Family Schedules

Bismillah,

GOOD MORNING FROM JAKARTA!

(yes, I am on mudik mode now, so please excuse a might-be-too-friendly cheery greeting lol)

Anyway, no. Not going to talk about our traveling experience (yet) because it was nothing but tiring. So there — it should sum it up nicely. Let me just write about something that has been sitting in my drafts for God knows how long.

I was struggling to find a good title and decided to just heck it and used whatever title came to my mind first — apologize for a very uninspiring one.

So ever since we settled on our routine after our youngest is done with his Eingewohnung in the KiTa, life has been going on pretty much as per usual. We have a schedule that works with us for most of the day, and we thought it will be beneficial to share!

Continue reading “Family Schedules”

At 4 AM

Bismillah,

I woke up – at 4 am.

I looked at your face and I smiled in the dark.

Your peaceful smile, your steady breath, your curly hair, and your full lips.

I caressed your cheeks, feeling like my tears were going to drop.

It has been a wonderful journey. And my baby, my prince, you are worth every step of it.

Isn’t this romantic, I asked myself.

There was only silence. And I sneaked out to the bathroom.

I took my wudhu, feeling the water splashed onto my face. It made me awake.

Then I took my sajadah and my praying attire.

The moment my head touched the ground, I felt so close with Him.

When I was finished, I recited the duas. And when I closed my eyes, it felt like the universe was gone.

Isn’t this romantic, again I asked myself.

**

The sun started to rise – and soon the roads were bustling with the sounds of cars and people started their morning activities.

As I opened the window, the cold breeze of the last days of winter hit my face.

This is going to be another day to feel blessed.

Beginning of spring in Berlin,

Hello, 2019.

Bismillah,

I have a habit of doing a yearly review on the last day of the year but somehow I missed it last year – perhaps due to the anxiety and unknowns of moving to a new country. Alhamdulillah, it’s getting better this year. It’s time for me to sit and jot down the reviews.

What did 2018 bring?

Adjusting well to my current job

Coincidentally, I joined my current company in the first week of 2018 so this month marks my first year since then. I struggled a bit when I started simply because I wasn’t familiar with replying to customers directly. With my previous company, everything was communicated internally first due to the size of our clients and their heavy marketing budget. Working in a start-up definitely has its perks. You gotta define your own set of rules and you have a chance to shape how your team works (at least). It has been challenging so far but I enjoy it. The work-life balance has been great and my boss has been supportive with each one of us in her team I can’t complain.

Kids are adapting well at the childcare

This is another feat, alhamdulillah. My biggest fear of moving to Germany is actually how I could leave my kids under the care of an institution for the whole day. When we were in Singapore, they were taken care of my helper so basically, they only had one person that’s taking care of them for the whole day while we were at the office. The trust they had with my helper is just like trusting a family member. Well, Z had 2-3 hours of schools every day, but it’s just a school, not a full daycare.

In Germany, there’s no way we can afford a live-in helper and the thought of getting another live-in helper frightens me. Our previous helper was great but it took me months to fully accepted her into our family.

We were lucky to get spots for both boys at the same childcare in two months while the situation in Berlin is beyond bad. The adjustment period for Z was short since he was bigger and he’s social by nature. M, on the other hand, took more time. He started his adjustment period in August and it took him two whole months until he can finally stay in the childcare full time. Now that both of them settled well in the childcare and trust their caretakers, we can finally have a working schedule as a family.

Transitioning to taking care of the house by ourselves

Oof.

I knew that it was going to be challenging to maintain the whole household while being a full time working mom – but I didn’t realize that it was going to be THAT challenging to the point that I needed a strategy – if that’s what you want to call it haha.

I wrote more on that in another post – so I am just gonna leave it there. I am glad to say that the order in this house has been maintained well.

Read more: Supaya Tetap “Waras” Menjadi Working Mom

A trip to Paris and Hamburg

I won’t lie – one of the reasons (or benefits?) of moving to Europe is to be able to see European countries with our own eyes.

Read more: Why you should move to Berlin

Bringing two kids under 5 traveling with us has been a challenge but that’s not impossible. Of course, a backpacking trip is out of question hence why we could only manage two trips last year. They were fulfilling though – they provided good breaks in between our busy schedules.

Bullet journaling

I started bullet journaling back in September 2017. At that time it was thanks to Synta and her Instagram accounts. Her bullet journal is so clean and inspiring. Soon I discovered Amanda Rach Lee and other bullet journalists – mainly from Instagram. It was intimidating at first since I have no art background at all – but by trial and error, I think I finally found joy in bullet journaling. I wrote a lot when I was a kid because that’s my main outlet when I was happy or sad and all – and now I am doing this on my journal as well along with other things such as my tasks and to-do lists.

Shameless plug – I have an Instagram account that is dedicated to my journaling journey – if you are interested 📖

Reading Challenge 2018 achieved

I set a target of 20 books at the beginning of 2018. I admit I cheated a bit by re-reading all 7 Harry Potter books (and I finished them all in one month) – and some of the rest of the books is really short, but hey, a target is still a target right? I am glad that I found comfort in reading again – just like what I had when I was a kid.

If anyone is interested, here’s my Goodreads account – it has been very very useful to track my progress and more importantly, to get a book recommendation from others. I admit that I am still very much deciding my to-be-read list on ratings, but hey, baby steps 🐾

What’s in store for 2019?

Passed JLPT

This has been on my list EVERY SINGLE YEAR since 2015 – but I never got around to complete it. Not even attempting it. It’s gonna be even more challenging to take a test in Germany because I will need to travel outside Berlin. Luckily this summer’s JLPT will (hopefully) fall at the same week with our holiday in Jakarta. I am planning to sneak one day to get into the test. But first, of course, I need to study hard.

Getting at least one degree from Udacity

I registered for one of their nanodegree programs last year – and I haven’t even finished that one yet. Their courses are quite demanding in terms of projects and I am still struggling to find times to do them. I am aiming to get at least one degree from Udacity this year – wish me luck 🍀

More traveling

It’s more because we have school holidays lined up in April, July, October, and December this year. So far we already have trips planned for April and July. Let’s see what we can afford for October and December – our holiday budget seems to be running out fast 💸

More reading

Since I managed to finish my 2018 Reading Challenge, I am setting up a new challenge for me this year – 25 books, yay! By the time this post is published, I had finished one book. It’s a super popular book and truly a page-turner. I am planning to do a book review on this blog as well. We’ll see how that one goes since I can barely maintain a weekly post 😶

Oh – and this is actually also a good resource for reading recommendations. Recently I followed an Instagram account focused on motivating mothers to read more – it’s a brainchild of my lovely friend, Puty. If you are interested, you can follow the account and see recommendations from others too. I found it to be really encouraging and I love the book recommendations that are in Indonesian as well – I am building a list of books to be bought when we are going home for holiday this summer!

Networking

This sounds so professional, but actually.. it’s not. For the past year, I have been holing up in the house. In my defense, there is so many to be done over the weekend. Laundry, groceries, ironing, etc. Until I realized that I hadn’t made any real human connection and it kinda dampens my spirit. I will be the first one to admit that I am totally an introvert – interacting with other human beings requires great effort and energy for me. But I still need them on regular basis and nothing will change if I don’t make the first move.

For a start, I am planning to come to the mosque more often and perhaps I will be able to meet more people there. I have been neglecting that for the past year – maybe it’s a good time to start coming there again.

Connected to Him

It’s related to the point before. I felt like losing my connection to Him – to be honest, this has been plaguing me for more than a year and I hadn’t made any real effort to revive this. Thousand of excuses, I admit. I still don’t know how can I achieve this. But this is definitely one of my important goals. ☪️

**

To close this post, I wanted to say Alhamdulillah for a blessed 2018. Hopefully, 2019 will bring us greater things and most importantly, getting us closer to whatever gives you comfort.

Chilly Berlin,

 

{Windy Hamburg} Day 1 – ICE Train

Bismillah,

Our holiday started on Dec 21!

Our train was scheduled at around 12.30 PM leaving Berlin Hbf. Initially, we planned to leave the house at 11 AM because the bus that is going to the Hbf only comes every 20 mins and we don’t want to risk getting late. But – of course, that didn’t happen. There is always a messy affair before we leave the house for the holiday. SO MANY things to be taken care of. Starting from cleaning the dishes, prepping snacks and lunch during the trip, last minute packing, and of course, throwing away the trashes.

We only left around 11.30 AM and there was still drama of Husband forgot to turn off the heater. Luckily, we still managed to catch the next bus. Phew.

When we reached Hbf, the station looked a bit empty than usual. Perhaps people were already enjoying the start of the Christmas holiday. After buying some coffee to keep me awake, we posed for a pre-holiday picture.

At Berlin Hbf – posing first before boarding the ICE train

Our train arrived as per schedule. But there is no such thing as no drama for our family lol. We waited at the wrong platform so we needed to rush to the correct one which was a bit far at the end of the train. Not to mention we dragged one big suitcase and one stroller with two toddlers.

Alhamdulillah, we caught the correct platform just in time.

We booked the family compartment thinking that it’s reserved for one family only. But turned out, it wasn’t the case. One family compartment consists of 6 seats and anyone can book it – not only family with kids. Lol. Unfortunately, there was a couple booking seats in the same compartment with us. I prayed that the kids would behave cause Z and M were both so excited.

One hour into the trip, a conductor entered our compartment and checked our tickets. Z and M were given kids pass that can be exchanged with free toys :D.

With tickets that can be exchanged with free (well – half) toys!

The trip took about 2 hours. When we reached Hamburg, it was drizzling. And Hamburg Hbf was SO CROWDED. I am not sure if that was the common situation or it was just because people were rushing to go somewhere before Christmas. We were a bit lost on how to get to our hotel and Hamburg Hbf is not so stroller-friendly.

Turned out we needed to take another S-bahn to the station near our hotel so we bought single tickets for both I and Husband which by the way are so expensive (oh Berlin, I missed you already).

We were pretty much depending on Google Maps to travel around so we checked the shortest route from the S-bahn station to the hotel which was a big mistake. That route required us to go up and down the stairs. While it’s raining and we brought one big suitcase and a stroller.

Anyway, we reached our hotel, checked in, and dried our coats and jackets. The kids looked okay but we were pretty famished after the journey. Decided to take it easy for this first day and not going anywhere other than buying dinner.

Finally reached the hotel and ready to go to bed! (NOT)

For dinner, we chose to buy Indonesian food at Jawa Restaurant which is quite near to the hotel. I have read some reviews that it’s a Halal restaurant so Husband went to check it out. We didn’t dare to bring the kids out because both were having runny noses and Hamburg is so windy.

When Husband reached the restaurant, he sent me the picture of the menus and I was surprised to see that they are selling alcohol. Husband also told me that it doesn’t seem to be owned by Muslims. I was becoming was-was and almost telling Husband not to get the food from there. But since it’s getting dark and the rain was getting heavier, we opted to play safe and just bought some vegetables menu and fishes.

It was quite pricey compared to Indonesian food in Berlin – and sadly the taste was not something special.

After dinner, we got ready to go to bed. We had a long day and just needed some rest.

{Windy Hamburg} Get Ready!

Bismillah,

Hey ho! Happy holidays to all of you! Can’t you believe that it’s going to be 2019 – insya Allah – in less than a week? I feel like time just… flew by. I still remember I started 2018 with so much anxiety and unknowns and here we are, going to enter 2019 soon.

Anyway, enough of my sad opening! Time to start new series of our holiday whoohoo.

The kids are having winter holiday until the new year so we decided to escape somewhere less cold but still within Germany. Initially, we wanted to go to either Prague or Spain but the airplane tickets were crazy expensive so we decided to go somewhere near that we could reach with train less than 3 hours cause you know children like Z and M still can’t stand being in the confined space that long – even our journey from Singapore to Berlin last year was something that I dreaded.

We were torn between Frankfurt, Munich, or Hamburg. All three are quite expensive cities compared to Berlin so price-wise, not that much different. But weather-wise, Hamburg looked better (as in, not too cold for us the tropical creatures lol). So we decided on it!

Accommodation

Here comes the options: Airbnb or hotel? Since we need to eat halal food, in the past we always opted for Airbnb cause we can cook if we needed. But when we looked at the prices in Hamburg during the holiday, we rolled our eyes lol. Not only they were pricey but they were also located far away from the center of the city.

We took a look at our other option which is staying in the hotel. Surprisingly it was a bit cheaper than Airbnb and they are located near the center of Hamburg. So we went with the hotel.

Transport

This is a no-brainer – we opted for the train. Specifically ICE train. Z was so excited when we told him that we are going to Hamburg with a super fast train (his words – not mine).

We booked a family compartment that we thought it’s going to be one compartment = one family. Turned out… it’s not really. I will get to that later.

So we booked accommodation and transport – all set and ready to go!

Day 5 – On Religion

Bismillah,

Wow where should I even begin with this topic. 

This is again a very dear topic with my heart – for me, religion is the anchor of my life. My religion is one absolute truth for me. I can’t say the same for everyone, but this is where I stand when it comes to a religion.