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? πŸ™‚

The One Where I’m Job Hunting During a Pandemic

It’s no news but I have been actively looking for a job. You see I moved here 3 years ago, leaving behind a career in Indonesia. I knew I wanted to keep working after I got married, but I wasn’t able to work immediately after I moved here. So while I waited, I did some remote freelancing work, and once I was able to work, I took on casual work here and there while I settle down and trying to figure out my next move. I then decided to go back to school, enrolled myself in a one-year long Digital Marketing certificate program.

Continue reading “The One Where I’m Job Hunting During a Pandemic”

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.

Continue reading “Sudden Sadness”

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 ❀