It was Monday (30 Sept 2013).  Oh dear, apparently it was the beginning  of new academic year 2013/14. Yeah, the autumn semester just started and endorsed me officially entering my second year in this University. I have been here for a year. I love autumn very much. It is the most romantic season ever during the year. The time when the tree leaves getting yellow and red. The time when I can feel the leaves are falling down over my head while I am smiling to the world.

The sky was so cloudy in the morning, but getting more shiny in the afternoon. This day, I went to the lab as usual. The boring activity, yet I have strongly committed to it.  The lab was full with PhD students among of them were new PhD students. I saw them working very hard and seriously. It really forced me to work harder than was before. For the day, I read paper and code related with the concept of Hyper-heuristics.  Gradually, I little bit more and more understood the beautiful idea behind the hyper-heuristics. Sometime, I must realize that the only thing to do to succeed is keeping carry on.

In the afternoon,  I attended two programming lectures, namely Introduction to Programming and Algorithmic Problem Solving. They were two basic modules prepared for first -semester-student, at under graduate level. It could be embarrassing for a PhD student to attend first-semester undergraduate student module. For me, it really does not matter. I believe that it is never late for those willing to learn.  I am not very good in programming, so I should do so. In another side, I could learn how lecturers in this university teach their students in Programming. It could be very beneficial for me, as a lecturer, later on in the future. When, I come back to my base University.

I did enjoy both lecturers. They were very masculine classes where there were only three girls out of 300 students attending the class. I think, it is true everywhere that Women do not like Programming. I love very much the way the lecturers delivered their lecture materials. It was fun, encouraging and entertaining class indeed. And what I love most of is the lecture duration was only 50 minutes. Yeah, in this university there is no lecture more than 50 minutes.

In the evening, after I made Maghrib prayer at home, I went to George Green Library in the University Park Campus. Since it was the last day of my first year tenure, I must return all the books I borrowed from the Library. There were more than 20 bulky books and theses must be returned by today. I need one traveling bag  and a hand bag to pack the books. Luckily, a friend of mine, mas yod, kindly helped me picking up the books to the library.

I was so sad to know that even there is no a book that I have read thoroughly 😦  Although,  It has been one year in my room at home.

But, Whatever happens, welcome my romantic Autumn! Welcome my second year PhD life ! I wish more and more good luck.

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Shopping? I do believe many people like doing this activity. To buy some luxury goods, or glamorous apparels is what many people desire to do as frequent as possible. The question is whether people do shopping really to fulfill what they need or merely to satisfy their consumerism desire. I bet the latter is true  for  almost all people especially for those with a bunch of money in their hand. The former might be true for the wise ones or those with limited budget in their life such as  what does matter on my self.

However, shopping for needs does not always mean spending a lot of money. In Nottingham, you can find a place where you can find almost everything what you need in your daily life with extremely low price. The place is what so-called Car Booth. In Nottingham, there are many of them, you can check their availability here.

Colwick Car Boot Sale

… and it is my story when I was spending my leisure  time at one of Car Boots in Nottingham, namely Colwick Car Boot.  It was my first time going to Car Boot. To reach the place, from the University of Nottingham,  you can ride any buses (Bus number 13, 14, 34, 36, etc.) heading to Victoria Centre, in the city center.  From victoria city centre, catch a bus number 44 and stop at Colwick. Yo do not need to worry if you do not know exactly where the place and where to stop. There will be a flock of people stop at the place and follow them. Since  the car boot sale is held on every Sunday, I highly recommend you to buy a group ticket (applicable for two adults and three children) just for £4. This ticket allow you to ride any Nottingham City Transport (NCT) buses along the day in Nottinghamshire. Check here for NCT buses.

I came along to the place with Park Irwan, Mbak Shanti, Mas Walid, Mas Udin, Mas Wisnu, Mbak Arif, and Aza. Yeah, they are all my Indonesian mate. I think, I was too intense making  friendship with my Indonesian mates during my first year life in the UK and I think It is not too good for my personal development. I should embrace other people from different cultural background. Understanding other people from different culture is always interesting.

Needless to say, let these pictures tell you what happened in Colwick Car Boot Sale  :D,
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*) What a sunny Sunday, isn’t it?

**) A place where the seller sell their goods on their car.


***) used T-Shirt, 3 pieces only for £5

****) Extremely cheap used Books, only 20 p (1/5 GBP) each.

The majority of the goods are the used ones. But, you can find the new one with very low price as well. Such as these T-Shirts and Shocks

*****) This new special edition T-Shirt is only £1 for three pieces.

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******) Official MU Shocks only for £1.5

*******) Top – Branded Shoes only for £5.

Not only apparel things, you can ind other goods, even everything you need in your daily life is available in this Car Boot. Such as this Bicycle.

********) A High quality Bicycle just for £50

From the car boot, that day we went to other shopping places in the city centre i.e. PC Curry, TMax, and Primark. Surprisingsly, I found summer festival in the City Centre.

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**********) The Carnival

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***********)  Some booths at Nottingham City Centre

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************)  Artificial Beach at Nottingham City Centre

So, if you don’t know where to go in your leisure time on Sunday in Nottingham. The Car boot could be a wise choice to go to. Enjoy the place, the people, and the goods without any worries to spend too much money on your wallet.  Do not forget to bring your cash money instead of your credit/debit card. It is a little bit traditional -taste shopping place, where you can bargain the goods you want to buy. This traditional-taste life style could be a nice way to release your stress and your monotone Life. Good to see you there.

Finally, the Ramadlan Kareem that closed by Idul Fitri Eve ended. Yeah, whether I like or dislike it. The fact of life is that everything has its end. The time goes by but the memories remain forever. For sure, my Ramadlan Kareem in Nottingham will be the most unforgettable moment in the period of my life in Nottingham, even in my whole life. It really a full of blessing month.

I will never forget the moment when I was spending  time together with my brothers in Islam especially my Indonesian mates during the Ramadlan.  Indeed, it was too nice moment to remember. The time when we were breaking fasting, making taraweh prayer, staying in the mosque, and reciting the quran together. And also for each single fruitful discussion that we always made while we were walking together to and from the mosque. Those I believe have developed strong bounding among our hearts.

Oh Ramadlan kareem, I do not know how to draw what I was feeling. The feeling that I have never found in other months. Indeed, you are very special. I do hope I will see you again next year. Oh Idul Fitri, you have taught me what brotherhood, friendship, and togetherness is.

And it is Monday (12/08/2013), the time when I should come back to normal life through day by day. Other days of hard works. Other days of training on patience, perseverance, dedication, and commitment practices. Other days of answering the big questions of my research. Other days of finding the answer of What Life is ?

Welcome back my PhD Life !

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Walillahil hamdu….

It was Thursday (08/08/2013). It was a so special day, the day when we, all moslems around the world, celebrated what we call it Idul Fitri. The day after a full of blessing month, Ramadlan. The day, when we should be very happy. Because, God had forgiven all of our sins. This year is my first time to celebrate the Idul Fitri Eve in overseas, in the country where moeslims are minority, without family by my side. It must be so sad without them, but I have always reason to be happy and not to cry.

I felt so lucky, although we are minority,  in this country (the United Kingdom) we can practice our religious believe and celebrate our religious eve freely without any fear.  Even, they support us with excellent facilities confirming that the freedom of believing is guaranteed in this country. And it is my story of my first Idul Fitri Eve in Nottingham.

At 07.00 am,  I walked to Jubilee campus, the University of Nottingham,  for Idul Fitri prayer  along with my country mates i.e. Pak Sukirno, Pak Abdurrahman, and Arif. The idul fitri prayer was held in Sport Centre Building, in Jubilee campus. We have been provided with big enough prayer rooms by the university, but since not only students took part on the prayer, a much more spacious place was needed.  The sport centre building was the choice.

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*) We were walking to Sport Centre, In Jubilee Campus, The University of Nottingham

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*) We were taking our picture in front of Jubilee Campus Entrance Gate.

There were hundreds moeslims from different nationalities living nearby The University of Nottingham flocking to the Sport Centre. It is always a great pleasure and ultimate happiness to get together with our brothers and sisters in Islam. We have different skin colour, different culture, and speak different language. But, we share the same believing that is Islam.

After the Idul fitri prayer, the Khotib (the one who diliver speech) in his speech questioning us what our contribution as Moeslim to this country (the UK), who have provide excellent support to the growth of Islam in this country? He reminded us that as a Moslim we must  take a part and contribute to develop better world, better civilization in this global community.

After the speech we said hello and “Happy Eidl Fitri Mubarrak” to each other. We Shook hand with the others while requesting for forgiveness to each other. Indeed, what a beautiful moment isn’t it?

*) With Malaysian student (Hozni) and Mas Udin

*) Muslim Brothers and Sisters from all around the world

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*) Taking picture with the Khotib

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*) With Indonesian Mates

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*) With my Chinese Mate who asked me to take picture with me 😀

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*) With my Javanese (Jombang) Mate 😀

From the sport centre, We (I, Arif, Pak Sukirno, and Pak Rahman)  Went to LiDL ( a super market) for shopping some cakes, then we caught Indigo Bus to Beeston from Jubilee Campus. We had Indonesian gathering at Mbak Dewi house to celebrate Idul Fitri. Non-Muslims Indonesians happily also joined us in this gathering.

*) Indonesian mates

Thankfully, we had a bunch of Indonesian foods there. We had rendang, opor ayam, gudeg, and the other Indonesian cuisines that really made me feel at home. I always feel gratitude to have many very nice Indonesian mates here. With them, I feel that I have new families here in Nottingham. With them, I never feel lonely. With whom, I share my problems with.

*) Pak Hadi Susanto, the a lecturer at Mathematical Sciences Department, The University of Nottingham from Lumajang, East Java, Indonesia.

From mbak Dewi house, we walked to go home. We visited Pak Sukirno/Rahman house and we had casual but interesting discussion about leadership and character based education.  We had that discussion until 09.00 PM. After that, we moved to Arif house to watch movie 5 CM together before finally we went to our own home for a tight sleep and we had a normal day by over night.

Happy Idul Fitri, Every one !

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It was Saturday (24/07/2013). It was another fasting day in Ramadlan 2013 and it was the second weekend in this fasting month. Finally, I was back to  to my own campus, my lovely campus, the University of Nottingham,  after two subsequent week spending campus life at the University of Lougborough and University of Cambridge for summer school.

I woke up quite late in order to take a bed rest after tiring 5-days summer school at University of Cambridge. I went to Cambridge at 06.09 in the morning and went back to Nottingham at 07.00 PM. It was two and half  trip by train from Nottingham to Cambridge. Actually, I could stay at Cambridge, but I should pay at least £50 per night, where, i just spent £12 for the train return ticket and luckily, the summer school organizer would refund the transport cost until £60.

After making Duhur prayer Jamaah in the Portland Building, in the University Park. I went to Computer Room, in George Green Library. I was lucky, the university provided 24/7 open computer room in the University. I met Mas Walid working on his master dissertation. I spent the time in the library until 08.30 PM. Afterward, I together with Mas Walid went to Mbak Shanti/Pak Irwan house for breaking the fast together.

This Saturday, they invited us, the Indonesian students including their family studying in the University of Nottingham as well as Indonesian expat working nearby Nottingham  to break fasting together. Not only Muslim, all other non-muslim Indonesians were invited. Some Malaysian students went to join us as well. So, approximately 40 people came to the house.

I felt so lucky and blessed having many Indonesian friends in this University. The reason I should not feel lonely here. For me, they are my new family member in this University to whom I could share together. With whom I felt stronger and better. I knew in some other cities and countries, we could feel very lonely and minority because there were few only Indonesian there.

Indeed, being together with Indonesian fellows is one of the happiest moments living in abroad. Thanks God for giving them.

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Since the house is quite small, the gentleman get together in the backyard of the house while the ladies staying in the house. While waiting the Adzan Maghrib calling, Pak Hadi Santoso, the only lecturer from Indonesia, in Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham gave us a small talk about the lesson learnt from fasting ramadlan based on some verses from Alquran.  Here is the cut video:

We broke the fasting, prayed Maghrib, and ate together in the backyard. Thanks God, we had a bunch of dazzling West Sumatera Foods. We had rendang, dendeng, Grilled chicken, cracker and many other Padang cuisine. Unfortunately, the weather was quite bad. It was so windy that canceled our plan to make Taraweh Prayer together at the back yard. Thus, we should run to Portland building for the Taraweh.

Thanks God, for the day.