Full-moon Hike

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 πŸ₯Ά!

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 waaayπŸ˜… 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!!😜

It was a night to remember!! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜‹

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My Valentine πŸ’•

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!

Β 

-updated Fri, Feb 15

And my Val decided to be romantic πŸ˜‹πŸ’•

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 πŸ’•πŸ˜‹

shukran habibi πŸ€—

Too Much is Toxic

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 πŸ˜“

Daily Lesson -Life University

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.” πŸ˜€

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! πŸ™‚

Here is the link of the VFS Global if you need it.

Khalas… Inshaa Allah it will be granted for multiple entries.

Go ahead sum up yourself for the lesson you can take from my experience. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

Dishes with No Name

Most of Indonesian dishes that I made turned out to be no-name dishes. If my friends asked me what’s the name of the dishes I made, I came out with all the main ingredients instead of a name.😜

Like recently, I really wanted to make ‘bubur menado’ which originally contains of rice cooked with vegetables. What makes it THE bubur menado is the types of vegetables we use, which of course I can’t find them all here. As a result, I customized the vegetables.. make sense..right! And when come to tasting…hmmm become not quite or even far from its expected taste πŸ˜… But..for the sake of homesick. I still enjoy it.. set the taste buds mindset.. voila! Bubur menado in my version. However, if a friend ask me I still don’t want to ruin the real profile of the original dish, rather name it with vegetables with rice and meat. πŸ˜‹

Food has been my big thing of my small things to think about in my weekly basis. I’m not an eater. But there were times when I’m sick of eating the same things in the neighborhood and not being able to cook a lot of things. Doh!πŸ€ͺ

While I have a housemate who is really good at making an easy cooking food. Watching her in the kitchen with just chopping this and that.. sautΓ©ed this nd that or baked this and that, 30 minutes.. then VOILA! She would usually gave me a taste of a plate or twoπŸ˜… err.. it’s called more of a full dinner, yes? Hahaha

My reaction usually will be… hey, what do you need for this? Then she will bla bla and bla.. Then a recooked dish will most likely appear within 2 or 3 days!😜

Tacos, different types of salsa, energy balls. Etc. or simply just chopping veggies..

My show off audience will be my partner and my best friends. The first one, he never complains… even one day when my bread was totally awful -too salty- I didn’t even liked it, he said it was perfect! And finished all upπŸ₯΄ so I can’t really trust you hun!πŸ˜…πŸ€£

While the second ones, they are totally blunt!! They’ll say I love it! Bring us some more.. would be great if it is with chicken..πŸ€ͺ or hmm… sorry, I don’t like it.

So, there were times when I can’t get any of those and just had it myself and be proud. πŸ€£πŸ˜…

There… my kitchen survival story trying to satisfy my taste buds while they’re craving for comfort foods from home. πŸ˜‹

Golf Carting

An experience that I would not be able to have if I am not living in the community where I live now is Golf Carting. Yes… driving golf cart for my daily commute to work and around the compound.

I decided to get, well to rent it from the transport division was because I sold my car and summer is very HOT in Saudi. It will not as cool as driving in a car but at least I have shade and I can get anywhere faster than riding my bike.

Its top speed is 30 km/hour. I know not so much different from the bike right hahahha! But I can argue that it helps me with big loads for me to carry my shopping stuffs. 😜 The sensation of driving a golf cart with its maximum speed, yes.. that 30 km/hour, is such an experience though.. with the ziiiink sound of the machine is like I’m driving a futuristic carπŸ˜…. The blow of the wind will give you also a such dramatic effect of vision if you forget to tie your hair. Gosh! One of those days when I forgot to tie my hair and found nothing in my bag to help out with it, a 10-minute driving home in the afternoon when the wind is usually at it’s crazy act was a nuisance!πŸ€ͺπŸ˜‚ Luckily the roads here are most likely empty, so crashing chances are almost zero.

Winter is perfect time to enjoy, even though pretty chill if it’s windy. πŸ˜ƒ

Well… I’ll enjoy my ride for another month before I hand it back. I have now a bus stop in front of my house. How cool is that! πŸ˜ƒ So will say goodbye to this vehicle and soon taking a bigger vehicle to commute. And…my bike.. it still is my favorite as it gets me fit!πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

What a Hug Can Do

As I made a promise to myself yesterday that I will try hard to write every day, I reflected my day and thought what would be the highlight that I wanted to have as my topic.

My day most of the time, of course, is all about my class and work as a kindergarten teacher. However, today I had lots of hugs from this particular girl in my class. She likes to hug me throughout the day and says: ‘I love you, Ms. Rie… You are the bestest teacher of all!” πŸ˜€ Alright…alright… that sounds bragging hahaha. But she really is so sweet and likes to hug me and says all that. I didn’t put her on any spell or something. πŸ˜›

Anyway, I was a bit upset about someone did something today and she suddenly came and hugged me saying: “I feel like hugging you right now, Ms.Rie.” I hugged her back. I could feel her sincerity and love, which actually calmed me down. That moment reminded me of this song: Four hugs a day!Β Β that I used to sing with my previous badges.

A family therapistΒ Virginia Satir once said, β€œWe need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” While that may sound like a lot of hugs, it seems that many hugs are better than not enough.

I have read how powerful a hug can be for our mental healthiness and that in turn, will boost our body immune, which means helping us to get healthier and happier. πŸ™‚

I love hugs!

Hugs is a way you communicate with each other through your bodies. You could feel the muscles sending you sincerity and love energy. There are ‘fake’ hugs and REAL hugs. But no matter what kinds of a hug, you can always send your sincere hugs.

So… Four hugs a day…that’s a minimum! Four hugs a day…not a maximum! πŸ™‚

Sending you all virtual billions of HUGS!!!