Black Country Living Museum

Last Saturday I went for a trip to Black Country Living Museum. Since I was still in Jakarta, I already know this place and had wanted to go there. Yes, I am such a sucker for this travelling this. Sometimes it seems that I can’t wait to go out again, to travel again, and to have another adventure. Anyway, finally I got to go to the Black Country Living Museum.

I was interested to go there because of its unique concept. It’s not a regular museum, not the one where we come in and see the collections inside glass boxes. It is literally a living museum. The complex consists of buildings, transportation tools, workshops, shops, restaurants – just like a town. There are also people acting like they are living there. They wear the old fashioned clothes, speak in the ‘Black Country accent’, and do like different kind of jobs. It was a very distinct experience.

I went there with my husband, his friends, and a big group from the university. The first thing we did was watch an introductory video about Black Country. So it actually was an area that produces tools. Its natural resource had something to do with mining (pardon my lack of knowledge). So the whole area worked as people who are producing different kinds of tools, such as glass, chain, and anchor. It was said in the video that the anchor in Titanic was made in Black Country. As industrial area, Black Country also had quite advance modes of transportation at that time, such as trams, boats in canals, and buses.

As we walked into the area, there was this massive open area. We could see buses, cars, and motorcycle come and goes. We went to the mine office building, got prepared, and actually went into the mine. We went underground with limited light and it was quite an interesting and unusual experience for me. It was the first time I went into a mine – well, I don’t know when I will do that again basically. There was this kind of diorama showing what happened in the mine. What amazing was that we had to stop in several points and there will be narration of the ‘mine worker’ who is presented in the diorama. I don’t know but it was kind of amazing that they can build something like that – very educating and full of knowledge and history but not boring.

There are many buildings in the area of Black Country Living Museum. We go into some buildings and heard stories from the people there – you know the people who dress up like they really are living in the Black Country in the 1800-1900. The area actually divided into 2 parts, the first one is the kind of industrial space which is the mining with its machines (which is still working, amazingly!) and the other one is the town. We had to be careful walking there because there are buses, cars, and motorcycles. Those are the transportation which is a part of museum collection. They are all working very well and the museum people drive it for show.

We went to some shops and listened to the explanation from the shopkeeper about how people used to live in the past. We also learned about the money – which was different with the money system nowadays. We came into two very different houses, one is the house of a quite well-off family and one house is called Back to Back house because the houses were attached to each other and despite of its size tens of people lived there. The stories told were interesting. It was enjoyable and I could really imagine living at that time.

Oh! And we also saw this chain-making attraction. Basically it just a person playing as a chain maker and he showed us how to make chain. He also explained about how people get paid at that time and how women get paid lower than men. That’s maybe why the women in the museum wear this pin stating ‘Vote for Women’ on their clothes.

At the end of our visit we watched a black and white silent movie in the cinema. Yes, there is a cinema in Black Country Living Museum. Just like the old days (who am I talking like I know the old days), there are just benches in the cinema and the movie was funny. It is amazing how people in the movie can really act up to the point that the audiences understand what they mean although they are not speaking at all. Oh, but there was some kind of subtitle explaining briefly about the setting of the movie – but that’s just it. We looked at the school – there was really a class going on at that time – and finally we hopped on the tram to go back to the main reception building.

It was a very nice and memorable visit, I think. I don’t know if there is any other museum that offers this kind of experience, but it sure is my first one. I’m glad that I decided to go and let’s plan the next visit!

More info about BCLM: http://www.bclm.co.uk/

Photos: personal collection and https://instagram.com/ryantoanugroho/

Oct 10, 2015

Living as a Muslim in Birmingham

Okay, I admit that the title is a bit overgeneralizing but I just want to share my experience so far, living here as a Muslim in Birmingham. Having had the experience of living in Hull where I must say that I even went to the mosque during Ramadhan far more frequently than when I was back home, I start to compare my life here and there.

It was quite a small community we had in Hull and I felt like I had a family there – people with the same religion and living the same way of life. The mosque was very comfortable, there were lots of activities, and it was full during the Ramadhan. Obviously I haven’t experienced Ramadhan in Birmingham but I hope it is better!

Now in Birmingham, there are many Muslims. Based on the Census on 2011, the Muslims were 21.8% of the total population in Birmingham (http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=Planning-and-Regeneration%2FPageLayout&cid=1223096353923&pagename=BCC%2FCommon%2FWrapper%2FWrapper). Therefore, it is not unusual to find many women with hijab around the city. There are immigrants, Muslims from all around the world, and also local people. In regard to the usualness (I’m not even sure that’s a word) of people wearing hijab, I don’t think it’s far different with Indonesia, honestly and in my opinion, it is quite easy and comfortable living as a Muslim in Birmingham.

As a Muslim, I have to pray five times a day. The time of the prayer depends on the position of the sun. It is quite easy to do it during the fall season but in my experience, finding time and place to pray during the winter was kind of a challenge. Sometimes, I had to pray twice throughout a lecture and with the condition; I had to pray in empty rooms around my class. That also happens here in Birmingham. As the prayer room in the university is placed in the Guild of Student – which is quite far from certain points in the university, my husband sometimes has to pray in empty rooms. The good thing is, in several restrooms in the university, there are places to do ablution or mostly known as wudhu. Well, not only in the university, even in the airport the restrooms are integrated with wudhu place. It’s comfortable, right? In the city center, there was limited space to pray. Yes, we can pray in the park or other open public spaces or sometimes we pray sitting on benches. Now, there was this multi-faith prayer room in Birmingham New Street Station. Yeay! The place is right in the middle of the city center and very easy to reach. There shouldn’t be any more problem trying to find places to pray. The place is not big but it is enough.

Another thing that people usually feel kind of difficult is halal food. As you can guess, there are many Muslims here so halal food shouldn’t be a problem. Yes! It isn’t a problem at all. We can find halal food almost everywhere, such as restaurants, takeaways, and food courts. The halal meat is also easily available. There are special butchers selling halal meat and even Tesco has its own butcher serving halal meat. It is nice because in Hull, there is only frozen halal meat.

During my time living in the UK, I haven’t got any different treatment because of my religion. I think it is a quite friendly country to live in. It is even friendlier here in Birmingham. The city is quite tolerant when you show your religious attributes, even there are people persuading others to know more about Islam and playing Quranic recitals in the city center. So don’t be afraid to come and live here because the negative rumors you hear, maybe they are just rumors.

Oct 05, 2015

Awkward

So here I am again, trying to write again. It’s been a long time since I got caught up with life (how am I supposed to be caught up in my own life?) and unable to write but now I have some extra time to be able to write again. Yeay!

Writing again after a long time of not writing is awkward. I feel awkward but I suppose the awkwardness will go away eventually. But then again, isn’t everything new will feel awkward in the beginning? I just moved to another town so it gets sometime to adapt. I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know how to get to where I suppose to be, I didn’t know the people – the lots of not knowing. It was uncomfortable. That’s why, maybe, change is not easy; moving towards something new is not easy.

Yes, change is not easy, but someone wise said that the only constant thing in life is change. So despite of everything, everyone has to feel that kind of awkwardness throughout their lives. For me now, I feel awkward writing. I still need to get a grip on this, to learn again, and to improve again. I hope I can get through this uncomfortable phase soon enough!

Photo credit: https://instagram.com/ryantoanugroho/

Oct 03, 2015

 

“Educators also need to be ensured about what are the fundamental aims of education. They should have the power to create educational practice based on their conscience and perform their professionalism”

Lipman (2009)

11676.88 km Later

11676.88 km is the total distance between Hull and Jakarta. The two cities that I call home.

Yeap! 11676.88 km later, after 19 hours journey, I finally arrived in Jakarta. There was a ‘slight’ delay in my first flight which scares me a lot because my connection flight is only in four hours and the delay was around 2.5 hours. But thank God, I could still catch the next plane home.

The first thing I felt after I stepped my foot outside the airport building was heat! It was so hot and the air wasn’t too good that I felt like I almost suffocate. Seriously. It was 33 degree when I arrived in Jakarta. Either positive or negative, Jakarta is not Jakarta if it is not hot. Just go with it!

The second thing that I feel very different from Hull is the traffic in Jakarta. I cannot believe I’ve survived living in Jakarta for this long. The cars, the jams, the discipline – all were kind of annoying, really. And today I realized, the Jakartans are very dependent on their private modes of transportation. I drove. I do not have a car now and my driving license expires. How should I go to places? There are modes of public transportation such as transjakarta and buses but with the heat and the traffic, I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Not after I just got back here yesterday. Today is the first time in my life I think that no car + no driving license = die. LOL

Well, now the thing that I will miss about Hull – environment wise.

I will miss the blue sky. When I was in the car today, I looked at the sky and well, the sky is grey in Jakarta. I will definitely miss the occasionally blue sky in Hull. I don’t like grey sky. But Jakarta has a very beautiful sunset. Yeap! I will try to enjoy the sunset instead of the blue sky from now.

I will miss the fact that I can sleep without being disturbed by mosquitoes. I forgot that there are lots of mosquitoes in Jakarta. Being a city in a tropical country, it is common that there are many mosquitoes in Jakarta. However, it is very very disturbing especially during the night. I will miss my sleeping time in Hull where I wasn’t disturbed by them. Okay! Let the mosquito battle begin!

I think I’m okay so far. I quite enjoy the fact that this weekend I don’t really have to do anything except activating my old phone number which was quite easy actually. I do not really bother, really to come home or not. Hull is home but still, 11676.88 km to the east from Hull, I am home.

It’s been a year!

It has been exactly a year since I first stepped my foot in the UK. 22 September 2012, I arrived in Manchester.

Excited, worried, and tired were my three first feelings when I came. I needed to go by myself from the airport to Hull – you know, finding my way, buying train tickets, carrying super big luggage. I am amazed now looking at myself back then. Haha. How on earth could I do all those things by myself. But yeah, when you are forced to do something, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Time flies so fast. It’s been a year and there’s been loads of things happened. It’s been a great experience for me to be here. I was worried that my life is going to change in a bad way but it turns out that I really really like it here. I think, living in such a different place than my hometown is priceless. It teaches me many things. Ask me the price of eggs in Jakarta and I won’t know a thing! Ask me the price of eggs in here, I can give you a list of egg prices from different stores. Seriously. I think I’ve become more independent.

Is a year enough? Never! The time is never enough. I wish I have more time to stay here, travel, and learn. Well, maybe some other time. I’m a bit sad that I have to leave. I’m half-sided now. I am looking forward to go back home but I am not looking forward to leave this place. This is annoying, I know.

Anyway, I was worried that I won’t be able to survive and won’t like living far from home but I’ve made a new home here. I have great friends, nice classmates, friendly housemates, and awesome life. I want to go back to Jakarta but I’m not too eager to live my life there anymore. I seriously want to travel around the world if I can. Send me anywhere and I’ll be there. Haha. But, for now that’s a bit of an imagination. I have to go home in a few days, but I hope I’ll be back here.

I’m grateful for this past year and I hope I’ll have a great year ahead.

 Sep 22, 2013

My Last Few Weeks in UK

Time flies!

Indeed. It’s almost been a year since I came to UK for the first time. Now, it’s time to move on and face the real world. OH NO!

So, after the Ramadhan, almost a month traveling around western part of Europe, now it’s time to pack and pack and pack. I don’t know how on earth am I going to finally finish packing my stuffs. The first (and hopefully only – macem jodoh aja) package had just been sent this afternoon. I hope it’ll arrive in Indonesia well, without any problems. Aamiin!

Around two weeks ago, I submitted my dissertation. Yeay! After 3 months of research and more months writing I finally made it. I was so relieved that I finish it. However, that’s not the end of the challenge. Now I need to focus on finding job – and finding job in this economy is not easy.

What do I do then, that I’ve finished my study? I feel like my primary job nowadays is packing. My to do list changes from writing this and that to packing this and that. Oh! And also finishing all the food that I have in my freezer. It’s going to be unhealthy last few weeks in UK, really. Again, I don’t know how on earth am I going to finish all that food.

Anyway, I still have some more jobs to do as a student ambassador. I think I really am going to miss that. I also need to have a quick travel to Scotland. Yes! I have to go to Scotland! Then… finally finish all the unfinished business here – meeting friends and lecturers and stuffs like that.

I feel rather empty, really. I’m not that busy in a way but I feel like I have loads of things to do. I am half excited that I am going home but I am half sad that I am going to leave this place – not particularly Hull but yeah… I like living in the UK eventually.

So… yeah, looking forward for the last few weeks in the UK – I’m gonna make the most of it. And hopefully I can come back here again.

Sep 11, 2013

Please DO clean your stuffs!

After series of packing stuffs, a guy from accommodation office came and check the whole house. It’s not that I have to move out now, it just reminded me more that I need to move out soon. LOL.

There is only Stephanie and I in my house now. Just the two of us! So today we decided to clean our kitchen! Yes, the thing I would never do in Indonesia, I do it here. Cleaning the kitchen. Guess what we found.

We basically opened all the cupboard and decide what we are going to do with the ‘non-possessed stuffs’. There are three alternatives, whether we throw it out, keep it, or give it to charity. All the left over food – which is gross anyway – we throw it out. I don’t even think anyone would ever want the left-over food. We found oyster sauce, dried mushrooms, bottles of salt, bottles of vinegar, packs of sugar and guess what… tens of packs of flour! We’re gonna have to open a bakery to use all the flour, really. So other than the vinegar – which we’re going to use to clean other kitchen stuffs – we throw them all away.

BUT, it’s only half-clean. We needed to decide what we’re going to do with the cooking stuffs; you know, the pans, pots, and cutting boards. We literally can open a shop here to sell those stuffs. LOL. So finally we cleaned them all and put them in the separate cupboard for everybody who will come to use. How lucky you are if you’re coming to our house. It’s all clean and provided for you. Haha!

Another thing that we needed to take care of is eating utensils, such as plates, glasses, cups, spoons, and stuffs like that. The same thing happened with the eating utensils. We cleaned them all and put them in the separate cupboard. I can’t believe how many of them we have now.

Other than that, the detergent, laundry stuffs, and cleaning stuffs. We have a crate of them. Literally a crate. Three kettles, a rice cooker, and a toaster – yuhuuu I think our house is the most complete house among all the student houses. We also still have loads of tea bags, chocolate powder, baking soda, all the baking stuffs, and canned foods.

The thing is, why don’t you all clean up before you leave? You see, when you left all the foods and those stuffs, the people coming after you won’t know what to do with those things. They will either cleaned them all or worse, just left them there without knowing anything until a year later. Seriously. One year left over food is just gross. It reminds me though – that I will have to clean up my kitchen stuffs soon. The art of moving away…

Sep 11, 2013

At the Near End of Ramadhan

I wrote something in the beginning of Ramadhan. And now it’s nearly the end of Ramadhan. After almost a month fasting and experiencing the Ramadhan life in here… well, I can say that this is the most memorable Ramadhan for me!

How can I say that? First of all, I am quite sad. In my opinion at least, when you are sad and feel like you are going to miss something, then that thing must be precious and special… And because you miss it, you must have a pleasant memory about it. I am sad that Ramadhan this year is going to end very very soon. Time flies, really…

And, when you expect that the Ramadhan feeling in here is not that strong as in muslim majority country like Indonesia… well, it isn’t that strong. But I think, the condition of being in a country where most people don’t fast or even know anything about Ramadhan makes muslim people a lot closer to each other. I don’t know because I wasn’t that diligent to go to the mosque during Ramadhan in Indonesia, but I feel like the mosque in here (well, in the university) is so much alive. It’s like the centre of muslim people’s (well, some of them) life.

In addition to that, for me, the mosque feels like home. The university mosque here is small. Don’t even try to compare it with MUI. It’s too small. But I really like it here. Again, because there are not that many muslim people, we gather in the mosque almost everyday. Well, for me it’s more like not too many days and for some it’s more like everyday. The environment is very comfy. We have our ifthar here, pray Maghrib together, eat dinner, up to tawarih together. It is so much fun! The ifthar is free by the way and it’s nice for single fighters (anak kos) in here because there’s always some more food left so we can bring it home for suhoor. And the prayers were very very nice. It’s not too long or too fast and you won’t even notice that you’re in the UK.

Moreover, as it brings muslim people together, I have so many friends. You know, people that you see sometimes in the mosque when you pray… now you get to know them. You know their name and where they live and you feel like you’re a family. Seriously…  Well, again this writing is not generalisable. It is my opinion and own experience so please read it with this awareness in mind although I think there will be a few people who share the same idea as me.

So, it really has been a great Ramadhan for me. Although I’m far away from home, I’ve found a new home. LOL. To be honest, I like the Ramadhan here more than in Indonesia. In my own experience, I can focus more on doing Ramadhan deeds and I think the obstacles – as in going to the mall or doing unimportant things – are less in here. I am sad, really… that Ramadhan is going to end soon. Anyway, it’s a pleasure that I can experience Ramadhan in here and I think I won’t forget this moment. Make the most of the last few days of your Ramadhan! 🙂

 Aug 06, 2013