Friday, August 31, 2012


We're headed into a three-day weekend. What are your plans for Labor day?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How Did You Spend Your Summer?

Even though summer officially ends Friday, September 21, most of us see Labor Day weekend as the beginning of the end of the season, especially those who are headed back to school. So as we start to say goodbye to the long hot days, we would love for you to share some of your summer experiences. Did you travel, and if so where to? Do you have some good staycation stories to share instead? Was this summer better or worse than last year's?

If you are interested in sharing your memories and thoughts, please check out our guidelines and submit a post. We look forward to your contributions!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Looking Back At High School*

This piece was originally posted on February 15, 2012. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective, during which we will post a combination of new content and posts from the past. Enjoy!

I just received notification from the high school I graduated from regarding an alumni publication, requesting information and photos of me to include in it. I usually ignore most mail I get from the school, but I actually thought of calling the phone number provided and telling them to remove any mention of me. Why? Because my high school experience was not a good one, and it did not help that my parents paid good money for me to attend the institution. My elementary and middle school experiences were far worse than those I had in high school, but I did expect more from the latter, especially since my tuition increased every year while the quality of my education decreased. Most of my teachers were mediocre at best, with the exception of one who made me look forward to college.

The harsh treatment of the school administration towards my class during our senior year was what made me decide to never have anything to do with the school after graduation. The principal at the time decided to punish us for the bad behavior of the previous senior class, which led to deep resentments; it was as if a black cloud loomed over us until we graduated. I even remember that many people did not go to prom that year, and I was one of them.

Because my academic experiences before my undergraduate education were sorely lacking, I appreciate good teachers and school administrators even more, whether they are found in public and private schools. I started loving education when I went to college, because I met more educators who knew how to teach, and took classes that were both difficult and interesting at the same time. I really felt like a butterfly that had been a caterpillar for far too long before then.

I may just ignore the notification from my former high school in protest of the bad education I received from them. Perhaps that is best.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TWM's Summer 2012 eNewsletter

If you're not already on our mailing list, we thought we'd share our latest enewsletter with you here.  Please click here for the full version.

Well, hello there!  We hope you are enjoying the summer and making the most of the transformative opportunities this year has presented. It's been a while since you've heard from us, and we thought that doing so on the tail of the XXX Olympiad and right before UN Humanitarian Day and Women's Equality Day was as good a time as any!

Since completing our 10 year anniversary with our celebration last July, we've been in transition deciding what we want the next decade of our existence to look like. In the meantime, we've offered three Visioning Workshops and continue to interact with you on a virtual basis via CHICKS ROCK!, Facebook and Twitter, so be sure you are connected with us there.

When we started TWM in January of 2001, the world was a very  different place. It was pre-9/11, there were still plenty of people without email or cell phones, and the majority of women's organizations were only profession, ethnic or issue specific.  We set out to encompass and embrace all that a woman could be, discovering her own identity by connecting with, learning about and being inspired by the diversity of women around her - and we produced over 100 unique events to help make that happen.

We've come a long way in terms of women's leadership, organizations that have since been created and the more mainstream understanding and hardcore research demonstrating that the empowerment of women and girls are key to making the world a better place. In other words, it's now common knowledge that when women and girls benefit, the entire planet does. It's very rewarding to know that we were a grass-roots part of that effort!

So having accomplished much of what we set out to do, yet knowing there is much more work to be done, we wanted to ask you: going forward, what is it that you would like to see TWM do more or less of?  What kind of programs do you want to participate in, on or off-line experiences you would like to have and existing needs we might be able to fill?  Send us your suggestions, feedback and comments via email or on Facebook.

Until then, we hope to see you at our upcoming workshops and we'll be sharing some video clips of relevant past events with TWM Flashbacks both here and in emails to come. If you're new to TWM, there are plenty of links in this newsletter to catch up on what we've been up to thus far. 

And last, but certainly not least, if you've been on this journey with us especially as a TWM Member or donor- THANK YOU!  We wouldn't be here without you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights*

The following was originally posted on January 24, 2012. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, this past December to speak in celebration of Human Rights Day. Human Rights Day honors the moment in 1948 when, after several years of debate and deliberation, the UN voted to ratify a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming that all human beings on earth are "born free and equal in dignity and rights," and that governments cannot remove or assign those rights, but instead have a responsibility to protect them for ALL citizens under their care.

Incredibly powerful stuff. In many ways, this declaration came decades ahead of its time--many of the countries that voted in favor of it had yet to recognize the full citizenship of all their people. We still had segregation in the southern U.S., repressive colonialism existed throughout much of Africa, and women still fought for gender equality all over the globe. But the declaration passed, I imagine because of the inherent truth of it, in spite of the fact that the world leaders of the day could not have comprehended the vast significance their affirmation would take on in the decades to come.

Secretary Clinton spent her time at the podium last month articulating the vastly important message that leaders are supposed to lead, often in big bold strokes that their people may not be ready for. She focuses on how, for all the progress that we've made worldwide in the past century securing human rights for women, indigenous people, racial and ethnic minorities, religious groups, and people with disabilities, there is another group that has yet to be fully recognized as deserving of human rights--gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Her speech is mind-blowing. It is clear, direct, simple yet challenging...and honest. It gets to the heart of the questions that people on all sides of the sexuality issue ask, and the beliefs they hold dear, and begins to grapple with them--the way we all are going to need to speak within public discourse if additional progress is ever to be made.

I happen to adore Hillary, but even if you don't, you should watch this speech from beginning to end, and listen. It's thirty minutes long, but well worth it. She transcends politics here, in a way that we need many more of our politicians to do. And she's right. Changes are coming, and I, for one, want to "be on the right side of history."

What did you think of this speech?

Friday, August 24, 2012

FRIDAY FORUM: Back to School

Summer's coming to a close, and it's about time to get ready to go back to school. Are you a student?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Live the Life You Like*

The following was originally posted on June 23, 2011. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective.

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to welcome Routh as a first-time guest blogger this week as part of TWM's World of Wellness.

Routh Chadwick, LMSW, is a personal coach and counselor specializing in helping people discover and live their life purpose while finding more pleasure in their daily lives. She has a private practice in New York City.

As the saying goes, I entered the mental health profession partly to heal myself. After suffering from depression and anxiety for years, I set out to discover a better way to live. Over time, I made changes in my thinking and habits that enabled me to reach a place of well-being. The changes weren’t easy, but I stopped trying to live my life according to the mainstream views of success and started listening to myself. I also noticed a tendency in all of us to focus on the pain in our lives rather than beauty and abundance. I saw this in the acceptance of lousy working conditions, crazy stress levels, and a constant striving for some future happiness. The cultural antidote to the pain tends to be some kind of numbing agent: too much television, too much alcohol, chronic use of antidepressants, etc.

My search for healthier solutions took me to the Zen practice of mindfulness – paying attention to your experience and being present in the moment. The pagan embrace of the pleasures that life on earth offers also helped, going against the suffering, self-denial, and guilt our culture prescribes.

Many come to me feeling lost or dissatisfied, so if you feel this way, you’re not alone. My process begins with an exploration to help you discover what it is you really want in life. We look at your life as a whole and make gradual adjustments. While long-term success means discomfort at times, the result is a richer, more fulfilling life.

One of the suggestions I give is to take note of all the ways you’re rushing through your life. Then see if once in a while, you can catch yourself and slow down for a moment. Even if you’re under the gun at work, there’s no reason you can’t allow yourself five minutes to get fresh air and enjoy some sunshine. Small actions open up a space in your life for new awareness and new habits.

I offer one-on-one sessions to assist you in making changes that will lead to a more meaningful life. If you mention TWM, you’re entitled to 15% off any services I offer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dreaming In Reality*

This piece was originally posted on July 21, 2010. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective, during which we will post a combination of new content and posts from the past. Enjoy!

I am like many others who often think that many of my problems will disappear once I achieve some level of personal or financial stability. I was thinking the other day about owning my own house, and how everything else will fall into place once that happens; I shook myself out of that reverie once I realized how fanciful my thoughts wered. It is always good to dream, and it is my opinion that those who claim that they don‘t are either lying or have given up on life. At the same time, we should not live primarily to dream. Life is messy, and the things we dream about may not always come to be, but sometimes this is for the best.

I once knew someone who told everyone that she wanted her future husband to be tall, dark, and handsome. She couldn't imagine anything different from the image she had in her mind, so when she first met the man she would eventually marry, she did not think of him as “husband material.” Eventually her fantasy of the perfect man changed as she learned more about his good qualities, and everyone who knows her can see she is with the right person; maturity and reality became her guides as she shed her unrealistic dreams of perfection.

Not all dreams should be significantly altered or given up completely; being successful at a career you love is entirely possible, even if there are obstacles on this ascending path. I just think that we as human beings should learn to adapt to the ever changing flow of life. Sometimes what we dream of changes completely or becomes a reality in ways we never would have imagined. I also think that as we work toward making our lives better we should enjoy moments in the present. I don‘t mean to be ominous, but none of us really know how long we have in this life! Finding happiness in the present is important as we move forward to an uncertain future.

Do you agree with my thoughts on dreams and reality?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TWM Flashback: Girls, God & Goddesses

In the wake of the recent tragic events at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin and mosque fire in Missouri, we got to thinking about the role of interfaith dialogue in the world today, which is one of The Women's Mosaic's core focus areas.

We thought we'd share these excerpts from our May 2006 Girls, God & Goddesses: Women's Relationship to Religion and Spirituality Panel Discussion, including an introduction and clips of our Sikh and Muslim panelists speaking about the role of faith in their lives.

The Girls, God & Goddesses event was extremely successful and meaningful to those who attended. At the time, the effects of 9/11--including prevalent negative stereotypes about Islam, Sikhism, and other non-Christian religions--were being felt very strongly throughout the country.

Today, it seems, these stereotypes remain active in some corners of the nation. And it seems that there is always someone willing to commit irrational violence for the sake of religion. TWM's answer to these tragic truths about our world is to keep the conversation going. Interfaith dialogue, communication, honest questioning, and openness lead to better informed communities and individuals, and, we believe, a more peaceful world.

Monday, August 20, 2012


This piece was originally posted on April 26, 2010. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective:

I’ve been craving new travel adventures lately. It hasn’t even been that long since I went anywhere. I take small vacations when I can and I travel a bit for work these days, making visits to schools, libraries, bookstores, and writing conferences around the country. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, I look forward to packing my bags and hitting the road. There’s always fun to be had away from home.

I took a cross country road trip with a friend a few years ago, from New York to California in six days. It was fantastic, and not just because I love driving and riding in cars. We experienced so much! This week I busted out my “I Survived Highway 50” t-shirt, which boasts about my successful traversing of the so-called “loneliest road in America.” I wore it and thought about how it felt to gun the engine on a literally empty highway, watching miles of open desert churn past the windows. Awesome.

I find there’s something special about simply moving forward, no matter the destination, even if there isn’t one. Time stands still when the road is wide open in front of you, or as the plane hurtles forward at its cruising altitude, or the train chugs along at just the right rhythm. And when you get where you’re going, wherever that may be, there’s something magical about wandering the streets of a strange city, seeing the sights and tasting local treats along the way.

I once read a book about a guy who wanders all the time, from place to place, seeing what he sees, working when he has to and then living off the cash for as long as he can. In a fantasy life, that sounds amazing. In reality, I have no wish to live like that; the half of me that’s not suffused with wanderlust is quite a content little homebody. How to reconcile the two? Give me a good long journey every now and then, and I’ll be a happy camper.

Friday, August 17, 2012

FRIDAY FORUM: Favorite Pets

A lot of us have beloved animals in our lives. Let's take a moment to celebrate them. Do you have pets right now? Or favorite pets from your past?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

When Determination Meets Serendipity*

The following was originally posted on April 28, 2011. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective:

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to welcome Karen as a first-time guest blogger this week.

Originally from the UK, Karen lives and works in NYC. She makes her living as an accountant but is also a collage artist.

What do you call those times when the entire universe seems to falls into place? When you feel there’s nowhere else you'd rather be and no one else you'd rather be with? Right here, right now. Atlas didn't shrug, he snuggled.

So here I am: intrepid solo traveller, nursing a broken ankle, drinking red wine in a seedy pub in Berlin in the early hours of a cold October morning. Since that horrible day three months earlier, when I hit the wet floor of the locker room at my gym and just knew it wasn't good, I’ve been working towards this moment.

My family and friends told me I'd be crazy to travel – my leg was encased in a big black boot, reliant on Percocet to get through the night – but my trip was booked and paid for. I resolved that nothing would stop me from going!

I surrendered a little of my independence by booking a wheelchair. At JFK airport I was cossetted and cared for. I swept through security like visiting royalty.

I was traveling to see a band, the Tiger Lillies, three middle-aged British guys I consider good friends. They’re spending a month in Berlin performing their "Freakshow" which has several circus acts. So there we were on my first evening in this amazing city: me, the band, three friends from London, and members of the cast. There are two little people (she's a dancer, he performs with Ringling Bros.), a snake lady who can contort herself into positions I never dreamed of, and a man who juggles hats and knives.

Surrounded by these amazing creative people, what did I feel? Freedom. Peace. Happiness! I don't care about my ankle or "Das Boot," as it came to be known. I wish I could bottle this moment and take it home. I know it's impossible to feel this way all the time, but it's good to remember that I helped to create that moment myself. Determination and a little serendipity came together at that moment, and it’s up to me to make it happen again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Raves for TWM's First Book Club*

This piece was originally posted on June 24, 2009. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective, during which we will post a combination of new content and posts from the past. Enjoy!

On June 17, several women gathered together to discuss Indu Sundaresan’s The Twentieth Wife for the first ever TWM Sizzling Summer Book Club meeting. I was fortunate to be one of them, and I am not just saying this because I am affiliated with TWM. I was pleasantly surprised at the instant rapport my fellow book clubbers and I forged as we discussed women’s roles during the height of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent as we snacked on Italian sweets at Veniero's in New York City’s Lower East Side.

The historical novel is built around a real woman named Mehrunnissa (which means “Sun of Women”), her Persian family, and their lasting impact on the Mughal emperors Akbar and Jahangir. From the title of the book and from history, we all knew the main character would eventually become Nur Jahan, the wife of Jahangir. That fact didn’t take away from the enjoyment we all had from reading about Mehrunnissa’s journey, which Sundaresan created so vividly on the page. We discussed how women exerted their power and influence in the Mughal court, while still having to remain in the shadows as men publicly dominated the world. The discussion took an interesting turn when we discussed how women’s subjugation of one another in history is also alive and well today, which is an unfortunate and sobering reality we all have to deal with.

Even though I love books, I have never been a part of a book club before. I am glad I chose TWM’s as my first. While we definitely bonded over the book, I believe that the friendliness, openness and intelligence of my fellow book club members made it worthwhile. It is refreshing to meet people who love reading and self-discovery through the process. I also feel that my love for reading has been renewed because of the positive group interaction I experienced. I hope the other participants feel the same.

July’s theme is Women and Travel, so I am really looking forward to reading TWM’s book selection. Yes, I am a bibliophile, and proud of it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let Love Rule

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger this week:

Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life path consultant, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of women, diversity and personal growth.

When Lenny Kravitz came out with his anthem in 1989 the world was at once very different and exactly the same as it is now. The Cold War has been replaced by the War on Terror, the Middle East remains a mess, and there are still far too many people on the planet who live in the midst of hunger, disease and injustice. Racism and religious bigotry are alive and well, and economies and the environment are in the tank. Heavy sigh…when will we ever learn?

So what is little ole’ you to do? Well if as the saying goes, ‘peace begins with me’, then the question is, are you at war with yourself or with the people closest to you?

A loving relationship with yourself must come before you can be in one with another, or to even just get along with your family, neighbors or strangers on the subway. We have to take the time and energy to forgive and love ourselves and others. It’s our responsibility to dig deep to see what is going on inside us, understand it and then have the courage to communicate honestly and lovingly first to ourselves, and then to those around us when appropriate.

Love is the most powerful force in the Universe when used intelligently and intentionally; it can move mountains, heal, connect and transform.

What are you waiting for? There is no more important time than now to let love start ruling your world. Love of yourself, love of each other, love of your work, and love of life itself – the very breath and heartbeat that is allowing you to read this email.

So if you need a little mediation between your head and your heart, what you earn and what you’re worth, your desires and your reality, or you and your significant other, just give me a buzz and I’ll be the peacekeeping force that helps you reconcile all the conflict zones in your life and make love the law of the land!

Friday, August 10, 2012


When it comes time for vacation, many of us skip the planes, trains and buses and simply hit the road in our own cars (or a rental). Where did you go on your last road trip?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Power of Words, The Promise of Peace*

The following was originally posted on October 15, 2009. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective.

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger this week:

Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life path consultant, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of women, diversity and personal growth.

When I was in high school my dream was to work for the United Nations – I excelled at foreign languages and loved learning about other cultures. I studied International Relations and worked extensively with the international student population of my university. I met people from around the globe and was fascinated by the ways we choose to speak, clothe and govern ourselves, the music we develop and myriad of ways we prepare food, how varied the physical geography we inhabit... But under the diversity, it was clear to me that we enjoy the same basic wants, needs and wishes for ourselves and those we love.

I knew I wanted to do work that took advantage of my passion for and understanding of this concept. The UN, in theory, seemed to be the place for me, but the reality was quite different, and so I ended up forming The Women’s Mosaic instead. However, I do live near the UN’s missions and delegates, have been invited to numerous events over the years, and am thrilled to be part of it in my own way.

Every September during the General Assembly, my neighborhood goes into lock-down and this year was no different, except for one extraordinary event. In a speech given by President Obama, the United States, for the first time in decades, actually expressed its commitment to the institution at its core: its ideals and what it represents. The vision of the UN is what we must aspire to and it cannot succeed without everyone's participation, especially a country as powerful as the U.S. I could not have been more proud that day and felt a sigh of relief that things were finally back on the right track.

They were "only words," but they caused a cosmic shift in the perception of who we are and what the UN is capable of. Words are powerful. They are the bridge between thought and action. They are a vital part of any great movement and are often transforming in and of themselves. For these and many more of his words, there is no doubt in my mind that President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Words manifest change, internally and externally. And both kinds have value, as they are inexorably intertwined.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Politics Schmolitics 2012*

This piece was originally posted on December 14, 2011. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective, during which we will post a combination of new content and posts from the past. Enjoy!

Like many other Americans, I want to be more enthusiastic about the upcoming 2012 U.S. presidential election. I cannot muster enough enthusiasm at this time, because
This piece was originally posted on December 14, 2011. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective, during which we will post a combination of new content and posts from the past. Enjoy!

I am not happy with those who are currently taking the lead. Politics has always frustrated me, but I think I feel it now more than ever because of how our economy continues to suffer, and will apparently continue to do so for a few more years, at least. Major reforms, from global to local private and public entities to prevent similar economic downfalls, have yet to be implemented in most cases. Apparently the recession is over, but I have heard and can feel for myself that we as a country are still struggling, and may never be the same again. How do I get myself excited for the national race if both candidates leave a less than stellar impression on me?

I think one way to start is to look beyond the two candidates from the two main political parties to recognize and research those lesser known or completely unknown people who are running for public office. I would like to think that one day, we as a nation would elect someone as president who is not a Democrat or a Republican in our lifetimes. I wish it could be easier to learn more about lesser known candidates, so we can know as much as we can about those running for office from their records, apart from meeting them in person. All of my other suggestions have to do with taking initiative, and for it not to be overwhelming to do so.

I hope The Women’s Mosaic will host another Politics Schmolitics event to mark the 2012 races. It would be a great way to engage those interested in learning more and to possibly be more active in public life themselves. I also love the name "Politics Schmolitics," and would love to be a part of a new TWM event with that same name again.

What are your thoughts on politics?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Road Tripping*

The following was originally posted on July 18, 2011. It is being reposted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective:

I'm in Vermont, writing from the road. I'm sure I've posted about this before, but I love traveling by car. I love to drive, love to ride, anything that gets me on the road is good in my book. It's one of my small, weird dreams to finally own a car someday. You really don't need one in New York, so it'll be a long time coming, but when I go out of the city and get to drive, it makes me genuinely hunger for the ability to do it more often.

It's expensive and silly to own a car while I'm living in the city. So, is the idea of owning a car a good enough reason to move my whole life to a place where a personal vehicle is more necessary and practical? Intellectually, I suppose not, but every time I get behind the wheel, I think to myself, YES! IT IS. But there's a little thought in the back of my mind: what if I get sick of it? What if easy access to a car bursts the bubble of my vehicular fantasies? Why do I want this so badly?

As a teen in the Midwest, I wanted a car because driving represented independence, self-sufficiency and freedom from the whims and clutches of my parents. Now, I have all those things in spades. Do I really need a car? No. "But I want one," says the petulant teenager within.

I joke about this desire so often that over time, I've realized it's a genuine dream that I hold. I want a car, despite its impracticality in my current life. How do I deal with something like this? I certainly don't allow myself to indulge every expensive desire I ever have. In fact, I've given up a variety of economically-satisfying and practical trajectories in favor of other, bigger dreams. Should I go after the small ones, too?

How much does the size of your dreams matter when you decide which ones you're going to pursue?

Friday, August 3, 2012

FRIDAY FORUM: Splish, Splash

Warm weather makes us think of donning a bathing suit and swimming in the sunshine. For your favorite water getaway, do you prefer pool, lake or beach?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer 2012 Link Love

It's time for a summer round-up of the great things we've been reading lately. Check out what we put together for you, and remember to leave links in the comments to the posts you've been reading and writing online.

Alexia Vernon shares her trials and triumphs when dealing with those who attempt to intimidate her.

Girl w/Pen discusses how where you live can affect your weight and your health. Co-authored by two researchers at the RAND Corporation.

After seeing the movie Dirty Dancing again at McCarren Park in Brooklyn, One Writeous Chick shares her memories of loving the film since its initial release.  

Lindsay Pollak introduces and explains eight tips that will make personal branding benefit you on LinkedIn.

In Good Company's message to those who have a tendency of getting ahead of themselves in business: Think Big. Start Small.

You Sing I Write turns the spotlight on the relatable and romantic tune “(Kissed You) Good Night” by Gloriana, which is currently climbing the country music charts.

That's what we've got for this summer, so far. What have you been reading and writing online? Please share your links with us!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mall Taman Anggrek: My Indonesian Comfort Zone*

This piece was originally posted on October 1, 2008. It is being re-posted as part of our CHICKS ROCK! Summer Retrospective, during which we will post a combination of new content and posts from the past. Enjoy!

Mall culture takes on a life of its own in most Southeast Asian cities, like Jakarta. You cannot get away from them; they are everywhere. Mall Taman Anggrek is currently the largest mall in Jakarta. The obnoxiously large building houses more than 500 stores on seven floors. Taman Anggrek is translated to mean “orchid garden” in English, which evokes images of serene beauty and calm. I never understood the name, until I found out there used to be a real orchid garden in that location.

Picture of Mall Taman Anggrek interiorEarly in the morning during the week is the best time to enjoy the mall’s interiors. It is a marvel of space, light and marble...a truly impressive sight. Even though I dislike malls in general, I cannot deny that the architects who designed Mall Taman Anggrek are true artists.

It is also a less stressful place to shop, especially for women. We can walk around the mall without being harassed, unlike the congested street fairs that dominate many city neighborhoods. I couldn’t avoid Taman Anggrek, or any mall for that matter. It is where I had to go to find Western sizes of shoes and clothes, and anything else that is familiar from home. I am almost ashamed to admit that these malls are also havens for foreigners like me. I don’t have to worry about getting ripped off like I do in other local establishments. Taman Anggrek is my Third World reminder of home…sort of.

Are malls like Taman Anggrek the best that Jakarta has to offer? Well, yes…and no. The few city museums and monuments I visited are intellectually superior to anything that can be found at the mall. Still, the air conditioning, window shopping, and gourmet fast food trumps culture and history for many locals and foreigners in Indonesia’s polluted and over-populated capital city. When expats like me need to escape from the heat, noise and smells of the Jakarta streets, retreating to the mall is the easiest thing to do.

What is your idea of comfort when you're far away from home?

Disclaimer: Blog entries express the opinions of the respective Bloggers/Contributors/Authors/Commenters solely, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Women's Mosaic. As host and manager of CHICKS ROCK!, TWM acts solely as a provider of access to the internet and not as publisher of the content contained in bloggers' posts and cannot confirm the accuracy or reliability of individual entries. Each participant is solely responsible for the information, analysis and/or recommendations contained in her blog posts.
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