The Man I Often Heard Lately, Mr. Weston

Living in a far-far away land is complicated.

Applying for exchange program brought me to a very secluded town named Zlin.

Though I really love the new ambiance that I never enjoyed before, things do not go easy on me. Back in my country, I can go to salon, spa, and wax shop instantly. Here, I cannot find salon I can trust; meanwhile, wax shop and spa place are untraceable. Weeks ago, I found my hair was just way too long, too heavy, and too boring. This is a problem. I refused to randomly check some salon and have a try. I like to play safe. Once you damage your hair, it takes months to get it back. So, week ago when I heard that I got chance to stay for two nights in Prague, I googled some salons. Prague is the capital city, there must be some more trust-able salon, I believed. That was when I found Trichomania, a salon by Mark Weston.

Actually I also found some other salons, mostly are part of hair salon chains. Since I could not be sure that they speak English and knew what I mean, I convinced myself to have a try at Mr. Weston’s knowing that I read many positive reviews online about his salon and how he speaks English fluently. Besides, I was very curios with very unique salon he described on his website. I emailed Trichomania week ago to reserve an appointment. After several quick and welcoming replies, I got a place. 😉

Saturday, 20 October 2012. 6 pm.

It was the day. The salon is located at Anglicka 8, close to Narodni museum. It is easy to find, even for a person who rarely reads map… like me. I arrived at the place 10-15 minutes earlier and found Mr. Weston was still cleaning his salon chair after he finished his appointment with previous customer. He saw me when I entered his salon. “Ms. Valencia?” he asked. Once he noticed I was his next customer, he welcomed me in a very friendly way.

Mr. Weston offered a favor to hang my coat and served me a cup of tea. I did not hear English breakfast or chamomile mentioned among the tea flavors list he had so I let him chose one, any organic one. While he made his cup of tea, I starred around. His salon is not that big. Some flower vases are put close to the only window next to the entrance door. There is only one cozy sofa inside for the customer. A big mirror is placed facing the sofa. Behind, there are four mirrors in different size and shape hung on the pale pink wall. Above those mirrors, there were some random-shaped lights, something like those I usually see at the photo studio. Go bit further, I found usual black washing chair. A shelf is put close to it, with a vinyl turntable on top of it and CD player inside of the shelf. Two black curtains border each side of the sofa, one to border between it and the look outside and one between it and washing chair. The only door inside the salon leads to the toilet.

My observation stopped when he came with a cup of tea for me. Apparently, he and I were the only persons at the salon. Everything was on his own –whoa. There was a ginger cookie on the tea plate. A lovable one that I could not wait to bite. He put it on a black round-shaped tool, the one with wheels usually used as a seat for the hairdresser. He dragged it next to me, to place my tea and phones. He also had a kind of bar right after the mirror that faced me to put some magazines and his customers’ handbags. In the end, I had my sofa only for me, while my stuffs, they also had theirs. 😉

Mr. Weston dragged another black round-shaped tool. He sat next to me, then asked, “What are you into?”. A very big question with an answer I did not know because I just felt bored with my usual long hair with some unshaped curl left after permanent curl I got almost a year back and some branches as its after effect. Since I did not have a particular demand, so we started talking. He questioned some stuffs just so he could know me and what fits me. After some minutes, he came out with his thought and told me the price I approximately had to pay later. I was glad to know he did, so that I could refuse at very first time if I did not think the style and price fit me. He suggested me to leave my hair color alone since it is already good for me to get it in lighter color than my natural hair color. The solution he had was giving the shape to my hair and highlight to frame my face. This is what I perceived, I do not know whether my explanation is exactly what he said before, I ain’t good in terms of understanding the science of haircut. After I agreed, Mr. Weston asked me how long the hair I am willing to let go, some hairdressers left my hair shorter than my expectation in the past, so I loved the fact that he asked.

In sudden, it was already started. Begun with cutting process, it was continued with the bleaching process, the washing and highlighting process, the cutting for detail process, and the drying one at very last with.. hand. HAANNND?? And my wayward hair obeyed his HAND, not MINE.

Although it took around 2,5 hours, I did not get bored. The salon provides Wi-Fi, so everything was okay. I could chat with my boyfriend while opening some social media, sipping tea and munching cookie. Oh anyway, he was very kind. He served another cup of tea after I emptied the previous one.. and of course, with the cookie!! ❤

The music was played from the vinyl player and CD player. I think he changed from one to another. Was bit surprised at first because The XX and Ms Mr were also in the song list he had. There was this moment, when I furtively shazam-ed some songs because they were nice. Turned out, he knew it and suggested me even more songs. Mr.-so-kind-Weston also told me that those good tracks he had could be downloaded for free on Soundcloud, he told me where. Impressive! That was not enough. He gave me direction to two vinyl stores he usually goes to in Prague and one store in Germany.

It was 8.30 pm.

I finally got my haircut. Transaction was done. Mr. Weston helped me out with my coat he just took before I left.

In short,  all these treat-customer-like-a-princess thingies left me with satisfaction. What I highlight is not the review of the haircut or his expertise. It is the service. I am a typical girl who pays very good attention at service. I always evaluate restaurants, salons, hotels, shops, and every other things based on the service. If I have to rank what I evaluate, it should be service on top of everything, then quality, and price at last.

In terms of service, as you can read, he treated customers very well. What he did shows how he very welcomed his customers. He listened to the customers, he paid attention to them. I once randomly asked him whether he had met an Asian customer or not. An okay person would perhaps answer with a yes or no, but Mr. Weston told me from which countries they were. He forgot some at first, but after some moments when the topic was not there anymore, he randomly listed some others he finally remembered. He even showed the photos of Vietnamese girl he used to trim before. This is simple thing however the simple thing like how you respond others also determines your personality, no? 🙂

The haircut. Hairstyle is all about taste. I cannot say that what is good for me is also good for me. In my perception, his haircut is satisfying and good. It fits my taste. I found that Mr. Weston and I shared common thought about hair. Though, I like to try something new with my hair, I like to have something ‘safe’. And that is indeed what he had in mind for me. He once told me that experiment is good but never do too much because a mistake in haircut leaves permanent effects; it is going to take quite sometimes to get it back. He emphasizes the healthiness of the hair. The right haircut is what we need to make hair looks attractive. This is why he did not do that much too my hair but some highlight to frame my face. They are in blonde color. It is fun although it is new. Perhaps he knew that I get bored easily with my hair, so he left some in blonde that I can play around. He told me that these blonde highlights can be colored with eyeshadow, blush on, glittery-colored mascara, and others, not like my dark hair. It is cool because, ah, so now I know how to spend my spare time when I am bored. 😀

However you know, everyone has different taste. It takes sometime to find the hairdresser that matches you. I may say that Mr. Weston is a good one, but again, it is my opinion.

Last but not least, the price. I do not think that publishing how much the cost for the treatment I got is a right thing to do. You can check the price range from his website. For me, it is not pricey. Some salons in Jakarta are even more expensive than that though they are less worthy. Since the focus is on you and you are the “princess” for some hours, you know there is the price to pay, right? 😉

Nothing much longer than this I can type about Trichomania. It was a pleasant experience I had. I hope there will be another day when I can have a seat on the cozy sofa to get a haircut with catchy music and a cup of tea as my companions.. and oh, almost forget to mention the additional team, the ginger cookie!


A Well-Spent Morning with Mr Nobu

I am a typical person who does not mind to spend slightly more money for a new/ unique experience.

Maybe you have read my story about a hairdresser named Mr Weston from Trichomania salon in Prague. This time, I am sharing you my haircut experience with Mr Nobu from Nobu Salon in Jakarta. (Note: If you like to cut it short and see the result, scroll to the bottom of the page :D)

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On one Friday, I –all of the sudden- wanted to colour my hair. So I searched a nearby salon that seems… reputable. I found a Japanese woman’s blog who posted her hair makeover experience at Nobu Salon. As it was written in Japanese, I only looked at her hair result. Based on her photo, I guessed she had perm. As it looked great and natural… I was instantly sold!

I called Nobu Salon to set an appointment. The man who answered my phone spoke in Japanese. My best guess is he greeted me(?). I was confused.

(Maybe he’s an Indonesian who was asked to greet in Japanese like waiters at Sushi Tei? So.. let’s try saying something in Indonesian…)

Dengan Nobu Salon? Apa ada jadwal untuk besok?


*no response*.

(Nope, Valen! Wrong answer! So okay… let’s hope he speaks English. )

Is this Nobu Salon?

Yes it is.

(Thanks God he does!)

 I want to colour my hair tomorrow. Do I have to set an appointment?

Yes, here, you have to book an appointment. 10 am tomorrow, yes?

Okay. 10 am is fine.

What’s your name?

Valencia. Which floor?

Lantai dua. Don’t be late.

Okay.. See you.

See you.. Don’t be late.

I still do not understand why he asked me not to be late twice in one phone call twice. Perhaps his Indonesian clients are always late. I am not offended, though. I am kind of a late person too anyway…. mehehehehehe (go on, hate me!)

So, I arrived at 10 am sharp. Nobu Salon has several branches, including one at an apartment in Pondok Indah. I visited one at Dharmawangsa Square. The salon was simple and clean.

First, my Japanese hairstylist discussed about what I wanted. As I still worked for a company back then, I did not want something too shocking.

“Okay, not something too funky yes…” he asked.

I told him that maybe we can colour just piece by piece (like highlight) and leave the top section untouched so the coloured pieces can be covered when I go to work. He came up with the idea to do ‘sombre’, an ombre for several strains of hair, which results in a more natural look. He also suggested several warm colours that suit my skin colour.

It took approximately an hour to finish the sombre. He had an Indonesian assistant who helped him during the process. He’s a friendly and fluent English speaker. Sometimes, he said one or two words in Indonesian to ask something from his assistant. On that Saturday morning, there were two Japanese customers next to me who spoke in Japanese to their Japanese hairstylists (Never mind, I was just stating the obvious here).

Just like several hair salons in Jakarta, Nobu Salon offered its customers a drink. During the process, my hairstylist asked me to try two milky candies, one in green tea flavour and another in chocolate.

After finished, he dried my hair. He told me to have a haircut soon, as my hair was already shape-less. So I asked him whether or not he still had a time to cut it now? It would save my time anyway. So he ran and checked his schedule.

Okay, I still have 30 minutes.


I ended up having a haircut and colouring. My hair felt lighter, thanks to his touch. I found that Mr Weston and him have similar drying technique. They just separated my hair into two groups and twirled each while drying. It’s like they understood that my hair had endured enough pain of constant blow dry.

As I went to the cashier desk, I got a membership card, which allows me to get 10 percent discount for any service at any day, including this one yay! Well, 10 percent might seems small but if your total hair treatment costs you more than a million rupiah, you save more than a hundred thousand –amount of money that you can use to get five lunches at street food stalls in Jakarta-

Anyway…. my hair stylist gave me his business card before I left. That time, I just realized that my stylist was Mr. Nobu –the owner- himself! Glad that I got the opportunity to have him styled my hair. There, you can check the result below 😉


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Why I Refused to Cheat in Exam

Source: Huffington Post


I stopped cheating when I studied in university. Some people might think that I was selfish or not cooperative but, hey, I had my own reasoning for that 🙂

So… Assuming that I do not know the answer of a question and I ask my friend, the possibility of me getting a right answer is 50:50, or even higher if I my friend is a straight A student. If later I choose to take my friend’s answer, but it turns out wrong, can I blame my friend? Nah.

Let say I gamble by using some common sense in analyzing some possible answers. There is also a chance to have my answer right. If at the end of the day the answer is wrong, who will I blame?

In both situations, I am the only one to blame for not studying hard enough.


Same thing applies in life.

People might think that I am stubborn for not following several advices they give in life. It is not because I do not love them. It is because I know that the first person to receive the costs of decision I make in life is myself.

It is better for me to regret my own decision than to miss the opportunity to believe in myself and see what is out there for me. I guess… life is too short to not do what you want to do just because others said so 🙂

Best Place(s) to Wax in Jakarta

Waxing has always been my top pick when it comes to hair removal method (actually, I opt for laser at anytime, but well… cost doesn’t lie). As I have tried waxing service at several sites in Jakarta, I feel the urge to share it. Why? Because I might be able to save some skin from irritation and awful experience. 🙂

So… Are you looking for the least painful and most hygienic experience?

Strip the Ministry of Waxing is the answer! Why? First, Their ‘Waxperts’ are heartless ones when it comes to the job ….Which is perfect! Why? You want heartless person to wax you fast. If they hesitate their skill and fear too much on whether or not it will hurt you, that won’t work. Trust me, faster, better. These ‘Waxperts’ are well trained with their SOP. I have experienced same treatment from different technicians. I found that their techniques are uniformed. Second, hygiene! Strip does not do double dipping. Once it is dipped, it will go straight to the bin. Some other wax salons claim to implement the same standard but I know that Strip is the one that sticks to it. All Waxperts I met always threw their spatula after one usage. Awesome! Third, hot wax. Strip is one among few wax salons in Jakarta that features hot wax. Hot wax might costs you more but it hurts you less. When it comes to upper lip, Brazilians, or other sensitive areas, no one would convert to sugar wax when they have experienced hot wax 😉 Additional plus points:

  • Individual room
  • Hot wax


  • Cost more than some others


Or… Are you looking for more affordable options?

Caramello and Sucre Wax Bar are more affordable options. Why? First, they have professional technicians too. Good thing about Caramello is that you can get two technicians to work for two different body parts when they are not in their rush hour. As they have been in the market for quite longer than some others, they also are ‘heartless’ and fast. Good thing about Sucre is their brow threading. There is one particular technician –I forgot her name- who is so damn good at shaping your brow. I know that the pain level you have to bear from threading is a bit higher than waxing, but it gives you a more detailed result. Try-try! Second, their prices are below Strip’s. Downside:

  • Double-dipping
  • No hot wax

What about some other ‘famous’ options?

I know that there is another Singapore-based waxing chain at ‘slightly’ lower price than Strip. …. But no, I won’t recommend. Why? First, less experienced technicians. I tried twice with different technicians but these experiences were more painful than what I usually get at Strip. These even caused some bumps to appear on my skin for days. My friend shared the same story, even worse, because she decided to do a bikini wax. Second, I saw the technicians double dipped their spatulas. Any good thing? Well, it offers individual room, hot wax, and whitening treatment (some sort of peeling). I have also experienced wax treatments at several other places, but still, those above are what I recommend more.

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  1. Get your Brazilian wax at Strip.
    1. If you can bear more pain, go for soft/hard combi that cost you less
    2. If you cannot, go for hard wax
    3. Feel itchy after get waxed? Ask for their special serum to reduce the itchiness and slowdown hair growth
  2. Get your any less-sensitive body part waxed at the affordable options


Love Lesson 101: Love Is Not A Game

Lily and Marshall taught me one simple love lesson that I, sometimes, well… most of times, forget.

(No, I don’t have friends name Lily and Marshall. And yes, they are the characters from How I Met Your Mother)

An episode shows how Marshall frequently used ‘win’ and ‘lose’ to determine how his argument against Lily goes. But later, the ‘ghost Lily’ character reminded him that no matter how happy he is to win, he would lose in the end. It was not losing argument that she meant, it WAS the fact that Marshall would lose Lily sooner or later if he keeps on picturing arguments in relationship as a ‘winning and losing situation’, (PS: ghost lily= Marshall’s dream).

THERE! It is what I most of the time forget. In a relationship, I should not count how many times lost arguments to prove that it is an unfair relationship.. I guess a mature couple do not fight against one another in order to win. It is not about whose argument wins, it is about finding what is BEST for both sides. Sometimes it is his argument, sometimes it is hers, or sometimes, it is a neutral solution both found.

I don’t use the word ‘fight’ and ‘conflict’ that sound more negative. It is normal to have a couple having arguments in a relationship. Two heads are not identical, right? It becomes NOT normal when it is an act to win, not to find what is best for both sides.


Around 5 pm. Jakarta.

Jakarta looked like a battlefield during these rush hours. White tie workers, blue tie ones, students, and commuters shared same mission, to fight for early home arrival. While other transportation got stuck on heavily loaded road, Trans Jakarta was swinging so smoothly on their private way. From one stop to another, from Kota to Blok M, the bus never once got its space empty at these hours. It even loaded more passengers than its capability quite sometimes. Passengers fully filled whole area; from driver’s corner to the last seat row. Men and women, elders and kids. Once a person got up from his or her seat, those who stood around would quickly run for it.

“Dukuh Atas! Dukuh Atas! Anybody else, Dukuh Atas?”

The doors were then closed once nobody stepped out from the bus at Dukuh Atas halt anymore. There are three doors on the bus. Only some halts provide entrance for three doors at once, the rest only facilitate entrances for one or two doors.

It was already two stops after Dukuh Atas. Sound of wooden cane tapped along the bus hall was suddenly heard. A man who was found to be blind tried hard to walk from the middle door to the first door. It was difficult for him to walk along the so crowded hall. With one hand tapping the cane and the other tried to touch familiar things, he struggled.

Nobody seemed to notice. Some actually did but preferred to act like they did not see, perhaps. None tried to give a way. Tens were too busy listening to their MP3s and checking their mobile phones. The rest just starred at the around 50 years old man while sticking at their position. Probably bus hangers were that ‘precious’ so they had to hold it tight and stand still to prevent others take theirs.

It was not long until a workingman in his white shirt realized this went so wrong. “Move aside, please! Give a way to this man!” he shouted. He held the hand of the blind man and gave help. Seconds after, people around miraculously eased him, giving way so he could step to front much easily. “Where are you going, Sir?” asked another man who was close to the first door. Passengers around the two weirdly started to pay attention in sudden. “Dukuh Atas actually,” the blind man answered with a smile shaped on his face. “Ahhh.. you just missed ittt,” another man responded. The blind man replied with nothing but silence. He still put a smile upon his face. His expression shared clearly what he felt, implicitly it stated how disappointed and confused at the same time he was. It seemed like smiling was the only thing he could do. Perhaps if it could be translated, it would be a kind of “Oh well, I missed it..” expression and accepting act wrapped in one. “Sir, you can step down at the next stop and take busway from other direction. Three stops,” another man who also stood near him gave his advice.

The bus arrived at the next halt. Doors were opened again. The blind man stepped out with help from several passengers near the door. A young man with a backpack on his back assisted him to the opposite entrance, the one for buses from other direction.

Seconds after the touching scene, gate was closed.

The red and orange colored bus continued its journey to the next stop, carrying the seemed-to-be-busy passengers.