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The Days I Spent with You (1)

Dear Shirley,

never ever I imagined that I would work for a black man. In my big family, we even called negros eggplants.

One morning two black janitors did some repair at my house. My wife served them water after they finished their job. Right after they left, I threw away the glasses they used in the dustbin.

Remember that story? I told you about it when you asked me if I had problems working with black people. Well, as long as I could earn much money, I didn't mind to work with them. Besides, all I needed to do was to drive and to make sure that you arrived on schedule. Even into the Deep South. Piece of cake.

Then, we made our trips. You set many rules.

Don't smoke in the car, Tony. I can't breathe here in the back.

Eyes on the road! 

Let me have a quiet time! 

You even told me to drive back to the road where I threw away the empty basket of fried chicken I bought in Kentucky!

To tell you the truth, I underestimated your music skill until I saw your fingers dancing beautifully on the keyboard. Wow! Even your white audience gave you long standing applause at the end of your performances.

Being with you in the South made me realize how hard your life was. You were invited to play your beautiful music, but your hosts didn't allow you to use the toilet. You had to go back to your motel! You had to change your cloth in a janitor room and weren't allowed to dine together with other guests. Once you wanted to try on a suit in a store. But, the salesman didn't allow you to.

All because your skin color: black!

I wonder why you could stand those miseries. You managed to shake your white audience' hands, smiling at them. I couldn't get it until Oleg, your fellow musician, revealed your reason.

It take courage to change people's heart.

But, everyone has his limits, right? You thundered at a rainy night.

If I'm not black enough and if I'm not white enough, then tell me, Tony, what am I?

Shirley, I was a rasist and bad-tempered. But you changed me. You once told me,

you never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity.

I'm really grateful for the days I spent with you.

Your friend,

*Retold from 2018-Green Book movie, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at 91st Academy Awards.

Jejamuran, the Mushroom "Kitchen"

A visit to the so-called Jejamuran restaurant was on my family itienary in Yogya. Many people give positive comments about Jejamuran. So, we  decided to prove them.

'Jamur' means mushroom. Yup, this restaurant located on Pendowoharjo Niron, Sleman, offers a list of mushroom dishes, made of different kinds of mushroom.

At the entrance, we were asked about how many people were going to eat. Then, we received our table number, the menu and two order forms. One form was for ala carte dishes, the other was for set menu. 

A waiter took us inside to our table. It was in the main area. If you want a private dining room, I think, there are some avalaible. But you better ask the terms and conditions first.

Lunch Time!
It was heavy raining. We decided to order something hot and spicy ... tongseng jamur! Original tongseng is a beef stew or goat meat dish in curry-like soup combined with sweet soy sauce and tomato dices. In Jejamuran, the meat is replaced with  jamur merang 'straw mushroom'.

The second dish was sate jamur. Sate or satay is a dish of grilled skewered meat chunks served with nut sauce or sweet soy sauce. Again, in Jejamuran, the meat is replaced with jamur tiram 'oyster mushroom'.

The third dish was jamur crispy, crunchy mushroom. It's also made of jamur tiram.

We usually don't order any drinks than sugarfree tea. But that time, my kiddo couldn't resist the temptation by looking at the bright coloured picture of a drink. And ... one of its ingredients is mushroom too! It's called enokitake.

The dishes were delicious. The only thing we regretted was that we didn't try other dishes 😁😁 Well, we were already full.

The Man behind Jejamuran
Visitors can see some photos of the man behind Jejamuran on the walls of the exit alley. His name is Ratidjo. He has been growing mushrooms since 1968. All dishes served in Jejamuran comes from his mushroom farm. Jejamuran is his business with love and passion.

Miscellaneous Things
The atmosphere is quite nice. There are two fish ponds. The following is in the exit alley.

Right after that we find a small shop where people can buy mushroom crackers. And outside there is a corner with lovely display of mushroom plants that you can buy and grow at home.

Last but not least, the corner can be used as "photo booth". We took our picture. Here we go:

What? It suppose to be Jejamuran, not Jamuran 'moldy' 😂😂 We are awful travellers that we don't have a tongsis (tongkat narsis) ''selfie stick'. But nevermind. The thing is, we've been in Jejamuran. Mission is complete (Nancy/pictures (c) Nancy)

God's Blessings in LittWorld 2018

It was October 28. My heart was pounding when I went out the arrival gate in Changi airport. Who am I going to meet? Will I be able to understand the presentations? Can I communicate with other attendees? I am just a passive English speaker.... 

Now stop it. Whatever happens, happens. 

LittWorld 2018
I started to remember how this LittWorld thing started.

I joined LittWorld 2018 writing contest "The Word Made Fresh" held by Media Associates International (MAI). I failed it, but I stumbled upon the announcement of LittWorld 2018 conference on MAI website and the scholarship offer....

One afternoon, a WhatsApp message popped up on my android screen. It was Eberhard Will, asking me about LittWorld 2018. He told me that Martin Hein forwarded my email asking him whoever be a contact person for financial support. I already got a half from MAI.

I will try my best, typed Eberhard.

I  kept wiping my tears, hoping that no one in the bus wouldn't notice them. Thank You, God, for sending me kind people in the dark phase of my life. John Maust (MAI president), MAI donors, Martin, Ruth, and Eberhard-my dear German friends-and my other anonymous kindhearted sponsors.

So, I was finally there, at the conference, with other 249 attendees from 52 countries of the world! Writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, comic artists, movie makers, motivators, priests....

LittWorld 2018, 28.10-2.11

Colourful God's Creations

God is amazing Creator! I think, He loves diversity. We are the living proof, black-haired, blond-haired, bright-skinned, tan-skinned, dark-skinned humangbeings. We speak different languanges and have different cultures.

John Maust among some Indonesian.
Only the lady in the center whom
I already know before LittWorld

African (Zimbabwe), Cambodian,
Malaysian, Singaporeans,
Indonesian, Mexican

Gratitude, Humility, Expectation, Faith, Love, and Hope

We began our day with morning worship, followed by plenary session, core track (mine was nonfiction), open track (various subjects of different tracks), and ended with another plenary session or devotion.

In two different plenary sessions, Dan Elliot, the editorial director Tyndale House Publishers, spoke about gratitude, humility, expectation, faith, love, and hope.

It is the center of ministry. The answer to the question 'what God has done for me?' motivates the ministry.
Gratitude should reflect on our ministry.

My ministry is not my ministry. It is God who allows us to be a part of His work.

Have a higher level of expectation and clearity for a better future in God's plan.

It is about being disciplined in maintaining your relationship with God.

It's about reaching others.

What is your legacy for a better future in God's plan?

O, my, I have so much to improve myself in those aspects. To be a Christian writer is full of responsibilities.

Books and Books
Some speakers are authors. They shared their experiences in writing. One thing they have in common is that they speak about God in their books. They use their writing talent to ministry.

Those books above are written by Miriam Adeney, an American author and professor.

Miriam & me

At the lobby hotel, on the day everybody had to check out, she saw me and came to me. She showed some of books she wanted to give away.

"Which one do you want?"

"Pick for me, please, which you think is suitable for me."

The book below was her giveaway to me.

Yeay, a book for free!

Emily Lim was a Singaporean successful professional. One morning she woke up without a voice (she was inflicted with a quirky voice disorder called Spasmodic Dsyphonia). She gave up her job and found a new voice in writing. She has written many children's picture books.

Awarded the Bronze Medal at the 2008 IPPY Awards
(World's largest independent publishers book awards)

Emily & me

Jeanette Windle, an American author, was one of the speakers of nonfiction track. I took her class.

Jeanette. Sorry, I can't find a
better picture in my handphone

She has been writing biographies.

Giveaway book! Yippe!

Reverend Soo-Inn Tan, a Singaporean, was a dentist. God called him to ministry. He preaches, teaches, mentors, and writes.

Soo-Inn Tan's book

Soo-Inn Tan & me

New Relationship
I didn't expect to be a roommate to a writer I worked with. But being together with her for almost 5 days changed our relationship (at least from my point of view), from professional to something more personal.

LittWorld 2018 had left a trace in my heart. LittWorld 2018 was definitely a God's blessing to me.[Nancy]

Orangutan dan Kelapa Sawit

Bumi diciptakan sempurna. Manusia, tumbuhan dan hewan hidup harmonis di alam.
Seiring perkembangan pengetahuan, manusia menciptakan berbagai teknologi untuk mendukung kelangsungan dan kenyamanan hidupnya. Perubahan tersebut kita kenal sebagai modernisasi. 
Ternyata, modernisasi tidak hanya meningkatkan kualitas hidup manusia. Di sisi lain, modernisasi tanpa kendali dan batas merusak kelestarian lingkungan  dan kelangsungan hidup penghuni Bumi, termasuk manusia itu sendiri.

Orangutan Tersingkir dari Rumahnya

kreasi Michelle saat belajar
tentang orangutan /For: Dok. Pribadi

Suka ke kebun binatang? Sempatkan diri melihat hewan berbulu halus cokelat kemerahan, yang bergerak gesit dan lincah menggunakan kedua lengan panjangnya. Ya, orangutan. Banyak dari kita bersedia membayar biaya ekstra agar bisa berfoto bersama anak orangutan yang lucu dan menggemaskan.
Saat ini, melihat primata asal Sumatra (Pongo abelii) dan Kalimantan (Pongo pygmaeus) itu adalah hal biasa. Namun, di masa mendatang, kegiatan itu akan jadi sesuatu yang luar biasa sebab oranguta ternyata sudah masuk dalam daftar spesies terancam punah.
Orangutan Sumatra berstatus sangat terancam punah (critically endangered), sedangkan orangutan Kalimantan terancam punah (endangered). Status tersebut ditetapkan oleh IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Natur), organisasi internasional yang memberi informasi dan analisis mengenai status keberadaan spesies dalam rangka konservasi keanekaragaman hayati.
Menurut WWF Indonesia, ada beberapa faktor penyebab orangutan terancam punah. Penebangan hutan untuk dijadikan perkebunan sawit, pertambangan, pembukaan jalan, legal dan illegal logging, kebakaran hutan, dan perburuan. Jika hutan habis, di mana orangutan akan hidup? Orangutan menghabiskan sebagian besar hidupnya di atas pepohonan di hutan tropis. Pepohonan di hutan juga menjadi sumber makanan primata tersebut.

Minyak Kelapa Sawit di Mana-Mana

Faktor terbesar kerusakan hutan adalah penebangan hutan, khususnya untuk mendapatkan lahan perkebunan kelapa sawit. Digunakan untuk apa saja sih kelapa sawit?
Pertama, tentu untuk menggoreng. Siapa dari kita yang suka makan gorengan? Rasanya, kebanyakan Dari kita akan tunjuk tangan. Tahu goreng, pisang goreng, tempe goreng, ikan goreng, ayam goreng, kentang goreng …. Kalau diteruskan, daftarnya akan sangat panjang. Gorengan memang paling mudah dibuat dan didapat.
Ternyata, minyak kelapa sawit juga menjadi bahan pembuatan mentega, cokelat, es krim, sabun, kosmetik, bahan bakar mobil dan pembangkit listrik. Saya pun baru tahu setelah mendalami persoalan perkebunan kelapa sawit yang hendak saya jadikan bahan tulisan ini. Tak heran, permintaan terhadap minyak kelapa sawit sangat tinggi. Menurut catatan RSPO (The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), India, China, Indonesia, dan Eropa merupakan konsumen utama minyak sawit.

perkebunan kelapa sawit
merambah hutan / Foto: mongabay.co.id

Fakta mencengangkan lainnya adalah bahwa 85% minyak sawit dunia diproduksi di Indonesia dan Malaysia lantaran kelapa sawit hanya tumbuh di daerah tropis. Inilah yang menyebabkan perkebunan kelapa sawit di Indonesia tumbuh subur, bahkan sampai mengorbankan hutan-hutan tropis yang tak lain adalah rumah orangutan.

Cermat Memakai Minyak Kelapa Sawit
Pemakaian minyak kelapa sawit dalam berbagai produk yang dibutuhkan manusia tidak dapat dielakkan. 
Masih menurut RSPO, mengganti minyak kelapa sawit dengan minyak nabati lainnya akan membawa dampak yang lebih buruk bagi lingkungan. Dibutuhkan lahan yang lebih luas untuk memproduksi minyak nabati selain minyak kelapa sawit karena kelapa sawit menghasilkan 4-10 kali lebih banyak minyak dibandingkan tanaman lain per unit lahan. Perkebunan kelapa sawit juga memberi dampak ekonomis bagi para petaninya. 
Solusi terbaik adalah cermat memakai minyak kelapa sawit. Beli produk-produk yang mengandung minyak sawit berkelanjutan (sustainable palm oil). Produk-produk yang mengandung minyak kelapa sawit berkelanjutan (sustainable palm oil) ditandai stiker sertifikat RSPO, sedangkan produksi kelapa sawitnya sendiri bersertifikat lestari (CSPO). 
Lalu, minyak kelapa sawit yang bagaimanakah yang berhak mendapat sertifikasi lestari? RSPO telah menetapkan sejumlah syarat. Salah satu syarat terpenting yang dapat menghentikan pembabatan hutan adalah bahwa produksi kelapa sawit harus diadakan di lahan yang terlantar dan bukan hutan primer atau lahan konservasi keanekaragaman hayati.
Persoalan minyak kelapa sawit sangat kompleks dan erat hubungannya dengan masa depan hutan. Kalau saya pribadi, saya akan mencoba mengurangi konsumsi makanan yang digoreng. Meskipun mungkin tidak berdampak banyak bagi penyelamatan orangutan kalau hanya saya saja yang mengerjakan, hitung-hitung, bisa berdampak positif bagi kesehatan. Anda?


Hadiah dari Ayah/Gifts from Daddy

     Ayah pulang! Bawa apa, ya? Jantungku berdebar-debar. Siapa sih yang tidak suka hadiah?
     Aku tersenyum. Senang rasanya melihat ayah lagi.
     "Aku mau yang ini," kakak mengambil sebuah ikat pinggang berhiaskan kupu-kupu. "Dan ini," diraihnya kalung berwarna hijau.
     Aku memandangi ikat pinggang dan kalung yang tersisa. Aku gak suka jadi adik!


Gifts from Daddy
     Daddy was home! What did he bring for us? My heart was pounding. Who doesn't like presents?
     I smiled. It was nice to see him again.
     "I want this," my sister picked the belt with butterfly on it. "And this," she grabbed the green necklace.
     I stared at the unchosen belt and necklace. I hate being a younger sister!

Membuat Paspor

Berencana ke luar negeri? Siapkan dokumen ini: paspor. Wujudnya sih hanya buku berukuran kecil. Tapi, fungsinya amat penting. Untuk memesan tiket pesawat. Untuk masuk ke negara asing yang jadi tujuan. Untuk identitas diri selama berada di negeri orang. Dan tentu saja untuk bisa kembali ke negeri sendiri.

Pengajuan Daring atau Luring?

Pengisian formulir dan penyerahan dokumen pendukung konon bisa dilakukan secara daring. Tapi, waktu saya mau buat paspor, layanan tersebut sedang dinonaktifkan. Alhasil saya harus pergi ke kantor imigrasi.

Kantor Imigrasi yang Mana?

Pemilihan kantor imigrasi tidak mesti yang berada di wilayah domisili, kok. Boleh yang satu wilayah dengan kantor.

Di mana-mana, urusan mengantre itu penting supayà semua yang berkepentingan dapat dilayani dengan baik. Nah, kantor imigrasi memberi layanan pengambilan nomor antrean lewat WA. Nomor WA kantor imigrasi bisa dilihat di situs kantor bersangkutan.

Saya memutuskan mencoba layanan itu. Namun, ternyata tidak bermanfaat. Kenyataannya, ketika datang di jam yang ditentukan, orang sudah berjubel. Antrean sudah panjang. Saya dapat nomor antrean mengikuti nomor mereka yang datang langsung. Saya tidak sendiri. Seorang ibu dan seorang pemuda mengalami hal yang sama. Alhasil, kami Nyaris seharian di kantor imigrasi. Apalagi jam layanan terpotong waktu ishoma.

Makin Pagi Datang, Makin Cepat Pulang
Sebisa mungkin datang pagi biar cepat isi formulir, biar dapat nomor antrean kecil. Ini berlaku untuk pengajuan pembuatan dan pengambilan paspor.

Bawa Apa Saja?
Fotokopi dokumen KK, KTP, akte pernikahan, akte kelahiran, alat tulis mesti dibawa. Pemohon berstatus karyawan wajib bawa surat keterangan bekerja dari perusahaan.

Pemohon akan dipanggil berdasarkan nomor urut. Petugas akan memeriksa sekali lagi kelengkapan. Kemudian menanyakan alasan membuat paspor. Jika dianggap tidak ada masalah, siap difoto dan diambil sidik jari. Untuk sesi foto, pemohon sebaiknya pakai baju berkerah.

Selesai difoto, pemohon diberi selembar Tanda Bukti Berkas Permohonan Paspor RI yang memuat nomor aplikasi dan nomor WA untuk cek status permohonan dan kode bayar biaya. Biaya yang saya keluarkan untuk paspor 48 halaman adalah Rp355.000.

Pembayaran dilakukan via ATM. Setelah bayar, kita akan diberi tahu kapan dapat mengambil paspor. Pastikan kamu membawa Tanda Bukti Berkas Permohonan Paspor RI, bukti transfer, dan dokumen lainnya untuk jaga-jaga.

Pengambilan Paspor
Ambil nomor antrean dengan cara mengisi 6 digit terakhir nomor permohonan di mesin yang tersedia. Setelah dipanggil, paspor akan diberikan dan pemilik paspor dimintai tanda tangan tanda pengambilan.

Selamat membuat paspor!