Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thrift Stores and Canberra

Thrift store is always fun and full of exploration.

The trip is at best when you finally found something worth faaar more than what they stated on the tag--or at least you believe so. Today, I woke up with an awesome idea of going to the closest thrift store in Dickson shops, Vinnies. Quite surprising that I hadn't pay even a visit to that store after months of living here while I'm actually a big fan of thrift stores. What I love about thrift stores in Australia is the quality and obviously less crowdy. Vinnies also use the proceeds from the sales for charitable and church activities which is sweet at least you know you're getting cheap and quality stuff for a goody goody reason. I was there for quite sometime because as usual the sizes were too large for me so it was kinda hard to find something. Until I came across this chiffon outerwear from M&S.. Indonesia! How did I know? the original tag was still on and apparently it was worth Rp. 699,000 while I got it for $9 :D yayness to infinity and beyond.

The trip to Vinnies today reminds me of the thrift stores in Fiji. Basically almost everyone in the country just buy their stuff from thrift stores, so it is everywhere in Suva. Even when we did a small trip to Levuka, a small island and UNESCO Heritage site, I also found several small thrift stores. Too bad I didn't take picture of the clothes in the store so here is the macro picture of the main street in Levuka :)

Anyways, I just realized I 've never share Canberra pictures on this blog before haha soo I just moved to this neighbourhood  few months ago and walking through this pavement has become my daily routine. Today was a tad gloomy in the morning with light, teasing and short, shower followed after.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Preparing AIESEC GCDP Exchange

You might noticed the word AIESEC on the picture. Yes, if everything is going as planned I am going to stay and volunteer in a totally foreign country, which I haven't been to before, for 6 weeks. So no, I'm not part of the AIESEC local committee in ANU, I'm just one of their exchange participant for this winter (summer for the rest of the world) break. Despite the long and nervous-y interview with AIESEC ANU, for me the hardest part is the matching process. You have to pick the project and there are enormous number of projects (3000++), apply, do a skype interview if they are interested in you (which sometimes is scary because the interviewer for whatever reason just decided to not turn on their lights or, worse, the video while the interviewee has to turn it on. talk about fairness and mutual respect :p), send the document, wait for the reply document, and finally, got matched. I realised I didn't encounter problems with applying because apparently my mini essay application worked just fine. I got a number of interview invitations within the next few days after I sent the applications.

I experienced a couple of 'funny' moments with these peeps from mostly Middle East because I was targeting that region. I got three interviews for projects in Alexandria and Cairo, during the interviews they seemed like they were interested in me ('Hope to see you in Egypt!','would love to have you join us') but then I never heard anything anymore, until the next 3 weeks, one of them finally contacted me and said that the project that I was applying for got cancelled :p towards the end, I got accepted in a city and a project that I wanted to do, sadly, I already sent confirmation for the other project. ANYWAYS, finally I got matched and the world is beautiful now.

Based on my short experience going through the matching process, I have learned a lot about cross-cultural communication and some general yet important tips in applying for projects in the Middle Easter countries. Firstly, apply, apply and apply for more. From my experience with the Egyptians I really can't imagine what if I was just waiting for a positive reply for 3 weeks and only one replied just to let me know that the project was cancelled and offered me another totally different project. Don't get me wrong, they were the nicest interviewer ever (plus the awesome girl in Ankara) but on that point, with exams coming and flight tickets kept rising, I was just looking for certainty period. Secondly, if they are not responding for awhile after 2-3 replies, keep emailing them. Some projects are huge that they are actually corresponding with massive number of interns so sometimes they might skipped your email or were just not in the mood to reply. Thirdly, do not accept a project that you are not really interested in. Magic could just happen anytime and you have to be ready for it. I was an inch to regret my own decision, to reject the acceptance from the project that I really wanted, before finally realised that this was just a consequence of my own decision.

Soo today we did the exchange preparation seminar and AIESEC ANU was giving EP (exchange participant) packs for everyone. As you can see, they prepared the t-shirt, two cliche Aussie souvenirs cute koalas, small embassy info booklet, TimTam (a favorite in Australia, tastes different from that in Indonesia), and vegemite. The last one is a very very very Australian thing, as you can see on the picture it's a concentrated yeast extract. Full of vitamins and goodies for your bodies, yes, but just like many other healthy things it tastes... quite unique. The Australians usually spread vegemite on their sandwichs for breakfast or on-the-go snacks, mostly popular with kids. The other fun thing is I will have to be the ambassador for Australia because I'm technically representing AIESEC Australia (see the obvious t-shirt?).

So yeah, let's end this long post and back to study, which country am I going to? Secret! :D Btw, some of you might know that I went for a similar program in 2011 to Fiji, you can read some of my experiences (ok tbh, this is just a tiny bit of it lol) here :) and pardon my baaaad english.

Friday, May 24, 2013

[Project Tatooine] #5 Jai dari Flobamora!

Di bagian benak saya yang paling belakang, saya selalu merasa bukan seseorang yang suka tampil di depan. Performing arts adalah sesuatu yang sudah lama sekali tidak saya lakukan dan jelas bukan bagian dari hobi saya. Menyanyi? Saya masih kebayang-bayang waktu kelas 5 SD pernah dikeluarkan dari tim paduan suara sekolah karena suara saya sumbang. Bermain musik? Terakhir saya tampil dengan biola sewaktu masih SMP dan berhenti total ketika harus menghadapi ujian IB sewaktu SMA. Menari? Hmmmmm.. hahaha sudah ngga ingat lagi kapan terakhir. Tapi lama tinggal di Canberra, saya menjadi lebih tertarik dengan budaya saya sendiri, salah satunya dengan kebiasaan baru saya untuk memakai kain-kain dari seluruh nusantara untuk pakaian sehari-hari. Mungkin karena itu juga ketika saya diajak untuk ikut menari Jai, tarian tradisional dari Pulau Flores, saya langsung setuju.

Seumur hidup saya hanya pernah mempelajari tarian Jawa dan Bali (mungkin pernah Sulawesi sedikit, tapi sudah tidak ingat lagi) makanya tarian Indonesia timur menjadi sangat menarik.  Setelah latihan beberapa kali jadilah saya ikut tampil pada acara Warung Konsuler yang diadakan oleh KBRI Canberra. Acara ini ditujukan untuk para orang Indonesia yang baru datang di Canberra dan ingin mengurus administrasi kekonsuleran seperti lapor diri, menerjemahkan SIM, dan lainnya. Sebenarnya yang paling saya sukai dari pengalaman ini adalah kesempatan untuk memakai baju tradisional Flobamora yang dimiliki oleh seorang Indonesia yang sudah lama tinggal di Australia. Selain itu saya juga merasa ikut berpatisipasi dalam gerakan diaspora budaya Indonesia, walaupun dalam lingkup yang sangat kecil dan terbatas J

All Photos by Betsy Phillips

Why is this a special part of Project Tatooine?
What an interesting experience of exploring one of the cultural gems of East Indonesia.

serpihan rasa

dan kau
pernah melangkahkan kaki
dan sejengkal sadar
dan melantunkan

hilanglah semua yang kau tanya
terang yang kau dambakan

Saturday, May 11, 2013

[Project Tatooine] #4 Hot Air Balloon

My birthdays in Canberra have always been amazing with annual random surprise and lovely people  although the one in Disneyland Anaheim was still the best so far lol. Yet this year was particularly special because the housemates along with Vina and Nadeen were all agreed to celebrate my birthday... in the sky! YES. In the tiny congested box of a HOT AIR BALLOON. Hot air balloon ride was something that never really cross my mind, it reminds me of the travel all around the world story and sounds exciting but I never thought that I will actually experience it.

We arranged to go exactly on 22nd March but they had to cancel the flight because it was raining and the wind was quiet strong--hence, it is dangerous people. Since I don't want to cause a tragic history of my life, we shifted it to the next day. There were three flights that day each with different size of the box and we were all jammed into the biggest box (I really don't know what they call it :p) which is divided into 4 smaller sections and each fits 4 adults (or 5 Asian adults like what we did hahaha). Apparently, they had a marriage proposal took place in one of the other 2 boxes that they and everyone congratulated the soon-to-be bride and groom :)

The overall experience was memorable with fantastic view and amazing people :D

Why is this a special part of Project Tatooine?
hot air balloon ride for the first time ever.


What: Hot Air Balloon Flight
Where: Canberra, Australia
Category: Travel