Boston Socrates Cafe #3 | 1369 Coffeehouse | ”Define Your Own Freedom (and Happiness)”

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Finally, after the crazy midterm session, we starting our “Socrates Cafe” again! We decided to start the session by having late lunch Ramen that we already carving for so long around Harvard Square in Cambridge; the famous Santouka Ramen!

Everytime I look at this photo, I wanna go back to this place.. so tempting!
Everytime I look at this photo, I wanna go back to this place.. so tempting!

Then I remember they have a cute little coffeehouse in Cambridge that on my list to visit : 1369 Coffeehouse! So we decided to catch the 69 Bus from Harvard and get down in this cute coffeehouse after 7 stops. Here are some of the photos as you can easily imagine how one of the best coffee shop in Boston look like :

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 8.23.30 PMThe coffeehouse in the night. Image source :

The backside of the coffeehouse. 
We sit just across this place!
1369 from outside. I take the photo with Andrea’s Sony mirrorless camera.
Its not come with the cup, surprisingly. Even though we order hot coffee au lait & hot chocolate almond joy. Photo taken by Andrea.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 8.23.01 PM The mural behind the coffeehouse. Image source :

We pick the 3rd Socrates Cafe topic under the theme of “Freedom” as Andrea get inspired after her visit to the prison as you can read on her blog here.  We started to explore what kind of freedom we have right now and we both agree that we have a lot of freedom to use in our life, but most of the time, we don’t use it (or we prefer to not using it).

Freedom to speak, freedom to choose your friend (or not to choose), freedom to be alone, freedom to decide whatever you want, freedom to choose your religion (or not having one), freedom to travel, freedom to live wherever you want, and other kind of freedom.

The question is : do you use your freedom ultimately? and is your freedom lead you to your happiness?

Most people maybe will assume that freedom means do whatever you want without any boundaries. But what about if people choose to have boundaries and that whats make them happy? What is people prefer of being not free?

Recently, I read Haruki Murakami book and then it bring me curiosity on what this genius writer think about freedom and this is one of the conversation that I found through his book, “Kafka on The Shore” :

“That backpack’s like your symbol of freedom,” he comments.
“Guess so,” I say.
“Having an object that symbolizes freedom might make a person happier than actually getting the freedom it represents.”
“Sometimes,” I say.
“Sometimes,” he repeats. “You know, if they had a contest for the world’s shortest replies, you’d win hands down.”
“Perhaps,” Oshima says, as if fed up. “Perhaps most people in the world aren’t trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real bind. You’d better remember that. People actually prefer not being free.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

In our conversation, we explore that people should define their own freedom, aren’t they? Definition of freedom for me might differ with what you think of your freedom. I am a moslem myself and maybe some people think that I have a boundaries with my religion, some people might think that being free means doesn’t have any religion. But I feel insecure if I don’t pray for example – which lead me to not having my own freedom of security that can create happiness eventually. So, is having religion set a boundary for people not having their ultimate freedom? Not always the case. Here, we come to the conclusion that we should define our own freedom that will lead to happiness. You cannot just follow other people definition of freedom because it might not make you happy.

Source :,-liking-what-you-do-is-happiness
Image Source :,-liking-what-you-do-is-happiness

If we put this perspective on other people’s shoes, then we have to respect on people’s definition of freedom. I remember that one of my professor said in class, the most important thing in life is sometime not to love but to respect. You don’t have to love everyone but you have to respect everyone with all the differences that they have with you. 

To define your own freedom is maybe easier than to respect on other choice of freedom. For instance, you have a group of friends. One of your friend might choose to not always hanging out together with you because he or she just choose to not doing that for some reasons. It doesn’t mean that she or he hating the group, it just that they choose to have her or his freedom to do something else.

Another example, in Indonesia, most of the time we always think that people who go alone, watch movie alone, eating alone, in the cafe alone, is kind of pathetic. Our mind is so dangerous that it can judge people easily. Our conversation conclude that we should respect people freedom of choice to live their life as they want. Maybe they just want to be alone at that time – you never know if this person always have a friend or partner to go with every weekend. If we want people respect our choice of freedom, we should start learn how to respect other :)

To close this 3rd Socrates Cafe, I would like to encourage everyone who read this to celebrate your own freedom by defining what’s yours and achieve your own definition of happiness by doing so. Freedom is such a beautiful gift from our God and if we are not using it, you will maybe not living your life to the fullest or the worst thing, as Murakami mention below, you will start hating somebody in your life. I hope we are not that kind of person :)

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Mom’s Love Between Kudus – Malang – Japan – Boston


Arifin’s Family! Full team on Idul Fitri 2014

Its hard to be a mother (well father too, but in this post I will focus on the mother). Especially when you have a lot of kids. Moreover, when your kids are not around. My mom facing a hard time this year as she have to give away 3 of her lovely daughter far away from home. I am leaving for Boston in 27 August 2015, my third sister Salma is leaving for Malang as she is now in her 1st semester at Brawijaya University majoring Food Technology. My second sister Fela, she is leaving for Japan since September 2014 as her study at Tokyo University. So currently, its only 2 kids left at home : my only brother Rafly and my cute little sister Marsha. And they both are very busy with school.


Maybe 4 or 5 years old? We are in the used-to-be the movie theatre in Kudus

I never imagine it will be so hard for my mom. I think she always busy with her work and social life in Kudus until when she hug me and cry in the airport before I left. I can see from her eyes that she is sad but trying to be happy.

I never realize it until she text me everyday through WhatssApp since my day 1 in Boston, just to simply ask how are you.

I never realize until she ask me, Fela, and Salma in our family WhatssApp group chat how are we doing, what are we doing, and tell us she miss us a  lot.

I never realize until suddenly she make effort to learn how to call through WhatssApp and installing Skype at her phone with the help of Marsha.

I never realize until one fine morning she call me and the first thing to say is “Did you call me earlier? I think there is a call from you or Fela but I didn’t realize it” and the fact is that neither me or Fela call her. Maybe she just want to talk :”)

My mom is changing. She never call or text me (and Fela too) as often as now even though I am leaving home since 2007 when I was study in Semarang, then 2011-2012 did the exchange program to Canada and West Java, then 2012-2015 in Jakarta. She is not that kind of mother who will always call you 3 times a day or always worried about where are you. It doesn’t mean that she is not care or love us but she just did it in a different way and I love it! :)


I was 6 years old in our lovely garden 

I remember how I never tell her everytime I gone for traveling and when I go back home one day and she knew my traveling photo, she will be like, “When did you climb this mountain?”, “When did you go to India and you are not telling me?”, “Is this part of your work or you just spend your money again for traveling?”, “Can you save your money for buying home or something rather than travel here?”, “Who did you travel with in here?”, and even though she seems never agree on my traveling idea, in the end she will never forbid me to keep travel and finally let me go everywhere especially I formed Wanderlust Indonesia. I know she is still worry even until now, but I know that she will be even feeling worst when I am not happy :)

1936383_125742022509_1920475_n I used to be afraid of ocean waves (my dad become a hero!) & now, its my vitamin sea!

Being a mother who have kids that finally grow up and have to leave home is very hard. Be it to go to school out of town/country, get married, go to work out of town/country, etc. After doing a bit searching, I found that every mother in the world most likely will face this syndrome of Empty-Nest which you can read more here & here. 

This syndrome face by mostly women (mother) because they might have bigger emotion and connection with the kids and especially for the full-time mom / mom who work at home spending a lot of time with the kids. This is naturally will happen and its not impossible to reduce or get away from this syndrome.

One of the article said that :

“One of the easiest ways for parents to cope with empty nest syndrome is to keep in contact with their children. Technological developments such as cell phonestext messaging, and the internet all allow for increased communication between parents and their children. Parents going through empty nest syndrome can ease their stress by pursuing their own hobbies and interests in their increased spare time. Discussing their grief with each other, friends, families, or professionals may help them. Experts have advised that overwhelmed parents keep a journal, or go back to work if they were full-time parents.”

I will see this from the positive side. I think there are a lot of good things for my mom in this case. She become even closer to connect with all of us because she is always contacting us, she is also catch up with technology in doing so.. I am so proud of her! :)

My mom’s love is now divided to many cities. She belong to Kudus, Malang, Japan, and Boston. She has to keep updated with the weather & condition in Malang-Japan-Boston to feel safe knowing that we are safe.

She is always worried about food and always want to send food to Malang-Japan-Boston. She is a very good reminder in always keeping us stay close with God. She is learning the time differences between Kudus, Japan & Boston and until now, she still confuse (oh and especially with the daylight saving per 1 November! :D).. one day she call me at 3am in the morning to remind me to pray in the Islamic New Year and she forgot its 3am and 13 hours behind her. She become so worried if none of me, Fela, and Salma answering her everyday questions at WhatssApp group chat.

She is too cute to be true.. my 50 years old lovely mom that spread her love between Kudus, Malang, Japan, and Boston. But she has the magic, the love that she divided to all of us is always in the same portion, none of us get less than the other. Oh, I don’t know how she does the magic.. maybe I will find out once I become a mother :)

Let’s appreciate the quality time we still have with our parents as we might not have the time anymore in the future.


The last time I saw my mom & dad before leaving for Boston

PS. I miss you more, Ibuk :’)

Best Friend Since 1991 and Keep Brewing Sisterhood!

If I can consider this a love letter to my sister, this will be the second letter. The first one I wrote when she left for Japan to study at Tokyo University in September 2014. I gave the letter directly before we hug each other and say goodbye in Jakarta airport. She cried when she open the letter inside. Me too, I cried when I wrote the letter.

In the end, I realize that the true letter that coming from your heat, with all the emotions in it, will speaks more than words. It speak from your heart.


29 October 2015
Happy Birthday, Faelasufa; Best Friend Since 1991!

I remember when you born in 1991, I was only 1 year old and I was like, who is this little creature that just come and stole my attention from my mom and dad? You take my bed place, space in the living room, and so many people coming to our home just to see you. Who are you?

Until you grow up and I found that you actually not that bad for being my friend to play around, even you show me so many exciting game that you just create and surprisingly, I follow your silly idea of game like we lock our room and acting like we are one of those character in the movie that we watch. Oh and I am not forgetting how naughty you are even bite my back when I study! 

After 24 years of this friendship, I realize that you taught me many things in life that sometime I never think about it. Your compassion, passion, being bold and brave, caring and loving, questioning about life and its philosophy, you are such a different type of people than most of human on Earth. You are “one-of-a-kind” :)

Thank you for all the life lessons that you have been show me and even we are far apart between Boston and Tokyo, I knew that our heart remain the same, we belong to the warmest home in Kudus.

Please keep write all your emotions, ideas, lessons in your blog, instagram, and other because I know many people enjoy it so much as I do. You will be very successful in your life, but thats not what I hope the most. As you are also agree, I hope that you will be very kind, humble, and wise as you grow up.

Happy 24th birthday, my dear Faela Sufa!

Love from Boston,
Your one and only older sister.


Photo Credit : Angga D. Martha
Location : Walden Pond State Reservation

The Rise of Habit : Running, Coffee, Tea, Book, Biking, Cooking, Writing, and… Spotify

Those 8 words are coming to my life lately as a habit. Its funny how we can lost our habit depend on the environment where we live and that habit that we love will occur naturally, without any oppression, when the environment support it. And look at this quote, its worth to be very fanatic with your good habits! So let us be proud of it & celebrate our good habit everyday! :)


I remember my 1st time having this habit is when I was living in Canada for the exchange at 2011. Its so easy to just get out the home and run through the downtown Halifax. Very effective 1 hour run rather than spending 1 hour on your social media while sleeping/sit at your bed. Once I come back to Indonesia after the exchange program on April 2012, I started to lost this running habit when I stay at home in Kudus. Then, this habit coming back again in 2014 when we set up a running club named “Danoner Running Club” in my previous company, Danone Indonesia.  We exercise every Wednesday night, join any running competition and event, and sometime I find my own running time in the weekend – in the very busy and crowded Jakarta.

When I arrived here in Boston, I saw so many people are passionate in running. Its like part of their life. Part of their need the same like eating, going to the bathroom, socializing, and other. Its what make their life balance and they run happily, without any burden. At least thats what I see. This environment is contagious. I used to have this habit and I know it always feel so good to me when I run. I feel like running is my therapy. Then, I started to run again last month in mid-September around my neighborhood in Boston. I feel so good. So so good. And addicted to it. Now, I set a target and battle with my friend Bethany in Canada that we have to exceed our target 30 miles running until we meet again in 23 December 2015. My favorite running spot is around Charles River in the evening before the sunset and my mostly running track is from my home to Brookline neighborhood, sometime stopping at Trader’s Joe / Brookline Booksmith before running back. Sometime if the weather is really bad, I will just run in the campus gym! I hope I will never lost this habit again :)

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Running series : Brookline area & Charles River

Ok. After the good habit. I dont know if this one consider good or bad habit. Haha. I used to get really addicted with coffee in my past college life from 2007-2011. I remember how I can get things done after coffee time and for the love of coffee, I decided to write my thesis about Starbucks as an American popular culture that just entering Semarang at that time.

I got a free coffeemaker from Bang Tandhy, Indonesian who already finish the school at Boston University too last September and he gave away some of his stuff to me and Andrea. I got the coffeemaker! Never know how to really use it until Bethany come here in September and show me how to make it.. and crap, I got addicted to it. Now, I have a new habit when I wake up in the morning: walk to the kitchen, brewing my own coffee. Almost every morning and sometime in the evening too before the night class. Now I am excited to find any kind of interesting ground coffee taste. It makes me in the mood of trying to find the best coffee shop in Boston and buy the ground coffee if it taste good. So far, I enjoy the coffee that I got from Trader’s Joe too. Tried the Hazelnut, French Vanilla, and Nicaragua ground coffee so far. I think I need to reduce my coffee consumption per day OR running even more often to cover this haha.

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Brewing Trader’s Joe French Vanilla

So maybe this can balance my coffee addiction? I loooove tea as much as I love coffee. One thing I always love coming back to this country is that they have a lot of selection of delicious tea and the way you drink it which is different with in my home. My mom will make a tea in the morning in the big tea pot that will be enough for 7 of us (when everyone still at home) and then this tea pot will be there until in the afternoon. Then, she make it again in the evening keep it until night time. The tea will be cold by the time you will drink it usually. In here, I make and drink my tea everytime I want it so it always keep warm. From peppermint tea in the morning / afternoon to keep energize until the sleepytime tea in the night to calm our body and get sleep easily. But because I have my coffee now usually every morning so I will always make a tea in the night. My favorite is yogi tea, celestial sesonings tea, and on top of the favorite : Davids Tea!

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DavidsTea store at Downtown Boston

When I work in Jakarta, its so hard to find times to read book(s). Usually my mostly time reading book is when I have a business trip or in the journey somewhere. Reading the books in airport while waiting the flight and in the plane itself is always works for me.

Here, I found some interesting bookstore happening in Boston and I feel like this bookstore give a contagion to me in a way I wanna buy books and read it. Currently, I love to always coming back at Brookline Booksmith since its close to where I live and I always pass it in my running route. I am in love with this bookstore and would like to also attend their bookclub and some event meet up with writer that they occasionally have every week!

I prefer to buy the used book since its cheaper and the condition is still very good like new and Brookline Booksmith has dedicated downstair space in their store for all used books! Such a heaven on Earth! I also got the best deal on used book on too in the mission of collecting Haruki Murakami books.

I hope I can commit to this habit of searching for good books and reading in between the readings that I have for the classes also! I know this will be a hard time to commit on this habit but maybe I can exchange some of my social media time with reading :) Sometime we spend too much time on social media, don’t we?

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Photo source : brookline booksmith website

My commute everyday to campus! And I love it, starting to be addicted to bike everywhere. The sad thing about this is that winter coming soon and I am not sure if I survive biking in the winter :( So maybe my biking time will gone soon, that is what make me appreciate my biking time now because I know I will not be able to bike as often as today because of the weather will change so soon.

I have the similar feeling with running when I bike. I feel like this is a therapy too. Passing through all the way from home to campus everyday, feeling the fresh air instead of being in a “walking-slow-box” of MBTA / T (Boston commuter rail). Seriously, biking saving so much time than taking T to campus + you get exercise and the fresh weather. However, we have to be careful biking here especially in the Commonwealth Avenue. Always beware of your surrounding on the road and be safe! But compare to the road in Jakarta, how people ride the motorbike, oh well… you know what I mean.

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Biking at Charles river

I never know that I enjoy cooking so much! It doesn’t mean that I am a good cooker but I just love my cooking time. I feel that cooking is a part of my therapy as well after the busy campus life. Be in my kitchen with the music while I cook, trying to put together what I have in the fridge.. using the feeling and sense.. cooking is an art.

Definitely this become my habit here too to cook everyday because the food outside are much more expensive rather than you cook by yourself at home. That being said, I have to do groceries shopping regularly every 1.5 – 2 weeks usually. And there I found another habit that I like too : groceries shopping at my favorite Trader’s Joe! :)

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One of cooking series with Chef Christy Setiawan :p

For those who are not familiar, you can open for more info what is it. Spotify is a music streaming service that you can download at your phone, laptop, even car! I know Spotify from my “Innovation Process: Developing New Product & Services” class with Prof. Barry Ungar where we have to read and discuss Spotify case.

It turns out I download the app to both my phone and laptop and I am falling in love with it. Daniel Ek, the CEO said that everyday in average 2.5 hours where Spotify member listen to the Spotify streaming music service. For me, its even more than that. I turn on Spotify when I wake up, put “Sleepy Morning Coffee” playlist on, when I commute to campus, sometime I listen to it, when I get home, Spotify always on with series of playlists, artist, songs that I turn on. Before I go to bed, I turn on some playlist on “Sleep Tight” or other to make my sleep easier. All of that is FREE since its a freemium business model but I try the Premium service this month for free and its so much better! I am thinking to switch from free users into premium users next month by paying $4.99/month, their monthly student price. Even though there is an Apple Music lately as their biggest competitor, I am not interested to switch because I think Spotify sense of music is better or maybe because its my “love at the first sight”? :)

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Spotify desktop view

Actually, this writing thing too, is a habit that coming back! I remember how I always write on my diary book back then in my junior – senior high school. I even write some short stories and won as the 1st winner of writing competition 7 years ago while my sister being in the 3rd place, they make a book of this short story compilation by some winners and yes, me and my sister Fela wrote the short story in the same book! :)

BUT I always admire her writing more since she has such a beautiful words to write as you can see her blog here : She publish her 1st novel called “Soap Bubbles” and I know that one day, she will write some remarkable books :). She write since she is in elementary school, I remember she write for “Suara Merdeka” local newspaper kids column for the kid continuous story every week. She introduce me in the writing world and all the interesting books to read such as Dewi Lestari’s Supernova book that we read since we were in junior-senior high school.

Oh and when I was in Canada I always write in my diary and blog. In Jakarta, the environment is really hard for me to spend time writing at my blog regularly. In one year of 2013 or 2014, I remember I only have 1 or 2 or 3 writing on my blog. So sad that I am loosing this writing habit back then. But during my time in Boston, I feel that the environment really supported to write again and I hope I can rise this habit back regularly in between the busy campus life & those tons of papers to write also! :D


So yes! I agree that the environment (places, people, culture) is really influence our habit and we are all have that one (or two or three or more) habit that naturally will arise again if the environment supported! During my time here in Boston, I would love to unleash more of my natural habit  in me that I am passionate about. It might be hard to start good habit and very easy to start bad habit, but once we can have a good habit & we started to like it, it will make a real difference in our life.


Boston Socrates Cafe #2 | Charles River Before Sunset | “The Art Behind Sharing in Social Media”


The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate from one person to another.

Can you see us?

The second Boston Socrates Cafe session of me and Andrea held in Charles River before sunset bring the topic of sharing in social media. What is the intension behind people share their life from photos and video of activities, travel, babies, wedding, food, office, work, sad or cruel things, social issue, etc. There is an art behind what people post. Oh for you who did not aware what is “Boston Socrates Cafe”, you might want to read our first session here.

The reason why bring this topic is because Andrea suddenly found an interesting status that her friend post on facebook about how people sometime flaunting / show off at their facebook timeline and it can make jealousy for other. How urgent you need to share (or sometime flaunt) your life to other?

Our socrates conversation start from of course reflectiom on how we both share in our social media. We both share on Facebook and Instagram mostly. I stop using “Path” and uninstall it since 2 weeks ago while Andrea starting to frequently use it again. I am not really into Twitter right now and more have the mood to share longer thoughts in this blog.

We realize that there is always intension or motivation behind what we share on social media. We share a photo of us biking for instance, what is the reason behind it? Why in the world we want to show people we are biking in Boston? There must be single, double, or triple reason (s) why we share that.

Our "cafe" for second Socrates conversation!

For me personally, I share things that I love and passionate about it. Lately I share photos of food that I cook in Boston, places that I love while I travel, or activities with friends that I think its worth to share because I am having a great time or just simply because its a beautiful photo :) Its funny that very few of my post is about school while my goal here in Boston is to go to school and graduate in 2 years. Now I realize why, because maybe its not as interesting as things we did beyond classes or we just dont wanna share about school while we already occupied with it during the week.

That is at least my intention. To show people what I am really passionate about and somehow I want people to celebrate the passion together, to eventually influence them following what I did. In some cases, it works. I post a photo of fried corn and vegetable (read: gorengan) that I cook last 3 days and at least 6 people comment on my instagram and facebook that it influence them to cook the same thing because suddenly they miss it. I post lots of photo and some video recently about Boston and it influence some people to travel to Boston / choosing Boston as their place to study.

Maybe some people out there might think that I am flaunting my life. Showing off what I have in my life and maybe they do not like it. Some people might think I am disturbing their timeline, make them annoyed of my posting and hate me. I know all that consequences. Me and Andrea agree that we have the right to post anything and people who see our post also have the right to like it or hate it, but we come up with the conclusion that we do not have the right to judge them. To judge people by what they post / share.

The Very "active and healthy" Charles River

How many of you ever judging people from their post? Lets being honest here. I did judge people from what they post, it is very hard to not make assumption or suspend our judgement from what people post. For example, a mom who always posting about their babies every single minutes. We might have a different judgement or assumption from it. Some people might think its annoying why you always post photos and videos of your baby every minute, why dont you keep it only for you and your husband. Some people might think its very beautiful emotion and expression and they wanting to watch more and more post about it. There are always that slight assumption and judgement that always come in your mind right after you see someone’s post.

Ok now. What do you judge from this photo? :mrgreen:

But we can start to reduce the judgement and assumption from now. We can always think positive about what the intention behind people’s post. Whether they are intentionally flaunting or showing off or they are not, let see the positive side of their post. Because we never know what motivation behind their post.

Well, in fact, for some people its hard to post something. It will take them hours or even days or weeks to think before they post something. Why? Because maybe they are afraid of the judgement that will occur from their friend once they post it. For some other people, it just like flipping a coin or a hand, very easy to share something about everything in their social media. Because maybe this kind of people do not care about what people will think about them and people will judge anyway – so why afraid of sharing?

There are always intention and motivation behind people’s post on social media. We could never really know what is it unless you ask the people. So instead of jealous, negative thinking, and hate what people post, why not we think positive and stop judging people from what they post.

In other hand, if we share something, lets think twice about what we gonna share and what the effect that might be occur after we share it to reduce the “flaunting” case that I explain in the beginning. We dont want to hurt people by our post, dont we? I believe that we want people to be motivated, get a good influence from our post, or just neutral instead of get the negative effect.

After all, I think its an art. Like what I write in the first paragraph of this post, sharing in social media is an emotion that you show to people through indirect means of communication as Tolstoy said. And you can never judge an art because there is never right or wrong in art.

We are wrapping up the second session by taking the beautiful sunset photo and video around Charles River. I post some of the them on instagram and I hope its not giving you the negative effect, I swear I do not have the intention of flaunting here haha.

It is so worth to share this photo, isn't it? :)

See you on the next thought on our Socrates Cafe! :)

PS. If you have any idea what will be interesting to discuss on the next Socrates Cafe, please write your comment here. Also, always feel free to comment on our thoughts since we know its not always right what we have  been thinking :)

Gradschool Life #2 : Economic Developer in Tourism (In the Making)

Day 38 in Boston. Still survive biking to campus lately even though weather gets colder and naturally it makes me cook any Indonesian fried warm food lately. From Nasi Goreng, bakwan, Tumis sayur2, opor ayam, tahu bacem, and other! Especially because I have a special visit from Bethany, best friend from Canada World Youth program from Sept 25th – Oct 1st.




1 month here is the adjusting phase and now I’m starting to be friend with the city. When Bethany come here, it make me visit many places for the 1st time in Boston and make me realize that I did not really go anywhere except campus, apartment, and friend’s house. Its the 1st time for me visiting Boston Public Garden, Museum of Arts & Science, Seafood dinner near the harbor in downtown, Getting around the downtown and come inside the shopping centre and mall, Boston Common, Groceries shopping at Trader’s Joe, Charles River Esplanade, finally did my 1st RUN in Boston and Howl at The Moon the Duelling Piano Bar. We also willing to watch any sports game and orchestra actually but we did not find any performance happening during that week.




Tonight, before I wrote this, I have an interesting class with Prof. Billington who is also a President of Blackstone Valley in Rhode Island (which the class will have the field trip there on Oct 17) which relevant with what I just wrote above.

He come up with this slide and telling us that most of the local / people who live in one city never visit the tourism destination itself. For example if you are in Beijing, you maybe never visit Great Wall – thats possible. If you are in New York, you maybe never visit Statue of Liberty. The same thing if I am now in Boston, I maybe never visit Freedom Trail. Or If I am in Indonesia and I never visit Bali for example.


Why this is happening? This can happen because of 2 things based on his slide above :

1. People want to travel and see things that not the same with what you experience everyday. People dont want to see the homogenity. We want to see different thing. That is why if we have time and money, we will choose to go outside the places we live. Outside the state, outside the country.

2. People decided to postpone to see places in their own town / country because they always think that we live here, we can do it anytime. And we might ended up never do it until we die :)

My Professor ask this around the classes and started to point out some Chinese students in classes, ask if they visit Great Wall / some touristic places. I ask him, “Is it something that right or wrong to not visiting the place?” He then answer firmly while look at me, “It is wrong, Dini.”

Then he continue to speak to the whole class;

As a local, we might always think that why we have to visit places in our own city, state, country. It should be traveler who visit those places. It is a very wrong perception. We should start it internally. We should visit our own places, getting to know it better, then we can tell the story about it and promote it, develop it. It is your role as economic developer to start thinking about what you can do to improve the situation better. It is your generation who have the responsibility to lead and make the greater impact.

He walk come to the Madrid girl in the class; I maybe can come to Spain and tell you what you can do better in Spain BUT do I have a bigger willingness to create Spain to be the best country rather than you as Spanish?

It is you who will know better about your places and develop it the way you want to see it become the best.

This discussion make me reflect on how many Indonesians that choose to spend the money to travel aboard but never really see our beautiful country itself. It is wrong. Now I understand why it is wrong.


There is an organization in the tourism world called “Destination Management Organization” / DMO which the responsibility is to posses extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources, specializing in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics.

DMO also create policy, regulation, create and articulate destination, as well as promoting it. DMO can come from Government, Non Profit, NGO. In the US, one of the example of DMO is which funded under US Secretary of Commerce which point out by President Obama. This is funny because this is USA’s 1st travel promotion ever and they just have this in 2010. You can check the US travel video promotion also here : which they package US as “Land of Dreams”.

I ask silly question to my Professor at that class, “Why US just have it in 2010?” And he answer while smiling, “Because its the USA.” He paused. “We always think that people will know and come to the US anyway and we dont need to promote it.”

So today’s class at some point make every students curious about DMO and it drag us to long discussion about it. Until in the point that I am thinking is there any DMO in Indonesia? As far as I know we have the Ministry of Tourism with the “Visit Indonesia”. While Prof. Billington mention that usually DMO exist in a country with no Ministry of Tourism.

In the end of the class, I come to him and asking what he think the DMO in Indonesia look like? I never know DMO terms before I join his class. Then he answer,

“Well, then maybe it can be your paper research, Dini. You can see what kind of DMO that Indonesia should have. Will you need a super DMO (on top of every sub DMO), do you need DMO focus on specific island? Mountain? Tribes?”

Then I interupt,

“Well we have Ministry of Tourism and you said that usually country do not have DMO if we have that division in Government.” And he respond :

“Is that division, do you think, work?”

“I dont think they work very well.” I answer and then he said,

“Then thats why you might propose any DMO that need to have by your country. I define the Rhode Island with my DMO that I create by geography boundary and I use the water shade. I define the destination in the first time in 1996 before it become like Blackstone Valley nowadays. It takes yearsssss working together with government, NGO, private, local community, and other to make the DMO works. Its hard, its definitely not an easy job BUT my generation already start it. Your generation is going to continue what we have done and make it better.”


What Prof. Billington said really open my perspective on how we should definitely always ask the status quo by create and innovate things. In developing economic development and tourism, we cannot just think as a mainstream status quo of getting a lot of profit, taxes, revenue for a country from tourism as it is one of the world’s largest industry. But our job here as a economic developer in tourism need to think about the sustainability of tourism industry, the job that we will create for locals, the impact that we will bring to the environment and culture, and many other consideration.

He said that tourism is like a system because there is nothing bigger business in the world then tourism development. It is our responsibility to understand it from the root, keep the system authentic, real, and make it grow.

Thank you Prof. Billington for every words that always waking us up on Monday, to open our eyes wider to see the bigger perspective of developing the economic through sustainable tourism. To learn being the real economic developer in our country after we graduate; from every single discussion, exploration, question, critique, and debate we had in class :)