Evil Eye Mug Fifth Spirit Tarot Journal
Diary

Lockdown Diary: Day 3

When I sat down for the Monday Morning meeting, the first thing discussed was the high probability of lockdown getting extended. Not a great way to start the week, eh?

I tried to push the speculative news aside, along with the thought that I most probably won’t see my parents nor go on Kumano Kodo pilgrimage this year.

Instead, I spent the day working, reading a few pages from the boring CPA textbook, running, practising yoga for runners, texting friends and gentle journaling.

Some highlights of the day include bed coffee, payday (I pulled the King of Pentacles), cozying up on the sofa with Fafa and watching The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix, the smell of the burning candle ━ a gift from Jik, getting a package and Wood Frog’s pumpkin seed sliced bread.

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Film Camera MjuII Kodak Ultramax 400 Sky Bird
Musings

5 AM Thoughts at 3.30 AM

My 5 AM thoughts visited me again today, only that it came at 3.30 AM.

It has been three days in a row that I haven’t been sleeping peacefully, but today it was much worse since I could not go back to sleep anymore.

I refuse to self-diagnose myself with insomnia. Self-diagnosing when it comes to health is a trait that has become second nature among my extended family. Hence my conscious effort to stir away from it. Even at 3.30 AM.

I think I just overstimulated myself yesterday; both mind and body. The brain has been forced to work since 8 AM yesterday, and it didn’t stop even until I went to bed. From office work, blog posts, personal errands and reading heavy stuff until I fell asleep.

Meanwhile, I also let myself binge-eat yesterday using the period excuse. From sugary drinks, spicy chips to late-night garlic rice.

As a result, the heated stomach and buzzing brain refused to let my tire-soul rest.


I thought about how it has been a while since I share my coffee-diary entries here. How I forever chase the golden-light in life, both literally and figuratively. Both topics are unrelated.

I wondered whether I would have developed a deeper and layered understanding of a language if I was not raised to be multilingual. Since even until now, I struggle to express myself a bit more in-depth. In any language. Not only that, I have passed an embarrassing number of reading materials, just because it’s too hard for me to digest.

I felt like there is a version of me who I want to be (the one who reads daily, who cooks often, who goes on hikes on the weekend and who runs a marathon) and there is the current me that is not there yet. This year is about closing the gap between those two MEs, or at least minimize the gap.

My thought then went to the unwrapped gifts in the living room. It’s for a party that I have been invited to, by someone I wouldn’t invite to mine. Funny, isn’t it? Someone can be your VIP, but it doesn’t always mean vice versa. If you think I was being mean, hey at least I got them a gift 🤷🏽.

I wrote a reminder to finish reading Patti Smith this month – preferably this weekend if I am good. And to visit a new-to-me neighborhood cafe before we move out from here. Also, to get a tarot journal.


– ❥K

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Best Days
Celebrations, Diary, Musings

What Was The Best Day of Your Life?

What was the best day of your life?

The question popped out on my phone. Sent by Jik. It got me thinking. The thing is, I have many.

The days I spent with my cousins, driving around Jakarta to buy the best road-side food.

The weekend I went to Malaka with my Uni friends and made more friends by the time we went back to Singapore.

Our three weeks honeymoon in Japan.

The weekend I went to Goa to attend my cousin’s wedding.

The first time I saw the Autumn colours IRL.

The many moments I shared with Cheryl when we worked together.

The day I went to the theme park as a kid with just my parents. I was wearing a red dress, and they let me do water rafting. It was so fun. I felt so happy and excited, and a bit of a grown-up.

The day I got a salary hike.

The day I got approval to move to Australia.

The day I stood in front of the sixteen floors National Library in Singapore.

The day I noticed Vi entering the classroom wearing her purple pyjamas.

The days I spent in Phi Phi Island, wearing a bikini for the first time and learning to be confident in it.

The day I bought my first MacBook.

Birthdays.

The hours I spent in the bookstores. And the hours I spent in Spellbox.

The night of the New Year’s Eve when I met Fafa.

The drunken night walk with my cousins in Copenhagen.

The day I ate MSG ridden fried-rice in a Chinese restaurant in Italy after not having rice for more than a week for the first time in my life.

Japan days.

My first snowfall day.

The days where Fafa kindness was the only support I had.

The weekend in Uluru.

The hours Jik and I spent in coffee shops in Hong Kong.

The time with LOL memories.

Quality times I spent with Amma and the moments of hugging her.

The day my Amma complimented me on my cousin’s engagement day.

Drinking Karak Chai in Dubai.

The nights I sat on the beach.

The hours I spent in the kitchen with my workmates – having lunch or just taking breaks.

The days I spent with Erwin and Vivi, rediscovering Jakarta.

The days and nights I spent with Thu just messing around while trying to figure out life.

My days in Singapore.

First dates. Second dates.

The days where I do very little but don’t feel guilty at all. The days when I do so much and feel a sense of accomplishment.

My post-grad days.

Sleepover nights.

My wedding days.

The day I realised I had all the support I needed in life.

The afternoon in Brisbane when we took an hour Uber-ride to eat good Indo food.

The day I discovered Serial podcast while travelling in Europe, which led into the true-crime rabbit hole.

The day I took Shinkansen for the first time, the second time and every single time after that.

The day I set up my blogs excitedly.

My last working day in Singapore.

Those are some of my best days—the ones I would love to redo. I realised now that most of them involve being surrounded by my loved ones, travelling and discovering myself. Here is to creating space in my life for more of those kinds of days.

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Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 7

Happy New Year from a liminal space in Echuca!

Today is my last day in the farmhouse. Though I’d love to stay for much longer time (weeks if not months), I am grateful for the short time I had here.

I feel refresh, rejuvenated and recharged. Ready to conquer (no, not “slaying” my year anymore – from now onwards, I will be respectful of the new year) 2021.

I closed last year by eating 12 grapes and thanking the Universe all the good things and learning I got to experience in 2020.

Meanwhile, started 2021 by wishing Fafa and then my parents a happy new year, even though it’s just 8 PM of a different year on their time and went to sleep peacefully.

I woke up earlier to have one last breakfast made by Fafa at the farmhouse. Then I ran, meditated, fed the chickens, pulled the tarot card for the year (Ten of Swords) and did the new year tarot spread.

After writing this, the last part of my last farm stay diary series, I am going to pack and tidy up the farmhouse and bid goodbye the baby cows, the farm and the house before heading back to Melbourne.

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Rustic Bedroom Echuca Farm Stay Melbourne VIctoria Australia
Celebrations, Diary, Travel

Echuca Farm Stay Diary: Day 6

Hello from the last day of the unprecedented year.

Today I woke up from yes, another great night sleep. After slathering my face with the pure luxe face oil I got as a free sample, I started reading The New Parisienne by Lindsey Tramuta in bed.

I was in the middle of writing the annual post of The Year I.. when Fafa called me for brekkie. Today he only made egg on toast anticipating the delicious lunch date in the town.

I published the above post, pulled a card representation for the year-end (King of Cups), went running, clocked 150km for the year, and started another new year routine; writing my new year intentions and goals, resolutions, and sharing the process with Jik.

2021 Intentions, Goals and Resolutions

By then, it was almost lunchtime. We got ready and drove half-hour in the scorching heat. We had lunch at the Monkey Coo & Asian Kitchen. My order wasn’t as good this time, but the crab spring rolls appetiser was yummy!

Before leaving Echuca town centre, we made a short stop at Candle Scents as I wanted to give a small thank you token to the farmhouse owner who has been so courteous throughout our stay, even when we broke the bathtub yesterday.

It was past 3 PM when we were back in the farmhouse. Since it was too hot to do anything and it’s a liminal space day anyway, after feeding the chickens, I changed into Pjs, opened a new bottle of wine and started journaling.

I wrote my last gratitude list for the year, tarot related goals for the next year and any random things I can think of in between, with the pink-sky backdrop which can be seen from the dinning room where I am writing this from. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

After this as my previous days’ routine, I am going to shower, watch Come Dine With Me on SBS Food, have steak dinner (Fafa’s new year’s eve speciality), drink more wine in the name of festivity, write a bit more, greet the cows, wish my parents an early Happy New Year, read, eat 12 grapes as another new year tradition, drink tea, watch Dexter, pray and go to bed early-ish so I can greet the new year in peace and gratitude.

Happy New Year’s Eve ━ hope you are celebrating it the way you want.

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The Emperor Moon Void Tarot Deck Black and White Crystal
Tarot

Stalked By The Emperor

The Emperor is stalking me. He has appeared for three consecutive days on my daily tarot card reading. Four, if I include the Meletos staycation tarot spread. What’s weirder is that this isn’t the first time this card has stalked me. The last time it happened, I chalked it as a message to call Appa. He did stop appearing after that.

But this time, I don’t think it has anything to do with a masculine representation in my life. For once, The Emperor card in the Moon Void Tarot deck – the one I have been using ever since I got it early this month – doesn’t have the Emperor on it; the card only shows his crown, sceptre and robe placed on his throne. Seems like he is busy doing stuff instead of just sitting on his ass. Which, if I am honest, is a nice alternative to the classic depiction of the card in Rider Waite Smith tarot deck. On the Rider Waite Smith, the Emperor is just sitting there, drapped in a red robe, looking rather stern.

His rigidness on the Rider Waite Smith deck aside, I am indifferent towards The Emperor in tarot. It’s not one of my deck deciding tarot cards. And come to think of it; I have never seen The Emperor card that I like to from any deck I own.

The traditional meaning of the card The Emperor is about structure, authority, ability and so on. Meanwhile, Stef, the creator of the Moon Void Tarot deck, said this about the him:

Emperor (Aries) energy appears when we are asked to stand up and stand out, to take up more space as well as holding space for others.

Foundation, respect, standing the ground, space… I still am unsure what message the Emperor is trying to convey me. Maybe I ought to spend some more time with it. It could just be the first tarot card that I meditate on.

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Tarot

Ten of Pentacles and The Introvert

I have always associated the Ten of Pentacles with family.

From having a family gathering, throwing a party and inviting your family or at the least celebrating the fact of having made it in life seen from your family or community standard. Those are pretty close to the traditional interpretation of the Ten of Pentacles: financial security, family, legacy and stability (for me, stability relates closely to family).

In the classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, the Ten of Pentacles depicted by three generations sitting in the courtyard with a castle in the background. It shows prosperity — excessively.

Echoing a few tarot readers sentiments, I too have a qualm with the classic image of the card. Firstly, why there is only an older man? If it’s of three generations, where is the older woman? Did she die? Why the young-ish couple’s body language doesn’t exude warmness? Why are they being showered by the coins? Are they purposely flaunting their wealth? If yes, yikes! And lastly:

If it’s a family celebration, where is the food??

Btw, I haven’t done deep-dive study nor worked enough with the Ten of Pentacles, but these are the questions that keep coming up when I see the Ten of Pentacles in Rider Waite Smith tarot deck.

Whenever I pull the Ten of Pentacles, the introvert in me paused. Yes, yay for a good-omen card! Yay, for completion but…

What if I don’t feel like celebrating with people today?

Because sometimes – well, most of the times – a celebration for me involves some me-time. I also most likely treat myself first as a reward for having tick-off my goals or having “made-it”. And those activities carry more of the Nine of Pentacles’s energy than the next card in the deck.

It also makes me wonder whether it means introverts journey stops at the Nine of Pentacles just because that’s where our happy place is? That doesn’t seem fair, does it?? After all, we also work as hard as our more social counterparts. We also deserve to obtain the 10th coin, but you know, in our own terms.

So you can imagine my delight when I saw the Moon Void Tarot deck depiction of Ten of Pentacles – which I draw during my morning ritual. The Ten of Pentacles here is seen from the vantage point of the slightly opened gates (adorned by carvings of pentacles), in front of it laid a beautifully tended garden leading to the front door of a house (more of a bungalow than a house, it’s Ten of Pentacles after all).

All tens are about completion, and the introvert in me relate more entering my own home at the end of a very eventful ten cards worth of journey instead of partying it up with the extended family in the piazza flashing our wealth to all the passersby.

Also, it’s nice to think that the Moon Void Tarot deck gave the choice of what’s-behind-the-door entirely to us. It can be just Netflix and stacks of books, or your cat, or your just partner or your entire family waiting for you to share a meal, or a coven of witches, heck even a full-on party. Giving the nod to your perception of “family”.

As for the interpretation of the card in regards to my day today? Well, it was pretty straight forward, we accepted a last-minute invite to our friends’ home for a cozy evening gathering. There was plenty of food.

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Musings

30 going on 365

I started this blog only last month (the posts in the archive are loaded from various old blogs and written journal entries). The same time during the same month, I vowed to do daily writing. Committing to doing it at least for a month first. Privately reminding myself that if I fail to write every day about anything and everything I want for a month; I am not allowed to claim writing is my passion.

Harsh, I know.

But I have been mopping around instead of writing for the most part of this year (blaming it on Covid), that I felt a little bit of writing-self-discipline was required.

Today, WordPress reminded me that I am on my 40-day writing streak. I have passed the measly goal I set for myself early. By my own account, I am now allowed to call myself a writer. Woohoo!!

Now, my goal-oriented brain is taunting me with:

You did it for a month, can you do it for a year?

A tall order, I know.

Especially since I am hoping the next 300-ish days will be less grim than the past 300-ish days. Where I dream of sitting in my office cubicle, travelling to Fiji, celebrating my parents’ birthdays together with them and hiking Kumano Kodo trails. Even now, before doing any of it, all those things seem more important than committing to daily writing for a year. Or is it? I don’t have the answer yet.

What I know for now is that daily writing has been an anchor to my mental health. It has kept me sane and centered. And I can genuinely say that I am happier now compared to my pre-daily writing days. And I do wonder if it makes me feel this way only after doing it for more than a month, how will I feel in a year time if I commit to it.

Alas, here is me, committing to finishing my daily writing journey from 30 days to 365 days, starting from today (which, to my woo-woo side delight, is the 11th of the 11th), the start of the holiday season, mid of NaMeWriMo and end of lock-down.

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Tarot

Tower Moments

Of all the “bad cards” in tarot, the Tower is something I am comfortable with. Maybe even a little too comfortable.

The 16th card from the Major Arcana, the Tower is traditionally seen as the representation of disaster, sudden change, significant disruption and chaos.

Those are enough reasons for people to not want to see it in a reading.

It makes sense. We, human beings, tend to seek stability in our lives. I am no different. As I write this on top of my picnic rug, in the park soaking the sun, eating the cheese and getting a bit buzzed from the wine, I too don’t wish for the rug to be pulled from under my feet. Both metaphorically and literally.

But it didn’t start this way for me.

I came from a somewhat traditional Indian family. I say somewhat because my parents are smart people with kind hearts who want nothing but, what they think, as the best for their daughter. But at the same time, they are bogged down by society and at times dated and jaded traditions. Growing up, it had always been a constant struggle between following the social values and just being a child, and later, a teenager. For example, they would let me wear whatever I wanted, which was more than most Indian girls growing up in a traditional family could ask for. But at the same time, I wasn’t allowed to date.

I did both. With that, I turned into the rebel of the family and started what I called as my Tower moments.

My Tower moments started when I, as a teenager, laughed on the face of the priest who told Amma that he could magically make me stop rebelling. A major tower moment was when I cancelled my wedding a couple of weeks before the day. Another one, when I moved to Singapore without a job and proceeded to live there for almost a decade before uprooting the somewhat comfortable life I had built for myself to go back home because I wanted to heal my relationship with my parents. Again without a job. I also summoned The Tower when I migrated to Melbourne, and again when I married someone from a different background in Bali. This time without any priest.

The Tower is a shadow self that I have accepted. It taught me to be calm throughout chaotic periods in my life. From the period when my dad stopped talking to me to being bullied; even when I was made redundant. I went through these with a zen-ish outlook.

And I know I can go through similar shit moments in the future because I had deliberately chosen to walk through worse things, either because it aligned with my values or to chase my dreams.

I also learned that even though I always have plans for my life (Virgo baby!), sometimes the Universe grants my wishes in different ways. And based on my past experiences, it could just be in the Tower mode.

It’s good to remember that fundamentally the Tower is about radical changes. A reminder to:

“Be positive, it is time to replace the old foundations of the past with something that is more genuine and will serve better in what is to come”

Labyrinthos.


Not gonna lie, knowing that — if tomorrow, something happens and I have to uproot my life yet again — I can do it, feels pretty empowering. And I blame my semi-traditional Indian parents for it. They shouldn’t have instilled the value of resilience in the young rebellious me.

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Musings

What Inspires Your Passion?

What inspires you to write?”

— saged-traveling lady on the train to Beijing.

I was taken back by the question. Not many have asked me this before. I forget when or who asked me the same question before that day when I traveling solo in China.

My mind traveled back to earlier that month when I just started contemplating on changing my writing direction to focus on culture, which eventually birthed Kulture Kween a few years later — to 2012 when I started a travel blog — to 2007 when I started a blog after I read a classmate’s poetry blog — to 2004 when Erwin Tanudjaja introduced me to the concept of a blog. The same Erwin who introduced me to the internet in 1997.

But, it was two years before that, I realized my passion for writing.

On the day I forgot to bring my homework. I called Amma from a rusty (even for 1995) coin-operated payphone from my school begging her to bring my homework.

It was not compulsory. It was an extracurricular activity. My grade wouldn’t be marked. But for some reason, I put an effort to write an essay with a not-appropriate-for-middle-school topic. I spent the whole long weekend in August to write and rewrite it in longhand (it was 1995). Finally, I put my rebellious twist on it. I know it would be marked by the school principal and didn’t care if he was going to penalize me for it. I just didn’t want it to be a cookie-cutter school essay with a sprinkle of mundaneness.

Thankfully Amma refrained from executing a teachable moment that day. She took an auto-rickshaw and dropped the paper to me at school. Just in time for me to slip it to the stack of papers waiting in the Principal’s office.

My essay won. No gift. The acknowledgment was done and dusted in less than two minutes. But it didn’t matter. I felt such joy at the moment, more than scoring a solid 100 on an exam paper.

That moment topped my childhood happiness chart.

That was the moment that gave the answer to what inspires my passion question asked by the stranger on the train. The foundation for me slogging hours and hours on writing/blogging/journaling.

Thank you for not penalising me on that day Mr. School Principal. I hope my hoarder parents still keep the winning essay somewhere in the house.

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