Inter-religion Relationships

It’s not very like me to write super serious and heavy stuff like this. One, it’s because I find it hard to make up my mind to be on one stand. Two, I’m too afraid to be wrong in the future, what if what I believe now is going to be wrong because I may not have enough facts or I’m unconsciously biased to some things. Three, I usually can’t defend myself if there’s some arguments attacking my opinion then I get upset if I can’t explain it back to them why I believe what I believe.

But today it’s gonna be different. I want to try writing this and let me be wrong if I am or maybe in the future I will change my mind. This is what I feel at the moment and it should be okay to express and get it out of my chest. In fact, I would be glad if some people add on some information regarding this issues whether it is to support or to refuse, I want to learn.

It’s about the human kindness in general and especially between races or religions. The other day I saw on Facebook, someone posted about a photo of a nun and a Moslem female walking hand in hand crossing the street. This photo comes with an article about good inter-religion relationship. This is especially concerning in Indonesia where there are conflicts between religions or races at times. The article comments about how relationships should be like this. They should not depend on religions and races. While I think it’s pretty and all good, I’m saddened about how this post has to be glorified in its way.

Here’s my thought. Things like this should not be glorified or emphasized on media for too much because this thing should be normal. It should be the norm. It doesn’t matter who wears hijab and who swears to never marry, you should help them anyway. It’s the normal thing to do. I also think that friendship between the same religion or inter-religion should weigh the same too, they’re all people. That’s the equality I would want to see.

With that Facebook post circulating around, does it mean that people value others more only if they befriend with people of other religion? I don’t want to miss the point that this is a good thing in itself. I just idealize that this should not be exaggerated because it’s what I think normal is.

However, *smile*, I understand that some people in Indonesia might still need to read and see photos like that around because it may encourage them that people should not discriminate against each other. I hope for the best. Maybe in the future we won’t be needing this as much. Because that’s normal. Just like an Asian person eating Western food. It’s normal, nothing to wow about.

I hope I get this message across but if I’m not and anyone would like to add or comment or ask anything, please feel free to. Once again I do not mean any harm or hate against posts about inter-religion relationships.

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Frustrated

I made a living being a research assistant in Singapore right after my graduation. Though we know that I definitely need a higher degree to be “promoted”, I was enjoying my life. I have great friends (not a lot but enough), my coworkers are good and my landlady is the best. Everything went perfectly good. Then my boyfriend at that time was having graduation ceremony in the States and he asked me to come along with him. By coming along, he meant to actually move in with him in Tampa. He worked remote but he has a friend in Tampa so that’s where he stayed. I even found a research assistant work there too. It was good. Long story short, time finally comes when work difficulties arrive and his family calls him back.

On their phone call, his mother asked me to help out his family business and I said I would think about it. The reality dawned on me. I have no idea what I will be doing with my life if I come back to Solo. There is no scientific research facility whatsoever in here (there are only for some agricultural or marine stuff which I have no passion about at all). So I have to give up my interest in science if I want to keep living in Solo. Once we reached Solo, I decided to give it a try, to work in Jacky’s family business where his family has 14 jewelry chain stores.

Now it has been almost 2 years since I started out that and I came to a conclusion that this job is not what’s best for me. It’s not that I don’t like to work in a family business environment or I am not grateful enough to be given a job just like that. I am grateful, really. But to be working with his side of the family can be a double trouble for me. I am not the type that can just follow around whatever being told to me although in general I feel like I am a pretty submissive type of person, but this is different. Sometimes I feel like I just can’t understand their way of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I am the best and the most true in cases like this because I know I am not. It’s just that they’re just so different from me and from days to days I keep finding myself being pressed to the wall because of my thoughts.

In addition to our difference in opinions, I am the least articulate girl around (though I must say I’m quite smart – heh I have to brag because I know my value and I know that I’m quite smart). It is just so damn hard to speak up my mind and my idea that I thought would be better to solve case A. And it is not enough to just speak up and say it straight, in here, you have to persuade and go over and over again about your idea and your thought, plus you also have to kinda “confuse” your colleague by saying all clever-sounding terms and sometimes even making nonsense analogies helps. In short, it’s not enough that you’re just smart, you have to ensure to other people too.

The problem here is that I am this newbie in this business and his family has been building this empire from the bottom and has been growing it for almost 30 years I think. Who am I to speak up my idea when they are surely know how to handle the business and they HAVE proven that they’re best at it because, hello, 14 branches? I sometimes feel like I’m in between. Is it wrong if speak up my mind and make them think like I’m a smart-ass hot shot? Or is it wrong if I keep quiet and bottle up my confusion inside of me? Moreover, his family is not the type that would easily open up to people and their time is definitely too precious so why waste it to explain some stuff to the newbie?

It was before our wedding that I said I want to reduce my workload and start focusing on my wedding when in fact I actually want to quit everything altogether because I just can’t take it anymore. Then this conscience eats me up – why am I being such a brat that I don’t want to continue helping them in their business? Why am I being such a prick thinking that I can live on my own here if it were not because of them? I have told my friends over and over again about this situation before I dare to tell it to Jacky.

Early this month, Jacky asked me if I have received my salary for December and I said no not yet because I know how sometimes it comes late and I never complain about it. Then he told me that I won’t be getting any salary no more and instead he will be giving me money for the household, a portion of his own salary. I asked him if he has told the family about me quitting but he said no, and I haven’t said anything to the family yet either. Does this mean that I was fired? Heh I don’t mind.

Now, I am mostly in this house of Jacky’s parents doing household chores. I clean and cook. I sweep and wipe. I finally get to do one other thing that I can still have a tiny little bit of passion left – drawing. I am hoping I can get to make a business out of this one but of course the universe says no. It’s damn difficult to sell a drawing in here. Nobody wants art. Even if they do, it should be for free, they’d think. Design is not appreciated enough either. People would praise me for my drawings but that’s the extent of it.

I get really lazy and I get lazier some more. I wake up early some days to send Jacky off but then I would sleep in again and wake up much later. I will watch Netflix and only do a little bit of drawing that I’m supposed to do. I don’t know what going on in my life. People are making money and climbing their success ladder but I am down there on ladder-step number 2 from the bottom and eating stupid cereals. I get frustrated sometimes too because I know I am supposed to turn out to be a good human being who can support myself. How come my life takes a deep dive after I finish a well-known university, get a job in Singapore and even in the States? I’m this broke ass so called “artist” who stay at my in law’s house.

If you think you could get a lesson from this post, here’s what I will tell you. Make a plan for your future, this includes your partner’s future too. And make sure you don’t stray away too far from your plan. Think it through. Second lesson, writing out your frustration could somehow help letting go of what’s eating you from the inside. If any of Jacky’s family is reading this (which I doubt), please understand that I do not mean any harm and I am grateful to be your in law too. This problem is within me and about how I am most satisfied if I can stand up for myself and make my own way of living without causing too much problem to others. I just feel the most me if I can provide for myself from what I really earn in what I really love doing.

Applying Visa to France (Indonesian Citizen)

eiffel-tower-9

What’s up, fellas?

Exciting news: I will be going to Europe in January – aWooHoo! It all started when Singapore Airlines had this promo return flight from Jakarta to Paris for only IDR8.000.000. Jacky’s sister contacted me if I wanna go to Paris in January and I immediately said yes. Though the trip date is not in a very good season to go to Paris but what the heck it’s much much cheaper than the usual price. We pick the date from 18-29 January 2017. This will be a great way to celebrate late new year’s holiday (is there even such thing?).

First up, we’re gonna need the visa, because we were so caught up on our wedding preparation and honeymoon and oh so many things we had to take care of, we could only start preparing for France visa application in early December. Don’t follow what we did here, people are supposed to start applying for visa a least 3 months before the departure date. The latest date to submit a visa application is 20 days before your departure date (<- don’t delay your visa application, people).

Now, we need to state this clearly, we apply visa as Indonesian citizens with no relations with anyone in France or Europe and this is strictly for leisure purpose only in a short term of less than 90 days. People who are looking to apply for visa when they’re France citizen’s spouse or relative might go through different procedure and might need different documents to submit like the letter of statement showing that they are relatives (or some call it the invitation letter).

I started looking at France embassy official website to find out about the requirement: what kind of documents they need, what photo size and how to make an interview appointment. Apparently, France embassy has officially appoint TLSContact as their sort of gateway for visa application. Also, you need to make sure that France is the only or the main destination in your trip (the country you’re gonna spend the most days from your entire trip). If your Europe trip shares equal number of days to various countries, you need to apply for visa at your first destination country.

DISCLAIMER: This article is only a guideline from me personally and does not guarantee the accuracy of the visa application requirement AND obviously does not guarantee that your visa application would be accepted. (Heck, as of 19 December 2016 I am still not sure if MY visa application would be accepted)

The documents that you’re gonna need to prepare are:

  1. The application form. You can fill this online from the TLSContact website. Once done, print this application form and keep it safe in your “France Visa Application” folder (yeah, prepare this and make a check list on what you need to bring in your interview appointment).
  2. Passport. This obvious one may not be so obvious after all. It’s not enough that you just point to your passport and say “There’s my passport, let’s apply for visa!”. It’s definitely necessary to CHECK your passport’s expiry date – it has to be at least 6 months before the expiry date for you to apply for visa (or for you to fly in that matter). Also, don’t forget to check your passport’s physical intactness. I have some experience where my China visa application is rejected because my photo in the passport is stained just a tiny dot. Make sure your passport is in a good condition, not ripped, not stained, not soaked – not even a little bit. It’s good to invest in a some high quality passport cover after all. PLUS, attach your old passports too to support that you have indeed gone on some overseas trips before this and you did come back to your home country (no intention to illegally live abroad).
  3. Identity card. Get your KTP (Kartu Tanda Penduduk) copied and stack it onto your document folder for visa application. You will only need one copy of this.
  4. New photo (2 pcs). You need two newly taken photos (preferably within the last 6 months) with measurement of 3.5cm x 4.5cm and you need to follow their regulation about the position and size of the head. Here’s a guide, though this guide shows a blue background, you have to ensure that yours have a WHITE background. WHITE. Go to your nearest photo studio and ask so that your head takes up to about 80% of the photo. Notice the note “show your skin tone naturally”, yea baby, I think this should be on Instagram photo guideline too so don’t put on any filter.
  5. Airplane tickets (photocopy). Make sure that you have at least a booked seat with the amount of money you need to pay shown on the document. There must be a confirmed booking number too if you haven’t actually purchased the seat. I read somewhere in their website that they understand that people should not risk getting a plane ticket if they’re not guaranteed the visa. But in our case, we already have purchased the ticket so we photocopied it and bring it along. Our plane ticket is from Solo-Jakarta-Singapore-Paris and back.
  6. Travel insurance. You need at least an insurance that can cover up to a minimum of EUR30,000 and here is a list of some acceptable insurance companies in Indonesia. The amount of the insurance paid is also proportional to the length of your stay in Europe. To make things simpler, we bought our travel insurance from a local travel agent. Otherwise, you can always contact the insurance companies from the list mentioned above.
  7. Hotel bookings. You will need detailed plan on where you’re gonna stay in Europe for every single day. We actually planned to sleep on the train for one of the nights and train ticket is to be purchased on the spot but the embassy does not really care for that because we don’t have the proof of our stay for that one particular night. So, either you book your overnight train ticket and attach it to your application, or you just prepare a hotel booking for that one separate night. In conclusion, all nights in Europe must have an accountable printed-out staying-place proof.
  8. Fee of EUR60 + EUR25. There is a service fee of EUR60 per person for the France embassy and EUR25 per person for TLSContact service. The currency rate from EUR to IDR may differ everyday. Remember to prepare the money in cash and in exact amount.
  9. Bank statement. This document is to prove that you’re capable to accommodate yourself during your trip in Europe and therefore to show that you won’t work illegally in Europe. There is no definite cutout minimal amount of money that needs to be in your possession, but a simple calculation like this might help. As a guideline, ensure that your bank account has at least EUR70 for per day that you’re gonna stay in Europe. So if you’re traveling for 10 days, then make sure that you have at least EUR700 in your bank account. Again, this is just the simplest guideline, of course the more the better but don’t overrate it and don’t get too confident with your high amount of money.
  10. Bank transaction history. Unlike bank statement which states that you indeed have an account in that bank with shown amount of money you have there, bank transaction history is another thing. You need to provide the latest 3 months of transaction history for visa application. Remember that you might prepare this some time before the actual application and by the time your interview appointment comes, the transaction history is no longer the latest 3 months. So, be prepared, get your transaction history ready JUST RIGHT before the visa application and interview appointment. Don’t forget to consider the amount of time your bank needs to produce your bank statement and transaction history. Also, make sure that the transaction history is printed out clearly and does not fade out over time.
  11. Employment letter. This is another proof that you will be coming back to your home country because you have an official employer-employee tie at your workplace. This one is simple and many people ask what the format is like. There is no official employment letter formats but you can easily find examples on Google. The letter needs to state your full name, your main details and that you have a certain position in that workplace and that you have been working there for a certain period of time (state your start employment date). It needs to be signed by the head of Human Resource department or the Manager plus don’t forget the official stamp. It’s even better if the letter can include the amount of your gross salary per year or per month.
  12. Itinerary. For this one, you have to prepare a, well, quite detailed plan on how you’re gonna spend your days in Europe. You might think what if we change plans once we get there? Don’t worry, we usually just make the general itinerary for example Day 1 Date 18 January 2017: Going to Eiffel Tower and Museum Louvre. Go back to Hotel AAA. Day 2 Date 19 January 2017: Notre Dame Cathedral and wine tasting tour. It’s fine if you wanna switch Eiffel with wine tasting tour once you reach there. Remember to keep it simple and not to pack too many activities in one day. Be real.
  13. Family card. This “Kartu Keluarga” is another official document that you need to attach to show that you are a registered member of a family in Indonesia.
  14. Birth certificate. Another official government document you need to prepare is your “Akte Kelahiran” or your birth certificate for the similar reason as the Family Card.
  15. Marriage license. If you are married, just throw in this document to strengthen your marriage status with your spouse.

Have you made a checklist of all the documents needed? Good. The next step is to make a an interview appointment. Go to TLSContact website and register for a new account. Make a new profile for yourself and fill up the online application. Do this for the other members of your travel group – there is a “Duplicate” feature button there that helps a lot because otherwise you will need to fill in the same details over and over again. Keep in mind that this only applies if you are traveling together with the other people and do have the same visit purpose and same itinerary. You can choose as to which section of the online application form you want to duplicate for the next person.

After everything is filled up properly, they will give you some options for the interview appointment dates. In our case, because we are traveling in a group of more than 5 persons, the system tells us to call to the TLSContact office and choose the date over the phone. So that’s what I did, I called them and they gave us some options. We chose 14 December 2106 at 10.30 in the morning and the six of us went to their office in Menara Anugrah, Menara Anugrah Lantai 3, Lingkar Mega Kuningan, Kuningan Timur, Setiabudi, RT.1/RW.2, Kuningan Tim., Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12950. Let’s make this easier, just Google TLSContact Jakarta and it will be shown on the first link, click “direction” and there you go. If you are not familiar with Jakarta streets, use Google Map while driving there. Beware of scammy taxi drivers who will try to find longer route and jammed streets and intentionally gets you lost for higher paying rate (true story).

The office is at Level 3, once you reach there, you will need to keep all of your phones and gadgets in a small locker for security reason. You will be given a queue number and you can enter the waiting room with many lockets in front. Only one person needs to sit in the locket answering whatever questions the staff will ask about your travel and your documents. The rest of the group may wait patiently on the provided seat by the locket. Sometimes, the staff will ask for the particular individual to come up to the locket to answer some questions. Questions asked are pretty basic like where are you gonna stay, where is your old passport, do you have a more recent bank transaction history details. Answer every question honestly and don’t act like a smart-ass.

Sometimes, you have prepared everything right and somehow something might just be missing. For example, one of us forgot to bring their old passport and the new passport has only 2 stamps going in and out Singapore. When you apply for Europe/US visa, it’s always better to show that you have been traveling to some other places before (like Asian countries where you don’t need visa). I also have some share in this, I have prepared my 3 months bank transaction history but apparently the paper is fading away so the staff could not read it. I have to submit again my latest transaction history but I told her that I do not bring my bank account book and I can only retract 1 month of transaction history from the bank’s mobile app. Jacky, too, prepared his transaction history way too far from the interview appointment so he needs to get another set of the last month transaction history and submit it to her. All of these must be submitted before 2 pm and thankfully we did it just in time.

Another case is when Jacky’s sister’s boyfriend appoints his mom as his sponsor. So he brought his mom’s bank statement and transaction history. This should be acceptable but the staff still asks for his personal bank account and he did not bring it. The staff reassured us that it is indeed not necessary but it will be better if he brought it. So, for those of you using sponsors and NOT your bank account, still bring your own bank statement and transaction history list anyway.

After the staff finished checking all of our documents, we were directed to pay for the service which is EUR60 for France embassy and EUR25 for TLSContact service per person. While one of us was preparing the money, the rest could go ahead and get our photos and fingerprints taken. Before they take your photos and fingerprints, make sure that your data is correct. Once done, we received a letter of proof that our biometrics have been taken and we signed it. We also got another letter as a receipt for our successful payment.

Alright, all’s done. We submitted the additional documents by email before 2 pm and now it’s waiting time. From my account in TLSContact website, I can see that my documents have been submitted and the processing time can take up to 15 working days. I really hope the visa application can make it before our departure date and I’m kinda scared that my bank transaction history may not fulfill their requirement. Fingers crossed, people!

Back from Honeymoon!

Hello, I’m back!

Our honeymoon is nothing but the best! We spent 7 days in Bali, Indonesia, and did a lot of exciting activities. I won’t go into detail about the trip itself, but I will tell you the overall story. I’m hoping to start a new blog about travel and trips that my husband (woohoo!) and I do. We did have numerous travels in the past but didn’t get the chance to keep a journal before.

In our honeymoon, we made a promise not to stare at our phones for too long – we keep it to a minimum by using it for Uber-finding and restaurants-Googling. We enjoyed ourselves in a beautiful small villa from airBnB, then Alila Ubud and lastly at The Villas from Ayana Resort. All the places are so amazing with their own unique styles.

The villa from airBnB provides a certain type of privacy with minimalistic design. It has an outdoor bathtub at the back which is very romantic and a small private pool in front of the villa. The location is really good too, it’s just right outside the city so it’s quiet but convenient enough if you want to go to the city (Seminyak). Alila Ubud is a complimentary room from Alila Solo since we had our wedding there. It’s unbelievably far from civilization (lol) and we got lost driving there. For those who know Bali, Ubud is already a secluded place rather north of the island with mostly paddy fields (sawah) and traditional cultures as their main attractions. Heck, Alila Ubud is not even in the heart of Ubud, we still need to go deep into the jungle and it’s about 8 minutes driving from the sign “Alila” to their main lobby. The driveway doesn’t even have street lights at night so you can imagine how dark. The hotel itself is spectacular, we get to sleep in a room with a view of a, I wanna say, valley? where people sometimes go down to the river to go rafting. I will write more about this hotel on my travel blog.

Lastly is the best – The Villas at Ayana. This resort is really a haven. I was constantly in awe since the moment we drove passed their gate. One little thing I can add for their improvement is a better sign system so we don’t get lost in their huge complex! So Ayana has these 3 different “hotels” in their campus: Rimba Jimbaran is a newly established eco green hotel, Ayana Resort is 5-star awesome hotel with cool ocean view and then there’s The Villas where we stay. It is our first time going there so we are dropped off at Rimba and try to check in. The receptionist tells us that we are not to stay in that particular building so he asks a buggy driver to send us to Ayana. Once we’re in Ayana, another receptionist tells us that we can actually check in in The Villas for a more private environment. The buggy driver once again sends us to another part of the complex and now it’s really The Villas. The villa we stay in have an ocean view and it was beyond beautiful albeit the cloudy weather.

It is actually unlike us to spend time in expensive hotel while we travel but we make an exemption because this is our honeymoon. We are limiting adventure time and enjoying ourselves in our luxurious villa. Usually when we travel, we will choose an OK hotel or even a hostel so long as it’s clean and have an easy access to the places we wanna go in that city. I like this decision cos it really makes our honeymoon more special.

However, the type or persons that we are – we just can’t stay the whole day inside and long to go out. We go to Waterbom and have a blast with the renowned drop slides. We stroll along the city walk and try some of their nicest restaurants. We go to Fat Turtle for desserts, Potato Head for awesome sunset experience (we get the best seats!), Bubba Gump for their famous prawns (Jacky apparently has not watched the movie Forrest Gump so I told him the story while we eat). I get to try shisha for the first time too, it tastes good and fruity and unique but after a while I get a little bit dizzy perhaps the place is full of shisha smoke mixed with cigarette smoke too. I think what I enjoy most from this honeymoon trip is not only the activities of the hotel, I mean they sure play a part, but Jacky’s company has been the greatest. We really get to chat and have fun together with minimum distraction from our family or work.

Apparently we cannot run away too far from our adventure blood because we also book underwater scooter ride and quad bike ride which are extremely fun. And what I like about Bali is that I feel like the local people are determined to please the tourists. So even when the quad bike costs that much but it is all so worth it, the service is great, the staff is friendly, they have pick up and drop off transportation, they provide boots and plastic bags as the socks lol. They also have food for lunch. This is not only for the quad bike, I feel like other places are like this too. I know the price is definitely more pricey than in my hometown duh but I think compared to overseas attraction places, Bali succeeds to offer the best service which can make the price all worth it. I’m so glad we chose this place as our honeymoon destination.

Overall I really really enjoy my honeymoon so damn much, it’s definitely a great way to keep my mind away from some unsolved problems back in hometown. We come home refreshed and tanned =D

It’s just such a shame that some people comment how it must be boring that we spend too many days in Bali. I guess they just don’t know how to have fun the way we do.

*gossip alert* Before we go to Bali, some people even say that they went to Bali for their honeymoon and it sucked. They say that honeymooning in Bali is boring. Man, I don’t think that kind of talk would make the partner come out very good (because you know what honeymoon is about lol).

It’s Getting Closer!

I am getting married in 3 days and to be honest this sucks!

“Whoooaa what are you saying there? Wedding is the MOST magical MOST important MOST beautiful day of your life and you’re saying that that sucks??”

No, I’m not saying that wedding sucks, the preparation does. And not ALL wedding preparations, MY wedding preparation. I know I should be grateful that I get to have a rather grandeur wedding with huge amazing hotel as the reception venue and God knows I am grateful! If I am grateful for the overall wedding, can I complain about the small little annoying stuff that has been happening this past few months?? Not so much of a complain too, just a little piece of my mind (this is what I call “justifying excuse” lol).

First thing I notice is how a LOT of wedding vendors are not just as professional as I thought they should be. Living in a small city, there are not many options to choose from and these vendors have been in almost every middle class’ weddings. I was being naive at first because I thought if they have had served in so many weddings and people still keep using them, then they should be good and they should know the drill.

Some vendors are just.. I wanna say, clueless? About 60% of them don’t care about my wedding and don’t address my issues until the very last minute. At first they would be all OK can do and OK noted, and so I thought that’s great. But when the time is getting closer and I asked for the progress, most of them would evade the question. I asked for the photos of the products they’re making and they won’t send the photos for me to see. They would just say how oh it’s on progress oh it’s not done yet.

Some other vendors would just ignore my request to make the products ready by the beginning of this month. I even lied to them saying how I’m gonna wanna use the products before the wedding day for whatever reason and they act like I never said that. They would just keep postponing the deadline thinking that welp too bad, you’re just not gonna be able to use it. And I bet they think that huh just relax, it’s gonna be ready for your wedding day anyway, why rush me?

Well, I don’t like that! I wanna see the progress because I wanna make sure that whatever you’re doing is just like what you said to me earlier. I wanna make sure that the right color appears on the right position and spot. What is the odd of having 2 people saying “soft pink” and actually imagine the same shade? So I tracked that vendor a month before the wedding to see the progress and he said that it’s not done yet, and his partner said that she’s gonna send the photos to me later when there’s more progress to it. A few weeks later I asked to demand the same thing and she said that it will be him who would send the photos. He didn’t send me any photos but that night he called me asking if I receive the photos he said he had sent earlier that noon. I said I didn’t receive any photos and asked him to send them again. Right after that I got the photos. I know I should not have that negative thinking against him but I kinda did anyway.

I looked at the photos and saw no soft pink whatsoever, it was more like a pinkish fuchsia. I understand that handphone screen colors might differ but I can’t accept that at all because it’s way off than what I had in mind. I told him to change it to gold. And now I felt bad since I want to change the design last minute. In my defense, it wouldn’t be last minute if only he had had showed me that pink earlier (again, maybe it’s a justifying excuse, lol).

Another vendor seems really lovely and seems genuine and I like her. But she kept postponing giving detailed invoice or even an estimate price. She said that she still hasn’t had the answer from her supplier and she would know by next month. The next month came and she postponed it to next week. The next week came and she postponed it to tomorrow. The next day came and we couldn’t wait any longer so we made a deal with another same-type vendor. Right after we made that (much more expensive) deal, she told us the price and said that she could do the service. Talk about bad luck!

Man, I could go on and on about these not-so-professional vendors but I need to sleep soon so let’s go on to the next issue.

Now this issue can be sensitive so I would try hard to use unoffensive words because I never have the intention to offend anyone anyway.

When you have a wedding in Indonesia, it’s never just between celebrating your love to your partner. It will be the parents’ event to show off what they have to the relatives and acquaintances. Traditional parents are conflicted because they want to follow tradition that they themselves know nothing about! Sure most of the couples use the parents’ money to have the reception but that’s just causing the problem for me.

I think it would be most ideal if the wedding is really up to the couple. If the parents are generous enough to donate then it’s wonderful but if the couple is the independent kind, they should just have wedding according to their financial situation and to their liking. This way, there would be no difference in opinion and parents and children wouldn’t have to argue and bump their heads against each other.

Parenting is hard, so is being a parent and we the children know that. But sometimes I hope that they know how hard it is to be their children too! It is so often that they are caught up in their business that they don’t notice the kids. It’s typical in Asian countries. From my experience, parents are damn hard to cooperate. When we were little, the parents would usually say that we are naughty and we don’t obey them and stuff. Then people will tell us how when we have kids on our own, we would know the feeling. Before even having kids, I kinda already know how it feels when people (parents here) are “naughty” to me.

My fiancé and I would ask our parents about some decision and they would say OK OK can can sure sure at the time but later changed their mind when it’s getting closer and it’s harder to make amendments. There was also a time when I thought I could use this wedding opportunity to design my own invitation and introduce my skill to the guests. It was not until the very end where one of the parents decided they didn’t like the base color and had it changed to something I’m really against. So there you have it, I can no longer claim it to be my design though it was only the color that’s changed. I cried about this. (omg what a crybaby)

I also feel like they don’t understand the importance of being ready beforehand enough. We kept asking them to prepare the list of guests (parents acquaintances), list of their arrival, their full name and so on but they kept postponing. I planned to kinda get relaxed few days before the wedding to get my skin fresh and it ain’t gonna happen. On these last days, I still need to update stuff every time. They finally gave out the names and the list that we needed. And sometimes they will say one thing about this auntie and when we ask that auntie, she would say another thing.

This wedding preparation is a treat, indeed! (sarcasm here!)

Above all these little annoying things that keep happening these past few months, I have to say I am so so so so glad that I will be marrying my best friend, my soulmate and my prince. I am thankful that I get to go through all this with him. God is good and I believe that I have been given everything that I need in life. Though if I get to do this all over again I would plead to not have a wedding party, I’m still thankful that it’s gonna happen soon and quite excited to experience all this.

Overall, I made a promise to myself, if I ever have children and they are about to get married, I would NOT meddle in their way and would NOT force my opinion on them. I realize I will never have my dream wedding (because of so many demands from parents) but this chain stops with me.

Have A Little More of “Heck-it”

I have been constantly thinking to myself how I don’t have enough friends and connections and somehow I ended up convincing myself that without having enough of them, I will not be successful. This thought is more of a poison than motivation to my brain. I still want to believe that having more friends and connections is a good thing to a certain point but I am so lacking the ability to act on it.

Seeing someone with so many friends around them, easy to make new friends and always finding a good topic to make conversations is making me envious. Why am I not like them? Why don’t I have the trait to be easy-going? Why can’t I talk like that? Why? Why? When my brain is controlled by the demon, this thought is punching me from the inside it actually hurts.

I was just back from a friend’s wedding. It was a standing party where people are moving around and mingling. I keep seeing “friends” every time I move and get mini panic attacks on whether or not I should

  1. acknowledge them at all
  2. smile at them
  3. smile and wave
  4. smile and wave and come to them to chit chat
  5. smile, wave, come to them, chit chat, end the chat now or later and move on

So this is more or less what happens in my mind when I see people in a party. I told my fiancé about this. I told him, “How come I want to have many friends but so nervous interacting with them?” He answered, “I’m the opposite! I don’t like having many friends, I don’t care, and I’m not nervous when I meet them”. I thought well hey that’s the trick.

Then it struck me.

  • They don’t think about me that much

This is most definitely true. I read from the book Quiet by Susan Cain some days before that says about how introverts like to think too much. Not only about other people, they also think about themselves too much. So often I thought: OMG what am I supposed to do? Should I do this or that? What if they don’t like it? What if they think I’m weird? I am not only thinking too much about them, I also think too much about myself, my image, too. If I truly am that weird, so what? They won’t be thinking about my weirdness for too much. They must have other stuff to think about too, right? I should relax myself and heck-it.

  • Thinking too much costs me the action

By constantly thinking if I am doing this right or if what I do makes me look weird, I pay myself some serious drawback. My brain keeps thinking and it reduces the effectiveness of my action. My brain keeps focusing on not being weird and I actually end up acting weird. And my brain tries so hard to be liked that I don’t like it myself. How can anyone else like me if I dislike my own brain for thinking about useless stuff? I should just heck-it more, trust my gut and be natural instead of worrying every single time I meet someone.

  • Stop comparing

I mentioned earlier that I do envy people who can talk “just like that”, thus so likable. Lucky them for being born with nervous system that is craving for more and more excitement and fun-ness of the world. But this does not mean that the other type of people is unlucky. We all have our positive and negative traits and we should be thankful for all of those. Some people will always be more fun and have more friends – good for them. On the other hand, I should work on my social skill as best as I can (without forcing it) and I don’t have to reach the limit where I can be as likable as them. That’s okay. I have what I have now and it should be enough. I, too, have something that they can’t compare to. It’s just natural – imagine how weird the world would be if everybody is wired to be the same. I need to stop comparing myself and accept my own self. And if I can’t be as charming as some people can, then heck-it.

I borrow this “heck-it” term from a dear friend of mine. She lives rather carefree and doesn’t sweat small stuff like I do. I admire her way of living. I’m also grateful that my fiancé is the way that he is and I get to learn stuff from him. Hopefully, I could be as useful to them as these people are to me.

I also realized how I’m thankful that I don’t like coffee. Some people told me that they are not fully awake without coffee. I’m glad I’m not like that because if I am, then I would get twice as neurotic and groggy in my daily life. Or perhaps it’s the other way round, maybe I don’t like coffee because my brain is already always on thinking mode. I need to turn this bad habit of overthinking into something more useful for me, like maybe actually creating artsy stuff or something. Boy, do I wanna change.

Should I Have Babies? Right Away? Later? Never?

I believe almost everyone is familiar enough with the term “millennials” nowadays. It’s the word they use for people who are born between the 1980s and late 1990s; people reaching young adulthood around the year 2000. I am a millennial. I am one of the people who are generally tech savvy and I look for purpose and meaning when it comes to career and life goals. I think more freely and somehow I see that having babies might not be the ultimate goal in a marriage.

Before I even know what a millennial is, I already am aware about my way of thinking like this (so this is not like I’m following a trend or trying to be mainstream). I have the feeling that I might not want to have babies right away or even at all after I get married (in November btw yay!). I think that I need to rearrange my life and definitely find my purpose before I add on another life in this world. I most definitely need to think about myself more clearly before I start worrying about another human being.

I talked to some friends about this view and I get mixed response. Most of them disagree. The more religious the person, the more she would encourage me to have babies because that’s the purpose of marriage – to have offspring and fill the world (exaggerating here) because it is written in the Bible. Other friends says that it might not be a good idea to postpone having kids because I won’t get any younger. When I finally want to have kids in the future and I have reached my 30s it would be statistically harder to succeed. It would need extra money (for the medical program), extra energy (hey you’re older) and probably for me, the exhausting thoughts of being left out and feeling like an outlier. I imagine I would look at my other married friends and how they have their little ones, I would freak a bit and get scared of being shunt from peer groups. But, one of my best friends share the same view as me and so does my fiancé.

Basically, having kids take a whole lot of our all kind of resources; be it time, money, energy and thoughts. But society (especially in this tiny and rather conventional hometown of mine) thinks it’s a bad omen not to want children. So being the paranoid that I am, I started googling about it and that’s when I found the term millennials. This generation has the highest percentage of delaying getting married and lowest percentage of wanting to have kids. I screamed a little in my head OMG I am like this! Is this because I watch too much western series or because I spend some time abroad I don’t know. The internet of course comes with a loooot of articles on this topic but more than not it talks about the reason why millennials don’t want to have kids.

I think I have enough portion of my brain that is against having kids right away or at all. So I tried searching for articles about the other side of the argument. I stumbled upon a few. Some say that our ancestors have made it through so much and such a long journey so we should also procreate in order to keep humanity going. Some other people comment on how the millennials are so afraid of commitment and huge responsibilities that is taking care of a child. I also purposely searched articles from my country thinking that it might help with being more relevant to the society that I’m in. The people here believe that having kids is so important because they are the ones who take care of us when we’re older. Some even go as far as into believing that the more children the more prosperous you will be.

This all depends on how we see ourselves and how we are in our life. In some part, I believe that having kids may be fun in a way that I get to experience something new and (people say that it’s) exciting. But also, I think it might be a little bit selfish too. I am well aware that I have this bad habit running in my family of being so emotional and tempered at times. I really really hate that portion of my family and I swear to God it’s damn hard to control that bursting emotion. At times I am almost sure that I have some serious mental problems. Not only this thing is genetic, I will also impart this to the kid because I will be with them 24/7 during their childhood.

I remember reading this book called Kappa and there is one scene in the story where the female kappa is in the middle of delivery. The doctor would snoop into between her legs and ask the fetus kappa if they want to be born into this world. If the fetus says yes then the delivery continues as per normal. If the fetus says no then that’s it. When I first read this I thought wow how I wish I was asked like this before I was born and get to see how the world and my family would be. But the story is no reality. Babies are not asked if they wanna live or die. They are somehow “forced” to be alive (not talking about abortion, thank you), they are well-kept and regularly fed.

This gets me thinking, maybe I don’t have to think too much about the kid. If I wanna do it then I do it. I will of course try my best in raising them and hoping they turn out to be great. I assume seeing them growing into a good person would bring so much more happiness and pride much much more compared to seeing my puppy turning into a good loving dog.

So I’d say because this actually is a race with our biological clock (being “dry” after 30ish), I will try my best to find what I really wanna do in life for now. Then after maybe getting the gist of that, I can start focusing all I am into having kids and raising them well. All the while still chasing that life goal I set my mind to. Also, for the beginning, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself about how many kids I’m gonna wanna have. Being me, I am familiar that I won’t make any decision without a good long thinking about it so let’s give it some more time and see if I change my mind.

It’s not a super fascinating idea, but I’m curious.

Another Dilemma – I Make It Myself!

People sure have dilemmas in their life, dilemmas come in many portions and sizes. Some are small like choosing between a beautiful long exquisite dress or a more functional chic and simple dress. The other might be between saving someone’s life with the consequences of knowing that that someone has been cheating on you or lying to you (House MD-inspired lol) or letting that someone die.

For me, my brain thinks that I have so much free time and energy in my head that I should make a dilemma out of almost everything.

Talking about dilemmas, some people told me that I am so indecisive that I make a big deal out of everything. That’s why I have trouble deciding whether I should go to my ex-bestfriend’s wedding or my fiancé’s cousin’s wedding.

Here’s how my thinking process go. I would love to go to my friend’s wedding because she and I both would like to reconnect somehow, plus there would be other friends too that I would like to chat with again. On the other hand, with my fiancé’s cousin’s wedding, I don’t want to be thought as a fiancee that does not show up in a big family event. And of course I’m thinking about my fiancé’s feeling too like how he probably would like it better if I go with him to his cousin’s wedding.

I’m still indecisive about that.

Another set of dilemmas that I face includes my life goal and/or career path. So I’m getting married soon and I need to move to my fiancé’s hometown (which is only 1 hour away but it’s a damn small town with no friends I know live there). This realization does not sound so scary at first because, come on, I’ve been alone for the first time in many places and I survived.

Then I remember how those times I have college and normal workplace. In his hometown, there’s gonna be no school and no “usual” workplace. For now I am expected to work at his huge store with so many underlings and I have no idea if I am gonna be any good working there TOGETHER with his family all day everyday including Saturdays and Sundays too!

It struck me. Maybe I should stop working with them. Maybe I should start looking for a school to attend to. Maybe I should start my own business. As introverted that I am, I came up with sooo many ideas it hurts my mind.

If I stop working with them, would they get offended? Would they think that I’m ungrateful after I marry their son? Schooling is not an easy choice too as there are literally no good school in that tiny little town. I have got to go to another city to find a decent one and I don’t think it’s a good idea. I could take up online courses but what if I can’t discipline myself enough. What business should I start, I don’t even have money to begin with moreover connections and network in that area to kickstart my whatever business I’m going to start.

Someday I got sick and I think subconsciously I know this might be because I am so confused about what I’m gonna do with my life. I’m so overwhelmed with these dilemmas I have or I think I have. I don’t know anymore.

I started observing my friends who have started their business and I feel jealous that they all SEEM to start easy and they have tons of connections multiplied by their mother’s connections and their great aunt’s husband’s connections (see how wide the connection here). Maybe I should start there too, trying to make more friends and find what people actually need. But up until now I have been known to be this awkward girl who is not attractive enough to boast about my physical appearance and not cheerful enough to be liked because of my personality.

So, about these dilemmas that I have, I am gonna do nothing about them. Until hopefully one fine day it starts clicking in my brain and I can see the clear sky again. I’ll figure it out.

Beautiful Pain of Love

This girl named Emma is often found in her room, reading Japanese comic books while listening to alternative songs. She goes to school in the morning and goes home doing this hobby almost everyday. Sometimes, she reads fantasy novel books and some other times she might be drawing. Recently, you can find her draw more and more and the drawings start to clutter in the corner of her favorite spot. She doesn’t have a personal room of her own but she has this one spot where she would lie down on her stomach to do all her favorite activities. The drawings usually started from comic characters continued to beautiful images of angels and devilish creatures. Emma favored these more nowadays.

A boy named Francis at school likes to draw too. And this is how they met. It was a serene afternoon after school and every class has their representatives to make a board full of arts – it can be pictures, stories, poems or clippings of interesting articles from the newspapers. Both Emma and Francis are doing this project for their own classes and they seem to be the only two who do this grumpily. They wish their teachers don’t have to appoint them every time there’s an artsy project to do. Just because they like to draw, it doesn’t mean they like doing useless stuff like this, they thought. So Francis notices Emma is being quiet working and he decides to approach her. He though it will be fun if they make a prank to another student. Surprisingly, Emma agreed to.

Like other usual love story, this one, too, revolves around the two of them being closer each day and more open to each other. Unlike those other love stories, I won’t be getting into details about how they spend their lovey-dovey days. Francis comes from a broken family and Emma is the youngest of two where her big brother is everything to their parents. Both are kinda broken in their own way and they are reserved in a way. Their love continues to grow unknowingly of real world. They make their own haven and stay there for as long as possible.

One time, Francis has an idea of drawing an angel and a demon side by side together with Emma. She would draw the devil in representation of Francis and he would do the opposite. This drawing is still kept in Emma’s secret stash in her house up until now. This one special drawing is not only a symbol of balance in life, yin yang, good vs bad, but in a whole, the two entities of what their love is made of. On one side, the love they’re feeling is the greatest of all. On the other, this stupid selfish love is not only immature but also causing destruction from deep within their hearts. After all, Emma and Francis are just so young.

After a few years, this angelic feeling of love started to lose in the battle with the demon. Francis starts to feel insecure about the future. Emma finds it harder to control her emotions. Other typical love stories would tell you the detailed events on how they start to drift apart. Not this one. While they’re in this epic battle of “still wanting to be together” and “we just won’t make it”, they’re feeling all the feelings humans can possibly feel. It starts from anger, fear, disappointment, confusion, happiness, emptiness, sorrow (more in here). Sometimes the feelings are overlapped, sometimes they change oh so quickly it is exhausting to the physical body. On the verge of breaking down, Francis likes to run away and escape from all his troubles by being in silence. Zip. Not a single word. Not a single appearance. It’s like he never existed. Facing this, Emma is drowning in her emotions and instead of flapping hands and asking for help, she opens her mouth wide and actually lets everything into her soul. Both kids are killing themselves.

This is the first love they both experience and like some people say: first love never dies. Because it was so brand new when they started feeling it, it is attached to their mind. And because the feeling and the memory and the subject matters are all interconnected, they can’t help it but remember.

The relationship lasts for a few years with on-and-off path nearing the end. If asked, Emma would say that Francis hurt her so bad and she thinks that it was just the right time to stop the relationship altogether. For Francis, he thinks he just can’t stand the reality of the hardships he must go through.

The thing about this kind of love stories is that it’s a great story indeed. But that’s it. It should be just a story and not a reality. Not a life you should be living, but a story you should be telling. This fairytale can’t translate to real world because in the real world, humans have limits both in their psychological and physical capacity. I guess love is just too powerful and it should not be taken lightly. Whenever Emma and Francis think back about this story of theirs, they are reminded of the beauty of painful love. They can open a tiny little corner drawer in their heart and feel a little swoop of those feelings. Some of these might be useful for inspiration and some, hopefully, make them wiser.

 

Footnote: I know this storyline is so messy and might not have a proper structure, but I was just trying to put my feelings and thoughts into words just as I type. I might write a better one in the future.

Focused vs Fun

Recently, I had a conversation with my friend over swimming (or soaking ourselves in the pool and not exercising). It all started with the different category of people that we are or that we know of. We were talking about the different groups of sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic people (read the wiki page). She said that she and I are similar in this test score that we did in high school. We both have similar score number for the three types (sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic) and the lowest score falls for choleric. We both know that these types of test can vary depends on the environment that sometimes changes us. Then she continued to tell me about how people with melancholic and phlegmatic type of personality are the ones that do not like confrontation and they like everyone to be at peace. As we are, we don’t like getting into arguments and tend to be “polite”. In being so, we are also identified as to be boring because we don’t want to treat someone in a new manner because we’re afraid of the consequences unless we know them better.

This got me thinking about the opposite, about someone else in my life who I know is very sanguine and fun and all the stereotype of happy-go-lucky type. Sure, being fun is a good thing. This makes everybody to like you. You meet strangers and 5 minutes later they’re your friends. You have a lot of friends and never run out of interesting topics to talk about. You have great ideas and your eyes are always sparkling. I have always envied that personality; I’d say about how nice it is if I can be like them. If I can get everyone to like me effortless. My fiancé would say that I am being ridiculous and I don’t have to be liked by everyone and I turn out great too. Then I would argue about how having a lot of friends would be more advantageous than not. For example, if you are in need of some business in life and you can’t do it yourself, you would remember that once or twice you have chatted to this guy and remember how he actually worked in that area. You go ahead and contact that person and that person (who likes you) would gladly help you out and you’re one trouble less by having so many friends. I don’t know if this is a universal thing, but here in Indonesia (especially in my hometown), connection is everything. Connection is one of the keys to success. That’s only one benefit of being fun and likable.

Another is about the fun of course. Since everybody likes you, people will actually try to find you to join their activities so you are never left out and by being in so many activities you are more and more exposed to new people and thus you have more friends. The culture in my hometown is also to talk about people behind your back. By having so many people liking you, you won’t have this problem. Yes, I am saying this is a problem because of a reason. In western world, you might be able to just ignore the talking and continue your life. But here, other people who heard about the rumor or gossip would actually believe that and take into caution when they are dealing with you. For example is when people talk about how awkward and weird you are that people find it uncomfortable to talk to you. The other group of people who heard this gossip would actually believe that and already assume that you are weird and awkward before even talking to you. This might be an exaggeration but to some extent this is true. And because people already have that mindset about you, it would be harder to approach them in case (like previous case) you need someone to do some job that you can’t do yourself. People then wouldn’t be as welcoming. And words spread fast here, too.

I always imagine being likable and fun just like that. But then what my friend said kinda opened my mind. People who are JUST fun; they often don’t know exactly how to do stuff properly. By being so much fun, they are sometimes lacking the seriousness thus unable to perform serious tasks/work in daily life. They can be so negligent that their work can be a mess. I find this somewhat true about this person that is all fun. They are sometimes lacking focus and causing troubles to people around them. They forget stuff easily and it can be worse if they don’t realize their flaw and don’t want to take the blame. They are not consistent in work and by having so many ideas, they tend to keep changing and this results in confusing the subordinates and colleagues. They are sometimes unable to focus and think hard about the result and consequences of their decision in the long run.

Aside from work, they can be quite insensitive to others too. This might be because they think others are all just like them who are all fun and don’t take everything seriously. Sometimes, really sometimes, this can be a problem when they talk and talk and not thinking about some subjects which might be sensitive to others. People like this also tend to put themselves before others. This is probably the result of always being liked and be the center of attention – again becoming selfish and insensitive to others. And because they are so prone in being selfish, they are, too, tend to glorify what they do and worship their great ideas and pay less or no attention to others when the great ideas are not from them. If something is good it must be because of their idea, if other people have a great idea, they would add some little aspect into it and then claim it as their own idea. This is some of the case that I faced and I know it might not happen all the time but there is tendency.

About the not-so-fun people, they are basically the opposite. They can focus in their work and put into heavy thought that can last in the long run. They are more consistent in their decision and like the simplest method possible. I can just list again the opposite of fun people but you get the point. Other than work, these so called “boring” people are more loyal because they value their fewer friends more. People with quieter nature are more into deep meaningful conversations because they are not all about fun all the time. They talk about real feelings and relationships with others – being sensitive to others. This might also be because they have fewer “friends” so they can be more open about intimate topics as compared to fun people.

As a conclusion, I believe that people cannot be divided into groups of fun and focused per se. But we, as an individual, would have both these traits in percentage. The percentage of the trait might change while we live and it can depend on the situation and environment we are faced with. I always like the idea of “flexible balance”. I always yearn to achieve this. Not only in fun focused debate but also in other aspects in life. The idea is about having both traits equally but show one side more in the correct condition. For example if you are in a party and it is time to have fun then show off your fun. And when it is time to have a quiet deep conversation then repress your fun and show more of your focused attention to your friend and be sensitive and really caring. The real problem is not whether or not you should be fun or focused – it’s more about sensing the situation you’re in and decide which you should be at the moment. And I know we cannot be exactly like what we want and that’s okay because of genetics and childhood nurture. That’s why life is a journey and not a staying-in-one-place. We will always learn and keep changing.