Weekend Highlights: Education and Terror

There are two major things happened in my life this week. The first, is that I’m taking an online course on Caring for Vulnerable Children that was held by futurelearn. This is my first time ever to try distant learning like this and I am so excited, as I have great concern for children, especially street children. This course by far has helped me to understand about risk and vulnerability, and how to manage them. I also have new acquaintances from around the world, who share great insights for me in this field.

However, there was a great incident occurred in my beloved country. A terrorist attack in Jakarta on last Thursday. It was the first major attack since 2009. You probably have watched it on the news or read it on the newspaper. Despite the fact that Indonesian people were not ‘terrorized’ by the incident, and the hashtag KamiTidakTakut (means we are not afraid) are trending in social media, I am scared. I was hundreds of kilometers away from Jakarta but I am scared. Not the kind of paranoia scared, but afraid that this might turn into even something bigger.

I do hope that my fellow citizens keep their courage to fight against terrorism, and ALSO be SMART in dealing with this kind of situation. Although we are not afraid but there are people who are currently dealing with the trauma from the incident. Although we claim to have won the battle, but they also have won by having at least 7 people killed and a dozen injured. I hope my fellow citizens would remain vigilant yet calm, have more empathy for the victims and not just creating funny meme to mock the terrorists.

For a couple of days I mourn for the victims. For my country. And then today, I continue my lesson in gardening. As I planted the seed this afternoon, deep in my heart I wish that it was the seed of peace and love. And that it will grow big and deep in human hearts; the root so big and strong, it’ll spread everywhere and build a firm yet gentle foundation inside the human soul.

This week I was torn apart. Literally. Both happy and sad. I tried to find a silver lining in all these incidents. I tried– and I am– grateful that my mom, who was just 300 meters away from the site is safe, and my sister-in-law who works just across the incident site, is safe. Another silver lining is that, as I learned from the course, vulnerable people especially youth are more exposed to risk. And the extremists might be recruiting these vulnerable people who are susceptible to violence, radical materials, etc. This somehow encourage me to learn and even more committed to work around vulnerable children, to minimize any possibilities that they might turn into offenders-of any kind.

My friend said that there is no such thing as coincidences. So I surrender into the greater will. I cannot control the future, but I can control the present.

In this present time, I want to create and spread positive vibes as many as possible. Starting from learning new things and then pass the knowledge to other people, paying forward all the kindness and blessings I received. The song Imagine by John Lennon constantly plays over and over in my head as I am writing this. It’s not just an imagination that we can all live in peace together. I can contribute in creating peace start from myself.

We all can.

 

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First, let’s learn organic farming!

One of my commitments this year is to learn something new, and I did!

First time learning to urban farming!I am still excited because yesterday I learned new thing: how to do urban farming. I went there with a friend and we have a mission to develop the unemployed and homeless people we try to look after in our organization. And my friend has had the dream to build a small garden/urban farm around the organization land. This is to help the people itself to be independent and at least would be able to produce their own food, rather than spending their money to buy them. Whereas for me, I always like to see something green, always see my daddy work in our small garden nurturing the plants. So I guess I’m kinda of like him. I am always fond of nature and other living things surrounding us that also contribute to the balance in our ecosystem. It is important to always maintain the balance in its centre position.   

I always heard that gardening is therapeutic, and I guess I’m beginning to understand why. All this time I thought it’s because of the joy of seeing green things. It’s refreshing. But I guess it’s about honoring the balance, honoring other living things no matter how small or how little it is. When we first set up the  soil and then watering and made a fermentation to make the soil fertile, I somewhat felt like restoring the balance, to me personally and to nature. 

I’ll be back this weekend with new material to learn, and I am so eager to learn more! 

My commitments in 2016

In relation to my previous Post here is a list of my commitments for this year:

1. Produce writing minimum 10 per month

2. Produce two short stories in a year

3. Exercise regularly at least 3 times per week throughout the year.

4. Get a bicycle.

5. Master swimming techniques

6. Take a class on something new

7. Be happy. Spread more positive vibes 

What’s yours? Share in the comment 😊

When We Are Tied To Commitments

Commitment binds us. It is unavoidable. Just name it, relationships, debts, work, study, even your passion demands your commitment and thus bind you to it.
While some of us may see commitment burdening, some of us see it as a learning process to grow. You may have different feelings about it, as well.

My first encounter with commitment was when I was very little. My parents taught me that if I want something, I have to work my way to get it. I have to set out some plans, be committed and focus. As an adult now I have extra commitments. To pay the bills, to excel in my job, to be a good wife and partner, and what-not.

And it’s not a joke when my parents said that I have to work my way to get what I want. From saving money even though that would mean I won’t have lunch to work double job here and there to save enough so I could live the next day. I felt I was under a lot of pressure and I had to crawl my way up through college and finally establish myself as professional translator&interpreter. It was one of the hardest times in my life.

So yeah, commitment sounds sucks. Why should we bind ourselves to the never ending consequences? We should be free, live happy, right? We should be able to enjoy what we earned and let’s not care about the people surrounding us. Let’s not buy our parents something nice, or give some clothes for the poor, or provide some of our time to serve others in need. I work hard, I did my part, so should everybody else. We all should do whatever we want. Right?

Wrong. Continue reading “When We Are Tied To Commitments”

Happy New Year 2016

  
I wish you all a happy New Year! May the sadness, disappointment, failure in 2015 make us stronger to face new challenges in 2016; and may all the joy and happiness and success we were able to enjoy make us even more kind-hearted and willing to share with others.

The year 2015 was a rough year for me. I have learned my lessons, regret all my mistakes, and it is now the time to move forward with all great new wisdom. 

Let us all raise our cups, for we have survived all the downs and ups, and we shall rejoice of the new chances and hopes ahead of us. 

Have a blessed new journey! 

Ambar

Love Hate Love Hate Love

I saw the graffiti of ‘love hate love hate love’ is quite common on the streets of Yogyakarta. I didn’t know what the artist really meant by that. I still have no clue till now.

I like to think that between love and hate, there’s only one thin line that separates them. When we love someone or something too much and when they disappoint us or hurt us, that love would turn into hate quickly. On the contrary, what once we hated so much, it could show us its other side of the coin and we could fall in love.

How much hate are you feeling right now? And how much love? Which one is bigger? Do you let it consume you, or do you tend to control it?

My first attempt in writing something under Hate theme, I went on and on about all the things I hate about my childhood. And then it made me cry all night. It made me feel all those painful events all over again. The weird part is, as I am getting older, the more detail I remember. All of a sudden I realize how it will never go away. It stays. It leaves a big scar. But I don’t have to weep every time I’m reminded that I have such big scar.

For some time now I have been trying how to write hate in a different perspective.

Hate makes people kill.

Hate consumes people, makes people blindsided.

Hate makes human souls rot and suggest it to do evil.

Hate makes human pale, unhappy, scared of.

Hate lets people justify all the wrongdoings.

Hate takes away source of life: light, peace, smile, laughter, love.

So I don’t want to linger there. Yes, I acknowledge that we shouldn’t ignore or pretend that we don’t feel it. I did embrace that hatred, because I believe that the only way out is through.

Instead I wrote down the blessings from my bad childhood:

I grew up to be a strong, resilient, and independent woman.

There is nothing life throws at me that I can’t catch and throw back even harder.

My DIY Wedding

I promised a friend that I would share my DIY wedding. At first I thought it’s too personal, but then I feel that my wedding really brought together the spirit of creativity and togetherness.

Garry and I wanted the wedding to be an intimate, personal ceremony. Okay, if you’re Westerners you’d thought, “isn’t it how it’s supposed to be?” Well, let me tell you something. In my country, marriage is a social ceremony. That means you have to invite the whole big family- yes, even the ones that you’ve just met at your wedding day- and then your parents’ colleagues and best friends, and-this is going to sound ridiculous to some of you-the whole neighbors.  Not to mention the ceremony usually is held in traditional ways. With all due respect to my elders, I must say that it cost so much money for a ceremony that only last for 2-3 hours. In Javanese tradition itself, there are at least 3-4 ceremonies prior to the wedding itself, and for each it costs you millions (so you do the math). Point is, it’s expensive.

Money is not the reason we want to have a do-it-yourself wedding. We both are very creative (well, my husband is, I’m just taking the credits LOL), and we can’t emphasize enough how we want this to be personal. We want people who come to our wedding are the people closest to us, as we want to chat with them–not just greet them, shake their hands and then maybe if we still have enough time, take a photograph, and then all the guests would eat and go home. NO. we don’t want that.

So here’s the story.

The venue was in our Campus Chapel and Hall. We wanted to have it in our lovely Campus because that’s where we met, grew together entering adulthood, and to make it even more personal, the priest who married us was our former lecturer.  And I have to tell you, the Chapel and the Hall was very ordinary. They’ve been there for like 50 years, so it’s not a fancy building because we don’t want fancy, we want warmth and togetherness.

We made the invitation ourselves. I asked my friend to design it for me. I gave her the idea and she did the work. Since the guests are very limited, I only printed about a hundred. And I am blessed because my friend, who designed it, decided to make it as a gift for me so she had them printed at her own cost. Then with embroided papers and vintage lace we wrap them nicely. Done.

We created songs and compile them into a CD as our souvenirs. It was Continue reading “My DIY Wedding”

What difference does it make?

December. It’s the most wonderful time of the year because I’m going to celebrate Christmas. My husband does not celebrate Christmas.
When I married him, I thought it’s going to be easy as we went through 8 Christmases together but not really celebrating it ‘together’-if you know what I’m saying. Apparently it’s a little difficult than I imagined.
I’m the only one in the house who is so excited to build up Christmas tree, buy new Christmas lights, thinking about cooking something special, choosing when to go to the Mass, etc. I have to admit that I’m a bit lonely.

Then I started thinking if I had married a Catholic guy. I would be able to share this joy with him. Went out to buy new big Christmas tree or made one from reusable items, went to church together, cooked a special dinner with Christmas spirit. Or not.

You see, my parents are Catholic. But I have never seen them happily greeted the festive month. You know what I’ve seen mostly? Fights. Yep. They’d argue, they’d fight, they’d yell at each other, my mom would then leave the house, or we’d all be so tense at the mall because…we just do. It sounds ‘festive’ alright, but in the other way around. It still happens every year, up till last year. I’m honestly a little traumatic when talking about Christmas, but deep down I’m always excited and wishing I could have my own kind of Christmas.

Okay, so hubby may not fully understand why I’m having butterfly in my stomach and so eager to build a Christmas tree. And he won’t be there sitting next to me at the church singing Silent Night together. But, does that mean he can’t be joyful and happy for me?
I asked him a couple of days ago, “Do you find any problems about religion since we’re married?” he said, “nope.”

So, what difference does it make? I realize that all I need is someone who can respect and support me and my needs. He may not be next to my seat at the church and he may not understand the happiness that Christ the Savior has born, but he’s definitely supportive and respectful; moreover, he’s willing to help me build my own Christmas tree. No fights. No arguments. No neck-hard-tense situation.

I was reminded, it is the essence that’s important. This year is the first time ever that I would celebrate Christmas only with my husband. And we’re going to rock this Christmas with laughter and joy despite our different faith.

 

Hopes and Fears

Looking forward I often wonder

What have I done to achieve my goal

Backwards only fill me with fear

March on is what I need to appeal

Life is not to be wasted on

Regret remorse contrition

This life should be lived in

Rejoice triumph celebration

Hopes and fears make us sane

Balance challenge, love pain

Through the worst and best

To keep on fighting is behest

Lazy Saturday

So it’s the last saturday in November. How quick time went by, eh? 

It’s usually our lazy day, but we try to keep focus and motivated. Just so you know, not to get drowned in the laziness. 

Sometimes I make a list of a month achievements and expectations for the next month. 

Here you go:

1. Worked out more often

2. Reduced my anger (no serious fights in this month) 

3. Met my to-do-list more often

4. Had a short refreshing trip with ma family. 

Expectations:

1. Work out 3-5 times a week (I need this as I’m really weak, I need to get stronger so I’m not gonna get sick easily).

2. Cook every weekend (for the sake of healthiness and cost effective strategy).

3. Stay calm-anger management

4. Buy a christmas tree

That’s it! Do you have similar list like mine? Share it here, in the comments 😊