Are you Inge, the Photographer?


This morning I received a call and she asked, “Are you Inge, the photographer?”

Since I have never considered myself as a photographer, I said no, thinking she might have mistaken me for someone else. Then she asked again whether I was the one who often took photos at Vihara Dhamma Sundara. It was not a mistake, so I said yes.
She asked whether I could take photos of her child’s engagement party. I told her that I was not a professional photographer, so I declined.

She was quite insistent. She said that I had good camera equipment and surely I could take a simple assignment like taking photos of engagement party at home. Once again, I felt that I was not good enough to be called a professional photographer, I declined for the second time.

Somehow she believed that I could do the job and kept asking me, explaining that it was a simple engagement and she only needed 30-40 photos printed for the occasion. For the third time, I declined because I did not good enough editing skills for post-production.
Finally, she took ‘no’ for an answer.

After saying ‘no’, I could not get this incident out of my head. I wonder why I declined this opportunity.
First, I feel that I am not good enough to be called a professional photographer. I have never been paid for my photos or services. Did I refuse because I was just too afraid? Did I refuse because I felt unworthy?

Second, I have expectations regarding the role of professional photographers. A real professional photographer has the ability of editing in post-production and will produce good results. I have no editing skill other than cropping, adjusting brightness and contrast.

Third, I consider whether this assignment is worth my time and effort. It may be an experience but I do want to be compensated for my effort. It is called professional service and not volunteering to help anymore.

Last, if I want to be a professional photographer of my choice, I want to be a travel photographer.

What do you think? Should I have said ‘yes’?

My Luck with Starbucks


Yesterday I went to Starbucks to buy Starbucks’ 11th Anniversary mug. I had a voucher that entitled me for 30% discount. The price of the mug was quite expensive, Rp 75,000, and after discount it would be Rp 52,500.

While I was there, I was offered to get Starbucks Reward Card with a minimum balance of Rp 100,000 and only for yesterday, I could get a free beverage (Mocha Cookie Crumble Frap tall size). I thought it was quite a good offer and I certainly could use the discount, so I agreed to get the Starbucks Reward Card for Rp 100,000.

When they entered my purchase into the cash register, somehow the total amount came out to be Rp 130,000, instead of Rp 152,500. I told them that the amount did not seem right and they also agreed with me, but they had to follow the cash register. I ended up paying only Rp 130,000.

I considered myself lucky when dealing with Starbucks because yesterday was the second time that I got something extra from Starbucks. Last time, I got an extra free drink because of another error.

I put away Rp 22,500 into my lucky note stash to remind myself that sometimes I am just lucky! 

Do you have similar experience? If you do, please share in the comments.

Learn and Grow

Inge Santoso, B Com, CFP®

Three People, Three Decades, Three Kinds of Tea – A Whole New Mind

cups of tea

Three days, three unique people, born in three different decades, having three kinds of tea, sharing thoughts and creating a whole new mind – That summed up what happened to us.

Two friends of mine,

One 10 years younger, one 10 years older

One right brainer, one left brainer

One loves arts, one loves numbers

Where am I? Somewhere in the middle!

We are similar yet different, we are different yet similar.

That’s why it was so interesting!

It seemed that whatever we discussed or did, we could either empathize, or learn from each other. I felt that by getting to know more about them, from their stories and experience, I learned even more about myself. I hope that through the sharing, our horizon expanded, our feelings enriched, and our mind transformed.

I savored those moments when time seemed to stand still, yet it had flown like the wind…being present and still in the rush of ravaging river. 

May the bond of our friendship last through the ages…until you are 80 years old, I am 90 years old and you are at your 100th year.

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

written in response to “Tea with two masters” by Yenche

Going Up The Mountain, Nissan Juke or Joke?

juke inge

Two weeks ago, my friends came from Jakarta to Solo for a short trip. Since one of them has never been to Tawangmangu before, so we stayed in Tawangmangu that weekend. We had a great time having a heart-to-heart sharing about life. It was an enlightening experience for me.

On Monday, before we went back to Solo, I offered to take them for a drive to Cemara Sewu on my Nissan Juke. I just got this car a few months ago and I hadn’t had the chance to try in on steep mountain road. I was curious to see how this good looking car would perform going up the mountain. I was pretty confident that I would be able to take my friends to see beautiful sceneries on top of Cemara Sewu.

After loading our luggage on the car, I took my friends for a scenic drive up the mountain. At the beginning the car rode smoothly, but when we got to the point where the road was very steep and long, no matter how deep I stepped on the accelerator, the Juke could not move forward. I put the car on power mode and pressed the gas pedal to the ground, but the car only moved forward in inches. After a few meters going on like this, we decided to turn back.

In my mind, I was furious. How could this new Nissan Juke not go up Cemara Sewu? It was embarrassing!

When I got back, I complained about this to my Dad. He told my uncle who was very knowledgeable about car to check it out.

Yesterday, my uncle and the mechanic from Nissan took the car for a test drive to Tawangmangu. When they arrived in Karanganyar, they tried to put the car into test and drove it faster. Although it was only a gentle slope, the car just would not run as fast as it should be. They stopped on the side of the road to check. There was no problem with the engine, so they checked the accelerator. When they saw the position of the accelerator, they finally figured it out why the car would not run faster. The accelerator was hindered by the double carpets! When they removed one of the carpets, the accelerator could be pressed down to the ground and the car just ran like the wind!

The carpet was the culprit!

When they told me about this, I was laughing out loud. I could imagine my uncle’s facial expression when they found the culprit! It was so funny!

What can I learn from this?

A trivial thing may cause a big problem, and a big problem may be solved with a simple solution.

In life we are often confronted with problems big or small. When we are faced with big problem, we often assume that we need complicated solutions to solve it…well, not necessarily! Sometimes a simple solution is all we need if we can find the true nature of our problem.

Finally, I need not go to Nissan to complain that their Juke is a joke!

Just like the song by Bee Gees “I Started a Joke”…Oh if I’d only seen that the joke was on me!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B. Com

I Took The Wrong Bag – We All Make Mistakes


Yesterday my friend and I flew from Solo to Jakarta. We brought four luggage with us, one of them was the samsonite bag pictured above. While we were waiting for our luggage to come out, we were discussing about passengers who turned on their mobile phones on the plane. Then we saw our bags coming out, so we quickly took them and put them on the trolley. I prepared my luggage tags just in case they asked to see them before leaving the airport. As it happened, no one was there to check the luggage tag, so we just went out to get a taxi. I loaded the bags to the trunk of the taxi and we left the airport.

About 10 minutes after we left the airport by taxi, I received a call from an airport ground staff. He asked me whether I arrived by GA 221 from Solo this morning. I said yes. Then he asked whether I got all my bags because he found my samsonite bag. I confidently said that I’d got everything, I’d taken all my four bags. He asked me to stop and check because I might have taken somebody’s else bag by mistake. I insisted that I couldn’t have mistakenly taken the wrong bag but I asked the driver to stop and check anyway. When I opened the trunk and saw the bag…Aaah the samsonite bag in the trunk was definitely not blue, it was black!! It was not mine! I took the wrong bag!

I told the taxi driver to drive back to the airport to return the bag and get my own bag. This mistake cost me more than Rp.100,000 in taxi fare because we had to exit the highway, turn back and re-enter the highway to the airport.

It was the first time it ever happened to me and hopefully there won’t be a second time.

It was quite amazing how two set of eyes could get it wrong, then by chance there was no one to check the tags as we went out. One other thing, that bag also had the same broken wheels. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I do not believe in coincidence. Thinking positively about this incident, perhaps the taxi driver needed more money and we had helped him out. There were so many possibilities and I’d rather see this as a part of a master plan and something good has come out of it.

Lessons to learn:

  • Do not be arrogant. Mistakes can happen to anyone. We all make mistakes one time or another.
  • As we go through life, from one experience to the next, there is always a first time for everything. It is just part of life.
  • Next time, ALWAYS check twice that I get the right bag hahaha

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso, B.Com

The Real Cause of My Repetition-Make-Me-Want-to-Pee Problem

Last week, I read a blog post about learning one new skill every year by giving yourself a full year to learn and master a new skill. I was inspired and I decided to learn how to play guitar this year.

Learning from Past Experience

I remember when I was a kid, my mom wanted me to learn to play organ. I did not like it at all. Whenever the teacher came to our house to teach, I pretended to sleep. There was one time that I said to her I was sleepy and I slept on top of the organ. Finally my mom and my teacher gave up and I stopped learning.

What I did not tell them was the reason why I did not want to learn anymore. The teacher told me to learn a song called “Bunga Matahari” (Sunflower). I did not like that song at all, I also found it too hard. The teacher forced me to play that song over and over again during a one-hour lesson. Then she told me to practice that song for one week and we’d play it again in the next lesson. That was when I decided to quit. I just did not want to play that song.

When my mother tried to make me learn again by getting a new teacher, I still did not want to learn. Frankly, in my heart I liked the new teacher, but somehow I was to stubborn to admit that I like learning from her. I stood my ground saying that I simply hate playing organ to hide the real reason that I actually did not like the teaching method of the first teacher. I made it impossible for the second teacher to teach me, and it was all because of my pride. Now I can see how this incident keeps repeating itself throughout my life. I’ve let my pride holding me back from learning and growing. (I’ll write more about this later)

It has been 25 years since that incident. I have not told anybody about it. When I wrote this post, I just realized something very important. This incident of playing that song over and over again might be the incident that caused me to hate repetition and make me want to pee whenever I have to do something over and over again. Even writing this post and remembering the incident, I feel that I need to go to the toilet. (In 15 minutes I went three times already). HAHAHAHA Finally after 25 years, I found the real cause of my repetition-make-me-want-to-pee problem! 

This repetition-make-me-want-to-pee problem has made me feel very uncomfortable when I have to do things that require repetition. For example, when I was learning Chinese language in Beijing, my teacher often gave me a homework to write each character that we learned that day at least 10 times. It felt like a torture to me because to complete that homework, I had to go to the bathroom countless times. Sometimes it hurt because there was no water left yet I still felt the sensation. (I am sure you know how it feels)

I am so glad that by writing this post, I finally uncover the cause of my problem. It may seem silly to you but it is a profound AHA moment for me.

Learn and Grow!

Dark Cherry Mocha


I had wanted to try Stabucks’ Dark Cherry Mocha since last month. I finally drank it in Starbucks Jogjakarta yesterday. I loved it! It had a rich and full mocha with a hint of cherry as an aftertaste. If you love mocha, you must try it.

Drinking coffee, writing in my new moleskine using my G2 pen…one of the best moment I had this weekend. I wish I have someone special to share this simple yet awesome moment with me.

Enjoy your weekend!

Merapi Volcano and Merbabu Mountain

Merapi Merbabu Panorama

I went for a walk this morning and I saw a beautiful scenery of Merapi Volcano and Merbabu Mountain. It reminds of a picture that a lot of Indonesians draw when they are asked to draw a scenery – two mountains in a distance. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Indonesian to draw something, 80% of them will draw something like this:


This is a product of mass education where teachers do not encourage creativity of their students. I am glad to see how more children are encouraged to be more creative now.

Learn and Grow!

Christmas and New Year Gifts


Did you receive a lot of gifts for Christmas and New Year this year? Did you receive any special gifts?

This year I received a very special New Year gift. It was wrapped in an inspiring and beautiful picture of.  The message was very personal and encouraging. When I opened it, my heart leaped with joy and excitement. It is something that I’ve always wanted for years, a moleskine! Yes! I love it! Moreover, this gift was given by someone who’s extremely important in my life. Do you want to have a guess?

Yes…it’s me! This is a gift for myself this year.

(Perhaps at this point, you think that I’ve gone mad or something. Giving a gift to myself, then blogging about it on the internet? Well, hear me out.)

First, I believe that it is essential for me to be my own best friend. I want to be my biggest supporter, encouraging and focusing on what I do well instead of punishing myself for every mistake that I made in the past. As a friend, I want to give the most appropriate gift to do just that. This moleskine will be used as a success journal, the pages will be filled with daily success stories, achievements and positive feelings.

Are you also your own best friend?

Second, I also believe that loving, accepting and appreciating myself are very important for my happiness. I can only give what I already have. When I feel the love, acceptance, appreciation and happiness in my daily life, then I can share these feelings with others. Who can make me happy other than myself?

Do you love, accept and appreciate yourself enough?

Third, I give myself a gift because it was fun!

Don’t you want to have some fun too? Go! Get a gift for yourself and have fun!

Learn and Grow!

Inge Santoso