8 reasons why you should visit Morocco

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Last summer, i really felt the need to just travel to nowhere. The reason was, Björn and i didn’t have enough time for a loong holiday in Indonesia. Travel helps me to erase all the sadness and homesickness. So, i told my husband, “Let’s go!”. But when he asked, “where?”, i couldn’t answer him. London was actually my first pick. I already booked a ticket for our spring holiday but cancel it in the same the day, because i just realized in that day, that i need a VISA to go to London!

When London was off the list, i really didn’t know where to go, since Iceland or Norwegia is my next dream destination. But they are wayyy too expensive for us. I then named some countries around Germany, but Björn kept rejected my ideas cause he really wants to go to Islamic country. Turkey which stand on my top five country-to-go-soon list also got rejected because Björn had been there already. Gladly amidst everything, i follow @amrazing on Instagram and at that time he posted series of amazing pictures in Morocco.  One post even informed me that Indonesian doesn’t need VISA to go to Morocco. So, without further consideration, Björn finally agreed to go to Morocco. And man, i should have put this country on my top traveling list. Cause everything is so enchanted!

So, here are 10 reasons why you should go to Morocco soon!

1.It’s in Africa

First thing first, shallow reason. You are one step closer to check off one list in your bucket to go to every continent in the world. Morocco is kind of the nearest and the safest country in Africa right now. So, before you go anywhere else, you can start off from Morocco.

2. Homage to your favorite movies and series.

Another shallow reason that got me super excited to visit Morocco is because i could see Yunkai and Casablanca. Find your favorite movies that were filmed in Morocco here.

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feel badass. chanelling Khaleesi

3.The transportation system is good enough to enable you to go all over the country.

There is always different choices to go from one city to another. It could be train, bus, taxi or plane. All the transportation system is already connected to the internet, so you can easily check the timeline and book the ticket. (You can check it here).

My favorite is the small tour bus across the country, followed by the train. It’s so comfortable since we got the compartment for ourselves for the whole trip from Casablanca to Marrakesh.

4.Best road trip, you could ever have

I always love road trip. But i believe Morocco offers the best road trip one could ever imagine. I choose 3 days 2 nights trip from Marrakech to Fez, and it was breathtaking. Every 10km offers totally different scenery. I was even too amazed to take pictures. One thing that i keep thinking along the way is that, no one can make all these beautiful sceneries other than One with the greatest power.

5. The colour is so vivid so unforgettable

Inspirations in every move you take.

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6. Pretty riad with pretty price

Okay, everything is actually pretty with pretty price. But my favorite finding is the Riad(hotel/apartment), i get these Riads from airbnb but in fact you can always bargain on the spot.

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7. The food is divine.

The most regrettable thing other than i didn’t spare enough time in Morocco is i didn’t eat enough. I wish i could taste all different kinds of tajines there. It’s their way of cooking that couldn’t be recreated anywhere. Of all the tajines that i’ve tasted, my favorite goes to lamb tajine with plum. Make sure to gain some kg’s there, allright?

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that’s the only tajine pic that i got, other than this i was too hungry to take pic.

8.You can bargain everything, anything

 I am not good in bargaining, the only bargain that i do is to bargain the taxi (it’s crazy overpriced for tourist). I also don’t like shopping, Marrakesh and Fez Medina don’t really impressed me. If you are the opposite of me, Moroccos Medinas are your heaven.

What are you waiting for? Book your ticket now to Morocco and share your stories. Oh, i made a video essay about what i’ve learned in Morocco here. Kindly, check it out :* Thanks for reading and watchingg.

In Need to Love Writing

my writing table

my writing table

As you can see from my previous post, you know that I never doing well with productivity or routine. Last July, I did most of things that I planned, except blogging, learning Arabic and watching TED video. This July was the month where I got stuck to rewrite my novel. At first, i thought that I will just edit it fast and voila my novel is finished, but infact the story that I wrote years ago doesn’t resonate me anymore. The words in my head change as I read more and my belief went to a long searching journey. I put all my efforts to rewrite the voice of my character. I cut almost half of each chapter, and write it again. A that time i really wonder whether this rewriting idea is a noob trial or an act of professionalism, but my mind got stuck on the first one. I am a total amateur.

I thought I could start blogging again on August, but then my German course take five of my productive hours, i was too overwhelmed with the new routine and i still hadn’t finished my re-writing process, so yeah, I found another excuse to not blogging. And let’s talk about September, the most productive time of my life ever (in terms of writing). I finally edited my 200 pages novel for like three times until I didn’t realize that month is already change. Editing process brought me up to the whole new layer of writing-reading experience that I never know before. I even didn’t know when to stop editing, i enjoy it so much so my productivity stucked in putting detail and thinking about the relevancy of my story. Somehow around that month, I also manage to get the whole concept of my second book, which is a non-fiction pile of essay kinda book. Huff can’t wait to finish the first chapter and show it to my first reader.

I also manage to read a ton of new book. I ordered five new Indonesian book and a friend of mine crazily throw me three books to read since last month. There are just much of it.

the first one is just a pencil case y'all

the first one is just a pencil case y’all

I try so much to engage within books on October, so i pushed my self to go to a one day trip to Frankfurt Book Festival, thinking that i need some recharge from this bibpliophile’s heaven. But not really, Frankfurt Buch Messe isn’t for bibliophile and definitely not to be visited for one day. It’s just tons of book end up together in one enormous place. From that i know, bibliophile’s heaven is in the little sofa nearby their book rack.

If one thing that i got from Frankfurt Buch Messe is the chance to have 10 minutes sitting with Tere Liye. There he reminded me of one thing that i really need to learn. He told me to love writing.

Tere Liye offers all comfort book that i need, his books are the books that i will go read whenever i am tired reading too thick book or too complicated one. He gives a good amount of excitement in every book he writes, and man he writes a lot. His writing won’t give you crazy chill or five hours sobbing but it touches, tickles and break your heart in a distinct motion separately. So when i got the chance to talk to him, of course i asked him about his writing style. But surprisingly, he is so pragmatic, he asked me to turn the table, tear down all the theories that i know and to just write. Oh isn’t it what something that someone who always over thinking everything need to hear?

He pointed out that i haven’t love writing yet after i uttered my problem with continuity of writing (yeah he is a pretty straightforward person! kind of shock of that but i should have guessed from his facebook posts tho!). I know that he is right, in fact i love the brainstorming process more than the writing process itself. I have pages of writing ideas that never got executed. Damn girl, i told my self at that time, i have to learn how to love writing!

For him, there is no excuse to not writing everyday for someone who loves writing. Writing for him is also a healing process of cracked soul, that’s why it is so powerful to love it and to do it everyday. I couldn’t agree more, i’ve heard this word before, long ago from 2012 when i heard Asma Nadia giving presentation in Malaysia. I experienced writing as a healing process whenever i feel so low, most of the time i write poetry, because it doesn’t have boundary to utter my deepest dark feeling. But often i don’t write and just  prefer to read books so i can forget my sad mind.

I love reading that’s i know for sure, and since i have a current donatur (a.k.a B) to buy me every book that i want my love is grow crazier. Everyday i read, everywhere, i just can’t not holding a book in a day. And oh man, i want to experience the same feeling with writing, i want to get addicted to writing. Tere Liye said, “Azmi listen to me, write everyday 1000 words for 180 days, never stop and try to always achieve your goal, write anything, everything and once you skipped repeat again from day 1. After 6 months, insha Allah you’ll find your love in writing and feel healed.”

After i met him, the book fair isn’t really important any more, there is no book in Bahasa Indonesia to buy and there is no other author that i want to talk to. Actually, Eka Kurniawan was there but he was going around seeing the booth around, and i don’t want to creep him out to asking him sitting with me (but now when i think about it, i should have just creep him out anyway, duh! like if John Green was disguised in there somewhere i totally will creep him out by buying him a coffee for a 10 minutes talk with him). The thing is, i already hear what i need to hear. So, i spent the rest of the day, laying down in the middle of Indonesia Pavillion, reading Pram’s book about Calon Arang, since that’s the thinnest book from Pram, that i thought i could finish reading it before my train is coming. As i lay down in the children section and looking at the fantastic artificial garden on the ceiling, i can’t stop thinking about the smell of free rendang whether or not i could ever complete my #180daysofwriting or should i call it #1000wordsfor180days #amwriting #noob #amateurwriter #aspringwriter.

For at least 40 days, i already have plan. Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month starts next month and a friend of mine (who are an author of 5 books) challenged me to do #30DWC (30 Days Writing Challange) since three days ago! I don’t know what will happen to the other 140 days though, but all i know i will fight for my love for writing. Wish me luck guys, if you also want to challange yourself in writing go check out Rezky’s challange and Nanowrimo.

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I must… I must also listen to the muttered voice telling me of the past the days to come…. Kartini

With Love,

Azmi

Slow Motion

As Millennial, i felt a great burden to be someone great in early age. I spend the last four years to tell myself that i could be someone great soon, but until now i am not. I realized that for those years, i spend more of my time dreaming rather than building the dreams. I created ideas, i searched for possibilities without having focus on finishing it, i made myself busy with too many things. And then two years ago comes as the year of regrets, i question myself with a full realization that i am lost. But again my approach on having my dream comes true was wrong; i was back to multitasking, doing anything in order to achieve everything. Maybe i was in denial for losing my self, not knowing what to do to achieve the dream.

I am a person who strongly believes in altruism ; according to my prophet SAW, the best human being is the most useful one. So for me being alone wasn’t a choice, doing nothing was prohibited.It scared me so much until the idea of knowing that i am not useful and not inspire anyone make me depressed. It took me a lot of time to understand and to finally see the silver lining behind it. Solitude bring peace to me so that i can finally enjoy building my dream, without no one pushing it, without any deadline.

It is the process that counts, not the result.

I feel so stupid when i realize this, i know about this idea since i was in high school.

It is even stated in Quran Surah At-Taubah ayah 105. And say, “Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do.

How can i forget?

Either i published my book when i was 15 or i published it when i am 50; it’s all gonna be the same as long as i keep working on it at my best. The beauty indeed lies in the process, I wrote my (not yet published) book since three years ago; if i would finished it instantly the book will be so raw since i didn’t have chance to meet the character and the setting that is so similiar to what i write. Putting aside this book for a year or two in fact is a great bless, i got a chance to see how bad the chapter 1 is before the editor sees it.

Their process to succeed is to fail

The process is the one who make JK Rowling tough; all the rejection that she got is the thing that make sure Harry Potgiter end up to the right publisher. When i find out that Sofia Coppola just have five movies, i was shocked, at first at thought that hey she isn’t that productive but then i realize that those five movies are great! She took her time to make high quality movies rather produce often but its shitty. Julia Child was a boring house wife in a foreign country before she could create a recipe book of all time. It took Oprah a tough childhood and 10 years of working experiences before she could make a show that last for 25 years. And i always have to remember that Emily Dickinson works was not praised until she is dead.

I come to understand that there is no instant process. Time is the one who differ and who inspire. Process doesn’t have to always be a marathon. Doing our process in slow motion could give us chance to savor the small detail and further the infinite. So far, i feel that taking long process for building a dream is equal to living in magical world.

Ok, now i am going back to my magical world, hope you got one too.

Love, Azmi

PS: Lynn Monahan, a fellow American blogger writes her interpretation about this post here. Her experience on taking it slow is way cooler than mine.

Own Your Ramadhan

Ramadhan Mubarak

*insert mumbling of how hard it is to keep posting every week*

How is your Ramadhan going, guys? Alhamdulillah, it’s second day of Ramadhan for me, 7 more hours before Maghreb. I hope you all got the spirit that you needed to have a blast journey this month. And for those who are not celebrating, i wish you a very great summer!

This Ramadhan is very special for me, it’s my first Ramadhan as wife and i can’t be more grateful to Allah for the feeling of spending Ramadhan together as a family. Having a great partner to support you in a treasure hunting feels so great, so powerful and so amazing. Yes, for us Ramadhan is a month that hide so many treasure and we prepared to not miss any of it Insha Allah. The treasure that we wish to find out is a big leap that make us closer to Allah and Jannah, because we believe once that leap is achieved, we will be better person for ourselves and other human being.

Our preparations start by fully understood what is the great meaning behind Ramadhan and how it affect us as human being. From that we figure out our Vision, Mission and Goals in Ramadhan. I put down everything we agreed on the wall as a reminder (and decoration) for our Ramadhan spirit.

you should make one too! its fun!

you should make one too! its fun!

try to dechiper B's writing!

try to dechiper B’s writing!

While we were doing our preparation for our Ramadhan, i personally find a big answer for my gloomy heart. I was really worried that i will not spend this Ramadhan greatly because i am not in position which i can give a lot or share something to a lot of peoplem i was always thought that Ramadhan is always about giving out and doing good deeds. But Alhamdulillah, i got to watch Nouman Ali Khan (my favourite ustadz!!) sharing his routine on Ramadhan, and from him i realize that actually Ramadhan should be more individualistic. I cried so much when i finally understand that Ramadhan is supposed to be the month of getting closer to Allah and understand Qur’an more, i feel so relieved.

19 hours without food and drink is tough but alhamdulillah that Allah guarantee to put everyone at ease. Yesterday was my first taraweeh in Germany and i had to bike 5km to reach the masjid in the middle of the night, i thought i can’t make it and i would be super tired and grumpy but then when i reached home at 2 am i felt so happy, a little bit sleepy but not tired at all. I wasn’t much productive in my first day fasting, but insha Allah second day will comes better (i am writing a blog post today, see!)

Fasting in Germany indeed comes with quiet different (harder) obstacles (atleast for me as an Indonesian), the surrounding doesn’t really show the festive of Ramadhan, longer fasting time, silent Ramadhan night and i lost my appetite during Sahoor ( i was just eating muesli for sahoor instead of a plate of rice and chicken!). But i believe with a great obstacles comes even great reward, i really wish this Ramadhan would make me closer to Allah and Qur’an and turn me into the best version of myself. Amin.

first taraweeh!

first taraweeh!

Again, Ramadhan Mubarok everyone. What is your goal in this Ramadhan? For those who aren’t celebrating, i am curious, do you feel weird when you know that your colleague is fasting? What is your thought on Ramadhan?

PS: Brace yourself more Ramadhan and islamic post is coming X)

 

Love,

 

Azmi

 

Three Countries in One Step

After the thoughtful come-back post yesterday, today i will shower your timeline with many of latest trip. I think i want to begin with my experience going to three countries within 5 hours!

As you can guess, my trip didn’t include going to three different cities in three countries; it’s all in one step! As the westernmost city of Germany, Aachen is located along borders with Belgium and Netherlands. In the deep of Aachen’s forest, you can find the borders of these three countries in one location. The forest is located around 4 km from the city center, it is accessible with bus, car and bicycle -but you should walk few kilometers if you go with bus-. I’ve been there twice, once in a cold spring and the second one is when the sun is above my head!

First Trip

Björn asked me in one weekend to hike, ‘it’s just a small walk’ he said. I didn’t prepare anything and just let him pack some fruits and water, i heard that he was going to make some sandwich! I wasn’t a sporty person then, the idea of hiking scared me (i’m not exaggerating here!) i hated going out without any purpose. Going out for me meant to buy something or eat something or at least watch something. Björn convinced me with the reason of doing an activity – that he likes so much – together. At that time, he just want to go out for a hike, not knowing that there is this touristic place called Dreiländereck (Three Countries Point).

We then took the bus number 2 direction to Preuswald and stop in Waldschenke. I became so enthusiast when i looked at the map, because in fact the forest offer something touristy. I then asked him, if the Dreiländereck is walk able for me (means i will not faint or become cranky before i reach there), and he answered me with certain exclamation. He shouted to me to stop looking at the map and start walking. He said ‘let the force guide us’. (yes, we are a little geeky)

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We walked along the leafless tree, my favorite kind of tree that can’t hold any wind; sadly. I saved my hands inside my jacket, finger crossed, wishing for upcoming sunshine. Björn couldn’t stop looking around, he sought wild animal that might appears. People said Aachen Forest hold deer, wild badgers, foxes and martens. Instead of having a quick glance of a deer, he found a well polished walking stick for me.

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On one junction, we saw a lot of (old) people with a guide gathered in one spot. We got closer to them, listen the guide a bit and look at the the stone that possibly comes from Middle Ages. Björn later explain to me about The “Aachener Reich” , the territory of the former imperial city of Aachen, the Aix – la – Chapelle, the middle territory that bring peace in the whole Europe. This eagle stones marked the boundary of the Aachener Reich in the old times.

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We met with various kind hikers; one whole family, old couples, madly in love teens that can’t stop snogging. I heard French, and keep trying to differ Dutch and Deutsch along the way. After walking for one hour, finally we arrived to the Dreiländereck and suddenly i received various SMS for roaming info. The place was fulled by tourist, a lot of cars parked by the tower, chairs spread out of the cafe. Everybody was taking picture with/of one single stones with Belgium, Netherlands and Germany flags are around. I consider myself wasn’t a tourist, so i don’t really find the needs to take picture there. I prefer  to show you mark of Eurogio, which is the mark of German-Dutch communal association that composed of 130 cities, municipalities and counties from the Münsterland region to the south-western Lower Saxony and the eastern Netherlands. There should be waving flags of three countries as well, but the wind didn’t support me no matter how hard i tried.

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Second Trip

After i convinced on how beautiful Aachener Wald is, i agreed to do the second trip to Dreiländereck without bus. I already knew that the forest is quiet far from my home, but then i somehow believed that cycling will make it easier. The weather was great, sunshine with enough wind. I need thirty minutes to cycle 7km until i arrive somewhere in Preuswald. It really didn’t feel that long. We then locked our bikes somewhere around the corner, prayed that no body gonna steal them. The forest looked more forest-y this time, so much green so much heat. I could heard mosquitoes and flies flying around, i could smell horse dung, i saw it everywhere. Bjoern even saw a snake; his first snake in German’s forest. Various birds, eagles are flying over us. We walked in the middle of half harvested rapeseed field, while the air sounds like children cheers.

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I thank Björn so much for introducing me to the beauty of nature, while the tree dancing sincerely with the wind. No shame, no interruption. In this mother nature, the best entertainment is when the bush gone wild hiding a squirrel or wild rabbit. The great painting is a pile of white flower in between damp ground and savage grass. And everything is constantly changing.

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I was lucky this time, i could witnessed a family of pony having a break under the shade.

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Along Way Home

The best thing about mother nature is you wouldn’t know what will you get until you arrive in the present. In our first trip we came back home, walking through a farm that host plenty of cows and horses. And to top it, a railway goes over it. But then a horse waited us in the edge, sadly we finish our carrot for lunch and we only feed him our last apple. I couldn’t stop praising God, when the beauty of everything just lay out in front of me.

I got chance to blow a dandellon, after coming back from Dreiländereck for the second time. I didn’t wish anything, but the beauty of flying floret in the air awe so much. There is this free and relieved feeling when i see the floret being scattered in the air. It shows me so much about chances, hopes that are always presence even though it is scattered.

What is your latest experience with Mother Nature?

Have a great day, don’t forget to take five 🙂

Mecca, The Magical City

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

A city that literally never stop praying. Source

When I read the prompt for Writing 101 day 2, I can’t think about one particular place to go. As twentysomething, I want to go everywhere around the world. Getting to know various cultures, step on many kind of grounds, have relationships with people. That’s my ultimate dream. I want to zoom the earth just like when I play with a globe, I touch a city and feel the vibe of getting there.

I keep asking myself. Is it London? But I never be there, and why would I undergo London, to see how beautiful people commute? NAH. Is it Broadway? So I can get to watch free musical over and over. Nope, those reasons are not strong enough to explain what place is that I’m longing for. And it is definitely not my current bedroom, eventhough it has beautiful series of pines as the scenery, I am not loving it yet.

Then I asked my husband, explained him what the prompt is, because most of the time, he knows me better than I do. And this time, he reminded me for something important (like always). He said “Of course, it’s Mecca hun”. That’s all, that’s it, that’s the answer. I am a little ashamed of myself, because my longing of worldly places make me forget the righteous one.

I never been there, but next year inshaallah If God’s will, my husband and I will go there to perform pilgrimage or Hajj. We are there to fulfill our duty to complete the fifth pillar of Islam, along with hope that we can be a better person after perform it.

Mecca is magical, at least for me and billions other people who had been there and longing to be there. As Indonesian Muslim who get enough Islamic education, I heard story about Mecca a lot. Before I knew that Cinderella exist, I know Khadijah (the love of Prophet Muhammad) is the true queen and she is from Mecca. I know the direction to Mecca from my very own room since I have to face it five times a day, every day. I learned about the city’s history more than I learn about my country’s. That’s how I attached to Mecca.

I can imagine myself strolling over Masjid al-Haram and see the army of Abrahah with their elephants destroy all the idols around Kaaba in 6th century. Zamzam Well gonna bedazzles me so much, since it is the well from thousands of BC. Wherever I walk around, I feel like living the life of Prophet Muhammad, knowing that He was born and raised in this very city walking, eating, chatting and got revelation. It empowers me so much, because I know whatever he did as great human being was mostly happen in this very city. And when I get a chance to make tawaf (the circumambulation seven times around the Kaaba in a counterclockwise direction), I can see myself crying happily, feeling safe that I am one step closer to be in heaven. I feel relieved, because I see my gate to heaven, I feel loved because I know my God is there to welcome me, guide me, teach me, remind me to be a better person in this world and in the hereafter.

B puts the closure about this feeling by saying “It’s like when you miss someone so much, you pray for Him five times a day for years and then you get chance to met him.”

Just by remember and writing about the city already give me the positive spiritual energy to live my life better. Thank you The Daily Post for this prompt that make me thinking clearly and have a piece zone within myself.

Emily and Azmi’s Faith

“Faith” is a guidance
For Gentlemen to walk easily-
While Microscopes are presence
So that the Blind can see

In Napowrimo day 5, poets have to reconstruct any of Emily Dickinson works. Thanks to John Green who gives me a short introduction to Emily. https://t.co/SIJERJb4W4

I choose poetry number 202, after fully understand the deep meaning behind these four lines.

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see –
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

Instead of reconstruct the poetry, I prefer to recreate Emily’s idea of faith (religion) and Microscopes (science).

Can you see it?