10 tahun

Sudah lama saya nggak cerita di blog ini, nggak terasa kita sudah ada di akhir tahun 2019 aja! Tadinya saya sempat nulis draft kilas balik setahun kebelakang, eh tapi liat post nya Deny tentang perjalanan satu dekade, jadi tersinspirasi pengen ikutan cerita. Terima kasih ya Deny inspirasinya πŸ™‚ Okelah, langsung aja kita mulai ceritanya…

2010 – 2013

Saya mulai dekade kemarin ini dengan optimisme tinggi. Awal tahun ada di Inggris, menyelesaikan program S2, usia saya 23. Tahun baruan di depan London Eye bareng teman – teman kuliah, bener – bener pengalaman yang nggak terlupakan sampai sekarang, termasuk pengalaman ketinggalan keluar kereta bersama seorang teman lain, hingga akhirnya harus menumpang nginap di tempat orang yang baru kenal (orang Indonesia juga) sambil nunggu kereta berikutnya di esok pagi… yaampun, hidup saya kayak kisah serial TV rasanya hahaha.

Setelah kemeriahan tahun baru 2010, saya bekerja keras mengerjakan tesis, lulus, pulang ke Indonesia, dan berjuang lagi mencari pekerjaan. Alhamdulilah dapat kerja di perusahaan yang sangat berkesan bagi saya, dan mulai bekerja di minggu pertama Januari 2011. Tapi nggak disangka, malam sebelum hari pertama kerja, saya diputusin pacar yang pada saat itu sudah pacaran lebih dari 2 tahun dan saya kira kami akan menikah di tahun 2011 itu. Hancurlah hidupkuuu.. hehehe. Setelah patah hati parah, saya berusaha untuk menata hidup kembali. Saya banyak berteman, baik dengan teman lama dan juga bertemu teman baru. Saya mencoba berbagai kegiatan baru, mulai dari olahraga hingga traveling.

Ternyata saya jatuh cinta dengan traveling. Waktu di Inggris saya sudah beberapa kali jalan – jalan sendiri, tapi nggak terlalu jauh dan lama. Di tahun 2012, saya pertama kali jalan – jalan sendiri keluar Indonesia dan ke negara yang saya nggak bisa bahasanya …. Vietnam dan Thailand. Setelah itu ketagihan, saya punya grup teman jalan yang kira – kira setahun 2x pergi liburan, mulai dari Surabaya, Bali, Karimun Jawa, Bromo, Padang, Lombok, Derawan.. seru!

2013 – 2016

Di tahun 2013, umur 26, saya pertama kali bertemu R πŸ™‚ berawal dari iseng dan dorongan dari dalam diri saya untuk “menerima tantangan”, kami bertemu dan the rest is history. Kami sepakat menjalani hubungan jarak – jauh walau pada saat itu nggak tau arahnya kemana… tapi ada sesuatu dalam diri saya yang bilang kalau saya nggak boleh menyerah gitu aja. Well, here we are now! πŸ™‚

Diluar percintaan, di tahun 2013 saya juga dapat promosi di kerjaan, dan akhirnya bisa jalan – jalan lebih sering hahaha. Waktu itu teman – teman di sekeliling saya banyak yang sudah mulai menikah, membeli properti, investasi, dan sebagainya… saya sibuk jalan – jalan aja hohoho. Sempet merasa “kecil” sedikit, tapi setelah saya pikir kembali sekarang ini – salah satu pelajaran hidup selama 10 tahun kebelakang adalah…. waktu orang beda – beda. Hidup orang beda – beda, jadi jangan pernah membandingkan hidup dengan orang lain.

Setelah promosi di tahun 2013 itu, saya terus membangun karir di perusahaan yang sama sampai kemudian di akhir tahun 2015 memutuskan untuk pindah perusahaan dan juga pindah industri. Awal tahun 2016 saya memulai karir di perusahaan baru, yang pada ujungnya memberikan sebuah pelajaran lagi… dan membuka mata saya tentang hal yang saya benar – benar inginkan, dan hal yang tidak saya inginkan.

Pelan tapi pasti hubungan saya dan R juga berjalan ke arah yang positif. Akhirnya, di tahun 2016 R melamar dan kami melakukan prosesi lamaran dengan keluarga dan teman terdekat di Jakarta, tanggalnya pas di hari ulang tahun mama πŸ™‚

2017 – 2019

Saya memulai awal 2017 dengan melakukan perubahan di karir saya, memutuskan untuk berhenti kerja full-time dan memulai bekerja freelance. Sebuah keputusan yang cukup berani tapi pada saat itu saya harus mementingkan kesehatan fisik dan mental daripada jabatan dan karir.

Setelah berhenti kerja, saya melakukan perjalanan solo “terakhir” sebagai wanita lajang ke Shanghai dan juga mengunjungi Disneyland Shanghai. Sambil bekerja freelance di sebuah advertising agency di Jakarta Selatan, saya juga mengambil beberapa project online dan sempat kena tipu sekitar $500! Saya sudah mengerjakan tugas yang diminta tapi orangnya habis itu kabur… huhuhu. Ya sudahlah.

Di akhir 2017 saya menikah dengan R, lalu nggak lama kemudian saya pindah ke Amerika Serikat, memulai hidup baru. Pindah ke negara baru dengan status baru sama sekali nggak mudah, tapi alhamdulilah kami baik – baik aja sampai sekarang, dan hidup kami juga terus diberkati dan dibimbing ke arah yang baik.

Tahun 2018 saya kehilangan tante saya secara mendadak, kedatangan mama selama sebulan, berjuang melawan anxiety karena proses kepindahan dan perubahan yang terjadi… tahun 2019 saya mulai sekolah lagi, kedatangan adik selama 2 minggu, sambil tetap menunggu kabar baik yang belum tiba. Nggak apa – apa, semua akan terjadi di saat yang tepat πŸ™‚

2020?

Nggak kerasa ya 10 tahun sudah berlalu dan benar – benar nggak nyangka perubahan yang terjadi dari awal dekade hingga akhir dekade. Nggak pernah kebayang kalau jodoh saya bakal ketemu di belahan dunia lain apalagi pindah ke negara lain ikut suami…

Jadi, harapan saya buat dekade berikutnya, apa ya… yang pasti saya kepengen banget sih mudah2an kabar baik nya bisa segera tiba, semoga semua rencana kami diberkati Allah dan dilancarkan, semoga keluarga di Indonesia baik – baik saja dan dapat rejeki mengunjungi kami disini kembali… dan juga untuk teman – teman semua, semoga lancar ya semua rencananya! ❀

P.S: Post kali ini nggak pakai foto soalnya kapasitas wordpress gratisan saya udah mau abis… hahaha… jadi dipilih – pilih deh upload fotonya πŸ˜‰

P.P.S: Selamat hari raya Natal dan Tahun Baru untuk teman semua yang merayakan, untuk yang nggak merayakan selamat menikmati hari liburnya, untuk yang nggak merayakan dan nggak mau ngucapin yaudah nggak apa – apa, untuk yang nggak merayakan dan nggak mau ngucapin tapi ngelarang – larang ngucapin…… ya nggak apa-apa juga tapi nggak usah ikutan hari liburnya kali yaa.. biar adil gitu πŸ˜‰ *peace out*

A Small Victory

I have been dealing with insecurities. There. I said it.

It took me a while to understand it, before I was finally able to fully acknowledge and accept it, and now I’m starting to let it go.

To give you a little bit of background, let me recap what has happened in the past 2 years. I got engaged, quit my job, traveled, started freelancing, got married, moved to the US, dealt with numerous paperworks for immigration purposes, became a housewife, and just recently started school. To think of it again, it has been crazy.

Along the way, I felt insecure many times. All those changes opened up a door and I somehow let insecurities came my way. I tried so hard to fight it. I tried to count my blessings, I tried to enjoy the little moments, the small victories, but at the end of the day it was still creeping.

Maybe it was not that bad because I felt like I still had a good life. There were challenges indeed, but it was manageable. There were days when I felt so insecure but I somehow always managed to bounce back the next day. There were good days and bad days, and I was okay with that. Little by little things were starting to fall into place and I thought all those insecurities were part of my adaptation process and I managed to deal with it. Done.

But then I started school, and I realized that my insecurities was holding me back many times. I refrained from doing the things I used to do, like participating in class, engaging in discussions, and I started to notice how it could lead to bigger issues as I am preparing myself to restart my career here in the US.

After I did some research, I found iBunda.id, a counseling service that offers online sessions. I specifically wanted to find Indonesian psychologists/counselors because I thought they would be able to understand my situation better. I’m so glad that I found them and after my session I was able to understand what was going on with me.

Like I said, with understanding comes acknowledgement and acceptance, and now I’m starting to let it go. To say that I’m free of insecurities is not 100% true. I still feel it sometimes, but I can manage it better. I don’t let it haunt me nor I let it bring me down like it used to. Instead, I accept and move on.

I used to think that my school is not significant because it is “just a certificate program”, not a prestigious MBA or PhD. I don’t know what got into my head for me to think that way because that mindset led me to feeling insecure!

Thankfully that mindset did not stay with me for long. I have then learned to celebrate more small victories, appreciating all the little things, simply because they matter. Today I am celebrating another small victory – a satisfactory grade this term! Wait let me rephrase because that sentence was still influenced by some insecurities.

Today I am celebrating because for the first time in my academic career I got straight As!!!! YAY me!!!

I don’t know what the future holds but I know for sure that for as long as I work hard and do my best, I will be okay. I will try my best to not let insecurities hold me back, so I will be okay.

If you happen to be dealing with your own issues, I hope you remember to celebrate your own small victories, because they matter πŸ™‚ sending positive vibes to all! x

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™‚

Notes From an Immigrant

Welcome to another post from the β€œStories from the West” project which I am doing withΒ Dixie. We will be writing 1 post each month with the same topic, to give you a glimpse of our lives as new immigrants in our respective countries. This month’s topic is about β€œbeing an immigrant”. I am sharing my notes about being an immigrant – the highs and the lows. I hope you enjoy the post, and don’t forget to read Dixie’s storyΒ here πŸ™‚

At first, moving to a new country sounds flashy. Especially when that country is America. I am one of the many who grew up watching Hollywood movies, listening to songs from American musicians, reading American books (The Baby-Sitters Club, anyone?) and drooling over American celebrities (Fun fact: I used to add DiCaprio to my name in my school notebooks hahahaha…. now you know :P).

Fast forward to many, many years later, I am now living here, in America! Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that this country is my home now. I’ve only been living here over a year but I understand that as much as I want to make this place home, I’m always going to be an immigrant to this country.

Foreign

Yep, that’s the word that I think will stick with me forever. For the first few months, everything seemed foreign to me. I didn’t know directions, I couldn’t navigate my way around, and I didn’t know a lot of people. As days go by, that sense of foreignness started to fade, but I know I’m always going to be considered foreign to some people, and at the same time, there are some things that I would consider foreign as well.

Loneliness

Not long ago, Dixie wrote a very good piece about loneliness in her blog, which I can very much relate to. Although I am thankful that I have family here, and also have made some good friends, but relationships that you have in your adopted country is pretty much different than what it used to be when I was still living in Indonesia. Here, everybody have their own things and sometimes our bonds are limited by distance because we are not living in close proximity with each other. And while I still keep in touch with friends in Indonesia, I’m unsure if things will remain the same for years to come…

Struggle

Struggle is a part of being an immigrant that one can’t miss. I wish I could say that living here has been easy peasy. But no, behind every pictures in Hollywood or every dream concert that I went to, there’s a big chunk of struggle behind it. At first, I struggled to accept my new status as a housewife. I felt useless because I did not know a lot of things, and I also had to let go a lot of things that I had back in Indonesia (my career, for instance). I also struggled in being patient. Being an immigrant to me means that I have to be patient. Adaptation is an ongoing process and it’s not an easy one, so patience is key. There were times where I lost my patience and boy, it was a struggle to gain it back. Lucky I had my support system!

Opportunity

Now that I have laid out the lows, it’s time to turn the narrative around and make this post a cheery one! It took me a while, but now I believe that with my status as an immigrant, comes opportunity. I am thankful to live in a country where opportunities are endless. I used to struggle to accept the fact that I am over 30 and I had to start over in my career, my life. But then I was able to turn the thought around – I am only in my early 30s and while I am currently “in transition”, there is nothing that can stop me from chasing those opportunities!

Me – currently chasing an opportunity to study

Freedom

They say that America is the land of freedom. Here, you are free to express yourself, free to stand by your opinions, free to enjoy your life the way you want to. Ain’t nobody can tell you what to do, and as an immigrant it is a relief that I have been waiting for. To me, freedom as an immigrant means that I get to chase whatever opportunity that comes my way, my family can live the way we want to, without having to worry so much about what other people will say. Although there are still issues that we need to work on as a society, but living in America has shown me what it feels like to have freedom. Freedom to practice my religion, freedom to stand by my beliefs, freedom to study, freedom to work, freedom to travel and freedom to enjoy life.

Although I did not plan to become an immigrant, I chose to become one the day I chose to be with my husband. Of course there are consequences, there are struggles that comes with it. But there are also opportunities! It is up to me to choose, which way will I take. Will I keep seeing my struggles as obstacles, or will I see them as opportunities that I’m free to reach? At the end of the day, I’m thankful that I took this chance, because being an immigrant in my 30s gave me the second chance I did not know I had before.

P.S If you’re reading this and you’re a fellow immigrant too, I’m always here if you want to reach out! Let’s support each other so we can rise together! x

Back to School

I always knew that I would go back to school but I didn’t know when and where (and how, for that matter!). I had planned to go back to school since I first moved here but unfortunately that plan did not happen until … last week!

I won’t go into detail but what happened was miraculous in my dictionary and before I knew it I was able to start school last week! Hoorah! I am now enrolled in a digital marketing certificate program at UCLA Extension. I should be able to finish this program in the next 9 months or more, it really depends on the courses I will take and the route I will choose.

For now, I am taking 3 classes this term and 1 of them is an online class. This is my first ever online class – and I found it very interesting. Well I’ve taken some Coursera classes before but this is nothing like that because there are live seminar sessions in which we can hear the lecture and also participate in class discussion through an online chat room.

As for the other two classes, so far they are as interesting. One caught me off guard because I did not think that I would need to write a final paper as part of the requirements to pass the class. I mean, the last time I wrote an academic paper was…. 10 years ago? πŸ˜€

Anyway, I can’t say much for now because, well, it’s just the first week, but surely I will share more about this journey! I’m excited to learn, meet new people, and share experiences! All of this still feels surreal because up until last week I really have no slightest clue that I would be starting school… oh well, here I am now and I better get back to my online learning platform to read materials for my second week. Ah, student life…

Taken in front of Royce Hall – where UCLA graduation ceremonies are held

My Dad

My Dad was an extraordinary man. I also like to believe that he lived an extraordinary life. He fought an extraordinary battle with lung cancer before God decided it was his time to rest eternally.

He was the fourth out of five children, the second-born son in his family. He was the cheeky one, with an outgoing personality. As a father, he was the wheels that kept our family moving. He was loving, he was present, and he was fun.

He wanted the best for this family, so he worked hard. He wanted us to see the world, so he took us. We didn’t have a lot but somehow he always managed to spoil us with presents, family vacations, family outings, and his time.

His time was precious – he was a busy man. Often times he would leave for work before I woke up and only came home after I went to bed, but then my mom made a deal with him – that he had to take me and my brother to school everyday whenever possible. (I guess this made my mom the rock that holds our family together but that’s a story for another day…)

So he did. No matter how late he came home the other night, he always took me to school until I graduated high school. I remember the drive, where we would talk about anything. I cherish that moments, and I kept replaying that moment over and over, wishing that it never goes away.

I guess I was too small when he left, or maybe the tragedy of losing him left a mark on me, that I now startung to struggle to remember details about my encounter with him. It breaks my heart that memories of our togetherness are starting to fade away, that I now only see snippets of images instead of the whole picture when I try to remember.

But I remember the kind of man he was. He was a hardworker, one that still had the time for family and friends. He was much loved by his friends, I know that his staffs and colleagues loved him too. He put family first, always with open arms to help. He was stylish, presentable, neat. I remember his polo shirt and the way he always brings a handkerchief in his pocket.

I remember his upbeat personality, how he lit up the room whenever he walked in, how he liked to sing on events (his favorite karaoke song is Separuh Nafas by Dewa 19 haha). I remember his love for sports, how he played it all – basketball, hockey, golf… and how his love for sports guided me to finish my first 5K race.

Although it has been 12 years since he passed, every day I try to live my life following what he showed me. One can only hope that he’s happy to see that person I have become 😊

I wanted to post my favorite picture of him but I couldn’t find a digital version of it, so this picture will do (and yes, that’s baby- me! :D)

Happy Father’s Day to my #1, and to every outstanding Dads out there!