Best Days

What Was The Best Day of Your Life?

What was the best day of your life?

The question popped out on my phone. Sent by Jik. It got me thinking. The thing is, I have many.

The days I spent with my cousins, driving around Jakarta to buy the best road-side food.

The weekend I went to Malaka with my Uni friends and made more friends by the time we went back to Singapore.

Our three weeks honeymoon in Japan.

The weekend I went to Goa to attend my cousin’s wedding.

The first time I saw the Autumn colours IRL.

The many moments I shared with Cheryl when we worked together.

The day I went to the theme park as a kid with just my parents. I was wearing a red dress, and they let me do water rafting. It was so fun. I felt so happy and excited, and a bit of a grown-up.

The day I got a salary hike.

The day I got approval to move to Australia.

The day I stood in front of the sixteen floors National Library in Singapore.

The day I noticed Vi entering the classroom wearing her purple pyjamas.

The days I spent in Phi Phi Island, wearing a bikini for the first time and learning to be confident in it.

The day I bought my first MacBook.

Birthdays.

The hours I spent in the bookstores. And the hours I spent in Spellbox.

The night of the New Year’s Eve when I met Fafa.

The drunken night walk with my cousins in Copenhagen.

The day I ate MSG ridden fried-rice in a Chinese restaurant in Italy after not having rice for more than a week for the first time in my life.

Japan days.

My first snowfall day.

The days where Fafa kindness was the only support I had.

The weekend in Uluru.

The hours Jik and I spent in coffee shops in Hong Kong.

The time with LOL memories.

Quality times I spent with Amma and the moments of hugging her.

The day my Amma complimented me on my cousin’s engagement day.

Drinking Karak Chai in Dubai.

The nights I sat on the beach.

The hours I spent in the kitchen with my workmates – having lunch or just taking breaks.

The days I spent with Erwin and Vivi, rediscovering Jakarta.

The days and nights I spent with Thu just messing around while trying to figure out life.

My days in Singapore.

First dates. Second dates.

The days where I do very little but don’t feel guilty at all. The days when I do so much and feel a sense of accomplishment.

My post-grad days.

Sleepover nights.

My wedding days.

The day I realised I had all the support I needed in life.

The afternoon in Brisbane when we took an hour Uber-ride to eat good Indo food.

The day I discovered Serial podcast while travelling in Europe, which led into the true-crime rabbit hole.

The day I took Shinkansen for the first time, the second time and every single time after that.

The day I set up my blogs excitedly.

My last working day in Singapore.

Those are some of my best days—the ones I would love to redo. I realised now that most of them involve being surrounded by my loved ones, travelling and discovering myself. Here is to creating space in my life for more of those kinds of days.

Sake Daruma Gyoza Gyoza

Gyoza Gyoza

I went to Gyoza Gyoza for a dinner and catch-up with Viv last Friday.

Full disclosure: I didn’t even have the courteous to wait for her before starting to put the food order once I sat down in their Melbourne Central branch. In my defense, it has been a crazy workday, and I had to skip lunch hence I was famished. I did apologize to her. Halfway eating my grilled miso rice — with both hands, making a mess of myself — no doubt making her feel second-hand embarrassment, I realized this place might just be my favorite chain restaurant in Melbourne (Hoka Hoka Bento in Jakarta and Sakae Sushi in Singapore).

They have delicious tapas-style Japanese food. From edamame, yakitori, takoyaki to miso soup. And their drinks are delicious. So are the desserts.

I have lots of good memories in Gyoza Gyoza. I have been here with Fafa, I think twice with Jik and at least one time by myself. Clearly, it’s my go-to place for comfort food. Their price range from single-digit but doesn’t mean that they are cheap because you tend to eat a lot here.

5 AM Thoughts

Yet another day, I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling refreshed.

Instead of coaxing myself to go back to sleep, I stupidly invited what I called as the 5-AM-thoughts to seep into my brain and start its’ dance.

It first started with my thoughts about court cards in tarot to the witch bookmark that kept popping up on my IG feed. Then moved to Tom Harlock’s massive self-love, to the New Moon in Scorpio (whether it could be the reason of my restlessness), to being thankful for quirky bookstores like The Moon Singapore.

I reminded myself to finish the current journal before moving to the red Harry Potter journal I bought on a whim last week and to put some stickers on the journal.

The last one was why the heck have I never treated myself to a writing retreat even though I have always wanted to do it and been jealous of others who have done it.

Time to indulge myself a bit. So:

I am going on writing retreat next year!

Either that or I will book a semi-fancy hotel-stay-cation for myself. Where I can chill, write, order room service and (let’s be real, here) watch some trashy TV.

Tower Moments

Of all the “bad cards” in tarot, the Tower is something I am comfortable with. Maybe even a little too comfortable.

The 16th card from the Major Arcana, the Tower is traditionally seen as the representation of disaster, sudden change, significant disruption and chaos.

Those are enough reasons for people to not want to see it in a reading.

It makes sense. We, human beings, tend to seek stability in our lives. I am no different. As I write this on top of my picnic rug, in the park soaking the sun, eating the cheese and getting a bit buzzed from the wine, I too don’t wish for the rug to be pulled from under my feet. Both metaphorically and literally.

But it didn’t start this way for me.

I came from a somewhat traditional Indian family. I say somewhat because my parents are smart people with kind hearts who want nothing but, what they think, as the best for their daughter. But at the same time, they are bogged down by society and at times dated and jaded traditions. Growing up, it had always been a constant struggle between following the social values and just being a child, and later, a teenager. For example, they would let me wear whatever I wanted, which was more than most Indian girls growing up in a traditional family could ask for. But at the same time, I wasn’t allowed to date.

I did both. With that, I turned into the rebel of the family and started what I called as my Tower moments.

My Tower moments started when I, as a teenager, laughed on the face of the priest who told Amma that he could magically make me stop rebelling. A major tower moment was when I cancelled my wedding a couple of weeks before the day. Another one, when I moved to Singapore without a job and proceeded to live there for almost a decade before uprooting the somewhat comfortable life I had built for myself to go back home because I wanted to heal my relationship with my parents. Again without a job. I also summoned The Tower when I migrated to Melbourne, and again when I married someone from a different background in Bali. This time without any priest.

The Tower is a shadow self that I have accepted. It taught me to be calm throughout chaotic periods in my life. From the period when my dad stopped talking to me to being bullied; even when I was made redundant. I went through these with a zen-ish outlook.

And I know I can go through similar shit moments in the future because I had deliberately chosen to walk through worse things, either because it aligned with my values or to chase my dreams.

I also learned that even though I always have plans for my life (Virgo baby!), sometimes the Universe grants my wishes in different ways. And based on my past experiences, it could just be in the Tower mode.

It’s good to remember that fundamentally the Tower is about radical changes. A reminder to:

“Be positive, it is time to replace the old foundations of the past with something that is more genuine and will serve better in what is to come”

Labyrinthos.


Not gonna lie, knowing that — if tomorrow, something happens and I have to uproot my life yet again — I can do it, feels pretty empowering. And I blame my semi-traditional Indian parents for it. They shouldn’t have instilled the value of resilience in the young rebellious me.

Beauty in Ordinary Things

Back alley

Let’s talk about pausing to take notice of the beauty in ordinary things. A skill I am slowly losing, especially if it’s in my own backyards/city/country.

It’s a different story when I am traveling.

When I travel, I notice the vending machine, the local market, the train station, the neon sign, the everything. On my Japan trip, I started collecting Japanese manhole and Daruma doll pictures. Those might be ordinary things for Japanese, but not for me. And digging through the Blogosphere you must agree with me that some people’s ordinary things are not for others.

I even thought the picture of my back with beautiful scenery as a backdrop was interesting enough to be captured. So I did. For years. Now, I have an album in my iPhoto featuring my ass in cities around the world. Most weren’t flattering pictures, tbh. But I am yet to delete it. Maybe I can create a series and sell it someday when I am famous.

For me, the most fun of it is chasing the pattern of the ordinary things that I am attracted to. By paying extra attention to things. And lately, I have been wondering whether I can do this while not traveling. Especially these days, when I am not allowed to travel.

To not living life on autopilot by adding a little childlike wander into it.

So recently I started this micro project, to pay more attention to ordinary things at home. I have been collecting pictures of rainbows and day-time moon, which is a quite common sighting in Australia.

I hope it will lift my ordinary life and make it a bit more extraordinary.

The Moon Singapore Bookshop

Postcard from The Moon

I am in a much better post-PMS mood.

We are in my latest favorite bookshop in Singapore, The Moon.

Fafa is sitting beside me, busy arranging timing with his former favorite hair-stylist to cut his invisible side bangs that has been bothering him throughout the day. I am writing this while waiting for the barista to prepare our coffee orders.

From here, I want to go outside and walk around so I can take mural pictures around Chinatown. But it’s so hot and humid, and we already have a hard time to breath; at least it doesn’t rain cats and dogs today (yet), and for that, I am grateful.

Today is also officially one year since we got the matching Torii gate tattoo by Ron Sugano in Tokyo, Japan.

The Tower Tarot Major Arcana

Un-grounded in Singapore

It is nearing midnight, and I just drew the card for the day from my trust Golden Rider Waite Smith tarot deck. My question:

“What was the theme of the day?”

The Tower

Ha! It’s pretty f-ing clear.

I have been in Singapore for 24 hours now. I have many plans, people to meet, food to eat places to visit. In other words, I have so many things in my mind, which is pretty usual when I travel to places I considered “home”. I have been exposed to too much stimulation. At the same times, I didn’t practice any routines and rituals. I feel un-grounded.

My energy, vibes and everything else feels scattered.

Thankfully this time I did the same thing and booked myself a hotel room (second time around in Hotel G) so I can get some me-time. I am trying to think when was the last time I checked in the hotel to chill and have me-time? The last time maybe was five years ago.

Oh wow, it has been that long!

I so deserve this. I deserve this time in Singapore to rest and recharge ━ mentally.

Ten of Swords Trip Back Home

I think I experienced hell recently by sitting on a window seat in a plane for 12 hours without standing nor sleeping on my way back from Amsterdam to Melbourne. The only good thing about the flight was the Indonesian food (written in Bahasa Indonesia) on the in-flight menu: ikan bakar madu – honey glazed bbq fish.

Thankfully I had a stopover in Singapore.

I stretched my legs, had a quick meal (it was breakfast or lunch or dinner depends on which time I referred to) with my cousin, who was going home to Jakarta. I spent the rest of my hour at the airport in the bookstore where I bought a book about the city I once called home before boarding another plane that would take me to Melbourne.

This time, I requested an aisle seat, which I usually dislike because of all the disruptions, but I thought it would be better for me if I still felt like stretching. Weirdly, I slept off the minute the plan went up in the sky and only got woken up the next day when they served the in-flight meal (which I too wasn’t sure whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner).

A smooth immigration process and $83 taxi ride later, I was finally home.