Thursday, July 21, 2016

Green Card and Moving to America

It has been a while since the last time I posted an article on my blog. Sorry about that. Life has been a roller coaster lately with all the spousal visa last process and moving to America thing. Now I am nicely settled in Alabama. I got time to tell you the process of all this recent big changes on my life. I am posting it in here so someday I can look back and be grateful for it.

Here goes...

Green Card

Source: Immigrationdirect
A card that symbolizes an American dream for many and an identification card for most. It was a long painful waiting for us to get this Green Card. I am sure it was nothing compare to other people's experience waiting for this card. However, the uncertainty and the waiting period were really not something I would like to remember again. We were unsure how long can I work as I was working as Contract Employer and my Employee would like to know how long I can stay with them. Due to the uncertainty of the waiting process, I had to quit my job a couple months prior to leaving Jakarta. My contract job ended on March and we flew back to America on early July. So, I spent considerably amount of time being a stay at home wife. The total amount of time since we applied for the visa (CR1) until we got it was 1 year. Exactly 1 year. I got it approved right after my birthday. How about that!!? hehe

Fly to America

End of June, we got our visa approved. Wooohoooo. We were so happy. We immediately bought flight tickets. Pretty expensive as it is summer holiday and we were not planning this ahead of time. A couple days after celebrating Ied with the family back in my hometown, we flew back to America through Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airlines. I might going to write about our experience with Etihad someday.

To our surprise, Abu Dhabi has a US Clearance Port where we can get through US Immigration Port of Entry in Abu Dhabi. So we don't have to do it again in Chicago which gonna make the process a lot smoother and faster before our third connecting flight to Huntsville (Sweet Home Alabama).

The guy in US Clearance was really nice. My process doesn't even take more than 5 minutes. He immediately said 'Welcome to America!'

Our total journey from Jakarta - Abu Dhabi - Chicago- Huntsville was 34 hours. Such a looooooong journey. The first thing I do in Chicago was finding a restroom and pup. Lol.

Panadol, life saviour
We were so happy with the Abu Dhabi Immigration process that we didn't have to get our baggage out and get it through security check again. Just immediately fly to Huntsville with our baggage already taken care for.
First Meal in America

Sweet Home Alabama

So sweet. Welcome Home sign.
We arrived in Huntsville Int.Airport at 6pm bright night. I was amazed. How could a 6pm looked like a 4pm weather in Jakarta. Then my in laws (I called them Mom and Dad) told me the sun starts to set around 8.30pm. Whaaaaat!!?

For now, we are staying at Mom & Dad's as we are looking for a house that match our criteria. I really like Mom & Dad's house pretty close to town but still in considerably quiet area. The house is always neat and clean. Mom really makes the house feels more like a homey home.

I was welcome with great hugs from them and my husband's younger brother and his kids. Mom cleaned the room and already have it ready with some of my stuffs that I sent earlier this year.
Our Bedroom

My Stuffed Animals guarding our room

I just love walking closets

Our first meal at home

7pm yet it feels like 4pm Indonesia time
It has been a week living in America now. I am still adjusting to so many things. I am excited to learn more stuffs about my new home country. (I am still Indonesian, for those who ask) But America will be our home where we live in.

I will try to update more about my life here and how are we (mostly me) adjusting with everything foreign.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

India: Adventure in Mumbai

Namaste. Mere naam hai Pavitra. My name is Pavitra. Pavitra = Suci = Pure/Holly
Mumbai or Bombay, the city of Bollywood Movie was our next destination. We were planning to stay here for 4 days. We were offered to stay at husband's friend's parents. We were staying with them at their 2 bedrooms apartment in central Mumbai, Worli.

Unfortunately in Mumbai, we didn't really see too much attraction places. We only went to India Gate and some shopping places like Palladium Mall and street shopping in Linking Road where I bought my Indian bag.

1. Mumbai India Gate

If I remember correctly, there are 2 India gates which are located in Mumbai and Delhi. Mumbai's India gate located close to the sea in Colaba area, South Mumbai. Unfortunately when we visited, they were getting ready for a huge concert. So the area of the gate has been closed.
In here, people mistaken me as Indian a lot. It was a great advantage tho because the street sellers mostly ignoring me and proceed to 'seduce' other foreigners/tourists to buy their products like sun glasses, fan, key chains, etc.

2. Shopping in Linking Road

Use your ability in haggling for price
I need to get a new sandals and sling bag for traveling more comfortably. So we decided to visit Linking Road, a street shopping area. I got one cute Indian sling bag for only 100k rupiah ($9) and sandals for 50k rupiah ($4).

3. Palladium Mall

Beer & Wine event in the mall's courtyard
It doesn't take too long until this spoiled city girl to miss her natural habitant, malls. After googling for informations, we decided to check Palladium Mall. We wanted to watch Bollywood movie in India to get the feel. Unfortunately during our stay there was no super Bollywood filmy type movie. So we had to settle with a movie that looks good enough. We decided to watch '
Main Aur Charles' which turned out to be a good one.

4. Bazaar in Bandra and Madras Cafe

Bazaar/Pop Up Market in Bandra, Northern part of Mumbai

Small joint always full of people, not a lot of tourists.
the one with the onion was probably the best...I wanna go back to India again just for this one
A friend of us told us that there is a bazaar in Bandra area and we went there to check it out. But first things first, we had to check out the highly aclaimed South Indian foods from Madras Cafe which has been going on for more than a decade. The foods were really really delicious. The price was super cheap but the flavor was definitely better than some expensive Indian foods we have ever eaten. Madras Cafe was probably my most favorite place to eat during the whole 2 weeks trip in India.

5. Strolling in Colaba

The Pantry in Colaba, south Mumbai. 

They served a really delicious salty caramelized chocolate made from almond milk and their snacks&dessert were also scrumptious.

Husband's friends live and work in Colaba, southern part of Mumbai. We spent most of our time in Mumbai hanging out around Colaba area. Mostly because we were trying to get sim card to use while we are there. Colaba is currently a new hip place to hangout. There are a lot of hidden cafes in the south. It is probably similar to Senopati area in Jakarta.

6. Dine In

Last night in Mumbai, we chose to cook and dine in with a couple of our friends. Especially since the hosts where we stayed in has said that they wanted to try Indonesian food. With limited ingredients, I tried to cook Balado Terong (Eggplant Spicy Gravy) and Tumis Tahu (Stir fry Tofu).

Monday, January 4, 2016

Marriage: Our Silliest Fights

In 2 months, we are gonna have our wedding anniversary, early March. It will be our first wedding anniversary. Before that, since 2015 is just over. I would like to reflects on it and share some wisdoms.

We had a couple fights but since we are still at the honeymoon stage, mostly they were not serious fights, some of it were actually pretty silly. Let me share the stories with you guys;

1. Husband's Smelly Fart

I have talked about this on my previous post about Things I have to get used to after marriage. His silence yet deadly fart was starting to become a treat in our relationship. Fortunately He doesn't fart as often as me, however that occasionally silence yet deadly fart is hazardous. When he caught in the act, he would just grinned and resume to his activity without feeling guilty. I would probably stormed out of the room, not because I was too upset, I just need to breath cleaner air.

2. Toys R Us vs Toys Kingdom

Lately we have been looking for puzzle and other adult board games. We have been going to Kinokuniya, Periplus, etc looking for jigsaw puzzle and board games. So we decided to check Toys store adjacent to Grand Indonesia's Ace Hardware. Husband said the name is Toys R us and I said Toys Kingdom. We were arguing and the signs says Toys Kingdom. Husband still think it was suppose to be Toys R Us but somehow they changed the name. We had to ask the staff about the name and I was right. So, I won a bet of 50k rupiah. I am too cheap. Sigh.
source: Kontan

3. Where to Eat tonight?

We both are a big Zomato fans
This is probably happens to everyone in relationship. This is some of our silly dialogs;
Me: Where do you want to eat?
Husband: Up to you.
Me: Don't say that. You make it sound like it is always up to me and I didn't give you any option to choose. I always bla bla bla bla bla bla bla...
Husband: Okay..okay. What about Hacienda?
Me: Hmmm don't feel like eating Mexican food tonight.
Husband: What about that Italian place in Kuningan? (-_-")
Me: Hmmmm Italian ya? You know I can only it aglio oglio there. Mostly cheesy and I am lactose intolerant.
Husband: Okay where to then? (-_-") (-_-")
Me: I don't know. You tell me. You get to pick option now.
Husband: What about Indonesian food? (This time should be safe!)
Me: What Indonesian food tho? Padang, Manado, Sundanese, Javanese, Madura, Balinese, etc?
Husband: Padang? (Grrrrr...)
Me: We ate Padang food this morning.
Husband: Manado? (slightly pressing his chest)
Me: Another spicy food after Padang?
Husband: You know what, I am doing fasting today!!!
Me: (Grrrrrrr......) Okay okay we will go eat at Korean restaurant in Senopati ya.
Husband: Okay.

4. Changing My Mind

On the Taxi otw to Korean restaurant;
Me: Actually you know what let's go back to our place, I feel like Indian food from the restaurant near our place.
Husband (Face palm)
Fortunately he is well prepared for all the occasion where I changed my mind immediately.

5. Aqua vs Amidis

Have you heard of Coinage?
For example in Indonesia; Naming all brands of noodles as Sarimi, all brands of tooth paste as Odol. It also happens with mineral water, people tend to call it Aqua but really it refers to lots of brand. Like when you go to restaurant or cafe and orderd for Aqua and instead you got Ades or Nestle.
This really grinds my gear at least for the last one. I am a big fan of Aqua like particular brand of Aqua. And husband is in charge of replenish our mineral water stock on the fridge. Once in a while I would remind him to buy Aqua. But couple days ago he came back with Amidis. So we had argument and for 2 days I keep complaining about how it taste funny while making 'yikes it is gross' face. Finally we run out of that Amidis he bought and he said he had enough of me complaining about Amidis. There won't be any Amidis for us in the future. So, Goodbye Amidis.

6. Husband: Where is my Sarung?

source: Idolabolanews
Sarung or sarong made from fabric batik that can be used as blanket too. Husband got his sarung from my dad. And he loves his sarung so much. Because it was from his father in law when my dad finally accepted him as his son prior to the wedding. Usually he put his sarung in the bottom of the closet. Lately I might have re-arrange the position and he flipped out when he could not find his sarung. I had to call my mom in case we left it there, also I had to ask the lady that does our laundry. All of us look for the magically hidden sarung. After a week of searching for the sarung, finally he found it on the bottom closet behind the matt.

7. Grammar Nazi

source; reshareit
Okay here is the thing, I am not a Native English Speaker. I did take English Literature as my major in university. So, I would say my English was not that bad. I am pretty confident about it. But there are things here and there that I am not so good at. For example the used of idioms, proverbs, filler words, complex grammar, etc. Also the biggest flaw is that I have sundanese tongue which means 'f , p , and v' are basically similar 'p' and we don't have 'sh' , 'ee', 'oo' on our character.
I would say things like;
I. 'Honey we should wash the bed sheet' but sounded like 'Honey we should wash the bed shit.' He had the best laugh on this one.
II. 'Aa is this por me?'
III. 'I want to read Panity Pair.'
I have no problem him fixing ( 'pixing' lol ) my grammar, but when he did while I was upset that was like pouring alcohol into a burning fire.

8. Husband's Uniqlo's Shirt

source: Uniqlo
For a week, husband hasn't seen his favorite Uniqlo's Shirt. He asked me for the shirt whereabout. He asssumes the laundry lady might has it.
We live in sort of studio apartment (kosan..ciye gaya bener ngakunya apartemen) and there are at least 4-5 doors on our floor. He saw Uniqlo shirt hanging on someone's door. The laundry lady usually hangs the clothes on our door. He took the shirt. I insisted it was not his. I clearly remembered that I haven't give it to the laundry lady this week. It has to be somewhere in the closet. We had argument whether or not it was his.
Then I met our neighbor who were complaining to the lady about his missing shirt. Turned out my husband might have 'steal' someone else's Uniqlo's Shirt. I found his at the bottom drawer and we immediately returned the original shirt to its rightful owner. Oooops sorry!!!
9. W'Dank vs Wedang
his fav brand
Recently, husband declares himself as 'Sundanese' after finding out that he loves a lot of Sundanese foods like combro, wedang jahe, bajigur, oncom, tahu sumedang/kuningan/sindangkerta, sambel oncom, nasi tutug oncom, etc. On a trip to Bandung which has become his favorite culinary destination, he has been crazy about bajigur, wedang jahe, and sekoteng.
Before going back to Jakarta, afraid of missing out on his favorite beverages, he went out to look for instant version of wedang, bajigur, etc.
When I asked him what did he buy, he said he bought double yu dank. I was like what the h*** is double yu dank? And he showed me the picture. We were arguing on how to read the brand name. Clearly it is wedang, but the brand trying to be more up to date by writing it in a more popular 'Americanize' name. To this day he still call it double yu dank. I gave up.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

India: Petualangan si Neng di India

Jujur aja ya Aa dan Teteh sekalian, Neng mah sudah suka sama film India teh dari zaman heubeul, dari zaman si Neng masih sakola TK sampai sekarang oge masih suka pisan.

Film India yang pertama Neng tonton teh film yang ada gajah na. Lupa judulna apa, tapi Neng inget sediiiiiiih pisan nontonnya. Kalau gak salah yang mainnya teh Mithun Chakraborthi. Dia teh yang terkenal di film Disco Dancer. Mungkin ada yang pernah dengar lagu "Jimmy Aaja Aaja" hits dari film Disco Dancer?

Tak disangka tak dinyana, si Akang nawarin buat jalan-jalan ke India sekalian nemuin temen-temen kerjana. Oh girang tiada tara hati si Neng ini. Segera kami teh cari tiket murah. Ternyata tiket Jakarta - India lumayan murah. Berangkat dari Jakarta - KL - Goa cuman kisaran 800ribu dan pulangnya 900ribu per orang.
sering-sering si Neng joget Bollywood di India
Kata si Akang mending jangan bawa banyak barang biar gampang jalan-jalannya. Jadi berbekal tas ransel kecil dan tas slempang, si Neng berangkat ke India. Kebetulan si Neng penggemar film India dari kecil dan suka tuturutan (belajar) bahasana dari film. Tujuan si Neng cuman satu, ketemu Aa Shahrukh. Semenjak nonton film Bazigar si Neng sudah jadi penggemar Aa Shahrukh.
Yang Biru punya Neng, item punya Akang
Sayangnya begitu si Neng sampai Mumbai dari Goa, ternyata Aa Shahrukh berangkat dari Mumbai ke Goa untuk merayakan ulang tahunnya di Goa. Atuhlah kan Neng jauh-jauh buat nemuin Aa. Kirain teh bisa tiup lilin bareng-bareng.
Si Neng di Mumbai dgn dandanan ala India
Di Mumbai, Neng sama Akang numpang hidup di rumah temennya si Aa. Alhamdulilah ya Allah, Neng sama Akang bisa berhemat. Mumbai teh ternyata tidak sekotor yang selalu digambarkan di berita. Kalau liat Mumbai berasa liat Bandung area Kiara Condong atau Jakarta area Pasar Baru. Rame dan sibuk, tapi gak terlalu kotor. Tapi duh gusti panasnya seperti Cirebon atau area pantai utara.
Si Neng joget Bollywood di Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
Dari Mumbai, Neng sama Akang pindah ke Jaipur. Di Hawa Mahal (Istana Jendela), Neng mah nangis da. Bukan kenapa-kenapa, cuman terharu dengan betapa megahnya. Di kampung Neng mah gak ada yang begituan teh. Istana yang berwarna pink tua dihiasi banyak jendela dan kaca berwarna. Indah sekali. Jendelanya banyak sengaja biar selir-selir dan putri-putri raja bisa melihat keluar tanpa terlihat dari luar. Iya menurut Eneng mah rajanya teh meni pelit. Tapi da Istananya mah indah pisan.
Hawa Mahal
Di Jaipur juga Neng kena tipu. Di Mumbai Neng kecolongan. Tapi ya ikhlas da. Namanya juga pengalaman. Di Mumbai mah emang salah Neng sendiri. Buat yang mau tau ceritanya, mangga baca post sebelumnya. Sepulangnya dari India, kenangan paling berkesan justru malah Jaipur sama Mumbai.
Neng sama Akang pose di Agra Fort
Dari Jaipur kita berangkat ke Agra dengan kereta gejes yang lucu. Lucu karena ada kasurnya di kereta teh. Seneng bisa selonjoran kaki sambil baca buku atau kalau Neng mah bobo sepanjang perjalanan mumpung ada kasur.

Di Agra, Neng dan Akang lihat Taj Mahal yang memang indah dan pantas jadi Situs keajaiban dunia. Tapi neng gak seterharu pas pertama liat Hawa Mahal. Gak tau kenapa. Rasanya Hawa Mahal itu dekat sekali di hati. Neng sama Akang datang pagi-pagi pun antrian masuk Taj Mahal sudah memanjang seperti ular. Saran Neng, habis dari sini segera liat situs Baby Taj mumpung masih sepi. Lumayan dapat pemandangan bagus cuman buat berdua.
Baby Taj 
Sikandar, Makamnya Akbar yang di Jodha Akhbar tea
Selama di India, Neng belajar praktek bahasa India sama mamang bajaj, mamang/bibi yang jualan. Ternyata Bahasa India Neng lumayan banyak vocabulary-na. Yeuh ku Neng bagi-bagi siapa tahu mau dipake nanti kalau Aa sama Teteh mau main ke India.

1. Salam : Namaste / Namskar
2. Nama saya...: Mere naam hai Neng
3. Apa nama anda? : Aapka naam kya hai?
4. Berapa harganya?: Kitna paisa hai?
5. Mahal: Mehenga hai.
6. Minta air : Pani chahiye.
7. Minta makan: Khana chahiye
8. Saya suka ini : Mujhe yeh pasand hai.
9. Saya mau ini: Mujhe yeh chahiye.
10. Tidak mau: Nahin (Nehi) chahiye.

Semoga berguna buat Aa dan Teteh yang mau joget/main ke India nanti.