All the snuggles in the world

Being a mother of two is tough – and sometimes challenging. Most of my days are spent on being a referee and deciding what words I can say that will make everything’s fair for everyone. Some of those days were easy and smooth-sailing while the others were .. difficult and I needed to calm my head down before even spoke to two of them.

I admit, being the eldest sibling has shaped my expectation towards my own eldest – Z. I expect him to be the one who guided his younger brother. I instill towards him every day, that he’s the older brother, that there are boundaries and lines that he should follow. That no matter what M does, Z must be there to guide him.

I know what a burden it is for him – but I keep pressing on although sometimes it can break my heart.

I had spent countless nights worrying if I spoke too harsh to Z or if there’s anything that I can do to make the situation better for him. To let him know that I still love him the same. To let him know that I love him even more whenever I see him trying to be a better brother for M.

***

Our sleeping arrangement hasn’t changed since M was born. Z sleeps with his Papa and I sleep with M – mainly because M is still nursing to sleep and weaning him has been unsuccessful. I don’t want to wean him by force or trick so there’s that.

Last night, Z was so tired so he was laying on my bed while waiting for his Papa to finish Isya. M was still busy with brushing his teeth so I figured I would snuggle with Z – something that we rarely do these days.

I put a blanket over him and told him, “Do you want to snuggle with Mama?”

Sleepily, he said yes. I reached out for his head and hugged him slowly.

Before drifting to sleep, he asked me in low voice, “Mama, why didn’t we do this sooner?”

And my tears fell down. My boy – my baby.

“Anytime you want a snuggle, you can always ask me, Abang. All the snuggles in the world for you.”

He nodded before finally closing his eyes.

I hoped he knows – not only snuggles that I would give for him. All my love – all my life.

You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours. Forever.
– Barney Stinson, HIMYM

{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!

It Has Been A Year

Today, a year ago, I left Singapore and the life that I had built there for 12 years.

I said goodbye to our helper who is so dear to us and our kids. Hoping that the new family she’s working after us is going to treat her kindly. She deserves that.

I said goodbye to my friends – without whom I would have not survived the grueling hours of the university and its assignments.

I said goodbye to the Indonesian community that always made me feeling like I am home – far away from home.

I said goodbye to the delicious halal food that is a plenty – easily reachable whenever I was bored with homemade food – and all of those hipster foods that I hadn’t had any chance to try.

I left the strong Muslim community I had – the weekly Sunday class with Ustadz Fatris, the chance to perform Ied prayer at open space – all the perks that I took for granted.

I took my boys away from the environment that they know so well – the friends that they have there, the comfortable weather all year, and all

We faced lots of hardships during our first few months here. I had emotional breakdowns – I needed to do so many things in a short time. Adjusting to the new job, new routines as a chef, housewife, and working employee, in a country which I have no idea of how to speak their language. I think I spent my first few weeks wanting to go back to Singapore and just to be done with Berlin.

I was miserable. We were miserable.

The adjustment period gave shocks to our relationship as couple, parents, and family, it tested our patience – but most importantly, it made us even closer to Allah.

Now, after a year, I am glad to say that things have taken a turn to better. The kids are finally adjusted with life in the childcare and more or less having a schedule. Both I and Husband have accepted that things are not going to be as smooth as they were – but there will always be helping hands everywhere.

Forced by the situation, I can finally cook edible (and sometimes good!) Indonesian food at home. I have learned (not mastered it – yet) how to adjust my schedule with the kids’ – long gone the days when I could sleep at 3 am and still could function during working hours.

We take the kids out on weekends to whatever is available around the city – despite not knowing much about the German language. Our eldest speaks German better than us and that’s a good sign since he’s going to primary school in 2 years time where all the lessons will be in German. We are still going to talk to him and his brother in English at home, so hopefully he’s not losing his roots. It will be a challenge to teach them Indonesian though – but for now, as long as they understand the instructions in Indonesian, that’s already enough.

Moving forward – I want to be able to at least speak conversational German. I also want to be able to multitask better without losing focus – that means less time for less important things, including social media. Some aspects of my life need to be fixed and upgraded too, especially when it comes to managing emotions and my quality of prayers.

With the kids, I want to be even more patient with them. I think they can sense when I am angry and while I do think it’s important for them to be able to asses the situation, I don’t want them to associate me with ‘anger’. There must be a way to talk to them and letting them know about the limits and have them obey that. I am still searching for ways to achieve this.

As for my husband, there are times in the past one year that I thought that we were too busy being a parent that we forgot about become a couple. Not sure how we are going to find some quality time with the hectic schedule that we haven’t been able to fully mastered yet – but we are going to take it easy and perhaps will start with watching a movie together haha.

There are still so many things that fill my mind – but I will process them as I go. Here’s for (hopefully) another blessed year in Berlin.

One evening in autumn, 

Why you should move to Berlin

Bismillah,

Mudah-mudahan belum ada yang bosen sama cerita kami dari Berlin ini, hehehe.

Setelah sebelumnya ngobrol kenapa ga usah pindah ke Berlin (super encouraging ya, hahaha), untuk penyeimbang nya ya tentu saja mesti ada pros list nya dong ya. Setelah brainstorming dengan Suami, inilah penyemangat kami (dan mungkin orang lain) buat pindah ke Berlin.

Baca juga: Why you should not move to Berlin

Disclaimer: ini tentunya merujuk ke kondisi keluarga kami yang: Muslim, punya dua anak batita, dan orang tua yang dua-duanya bekerja. Jadi belum tentu juga applicable buat orang lain ya 🙂
Continue reading “Why you should move to Berlin”

Balada Childcare

Bismillah,

Kembali melanjutkan #thenefainberlin series – ini topik yang kemaren kalah pas ada poling, tapi saya keukeuh tetap pengen nulis tentang ini, hihi. Kenapa? Soalnya berasa perjuangan untuk mendapatkan childcare ini bikin lelaaaahhh sangat. Sayang kalau ga ditulis buat kenang-kenangan #eh

Jadi ceritanya, waktu di Singapura, Z dan M diasuh sama mbak Marni. Mbak kami yang sudah mengasuh Z dari dia umur 3.5 bulan dan M sejak dia lahir. Yang sayangnya bukan main sama Z dan M. Yang bikin kami galau waktu memutuskan buat pindah dari Singapura ke Berlin. Z dan M belum ngerti memang kalau mereka bakalan pisah dari mbak Marni, tapi malah jadi kami yang drama karena ya, beliau sudah seperti keluarga sendiri.

Sebenarnya salah satu ketakutan kami buat pindah ke Berlin adalah, siapa yang akan mengasuh anak-anak selagi kami di kantor?

Continue reading “Balada Childcare”

Home Sweet Home… right?

Bismillah.

Kemaren iseng-iseng bikin poll di Facebook #brasafemes karena bingung apa lagi yang mau ditulis di blog ini. Ada beberapa yang respon dan setelah poll ny ditutup dengan skor 4:3, akhirnya memutuskan buat memuaskan publik dengan postingan: Mencari rumah di Berlin

Sebenarnya bingung juga mau mulai darimana karena prosesnya ga gitu ribet dan yang namanya cari rumah sewaan ya pastinya bergantung sama jodoh dengan yang punya rumah lah ya #lha

Tapi cari rumah di Berlin agak sedikit lebih ribet karena.. dokumennya banyak banget ya ampun #lemah. Pengalaman cari rumah tiap orang beda2 pastinya, tapi saya coba deh break down step2 yang saya Suami alamin kemaren.
Continue reading “Home Sweet Home… right?”

Why you should not move to Berlin

Atas permintaan Suhu (aka Adi Prawira – blogger kebanggaan Nggawe Teler University), maka topik kali ini adalah: why you should NOT move to Berlin.
Dan list berikut ini adalah hasil kolaborasi dengan suami tercinta :)))

Disclaimer dulu as usual: list berikut ini berdasarkan pengalaman kami yang lumayan lama bermukim di Singapura – lalu pindah ke Berlin. Pastinya ada yang setuju, ada yang tidak.
Continue reading “Why you should not move to Berlin”