Welcome to Letters To Jasmine Arcane!

This blog is created to continue the previous blog I deleted due to personal problem. Now that the problem is no longer around, I can post more freely and honestly. Currently I am still in the process of reposting my writing in the past.

Basically, Jasmine Arcane is my alter ego, and contents of this blog are mostly letters that I write to my future self – and after a few years I reply to them. The purpose is to watch my own growth in order to find myself more, and to see how my perspective would change or stay, from time to time. I might find myself feeling uncomfortable with my past posts, but I try to embrace them since it’s part of the growing process.

Wish me luck!


Start Writing Again?

It’s been literally YEARS since I made a post in this blog. That is unfortunate since I’ve travelled a lot these past few years and those would be great writing materials. Although if I am allowed to make an excuse, work and health have been my focus lately.

I notice that my writing style is different. Blame those biz emails. I honestly struggling only to write this post. Although I’m sure won’t remember details, I’ll try to recap all the travel and life highlights.

Ready, set, go!

Thoughts On Dating Someone Who Makes Less Than You Do

The other day, my boyfie asked me how would I feel or think if I dated someone who makes less money than I do. It was a simple question yet surprisingly took more thoughts to answer. There’s a study saying that money and health are two things that affect out happiness only when we have less of them. As in, we are more psychologically affected when we have no money or unhealthy rather than when we have enough money and healthy. Having enough money and being healthy doesn’t affect us that much.

Personally, money doesn’t matter that much to me in relationships. I never found myself being turned on or attracted to someone just for the sake of how much they make. Honestly, I rarely know about how much my dates made.

I once dated someone who made less than I did for almost 2 years. I did pay almost for every expenses we had: outings, meals, drinks, movies, transportations, you name it. I often bought him clothes and presents too. But we also had a lot of fun, had a normal relationship, and money wasn’t the reason why we decided not to date again. I never regretted the fact that I dated someone who makes less money than I am.

But we can’t deny that money, beside other factors too, liberates us. We have more options when we have enough money to spend. And this affects out habits in relationships too. For instance, you wouldn’t go to $50 dinner when you make $500 a month (which is how much a fresh graduate would earn here), would you? You wouldn’t be able to buy her presents when you can’t barely save, right?
But still, for me, expensive dinners and presents are irrelevant.

Although, sometimes money has something to do with passion. Someone who pursues his passion but has less money is fine. But it’s a big turn off if someone has a lot of chances, potential and talent, but he doesn’t make enough just because he’s lazy and has no passion.

This might sound cliche, but while finding rich men is easy, finding someone who opens your eyes, horizon and gives you new perspectives in things and life, is difficult. It’s not easy to find someone who truly values your opinions. It’s tough to find someone who loves you and liberates you in the same time. Someone who would hug and listen to you when you’re fed up in the middle of his frustration of his business and work, is rare. Someone who would put you first, is one in a million. These things matter more than a jetset lifestyle for me.

Money doesn’t matter, but what you do with your money is important. Or more important, what you do without your money. Other than that, there are so many factors to build a truly happy relationship.

What about you? What would you think or feel if you are in a relationship when the girl makes more money than the guy?

New Year 2015 Trip – Tokyo, Japan

Blaming the time and money consuming visa/e-passport experience, my excitement about this trip was already passed its euphoria when I left Jakarta. I didn’t prepare much other than re-learning the language I used to study in high school – which apparently didn’t do much since my kanji reading is so poor.

Well, enough for the bad news. Let’s start with the trip. I didn’t really keep in detailed track about my itinerary, so I’m only going to highlight the most interesting places and experiences. I arrived at Kuala Lumpur and had to stay there for a night to catch my flight to Tokyo. Turned out that the capsule hotel I stayed in wasn’t bad at all. It was a 2 x 3 x 1 meters “room” with nice bedding where you can snooze for 3, 6 or 12 hours with decent clean shared bathroom.


Capsule by Container Hotel at KLIA2

Trip from KL to Tokyo was pretty challenging as well. I forgot how big KL’s airport is, and I’ve had sprinting competition with boarding time a few times before, but yet I repeated the same mistake again. Donkey indeed. Lucky I didn’t miss the flight; we flew 4 minutes after I sat down and buckled up. Boyfie has been in Japan about 30 times for his biz, so he was pretty much a local there and fluent with how-to-get-somewhere thing. He arrived there a day before I arrived, so we set up a meeting point in Nippori area and he gave me a detailed instruction about how to reach the station… which I f***** up, took the wrong train, and made him wait for 2 hours I assume, since I realised I had to change train when I was already 12 stations away from the right station. Sorry, baby! :p

tokyo total train map

Tokyo subway map: Seriously, how do you expect a human being get out from this labyrinth??

We went to Nikko, a hilly area 2 hours north from Tokyo, to experience more snow and onsen (hot spring) in a traditional Japanese hotel, Ayatsumugi, which apparently priced per person instead of per room. This hotel was the most enjoyable experience for me in Japan. They have a TWELVE course dinner which probably the biggest meal i’ve ever had in my life: 10881752_10205672202310421_4391304880263535932_n   10888851_10205672203830459_5142822529309199405_n 1502497_10205672202510426_7010084704582179160_n 10891708_10205672201550402_1375924601769340917_n 10897863_10205672202990438_3692433762431231222_n Apart from private onsen in every room, the hotel also had a public onsen, where you have to be naked in public and enjoy the heat of the water while snow falls on your traditional japanese hat. As weird as it sounds, the onsen was amazingly addicting. It makes you feel warm, even after you get out from the water and walk back to your room with a thin yukata covering your skin.


Hotel balcony, facing river and snow-covered mountains.


Traditional Japanese room with tatami floor and futon for you to sleep in. I assure you, this is very comfortable!


Private onsen in the room.

In the next morning we had to go back to down closer to Tokyo by bus to visit boyfie’s friend’s house and to spend the new year’s eve in the shrine. We still have some time to wander around since the bus came 40 minutes after we check out. So we decided to take a little walk to the hill and built a snowman.


My winking snowman!


Snow war with boyfie.

Back closer to Tokyo, we crashed boyfie’s friend’s house which apparently a gallery that has such a connection with Studio Ghibli prduction. If you’re otaku enough, I’m sure Hayao Miyazaki, and all his touching animated films ring a bell in your head. So this gallery was Miyazaki-san’s childhood house, which brought  lot of inspiration to him, and a lot of scenes in his movies were taken in this house, where we had our drinks and dinner before hitting the shrine for the new year’s eve.

Unlike new year’s eve in the rest of the world, Japanese takes this event sacredly and spiritually. So, do not expect a festival full of amazingly designed fireworks during the new year because they are busy to go to shrine to pray. Shrine was super packed during new year’s eve. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people queued to throw coins and pray in front of the shrine, continued by taking an omikuji to find out how their fortune for the next year, The omikuji paper was then hung in a tree to avoid bad luck. I didn’t take good pictures here since it was dark.

We spent the rest of the trip hanging out in Tokyo, going in and out stations and visit festivals, book stores and little cafes:

# Asakusa: Since it was New Year, this area was full of food and souvenir stalls. Boyfie’s favourite was oden and mine was rice on stick, covered with bacon!

# Harajuku: Tons of people were here to shop, we could barely walk without feeling a little bit claustrophobic. This area is full of fashion shop, especially weird stuffs.

# Shibuya: The biggest station, felt like it has no end when you try to walk it. Although  in front of one of the exit gate, there was the famous Hachiko statue, dedicated for a dog who waited for years in that station, waiting for the owner to go home.

# Daikanyama: A station away from Shibuya, there was this cute area full of French style cafes. A little walk from the station, Tsutaya bookstore soon became my favourite place. We stayed there for hours to read and have a cup of coffee.

# Golden-dai: This would be a very interesting area… if I didn’t come during the new year. This area is full of little bars and every bar has its own style, music and characteristic. When I visit, most of them, including the cat cafe (where you can pet them) was closed and there were only 3 or 4 bars were open for us to hit ourself up with alcohol and get wasted.

# Roppongi: The second best Tsutaya was located in this area, where you can sit, sip some hot drink and watch the traffic from the 2nd floor. At night, a few pimps mysteriously appeared in front of the bars and offered you some boobs and beer.

Overall, this Japan trip was enjoyable even though I think it would be a better trip if I come in different timing. I will definitely visit Japan again!

Birthday Present Trip: Sri Lanka – October 2014

Most of my friends raised their eyebrow when I told them I was going to Sri Lanka. It’s definitely not a common holiday destination for an Indonesian. I know several people who went to Nepal or India, but not Sri Lanka. Thanks to boyfie for the trip as a birthday present, because the trip was amazingly enjoyable and horizon broadening.

# First stop: Colombo.

The flight arrived in the capital city of Sri Lanka. Compared to Jakarta, this city is less developed. Not many tall and shiny buildings, the cars are cheaper than most Jakartans’ and they apparently only have 2 highways in the entire country. Most of the buildings are in the colonial style, which made me feel like I was time traveling. But surprisingly enough, although Colombo has traffic jams during peak hours, people are more respectful towards each other that makes the traffic doesn’t feel as bad as being stuck in Tanah Abang or Tomang area at 6 PM. This might also have something to do with their lower population and less economical gap between the people, in my opinion. Staying in the west side of the city gave us a closer trip to the fort to watch the sunset. We even had time to detour to some art galleries / cafes – which this city has a lot of them. I guess this country has a better sense of appreciation towards art rather than Indonesia, or maybe I’m the one who’s ignorant about my own country. Before I depart, I found myself worrying about communicating in English with people in Sri Lanka. But it turned out only to be another misjudgment I made. An average Sri Lankan speaks better English than an average Indonesian does, which I guess has a lot to do with The Britain’s colonial who cared about the people’s education, while Indonesia was ruled by the Dutch instead. The downside of this is that local people constantly try to hassle you with all of the daylight robbery offers while as a foreigner in Jakarta, you only have to deal with continuous intense stares. Double the amount if you’re local with a foreign boyfriend. #justsayin’

Tuk tuk with meter

Tuk tuk with meter


Colombo Fort


Art Gallery / cafe

# Food Trying authentic Sri Lankan and Indian food really puts every single Indian restaurant in Jakarta into a joke. The curry was made in heaven and the rice was made by hands of angels. I couldn’t take spicy food before, but seems like it’s all worth it now. Ones that really pampered my taste buds are chicken masala, nasi briyani and the papadam crackers.

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# Second Stop: Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage After staying for a night in Colombo, we went to the north to Kandy City in Central Province. We decided to go by cab so we can stop when we want to, without worrying about catching the next train or bus. So we stopped in an Elephant Orphanage called Pinnawala. This place was rather similar to an open zoo, where you can touch and feed the elephants… while telling off the workers who kept asking you for a tip after they charged you 20 times more entrance fee just by being a foreigner. But the elephants, especially the babies, are cute and fun to pet. Still a great experience after all since we can actually touch and feed them. 1527007_10205231383210219_7687294709621376631_n 10629591_10205218084677764_7148958906711212518_n # Third stop: Kandy This city is rather hilly than the capital city so the temperature was a little bit lower. The cloudy and rainy days didnt help much either. Kandy has even more classical ambience than Colombo. The architectures and the music they play in public places made me feel like I was in the 1940’s – as if I know how the 1940’s looked like. Ha ha. We visited the market on the second day since I wanted to buy a saree, the national clothing of Sri Lanka and India. Proved that Sri Lankans have big wishful thoughts as they offered me the saree for 3200 Rupee, almost 10 times the price. I got a red pretty one for 350 Rupee on the next day. Wins! After the market visit, we went to the Temple Of The Tooth – which also charge you like you are the step son of Bill Gates. Personally, visiting this temple brings memories of pre-agnostic life I’ve had years ago. But everything is about perspective – nothing is absolutely true. Sorry. It’s the cloudy weather and the crows that affected me. Next!


Kandy’s weather – haunting!


3 Dollars saree!

One of my priorities in my traveling to do list is to attend a local / traditional performance. It was a Kandyan dance called Rangahala. I kept a high expectation since when I went to China I attended a mesmerizing traditional Chinese orchestra. This Rangahala is still stunning with walking on fire performance, dances and percussion in a fast tempo, although they could perform a better show if they practice the choreography better so they would move together and in time. 15483_10205218090397907_2745599882387164079_n For boyfie’s love of nature, we went to a botanical garden on the next day. Green, peaceful and quiet, a good track for walking as well. There’s a cafe we had tea at before we impulsively hopped into a bus with a hope that it would take us closer to Tea Museum. The museum was a 4 storey building with a free female guide in saree who explains about the tea processing in a cute strong Sri Lankan accent and makes you tea at the end of the tour. I believe it would be nicer without the rain so we could help the farmer picking tea leaves too. As a massage whore, trying a traditional massage in a new place is a must for me. I’ve been hearing about this Aryuveda massage and decided to try it out. Giving how rare the massages place, I would guess that Sri Lankan doesn’t put too much concern on massages. The spa was twice more expensive than what I usually have in Jakarta, but they provide a pick up / drop off service too, since it was pretty far out the city, so I guess that’s fair enough. Expecting a strong deep tissue massage was apparently a bad start to experience this. Rather than putting pressure on the muscle, apparently they were more focused on applying the massage oil – which they said contains of a lot of herbal medicine – to our skin. We ended up in a hot steam for our body to absorb tons of oil they put on us. The steam was nice, but I wouldn’t call it a massage since this place and program are actually more suitable for a retreat and healing service. They even have people staying there for days to cure their diseases.


Botanical Garden


Last stop: Galle

We caught the early train at 5 to Galle. Giving the cheap ticket, USD 3, I guess it was fair enough for it to move slowly. But the best thing is that the track of this train was built along the coast. Every time you look at the west side, all you see is beach! Isn’t that pretty! We arrived at Galle station at noon. This pretty little town easily became my favourite stop. I generally like beaches more than hills and mountains, but this town gave me more than just a beach. Galle reminds me of Melbourne that has this European style with all the little alleys that are full of little shops and cafes. I would say this town is divided into two main areas:  the beaches and the fort. The fort area where we stayed at has a cute light house that makes this area the prettiest. One morning boyfie woke me up early to watch the sunrise up the fort which is next to the light house, and that was simply gorgeous. And the best part is that there was nearly no one there, so we got this breath taking view for our own!


Train ride to Galle


Galle Fort and Light House View


A beach for your own!

We walked down to have breakfast at one of the little cafes I’ve mentioned and went to Unawatuna beach. This beach is blissful because it was so clear and wasn’t overly visited, if I compare that to Phuket or Kuta in Bali. Cafes and bars next to each other were available for us to get some booze and play games. We even joined a group of Sri Lankan to play volley ball. People are so friendly. Especially when you try to talk Sinhala with them, they would think it was cute. There is another beach we visited called Jungle Beach. It was a smaller beach with even less people on it, but the access to get there was less simple than to reach Unawatuna. We had to leave on Sunday 😦 Even though I wouldn’t say I would come back here in my next trip, this was an amazing experience to visit Sri Lanka!

It’s Little Things That Touches Me

“It’s too good to be true.”

“You know when I was travelling I kept thinking about you. I’m so in trouble”

“My friend invited me for an outing. Do you want to go? If you don’t it’s ok, because I’d rather hanging out with you.”

“I can’t be friends with you because I like you too much.”

“Hanging out with her, it’s a whole new world.”

“You are who you are. I don’t want to change you.”

“It’s ok as long as you enjoy it. That what makes me happy.”


Another Lesson About Happiness – Taught By A Boy With Autism


When I was offered to teach piano to a student with a special need, I wasn’t entirely sure about it. I know it would be more difficult than teaching my other students, especially when I didn’t get any formal education about mental disorders. I got a lot of pedagogic theory and exercise in college, but I knew this would be something that’s totally different. So I dug more into that and talked to some friends who majored in psychology to get advices.

I met William, a 7 year old boy with autism, that day. He hugged me when his mum and older sister introduced me to him, although after that he went back to his previous activity: screaming and jumping, and then suddenly stopped to stare himself in the mirror. It’s been repeated at least 5 times. His mum never really confident about his ability. She believed that it would take years to teach him rhythm and notes, but she would like his son to try learning piano with me the next week, along with his sister.

The next Friday, I came with twice bigger patience tank and much lower expectation. When I entered his room, he was fighting with his sister, crying loudly that she didn’t give him more time to play with his phone. At one point he would fell to the ground and hit himself. Alright, I thought, it’s gonna be a tough day – he’s not in the mood.

So I started the lesson with her sister for 30 minutes while he was being cheered up and calmed down by his mum. He came back with frown so I started with a short story telling that apparently distracted him from the fight before. Every now and then he would jump out his chair so his sister and I would try to make him come back to the lesson. We had the very basic of piano lesson that day – about rhythm and fingers number. I wasn’t sure if he would remember anything I said in the next lesson.

Today I came back to his place, again, with double portion of patience tank. He couldn’t identify right hand and left hand, but he remembered the fingers number I taught him last week. We practiced, interrupted by his desire to stare at the mirror or run around the house. But one thing that amazed me is that he actually pays attention to everything I said. We could even finish 4 different easy finger exercises. I rewarded him with music to dance to and colouring time every time he finished the exercise. I gave him a warm hug and high five when we finished the lesson. He still couldn’t remember my name, but I felt a sense of accomplishment.

I drove home with different feeling, fulfilled with peace and satisfaction. He taught me a lesson about happiness, that happiness means to give. Happiness means to believe in yourself and in others, to be determined with what you are doing. And keep doing what you are passionate about.

See you next week, Will!

Welcome Back Home

A few months ago I applied for a working holiday visa to Australia that would give me a year to enter and spend time there, and I’d be allowed to work. For those who haven’t known my primary reason to get this visa, it’s because I was in a long distance relationship between Jakarta and Melbourne. So I thought to make it easier for us, I’d move there for a year, instead of having unsponsored trips every 3 months or so. The visa was granted and I bought a one way ticket too.

We’ve been planning this long ago, and it somehow distracted us from the quality of the relationship itself. We didn’t really communicate anymore, we didn’t make time and effort to understand each other and to fulfill each other’s needs. I felt doubts but I told myself that it will be fine, regardless what I was feeling towards him and the relationship. I let the visa allowing me to put myself and my needs aside, and slowly but sure, I was changing into someone who is not myself anymore. Because I did look up to him, he wanted me to change to be a better person – which is good, unless the new person he’s creating is not me anymore. This made me feel like I couldn’t catch up and I would look down on myself because of my desire to stay who I am.

I had to put my foot down, even though it means I let half of my savings blown away. It *is* a lot of amount for me, and since I only have this small business, it took me a while to save. But when I think about it,  it is a small amount for a life lesson. Or maybe life lesson isn’t accurate. It’s more like saving myself from something worse, like stuck with that kind of life forever and believing that the best I could do.

So here I am rearranging my life with new point of view, new perspective about myself. The whole thing taught me a lot. I discovered my true self more, who I really am, what are my desires and passions that can’t be separated from me. I probably will keep focusing on growing my business, setting new goals for it. I will travel more, I will keep growing my passion for music and teaching. I will stay carefree and spontaneous. I will definitely pursue what I couldn’t before and believing that it is okay to be like this – to be the true self of me.

My life is much better now that I don’t have to fight with myself. I’m much calmer, less anxious and happier. And my friends agreed. I slowly get back my enthusiasm, and enjoy it without any guilty feeling.

Welcome back home, Rose! 🙂

The Best Kind Of Love


The best kind of love is the one that makes you fall in love everyday with the same person over and over again, makes you feel glad that you are who you are but in the same time it motivates you to be a better version of you everyday, and makes you want to give them all the reasons to love you.

Decisions, decisions..

Since I won’t be moving to Australia anymore, I accepted 2 more part time jobs which would take 5 more hours per day and give me almost half of my current income. So after wanting it for months, I’ve finally decided to take more advantage of living in the SE Asia by hiring a driver. I ended up paying about $220 per month for 9 driving-less hours per day, 6 days a week. I do feel a bit bad that it sounds like slavery :p but hey it IS one of the advantages of living here.

Sometimes I feel a bit ashamed that I am hiring a driver when I have this kind of car:



You know why I feel that way. People who have drivers here would have better cars and better income, too – instead of a cute Toyota college car and less than 40k per year income. It’s not even a sedan. Ha ha! But the point is, I hire him not because I need a better lifestyle, but because I need a driver. My actual work, before I took these 2 jobs, takes me only 4 hours per day at the most, but on most days I needed to drive around for almost that long, with this kind of traffic:


Although sometimes I doubt myself if I have made the right decision, It’s been 2 days since I hired him and surprisingly it helps me a lot. It makes me realise that I got more stress form the driving rather than my actual work. I have more energy and better mood so I managed to get more things done, less procrastinating.

Hopefully it’s for the better!