Life is Beautiful

I first heard and understood the word ‘aesthetics‘ when I was an undergraduate. There was one subject called Aesthetics and I remember that I was in my fourth semester when I took a subject for students in sixth semester. It was only the two of us, my friend and I.

We were taught a lot about the history, the philosophical background, from western to eastern perspectives. And I was so amazed how everything is so…’tergantung perspektif’.

And I remember that nearing the end of the semester we had tonwatch the movie, Life is Beautiful. It was about a father, a man, trying to keep his family together and to fulfill what he’s meant to do in this life.

From the class I learned that if we change the way we see things, we can get different impression. I remember I was asked to tell the class about an aesthetical moment I have had in my life. And I told the class about the day when the bus that took 20 other students and I got into an accident and we had to wait for hours on the streets for the replacing bus. We were tired from 3 nights gymboree and starving and cold. But we take the guitar, empty bottles, and we sing a song. We sing along until the sun is up and the bus came. For a split second I remember that I feel like I’m home, I feel happy despite all the bad mood. I told the class that that split second was my aesthetical experience.

The movie life is beautiful reminds me of that event. The upside of life gives me joy and brings happiness. The downside of life helps me grow even taller to be a better person. And when I go back to the upside cycle, I become  more humble and I appreciate all the little things that make life worth living even more.

I guess, the two-up and down-complete each other and without one presence, we can lose the balance.

via Daily Prompt: Aesthetic



A a beautiful post from Nikita Pandya about fear really struck me in the heart and inspired me to compose this writing.

I always imagine myself as courageous woman. I always have this image of myself being able to stand up for every one in need, defending those whose rights have been abused. But I guess, that’s just an illusion. I was not brave at all.

The point where I finally got the nerve to stand up was when I confronted my angry father, who had his fist clenched and punched it to the wall right next to my left ear. I did not blink and I certainly did not try to avoid that fist. I looked him in the eye, and challenged him. I said, ‘Go on, do what you want to do with me. I am not afraid.’ After that we had an endless and pointless argument for about an hour.

I went back to my room and suddenly I started crying. I called my husband, at the time still my boyfriend, and couldn’t say a word. I just cried. He listened to me crying until when I was finally able to control my breathing, I said, “Dad tried to hit me again,” and he said, “Okay. Now what do you want me to do?” and I replied, “Nothing. I’m going to hang up the phone. I love you.”

I think it was the bravest moment in my life that I have ever experienced. When I was a kid, when my father would swing his arm to hit me in the face or wherever he can land his hand upon me, I would not dare to even look him in the eye.

I guess growing up makes me stronger. I guess moving away from the family gave me a different perspective and suddenly I am not a child anymore.

But I am still not fearless. I’m still afraid of things unknown and uncertain. I certainly still afraid of failure. And, oddly enough, I don’t want to lose that feeling. Fear has made me stronger. I’ve known fear for almost my entire childhood. We’re sort of best friends. Without fear, I wouldn’t be able to prepare the worse case scenarios. And therefore, I wouldn’t be able to strategize my steps forward. Fear makes me human.


I walk side by side with fear

I acknowledge her being there

Watching me, taunting me


It gives me goose bumps

It makes my voice tremble

It discourages my faith


Sometime I got beaten

Most of the times I won


Fear is not the enemy

Fear is the motivation,

The drive,

To keep on moving forward,

And to dare




I know it’s been a while since I last write

It has been a tough year for me

Especially the last few months

I feel like I want to tell you everything

But I realize it’s pointless

It is also an excuse for not writing

I have been writing, but never thought that they’re worth to publish

And I’ve written various topics as well, I didn’t know where to start

There’s this piece about over-thinking

About the struggle in finding what’s best for you and your family

About the loneliness that sometimes crawling in the most vulnerable moments in our lives

About the new movie series trend

About the anger of not capable to do about the things getting out of our control

About marriage-whether to marry the devil you know or with a new devil

And there is about the difference between working for yourself and for other people

I have no idea where to start.

While I was away from the blogging world, I notice that there are a lot of things going on here as well. And I must admit, that I really like the current system of the blogging university. And I just registered to join the “Branding and Growth Course”. I hope I can get insights and at the same time contribute a little of my experience in the group.

Share your thoughts in the comment on things I should write first. Or better yet, if you can tell me how to organize those pieces into one big piece of writing.



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.


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”

Catatan Pingit (English)

I’m beginning a serial post entitled #CatatanPingit (in English it says Notes about Pingit). It’s about my experience volunteering as teacher for homeless children in Pingit, Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

I started volunteering when I was in university, around 2007-2009, but then I got caught up with my undergrad thesis so I left the community since and went back to my hometown in Jakarta. Since I got married and moved back to Jogjakarta permanently, I re-joined the group. Ever since I joined, I always think I am so lucky and blessed to be able to experience both formal and informal education. There are things in life that often unbearable and hard to digest, but the lives of these children and their families taught me how to face the ordeal in a different way that I was brought up.

There are no real science or theory to deal with these kids. I wasn’t given any kind of theory or tips on how to talk with them on my first day. I just jumped in directly to the ocean of the unknown. And I am still learning. I have read some philosophical books to help answer some of the questions in life. Yet, most of the times, these marginal people are the ones who actually show me the way how to live life, to appreciate what you have, and why you have to always be grateful.

Through the series, I want to share with you my ride with the kids, and I hope that you, too, would like to give me some tips on how to help them. For example, teaching a 10 year old girl ABC and numbers. That’s just one tiny example. There are other challenges far more difficult. And of course, I want to share what sorts of insights I have gained.

Because my target is for Indonesian people in general, I would most likely write in Indonesian, though I would occasionally write in English as well.

Hopefully, these kids will get a second chance in order to earn a better life. #CatatanPingit

Longest Journey To A Working Site

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 11.11.16 PMSo, today’s topic on Writing 101 is about taking a map as the muse. I instantly remember a place where I have worked, learned and lived for a few months, and I had to take longest journey ever to arrive on my working site.

I make a living as translator & interpreter, and I worked for a mining company once.The site is located in a different province to where I live. FYI, I live in Java Island and the mining site is located in North Sumatera.  I had to change two flights; one with the big common commercial plane and the other one with the small planes. You must know, that it can take 2 hours from my house to the airport alone. And the first flight, which is Continue reading “Longest Journey To A Working Site”