Sudden Sadness

In the midst of all things that have been happening lately, last Friday I went through a tough time with no particular reason. Well to be honest now I think the culprit was receiving an email from a future employer saying that they had to cancel my upcoming interview due to the situation, and that they’re unsure when they will be able to reschedule it. When I first got the email I didn’t feel anything, it was something that I actually have thought about because of the current situation with coronavirus and all that.

Then I went on to live my day, until a couple of hours later I suddenly felt this surge of sadness and cried uncontrollably. I literally sobbed until I was almost out of breath and felt very confused at the same time, because I didn’t know why I felt the surge of sadness.

Poor husband woke up from his sleep after a long shift at work only to find me sobbing uncontrollably. He tried to console me but I was too distressed and could not find the words to explain my feelings.

He then had to leave again for work so I was home alone and thankfully managed to calm myself down. I remembered that I had downloaded an app called Sayana – I’ve used the app several times before to help me understand my feelings and calm me down when times got rough.

So I opened the app and reported my feelings… and I got this very nice tips that I now keep in mind in case such thing happened again. As you probably know I’m almost running out of capacity on my wordpress account so I apologize that I can’t post pictures, instead I’m just going to write the tips here, hope that it will benefit you as much as it has benefited me.

The Thought Express by Sayana

I want to share an interesting metaphor about how we can observe our thoughts to avoid getting into negative emotional states.

Imagine yourself standing on the platform in a train station. The PA system tells you that there will be an express train coming by, so you need to stand back from the tracks.

Now imagine that train coming – you can probably feel it as well as hear it coming. The noise increases as it thunders through, buffeting you with a blast of wind.

Despite the intensity of the experience, we usually just let those express trains pass on by without a second thought. But when it comes to thoughts, we don’t let them go by. We get worked up and hop onto “thought express” without understanding where it takes us.

The express train metaphor shows how negative emotions and automatic thoughts work. They come on pretty quickly, and sometimes intensely, but if we don’t engage with them, they pass on by.

If we feel anger, hatred, jealousy, or any other strong emotion, we tend to dwell on it and that can have a long lasting, negative effect on our overall emotional state.

So, instead of jumping on that thought train, we can stand on the platform, notice the thoughts and feelings that come to us, let them pass until the right train arrives that will take us to where we want to go.

What do you guys think? I personally really like it and will try to practice it next time I feel a strong negative emotion. Do you have any other tips that you like to do when experiencing such thing? Do share and let’s support each other during these weird and difficult times.

As always I wish you are all healthy, safe and happy. Take good care of yourselves! πŸ™‚

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*

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!

Finding Peace

For a while I refrained myself from writing about this, even though I have been thinking about this (a lot) for quite some time. I understand that it might be controversial to some, but hey this blog is called ‘Christa Bercerita’ because this is where I tell my stories.. and today it’s about faith.

I was born and raised Muslim, I am still a Muslim and I should note here that I was brought up in an interfaith household. My dad was a devout Muslim, my mom is a devout Christian and together they raised me as a Muslim. Whole my life, I am used to the exposure of the two faiths, and strangely enough my husband comes from a diverse background too – half of his family is Christian, while he is born and raised Muslim. So – that’s a little background about me.

Fast forward to the last few years, I started to question my faith. Not the Islam that I grew up with, but particularly the way some Indonesians Muslims practice their faith …. (I don’t want to generalize but that’s how I see it). In the past few years, I’ve seen more and more people / friends / colleagues / family / acquaintances getting more religious and especially with social media they are spreading their “newly-found-again” faith out loud.

I get it, I’m all about free speech and I (try my best) to value everyone’s opinion. But there’s this thing that I found very disturbing. I found that the narrative of this whole “newly-found-again” (or in Indonesian – hijrah) Islam is mostly (again, I don’t want to generalize) fear.

I’ve lost count of the times I went to a sermon, only to hear about how I’ve done soooo bad as a human being and I’m super sinful that I will burn in hell. I’ve lost count of the instagram posts telling me that I will get X punishment in hell because I don’t cover my hair or because I didn’t do this and that.

Truth be told these things don’t make me feel peace at all, instead they make me uneasy, and I thought being religious is supposed to bring peace on to my daily life.

I mean I don’t want to pray because I’m afraid that if I didn’t I will burn in hell. I don’t want to give to the poor and needy only because I want something in return, as I often hear, “give to the needy, your prayers will be heard!” I mean do I really have to have a motive in giving back? That does not feel right. I want to give because I feel like giving, because I feel thankful, and I want to pray because I want to feel close to God, because I want to feel peace. Not because I’m afraid. And definitely not because I want something in return!

So yeah, I kind of stop following Indonesian Islam (if there’s such thing.. but you know what I mean). Which is a bit sad, because I know Islam is all about communities and at the moment I don’t feel like I belong in my own community.

Thankfully, I am starting to find peace at my mosque here. Although I am yet to go there often, I love what I’m hearing so far. Every sermon I heard made me smile, made me feel at peace, and maybe I’ll find my community here. For now, I’ll continue observing Ramadan with an open heart, may this month brings Peace to you and I ❀

Sunday

I woke up early, and we decided to get breakfast. We tried a brunch cafe not far from our house, only 10 minutes drive away. We were the first guests when we arrived at 7AM, right when they just opened. Not long after, another couple came in. Then another. And another. It was a full house by 7:30AM. Wow, it looks like the cafe is quite popular in the neighborhood. Why haven’t we been here before, I asked R. Let’s try the food first, he said.

I ordered a typical American breakfast menu – eggs, sausage, potatoes and toast. Only I asked for the toast to be changed to english muffins. It’s the closest I can get to crumpets here :)))) R ordered pesto bagel – it was really good, he said. I also had a cup of latte which was not bad at all, similar to what I usually make at home. But it’s Sunday, I want someone to make my coffee because I don’t wan’t to deal with the dishes :)))))

After breakfast we spent a bit of time at the beach, then went back home. I did some freelance work, R went on relaxing. He needed the rest&relaxation day after his long week.

I was too caught up with work when I realised it’s already past 4PM and we haven’t had lunch. I woke R up, we were both starving. Well, it’s the perfect time to use our Gyu-kaku points, I said. Let’s go! He said. There’s nothing better than eating good food with points, which brought down our bill to 50% less! πŸ˜€

Btw, tonight is the start of Ramadan. We will be fasting for a whole month starting tomorrow. So we went to Target to stock up on some pantry items. I haven’t finished my meal plan so I just stock up on some fruits, oatmeal and protein bars for our suhoor. We will be fasting for 15 hours this year, and this is going to be my second Ramadan in the US. I’m excited! I’m hoping for some miracles this month and I’m also looking forward to reflect and give back.

Now I’m relaxing at home. It’s been a long day. R is right beside me, watching Game of Thrones. I don’t follow the series, I just don’t get the hype. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to watch a couple of episodes… Anyway I let him have the TV every Sunday night, so here I am typing in my WordPress app while listening to Spotify with earphones on. All good, it’s been a good day, and I hope it will be a good Ramadan for us all πŸ™‚

Kunjungan Mama (part 3)

Oke jangan bosen yaa baca cerita kunjungan Mama hehehe. Rasanya pengen cerita yang lengkap gitu, baru deh lanjut cerita2 yang lain. Anyway, di post ketiga ini saya mau ceritain soal road trip kami ke San Francisco.

Jadi, waktu tempuh perjalanan dari Los Angeles ke San Francisco kalau naik mobil itu sekitar 6,5 jam. Tadinya saya dan R sempet bingung, mau naik pesawat (mahal), naik bus (mikir repot di SF nya gak ada mobil karena kali ini kita bawa mama), atau bawa mobil aja dari LA. Akhirnya kami memutuskan untuk bawa mobil supaya seru, dan dihitung2 juga biayanya sama aja kalau kita naik bus plus transportasi di SFnya.

Kami berangkat hari Minggu sore sekitar jam 6, itu juga mampir dulu makan malam dan sempet berhenti beberapa kali untuk beli kopi, isi bensin, jajan, dan sebagainya hehe. Perjalanan ke SF lumayan ngebosenin, karena malam hari kali ya, nggak ada pemandangan yang bisa dilihat dan sepanjang jalan kosongggg melompong. Soalnya kami pakai rute paling cepat, padahal sih sebenarnya ada rute yang lebih indah pemandangannya tapi lebih lama waktu tempuhnya, yaitu lewat Pacific Coast Highway (inget lagunya nggak?). Kami sampai di SF sekitar jam 3 pagi. Langsung istirahat karena jam 10 pagi nya langsung diajak saudara kami yang kebetulan tinggal di SF untuk jalan2 ke Monterey.

Monterey itu kota kecil di pinggir pantai yang jaraknya sekitar 2 jam dari SF. Monterey seru banget, kotanya cantik, banyak yang bisa dilihat, sayang karena kami perginya rame2 jadi agak susah berhenti2 sesuai keinginan, jadi saya mau banget balik lagi suatu hari apalagi kalau lagi panas πŸ™‚

Setelah seharian di Monterey bareng keluarga, kami menghabiskan waktu di kota SF nya selama 2 hari 1 malam. Hari pertama saya ajak mama ke Pier 39 dan Ghirardelli Square. Dari Ghirardelli Square kami naik SF tram lanjut ke Union Square. Tram ini cukup terkenal di SF, dan biasanya selalu antri. Tapi kalau kamu naik dari Ghirardelli Square, antriannya nggak separah itu kok! Harga sekali jalan $7, cukup mahal sih untuk ukuran transportasi umum, tapi boleh juga dicoba untuk atraksi wisata mumpung lagi di SF πŸ™‚

Hari terakhir sebelum pulang kami sempat ajak Mama lihat Golden Gate Bridge karena ya memang nggak lengkap ke SF tanpa lihat jembatan ini, ya nggak sihh… dan kali ini karena kami naik mobil sendiri, jadi bisa lihat jembatannya dari Marin Headlands yang letaknya diatas bukit, jadi pemandangannya lebih keren! Kalau memang kamu ke SF dan ada mobil sendiri, coba deh lihat Golden Gate Bridge nya dari Vista Point/Marin Headlands daripada dari visitors centernya. Musti bayar tol sih, tapi pemandangannya worth it kok!

Setelah itu, kami mampir juga ke Lands End. Ini sesuai namanya bener2 kayak di ujung dunia deh. Tapi pemandangannya juga bagus banget! Sayangnya lagi mendung ya (tapi di SF emang hampir selalu mendung kan… kalo mau cerah ya ke LA hehehehe :P), tapi pemandangannya, suasananya, bener2 menarik. Kalau nggak pakai mobil sendiri, transportasi umum kesana agak susah karena ya letaknya emang jauh dari mana2, jadi kalau kamu ke SF dan ada mobil sendiri, wajib banget ke Lands End!

Karena terlalu terpesona sama Lands End, kami akhirnya pulang jam 8 malam dari SF… padahal tadinya mau lihat pemandangan sambil pulang, batal lagi deh. Perjalanan pulang lebih parah dari berangkat karena kami udah capek banget dan memang jalanannya luruuuuus aja tanpa ada pemandangan apa2. Kami harus stop berkali – kali untuk istirahat dan akhirnya sampai dirumah jam 4 pagi πŸ˜€

Pengalaman yang cukup seru road trip bareng Mama ke San Francisco, walaupun kalau boleh pilih mungkin besok2 road tripnya siang2 aja jangan malam hari supaya nggak terlalu capek hehe. Kalau kamu, kapan terakhir kali road trip?

Kunjungan Mama

Halo blogku yang sudah hampir berdebu! Hehe, mau cerita kalau saya lagi kedatangan mama dari Indonesia selama sebulan. Yay! Kedatangan mama ini emang agak mendadak. Sungguh tadinya saya dan R rencana mau jalan2 ke Boston karena nemu tiket murah buat bulan Februari ini… tapi mau beli tiket mikir 1000x soalnya takut kedinginan hahaha.

Terus sekitar awal bulan kemarin saya iseng liat2 tiket dari Indonesia, awalnya coba2 pas bulan September jadi biar mama bisa ulang tahun disini. Eh taunya tiket bulan Feb-Mar malah murah! Akhirnya kami sepakat buat beliin mama tiket Jakarta-LA untuk bulan Februari ini. Belinya dadakan, kami juga nggak ada rencana apa2, yang penting biar mama bisa kesini dan kami bisa menghabiskan waktu bersama. Alhamdulillah, sejauh ini semua lancar dan gak kerasa sudah setengah jalan mama disini.

Minggu pertama mama disini kami sempet bulak balik RS karena kebetulan ibu mertua ada jadwal operasi katarak. Semua berjalan lancar, dan mama juga akhirnya ketemu sama bapak-ibu mertua yang memang tinggal disini. Habis itu kami sempat jalan2 ke LA berduaan ketika R kerja, seru juga quality time bersama mama berduaan, jadi inget masa2 terakhir sebelum pindah kesini, kami hampir tiap hari berduaan terus pas ngurusin nikahan dan pindahan saya hehe.

Terus minggu kedua kami sempat muter2 Orange County, gak gimana2 sih tapi saya ajak mama ke tempat2 yg biasa saya datengin, kayak perpustakaan kota, restoran favorit, supermarket, ya intinya saya kasih liat tempat2 yang saya sering datangi sehari – hari.

Tapi selain itu kami juga sempet nginep di rumah mertua yang letaknya agak tinggi elevasinya. Semacam bukit gitu lah, masih di Southern California siih. Biasanya daerah rumah mertua ini emang lebih dingin daripada rumah saya yang letaknya lebih di pesisir. Musim dingin ini juga sempat beberapa kali turun salju, tapi namanya juga di California, saljunya tipis2.

Eh taunya pas kami disana kemarin, turun salju lumayan tebal lho! Wooohooow! Seru deh. Salju turun semalaman hingga sekitar jam 10 pagi. Pagi2 kami juga sempet ngerasain salju turun, jadi walaupun sebenernya bajunya nggak pas (soalnya ramalan cuaca bilang cuma 30% chance of snow), tapi bela2in deh keluar dan nikmatin salju turun. Kapan lagi kan πŸ™‚

Bener2 nggak nyangka bisa kedapetan salju, lumayan berkesan juga jadinya πŸ™‚ yang pasti sih saya senang sekali kedatangan mama untuk sementara. Semoga mama sehat terus jadi besok2 bisa datang lagi dan periode nya agak lamaan sedikit πŸ™‚

Selamat berakhir pekan ya teman2! πŸ™‚