Getting Engaged!

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This was the very first thing that really surprised me in 2017. Tom and I had been in a relationship since early 2015. We had talked several times about our next plan together. He had visited me in my country twice. The same was from my side. Our parents had met each other and we had few experiences traveling together. We have ever had big discussion with my parents about “where this relationship is heading”. We had our ups and downs; the down parts usually happened when we were not physically together, thus making it even more difficult. However, we somehow managed to be good to each other and stayed in love even though most of the times we were in the different parts of the globe. And for the two years where we had been in a relationship, we only spent only 105 days together in person.  105 days out of 730 days. Love makes people crazy but I never expected it could be this crazy.

I knew that he would propose one day but I didn’t expect that he would do it that early. I thought it would be next summer when we would meet in Indonesia. From what I remembered, our past conversation about future happened quite often, but it was not very specific. He told me he would really love to get married to me soon because he felt like he had found the right person, and so on. Some other lovely sentences like how excited and happy he was to start a life with me. And even the poetic one like “My soul resonates with you.”

Maybe what Sophie Kinsella said in her novel called Wedding Night is true; “Men who want to get married propose. You don’t need to read the signs. They propose and that’s the sign.”

I celebrated last Christmas and New Year with him in the Czech Republic. We had wonderful time together. We traveled for few days around his country and Poland. I was so exhausted from the trip and went to bed early that day, the last calendar day in 2016. In the middle of night I felt like he reached my hand. I was still half asleep so I was not sure if it was real or just a dream. Then, he reached out specifically to my ring finger. I was so nervous and confused inside, but remained calm on the outside. I didn’t even open my eyes. I was scared that I would ruin the moment if I did it. Part of me still thought that it was not real. However, it was such a long process (he is a true perfectionist!) that I was totally sure he was measuring my ring finger! He went out from our room for a while and even continued doing the same thing for a little after. It was so awkward when I looked back. I pretended to be sleeping till I truly fell asleep and the next moment I woke up it was morning already. The next thing he told me was that he had to go to the city center to sort out some stuff. That immediately reminded me what had happened the night before and my heart couldn’t stop beating so fast.

It was a mixture of excitement (he will ask, for real?!), true happiness (cause you know you feel like you have found the one and knowing that the other person loves you just as much as you love them and knowing that you both are in the same page), optimism about future (suddenly your future will not consists of only you, but you and your partner together), and anxiety (would we really make it together? are we really good together? do we really know each other that well? really?) at the same time. Oh, and a little proportion of stress because I had to act like I didn’t know what was going on – apparently he believed that I was sleeping for the whole night.

The rest of the day went well. He told me he wanted to take me somewhere and that he had arranged something for me. We went to a shopping center while waiting for “his appointment time”. It was 2nd of January; technically it was still a public holiday so the majority of people were at home or out of town. Every store was closed. The only thing that opened in that building were the cinema and a small restaurant inside it. His car was the only car in the whole parking lot – something that would never be possible in my home country! In Indonesia, shopping mall is always full of people especially on public holidays because they take it as a recreational activity. We had a slice of cake and a cup of hot chocolate.

Soon after that he took me to the place. It turned out to be a wellness center in the city. He had booked something for us. I stepped into the room; it was way bigger than I imagined. The first thing I saw was a big hot tub with flowing warm water. The next things that I noticed were red rose petals everywhere; on every sides of the tub, on the floor. Then, there was also a bottle of champagne with two tall glasses beside it. This is it, my heart whispered.

Then, I turned to him and he was reaching to his jacket pocket. He came closer and told me his line. Telling how much he loved me and how he wanted me to be in his life forever. He asked. I replied “Ano”, which meant “yes” in English. He put on the ring to my finger. It was so pretty, simple but nice and sparkling, totally my style. I hugged him and everything that happened after that made us so happy.

Some times after that he asked, “Don’t you want to know how I could get your size?”

I felt so awkward. In the end I told him the truth. “Actually, I kinda know….”.

He looked so embarrassed but in a cute way. So we both laughed at it.

We kept it for ourselves that day (his family didn’t count!) and enjoyed every single minute of that day. The next day we told my family while having dinner together. The next two days I told my close friends.

Nothing about our relationship really changed after we’ve got engaged. Due to circumstances, we had to be apart again until Tom would visit me in Indonesia again in summer (hopefully that would be our last visit before closing the distance). We had to go back to Skype again in order to see each other. Another seven months without each other (but hey now there are only 2 months left!).

However, we are (only) going stronger. Less uncertainties about our future plan. More room for happiness. More room for self-learning and self-discovery before we would really be together without goodbyes. More time for real actions that we have to take in order to achieve our mutual goal.

I still couldn’t believe it sometimes, but trust me that long-distance relationship works!

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Exploring Siem Reap

Recently I just flew back from my short vacation to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Little did I know that Siem Reap had been chosen as a number one must-visit destination in Asia via TripAdvisor in 2015. My family and I just simply picked a country in Asia which was completely foreign to us. After exploring Siem Reap for about 4 days, all of us felt so glad we picked the right travel destination, as Siem Reap offered its own unique and unbelievable history, which contributed to a massive ancient temple complex, called Angkor Wat.

We arrived in Siem Reap International Airport around 9 in the morning. Unfortunately, there is no direct flight form my country to this city, and we had to take a flight from Malaysia instead. What the airport looked like quite impressed us. Yes, it was pretty small without sophisticated shops or restaurants, but it was very clean and neat.

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Siem Reap International Airport

Interestingly, there were no officers to check our  customs claim at the airport. You just put your cards stating that whether you bring some hazardous or suspicious stuffs with you at a table, and you can approached the exit door. We got our tuk-tuk driver directly in the arrival hall. Tuk-tuk was a very common mean of transport there, and you should definitely try to ride it if you visit Siem Reap.

At the first glance, Siem Reap looked like a typical Asian city, but older, without many high buildings or vehicles in the street. I could see people who sell food at the corner of the street and kids walked to school. But they drive in the left-side, which is quite different from other South-East Asian countries! 

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On Our Way to Hotel from Airport

We explored the city by our own on the first day. Surprisingly, almost everything is in US Dollars, even though Cambodian people have their own currency, called Cambodian Riel. If they want to give you change, most of the times, it’s a mix of USD and Cambodian Riel. (1 USD equals 4,000 KHR). And so many things are sold in the price of 1 USD, so the paper money of 1 USD will be so useful for travelers. You can basically get one coconut, one glass of fresh juice, one set of postcards, one short trip for tuk-tuk, all for 1 USD. We said hi to one Cambodian kid, he’s probably 4 years old. We said “Hi, how are you?” and he replied back, “Hi! One dollar!”, excitedly. It was so hilarious. So, “one dollar” is a very known phrase there.

We took a look of the old market in the center of the city (10 minutes by walking from our hotel). They mostly sold T’Shirts and cute bags with a typical pattern which looked like tribal thingy or elephants, souvenirs such as key chains or scarves, anything with Angkor Wat’s figure on it, or spices for cooking.

However, we couldn’t stand the heat (35-38 degrees!) and decided to have a lunch in a restaurant nearby, Yellow Mango Cafe. Food was fantastic and they had indoor, outdoor, and also a small balcony. They served traditional Khmer food and also Western menu. A normal meal in a normal restaurant cost around 5-7 USD per person. You can save more by having a meal in an outdoor restaurant without concrete buildings at the side of the street, order 3-4 dishes with rice for the entire groups, and share them.

We visited Angkor National Museum and it is located side by side by the sophisticated duty-free store. The entrance for the museum was quite pricy, $12 per person, plus extra $3 if you want to have the audio guide. But well I’m always excited by the idea to visit a museum, no matter where, so I visited that too. I learnt a lot about the history of Cambodia as a country, the religious influences towards Khmer people, and the detail of the Angkor Wat, which apparently means holy city. Actually, Angkor means Holy City. Later on when the king was changed, he believed in Buddhism, and so he added “Wat” which means temple at the end of it.

At the evening, most tourists go to the Pub Street or Night Market. There were countless options of bar, pub, restaurants, stores, street foods, and also a massage parlor!

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Pub Street

The next day, we woke up around 4am to be able to see the sunrise in the Angkor Wat. We set up our 2 days tour with Angkor Guide Sam and guided by Mr. Ong Voetha. We picked the 3-days pass ticket of Angkor Wat which cost 40USD per person.The sunrise view was amazing; slowly you can see a better image of the temple itself.

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Sun Rise in the Holy City

Then, we continued our journey to go inside the Angkor Wat. The complex was massive. I think it was not a good idea to go there without a guide because you wouldn’t know what’s to see first and so on. We got a plenty of information too from our guide; how Angkor Wat first discovered by a French man who walked on foot throughout Cambodia and Laos, how ancient people use to go to Angkor Wat to pray and they often got there by riding elephants (that explained why the entrance was so wide), the fact that people built Angkor Wat in 12th century without modern tools to measure or to calculate but yet, every detail of the building is precisely accurate and carefully thought, how the restoration took place, and how the Angkor Wat actually represented our universe.

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The Beauty of Angkor

There are many other buildings inside the Angkor Wat. It was mostly built from a sandstone; researcher thought the stones came from a mountain about 50km far from the temple, and if you look closely, every stone has a circle sign on them. People used that to carry the stones by a bamboo stick, and also transported them from the river nearby. The King decided to choose this locations too because of the water system surrounding the area.

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We have to line up to be able to get inside

Almost every sides of the sandstone has a detailed crafting on it. Sometimes it’s a beautiful flower-alike pattern, but mostly it’s a figure of beautiful women or goddesses, war illustration, Hindu mythology, Buddha image, and form of activities in the past, such as dancing, musical performances, martial arts, and even weight-lifting. In a few crafting, I even spotted images of dinosaurs, like how it’s even possible for them to know that dinosaurs were once exist in this world! Our guide kept repeating several times that we can learn a lot from the past, and people at that time understood a lot of things about the universe by watching the moon and the stars.

Then, we moved on by car to other temple called Bayon, which means magic in the local language. Its shape was very unique, you can find a lot of faces in the temple. The king mixed up his own face with Buddha’s face. I’ve been told that I can understand the differences between each faces only if you looked closely to them.

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Bayon Temple

On the way back, we saw the real elephant (yes you can ride them if you wish!) and also the Elephant Terrace. It used to be the place where people sit to watch towards the field. I reckon’ it could be a beautiful spot for audience to see whatever played on the central field back in the past time.

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The Elephant Terrace

Next stop was the temple in the Tomb Raider movie! It’s called Ta Prohm. Except the fact that Angelina Jolie once walk around and jumped from the top of the temple, this temple is famous because it has a lot of old trees inside it. The trees were so huge that their roots going crazily everywhere searching for the grounds and you can see it going through the temple building.

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Ta Prohm
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Beautiful Detail of Woman’s Images

And the following day, the tour is continued. We visited Preah Khan temple. It was my favorite one! King Jayavarman VII built this one specially for his father. And we had to go through some kind of ancient gate before getting into every temple. There was a row of Buddha as well as Asura figures on each side of the gate. Unfortunately, most of them now has been demolished, so you cannot see the full rows of figures, you can see only the foundations.

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Entrance to Preah Khan

Preah Khan was special because its structures contains a lot of pillars. I felt like being in an Asian version of ancient buildings in Greek! The guide told me that it used to have a connecting majestic roof, but it was now all gone, so you can only see the pillars. In almost every temples, the Buddha images were ruined, because once the King converted back to Hinduism and he instructed people to destruct the Buddha images. But in Preah Khan, the King tried to divide equally the eastern and western part of the aisles, one for all Hindu symbolism, and one for Buddhists.

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Pillars in Preah Khan

The next temple was also pretty impressive. Banteay Srei, or the Lady Temple. It was made by a pink stones and the motives that you can see here are impossibly comparable to what you can find in the other temples! This temple was dedicated for Shiva, one of the Hindu god.

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Banteay Srei

You can find many young children who sell souvenirs inside the temple. We met one little girl who can count from 1 to 10 in English, Chinese, Indonesian, Russian, French, and German. She can communicate and negotiate with us in Chinese can you imagine that. Locals are friendly, polite, and they never charge us higher prices than what it supposed to be, but some of them can be really persistent to persuade you to buy something. But as long as you say no directly they will stop following you around.

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Local children who impressed us with her skills in languages!

Well, we also visited some other places, like Neak Poan, Ta Som, Ancient Crematorium, and Ta Nei. All of them was located around the Angkor Wat complex, including the Banteay Srei which is located 35km from the main temple of Angkor. And all of that required the same entrance ticket that you bought previously. Make sure you carry it with you everywhere because in every temple’s entrance the officer will check it. It’s a good idea to wear something that is long enough to not show your bare shoulders and skirt or pants that is long enough to cover your thighs. And wear something very thin because you will definitely be sweating a lot! Pick the right shoes (strong but comfortable) as you will climb a lot of steps and some of the sandstone are uneven! Always bring the sunscreen with you as the weather was very very hot with strong sunlight exposure.

Some visitors traveled around Angkor Wat complex by tuk-tuk, and I even saw some travelers who went around by bicycle (super crazy, knowing that it’s extremely hot outside). My family and I was not the one who can stand the heat and my mother especially was not so physically strong, so we decided to use the family car along with the guide. It’s just a matter of preference, but I personally think it takes more time to go around by tuk-tuk and you cannot rest on it.

Siem Reap was amazing and if you plan to visit it in the future, I would happily recommend you this tour operator called Angkor Guide Sam. Our tour guide, Mr. Voetha, was really informative, helpful, funny, and caring. We never run out of cold bottle waters and cold towels. He also told us a numerous spot in the temple where we can have great pictures. He speaks perfect English and made us laugh a lot on the journey. Feel free to ask me if you’re interested in contacting him.

អរគុណ, Siem Reap! 

 

When Someone is Trying to be (Like)You

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I think we are all familiar with the term copycat. According to some resources, copycat refers to someone who imitates another person, either partially or completely. He or she will create a reproduction of an act that is first introduced by other person.

Probably some of you wonder why it should be called a copy-cat. Well, I looked up some information and surprisingly, the term copycat is apparently created back in 1887 – which is more than two hundred years ago – by an American writer, Constance Cary Harrison, in her work called Bar Harbor Days. Interestingly, she decided to use the word “cat” because at that period, cat’s attitude resembled an evil behavior, as well as other negative things. However, some people also say that the root of word copycat comes from a kitten who loves to imitate its mother’s movement.

Firstly, we have to wholeheartedly admit that we are all a copycat, at some point on our life. This phase usually takes place  in our youth; a period when we are all busy trying to fitted in. We try so hard to present our coolest appearance and personality in order to be accepted by others. I remember a particular style of wristband that I loved to wear back in elementary school just because almost every girl in my class wore the same things. I find this is still understandable, because as a teenager you probably still have not found your own style, yet.

Therefore, we also have some figures that we regularly looked up to as our role-model. Taking others’ experiences and positive traits to motivate you to be a better person is so common, and very acceptable, even if you’re not a kid anymore. But, it is important to know that role-model could be two things: positive or negative. It’s so easy to spot on some young people who sadly try to imitate a bad behavior from a bad role-model, such as self-harm, smoking, and so on. With the heavy exposure of social media usage nowadays, it’s even easier to be misled by some particular figures or media.  These are all depends on the individuals’ mindset, whether they want to learn how to tackle life’s responsibilities and to follow a good example, or they think that it’s cooler to escape from the reality and to follow a bad example.

Anyway, psychologists say that people who duplicate other people’s act are usually have a poor self esteem so that they are afraid to show who they really are. They have the constant need to take a certain style from other people. Otherwise, they fear that other people will not appreciate them. Apart from feeling insecure, other reason behind the act of copying others is jealousy. They want to take other people’s success and to make it their own. And strangely, the one who has a habit to imitate other people is usually the one who claims that they are original.

So, what to do to deal with a situation in which you find somebody else try to do the same stuffs that you did? Being positive is on the number one of the list. You must have realized first that this world doesn’t consist of only you. There are million other people who might like the same books that you read, the same artists that you adore, or the same hair-style that you own. That’s why, don’t be over-fussy about this issue.

However, if it’s getting more specific and detail, it’s rational to be a little freaked out. Nobody wants other people to be their clone.

As weird as it sounds, you must take it as a compliment. You are an awesome being and sure you have already done something meaningful. You are a role-model for somebody else. What you have done has been acknowledged by others. You have inspired somebody else to imitate what you do – especially if it’s a positive act like creating an art, doing charity, or just simply being nice to other people, you must be really proud of yourself because you have successfully empowered others to do the same positive things. Instead of worrying about these copiers, you can use this opportunity to increase your productivity.

If you really want to prevent your work to be duplicated, it’s also wise to keep some precious ideas just for yourself. Let the copiers steal from other places.

In the end, I believe that the best work that you could possibly done is by just being you. You could never be somebody else, and, nobody else could ever be you, no matter how hard they try. Authenticity is one of the most important factor in creating something.

Let’s just do our own things, even more greatly, and give the copiers a decent amount of time to grow up and to find their own identity.

 

 

 

 

Inspirasi dari Supir Taksi

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Siapa sangka, percakapan yang bisa memberi inspirasi dan ngena di hati kebanyakan justru terjadi di dalam taksi. Ya, saya beberapa kali terlibat dalam pembicaraan yang mengasyikkan dengan supir taksi. Padahal, sih, naik taksinya cuma setengah jam sampai satu jam saja. Mungkin karena usia para supir taksi yang kebetulan saya tumpangi jauh lebih tua daripada saya, jadi mereka gemar membagikan pengalaman hidup mereka sendiri. Atau mungkin juga karena ngantuk kali ya, kalau cuma diem-dieman di mobil, he-he-he.

Salah satu diskusi dengan seorang supir taksi yang nggak akan mungkin saya lupakan terjadi pada awal Desember lalu. Sore hari itu, saya sendirian ingin pulang dari sebuah komplek universitas menuju rumah. Saya baru saja selesai menjajakan produk saya di acara pameran kampus tersebut. Taksi tersebut datang bertepatan ketika saya masih sibuk mengangkut properti yang saya gunakan. Kayaknya sih, si supir ini bingung melihat barang bawaan saya yang begitu banyak.

Setelah duduk di kursi penumpang, supir ini bertanya singkat,”Habis ngapain, Mbak?” Lantas saya bercerita kalau saya baru saja ikut pameran untuk menjual minuman yang saya olah sendiri. Supir ini terlihat kaget luar biasa. “Ah masa, Mbak? Kok bisa?” Menurutnya, tidak mungkin seorang wanita muda seperti saya mau repot-repot berjualan sendirian. Beliau tambah kaget lagi ketika tahu saya baru saja lulus kuliah. Sampai di situ, saya masih nggak paham kenapa supir ini terlihat heran sekali.

Baru deh, setelah itu, Beliau bercerita. Si Bapak yang mungkin berusia sekitar awal 50-an ini bercerita tentang keponakannya yang berhasil mendapatkan gelar Sarjana dari universitas ternama di Bandung. Sayang, nasibnya sekarang bisa dibilang kurang berhasil. Si keponakan mendapatkan gelar dari jurusan Desain, tetapi rupanya dia cukup ribet ketika melamar pekerjaan. Ia punya ekspektasi yang sangat tinggi akan pekerjaan pertamanya, apalagi setelah mendapatkan embel-embel gelar di belakang namanya. Selain itu, dia juga malas untuk memulai karier dari nol. “Maunya, yang langsung enak, langsung jadi boss”, ujar Pak Supir ini. “Tuh, sekarang dia cuma jadi tukang sablon, sama levelnya kayak orang yang nggak sekolah, kasihan anak istrinya”, tambahnya lagi.

Sambil terus melajukan mobil, Pak Supir terus bercerita dan juga melontarkan pertanyaan kepada saya. Saya bilang saya sudah terbiasa berjualan sejak masih kuliah. Kebetulan, saya mengambil jurusan bisnis, dan kampus saya sangat mendorong mahasiswanya untuk menciptakan bisnis sendiri. Selain usaha ini pun, saya ada pekerjaan lain, yaitu mengajar musik untuk anak-anak.

Kemudian, komentar Bapak ini adalah,”Saya salut banget sama orang-orang kaya Mbak. Biar udah sarjana, nggak sombong, mau kerja dari yang kecil-kecil. Mau repot, mau capek.” Sebelum saya sempat merespon, Bapak ini curhat lagi tentang kekecewaannya terhadap generasi muda jaman sekarang. “Ya, anak sekarang kan maunya apa-apa yang enak ya, Mbak. Yang cewek sukanya ke mal, belanja, makan enak, minta cowoknya yang bayarin”, tambahnya lagi.

Saya pikir sebentar lagi percakapan ini akan usai soalnya taksi udah deket sampai rumah saya. Tetapi, lagi-lagi Pak Supir mengagetkan saya dengan ceritanya yang lain. Ternyata, Bapak ini adalah seorang manajer front desk di sebuah hotel di Jakarta selama 10 tahun sebelum memutuskan untuk menjadi supir taksi. Beliau mencintai pekerjaannya yang terdahulu, hanya saja gaji yang ia dapatkan habis lantaran biaya transportasi yang besar karena jarak dari rumah ke tempat kerja yang sangat jauh. Belum lagi, harus melawan kemacetan dan padatnya lalu-lintas di ibukota setiap harinya dengan motor.

Yang paling menarik adalah, Beliau hanyalah seorang lulusan SMA namun bisa mengepalai beberapa orang di hotel tersebut, termasuk para Sarjana sekali pun. Beliau berulangkali menegaskan bahwa jenjang pendidikan dan gelar bukanlah faktor utama yang menentukan keberhasilan seseorang. Menurut Beliau, kerja keras dan kemauan untuk belajar adalah kunci utamanya. “Percuma kalau Sarjana tapi males, lama-lama bisa kalah sama yang cuma lulusan SMP tapi kerja keras sejak muda.”

Tiba juga taksi saya di depan rumah. Setelah membayar ongkos taksi, saya masuk ke rumah dengan perasaan yang campur-aduk. Percakapan tersebut meninggalkan begitu banyak warna di dalam benak saya. Bapak Supir itu nggak tahu, bahwa dua bulan yang lalu, saya baru saja keluar dari sebuah perusahaan karena tidak kuat dengan beban kerja yang diberikan. Dalam hati, saya jadi malu sendiri. Saya nggak sehebat yang Bapak itu pikir.

Di lain pihak, percakapan singkat tersebut memotivasi saya untuk fokus pada apa yang saya kerjakan sekarang, yakni menjadi seorang pengajar dan pengusaha, meski yang saya hasilkan sekarang nilainya mungkin belum seberapa. Terima kasih Pak Supir-yang-saya-lupa-tanya-siapa-namanya, sudah berhasil kasih semangat dan inspirasi ke saya. Tiap kali saya mulai ngeluh-ngeluh dan rasanya mau nyerah, kata-kata Pak Supir itu terulang terus di telinga saya,”Kerjaan sih apa aja, yang penting halal dan terus kerja-keras, nanti pasti rejekinya nggak ke mana.”

Something Personal: Happy Valentine Day

January 2016 marked the first year Tom and I spent in a relationship. I am truly happy and will be forever grateful that I can finally share my life with someone who really cares and feel the same way to me.

This time, a year ago, we got to know each other in his country – where I had an awesome exchange experience. We’ve got only two months together, full of fun and doubts. But since day one, I was impressed on how easy we show each other our real personality. Then, 5 months after that he flew to my home-country, which takes 16 hours flight. Just 2 weeks ago, I come back home after visiting him again in the freezing-but-pretty Czech Republic. Every complication that could possibly arise because of cultural differences has also been slowly resolved.  Everything gets better in time.

I noticed that many people keep on glorifying the fact that they are in a long-distance relationship. However as I get more familiar with the routines and the feelings that you have when your favorite person is almost always on the other side of the world, I think the distance is not a big deal. Yes, it sucks to cannot feel their warmth and lovely hug and kisses. There are the bad days and the good days that you will encounter somehow and you cannot have him by your side to experience the same thing like you do.

However in the end relationship in all kind is just the same. You learn how to love each other and how to grow to be a better person within’ the relationship, which is not so possible to achieve if you choose to do it alone. The distance is not really does any harm to your relationship. The willingness to stay loyal, to make each other happy, and to work for the future together is the real foundation of a good relationship. If you really love that person, you still try to create that real foundation, even though you’re miles away from someone you love. And with the right person, it wouldn’t feel like a lot of work.

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So, thank you baby for coming into my life, for making me feel loved every single day.

Happy Valentine Day, everyone out there, may compassion & love always be in your life.

p.s: He said romantic gesture doesn’t always have to be costly. So he composed a song for me and I wrote this for him. 

 

 

5 Lessons I Learnt in 2015

2015
I mean, 2016!

I feel like I discover myself best in this year. Life is really a long beautiful process. The interesting thing about life is that, so many things can change in a certain period of time. You are continuously growing and learning to be better. I notice that I have changed many things, and most of them are intangible.


 

In this year, I am happy to say that I have dealt completely with all of my haunting past mistakes. I learn to distant myself away from people & things that are not good for me, and connect myself more to people & things that are good for me. By distant myself away from them, I didn’t mean by hating or blocking them into my life. That’s the significant thing that I learnt from the most influential person in my life, which is my mother. You can be happy by forgiving people, even when they don’t say sorry. It sounds crazy at first but along with the process I’ve been going through, it works. Forgiveness, in contrary, makes you feel powerful, and happy.

I have been struggling with anxiety. People who are close to me may notice that. Sometimes it’s not too bad that I can still handle it but in other times it really annoys and takes over my mind. I think it comes partly because of my nature, which is a little perfectionist and tends to over-think everything, and partly because of past unhealthy relationship which takes almost my whole teenage years. But now it’s going better. It’s getting better each day, actually. I learn not to worry about something that goes beyond my control, I learn to let things go naturally, I learn to give the best shot for every task that I’m working on, but not punishing myself if it doesn’t work well in the end, I learn to focus more on other people and my surroundings and remind myself that this kind of thing happens to others too, I learn how to relax (yes, it’s something that I must learn!) and I learn to be more flexible and have more fun, generally.

I also make a lot of new experiences this year. I change from “stay safe, stick to routine” into “go ahead, why not?” I went on cultural exchange to Czech Republic, I traveled solo to Europe, I decorated my own bedroom, I built my own start-up business with my friends, I sent my students to join a competition, I finished my Bachelor degree, and I changed my whole career plan after graduation.

I am so glad that I don’t let other people define me anymore. Having a relationship used to be the high-light of my life. I tend to lose myself along with that relationship. I tend to focus so much on how to make it works, rather than, evaluating whether this person really brings good vibes into my life. When I fall in love, I tend to overlook their qualities. In reality they are not as good as my perceptions towards them. Now everything’s different. Therefore, when I meet someone, I will just look at him as what he really is, as a normal person. I notice their flaws and imperfections as a normal human being. So, I guess it’s very important to be happy on your own first, because relying your happiness onto someone else’s life is never be  a good idea.

And I do realize some relationships just cannot stay forever, for some reasons, and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you should stop trying it right away. It’s also a process that will teach you a lot of things along the way. It helps you to figure out which kind of person you would like to be with for longer time. And if you are lucky, it will make you learn how to love and to be loved by someone.


 

So looking forward for all the challenges and the highs-and-lows of 2016.

Oh, and happy new year dear all readers and followers!

A Message for My Teenage Self

7

Hey, you.

Stay true to yourself. Just because everyone seems to talk bad about someone, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing – even if it seems a very cool thing to do at that time. Be prepared. There will always be a trend, whether it’s a sophisticated gadget, a hairstyle, a sport activity, a social media, new restaurant to try, or even some sort of cool words. Following a trend could be a ton of fun, and you know, it’s good to try something new once in a while. However, it’s totally fine not to do it if you feel uncomfortable.

Again, you don’t have to get along with everyone. Not everyone deserves a spotlight in your life. Some of them probably just be there occasionally, maybe because you guys are in the same class for three years in a row, maybe because you ride on the same bus every day for going home with them, or maybe because you do the 2-hours activity together every week.  They would teach you some valuable lesson, maybe, along the course of the time. But you don’t have to talk to them or hangout with them everyday if you don’t want to.

Don’t ever be mean. Even to a guy who puts online game as their life. Even to a guy whom your friends classified as a “nerd” because he’s so damn quiet all the time. Even to a guy who comes late to class every day. Even to people who fail a lot at exams. You have no idea who they would become in the next 6 or 8 years. You have no idea how much they would change. And they might even be more successful than you would be. So, don’t ever be mean. Regardless of their future-self, respect everyone for who they are.

Be brave enough to do what you’ve always been dreaming to do. Take that foreign language class. Go to the next performance audition. Teach yourself how to design a brochure. Lead an organization. Handle an event. Never say you’re too busy now to do this stuff, because in the future you would even have more responsibilities and duties to handle. Now, is the right time to learn something for the sake of your own future. And by the way, it doesn’t always has something to do with your career afterwards. Do it just because you like it. Because it makes you happy and brings a wonderful experience for you. Because it makes you a better person and equips you with a lot of useful skills. Because it will bring you closer to your dreams.

Don’t let anyone or anything define you. Keep the balance. The best thing to do now is finding your true-self. Don’t loose all of the productive time for someone who doesn’t value yourself. Just, don’t put a complete trust on anyone who said they love you at their 14. Now, he might be your whole world, but in the next 3 years he would be a stranger for you. Never stay too long in an unhealthy relationship.

And last but not the least,

If you knew beforehand how busy your life will be in the next 6 years, you probably think twice and make more time for your family. Time passes so quickly. One day you would see yourself in the mirror and notice how fast the last 5 years had gone. One day you see your parents and they are not as young as they used to be. Spend more time with your family while you can, while they can.

Enjoy your youth, make (a lot of) mistakes, that’s fine, because people are more forgiving when you’re a lot younger! And besides, your mistakes are one essential thing that makes you, you, in the future.