I Have Less Friends Now, and That’s Okay

I was on my lunch break at work and I saw an instagram story by a friend of mine. We first met through blog back in the days, but somehow got into the same university although different colleges. She posted something where she tagged, surprisingly, another friend of mine. Friend number 2 and I went to the same college in university. I didn’t know friend number 1 and number 2 know each other… until I realized that they were at one point, colleagues.

Ah, small world. That’s Jakarta to me. When I still lived there, I had a multiple circle of friends, and I found joy in finding connections between my circles. I would often be part of, or even host multi-circle gatherings, which may consist of my classmates, and then a friend’s classmate, or another friend’s colleague… you get the idea. I would meet new people, new friends, and the circle would keep growing, hahaha it does sound tiring now as I’m writing this but there was a time where I was happy to be a part of it.

Seeing the instagram story today made me realize that here in the United States, I don’t have that many friends, and I don’t think I ever will. I only have 2 circle of friends, one that I know from my husband and one that I know myself. At one point I tried to expand my circle, I tried to make friends at university, or even at my Barre class, but none actually made it past the “acquaintance” or “social media friends” part.

I have a good relationship with the people from work but it’s hard to consider them as part of my circle. I think my perception of friendship changes over time, and for the most part, being an immigrant has a lot to do with it.

As an immigrant, I think I’m keeping my circle small, but that circle is my extended family. As an immigrant, I have to rebuild my network, similar to what I did growing up in Jakarta, but here, they way I’m building it is purely for business. There’s got to be something in exchange. And that’s okay.

I used to think that making friends is the biggest struggle as an immigrant. I understand why, considering how social I was back home. But now, as time passes, I realize that it’s not the case. The biggest struggle is actually comparing things here vs back home. Once I do it less (hard to say that I completely avoid it), I came to understand and accept that I have less friends now, and that’s okay. After all, quality > quantity, right? 🙂

Series of thoughts

I dont even know what 4th of July is supposed to mean. Independence Day, sure. But the more I read, the more I begin to question.

I don’t understand Indonesians’obsession with uniform. “Oh, here’s a matching kitchen towel for you, it will look nice”. “Let’s all buy this pink kaftan to our cousin’s wedding”. Why does it have to be the exact same pink kaftan? Why can’t I wear my own pink kaftan that I brought from Indonesia, one that I’ve prepared for special occasions like these? I can understand dress code and color code.. but uniform?

I miss my family and friends so, so bad. Of all the things that are happening in Indonesia, nothing I want more than being able to see them in person. So until then, I can only pray for their health and safety. Until then.

I feel like I’m at this weird position where I feel really blessed to be able to write this post while enjoying my brunch at a coffee shop, but at the same time I am holding down my tears because as soon as I start to think “aaah this is nice” while sipping my coffee, I thought of my mom and brother who hasnt been really out from their home for 1,5 years now. That was a weird sentence, but I guess it represents my thoughts lately. Cluttered.

I feel bloated lately but most days I dont have the energy to exercise or even go out. I just want to leyeh-leyeh all day.

I am obsessed with Jang Kiyong and Hyeri in My Roommate is a Gumiho. The series is so unrealistic (it’s a fantasy romcom anyway), but it makes me smile, it’s light and filled with fluff, exactly what I need this time.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. I’ve finished my coffee and I’m going home. We’re making Bakso for lunch, my inlaws are coming over. Stay safe and healthy, friends!

2020

Wow what a year 2020 was. I still remember how I spent 2020 New Year’s Eve. R and I went to our friend’s place for dinner, we met everybody and left early to go to LA’s Grand Park at Downtown, where LA’s annual NYE party was held. Much like NYC’s Times Square, only in smaller scale. It was both of our first time going to the event although it was an annual thing. R said he usually just spend NYE at home or with his friends. We were excited to be in the crowd, there were small stages with live music, photo booths, lots of food trucks.. we definitely felt the vibe and excitement. Then came the countdown. To be completely honest it wasn’t major but now, looking back, it seemed like it was everything. Light show, music, and mass countdown, shouting “Happy New Year!” to fellow Angelenos.. wow. If only we knew what was going to happen in the following months…

Continue reading “2020”

What They Don’t Tell You About Moving Abroad For Love

I remember my initial reaction when I was introduced to my husband. “it’s not going to work”, was what came to mind when I learned that he lives in America. At that time, I had no slightest desire of moving to the US. The American dream was not part of my dream, if anything, deep down, what I wanted was to be able to live in the UK again, one day.

Long story short, today I’m approaching my 3 years moving-to-the-US anniversary, yet sometimes I still find myself in disbelief… wow I have really moved abroad for love. It has been quite a ride, full of ups and downs. I’ve shared bits and pieces about my immigrant story in the blog, but one thing I realized that I haven’t shared is the things that nobody told me before my big move.

There will always be that void in your heart

…from missing your family and friends in your home country. Of course you will build a new family together with your significant other, you’ll also make new friends, and you/they can always visit! But things will be different. I’m thankful that I moved in the era of the internet, where connecting with distanced loved ones is no longer a hardship. But still, there will be moments missed, connections lost, which, sooner or later you just gotta accept.

Starting over is hard…

…and it takes a lot of patience. For a planner like myself, my move abroad means having to deal with uncertainty, and many times it almost killed me. Over and over I had to face that plans do change, especially when you are starting over in a new country. Latest example? COVID-19, which of course caught everyone by surprise. Personally, it affected my job hunting after I finished my certificate program. Not going to dwell on it here, but you get the point, starting over is hard and it takes a lot of patience.

Your significant other might not get it…

…but it’s essential that they do! In the earlier days of our marriage, after my move, I realized that my husband did not really get the struggles that I was facing. Whenever I had a difficult moment, he could only say, “be patient”, without actually understanding why I felt whatever I was feeling. He would think that he “understood”, and started to think I was exaggerating, while in fact he did not. It took us a while to work on this issue – now he finally gets it, and even if he still does not, he now knows how to ask the right questions/ how to deal with the issue. It gives me so much peace and comfort knowing that I have someone who truly understands and it calms me during my difficult moments.

Slowly, you’ll find yourself letting go of what you used to know…

…and embracing what you don’t know. My long-time blog readers should know that this move is not the first for me. Back in 2009 I also moved abroad, for education, albeit only for 1 year. At that time, I had to rely on the things I know to survive. I used the way I do things to navigate through the move, adapting to the changes, surviving grad school… and everything that happened in that one year. But now, I realized that I can’t solely rely on myself. I have my husband and like it or not, he does have more experience here in this country. It took me a while to embrace it, letting myself receiving help in navigating my new life here, without thinking that it’s a sign of weakness.

You’ll find that the opportunities are endless…

…it’s just a matter of how you want to make use of it. I like to think that being a “love immigrant” puts me in a unique position. I’m married, in my 30s, with no children, living in the a new country, which means that I get the chance to reinvent myself, a thing that might not be the case had I stayed in my home country. Should I switch careers? should I open my own business? Should I be a full-time housewife? I feel that I now have the liberty to choose what I want to do next, considering that I now have a “backup”, that being the full support of my husband.

Did you also move abroad for love? Have other things to share? Would love to read them! 🙂

2020… so far

Surely 2020 is not going to be easily forgotten. Funny enough, I started the year being in a middle of a crowd, celebrating NYE in LA’s Grand park downtown. There were fireworks, food trucks, live music.. ah, it was fun and lively.

Fast forward 7 months later, the thought of being in the middle of such crowd makes me shudder. Ain’t life funny.

Continue reading “2020… so far”

Perjalanan Panjang Adaptasi

Udah lama sih saya pengen nulis soal hal ini, tapi akhirnya baru kesampean sekarang. Rasanya saya udah pernah ngebahas sedikit di beberapa post terdahulu, soal proses adaptasi kepindahan saya ke Amerika. Nggak disangka, saat ini sudah 2,5 tahun saya pindah kesini.

Selama 2,5 tahun ini hidup saya banyak banget naik turunnya deh. Sampai ada masanya pengen balik ke Christa jaman dulu terus kasih tau soal segala tantangan yang dihadapi, biar Christa jaman dulu nggak cuma mikirin yang indah2 aja ketika memutuskan pindah ke Amerika.

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