Panda Who?

This is where I talk about myself. I never know what to say in these ‘About Me’ sections–either I divulge too much or much too little–so please bear with me while I figure it out. But in the drop down menu, you will also find a “TL;DR” bookish summary about me!

Let’s start with the basics.

Hi 👋🏽 This is me. I don’t usually post pictures of myself because I don’t like how they turn out. But since this is an introduction, perhaps it’s good to know the face behind the blog?

My name is Dini, I’m 30-years-old, and I currently live in Bali, Indonesia. Most of you know where that is because it’s a fairly popular tourist destination, particularly for Australians, but it has become even more popular in Europe and America over recent years. For those of you who don’t know, Bali is one of 17,000 islands in Indonesia, and you can see where it is in the map below.

A funky, colorful map of Indonesia: Can you spot Bali? 😉

One thing that a lot of people get confused about me is where I’m from. I am Indonesian, but I only moved back to live in Indonesia for the first time five years ago. I’m a Third Culture Kid. Some of you may know us as ‘expat-brats’ but we like ‘TCK’ better. Basically, I’ve moved around a bit since I was three up until the time I finished my Masters. I’ve been lucky enough to call these countries my home at various points in my life and my experiences living in these places have had a profound impact on who I am today: Bangladesh, the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the UK.

Needless to say, I probably sound kind of weird with my mixed bag of idioms and my use of random words from languages I’ve picked up over the years. Funnily enough, a lot of people think I’m American, which kind of makes sense since I went to American/International schools where I guess I picked up the accent, but I’ve never actually lived in the States.

So, what’s this blog going to be about?

I’ve always been a reader. I remember getting lost in the libraries at the various schools I went to and clinging to the security, comfort and peace that books brought into my life. When I went to uni and basically partied my life away (no regrets though!) I almost completely stopped reading and it was only several years later that I slowly came back to books. The shift “home” to Indonesia in 2013 was a really difficult one for me. I realized I knew so little about my country and found it exceptionally tough being a ‘foreign local’, and even to this day, over five years later, I still struggle with it. So much has changed in my life since I moved back, and not always in a good way, but books really helped me to keep my head above water. I picked up anything that caught my eye including YA fantasy/fiction, historical fiction, fantasy/sci-fi, mysteries/thrillers, romance, new adult, poetry/prose, classics, and occasionally horror and non-fiction.

2018 was actually one of the most intensely bookish (and amazing) years for me — I discovered and joined Bookstagram and Page Turners by Buzzfeed on Facebook. I became increasingly active on Goodreads and started to write short reviews. I joined online book clubs, buddy reads, and engaged with so many wonderful readers across the globe. For the first time in a long time, it felt a little bit like coming home. So when I went to visit my parents for the holidays in December 2018 and I had the crazy idea to start a book blog, I thought, why not? By starting this blog, I want to challenge myself to become a better reader; to be more critical and more aware of what I read, and to better understand what makes a good read (for me). I also want to connect with other like-minded book lovers and share all the book love. (Okay, weirdo, you can stop now).

At the same time, there might be days when I post about my journey with mental health and self-love, which I’ve slowly become more open about in the last year. I also might talk about how much I love Pandas and Elephants and how I think they’re my spirit animals and how I’m so much like a Panda, friends and colleagues have started calling me “dinipanda” (hence the blog name). I guess then I’ll just be writing about life.

TL;DR: My name is Dini. I love reading and books and I love Pandas so much that people have started calling me ‘dinipanda’, and it’s a nickname I wear with pride. This blog is mostly going to be filled with lots and lots of books and bookish things (review, recommendations, challenges, unboxings, etc.), but I might also talk about my journey with mental health, self-love and life in general. My approach to reading is pretty much getting my hands on anything that catches my interest, including YA fantasy/fiction, historical fiction, fantasy/sci-fi, mysteries/thrillers, romance, new adult, poetry/prose, classics, and occasionally horror and non-fiction. I am far from a book snob.

Want to ask me any questions? I’m happy to take them! Let me know in the comments below and let’s chat! If you stick around, I hope you enjoy the ride!