Film Camera MjuII Kodak Colorplus 400 Mirror Selfie 2020 Meletos

2020 The Year I…

…Rang in the new year in Japan for the third time in a row. We had sushi and sake as the first meal of the year.

…Went to Bali for a weekend getaway. Now reflecting back, I am grateful we had the chance to travel outside of Australia this year.

…Started a new job in a new company.

…Practice with Miko, the first (second-hand) film camera I scored on eBay at the end of last year.

…Celebrated my friend’s, Liz, 30th birthday with a stay-cation in Mornington Peninsula.

…Self-isolated.

…Joined a witch coven.

…Bought my first ever indie tarot deck created by a female artist, then the second, then the third.

…Studied for CPA.

…Started liking black-coffee which no doubt is heavily influenced by Fafa.

…Finally enjoyed a good sandwich. It’s from Tivoli bakery on Toorak road which was introduced to me by Liz.

…Lived in lock-down for the most part of the year.

…Had a lengthy period of sadness from the combination of Covid and seasonal depression.

…Which made me pick up running.

…and cooking.

…and journal-ed as if my life depends on it.

…Got a tarot deck and oracle deck for birthday gifts from Fafa and Jik respectively.

…Had plenty of tarot readings.

…Deepen my tarot practice.

…Started a tarot blog then stopped because I thought I didn’t have that much to talk about in relation to tarot.

…Facetimed with my parents every single day from March onwards.

…Started this blog, a personal blog, but proceed to discuss mostly about tarot.

…Paid for a Google Photos account.

…Found out that Chiron has entered my chart since March and will stay there until the beginning of next year. Eek!!

…Finally read The Alchemist and generally read more books than last year.

…Stayed in a Mornington Peninsula airbnb.

…and in a Meletos winery in Yarra Valley.

…and in the farmhouse in Echuca where I took a boat trip along the famous Murray River.

…Went to an art gallery in Bendigo to celebrate our date-anniversary.

Captains Retreat Mornington Peninsula

An Overnight At Mornington Peninsula Airbnb

Good morning from the Captain’s Retreat. Our Airbnb for the weekend. I write while being enveloped in complete silence.

It was still too cold to sit in the garden outside when I woke up earlier, so I opted to cozy up on the couch with the knitted blanket to keep me warm.

Unlike in Melbourne, where I usually get served bed coffee, I had to make my own today because Fafa was still sleeping.

He clearly didn’t hear the crowing of the neighbour’s rooster that woke me up earlier. I found Robert Timms instant coffee in the tin — the same brand Amma loves to drink whenever she comes for a visit.

I remembered seeing a carton of milk in the fridge when we put the wine bottles we bought from the wineries, which we planned to drink yesterday but were already too drunk for the day from all the wine tasting. I added a dash of it to the piping hot black coffee.

I could see the sky colour gradually changing from the huge window overlooking the backyard garden. I realized I was having a moment. It might be a cliche, but I am feeling nothing but gratitude for this moment. A moment that I will treasure for a long time.

This trip is much more than just a weekend getaway. It’s our first private overnight trip to the countryside in Victoria. It’s our first trip after Covid, after lockdown, after almost a year (our last trip last was during the Australia day weekend in January). On top of all those, this has been the much-needed break from the work pressure for me.

It’s a soul recharging getaway.

Yesterday after dinner (we had sublime Afghani takeaway from Afghan Marcopolo Restaurant), I opened up to Fafa about my worries and woes. I shared my anxiety about not being able to tick any of the goals I set for myself this year. And of my weariness of everything that is going on in the world.

He showered me with words of encouragements and support, which is not rare, just that yesterday I had the mental space to hear it clearly, directly and loudly. To digest it and start feeling better almost immediately.

The night went dark soon after our heart-to-heart session in the garden.

We went inside, facetime-ed the parents, put on beauty sleep face mask and ate Indonesian crackers with chilli while waiting for it to dry. I made my sleepy tea soon after but it went cold before I drank it as I was too engrossed by the food reality show on SBS Food. I was hooked — from the Tiger Milk shot made from oysters ceviche to the very unappetising food from the English country-town hosted by two hairy bikers.

I almost fell asleep on the couch when Fafa urged me to move to the bedroom. The bedroom was the least favourite part of the cottage for the both of us. It was small, tackily decorated (two huge paintings of creepy looking people hanged opposite the bed). It has a standing fan placed nowhere near a plug and a mirror right in front of the bed, which was a big no-no Fengshui wise.

I kept waking up throughout the night because the room was just too stuffy. But I was too sleepy and disoriented to turn the aircon on from the living room or even open the bedroom door. Which was why I was pleasantly surprised I woke up feeling completely rejuvenated.

The itinerary for the rest of the day includes continuing to read the book I brought, Belonging, preferably on the hammock — a bit more journaling and do an early check-out. We are heading to the Mornington Peninsula centre for some breakfast, bookstore visits and the beach before heading back to Melbourne.

Recharging My Weary Soul in The Backyard Garden

I am writing from our a cottage called Captain’s Retreat, along the Mornington Peninsula.

It was a last-minute decision to book the Airbnb. I have been needing a break from the life routines and responsibilities for weeks, if not months. So after the local government lifted the 25 km travel ban last weekend, there was no reason not to do a little country-side weekend getaway.

We reached the cottage way past our check-in time and quite buzzed from the ten glasses of wine tasting, and two generous serving of Pinot Gris from a hidden gem on the Peninsula called Kerri Greens.

An old man who lived in the front side cottage greeted us. He then instructed Fafa, who he called Frederico for some reason, to park our car in front of his boat.

Short pleasantries later, we were in.

The cottage was as described on Airbnb, complete with flower wallpapers, nautical themed and a series of thriller novels by Clive Cussler neatly stacked in the bookshelves.

What was not advertised, and to my absolute delight, is the garden at the back. The huge shabby backyard supported an elevated patio, four seating areas, a hammock, a tended rose garden, various trees including a fully blooming orange tree.

The minute I stepped into the backyard, I could feel my weary soul starting to heal.

I spent some time in the hammock, swinging and reading the Belonging. Afterwards I went in to make a cup of tea and then back outside to slow-journal and soak up the evening sun accompanied by the resident cat.

This place, especially the garden — with its weathered down furniture, two sheds displaying various types of equipment, spiderwebs and messy pots laid around, is definitely not Instagram-able.

But sitting here for hours, watching the clouds passing by, hearing the birds chirping, I was reminded of what Sandra told me during my first ever tarot reading. To:

“Find a pocket of nature and ground yourself there. As often as you can, darling.”

This was the advice she gave to me in my first year of moving to Melbourne. Before then, I have lived most of my life in the urban jungle, Jakarta.

As a hard-coded city-folk, being in nature was not normal for me. In the beginning, whenever I tried to connect with nature, I would feel the need to “wrap things up” so I can get back into living my normal. That normal included Starbucks, high-rise buildings, paved balconies and malls. Even writing about it makes me cringe, but that was the truth.

It took me a few more tries – both intentionally and unintentionally – to relearn to connect with nature.

Its’ nurturing, and healing power slowly seeped into me when I stood at the Byron Bay beach, while sunbathing in the Sunshine Coast and when I walked alongside Fort Kochi, India.

Maybe relearn is a wrong way to say it, perhaps it’s more about reminding myself what my soul already knew intrinsically.

Ever since, I have been inviting more nature related energy into my life. From keeping fresh flowers in the apartment, to collecting crystals to tending to my house plants. From growing my own herbs to drinking herbal tea daily.

Ever since, life has been getting better.

I will write more about the place and our time here soon. For now, I going to plant my feet on the bed of grass and let mother earth recharge me.

Winery Weekend Getaway Tarot Spread

Fafa and I are heading to Mornington Peninsula, Victoria’s winery region, for a much needed weekend getaway.

While waiting for him to get ready and do his last-minute packing 🙄 I pulled a few cards to re-create my go-to travel spread.

Travel Spread position —

  1. My vibe during the trip
  2. The trip’s energy
  3. Something to focus on or be mindful of during the trip
  4. A must (do/see/experience) on the trip
  5. The trip’s highlights
  6. Lesson learned from the trip

Here is my reading for this trip —

My vibe during the trip: Ace of Swords (R)

I feel like I am going on this trip with highly-strung energy. Not the good kind. These past few days have been a bit too much. I have started feeling the tiring Thursday energy since Tuesday morning, dragging myself to get through the rest of the workweek. And the reversed position confirmed it.

The trip’s energy: Four of Swords

I let out a relieved sigh when I flipped open the Four of Swords.

Resting, relaxing and taking a pause.

Thank God! I am ready to absorb the restful energy served by the trip.

To focus on: Explorer of Wands (Knight of Wands)

The guide books says to:

Release (my) inhibitions, get fired up and be unapologetically alive.

I can only interpret it to get the fire-place going and get all warm and cozy near it tonight.

A must-do on the trip: Strength

Strangely I interpret this to explore the nature around the are. Maybe I can do it during my planned morning run tomorrow.

The highlight of the trip: Explorer of the Swords (Knight of Swords)

Lesson from the trip: Guardian of The Swords (Queen of Swords)

It looks like this trip is going to be dominated by the Swords energy. From my own vibe to the lesson to learn from the trip. Even the Strength from the Spacious Tarot deck is depicted by prickly cactus, and if I push it, the Wands hold by the tail of the Salamander (to focus on) looked like a sword.

Which means, I might have to put my drink-all-the-wine-all-the-way-to-our-Airbnb-until-I-pass-out plan on hold and embrace the what looks like might be an intellectually stimulating trip?

I packed a couple more books and an extra pen anticipation extra journaling time.

I also told Fafa, not to his delight, to be prepared for deep conversations and mini self-discovery sessions, in case we are called to do so. He finally agreed, only after I promised to draw him a bubble bath at the end of the day.

Airbnb

I am curious about people’s homes. I often wonder what their life looks like from the inside of their home. Does their home represent their characters? And I get more intrigued when I travel to a new place; about the locals, their lifestyles, and day-to-day lives, including their homes.

This interest of other cultures’ homes started when I took a peek into the Parisian living quarters from the same street where our Eiffel Tower facing hotel was located. I wanted to see what a typical French home looks like, and I even planned to master the French language to befriend a French girl who would invite me to stay in her apartment with her friends or family, not unlike the girl in Lessons from Madame Chic. This elaborate, and what I thought of as brilliant, plan stopped when I found out French words have genders in the 4th week of French class.

Thankfully, Airbnb was founded, and a whole new world opened up for me.

I love to Airbnb when I travel. When we went to Europe last year, I managed to turn my cousins into AirBnB-ers. We did the Airbnb Europe edition by staying in nine different apartments, from Germany to Spain. It also satisfied my curiosity about French living, though it wasn’t in Paris. I stayed in a walk-up old apartment building in Nice. I continued staying in all sorts of strangers’ homes from Shanghai to Queenstown.

Airbnb somehow makes the travel experience feel more authentic for me.

Astronaut Ice Cream

Ji brought a treat back to our Barcelona Airbnb today, a pack of astronaut ice cream. We did the unboxing video and finally, almost an hour later, tried the ice cream. It was ugly, dry and tasted bad at first and eventually a little better. Three of us agreed: never again. It was more like once in a lifetime experience.

Zurich Switzerland

Zurich

We are in Zurich, Switzerland! We reached the city earlier today. Zurich is much more complex and much much more expensive than I expected. We checked into our lovely Zurich Airbnb in the suburb. It’s on the third floor of a low rise apartment. We will be sharing the space with the owner, a friendly Swiss lady who seems to be well-traveled.

All freshen up, we took train back to the city to roam around and have dinner.

Zurich Switzerland
Zurich Switzerland

Being Asian, we settled for Thai food at Ban Song Thai. The Thai restaurant was decorated with Chinese painting and they also served sake. All were a bit too confusing, all were a lot too expensive. Thankfully the food was good and the alcohol helped. Happy, full and poor, we went back to the Airbnb for an early night.

So far, a less than a day impression of Zurich has been a lovely city, just not a place I’d want to come back. It looks way too similar with other European cities, just more ━ much more ━ expensive.

Zurich Switzerland
Zurich Switzerland
Zurich Switzerland