No More Drama

Today, December 22th, I try my luck to submit my visa application. Perhaps due to holiday mood, the aura in German Embassy is different; not so tensed as usual.

In German Embassy, there are 2 document screening process. First, after we have security check, then we have to submit our document to be checked. If our documents are not sufficient, then we can't proceed. But if it is sufficient, then we can proceed our visa application at the 2nd floor.

This time, I was questioned by the first doc screening officer about my background story. But she doesn't question me much. She just re-arrange my documents and told me to proceed to 2nd floor.

When I came in September, the same officer questions me much. Especially about my insurance. See, I guess the holiday mood has changed everybody ;)

Then in 2nd floor, I have to queue. And at that time, there's one person who really has a problem with her application. She handed in her application and got interviewed. Then she's told to wait. Then she's called again because her application isn't correct and she's told to correct it. Then she has to wait again, and then she's been called again...

In this day, from 4 lockets available, only 2 are open. Perhaps the other 2 are already on leave. So when I (and other people) saw that girl with that complicated process, I wonder when can I get my turn. Many people start getting anxious.

But then, after that girl, everything seems going perfectly. And when my turn comes, the officer really didn't ask me anything. she just check my documents and didn't ask about my background story. Yes right, she didn't ask. She just told me to sit down and wait. And some minutes later, I was told to sign a paper and give my contact number. And the only question she asked is whether I will continue to PhD or not. I said I am open for any options. And that's all.

Next thing, I have to pick my visa at January 2nd. Thank God, no more drama!!!!

Malaria Free

Oooooh I am so glad now.

My blood was taken for a test; and it said that there's no malaria parasite anymore!!! I feel so cured.

Although I am still not 100% fit, but surely I feel optimistic now :)

Life and Death Situation

When was the last time you challenge your life into death? In my case, never! I never do any extreme sport or risk myself in anyway. Yes I am an adventurer, but I think I am a safe adventurer; not a risky one.

Whenever I want to travel to remote place, I try to prepare everything carefully. Including this time when I have to travel to malaria area. I have taken my anti malaria pill months before I go there; and I take it constantly every 2 weeks. Isn’t that a good preparation?

But I guess you never be sure that you’re ready. My health condition drops due to the exhausted travel there [Read: My Research]. And at this point, all my preparation becomes useless :( Nothing really works although when I was there, there was anti-malaria spraying activity conducted by Health Service.

Then it happened. At Nov 30th I woke up with fever. I thought this fever is just a normal light fever because I am too tired. So I just take as much water as I can. But the fever doesn’t go down in the evening. At this point I already contact my brother in Jakarta and tell about this strange fever. He then arranges his in-laws, who live in Makassar, to pick me up and take me to a hospital.

But the doctor says it’s too early to detect the cause just by 1 day of fever; it needs 3 days to detect the cause of fever. He prescribes me antibiotic, anti-vomiting, and anti-fever medicines.

In the next day, I feel better. The fever is gone and I feel fine. So I thought, nothing serious. But I was totally wrong!!! Entering evening time, the fever strikes again; this time I start vomiting. To make it worst, the medicines don’t work at all. I keep vomiting and the anti-fever makes me anxious. Then I decide to go home in the next morning.

At December 2nd, I drag myself; with fever and just vomiting before entering the taxi; to airport at 5AM. I don’t have ticket; I’ll do go show. And no surprise, the closest departure is provided by the most expensive airline in my country. Health is surely costly. But to see in a positive side, the service is good. I don’t have to walk without shelter into the plane (In cheaper flight, we have to walk outside into the plane which mean we also have to hear the loudness of the plane machine!).

I can survive the trip; I sleep along the travel. Also to my home, I just sleep in the taxi. After resting for awhile at my home, my father takes me to a small clinic nearby to check my blood. Unfortunately they can’t perform any test at that time so they refer me to a small hospital nearby. But this turns out as a big blunder…

I got tested for malaria, dengue fever, and typhus. The result says that I am only positive for dengue; so I have to stay there and getting treatment for dengue fever. In dengue fever, the number of trombocyte is getting down, which cause the fever; so whenever the trombocyte number is rising, the fever starts to go. Aaah, and it is also found out that my liver function is deteriorating.

At that time, my fever keeps jumping up and down. In the morning, I feel fine. But entering evening time, I start become anxious because the fever strikes. And my fever can reach 40 degrees! I keep vomiting and can’t take all the medicines, so can’t the food. It was so awful. But this condition becomes worst because of the hospital itself. It seems that they start to mix all the medicines. I have no idea how many antibiotics that I have taken, orally or injected.

I feel like in the concentration camp. For example, when my fever still high although my trombocytes are getting higher, they give me 3 paracetamols at once!!! What?! What do you think my body is? A junkyard? How come they sure that the reaction only goes 1 direction? My body could react different and it will endanger me for sure!!

Another example, I didn’t poo for 6 days. I think it’s normal in this condition because I just stay at bed and the medicines can’t cause constipation. But then they give me medicine to make me poo!!! Well I already have pain in my stomach due to all the medicines, and now they give me something to squeeze my intestine??? No way!!! Luckily at that time, my former nanny is visiting me. She gives me small massage at the back near the tail bone; and of course it works. I really don’t need that medicine anymore.

After a week without any progress, my family becomes furious, especially the hospital starts to experiment on me. At this point, I am really afraid that this experiment thing could make me handicap or invalid or damaging part of my body or something like that. So I am fully agreed when my family decides to remove me to bigger hospital.

In bigger hospital, I have blood test once again. This time, they identify that I got malaria!!! I never got dengue fever. Never!!! This is why my liver function is deteriorating; malaria is attacking the liver. And for trombocytes; no matter dengue or malaria, the trombocytes are always damage. I spoke to the person from the lab who perform the test; she said to determine dengue is not just by the number of trombocytes, there’s another indicator that determine it. I guess in the small hospital, the lab isn’t sophisticated enough; that’s why I was mistreated :(

I stay 2 nights in bigger hospital. After they can find the cause of my illness, they let me go home with some medicines. A week after my release, I have to have another blood test and examination. Lesson learned: just go to bigger hospital no matter how expensive it would be; but you’ll save a lot more.

Talking back about risking life again… Now I feel so stupid, risking my life for nothing. Of course to say for nothing is too much; my visit there will surely be useful. But I still couldn’t believe that I did risk my life…

My Research


My research is about community perception. Community in here means people who live in the small islands or in other name, islanders. Basically I want to know whether one particular government project is working well or not i.e. whether the people aware about it, whether people really involved, etc. And that project is about Marine Protected Area (MPA).

My research area is in South Sulawesi Province; 2 hours flight from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. I choose to take 5 islands, out of 31, as my research sites. 4 of the islands are close together. I mean, 2 islands are close, then another 2 islands are also close. So I decide to go to 2 islands at one time; and the last island I’ll visit separately.

I stay one week in each island. So I travel for 2 weeks and go back to the mainland for about a week to prepare for the next trip.

Everything went perfect in my first trip. The 2 islands are near from mainland; only 1 hour wooden-boat rides.

In my 2nd trip, it was so messy. Here’s the thing: having boat ride here doesn’t mean that I travel with scheduled boat trip. There’s no regular boat trip. If you want to go to these islands, you have to go to the port and look for boat that will go to the particular destination. It means that we’re just hitchhiking.

So this time, I was told that the boat will leave at 8AM. Since I am just hitchhiking, I am so afraid that they would leave me. This has made my sleeping become a bit anxious. I am afraid that I can’t wake and the boat leaves me.

So there I was, half asleep, went to the port. And of course, the boat was late. They still need to buy gasoline and ice and those shops are not open yet!!! After waiting and waiting, finally we go at 12PM!!! It means the sun is 90o from your head! To make it worst, the boat is a cargo boat; so there’s no shelter for people!!!

Imagine, I am lack of sleep and tired of waiting; then I have to travel 3.5 hours with direct sunlight… A perfect way to make your body weak. And it does. I wasn’t 100% fit during my travel and jeopardize myself because I am entering malaria area :(

Improved Banking System

Surprised… surprised…!!! The banking system is improving in the term ‘online’. Before, I can’t understand why we need 2-3 days to do online transaction. What’s the sense of online then???

But today, I can send money from my German bank account to my Indonesian bank account within a day!!! I am so surprised!!!

Internet Café

What do you have in mind once you heard a word ‘Internet Café’? A fancy café that has high speed internet connection? Or a room full of cubicles where each cubicle contains one PC with internet? Well yes, those are the normal so-called internet café looks like. But what I find in Makassar is pretty interesting, because it’s different.

In the Faculty of Social and Politic, there’s a free access of WiFi. It means you don’t need any network key to connect to the internet. This doesn’t happen in other faculties. In University of Bremen, we even have to register our laptop/ PC if we want to be able to access the internet in campus!

What makes it interesting, the place for hang out in Soc-Pol Faculty is decent cafés; or so called warung. These warungs are simple, selling meals or instant noodles, simple drinks like packaged tea, ice orange, instant coffee, and the place for sitting is only simple plastic chair or even old wooden bench.

Just take a look at this picture. These two guys are sitting on a decent wooden bench and put their laptops on a decent wooden table. At the background there are the warungs. It’s completely a contrast picture. Although the place is so descent, which mean for low economy-class people, but apparently the people who goes there isn’t from low class because they all have laptops. Isn’t that interesting?

Look at this video and see the how abnormal this internet café!

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Water Scarcity

I guess this is one of some typical problems in developing countries: water scarcity!

Yes, I have to face that problem now although I stay at the 3rd biggest city in Indonesia! If I stay in an island, then I don’t expect much about it. But since I still stay in the mainland, of course I wouldn’t anticipate this at all.

So what happened to me these days; every morning me and my friend have to wait in our terrace. We wait for our neighbors who try to pump the groundwater with electric pump. If one succeeds, then the whole street will go there to collect the water.

But one thing I just knew now. This groundwater source is only last for some time. For example, one day my neighbor who lives directly on the right side got the water. We collect the water for some time until it doesn’t come out anymore. Then in the next day, it’s my neighbor, who lives 2 houses on the right side, who got the water. So it’s not fixed everyday. And I guess that’s the challenge (and of course frustration!).

My strategy for this situation, I just have one big shower everyday. If I don’t sweat so much, then I just have light shower which I called ‘cat bath’ or mandi kucing in Indonesian. Somehow I think this situation is funny, comparing to my life in Germany. In Germany, we don’t need to have shower everyday because the weather is mostly cold. I remember, even after my daily one-hour walk, most of the time I don’t take any shower. In Indonesia, the weather is hot and humid, so having shower twice a day is a regular norm. How come in a country where having shower everyday isn’t necessary, the water is always available; while in a country where having shower twice a day is a must, the water is scarce. Ironic, huh?!

If I need more water for washing my clothes or my hair, then I use drinking water which can be bought in gallon bottle. Oh well, maybe I can be as beautiful as Demi Moore. I heard she washes her hair using Evian.

Don’t ask about water for cooking. We don’t cook anymore as we would need more water rather than if we just buy ready-made foods. So yes, it’s an expensive life style :(

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Tropical Fruits

A month before I fly back to my home country, I found a one of my favorite fruits in German supermarket. I don’t know what does it called in English, but it’s called Markisa in Indonesian. You can see the picture here.

I am so happy to find it but at the same time I feel so angry and annoyed in looking to the price tag. It costs € 1.5 each!!! Oh My God!!!

Luckily I’ll fly within a month, so I decided to be patient. And now, almost a month back in my home country, I can have my markisa with only less than € 0.50 for 5.

So, for those from tropical countries and craving for tropical fruits, be prepare, it surely costs a lot just to get what you miss…

Priceless Moment

Although my home country is very chaotic, but home is home. Many things can’t be found elsewhere. Spicy and delicious foods, cheap massage, and cheap beauty care treatments are where my money flies so far. I have trimmed my hair, having hair creambath, facial, buying custom made facial creams, and having full body massage; it seems that I don’t have money left for research especially I have done all of these treatments twice in one month!


Yeah, of course to say that as a priceless moment is too much because I have to spend money on them. But the feeling to access them easily, that’s priceless.


Another priceless moment that I have is when I met my old friends. To be exact: my high school friends. It started accidentally when I chat with one of my high school friends. We decide to meet for old time sake. But then, somehow it grows and some people show up! I feel so touched with it. I have a good time and a good laugh; something that I haven’t got for a long time. To make it more priceless moment, we stay until midnight outside with short sleeve shirt! This is surely priceless for me, as it’s impossible to go out in Bremen without wearing, or at least, carrying jacket.

Another Episode of Visa Drama

Ok, now I am in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia which is also my hometown. I’ll use this opportunity in extending my visa because German Embassy is here. I want this issue being settled so I can go to my field research without any burden.

So there I go, to the Embassy with all the documents that I have to submit which are consisting of documents needed for applying a new visa. If I can extend it in Bremen, it only requires my scholarship document and insurance. See the difference?

There are layers of examination there. Not only for security, but before you can enter the visa administration office, there’ll be someone who checks your documents. If your documents are less complete, then you can’t enter the office.

I think I wait about 45 minutes before I meet this document check section. And of course I feel nervous when I face this section, afraid that my documents are not enough. Fortunately, I can go through. Then I enter the visa office and of course I have to wait again until I get my turn.

I think, once you get inside the office then there’s no chance that your application will be rejected. But apparently I am wrong! Because mine is :( Soon after the officer finds out that I will fly back to Germany in February, she said it’s not possible to process my application now. If I want to process it, at least I have to come as early as November!!!

Oh well, I guess I still can’t end this drama now. There’s still another episode waiting; I hope it’ll be only one more left. But what makes me irritated, now I have to juggle my time between research and this visa application; especially in arranging the travel schedule. Argh! And this is what I got for trying to become a good citizen… :( :( :(

Home Country Shocked

Starting September, I am back in my home country i.e. Indonesia. Not much change actually, but somehow I still get some shocks!

The first shock, I completely forgot how diverse the smell of air in big cities of Indonesia. Smell of garbage and vehicle emissions are mix together with the nice smells of the foods from the street vendors. Now I find it totally funny!

Second shock, the currency. € 1 is equal to around Rp. 13,400!! So imagine, usually I spend around € 5 to € 10 a day; and now if I spend Rp. 100,000, it’s just normal. But of course I feel that I am too spendrift or too much in wasting money because the amount is so big in numbers! And to add more dilemmas, my wallet that I bought in Germany is too small to host so many pieces of money. Oh well, I need a new wallet…

Another unprepared shock… Although I am ready to feel the hot and humid weather, but still there’re some aspect that I haven’t prepare properly. Now I feel amazed that my face is so oily and I need tissue to absorb the oil from my face again. This is normal actually, but somehow I forgot that I used to have this situation.

And the silliest thing that I’ve done so far, it’s my idea to buy a jumbo size body milk from Germany to be used in Indonesia! In Germany, the weather is dry, so I need body milk, instead of regular body lotion, to moisturize my skin. Since my body milk is running out about a week before I fly, I thought it will be a good idea to buy a jumbo size one so I don’t have to buy it again in Indonesia for some times. But when I apply it to my skin, aaarrrggghhh…. it’s too sticky!!! It just makes me feel worse: humid and sticky! Surely that’s not a good combination…

August

People say August is the warmest month in Europe. Hmmm I wonder what is the justification for that cause for the whole August I don’t feel any significant warm. The weather is cloudy as usual and the temperature is mostly under 20 centigrade. So, no difference.

Even, some of the outdoor events aren’t going well as expected. There’s one open air beach party that has to be cancelled due to the ‘unexpected’ weather. This event then has to be moved to other day.

If the event can’t be moved, then the organizer has to face reality. It might not be as successful as it is planned. Just take a look at the video below. This event, called Viertelfest, is supposed to be a very nice and worth waiting for. But the never ending rain has ruined it. Look at the number of people who watch this band. I am sure in a clear day, more people will come to see.

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Uhm, or maybe for Bremen people, the rain has made the festival more lovely… I don’t know… I am just wondering when people in Bremen will start to use rain-controller (pawang hujan – Indonesian) service.

Visa Extension

Although I have 2 years Master program and full scholarship for that, but somehow the installment of the fund is given annually. And this scheme is affecting the visa application. My visa in Germany is only valid for 1 year and I have to extend it for the second year after the second fund installment is approved.

My current visa is valid until September 30th 2008. But since I plan to conduct my research starting September in my home country, so I thought I should extend my visa before I leave Germany.

So there I am, acting as a high-aware citizen with complete documents, try to extend my visa. But then, what do I got? The officer there tells me that I am too early in applying for visa extension. What??!!

He said that I am only eligible to extend it starting September 17th!!! I try to argue, saying that I have to leave at August 31st, but he just apologizes that he can do nothing. This is such a lightning strike to me cause I imagine it will be difficult to extend the visa in German Embassy in Jakarta. Even to enter the building, it’s so difficult as it has layers of security check. Beside, I will need to concentrate to my research that’s far from my hometown, so surely this visa extension problem is really not a good news for me. But as an Indonesian, I try my best in bargaining everything. I ask the officer to make me a reference letter to the embassy, saying that there’s no problem in my visa extension application; it’s just submitted too early. Fortunately, he agrees. So at least I won’t be interrogated much about it in the embassy.

My case is a rare case somehow; so I contact DAAD Jakarta to inform it. But after a week, I still got no reply at all. This surely makes me wondering. Why they don’t reply? Is it because my case is not so important? I don’t know. But somehow I feel that something wrong has happened. It can’t be like this. So then I come up with brilliant idea to check my spam box. And after searching for awhile, there it is! I find a reply from DAAD Jakarta. The mail says that to extend my visa I have to submit the evidence of 2nd fund installment. Well this is easy, I have it. But there’s also another letter that I have to submit. It’s a reference letter from my Master program that says that I am registered there and will finish my study until certain time! Now, this, I don’t have. To have this, I have to ask the secretariat of my Master program. And to add more drama, I only have 1 day left to get it!!!

Life is a drama, sure! So I email the secretariat and tell about my story. That happens in the afternoon. And in the next day, I come to the secretariat office to pick it up. Nice…! Oh God; and all of these happened just because I try to become a good citizen…

Research

After doing a full year study, now it’s time for me to do my research. In my Master program, it is required that the students have ‘Auslandsemester’ or abroad semester in tropical country to conduct a research. And since I come from a tropical country, my destination is, of course, my home country.

My research will be in different island from my hometown (Jakarta). I need 1.5 hour flight to go to the biggest city (Makassar) and then my research area will be in the small archipelago in front of Makassar.

It’s good to go back home after traveling for a year. At least I can be free from the cold weather and plain taste foods ;) I will also have a chance to meet my family and friends. In fact, actually I have to juggle my time between research and meeting them! It surely won’t be easy…

It’ll be an interesting experience, whether I’ll miss Bremen (and Germany) or not. And if I do, in what sense? But one thing for sure, I’ll be sad that some of my friends won’t be at Bremen anymore when I return :(

Factory Outlet

This article is written due to a question from Ivanna in Brazil who wants to live in Bremen.

In general, clothes in Germany are expensive for developing country people’s point of view. It makes sense because most of the clothes these days are made in developing countries.

To get branded clothes with cheaper price, we have to wait until the season is almost over or even totally over. So if we want to buy cheaper winter clothes, then we have to buy it in spring or summer and vice versa.

But mostly, the sale period for these off season clothes is only happened in a short time. To get the off season clothes forever or without considering the time, there are so called factory outlets. In these places, all off season clothes are pooled together in cheaper price. So if you don’t really care of the current trend, factory outlets are the best place in looking for cheaper branded clothes. Of course not every brand has its own factory outlet. But in Bremen, some of the major brand has it; for example: Esprit, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Jack Wolfskin, St. Oliver, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, etc. However, in my opinion, it’s only Esprit that has a very significant cheaper price. For other brands, yes they sell it cheaper but somehow it’s still expensive.

The Factory Outlets haven in Bremen is located slightly outside Bremen, called Brinkum. There, we can find the outlets for clothes, shoes, home decoration and design, and also IKEA.

There’re 2 warnings in going to this area. First, since it’s outside Bremen, so for regular traveler, we need to pay additional ticket for the bus. The daily ticket isn’t covering this area. But if we have semester ticket (student ticket) then it’s not a problem. Second, just be prepare, you’ll loose your money easily as you’ll spend a lot!

Independence Day

August 17th is Indonesian Independence Day. Traditionally, every offices and schools will conduct a flag salutation ceremony in the exact day. But the celebration is started from the beginning of the month where many games are played within neighborhood, office, or school level. Back in Indonesia, I have taken part in ‘alternative’ Independence Day celebration by conducting flag salutation ceremony underwater.

So now I am curious what kind of celebration or ceremony that Indonesian people have abroad? I miss last year ceremony which I can’t recall why. But at least I have a chance this year. The ceremony will be held in each Indonesian embassy/ general consulate. For people who live in northern part of Germany, the nearest general consulate is in Hamburg.

The flag salutation ceremony will be conducted at 09.45AM. And since the train to Hamburg is around 1.5 hours long so if I want to attend the ceremony from the beginning, I have to take the 07.28AM train! This means that I have to wake up early in Sunday; something that rarely happened. But what the heck, experiencing is worth than anything.

So there I am, starting to catch the 07.28AM train. Not many people from Bremen come along at that time. I guess they just want to attend the gathering after the ceremony; which is the No.1 reason actually: having Indonesian meals!

The ceremony is held at the backyard of the general consulate office. Probably around 60 people take part on it. This is the situation before the flag salutation ceremony.

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And this is the situation during the ceremony.

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After about an hour, the ceremony is over and then continued with some shows like singing and dancing. More people are coming as I predicted. But for sure, people like me who attend it earlier are start getting hungry. There are some snacks provided, but not as we expected. They are just regular chocolate breads and not Indonesian snacks :( Me and my friends are very disappointed in this. We have thought that we’re going to eat risoles or lemper, but all our dreams are then smashed :(

So we’re not so eager in eating the snacks. We then put our hope for the lunch. However, the lunch time doesn’t even start at 01.00PM!!! Can you imagine how hungry we are? I guess this is intentionally managed so we oblige to put attention to the performances. Imagine if the lunch has been provided, surely nobody will care about the performances!

In waiting for the lunch time, me and my friends decide to sit around the dining table so we can move fast once it started. But apparently that’s a useless decision. Because when the lunch time really starts, people just flooding the table and the very long queuing line suddenly follows. I am so amazed how people can really move so fast! Look how long this line is. This is so crazy!!!

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At first, I feel a bit pessimist to start queuing. But then I don’t have to, because my friend who already queuing, ask me to just join her ;) If you are wondering whether other people complain about it, well there’s no complaint cause they also do the same thing anyway! So starting in the middle of the line doesn’t mean you will get faster.

And since we are queuing so long, me and my friends decide to take more than 1 plate because the meals are served in a restricted way. It means that you can’t take it by yourself especially for the main course. For sambal, krupuk, and rice; you are allowed to take as much as you want. So even if you can carry 3 plates, then the meals are still enough for everybody else.

So, each of us take 2 plates. But since my other 2 friends have husband, they give the other plate to their husband. And I don’t know what to do with my extra plate until one of my friends said that he thinks he wouldn’t eat because the queuing line is so long. Then my extra plate goes to him.

The food itself is so good especially it’s very hot and spicy! I decide to add more rice in order to make it balance between the rice and the other stuffs. Later on, I see that the rice is gone and they have to cook extra while the people still in pretty long queuing. So crazy! My friend teases me that the rice is gone because I take more than it’s supposed to ;)

And after chatting and mingling with others, we finally go home at around 04.00PM. So now I know what kind of ceremony that Indonesian people have abroad. Not so much different like in Indonesia but surely people would love to come for the food ;)

Werder Bremen Fans Day

In July 3rd, there’s so called Tag Der Fans or Werder Bremen (WB) Fans Day. This is the day where WB greets the fans and introduced their latest line up for the up coming season in the stadium. In this day, there are a lot of WB’s sponsors booths and games; just like in a fair. Also, there is an open public training demonstration and, this is the most interesting part, signature session!

As a football craze, of course I would like to experience this. I want to know the tradition of a football club especially in Europe. Well maybe this is not so long tradition, but I want to know anyway… And for sure, I would like to experience in getting the signature; which also means the chance to meet football stars in person.

Luckily, there’s one of my Indonesian friend who would like to come along. The signature session is started at 11.30AM. Me and my friend come at 10.30AM; and as it predicted, the queuing line is already long! Just check at this video:

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When we’re about third-quarter-way, there’s a crew (of the event) walking around with poster. In the poster there’re names of the players that will give signatures in the east side. So apparently the team is divided into 2, one in west and the other in east. We line up in east entrance. There, I see the name of my favorite WB player, the goalkeeper, Tim Wiese. I love his style. So I am glad that I am in a right line. But my friend wants to have Torsten Frings signature and he is not in the east side, so she’s a bit disappointed. To leave our line and change to the west side is so risky because the signature session will be ended at 1.30PM no matter what. So if we have to start lining up again in west side, the chance to even enter the signature place is less than just stay at the east side. So we stay.

And after waiting for about 2 hours under the sun and even rain, we finally can enter the stadium at about 30 minutes before the session is over. But the queuing isn’t over yet, we still have to queue inside. However we can see the players now somehow. We are so excited and prepare our stuffs to be signed. I prepare my shirt while my friend prepares her notebook; and of course we both prepare our cameras!

Finally, we are face to face with the players. But then, one of the crews start giving instruction, saying that the time almost over and we have to speed up. No camera and no signature in places other than the official cards!!! So, each player has a card with picture and short biodata; and they sign it then give it to us. That’s all!!! So there it goes, my chance to meet European football stars just fly away. Nothing special. It fees like just meeting bunch of European in an exhibition; go to a booth and collecting cards. :( I manage to document some of the players but when I try to take picture of Tim Wiese, my camera is blocked by a crew :(

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After the signature session, there’s an open public training demonstration. There I meet my German friend. I told her about our experience in getting the signature. She said we’re lucky cause we can collect 11 signatures. Last year, the queuing is based on each player. So you can see which player is so favorite, with long line, and which one is not. And my friend only can collect 2 because she lines up for Tim Wiese and Torsten Frings.

The training itself isn’t so special, if I can’t say it boring. They just demonstrate some of the training session: some players just jogging around the field and some play football in half size field. In the end all the players try to shoot from half line to the goal. This training session ends after an hour.

So basically the event is over. But the booths and games are still open for awhile. Also the fans shop. We head to the fan shop to check the merchandise because it says that all articles are discounted for 20% just for today. Well, they all still far from our budget somehow…

If people ask me whether I have a nice time or not; well, it’s hard to say. Of course I am glad that I can experience all of these. But the fact that I can’t interact with the players surely is annoying. Well at least I get the real signature and not printed ones. And I don’t wanna hear anybody says to me, “Is that all that you got?!”. Argh, I will surely punch that person right away!!!

And for Werder Bremen, I’ll be back next year! If I have to, I’ll just camping in front of the queuing line…!!!

For more videos, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/seafoodgirl

Fermented Fruits

This is another food shock for me. After some times, I realized that when I buy peeled fruits, they can’t stay long. Of course! However, they will become fermented, or in other word, contains alcohol. I have the experiences with watermelon, melon, and pineapple. At first I didn’t really pay attention of it. But then I start trying to remember with the same fruits in my country. I really can’t recall that I ever had fermented watermelon, melon, and pineapple. If I leave them for some days, they will become dry and rotten; but surely not fermented. The only fruits that I know will become fermented naturally (well as far as I can remember) are durian and jackfruit. Nothing else.

So now I am aware that something is wrong with the fruits here. And surprisingly, when I talk to my friend about this, he also has the same experience. It’s even weirder, he has experience with fermented banana!!! That’s it… I am really sure that banana doesn’t get fermented naturally. Strange… what do these Germans put on their fruits?

PRIMA 2008


In July 19th -20th there is an Indonesian sport festival called PRIMA. This is not the first one but some people say it’s held annually but others say it’s biannual. Anyway, this year it’s held in Hannover. The Sports played within PRIMA are basketball, volleyball, football, tug and war, badminton, table tennis, and relay running.

At first I want to join in badminton match as I have practice during spring break. But I don’t feel really confident to play single so I plan to play double. As a partner, I choose a guy whom also joins badminton training in the university. But then when the list of sports is announced, apparently there is no mixed doubles event for badminton. It even doesn’t have any mixed doubles for everything; it’s all separated to girls and boys. And for badminton, no girl’s single event at all. It has to be in doubles; and the registration is based on team, not by the player. So, I join the Bremen badminton team.

I also join basketball team because there are not many girls available for making the team. We even only five. So we don’t have any substitutes.

Don’t ask about the exercise schedule. We never exercise in full team. I only join 1 for each in around 2 months!!! So now you can measure, how far our quality is. Well actually we’re not bad in badminton, uuuhhmmm I mean for men. We even get additional foreign players from Malaysia ;) Well it’s legal, don’t worry cause the requirement for this event is ‘able to speak Indonesian’. So, even Germans can also participate.

In the 19th, a big fully motivated delegation from Bremen was departed to Hannover. The boys will join all the sports while the girls only participate in badminton, table tennis, and basketball. And after some delay and opening ceremony, the sport festival is started. Badminton and table tennis were played simultaneously together. Outside, football also started. The duration for each game isn’t full. We only play in rally point in one game only; and for football, I think it’s only 20 minutes or so.

Although I think that our male badminton team is good, however they can’t win easily. Apparently Indonesian really born to play badminton; other teams are also good!!! In the end, from 2 teams of Bremen, 1 going to final and the other loose at quarter final. In final, Bremen has to face Berlin; a team which has an ex Indonesian national coach!!! Yeah you can guess, we lost!

Meanwhile in female team, I play against Göttingen. Although it’s called a team but it’s only one party. During this game, both supporters become hooligans and intimidate each other. It’s very hilarious actually; as the supporters keep yelling and shouting, the players just smile and play nervously. Fortunately, Bremen wins!!! :) So I can deliver my duty successfully :)

I think this is the only sport event that I ever join in my life. Even for the next match, I don’t play as we are registered as a team. Unfortunately, they loose. For basketball, the rules are changed. It’s 3 on 3; so we don’t need 5 players. I just join as substitute but don’t play at all. Bremen loose from Hamburg in the first match :(

In the end, Bremen doesn’t get any gold at all. However we get silver for male badminton, male & female table tennis, tug and war; and bronze for female badminton. So it’s not bad at all…

[All pictures are courtesy from Vita Amanda Putri]

Football

Entering the summer, I thought I’ll swim a lot. However, apparently I found a new ‘old interest’ in sport activities: football. Yes, now I am playing football also.

Somehow, it’s not a new activity for me. Since I grew up with boys, I used to play football with my brothers. But that was so long time ago, probably the latest was when I was in elementary school. And as far as I can remember, we played it with tennis ball in our house terrace with an open door as a goal. Not much that I can remember about how we play except we always end up kicking each other leg to get the ball.

So somehow, playing football isn’t a new thing for me. I joined my high school football club only to find out that no other girls want to become a player like me. In the end, I never play (serious) football at all…

And now, I don’t know why, but my friends just trust me to play football with them. At first we start it just for fun, some girls are also joining. The looser has to buy ice creams for the winners. In this game, I play as an Italian striker; which mean, only to wait in front of the opposite’s goal to score. And although I can score hattrick, but my team still lost.

Since we all have a good time in playing it, we promise to play it more often. But then, apparently I become the only girl who never absent. My friends even insist me to always join a game although I feel like I don’t wear a proper outfit. They use to have me in a game now.

So, after some games, I switch my position into goalkeeper. This is because I can’t outrun the guys and most of the time I keep loosing the ball. Apparently, my decision is quite right. I become a not-so-bad goalkeeper. I can save my goal most of the time. Well, of course don’t think that the goal is as big as normal goal. It’s just 2 posts with maximum 8 steps distance. But I am also not allowed to touch the ball, I have to use my feet to stop the ball. Surely, my friends are challenged to overcome me.

And just because I am the only girl in there, it doesn’t mean the guys will be gentle on me. My legs always end up in black and blue after a game. I also even got hit by a ball on my face. But the worst accidents so far are twice. First, my friend kicks the ball so hard and it lands on my stomach! Don’t ask how it feels, it was so bad!!! But surprisingly, in less than 5 minutes, I feel OK again! Hmm, maybe later on in the future I could have problem in my womb. Well, let’s not hope so… Second time, once we play nears the lake; then 3 young boys come and ask to join. They are probably 8 to 10 years old. We let them join; and probably they are just being Germans, they play well!!! One boy plays as striker for my opponent, and once he gets the ball, he’s so dangerous. He can’t score because I always able to block his shots. But there is one time when he kicks so hard in an open range, face to face with me, and I block it with my right leg. That shot cause my leg goes blue in pain for a week!!! Very nice :(

Now is almost August, I still have a month in Germany before going back to my country for research. I am sure I’ll play more football especially I don’t have any class or exam anymore. The only bad thing is that I don’t have proper documentation for this. This video and picture are the best that I have so far because at that time my friend was injured and he can hold my camera for awhile.


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June-July

Somehow my motivation is lost. Because during these months, the weather is far from summer. Well there’re days where the sun is shining so fully, but those days seem rarely to come. Most of the time, the weather is rainy or cloudy. Although it’s not so cold, but still, this is not like summer that I imagine.


So whenever the sun shows itself, me and my friends will celebrate it wisely. Usually we play football in the park, although probably then we have to end it because the rain comes.

Lost in Paris (Time of Visit: 4 – 7 July 2008)


Just less than a month, I went back to Paris. This time, I am meeting my ex coworker who happened to be my closed friend also. If you read my previous visit to Paris, you know whom I mean. Her name is Pungky. We haven’t met for almost a year! And this is such a contrast as we used to sit next to each other in the office, which mean our gossiping time rate is very high.

So, after she got her visa; we re-plan ourself to meet. But apparently, the time we choose is considered as holiday peak season. So every price is more expensive, starting from the plane ticket to accommodation; although I am using the same services.

Anyway, we just don’t care. We’re so glad that finally we can meet. We even don’t care for the place that we’re going to visit. As long as we can chat the whole time, that’s fine. This is why I consider this travel as ‘Lost in Paris’ cause we’re just look at the Metro map, observing the line, pointing any place that we think is cool, and just go there.

Well, we do have priorities though, at least two. First, Cetacean exhibition in Natural History Museum and second, Louvre Museum. Every first Sunday of the month, the Louvre museum is open for free. Nice, isn’t it?! I am amazed by the way they manage to prevent this free thing into chaotic situation. Very good job!

In the end we visited Cetacean exhibition, the Grand Mosque, Algerian Café next to it, Jardin du Luxembourg, Notre Dame, and Eiffel in Saturday. In Sunday we visited Louvre, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, and Basilique du Sacre Cœur. We only sleep about 3-5 hours a day.

I am so dead tired during my journey back to Germany, especially I have to go straight to my lecture class. I need to sleep a lot to compensate it, but I am not complaining. Not at all…



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Tram – during city festival

I experienced this twice. Whenever there’s a festival going on in the city, be careful, you might end up walking home!

Of course this doesn’t mean that German authority (or Bremen in my case) ignores you; but during festivals, the tram will be full although additional tram will be provided.

In my first experience, there’s Christian religious festival in Bremen with young people come from all over Germany. The trams are so full and even don’t want to take more passengers! In the end, I have to walk halfway home before finally I can get the not-so-full tram.

Another experience, during European Cup. Whenever Germany wins, the road will be blocked by people having party! Since trams can only run in their line, it’s better to take bus as far as you can before you continue your travel on foot, or if you were lucky, catch the tram.

But my most embarrassing moment is when I have to go home by tram after the European Cup final. Here’s the story:

“It was almost midnight and me and my friends have to catch the last tram; or else we have to wait for the night bus which will come 30 minutes mater. But apparently, so do many people! So when the tram comes, people just rush to go in. They even pushed each other to fit in. This situation reminds me of the situation around end of Ramadan (Indonesian: Lebaran) where many people will travel home.

I am also getting pushed inside. But the suffering doesn’t stop inside. People still pushing each other and I can’t balance myself; I can’t stand up straight. In the end, and this is the most embarrassing part, I end up sitting on a guy’s lap!!! Yeah true, I didn’t do it intentionally!

So for the whole trip to home, I just sit on his lap! Apparently most of the passengers are also students who live in the student apartments nearby my place. Of course I apologize to the guy and told him I don’t have any choice. And of course he said that he understands and doesn’t mind. He looks cool; he even looks so young, my guess probably high school student. But his friend looks surprised. His friend seems can’t hide his smile whenever he sees us! Oh well, whatever… “

Euro 2008

Finally, I can watch European football games without having to stay awake in midnight time! Yeah, of course I also watch Champions League and UEFA Cup, but now I have a chance to watch Euro 2008.

Since I am living in Germany now, so I ‘have to’ support Germany. Of course there’s no obligation for that. But I just want to experience the whole thing, supporting one team and feel the excitement. If I am just being neutral, the excitement will not be so fun.

Below, I only talk about game that I watched and documented. So not all the game that I watched will be presented here, cause the discussion will be very long then.

Watching Football in France
When I went to France, I also apply the same thing. I support France when they play against Romania. Surprisingly, not many people watch football in cafes. The situation is not as crazy as in Germany. In Germany, people are just wearing any national football jersey and watch the live broadcast together. But in France, just take a look at this video, the café is so empty :(

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Football Fever in Germany
As I mentioned before, situation in Germany is so crazy. People wear many national team jerseys; stores are selling many attributes regarding Euro 2008; and flags of the participating teams are everywhere! I love this, you can express yourself freely!


Germany vs Austria
This is the only qualification round for Germany that I watch in public place. I watch it with friends in an open air café. I don’t think German plays well, but their goal is pretty impressive.
This is a crucial game for Germany as they can’t loose to be able to qualify. Especially not to Austria, the neighbor country. In the end, Germany won with 1-0.

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Germany vs Portugal
This time, I watch it at a café near my apartment. It’s a very comfortable place as it has big cozy sofa. Surprisingly, most of my classmates also come!
And surprisingly also, the Germans play so well. In the beginning, I thought they are going to loose against Portugal because Portugal played so well in the qualification round. But football is football, anything can happen. That’s why we all love it ;)
Overall, the game is very interesting. Both teams are active in attacking and the tempo is pretty fast. I think, this is the best match in Euro 2008 so far.

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The crowd goes crazy when Germany scores


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She's the only Portugal's supporter. Well, she's Portuguese!


Holland vs Russia
Another crazy game! Holland was so strong during group qualification. They smashed Italy and France, so it’s no surprise if they become one of the favorites to win the tournament. I also thought they will win.

However, in the last Russian match against Sweden, I see that Russia is a very strong team. They are very good in teamwork. And when I realize that their coach is the Dutchman Guus Hiddink, I am not surprised and sure that the game against Holland will be an interesting one.

And indeed, the Russian seems to teach Holland how to play football. In the group qualification, it was Holland who always teaches other teams about how to play football. They even ‘punish’ their opponents, whenever the opponents dare to attack them, with a magnificent counter attack. But this time, Russia overplays Holland. They are faster, rarely looses any balls, and hard to penetrate. Holland’s counter attack doesn’t work at all. I always thought that van Persie is an ideal match with Robben; if only one of them plays, it won’t be maximum.

This game is a proof that having a good coach is more important than having bunch of star players. But probably since Guus Hiddink is Dutch, he can understand Van Basten’s instruction; and make a strategy for his team out of it ;)


Below are the supporters of Russia in a café near my apartment.


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Analysis and Prediction
So far, 3 quarterfinals have been played. And all the teams, which qualified as winner in their group, were lost. So let’s see whether Spain will fit into this pattern or they become anomaly.


About prediction, I really don’t know. The strong teams become weak and vice versa.


Beside, it’s European Cup. If Greece and last-time-substitute, Denmark, can won the championship; anything can really happen.


First Semifinal: Germany vs Turkey
A lot of controversies accompanying this game even before it started. Well, here’s the reality, Turkish communities is the 2nd largest population in Germany. So within one country, there’ll be 2 large groups of separate supporters. Of course there are also social issues like everywhere in the world whenever talking about the largest and 2nd largest social group, but I wouldn’t elaborate more in here. But anyway, the potential of riot is big!


So, to see how much the game will affect the social construction in Germany, I decide to go watching the match in public viewing area. The place is called ‘marktplatz’; it’s an open space downtown where normally used as traditional market.


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For the game, the ‘marktplatz’ is surrounded by fence. We have to pay €1 to enter. Inside, there’s 1 big screen and many F&B vendors. But the typical problem for me in this situation is just one: I am drowning among the tall Germans! I can’t see the screen!


Okay, so the bad thing is the screen is only one. So all people don’t have option and have to look to one direction. And me…??? Well sometime I can see it, but most of the time I can’t :(
Luckily, I went there with my giant friends. So whenever there’s a goal, they lift me up so I can see the replay. Yup, right… I only see the replays, not the real goals :(


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During the match, there’re 2 times that the broadcast network went down! So the screen just goes blank for some minutes! Oh well, developed country…


As for the supporters issues, well as far as I saw, no clash between them. People with Turkish flag and German flag can stay at the same place peacefully. However, one of my friends sees a brawl when he went home.


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As we all know, the game ends in 3-2 for Germany. And this situation has created a big party on the streets. Every car blocks the road and just keep honking while the passenger waving the flag. This means, the tram can’t pass. And for going home, I have to take a bus until main station (as bus can seek for alternative route) then walk for 3 or 4 stops then continue with other tram then continue with the tram that goes to my home. I arrive exactly at midnight with sore legs as I have to stand up the whole game and walk! :(


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Before Final
I am glad that Spain can go to final; which make them the only team that top the group qualification and go through. So they become the deviation from the model that I elaborate earlier ;)

Furthermore, they only have won in once in 1964. They must be so motivated to win again. The way they play against Russia also smart. They make the Russian can’t develop their play. Although it’s a bit rough in the first half but in the second half, Spain really controlling the game. Congratulation Spain!


It’ll be an interesting game for the final!


The Final
“Pssst, don’t tell the Germans, but I think they’ll loose…” this is what I said to my brother on the email one day before the final game. Well, after watching Spain against Russia, I think Spain is stronger than Germany. And it’s not just my opinion, critiques even hail them as “Football on its best”. But Germany is a tournament team, they always get lucky. Don’t believe? Check the semifinal again between Germany against Turkey!

Anyway, I still support Germany. If I were lucky, I would feel the football party, the taste of becoming winner. So, to prepare for the best, me and my friends plan to watch it downtown. But this time we got a very nice place. It’s still open air but I don’t have to stand up at all. It’s on the open air café called Goetheplatz. The screen is low, it was attached to a box car. So people can just sit to watch it. I sit on the ground, 2 rows from the front; so my view isn’t blocked by any German head.

Unlike when Germany plays against Turkey, I didn’t see any Spain supporter but one. This guy on the picture. Maybe there’re a lot of Spain supporters but they don’t dare to wear the attributes openly. So this guy really has nerve! And this why I salute the Germans, they won’t bother you. They respect the freedom of expression.

When the game started, I see Germany attacks Spain in high pressure. The only thing that crossed my mind at that time was, “So, this is the difference between regular winner and the inexperience one. The experienced one plays in full confident while the inexperienced one looks nervous.” And I start to think that maybe Germany will win because of their mentality.
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But then halftime of first round, the game starts to change. Spain can release themselves from the pressure and starts attacking back; and they surely become dangerous. But again, Germany isn’t an easy team to beat. This makes the first 45 minutes so interesting. And of course the goal makes it more interesting. But after the first half, I start to believe that Spain will win!

Second half started, and Germany looks energized again. It looks good in the beginning until it’s so obvious that Germany has lost their grip. Whenever Spain attacks, German defenders are mostly not there; or whenever they can take the ball from the Spain, they will soon loose it again. So it’s only a matter of time. Spain will win.

After the Game
There’re many sad faces during my way home. I thought the supporters will just go home in disappointment. Somehow I was wrong. Some Germans are just partying, don’t mind who win. If they find any Spain supporters, they will just join them partying!!! Nice attitude!

It was almost midnight and me and my friends have to catch the last tram; or else we have to wait for the night bus which will come 30 minutes mater. But apparently, so do many people! So when the tram comes, people just rush to go in. They even pushed each other to fit in. This situation reminds me of the situation around end of Ramadan (Indonesian: Lebaran) where many people will travel home.

I am also getting pushed inside. But the suffering doesn’t stop inside. People still pushing each other and I can’t balance myself; I can’t stand up straight. In the end, and this is the most embarrassing part, I end up sitting on a guy’s lap!!! Yeah true, I didn’t do it intentionally!
So for the whole trip to home, I just sit on his lap! Apparently most of the passengers are also students who live in the student apartments nearby my place. Of course I apologize to the guy and told him I don’t have any choice. And of course he said that he understands and doesn’t mind. He looks cool; he even looks so young, my guess probably high school student. But his friend looks surprised. His friend seems can’t hide his smile whenever he sees us! Oh well, whatever…