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

Advertisements

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”

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

Gratia

One of the things I learned from writing101 is make collections of word prompt. I did. I picked one up and it turned out to be ‘grace’ or gratia in Latin.

To be honest with you, this is one of the hardest weeks. And to write something about grace is almost impossible. I was stunned for a minute or two, thinking how on earth on this difficult times could I write something about grace?

My friend was only 24 when he breathed his last breath. Even I feel it’s not fair, let alone his parents. I remember the priest’s sermon on my friend’s funeral. He said that this is the time when we question our faith. This is the time when we question His being, His wisdom. And it’s so difficult to find somewhat a blessing during grievance.

I know I am not in the exact same agony. So I started to think backwards, reflect on everything that has happened this week. Then all my blessings seems countless. It doesn’t fix my problems, of course, but it keeps me focus on doing what I am doing. It keeps me steady. And these are all little things like the fact that I’m still healthy, I didn’t have to prepare or buy lunch twice this week when I was really short on money, today my father transferred some money to help me and my husband during this crisis, I’m employed, I helped people with my suggestions and actions, and many other things.

The little things that I need. Maybe they’re not representing of things I wanted, but I need them.

I hate myself for even wondering what to be grateful about. I know I haven’t been complaining, but not knowing that I’m still blessed even during this tough times, is already complaining.

Some of you must be celebrating Thanksgiving. I wish you all a happy thanksgiving day.

I don’t celebrate thanksgiving. But I really thanked the universe for showing me, once again, that everything in this life is temporary and that I have to surrender to the almighty.

I hope you,too, have something to be grateful for no matter how terrible your current situation is.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Last Day in Writing 101

Four weeks has passed. Unbelievable.

I had so much fun in Writing 101.  I learned great things and this is the most fun course I have ever taken in my life. This blog was created in June but not until I joined Writing 101 and Blogging 101 did I finally able to fully commit to the one dream I have: writing. Ever since I joined, I have always tried to write everyday, except for the days when I was down with infection on my lungs. So, I’m very grateful to all of you who have submit your critics and comments to help me make this blog better, and to Cheri Lucas and colleagues who have shared their ideas. Thank you.

I have just started a new series, so for the next month I will focus on that series. Probably, if I can develop the stories I will continue the series for the remainder of year 2015. This also serves as a motivation for me to keep moving.

This has been one tough year for me, hopefully the next year things will get easier. Hopefully, in the next year I would start making a draft for my first book (AMEN!).

Blogging University has been inspiring and motivating. Once again, thank you all for sharing such great energy.

cheers!

Last Day in April

She woke up feeling thirsty. The ray of the morning sun finds its way to light up the room through the lattice of her window blinds. Her head is still heavy and her feet… damn, her feet’s too lazy to even stand up. She almost literally drags herself to the dining table and pour some water to her glass. She gulps as she’s refreshed from the sleepiness and laziness.

Her phone buzzes and there is a message from one of her best friends. Ah, she doesn’t want to continue to listen to the same story over and over again. If you don’t love him anymore, just admit it already and break up with him! What’s the point of making him feel all guilty when he did nothing wrong? Well, he did, but you forgave him already! She ignores the message, walks to her terrace and just stands there, bathing under the bright shiny morning sun.

The phone keeps buzzing, so she heads back inside and there are two more messages: one from her boyfriend and one from her other bestfriend. She reads the one from her lover first.

“Hi honey, I’m gonna have to cancel our date tonight. Gotta an important meeting with the big boss. Don’t be mad, please. I’ll make it up to you. Love u so much!”

Yeah, somehow I knew it. “Love you too, Monkey.”

“Hey, good morning! Listen, last night I didn’t get a chance to tell you how grateful I am for all things that’s ever happened to me. I think God can speak through everything, right? As long as we keep our ears and heart wide open.”

Oh gosh, not this religious stuff again! I’m happy that you find your faith such a live-saver, and I am truly happy that you’re happy and feeling blessed, etc. But I really appreciate it if you can keep it to yourself. “Hey, morning to you, too, T. I’m happy for you. I always knew you wanted to say that, had a dream about it last night. Just kid. Have great day, love.”

She sighs. No one’s even bother asking about her plans for the day, asking her to grab lunch or go for a quick shopping. Everybody is either put her in second priority or bombarding her with their quotes and love stories. It’s her typical day. After she takes some more time showering under the sun, she starts her normal day. But she can’t turn off everything just like that. everything swirls up in her mind. She thought about her friends who is having difficulties moving on because her boyfriend lied to her and she’s now caught in the middle of love and hate issues. Her other friend just found a some-what moment of epiphany and thinks that she has made all the right choices after all, because it’s what God would have wanted her to do. And then her boyfriend. Yeah, Michael is always ambitious and focused. He’s currently working on a big advertising project and wants to impress his big boss so he could get a promotion, because he didn’t get his promotion last year. Everything is related to each of their past experience.

The past is either drag them down, motivate them, or totally change their perspective on life. She also experienced similar thing earlier this month. She thought to herself, this month has taught me a lot of friendship. No matter how hard the past is, no matter how strange we could come out of the trouble and move on with our lives, friendship is the one thing that helps me get through with all trials of life. No matter how I feel this morning–no one ask me about my plans or my smart boyfriend just cancelled our date night–I need them. They are my friends. And as a good friend, I have to support them like they did to me. 

She continues to walk in the pavement when someone grabs her waist and give her the warmest kiss. Surprised, she wants to quickly pull back her body and tries to get off. But the scent…the perfume… she recognises it. She opens her eyes gently and see the bright green eyes belong to her dearest lover.

“Do you really think that I am going to let my most beloved woman starts her day frowning because I had to cancel our date?” She laughs and pulls him closer to her chest.

“No, I should’ve known you’re the best man I’ve ever dated.” They giggle and walk down the pavement; their arms around each other’s waist.

I am still going to make it all up to you, hon. I promise.  Those are his last words before they separate at the train station. I’m looking forward to it. Better you treat me with something expensive. They giggle again, and walk separately.

When she’s in her office, she reads the text messages from her friends that are sent when she’s in the subway.

“Hahaha! You are my best friend, indeed! Lunch? It’s on me. I have to go on your street for some errand. I don’t take no for an answer. Love, T.” Huh. She reads my mind, eh?

“Sure! see you at 12.”

Sent.

“Hey, sorry for bothering you all the time with all my complaints. I was so confused, and I know it’s all up to my decision. I guess I need to think with cool water, and not tequila. Thanks for everything, boo.” Wow, and she reads my mind as well! 

“Anytime, babe. You know we always have each other. Yes, less tequila more fresh water, pleeeeaassseeeee… xoxo”

Last day in April. Turns out everything is beautiful in the end, and she, too, has a lot to be grateful for.

*recreate for Writing 101 day 17.

The Perks of Being A Wife To A Rockstar

The perks of being a wife to a rockstar is that I get to make other girls envy me because most of the girls worship boys who can play music instrument and are in a band. These girls tend to think those boys are cool as they’re the centre of the public’s attention and popular, etc. I don’t marry my husband because he’s in a band or to get famous. I marry him for all of the classic reasons in liking a person–he’s kind, comfortable in being himself and eventually makes me feel comfortable being myself around him–and most importantly because he has passion and determined. We dated for eight years before we finally got married and in those years I was blessed and able to achieve even greater things than I am alone. So that’s WHY I marry him.

The perks of being a wife to a rockstar is that I’m also his assistant. In my case, because he’s often forgetful this role is extremely important… for the sake of our relationship. Part of this job is to help him decide what to wear, what not wear, and recently I even helped him decide which guitar he should take on stage. The latter don’t usually happen, because that’s his area of specialty. He is the guitarist, not me. But yeah, tonight before the show I asked, Why not use the explorer? He replied that this is just a small gig. But just before he left the house he carried his explorer. HAHAHA! I also get to arrange his schedule, sometimes, and when I have a Continue reading “The Perks of Being A Wife To A Rockstar”

What I do when I’m not writing or reading

I do exercise. For me, nothing beats a good run and weight lifting or Yoga class to blow off steam. I exercise as regularly as I write and read. Sometimes even more often. 

I go have some quality time with my husband. Being married to a sound engineer/guitarist/producer means less time to actually talk with each other. His work can take a full whole month (sometimes even months!) of overtime recording/mixing/mastering and whatnot. Being able to get away from all that and be there just the two of us is always a thing I look forward to. 

Reading Keri Smith’s books. Most of her book is instructing the readers to do stuff. So it’s not actually reading a book like we read novels, but it’s more like doing research, explore new ideas, train the creativity muscle and always think outside the box. I like it a lot, because I find it refreshing and inspiring. 

Do nothing. This is also one of my favorite thing. The key to be able to move on with the hectic daily life is to go back to oneself. I’m using this time to re-trace everything; if I’m on the right track or not, should I be doing more community work, etc. But most importantly, I just enjoy the serenity of it. Giving my body a chance to fully pause all kinds of activity and surrender to nature and time.