The story about Passport, Marriage and Scholarship

It was Wednesday morning when I sent a message to my older sister through Whatsapp asking her about our late parents’ birthdays.

‘What kind of daughter who doesn’t even know her parents’ birthdays?’ 

That question must pop up on your mind when you read the opening sentence, right? Haha. Don’t be surprised. I myself also asked the same question whenever I was required to write down my parents’ birthdays and got stuck in remembering their exact and correct birthdays.

Well, to my defense, both of my sister and I don’t know the exact dates of our late parents’ birthdays. It’s not because we don’t care about it, but because my family doesn’t put much attention to things like that. We don’t celebrate birthdays. Our late parents taught us that birthday isn’t something to celebrate, it is something to be grateful for and also something to reflect. It’s the time where you get older, which means your time in the world gets cut by one year.

Ok, back to the time when I sent a message to my sister. Shortly, she (with a help of my brother in law) sent me the correct dates. I thanked her. A question arose in my heart,

‘She doesn’t ask anything further? I guess I will need to prepare myself for an interrogation after work tonight.’

I was in Immigration Office at that time, and the dates were needed since I was filling in the form for my passport application. I will probably share with you my experience in making a passport when I already get my own passport later since I saw so many people should go through complicated ways due to incomplete information they got. In fact, as long as you are a good and diligent citizen with completed personal documents, making passport is not that complicated.  🙂

Go back to the story, so, dates were written down, the forms were completed then I had the interview, paid for the passport, went to New Concept, taught my students and finally, went home.

Just like what I predicted, right after I finished my dinner and changed my clothes, my sister asked me what were the dates for. Don’t wanna lie to her, I answered her honestly,

For making a passport, for applying scholarship‘, I said.

‘Where?’, she asked.

‘Europe’, I answered.

Then, the discussion began..

She started to ask why I should choose Europe when I can choose to study here, in my own country instead. Then, the next thing she brought up is my status, which is still single and unmarried.

I don’t know about other people but when I am 25 and still unmarried, then I must be accustomed to people questioning why I have not got married yet. When I said people, it doesn’t only include my family, relatives or friends, but also strange people I just met and talked to five minutes ago. I’m accustomed to it, to the point of giving a smile to the question is my sufficient answer.

Who doesn’t want to get married and have cute babies and live happily with your own family? Isn’t that always the perfect ending for every fairytale? There might be people who don’t want it or don’t believe in it. I respect everyone’s decision. However, I’m not that person. It’s always stated on my life goals to have my own family and to be a good wife and mother for my future husband and future children. Yet, it’s always stated on my life list too that I should pursue my dreams and keep learning. Longlife learning.

It’s not wrong when my sister argued that nowadays, you don’t have to fly thousands miles away from home just for getting a good education. You can learn anything from anywhere. There’s no need to go to Europe or other countries to learn something.

It’s totally not wrong. In fact, I totally agree with that. However, if you are given an opportunity and experience that not everyone gets. If you are given an opportunity that may be able to make you a better person for yourself and for people around you. Then, why should you limit yourself? Then, why should you belittle your own ability to be something better and might be bigger than what you’ve ever thought?

It was somehow funny to have this kind of serious discussion with her when I haven’t even applied for the program yet. I’m still completing the document requirements. and it’s like the very start line of my long journey, yet my sister had made it like I already get the LoA and the scholarship, and I am ready to fly there haha. Hmm, does this mean that my sister actually believes in my ability? I will give it a BIG AMIN, then. 🙂

 

Bad that turns out to be good.

We can’t always have good days, can we?

Well, to be fair, bad days are what define good days for us. Often time, we realize something is good only when we already experienced the bad one beforehand.

However, just because it is bad, it doesn’t mean it will give bad impacts on us. It honestly depends on which perspective we decide to judge. It depends on which impact we will choose to encounter; the good one or the bad one.

Indeed, it is much easier to put an emphasis on the negative impact instead of the positive one. Parallelism; bad things are resulted by bad things. It is so easy to drag yourself down in misery after you go through tough times that, you think, are bad for you. It doesn’t need any effort to let yourself drown in all negativity you unconsciously decide to focus on.

On the other hand, it requires so much effort to focus on the positivity when you yourself firmly believe that you just went thourgh hard and bad times. Well, it’s true that stay being all nice and positive honestly costs us $0. Unfortunately, its direct implementation in daily life isn’t that easy and pain-free. You need constant reminder and commitment to do it. But then again, we are merely mortal creatures with swings of emotion. No matter how mature and strong we are, there will be times when we just want to give up on everything and let the emotion to take over. Well, isn’t doing something good always more difficult that doing something bad?

Back at it again, see! It’s all about our own choice to decide where we want to pay our attention to. We have power to choose it, so why don’t we use a bit more power we have just to feel the positivity?

 

p.s. This post is my personal reminder.

Why are we on Earth?

Pernah terbersit ga sih pertanyaan tentang sebenarnya untuk apa diri kita ini diciptakan dan dihadirkan di dunia?

Pernah bertanya-tanya kenapa sampai saat ini kita masih diberi umur untuk mencicipi dunia Allah SWT?

Pernah mempertanyakan kenapa dengan murah hatinya Allah SWT memberikan kita kemudahan, kecukupan, kebahagiaan serta segala nikmat lain yang tak pernah kita sadari?

Pertanyaan yang sejatinya kita harus ingat dalam keseharian kita: Untuk apa kita ada di bumi, hingga saat ini? Padahal, jika menurut Allah SWT kematian merupakan hal yang terbaik bagi kita, maka detik ini pula, tidak peduli apa yang sedang kita lakukan, Ia bisa saja memisahkan roh dari raga kita dengan mudah.

Mungkin ada hal-hal yang masih harus kita lakukan di dunia ini. Hal-hal yang kecil namun nyatanya bermanfaat bagi orang lain. Hal-hal yang sejatinya hanya diri kita sendiri yang mampu melakukannya dan bukan orang lain, karena sebenarnya setiap orang itu special in their own way. Believe me, we are irreplaceable!

Bukan ingin sok bijaksana melalui tulisan ini, tapi memang pertanyaan ini seringkali muncul dalam pikiran saya dan belakangan ini paling sering membuat saya gelisah. Mungkin ini pertanda Allah SWT untuk menyuruh saya merealisasikan rencana-rencana maupun cita-cita yang saya simpan sejak dahulu, namun tanpa ada action.

“Untuk apa kamu, aku, kita ada di bumi ini?”

Bisa jadi salah satu jawabannya adalah untuk menebar manfaat dan kebaikan. Ingat salah satu hadits Nabi Muhammad SAW ini?

خَيْرُ الناسِ أَنْفَعُهُمْ لِلناسِ

Sebaik-baik manusia adalah yang paling bermanfaat bagi manusia” (HR. Ahmad, ath-Thabrani, ad-Daruqutni. Hadits ini dihasankan oleh al-Albani di dalamShahihul Jami’ no:3289).

Begitu juga dengan surat Al-Jumuah ayat 10.

فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلاةُ فَانْتَشِرُوا فِي الأرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِنْ فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (١٠)

Apabila telah ditunaikan shalat, Maka bertebaranlah kamu di muka bumi; dan carilah karunia Allah dan ingatlah Allah banyak-banyak supaya kamu beruntung.” (QS. Jumu’ah: 10)

Allah SWT memerintahkan kita untuk bertebaran di muka bumi untuk mencari karunia, dan Nabi Muhammad SAW mengatakan bahwa sebaik-baiknya manusia adalah yang bermanfaat bagi manusia lain. Jadi, untuk mencari karunia Allah SWT sebanyak-banyaknya di muka bumi ini, salah satu cara yang bisa kita lakukan adalah dengan menebarkan kebaikan dan manfaat. Mungkin kita tak perlu melakukan hal-hal baik dan bermanfaat yang sulit, besar dan spektakuler di luar kemampuan kita. Mungkin mulai hanya dengan hal-hal kecil semampu kita.

Berhubungan dengan hal ini, malam ini, saya ‘diharuskan’ membongkar kembali dokumen-dokumen yang berhubungan dengan identitas saya, termasuk ijazah sarjana yang saya dapatkan sejak dua tahun lalu. Jujur, sejak menerima ijazah ini, saya belum pernah benar-benar membaca isinya. Sampai akhirnya saya baca detail isi dari sehelai kertas yang untuk mendapatkannya, saya harus berjuang 4,5 tahun ini. Ada sesuatu yang membuat saya terdiam setelah membaca satu kata yang tertulis disana.

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Lihat kata yang saya garis bawahi? Yup, kewajiban. Saya jadi ingat sebuah quote dari film Spiderman 1, yang kurang lebih bunyinya seperti ini “With great power comes great responsibility” (saya juga sepertinya pernah mendengar quote ini di film The Incredibles).

Diberi kesempatan mencicipi pendidikan tinggi sampai akhirnya bisa menggunakan gelar S.Pd. berarti ada porsi kewajiban tambahan yang saya miliki di dalam hidup ini (tentu seiring dengan hak dan kewenangan yang didapatkan). Berarti saya harus mampu menebarkan manfaat dan kebaikan yang lebih lagi. Insha Alloh secepatnya ^^

Mari bertebaran di muka bumi dan menebarkan manfaat dan kebaikan bersama-sama. Allah SWT is always with us ♥

T

[NOVEL REVIEW] “After You” by Jojo Moyes (claimed as the long awaited sequel to “Me Before You”)

Good night~ (It’s 10 PM already here)

After spending so much time doing this and that, last holiday, I finally was able to finish one novel. In fact, I already challenged myself to at least read 12 books this year. It’s May and I only finished one, I repeat ONE! hehehe. Okay, let’s start!

So, the novel I read this time is “After You”, the sequel to one of my favorites novel “Me Before You”. This novel itself was originally published in September 2015, but I only knew about this sequel in December last year and only finished reading it in May 2016 haha.

Well, everything was beautiful and impressive and lovely for me in “Me Before You” (later abbreviated as MBY). Thus, when I knew it has a sequel, I looked for the sequel immediately hoping I would get what I got from MBY. If you read MBY, you will know that Will, at the end, regardless what he has for Lou, still decided to end his life. And if you hope that there will be some kind of impossible miracle happened to Will that makes him come back in this novel, then you’ll be disappointed. Well, he does still wander in Lou’s thought tho, and I found it annoying haha.

This novel mainly focuses on how Louisa Clark keeps going with his new life after the downturn she experienced from losing Will. She’s no longer living in Stortfold. She moved to London and lives in a flat from Will’s legacy. She now works as a waitress in an airport bar.

In all honesty, I’m pretty disappointed with Lou I found in this novel. Well, she still has that sarcastic side, which I like best from her, but she is no longer the witty and bright and strong Lou I know in MBY. She is that depressed about Will and lives her life under Will’s shadow along the story of After You. However, Lou’s family is still that amusing and funny family that is worthy to visit.

There are so many new characters introduced in this sequel. Well, it’s inevitable, Lou lives in a new place surrounded with new people. Yet, we will still be persuaded to visit, though not all, old characters we know from MBY. For me personally, I think that there are too much characters involved in this novel with their own conflicts and story. And, somehow, it makes me lose track of what the story actually focuses on. However, it’s relatable to our life where we inevitably are involved to some people’s life, either those people are new people we know or the old friends we finally bump into again. Hmm talking about new characters, there are two main characters who will later give most impacts on Lou’s life. They are Lily and Sam. Lily is strongly related to Will, while Sam is  someone who will make Lou find herself again. My new fave character from After You is Sam! He is just that typical charming, mature, gentleman and understanding man.

If I should compare After You to MBY, well MBY is somehow still better for me. You may disagree with this, but I found MBY’s story is ‘ripe’. It’s a typical story that can make readers feel more and more curiousity as the story unfolds. So that, the readers will want to just keep reading it until finished. I experienced it myself. I finished MBY in totally 2 or 3 days (I forgot). That broke my record in reading a more than 200-page novel. I didn’t want to put down MBY for a long time. Unfortunately, the same thing didn’t happen with After You. As stated in the beginning, I knew and got this novel in December and only finished it in May. It took 5 months for me to finish it.

However, it was still a nice reading experience. At least, everyone gets their own happy ending here (is this spoiler? hehe). Probably, Jojo Moyes wants to give the readers happy endings she owed in MBY? hehe… To conclude, if I should rate this novel. This will probably be 3 out of 5 stars, while I can give MBY 4,5 stars.

I recommend you to read MBY before you read this novel, that way you can get involved in the story better. However, I guess you still can read this novel as a stand-alone because there are not so much things referred to MBY. Anyway, MBY the movie will be released on 3rd of June! Can’t wait~ hehe hope it isn’t disappointing. ^^

The followings are the covers of this novel. There are some more editions of the cover as far as I know.

Title: After You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published Date: September 24, 2015

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Morning’s reflection

Hello,

After being abandoned for more than one year, here I am coming back :D. Looking at my pattern, I will usually be active again for writing and blogging in the beginning of the year, like in some first three months. Then you can expect me to disappear again for the rest of the year, haha. Well, it’s May 2016 already. Just let’s see. ^^

Anyway, my brain is kinda getting dull nowadays, so my apology if this first post after one year more of hiatus will just be another kind of ranting and blabbering post.

It’s already morning here in my country, Indonesia. Thus I put morning’s reflection as the title, though this post will be far far away from the word ‘reflection’. But, let it be. It’s not everyday I get up this early, hehe.

So, it was actually started from yesterday’s morning that I start to think seriously about my future again. In fact, I do always think about my future, but in more casual and chill way, like just Que Sera Sera.

Not that I don’t care about it by thinking that way. But, you know, being lectured and advised to get married soon every time I meet people (even with strangers too), being busy with neverending works, and lately, being tested with my degrading health condition make me just wanna be chill about it. Yet, since my works are calmer now, my health is starting to get better though now it’s my teeth’s turn to make some troubles, I’m getting more leisure time and I start to realize that I’m getting old, I want to plan and think about my future more seriously than before. What makes it different from the past time is that, now, it must be followed by real and concrete actions. If it’s not now, then when?

By the way, related to real and concrete actions to achieve our goal, a couple days ago, I read an interesting article about ‘The Doorway Effect’ on BBC website. This article discusses how our brain arranges what becomes our goal and how to achieve it in hierarchy pattern, where the goal is put at the top of it, while actions to achieve the goal are put at the bottom.

The moral I could conclude from the article is the importance of focusing on goal while you do the actions to get it, because even the simplest action you do can make you forget what becomes your goal in the first place. Just like when we experience The Doorway Effect; we plan to, put as an example, take a key in bedroom, so we go to the bedroom to get it, but when we are already in the bedroom, we forget about what to take there. So, taking a key can be categorized as the goal, while going to the bedroom is the action. Even when the action already, let’s say, covers 50% of the goal (the only thing to-do left is looking for the key in the bedroom), we still can go astray from our goal if we don’t keep focusing on the goal. This reminds me to recall what already becomes my goals in life since long time ago, to plan and do the real actions to achieve them and to keep focusing on the goals themselves.

So, what about your goals? Have you done something for it? If not yet, then let’s start it together, from now on. If you have done it, then good job! Keep going and always keep your goals in mind. Good luck for us and I sincerely hope that only better things will happen to us ^^

T

My Bucketlist [Part 1]

My terrible nocturnal-self comes back again. sigh…

It’s 2 AM in my country and I’m still wide awake. And, the worst part is I’m still with my notebook, which means, I’ll delay my sleep for some more hours. Times like this remind me so much of some months ago in 2014. The moment when I struggled to finish my paper to get my bachelor’s degree. The moment when I forced myself to stay awake and to think while all my body, eyes, and brain were wanting was sleep. I still remember the moment I even cried in the middle of the night because of being run out of ideas for developing my paper. Haha those precious times. The pains can still be felt.

However, surprise! I miss those times. I miss those times when I had to stay up to finish my assignment since it was due tomorrow morning. I miss entering classroom (as a student). I miss participating in classroom discussion with my lecturer and my classmates. I miss presenting certain topic in front of the class. I miss going to college. Haha in short, I miss studying in a classroom. I miss being a student.

I myself even felt surprised when I said this. I mean I’m still able to feel how painful it is to defeat yourself, to push the limit in yourself in finishing your study. It was just like yesterday I went through those times, and here I am, ten months later, already wanting to continue my study. I never say I feel enough just by getting a bachelor’s degree. I always want to get my Master’s degree and even Doctorate, if I’m really capable to do so. Yet, I don’t know it will come this fast, Hehe.

But then again, looking at my job now, It’s a little bit impossible for me to continue my study while I’m also working. And I’m still 1 year and a half under contract. And then again, I still hold onto my dream to continue my study abroad. So, maybe in 2016? 2017? Hopefully!!! Wish me luck! But then, my age will be ………

Nevermind, haha.

Just start!

Gute Nacht! Lange nicht gesehen!

Hahaha did I even write them correctly? I’m just recalling a very little chunk of my very limited German regardless that I’d learned it for two years. Don’t expect anything guys when I said I had learned German for two years, because I didn’t even capable of introducing my name appropriately in German. All I still remember are only saying greetings, telling my name and mentioning some random numbers. I don’t know which one is wrong; my brain or my brain.But well, learning German and some other foreign languages seriously are still on my long-term to-do list.

Talking about my long-term and short-term to-do lists, there is always this one anxious feeling swallowing me. I don’t know but it’s some kinds of regret or disappointment at myself for being so hard to start doing something while the lists are getting longer and longer.

Unfortunately, being hesitant to start is one of my bad personality traits. I think too much when it comes to starting something. Then, in another time, it’ll be just a coward me who is too tolerable to my lazy-self. I dislike myself for being such person. There are times when I even scold myself to just start doing what I really wish to do.

As a person who really likes reading and watching people’s successful stories, reading motivational books and reading inspirational stories, I often feel so ashamed. One of the messages delivered through those my favorite stories is always the same; just start! and I myself always internalize it. Yet, it takes me foreveeeer to really apply it.

Just start!; two simple words that are easy to write and pronounce yet soooo haaard to do (for a person like me). However, I already challenged myself to make 2015 and the following years ahead more meaningful and memorable by striking my to-do lists through one by one, marking that I am able to defeat my lazy-and-hesitant-self. Of course, that is not an easy task to do for me since being hesitant and over-lazy is already a habit and changing what has become your habit for years definitely needs a huge effort. But, I believe that God created me not for nothing and I can do beyond what I limit myself to.

Well, one month in 2015 already passed and so far, there are already some things on my list that are in the process of being striken through. Just hang on a little bit! Hehe.

Welcome February!

Hoping for more good things to happen!

Cheers,

T.