I rode my bike across, the wind started to blow mercilessly! I started to hear the sound of rain hitting the ground! “Perfectly Great, very out of a sudden!” I spontaneously cursed #!%! non-stop while I have to go aside and tried to open the neck zipper of my jacket (if you open the neck zipper, a hat will pop out). It was so difficult to open it and a Dutch middle aged lady helped me.

I put the hat and added my ear muff when I realized that … the rain was a bit solid and WHITE! It was small, crisp, white dots all over the ground which suddenly turned transparent and gone, melt into water … and vanished. Still, I witness the first snow this year, around 6 pm near HEMA! It only lasts for 5 seconds but still … snoooowwww!!!

What a feeling … snow, snow, SNOW! It’s coming! Today!

… which reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday with Indonesian students in an Indonesian food bazaar. The old batch remembered that around this time last year, the snow had already fallen, but this year the snow hasn’t come yet, maybe it’s late. I wonder how accurate is their memory. I don’t really like the snow. It’s too cold for me and I don’t have any sentimental feelings about the snow.

Unknowingly, I secretly want the snow to come, like, “now”/directly at that time. I responded to the conversation carelessly and weirdly, something like “challenging the sky”.

“Really? Is it supposed to be snowing already? But where is the snow? WHERE?”

I asked heartily to the sky, my hand busy pointing up. One of my friend replied, “Careful there. You cockily said Where? Where? and the snow will suddenly appear in front of your nose, you see???”

But, nope, no snow yesterday.

The snow waited a day to show up in the dark before me … and I can brag to myself that the sky is answering my challenge. So I run back to my room and write this note, as a self reminder for the first snow I see in The Hague in 2011, in the midst of buying the perfect winter jacket for my youngest brother.

I hope he could witness the snow too. Soon.

Posted in Personal

I almost lose my best friend

No, no … it’s not like what you’re thinking about. I’m talking about my bike:

Photo by David Leonard Hatumena

Last Friday, I parked my bike outside the official parking lot at Den Haag Central Station. I was in a hurry! My auntie was coming to Amsterdam after spending few days in Spa. A food company invited her there to examine their product in order to get a halal certificate. Yes, that’s what my auntie do for living, she’s a halal certifier! Cool hah?! Because of her job, she had visited soooo many countries. On top of everything, I was super happy to be visited by my family!!!

I knew I parked at the wrong place, but I didn’t care.

Other bikes were parked there as well, even though there were two big big sign, “don’t park your (motor)bike here” and “this is not a place for (motor)bike parking”. Hmmm … I guess Dutch people were not really strict about rules? To make sure that my bike will be okay, as everyone else’s bikes, I confidently lock it with a chain. “Ya ya my bike will be safe, nothing will happen otherwise nobody will park here,” … that’s what I thought.

… and then I ran to the train announcement board. Gosh, the train will go to Amsterdam in 1 minute and it was not Sneltrein (quick train). Aurgh. Meaning: I was already late! As I walked to the platform, I calculated the travel time, hufff … I would be late for 10 minutes. Straight I went to the train and jump on and off each wagon, trying to find a seat. It was so full, people were standing near the door. FFFiiiuuhhh finally I got a seat beside a very cheerful old man. After sending text message to my auntie, telling her that I would be late, my brain refused to think about anything at all.

My auntie should have told me before that her train was delayed for 30 minutes (How dare you Thalys)! I know I should’ve been used to this kind of things, because buses and trams here are always late for few minutes (what kind of service it is sigh). But still, every change in time, even just a few minutes, is significant. It can make a difference between me parking outside on the fence or going downstairs (it was just two steps from the fence really!) to park my bike in the official parking lot.

Everything was forgotten when I finally met my auntie. Me, my auntie and her friends had fun together in Amsterdam! Believe it or not, after almost a year in Netherlands, I’ve never been to Amsterdam. I mean “the” Amsterdam. I didn’t count the study visit with schoolmates to Dutch museum in Amsterdam as visiting Amsterdam, because (of course) it’s different than visiting the city itself. Amsterdam was much more … crazy!!! If you’re curious, I’m still waiting for my auntie to send our pictures in Amsterdam. After I get them I’ll show you, okay!

The next morning, my auntie had to catch her flight back to Indonesia. So there I went back to Den Haag. I was more worried about my room window which was not closed that night. Little that I know, Dutch people really do enforce their regulation (hah!). The fence where few bikes were parked last night, was totally empty! Oh no. No. No way. Big no. I tried to assure myself that nobody steal my bike. It must be done by official procedure. I don’t think a thief would steal all those bikes without being noticed!

I went downstairs to the official parking lot. Probably they just move it inside. The officer said I have to go to Junostraat 24. Oh well. Great. Because I didn’t bring any map nor connect to internet, I have to queue and ask the officer in a small bus whose duty is to explain transportation routes (Cool job as well). I have to take tram 15 and stop at Broeksloot and walked from there. I asked for alternative route just in case I got lost or take the wrong direction while walking (you know I always got lost!). She asked me to go to another station (Holland Spoor) and take bus 23. I got two papers in my hand. One was Tram 15 route, one was Bus 23 route, complete with its useless stopping time. I said thank you but still grumbling in my heart, “I don’t like this.”

In tram 15, I had a closer look at the papers. Turned out tram 15 stop at a junction where bus 23 stop as well. Not bad. I could go down at the next stop after Broeksloot, Herenstraat, and take bus 23 from there. At Herenstraat, the lady beside me said (in Dutch), “just in time, isn’t it? The bus came when the rain start falling!!!” What a lovely attitude she had. Probably because I was unhappy that morning due to being separated with my best friend, I replied her with a bitter fact, “Yes, you are right but the bus was late for 1o minutes.”

Without any map in hand I went down at Binckhorstlaan. I just walked to the nearest standing “Townmap”. I tried to understand this new place. I walked and I walked, not knowing for sure the direction to go. Junostraat should be on the left side after the river, but it was not yet in sight. After walking through two small road in the left side (don’t forget crossing the bridge over the river), I found Junostraat! drumroll “Where is number 24? Idiot why this building is number 6, not 24!” I walked and walked and finally found the fietsdepot.

The lady at reception desk asked for my bike key and when did I lose my bike. Then, a man brought me inside to identify my bike. Wow, soooo many bikes left unattended there! Where were all the owners of those bikes? Yeah, a big big smile in my heart when I got a sight of my blue Batavus Snake mountain bike (this is my bike identity in the Fout Gestald card). Hu hu hu …. This bike is so comfortable with a big wheel and a sporty “attire” and the size is perfect for my height. I often roam here and there with this bike. Even though it’s slow (and sometimes makes me think of replacing it), after this disturbance in our relationship (my bike being taken away from me), I realized that I don’t want to replace this bike at all.

When I went back to the receptionist desk, I was worried about the fine. My friend got fined 40 Euros because she didn’t put lamp on her bike. How much would my fine be? Would it be more than the cost of this bike (which was only 50 Euros)? I had to pay 15 Euros. So, Dutch people is really not that strict to their rules (as compared to Germans). According to artikel 5:21 e.v. of the Algemene wet bestuursrecht and artikel 125 of the Gemeentewet, my bike was supposed to be taken away exactly 15 minutes after I parked in the wrong place, but probably Dutch officers were to busy to be that strict. My bike was taken after spending one night in the fence. The officers discovered it at 08.05 in the morning and waited for 45 minutes before they took it, but the fine was still for my “15 minutes lateness”.

On the way home, I found a big second hand shop (Schroeder Kringloop Holland). I bought some cheap and nice things that I need (and I have Kringloop discount card=10% additional discount, yey). At the end of the day, I was riding my bicycle with a new second hand basket, feeling like a lost and confused wanderer who found enormous treasures: my bike and second hand stuffs. Tell me, have you ever feel that way too???


PS: you must be wondering how can I get back home? Well, on the road I just followed the sign to “Den Haag” and “Centraal Station” … 😀 If you want to see that big second hand shop, tell me! And don’t park your bike in the wrong place too long!

Posted in My happy place

Untuk Dinaya: Setengah Hari Musim Semi …!

Hai Din, ni poto2 musim semi seadanya, cuma asal jepret dari atas sepeda (minggu lalu 2 april 2011) … asik loh keliling-keliling den haag, bahkan aku nyampe voorburg, kota mungil nan imut dan bener2 panas (ga kayak den haag yang masih dingin gara2 angin pantai) ….

Di musim semi, jalan2 terasa meriah soalnya biasa ada musik! Inget kan foto2 pengamen2 yang pernah aku posting, mereka muncul lagi … (meski taneman n bunga-bunga belum sepenuhnya mekar n pohon2 masih agak gundul). Kamu bisa dengerin salah satu musik dari video ini:  (pas banget mereka lewat)

spring in dutch from nadya karimasari on Vimeo.

trus ni poto2nya:
marching band

meriah kan

merpati dalam sangkar emas, ciehhh ….

ini nih foto paling penting: ngantri beli es krim ….

tuh kan pohon2 masih banyak yang gundul, yang ijo baru rumput n bunga2 doank … (eh ada kuda 😛 )

udah liat kan di posting sebelumnya, bule2 pada klekaran di rumput, ya seperti itulah hari2 musim semi di sini … cuman karena udah pernah jadi aku ga ambil foto klekaran itu lagi. intinya matahari tuh sangat menyenangkan, bikin hidup lebih hidup (halah).

Posted in My happy place

Karpet Oranye di Sepanjang Noordeinde

Noordeinde (baca: nord aynde) adalah jalan utama di Centrum. Toko-toko dan butik-butik mewah dalam gedung-gedung antik berjejer rapat dengan istana Koninklijk Paleis. Pada 3-5 September 2010, karpet oranye digelar sepanjang Noordeinde. Manusia-manusia Den Haag berjalan di atas karpet oranye bagai seleb lokal, menikmati atraksi-atraksi seni dalam rangka memperingati Prinsjesdag (secara harfiah bisa diterjemahkan sebagai hari Pangeran).  Sedikit foto untuk kalian:

Posted in life

Sok Sibuk

hwaahh … ga terasa udah 10 hari aku ga ngisi blog ini. belum pula sempat untuk bener2 nulis sesuatu. huhft. sok sibuk banget yak! 😛

saat masih di tanah air, kupikir, sesampai di den haag aku akan punya banyak waktu sendirian. karena, aku belum kenal siapa-siapa, males bergaul dan berteman, dll …. ternyata, setiap hari ada aja undangan pesta, entah itu farewell party, buka bersama, pesta penyambutan, dan party-party lain yang tak jelas identitasnya. setiap akhir pekan juga selalu ada acara. begitu sampai kamar kos, rasanya cuma pengen tidur dan ga punya energi untuk ngeblog … 😛

tuk kalian yang berada di tanah air: woy, aku iri sama kalian! idul fitri kalian pasti rame banget, berkumpul dengan keluarga besar. keluarga besarku juga lengkap berkumpul di yogyakarta. mereka makan makanan enak khas lebaran seperti biasanya. aku hanya bisa dadah-dadah pada mereka melalui layar skype. sebenarnya ada acara open house lebaran di rumah dubes Indonesia di Wasenaar, tapi aku tak ikut. selain malas, juga karena di hari idul fitri itu … sekolahku justru ngadain ujian. bayangin deh bok.

seperti biasa aku belum bisa nulis banyak-banyak (jiyah, “belum”, gaya banget!). di hari minggu ini, akhirnya aku bisa menikmati waktu libur dengan sendirian di kamar, bermalas-malasan, blogwalking. baru deh bisa ketak-ketik di blog ini.

besok senin ada acara jalan-jalan yang diadain kampus. kami akan mengunjungi Zaanse Schans, sebuah desa tradisional Belanda di Amsterdam. di sana kami akan diajak melihat kincir angin (norak bin katrok deh, hahaha!). juga, kami akan diajak berfoto dengan manusia-manusia belanda yang berpakaian tradisional, lalu melihat cara pembuatan keju, dll. setelah itu, kami akan menyusuri kanal dengan kapal. hmm, wisata yang sangat tipikal sepertinya. dan, keesokan harinya, jreng jreeeennggg *drumroll* … perkuliahan akan dimulai.

perkuliahan termin 1A akan berlangsung selama 6 minggu saja. bisa dibayangkan betapa padat dan intensifnya program kami. kuharap aku ga jadi gila ya 😀 amin.