Tuesday, 27 August 2013

GOTHENBURG SPORT EVENT: Supper Matchen Real Madris (RM) VS Paris Saint German (PSG)

Gothenburg, July 27, 2013

It was a cloudy Saturday evening when I and the other folks directed our footsteps to Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg. We went to that ship-shaped modern architectural building to attend a friendly match between two world's richest clubs i.e. Real Madrid (RM) and Paris Saint German (PSG). The main stars for this event of course were Christiano Ronaldo (captain of Portuguese national team in RM side) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (captain of Sweden national team in PSG side).

I together with the many other Madridista who were not only from Sweden but also from all over the world stood in the standing-bench on the north side of the stadium to support our favorite team. Eventually I stood beside the bunch of Madridista from Spain.

The Madridistas 

"Hala Madrid! Hala Madrid!" they sang and yelled aloud. 

Our scream burst when seeing El Real's legend, Zinedine Zidane, crossing the field to reach RM bench before the game started. 


Oh my God!

Then I saw my most favorite player, Mesut Özil.


This was was the closest moment I'd ever been with my favorite idols both the team and players. There was something superb taking up space in my chest beside my heart and lungs.

At that time there were around 42000 people filling that stadium but... for me the crowds here was not as spectacular as I had expected. They were too silent for this kind of big match. Well maybe because this was only a friendly match, not a match in real competition such as Champion League. But well, no matter how I still really enjoyed this game that finally won by Real Madrid with the single goal scored by Karim Benzema in minute 23.

There was a remarkable thing I saw here. Though it was not El Classico, the madridistas next to me yelled, "Puta Barca! Puta Barca! Puta Barca!"

It made me really wanna go to Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, to see El Classico between  Los Blancos and Blau Granna, to feel the real heat between those two giants club.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Örebro, mid summer 2013

Edsberg church and cemetery © +sita ariana pangestu (2013)

It was pity that BBNB and I could only spend one night at Vastärås with Patrik and his incredibly nice family. We had to stick to our schedule to continue our trip to Örebro, BBNB's hometown. Though the main reason was because he had to undergo his hemodyalis in the central hospital there, BBNB looked happy for coming home again. Repetitiously he pressed the horn and laughed crazily when our car entering the city where he had spent his childhood and adolescence.

"Welcome to my hometown Lilla Lejon!" BBNB said when we passed through the signboard on the road indicating we had just entered  that city on the shore of Lake Hjälmaren, fourth largest lake in Sweden. His happiness was contagious. I smiled and felt happy too.

Initially we agreed to split up. He would undergo his hemodyalis at the central hospital and I would wander the city alone. Similar with what we had done while we were in Mölndal and Stockholm. But then... due to one and any other thing, I decided to stay at the hospital to accompany him. Well actually I decided to stay because I want to take a nap to rest my body that had been so fatigue after 5 days having road trip.

In Örebro for the first time, I saw the complete process of hemodyalis. (When I was in Mölndal, I only see the beginning and the end of the process). There were two nurses in charge for BBNB (one pony-tailed-blond haired woman and one short-brunette-haired woman). After the hemodyalis machine had been ready, the blond one inserted two bloody big needles (much more bigger than I ever saw while undergoing blood donation) into his right hand. Oh my God... It must hurt so much. I could even feel the pain. Then the next process was waiting for machine to do the function of the kidneys.

For first hour, I and BBNB kept talking to each other before taking nap to rest our fatigue body. But I could't sleep soundly. I woke up while BBNB was still sleeping. My sight was nailed into the hemodyalis machine. I saw how the blood was circulated through the machine to be purified. 

BBNB ever said that our road trip might be the last trip and vacation for him. He might never be able to live long after my visit and even might commit suicide because he had been too tired of having to undergo 3 times per week of dealing with that fucking hemodyalis machine.

I went flash back to a moment happening 4 years ago, 2009. The closest moment of facing death I ever had. At that time I was almost dying for being suffered of terrible dyspepsia, low blood pressure, weak heart, and nerve damage at my neck at the same time. There was only my mom who accompanied me.

Today current event and my flashback made me feel so mellow. I even couldn't hold my tears for not streaming on my face. I was so afraid of my getting sick and facing the death that no one could never escape. Confronting with such an ordeal, I tended to re-evaluate my own life. I felt depressed. In the face of death everything pales, nothing seemed important enough. I wondered whether (consciously or unconsciously) I had lived a death life or no during my 25-year of living. I found that it was little less meaningful and more frivolous. 

I remembered that a friend of mine ever said that looking back one should find something meaningful, some accomplishment. They didn't need to be big. Not everybody could have a huge career, built a cathedral, composed a symphony, cured illness. Small things counted too for instance seeing in contacts with people. How many people you had made happy by telling or showing them something or just giving a simple smile. Compassion and love, those life's direction wouldn't be wrong.     

I also remembered "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish", a speech by Steve Jobs delivered on June 12, 2005 at the Stanford University.

 "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with  the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And  most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Right before BBNB woke up, I had lifted my chin up. I wiped my tears away from face and smiled in relief. As a girl with too-high-pride, I'd never let anybody else see me crying. Then we had light talks until the nurse came to turn off the machine and pull out those bloody big needles. The hemodyalis process ended.

On the next day, I accompanied BBNB to go to a country area named Erdsberg. There we passed a house where he used to live with his beloved family. Then we ended our visit there in the cemetery where his families were buried. That local cemetery is located next to a tiny little church.

"Lilla Lejon, could you please take my picture?" BBNB asked while standing behind the gravestone where his grandparent's and parent's names were engraved.

I was so speechless hearing that question.

"Lilla Lejon, this is the place where I will be on next few years. I have asked Elisabeth, Jenny and Joel to bury me here after my death. My name will be engraved right below between my mom's and my dad's name. You may not being here when I am dead. So, could you please take my picture?"

At first, I was so sad hearing that sentimental request. But then, I opened the cover of my Nikon D5100 lens. Through my eyes, I directed the lens to capture the picture as per requested by him. The time I pressed the shutter button was the time I promised to my own self that I would seize each day of my life.


Friday, 16 August 2013

GRÄNNA: Sweet Simple Happiness

Gränna, July 16 2013

A jar of happiness. © Intan Karunia Kristanti (2014)
BBNB and I went to Gränna, a little town located in the shore of Lake Vättern (second largest lake in Sweden), to visit Axel Polkagris, a famous candy factory there.  Since we arrived there too early, at 8 AM, the factory had not been open yet. We decided to look for breakfast at that town but couldn't find any single open store yet. We went to the port there. It was closed too. Hence we decided to go back to the petrol station where we had stopped last night because there was a hostel that provides a place to stay and also breakfast (Bed&Breakfast). Some miracle happened, BBNB kindly treated me a 91 SEK breakfast buffet there. 

Since it was buffet, we ate crazily there. I took a plateful of scrambled eggs, meatballs, a few handfuls of sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and goat cheese, a bowl of yogurt, a plate of oranges and pineapple, a glass of orange juice and some cups of coffee. BBNB also took food as much as I did. We did not care about the others looking surprised that we both were eating like pigs. Our stomachs got distended. Even we could barely stand because we were too full. Anyway, before leaving the place, I didn't forget to put some bananas and apples into my backpack for our lunch on the go. The main point was when having buffet take as much as we could!!!

Once we returned to Gränna, Yippee candy factory was open. Behind the transparent glass, I saw a young Scandinavian boy was making that special mint candy starting from mixing of ingredients (mainly sugar and mint), caramelization, coloring, rolling (to make the candy colored brindle striped), re-hardening, cutting to get intended shape and size, and packaging The entire process took 20 to 30 minutes .

Beside the kitchen production, there was a room to display the candies. There were also Scandinavian souvenirs such as key chains, fridge magnet, stuffed moose (Scandinavian deer/elk occupied by Saint Claus) and also postcards.  What caught my attention was a lot of postcards with the picture of hot air balloons. After googling I came to know it was because this city is the hometown of an explorer named Salomon August Andrée  who died in its efforts towards the north pole using a hot-air balloon. Gränna museum was built to commemorate him. It regularly organizes exhibitions expedition together with a comprehensive collection of related objects and photographs.

I and BBNB met the owner. That lady was so nice to us. She gave us some samples of rock candy. I loved them. She told us some history of the candy factory she inherited from her family. The business was started by a widow named Amalia Eriksson in 1859. Her business has became hereditary family businesses with maintaining the concept of homemade and handmade industry.

I and BBNB bought some small jars of colorful rock candy and some candy sticks. The most remarkable one was Gul och Blå (blue and yellow) candy stick, showing the national colors of Sweden. Because both of us were the first visitors of the day, we both got a bonus. Each of us got a candy stick. 


I was so happy at that time and somehow I wished that I could jump back to my childhood time. Back to the time when being happy was simply achieved only by buying and enjoying our favorite candy.


JÖNKÖPINGS ~ More Than Just Meaningless Spell

Jönköpings, July 16, 2013

“Bengt, Jönköpings really exists?!?” I said a little amazed pointing the signboard on the road next to the gas station where we rested to have sleepover.

“Yup. So what? You look so amazed,” Bengt asked.

“When I wanted to join a mountaineering club in senior high school, I had to cast the spell: Jönköpings Tändsticksfabrik Patent paraffinerade säkerhets-tändstickor utan svafvel och fosfor. Tända endast mot lådans plån. Licensed by AB Jönköpings Vulcan Sweden made in Indonesia,” I said with occasionally closing my eyes recalling the lines on of words on that legendary yellow matchbox. 

The legendary yellow matchbox (Source: click here)
“Hahahaaa!” Bengt giggled while hearing me muttering to complete the spell. Then he said, “LL, I remember those match boxes from when I grow up and stealing my first cigarette from my father; then we smoked in the forest, coughing like hell and read on the match box that text. Do you want to know the translation?”

I nodded excitedly as response. Then Bengt gave the translation, “Jönköping match factory patents paraffin wax coated safety matches without brimstone and phosphorus. Light only against the box striking surface. Licensed by AB Jönköpings Vulcan Sweden made in Indonesia.”

I and Bengt paused in silent after he had completed the translation. Each of us dissolved into our own nostalgia. I suddenly longed for the days and my friends in sister&brotherhood in Inswapala (nature adventurer student association) SMAN (Public Senior High School) 1 Bekasi. Ntep, Mot, Dwi, Arpay, Bomber, Goris, Egy, Jesse, Rendi, I miss you all. When will we hike the mountain together again?!?

As the night wore on, I and Bengt decided to have a rest above our seat in his gray Mazda 3 MPS.

Good night Jönköpings!


Monday, 12 August 2013

PRAGUE SPOTLIGHT: Franz Kafka Statue

Prague, July 12 2013

Franz Kafka Statue statue was unveiled in 2003 to commemorate Franz Kafka, a German-language writer of novels and short stories who strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. The sculptor, Jaroslav Rona, made this bronze statue based on his vivid description of the image of a young man riding on another one's shoulders through the night streets of Prague that appears in Franz Kafka's short story titled "Description of Struggle". Therefore he made this tall black statue which represents Kafka himself sitting above a headless male figure in a suit.

© +Jiří Sedláček  (2013)
"And now - with a flourish, as though it were not the first time - I leapt onto the shoulders of my acquaintance, and by digging my fists into his back I urged him into a trot. But since he stumped forward rather reluctantly and sometimes even stopped. I kicked him in the belly several times with my boots, to make him more lively. It worked and we came fast enough into the interior of a vast but as yet unfinished landscape."

Kafka Statue is located in Prague's Jewish Quarter, a place where a Catholic church and a synagogue stand next to each other. It was the place where Kafka used to walk around everyday because he lived on the opposite side of the street, at 27 Dusni Street (which laterally means 'Holly Spirit Streets'). Now it becomes one of spotlight in Prague where many tourists, including me, stop at the statue to take photo of themselves alongside the famous writer.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

PRAGUE SPOTLIGHT: Mácha Statue At Petřín Hill

Prague, July 11, 2013

After finishing our light dinner at Fat Mouse Restaurant, George and I had a walk at Petřín hill rising in the left bank of the Vltava River. This hill which almost entirely covered by parks is the most favorite recreational area for Prague residents.

For me, the most remarkable spot at this hill is the statue erected in the honor of Karel Hynek Mácha, a genius Czech national romantic poet. Beside this statue, there are another bronze statue of him in front of a theater named after him in Litomerice.

His master piece was his lyrical epic poem titled "Máj" (May), published in 1836. That poet is now regarded as the classic work of Czech Romanticism and is considered one of the best Czech poems ever written. It is one of few Czech poems virtually everybody can recite the first stanza of.

Byl pozdní večer - první máj -
večerní máj - byl lásky čas.
Hrdliččin zval ku lásce hlas,
kde borový zaváněl háj.
O lásce šeptal tichý mech;
květoucí strom lhal lásky žel,
svou lásku slavík růži pěl,
růžinu jevil vonný vzdech.
Jezero hladké v křovích stinných
zvučelo temně tajný bol,
břeh je objímal kol a kol;
a slunce jasná světů jiných
bloudila blankytnými pásky,
planoucí tam co slzy lásky.

Late evening, on the first of May—
The twilit May—the time of love.
Meltingly called the turtle-dove,
Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay.
Whispered of love the mosses frail,
The flowering tree as sweetly lied,
The rose's fragrant sigh replied
To love-songs of the nightingale.
In shadowy woods the burnished lake
Darkly complained a secret pain,
By circling shores embraced again;
And heaven's clear sun leaned down to take
A road astray in azure deeps,
Like burning tears the lover weeps.

Mácha  died young, as poets "should", and became an immensely popular patron of lover. Because the dark, romantic and tragic love story of Mácha's poem takes place precisely on May unlike many other countries, instead of to celebrate May 1st as Labor Day, Czech people celebrate this day as Lover's Day. They don't need Valentine - recent Anglo-Saxon import. Moreover they don't want to praise love in the middle of freezing February :P

On May 1st Czech people will indulge in a more romantic undertaking. Many couples will flock to Mácha statue, bring flowers and kiss as they should.  There’s a nice, romantic ritual connected with it, concerning women. It is imperative that each woman, regardless her age, gets kissed under a blooming cherry tree – otherwise she could “dry out” within a year.

Well, I guess I should try to go back to this hill on upcoming May 1st and get a romantic kiss then.. <3<3<3



To see the whole poem and also the translation with illustrations by a distinguished Czech painter too, you could check this web out

Monday, 5 August 2013


Paris,  July 4 - 5,  2013

Kamis malam, begitu tiba di flat-nya Leon seusai nonton konser Jazz di Rue des Petites, saya langsung ganti baju, cuci muka, dan sikat gigi untuk persiapan tidur. Baru mau ke kasur eh si Leon manggil saya ke dapurnya.

"Kamu mau ke Marseille kan? Kebetulan saya punya minuman khas sana yang harus kamu coba!" ucapnya sambil mengeluarkan sebuah botol beling berwarna coklat dari dalam kulkasnya. "Minuman ini namanya Pastis. Salah satu minuman tradisional dari Prancis. Lebih tepatnya sih dari Prancis selatan soalnya ini minuman khas wilayah Mediteranian. Pastis de Marseilles ini yang paling terkenal," jawab Leon sambil menuangkan minuman itu ke dalam dua gelas kaca yang kemudian salah satunya diberikan kepada saya.

Pastis (beras kencur ala Marseille)
Sumber: klik disini
Sekilas minuman ini mirip beras kencur. Warnanya putih gading gitu dengan bau rempah yang sangat menyengat. Bau minuman ini terasa tidak asing bagi saya tapi saya lupa baunya mirip bau apa.

"Cheers!" saya dan Leon bersulang.


Tegukan pertama masuk dan perut saya langsung panas dibuatnya. Lidah saya jadi kelu. Rasa dan bau minuman itu benar-benar aneh. Nggak enak!

"Gimana rasanya? Suka?" tanya Leon dengan santai begitu menyeruput Pastis dalam gelasnya.

"It's too strong for me," jawab saya dengan kepala agak-agak pusing.

"Pastis ini memang tinggi banget sih kandungan alkoholnya, sekitar 40%."


Tadinya si Leon maksa saya ngehabisin sisa minuman saya karena sayang kalau dibuang namun karena muka saya udah ungu nggak karuan akhirnya dia nggak tega. Dihabiskannya minuman yang tadinya dia tuang untuk saya.

Keesokan harinya...

Saat saya tengah asik ngobrol-ngobrol sama Felix, computer programmer keturunan Brazil yang lagi ngebenerin komputernya Leon, si empu rumah dengan baik hatinya membawakan kami minuman. 

"Nih Lix gue ada Pastis," ucap Leon sambil menyerahkan segelas kecil berisi minuman beras kencur yang kali ini terlihat lebih encer dan disajikan bersama beberapa potong es batu dan buah zaitun. Felix mah doyan-doyan aja secara dia juga sebelumnya lama tinggal di wilayah Prancis selatan.

"Nih satu buat kamu," ucap Leon sembari menyerahkan satu gelas lainnya pada saya. "Jangan khawatir, kali ini nggak akan se-strong kemaren kok. Kemarin saya salah. Harusnya minuman ini diencerin dulu dengan air sebelum diminum," ucap Leon untuk menenangkan saya yang terlihat trauma dengan minuman yang ditawarkannya.

Saya pun coba meneguk minuman yang telah diencerkan itu. Jadi terasa lebih soft sih tapi...mau yang udah dicairin kek mau yang belum tetap aja minuman ini rasanya nggak enak.

Dan... saya baru ingat kalau beras kencur gadungan ini baunya sama persis dengan bau minyak telon.


Fix mabok minyak telon ni di malam terakhir saya di Paris [-____-].