Life in The Time of Coronavirus

Judulnya Bahasa Inggris tapi isinya Bahasa Indonesia, hehe. Apa kabar teman2? Pengen cerita soal kehidupan kami di Amerika akhir2 ini sejak COVID-19 sudah disebut sebagai pandemi.

Sebenarnya kan berita soal COVID-19 sudah ramai terdengar sejak akhir tahun lalu sejak pertama kali kejadian di Cina. Waktu itu kehidupan disini masih normal,bahkan sampai minggu lalu menurut saya kehidupan juga masih normal.

Mulai berasa hari Selasa minggu lalu ketika saya masuk kelas di kampus dan dosen bilang kalau baru aja ada pengumuman resmi bahwa UCLA menghentikan semua kegiatan pembelajaran di kelas, mengubahnya menjadi online sampai awal April. Hari Rabu nya saya masih ke kampus, ketemu beberapa teman untuk mengerjakan tugas kelompok. Hari Sabtu saya masih ke acara ulang tahun teman bersama 4 orang lainnya, hari Minggu masih ngopi bareng 4 orang teman.

Minggu sore dapat berita kalau mulai Senin kota LA mulai memberlakukan “lockdown”, yang artinya bisnis tutup kecuali yang berhubungan sama kesehatan, bahan pangan (supermarket) dan pemerintahan. Restoran cuma boleh terima order takeout atau delivery.

Minggu malam saya dan R belanja ke supermarket, hampir nggak kebagian apa2. Bukan niat nyetok barang sih, tapi emang kebetulan biasanya jadwal belanja mingguan kami hari Senin, nah karena katanya Senin mau lockdown ya kami belanja hari Minggu. Eh.. baru pernah liat langsung betapa kosongnya toko Target tempat biasa kami belanja, terutama di rak makanan kering, rak peralatan bersih2, dan minuman. Ngeri juga sih liatnya.

Senin-Selasa-Rabu kami kebanyakan di rumah, hanya keluar untuk hal yang benar2 perlu, itu juga keluar-masuk cepet2. R kebetulan libur hari Senin dan Selasa tapi hari Rabu kemarin dia sudah kembali bekerja, walaupun ada larangan kerja dari pemerintah setempat Orange County. Maklum, R kerjanya di bidang medis jadi tempat kerjanya memang lagi sangat padat dan butuh orang banyak, malah diminta lembur kalau bisa dan mau.

Kalau ditanya gimana situasi pasca lockdown di LA? jawabannya bervariasi. Peraturan pemerintah pun cukup bervariasi dari tiap2 daerah. Misalnya State of California punya peraturan sendiri. Orange County (tempat saya tinggal) dan LA County pun peraturan nya beda. Dalam County ada beberapa kota, dan LA County pun bukan hanya LA city. Jadi waktu hari Senin peraturan di LA city mulai berlaku, saya di rumah di Orange County belum merasakan efek dari restoran tutup, karena peraturan serupa baru resmi dikeluarkan di Orange County hari sesudahnya.

Mulai kemarin di Orange County ada peraturan baru yang mengharuskan warga untuk membatasi pertemuan kelompok dalam bentuk apapun termasuk kerja. Katanya bakal ada patroli dari aparat yang berwenang untuk memastikan semua mematuhi aturan. Kantornya R ngasih panduan untuk karyawan harus jawab apa kalau kebetulan di stop aparat sewaktu dalam perjalanan ke kantor.

Minggu ini juga saya dapat email dari kampus kalau UCLA memperpanjang periode belajar online nya sampai akhir spring quarter, kira2 di awal Juni. Minggu ini juga saya dapat kabar kalau jadwal interview urusan imigrasi saya tertunda entah sampai kapan, sampai kantor imigrasi beroperasi normal kembali.

Terus terang saya merasa takut dan sedih, pertama dengan adanya pandemi ini dan melihat jumlah orang yang terinfeksi rasanya makin banyak aja tiap harinya. Sedih juga karena beberapa rencana harus ditunda dulu, walau ngga seberapa tapi jujur tetap berasa kecewa. Kemudian saya juga jadi merasa cemas, terutama mikirin Indonesia, namanya juga keluarga saya ada disana. Ragu apakah Indonesia bisa menangani pandemi ini dengan baik? mikirin keselamatan dan kesehatan keluarga dan teman2 di Indonesia. Makin cemas juga rasanya lihat keadaan ekonomi, khawatir banget kalau sampai ada kejadian krisis ekonomi.

Saya berusaha untuk melihat sisi positif dari kejadian ini, tapi terus terang masih susah. Yang bisa saya lakukan adalah terus berdoa semoga kejadian ini cepat berlalu, semoga kehidupan bisa kembali normal, dan semoga yang sakit segera sembuh, yang sehat jangan sampai sakit.

Gimana keadaan di tempatmu tinggal? semoga semua aman dan yang penting sehat selalu ya πŸ™‚ *virtual hugs*

Kebiasaan Akhir Tahun di Amerika

Setelah semakin lama tinggal di Amerika, saya semakin sadar akan beberapa kebiasaan orang – orang di Amerika terutama menjelang periode pergantian tahun. Post ini bakalan random sih, tapi saya coba ceritain beberapa kebiasaan di Amerika yang saya baru sadari yaah (Kayaknya dulu udah pernah nulis tentang topik serupa tapi males carinya haha).

  • Kirim Kartu

Disini kirim kartu masih dijalanin banget, mulai dari ulang tahun, hari besar, bahkan sampai sekedar untuk say Hi kepada orang – orang terdekat juga bisa pakai kartu. Di Indonesia kayaknya terakhir saya kirim kartu waktu lebaran jaman masih kecil, nemenin orang tua beli di Gramedia hahaha.. tapi disini kartu tuh masih kepake banget dan bahkan jadi suatu hal yang normal. Kalau sama keluarga suami, urusan kirim kartu ini jadi sesuatu yang lebih spesial lagi terutama kalau ulang tahun, keluarganya kebiasaan nulis hal – hal yang baik dan “dalem” di kartu untuk yang ulang tahun, awalnya sempat bingung karena nggak kebiasa mengekspresikan perasaan lewat kartu, tapi sekarang udah mulai terbiasa. Yang lucu saya kirim kartu natal ke mama di Indonesia dengan model Amerika dong, nulis panjang lebar.. begitu sampe mama bingung hahaha.. seneng sih tapi dia bilang tumben2an, karena keluarga kami biasanya nggak model tulis-tulisan perasaan gitu πŸ˜€

  • Catet Alamat

Karena kirim kartu butuh alamat, jadi saya perhatikan orang – orang disini juga suka tanya alamat dan di catat baik2. Kalau pindah rumah, suka kirim pemberitahuan pindah rumah. Di Indonesia saya kayaknya banyak gak tau rumah temen dimana, kalaupun tau tempatnya, gak pernah catat alamat lengkapnya kecuali jaman udah mulai ada Gojek kalau ada perlu kirim sesuatu… Nah, gara2 kebiasaan ini saya baru aja beli buku alamat dan sekarang mulai catetin alamat teman2 dan keluarga. Seneng deh rasanya, padahal sebenarnya bisa dicatat secara digital tapi seneng aja bisa catat di buku.

  • Dekorasi Akhir Tahun

Bagian yang ini kayaknya sudah pernah saya ceritain sih, tapi akhir tahun kemarin baru ngeh kalau dekorasi akhir tahun tuh sesuatu yang dianggap serius banget disini. Dekorasi nya nggak cuma bertemakan natal, kadang hanya lampu – lampu meriah tanpa ornamen spesial. Tapi tetap kata kunci nya meriah! Sampai tahun kemarin saya belum ikutan dekorasi sih tapi rasanya akhir tahun ini saya mau mulai ikutan dekorasi biar lebih seru aja suasana akhir tahunnya.. berhubung saya belum upgrade kapasitas wordpress jadi nggak bisa pasang foto, kalau mau lihat suasana dekorasinya bisa lihat video ini yaa

  • Tukar Kado

Tukar kado ini juga jadi salah satu kegiatan akhir tahun yang rasanya dianggap penting di Amerika. Dulu di Indonesia saya sudah biasa sih sama acara tukar kado di keluarga mama yang merayakan Natal, juga di kantor dengan teman2 satu tim. Tapi disini rasanya lebih spesial karena tradisi tukar kado nggak cuma dijalankan antara sesama anggota keluarga, tapi juga dengan teman – teman dan juga rekan kerja di kantor. Dan yang juga bikin spesial adalah soal pemilihan kadonya. Kalau di Indonesia rasanya pilih kadonya lumayan “asal”, yang penting bagus dan masuk budget, kalau disini rasanya orang – orang lebih memperhatikan keinginan dan selera orang yang mau dikasih kado. Terus terang saya sempat agak pusing akhir tahun kemarin ketika harus mikirin kasih kado apa untuk keluarga dan teman – teman terdekat disini, karena saya pikirin satu persatu kesukaan orang tersebut dan juga tentunya harus disesuaikan juga sama budget rumah tangga hahaha. Sekedar tips yang saya pelajari tahun ini adalah rencanakan dari jauh hari, catat satu persatu orang yang mau dikasih kado dan kira – kira seleranya gimana. Kemudian, beli kadonya ketika periode diskon Thanksgiving atau Black Friday. Dengan begitu urusan kado bisa selesai dari jauh hari dan bisa beli barang bagus dengan harga hemat! πŸ˜€

Kebiasaan – kebiasaan tersebut saya lihat di daerah tempat tinggal saya di Los Angeles, mungkin beda kalau kamu tinggal di kota lain dan pastinya beda kalau kamu di negara lain. Kebiasaan akhir tahun apa sih yang kamu perhatikan di negara/kota tempat kamu tinggal? Ditunggu ya ceritanya πŸ™‚

January So Far

I said I was going to blog more often this year but it’s already the 18th and there’s only 1 blog post published this month. Hehe. It’s okay….

Anyway, this month I started my 3rd quarter in school which means I only have 1 left! Wooow! A couple days back I received an email from the school informing me about this year’s graduation date… which will be held in June. I still find it funny to attend graduation for a certificate program but God willing I will attend it just for the sake of celebrating another life’s milestones πŸ™‚ more about that later…

Since I’m almost done with school, I also have started to look for jobs that would be suitable for me after graduation. Well this part is really confusing, because I have to re-do my resume to tailor it to the US job market, highlighting the focus areas and eliminating the unnecessary details. I also have to look more carefully at job postings because some companies tend to use different names for the same job roles. Like this one time I found out that Key Happiness Manager is basically the same as Key Account Manager = basically keeping your customers and the company happy! hahahaha. But at the same time I’m also very excited to start this job hunting process because I feel like it’s time time to reinvent my career, hopefully towards a better direction.

There’s some other projects that I hope to progress this month and the coming months but I’m taking it one step at a time…

Oh, this month I also started to exercise more regularly. I joined a local gym and started to exercise 3x a week now woohoooww. I am enjoying it so far and I hope that the excitement won’t fade easily. I think I found the right gym and the right exercise that I really enjoy.

Well, that’s about it. a quick update from the California coast this January. I’ll be back with more stories and I hope that you are all having a great start of the year ❀

5 Favorite Things About The US

Hello and welcome back to β€œStories from the West” series. I’m doing this project withΒ DixieΒ and every month we are sharing 1 post about lives in our respective new countries; me in the US, Dixie in Sweden. Can’t believe that this is the 12th post on this series already! Anyway, this month’s topic is about favorite things in our respective countries. Enjoy and don’t forget to read Dixie’s post too! πŸ™‚

Now that I have been living in the US for almost two years, I can say that I made the right choice moving here – although the journey has not been easy, but I did discover a couple of favorite things along the way.

The Nature

The US is beautiful and I love how I can easily be out in nature only with a short drive from my house. The system takes good care of the nature here and they make it easy for us to visit. We have national parks in the US and they are managed carefully, some required an admission fee and some don’t. So far I have only been to three national parks here (Sequoia, Zion, and Joshua Tree) but all of them are breathtakingly beautiful and well managed. My favorite so far is Sequoia National Park, it’s an easy drive from Los Angeles and perfect for a weekend getaway.

Me with the Sequoias

The Entertainment

Well, what can I say about the entertainment here in the US? I guess everybody knows that the US is the capital of entertainment and I live right in the middle of it, in Los Angeles. Living in LA has been great to satisfy my crave of entertainment – there’s always something for everyone, everyday! During the first few months here, I was shocked to see the entertainment calendar – how it was filled by concerts of artists I’m familiar with almost every night! You know how I love concerts and if possible, I would go out every night and watch each one of them haha. So far I have ticked some items off my bucket list in terms of “must-see concerts”… including Justin Timberlake my childhood crush πŸ˜€

Justiiiinnn πŸ˜€

The Fact that It’s So Easy to Get Food From All Around The World ….

…especially Asian food. Having lived in the UK previously, I remember how hard it was for me to get proper Asian food. Indonesian food? just forget it, I think there’s only 1 Indonesian restaurant in London and nothing at all in Bournemouth, where I lived. Here in greater Los Angeles there are a couple of Indonesian restaurants including a food court with only Indonesian Food stalls! and there’s also 3 Indonesian restaurants nearby UCLA where I go to school… can you imagine, three?! I even had this moment where I got off school and went to one of the restaurants to eat soto mie, as if I was in college in Indonesia hahaha. But anyway, it’s super easy to get international food here, including the ones that I was not familiar with before.

The Theme Parks

I live 20 minutes away from Disneyland California, about an hour from Universal Studios Hollywood, and 1,5 hours from Legoland. Need I say more? hehehehe. I love theme parks so I have and I love the abundance of theme parks in the US. I guess theme parks is a big industry here and they go all out, giving customers a different level of experience with every visit. For example, I just went to Universal Studios horror nights last month and it was so entertaining!

At Universal Studios Hollywood

The Holidays

Americans love their holidays. There’s a holiday for every season, but we are now approaching my favorite one – year end holiday! November is the month of Thanksgiving, a holiday very much similar to Lebaran in Indonesia, where everybody would gather with their families to have a meal – lots of them! Anyway when it comes to celebrating the holiday season, people here like to go all out. Decorations, food, gatherings, all so festive and celebratory. Oh, can I ask what’s your favorite holiday? mine is Christmas! Well, you know why, right? πŸ˜›

One big Christmas Tree at my Neighborhood Mall

So that’s 5 of my favorite things in the US. There are more, but let’s stick to five for now. Now I’d love to hear your favorite things from the country you are living in. Please share it in the comment section below πŸ™‚

School Update!

I’m at my second term in school and I’m loving my classes so far. I know I promised some of you to write about my school life so this post is a bit overdue, but anyway here it is! πŸ™‚

So this term I’m taking 4 classes. Three of them are within my Digital Marketing certificate program, and one is actually from a Sustainability certificate program. This is by far the most stressful quarter because everything I’m learning about is new to me. It’s exciting, but at times I found myself putting too much pressure over a 5 points assignment, so yeah.

I love my Sustainability class although I wish I took it in class instead of online, I’m pretty sure I would have learned a lot more if I could get a chance to interact with my classmates and lecturer in real time. Well this is my second online class but I think it just made me realize that I prefer in-class teaching instead of online, although I can say that I’m digitally savvy but still.. nothing beats the classroom experience hehe. Anyway the Sustainability class that I’m taking is called “Global Business Practices in Sustainability” and the title is pretty self-explanatory, I love how I am able to learn about doing business sustainably and learn best practices from well-known companies. My interest in Sustainability kept me going although I found myself overwhelmed at times, learning about those new terminologies outside of my Marketing world. But hey, one’s gotta keep learning!

I’m also taking a Digital Marketing class, Social Media Marketing class, and a Personal Branding + Influencer class. I actually just finished the latter; it was only a 5 week class but was very insightful and inspiring to say the least.

So the Personal Branding class was about how we need to develop our personal brand, how to become an influencer, and if you are on the marketing side – how to manage one. It’s interesting to see how Influencer Marketing in practice here in the US because the lecturers are practitioners and they also brought in several guest speakers, including an actual fashion influencer who spoke to us about the hard work behind all those flashy insta pictures. However, what’s most inspiring to me is that the class also taught me to reassess my own personal brand – not that I’m planning to become an influencer, but for future career and basically in order to get to know myself better. The activities and assignments helped me to reflect and as a result I now have a better understanding of my own personal brand – something that is considered a necessity today, especially since I’m planning to rebuild a career in Marketing after finishing the certificate program.

Me and the lecturers of my Personal Branding class, taken on the last day of class

Phew! That sounds like a lot, isn’t it? Hehehehe.. don’t worry I’m having fun and I have to say that going back to school even after 10 years of graduating is still exciting and if anything it’s more exciting than my previous degrees because at this point of life, I have a better understanding of what I want and what my interests are πŸ™‚

Anyway, I hope all is well with you and I’ll see you in the next post.. thanks for reading! ❀

5 Quirky Things About America

Hello and welcome back to “Stories from the West” series. I’m doing this project with Dixie and every month we are sharing 1 post about lives in our respective new countries; me in the US, Dixie in Sweden. This month’s topic is about the quirks we found about the adopted country. Enjoy and don’t forget to read Dixie’s post too! πŸ™‚

Festive Season all Year Long

Back in Indonesia, festive season happened twice a year; on Christmas and Idul Fitri. That’s when I would see decorations everywhere, in houses and public spaces; Green/Gold for Idul Fitri and Red/Green for Christmas. Here in The US, it seems like there are reasons to decorate/celebrate all year long, with different ones each month… like how we are decorating for Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November, and of course Christmas in December. Well, they say the more the merrier!

The Measurement System

This is one of the hardest things that I need to adapt, seriously. I don’t understand why the US use miles instead of kilometers when it comes to measuring speed / distance, pounds instead of kilograms when measuring weight… and so on. Why can’t this country be “normal” like the rest of the world?! :)))))

We Talk Loud… Oops!

I don’t know why, but Americans tend to talk loud especially in public, for example when they are on the phone. I could easily hear whatever they are talking just because they talk so loud! I’m sure you know what I mean if you have met American tourists or if you have seen American movies… trust me it is what it is in real life, and sometimes I found myself starting to do the same thing especially when I’m talking with my classmates! O-ow!

A Different Approach on Advertising

In Indonesia and the UK, Advertising are primarily used for commercial goods, sometimes business goods. Here in The US, it’s common to see ads for lawyers, doctors, and the thing that I still find funny… prescription drugs. I’m not sure how it is in the East Coast but try to drive the freeway in California and you would see a ton of billboard ads for lawyers and doctors. Try to watch American TV network and you would see at least one ad for a prescription drug, followed by long disclaimer, of course.

Humongous Food Portion

I remember the first time I was here on vacation; I was shocked to see how big the food portion in the US is! This makes eating out relatively cheap because you can buy a portion and get enough to last you 2-3x meals. After almost 2 years in the US, I can say that I’m getting used to the food portion and just take home whatever I have left. As soon as I reach home, I would reportion the leftovers into smaller containers and store it in the fridge. At first I was not comfortable in saving food in the fridge because in Indonesia food can get bad easily due to its humidity… but it’s not the case here, your leftovers can still be good for the next 3-4 days or so, as long as it’s kept in the fridge. I still found it weird, but I guess I’m starting to get used to it now.

So those are the 5 things that I found quirky here in the US. It was hard for me to adapt to those quirks but as time goes by, it has became the new normal for me hahaha… anyway, let me know if there’s some quirks in your country, I’d love to hear it too! πŸ™‚

In America, I…

It’s the first day of September which means I am back with another post from the β€œStories from the West” project which I am doing withΒ Dixie! Each month we are writing 1 post about the same topic, to give you a glimpse of our lives as new immigrants (Me in the US, Dixie in Sweden). This month’s topic is about the things we learned from our adopted countries. Read mine below and Dixie’s here πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

I learned to live more sustainably

Actually, life here in general is far from sustainable, but somehow it drove me to live my life more sustainably. Let me explain. When I got here, I was quite surprised to see how common the takeout culture is, and the amount of waste that came with it! They made me realize that I needed to do something. You see, whenever you eat out here, you would get enormous portion (especially coming from Indonesia). Obviously not every time you could finish that portion, so the option is to bring it home. And when you ask your server to bring home your leftovers, you would get it boxed in plastic containers, with plastic cutleries, and plastic bag. And it happens so much that I started to feel uneasy about it. At the same time, I was made aware of recycling (something that I never do in Indonesia), so I did some baby steps by starting to separate my recyclables and trash at home. Then I went on with minimising the use of single-use plastic. A couple months after, I’m still far from being completely sustainable (To be honest I don’t know what the world actually means), but I am doing baby steps!

A totally unrelated picture but it’s so beautiful righttt? This was taken in Catalina Island πŸ™‚

I learned to work hard(er)

Hard work is nothing new in my dictionary but here I got to see how hard work can get you places. If I could one choose one thing that I learned about this country, I would definitely choose hard work! Despite only living here for a short time, I was able to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds already and they all showed me how hard work can be valued in this country. I guess it is true that this is the land of opportunity so it’s up to us to work as hard as we can to grab as many opportunities as possible!

I learned to celebrate individuality

Coming from a country which culture put a high emphasis on conformity, at first I found it surprising to see how much individuality are valued in this country. I learned that individuality does not mean a bad thing nor that it means you are selfish, but in the age of #selfcare, it is important to put yourself first and learn to accept yourself, in whatever condition. It’s okay to be different and it’s also okay to celebrate it.

To sum up, I know that my life here is just starting, I have this long road ahead of me. But I’m glad that I get this second chance of learning new things and expanding my horizons by moving to America. These are just the three things that I learned from this country, I might share more in the future, as I am adjusting myself more to the life here. Thanks for reading, and if you are also an immigrant, what are the things that you learned from your adopted country? I would love to hear your story! πŸ™‚