Spring break 2019 destination was another ini-Minnie-mini-mo moment when I couldn’t decide where to go until last minute, like.. 2 weeks before going.
It’s probably not quite a last minute thing but that’s the case if you live in remote area 😜 which I do like where I live, don’t get me wrong.
And considering the weather, things I want to do, and visa.. my pointer chose Turkey 🇹🇷… yes AGAIN. 😋
I’ve been to Turkey 2 Springs ago in Pamukkale, Izmir, and Istanbul.
Pamukkale was beautiful with its Travertine hot spring. Izmir with the magnificent Ephesus, and of course with places and cultural attractions in Istanbul. I was like.. I want to move to this place!!😍😍💕😅
Turkey 2019 Goes to Kapadokya!!
This time I went solo!😃
Strolling around the city alone was nothing but Relaxing 😎
I spent the whole week in Göreme with 2 agendas: Hot air balloon and staying in a cave hotel! That’s all and other things should follow.
It was my coldest weather I’ve been in. 🥴 I don’t like to bring a lot of things when traveling, but the weather like -8 wouldn’t allow me to travel light. However I packed as light as I could.
Getting to the air balloon ride was a bit tricky as you really count on the weather and of course money 💰🥴
It’s as pricey as €175 but I will only do this once so.. whatever.. I decided to do it.
It was super stunning views from above, amongst the valleys, passed by among hundreds of balloons, watching the sun rise. Sharing the moment with a bunch of strangers with simply smiles to each other and nods with wide eyes as spoken languages were not there to be understood. We had one thing to say: This planet is beautiful! And praised to Allah, the almighty who hold the world! 😇
Time of the year that I really keen on is International Week. It is time when all nations here in my community embrace (over 150 countries) to participate in a parade and share their culture. While at school where I work, we celebrate the diversity throughout the week and wrap it with the parade on the last day with their families and the rest of the community.
This Is the time when I plant the root for my conspiracy with the generation badge in my class ‘nation’. 😊
It is when we acknowledge more of our identities, learn about where they come from originally. To learn that we are all different for who we are. Yet, we all here share the laugh, the joy, the fun, and also the bad times together.
When there is a purpose, it makes it easy to learn. (Finding your Why)
So, today everyone got to find their flags and tell which country they are from. I have 11 nationalities from 14 kids in my class and that makes 12 nationalities including myself. Now you can see how this moment is interesting. 😋
Someone asked about why Saudi Arabia’s 🇸🇦 flag has a sword in its flag. Hmm… I was puzzled, and my assistant’s answer did not quite satisfied them. So I left it to my Arabic teacher to help me out. I did then introduce them of my flag: Indonesia 🇮🇩
I said a flag means something for its country. The same as mine. I told them red means bravery and white means purity. There’s a story behind it. Long time ago Indonesia was occupied by The Netherlands and its flag was red, white, and blue.
Then Indonesian ripped the blue part and claimed the red and white as Indonesian flag. So the color represents Indonesian’s identity.
A question arose: “but why did they fight?”
I said back then people were so greedy that they wanted to take over others’ lands. Now things are better. We are now friends: Indonesian and Dutch 😊
And you are all will even make things better in the future.😃
Bringing peace and be principled!
They might not fully understand but it doesn’t mean I can’t tell them. They don’t need to understand it now but they will eventually… 💕🤝❤️🤗
My trip was started with some dramas yesterday on the plane and in the airport -seems like every time 😜 *semacam tuman hahaha
Flew with Turkish airlines, a freak guy on board – I think he was drunk..
I already sat when I heard this guy said ‘salam’ (greeting in Arabic for Muslim) out loud and laughed while queuing to his seat. He saw me looked at him then he intentionally said salam to me from quiet far. I’m a Muslim but he’s so inappropriate so I ignored him and closed my eyes to get some sleep as it was midnight flight and I was too tired to even care. Suddenly I heard his voice was so loud and close as I opened my eyes, his face was there. he spoke right on my face😡
I was so upset and asked him to go. The aisle of course stopped as he stopped keeping his effort greeted me with crazy drunk look. People started talking to him in Turkish. Luckily, an old man who sat next to me, asked him to leave me. He left.
I thank the old man for ‘saving’ me. In just a min I slept😜.. but then I heard arguments and I woke up finding that the flight attendants tried to get ‘the guy’ off the plane as he kept making noises and disturb others. And.. a police officer finally came getting him out!
Our flight delayed of course 🥴
My connection lay over was only 1.5 hour in Istanbul to go to Nevşehir and I know it would get crazy if I couldn’t make it there. I was too tired to think..
sleep- period- that’s what I did.. whatever it would be, so be it🥴
As soon as we landed, a staff from Turkish airline asked around if anyone had a connecting flight to Kapadokya. I approached with a family of four. So, the five of us were taken to a different bus, escorted to passport check, x-ray gate, and all the way to the gate. We made it there just a few minutes before boarding time. *phiuh
At the x-ray check, I heard a woman -solo traveler- approached the staff with a desperate voice asking where she had to go for her connecting flight to Antalaya. She said she’s been directed the same way that staff showed her but couldn’t find it. She said her flight would be boarding soon.
Over heard that conversation made me realize… that drama I had earlier in Jeddah had gotten me to be escorted this way. 😇
I believe You have Your own way to take care of me, Allah 🤗🤲🏼😇
Bless you all whose hands are used to lead Helping others..
5:30 pm I was ready with my stuffs: abaya – it’s a must outer outfit in Saudi, water, jacket, and light snacks. The driver we hired picked me up on time. After picking up all of us, four of us, we head to Jeddah.
The sky was beautiful and the traffic was fine. We reached at the restaurant at 7:15 for dinner, which meant we had half an hour to eat. I did not eat as I couldn’t wait to eat later and also I already predicted that it would be not much time for eating. I didn’t want to rush my eating, especially in a fine restaurant.. it should be be enjoyed. So, I ate at home.
At 8 pm we reached at the meeting point and headed to the trekking spot.
We thought it will be about 10 or 20 the most. Oh my..! There were about 50 people!
So we got our headlamps and started the trek at 9:30ish. Options was 5K, 8K, and 10K. I did walking and trekking several times for 10K but this type of trekking was my first so we decided to do the middle one.
The path was challenging!! Sandy, which means it also dusty, rocky trek. Even though the moon lit the way but it was hard to walk so I sometimes needed my white light to get the sight of my path.
I was about to give up and took the 5K route when I met the 5K group but Iffat kept me going, so I pushed myself. It was also the trek was flatter so I felt better. The challenge was also from the chill hard wind. My hands and face were sooo cold 🥶!
on the way back down the Jabbal was a real test for my feet. I wore just a running shoes that didn’t help for such a rocky pathway. Not to mention sand got in to my socks. But seeing some runners passed me by lit my spirit to keep going and not thinking about my feet. One of my friends, Jenny, accompanied my pace and the talks worked the distraction 😜
Just before the downhill we managed to meet our other two friends who waited for us. We just lost our way after that, tried to find red lights from others but nothing. So we just follow our guts..thaaat led us to different waaay😅 we walked on a mushy dried swamp!
When we finally saw a crowd from distance we relieved. Yeah, they were shouting to get us going! We’re trying!!😜
I’m so grateful that I still feel the loves from people surround me and am able to give love. ❤️
Love has taught me life in a hard way yet blissful.
Love as a romance
Love as a relationship with family and friends
Love in humanity
Love as a God’s creation
The journey has brought me from ignorance to awareness.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
-updated Fri, Feb 15
And my Val decided to be romantic 😋💕
He came for a breakfast together on the weekend (yes, we have Friday and Saturday as our weekend in MiddleEast) and gave me a gift when dropped me off. Glad that I brought out his romantic side in a way while he keeps claiming that he’s not a romantic person. 😜 with the flower and those gifts? Yeah, right.. I’m not complaining.. just saying 💕😋
As the song says Too much love will kill you! It’s an old song, in case you never heard that. 😜
I believe nothing is good if you have too much portion.
No, I will not talk about something heavy. It’s been a tough week as I had quite lacked of sleep due to crickets.
The best record was 2 days ago, I had 2 females and 3 males in my bedroom. Not to mention some in the living room and kitchen. Believe me… the house was like living crickets orchestra.
The insects have been in a road tour for about a month now in the compound but have been longer time outside the town.
I used to loooove how crickets break the stilly nights, brings me to peaceful rest sending me to a tight sleep. But now??! 😭 I found the sound became intimidating! I hope I can have that love of the nature background sound back… Not this moment *sigh 😓
I tried to obtain my Schengen visa for my trip to Italy and the fact that I live far away from the city – 90 km – and in a restricted compound, commuting in and out is an issue.
I was being stubborn when my friend told me that the bank statement is valid for 2 weeks. She said she was told by the government affair man who had been advised us about the document we need. There was some discrepancy between the information I received from him (based on univ. government affair office) and from the VFS official website. So, I asked for a second opinion from my friend who has done many Schengen visas and she said even from her understanding it’s valid only for 3 days. Hmmm… so I searched online and found that it’s valid for 3 months. My bank statement was over 14 days and less than 3 months.
To save some money in mind, I hired a driver instead of a taxi so that if I need anything on the way I could ask him to drop me in. Unlike a taxi, it will cost me 50 SAR to add on an extra drop point.
Since in the morning, I already felt uneasy about the day. Halfway to work, I realized I forgot my abaya, so I had to drive back home. It was an assembly for my students early in the morning, swapped around the schedule so the sub-teacher will have a lighter schedule to cover me. I started to go at 10:05. Again, checking my documents and still felt I missed something but I didn’t know what it is. I thought to myself, maybe because I feel nervous.
I reached the VFS Global office at 11:15. It’s 30 minutes before my appointment time. Got in the office with a regular security check as if at the airport, body scan. I sat waiting for my number to be displayed on the monitor that will tell me which table I will need to proceed. I sat near the Italy visa’s desks. Suddenly… Boom!! I felt like I just awoke and realize: I DONT BRING MY PASSPORT! Aaaaarghhhh!! I was stunned! I swore for being careless and disorganised… That had to be the first thing I need to go. Anyway, I took a deep breathe and think about what should I do? First thing first!
I accepted that the situation is happening. It is what it is. I made mistake and I know it will cost me. Next, ask the possibility if I could return back with my passport and still had the appointment on the day. So I didn’t wait for my number and asked someone at the Italy desk about my issue. Alhamdulillaah… The staff was very understanding. He calmed me down and said he would check my documents if they are good to go and he would hold the appointment until 2:30 pm while I’m trying to get my passport as I need about 2,5 – 3 hours to go back and forth. He asked me to wait until my number being called. So I waited. In a couple of seconds, I got called, but by another agent. I told the staff, the same thing. She was about to reject me saying that she couldn’t proceed with my application without my passport. I told her I came from Thuwal and the other staff told me that he will wait until 2:30 and I just need to get my docs checked if they all good. So, she agreed to give me time until 3 pm. However, she frowned when saw my bank statement. She said she cannot proceed it because it’s expired yesterday. I was like… Laa hawla walla kuwwata illa bilaah. Please God helps me out. Then she said: hmm… Khalas! I stapler all this together which means your docs are clear. You can come again before 3 pm with your passport. Take a number again from the reception just like from the beginning. I smiled: Shukran! I really appreciate it!
I reached back to VFS Global office at 1:30 pm. The bank statement bit still circling in my head and hoping that this won’t be another issue. I got in the waiting room again waited for my turn. When it’s my turn, I got to go to another staff so I gave her my docs and said that they had already been checked earlier and told her about my issue. She ran through each one again and stopped at the bank statement and gave a puzzled look. “Did she say anything about this?” I said: “She told me that it’s expired yesterday and then she said -khalas-.” Oh God… Laa haula walla kuwwata illa billaah. She went to ask her supervisor and came back saying I cannot use the bank statement I had and need to renew the printing. I was so down. But then she said I could do online banking and print it at a photocopy center outside the building, no need the bank stamp because I’m a foreigner. Praise to God… Alhamdulillaaah! And so I did.
The third time I entered the security check, I told the security guard: “Hi, it’s me again” and smiled. She smiled back and let me through “khalas! because you said: it’s me again.” 😀
Waiting for 10 minutes, my number got called: ITS 41 ;P yes from initially 21, then 38, to 41. The staff went through my files again. The next was paying the fee and proceed to biometric scan for a fingerprint. By 2:30 pm it’s all done. If all go well, it’s actually a very quick process. The staffs were also very helpful and more professional than Arabs workers in the kingdom I have experienced. Good to know! 🙂
Here is the link of the VFS Global if you need it.
Go ahead sum up yourself for the lesson you can take from my experience. 🙂
Some lessons are sometimes you got it in a harder way than another. I’m glad I did it. Especially as a woman in Saudi, by myself! 😀