Wanted: a nice public reading spot in the capital

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Where else can I read in front of these pretty yellow flowers?

As Alessandro Del Piero no longer trains at the Macquarie University sports complex, the only place in Sydney that tops my list if I revisit the city is the Royal Botanic Garden. Not only the city park is such a paradise for a nature lover like me, but also it becomes the place where I eventually have a chance to read a book while laying on clean grass. For a bookworm living in a very hectic crowded city like Jakarta, what I have experienced in the garden is truly an enjoyment.

 

I go to the park three times during the six-days staying in the heart of Sydney. I firstly come to the Hyde Park but I prefer the Royal because it is across the sea, has very large green fields, more various flowers, and best of all it is a little bit secluded. On the other hand, the Hyde is right in the center of the city where you can view city buses encircle the place hence it’s a bit noisy to spend hours reading in it.

Some of you readers who can enjoy pure blue sky all around the places you currently live will say what I have felt there is a bit too much. But if you have visited Jakarta you will fully understand that my statements are understandable.

According to the Gardening and Cemetery Agency of the Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia has 1,178 gardens which for me, becomes rather useless because most of them serve as mere ornament, green refreshment for passers-by. Some famous parks, such as Taman Menteng and Taman Suropati, stands out among the huge number as they are commonly used as public space where people gather, do exercises or simply hang around during spare time.

But given rowdy atmosphere in those parks, I believe bookworms will find it difficult to concentrate reading. In short words, they are not convenient enough as reading spots. Despite the chattering situation in the parks I have a salute both for public and local administration who have made use of the parks as public area for I am really disappointed with the ‘ineffectual’ existence of the Taman Semanggi or Semanggi park.

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The fantastic view of Taman Semanggi from above. Thank you for http://www.ahok.org for this picture.

As you see from the below picture, the garden is really beautiful, very spacious and definitely, trees are all around it. The design is completely adorable where the park is divided into several parts that surrounds the city’s historical bridge, Jembatan Semanggi. It’s too bad, completely useless for the park is a mere garnish because barely no people visit the place for interaction. Usually, policemen or gardening staff who are seen in the park either for doing their jobs or taking some breaks.

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Inside the garden. credit for http://www.voraale.com for the picture.

Aside from the fact that the park is in the centre of the busy Jakarta where it is normally treated as an eyeshot from the rear-view mirrors of vehicles, Indonesians don’t get used to use the parks, including the Semanggi park, as a reading spot because most Indonesians don’t read.

taman semanggi (www.nationalgeographic.co.id)

The picture is from http://www.nationalgeographic.co.id.

Even during Car Free Day, the garden remains empty. People, who run or bike around the place, keep their feet out of it. They only jog or walk around it. Sometimes, I really want to grab a book, a mattress then go to the park. I’d love to do what I have done in the Royal in the Semanggi park; reading while laying on the grass. I would be so happy if I could do that despite not being able to breathe fresh air in the park. But I believe people would stare at me while thinking I am a weird person should I execute the idea because, again, the very low reading habit in Indonesia and the location of the garden in the capital.

Although I still enjoy reading in my room, inside the bus or bus shelter, sometimes I want to do my hobby in an open area just like in Sydney but it’s almost impossible to have that kind of experience in Jakarta. If not because of noisy, pollution, the idea of reading in a garden already sounds silly.

The number of the public park mentioned in the article is taken from this link: http://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2013/09/02/0820322/Berharap.Wajah.Jakarta.Lebih.Hijau

Small Tokens from Some Parts of the World

IMG_1320From Singapore to Canada… Between Austria and Germany… Not to forget Australia and China. These small goodies are from my best friends, a few of them are bought during my own trips. I don’t upload the pictures of another gift as requested by some of the givers. Some, well, I forget where I put them. LOL.. Thank you so much my pals. And alhamdulillahirobbil’alamin.. Grateful as always…

Meeting You Only Makes Me Wanting You Even More

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I saw a bright ray was especially shining under him as I caught him showing up in the balcony of the Sydney FC’s training camp amid the cloudy Friday morning on November 29th, 2013. I was left astonished, my eyes kept savoring the super fast moment, even my heart stopped rattling to have eventually met the one and only Alessandro Del Piero. I wasn’t prepared to have firstly seen him in that very accidental kind of way, in that very unanticipated moment yet I was able to have captured, felt the most precious moment that lasted only for a few seconds. Sometimes in your life there were experiences that came up so suddenly, lasted so quickly but it took all your breathe away. Such sayings are way too much but all in all, the first experience of meeting Alessandro was just like that; unpredictably, surprisingly, greatly, incredibly, unforgettably. I was like; “Hah! Was that Alessandro Del Piero?!”

He walked very fast when I and his another fan were following him going to a training field where he and his teammates were doing light trainings. He looked at me but did not say any words. Alessandro seemed ignorant to the words said by the male fan I just met in the training ground. At first I thought Alessandro was cold and unfriendly.

Such thoughts quickly ran away from my mind once I realized his teammates had been training for quite some minutes before his arrival. May be Alessandro was detained by some affairs that caused him to come a bit late in the training field.

One by one, me and the male fan were joined with dozens of his lovers; boys, adults, girls, old men. We came around to see him only. And Alessandro remained focused on his exercises. He looked serious listening to his coach instructions. Sometimes, he did his own training method. Once in a while, he laughed but this rarely happened. Again, the thought that he was a bit arrogant came up as he wasn’t seen to have a look at us. As many as the negative thoughts came up I immediately washed them away. I instead enjoyed the very speechless minutes by gazing at his movements, smiling all the way, saying gratitudes in my heart, reinstating myself that this was not a dream. Too many dreams have come into realizations and I lost for words to describe them all at the moment and until now. I didn’t capture many pictures or recorded the moment in a camera. I simply deeply felt it, memorized it in my eyes, heart, head and mind. I placed the very much-anticipated moment to the deepest part of my soul. Let it be savely put in my memory forever and ever.

As the training session was over he quietly walked towards us. He did not greet us but he approached us. I didn’t dare to ask for pictures or get my jersey signed. I was too afraid. It was until one of the awaiting fans asked for a photograph that I encouraged myself to ask for the help from an oldman bringing an umbrella to take a picture with me and Alessandro. How surprising to have known that Alessandro knew I was giving my camera and was waiting for the moment to get the picture taken, for suddenly, he stopped having his pictures taken with another fan, took a few steps to where I was standing, directing his face to my camera without me having to ask… then ‘click’.. a picture that rewarded my whole 13-year old wait, patience, tiredness, anxiety, money, and all… I was overjoyed that although he seemed ignorant but in fact he did know my presence and gave what I wanted without me having to beg him to do so. For me, he is the kind of boyfriend who proves his attention with actions not words.

The only words that came out from my mouth were ‘thank you’ but he did not reply. Never mind, though. I wanted to dance all around after that but I managed to have kept my manner properly. Alessandro then was busy signing jerseys, books, while I took his pictures. I kept saying ‘thank yous’ all the time that he eventually replied them with ‘you’re welcome’. He even winked at me. How sweet!

The picture was enough. I did not dare to get my jersey signed. But looking at the other fans’ who got not only once but two of Alessandro’s signs, I braved myself to give my pen and asked for him to sign the jersey I was wearing at that time. He declined the pen and I was a bit offended. But that was for fun. I thought he knew the pen might not work well on the jersey as I bet he had signed too many jerseys prior to this moment. Done and done! The picture, the reply, the winked eyes and the signed jersey. These were abundant! This experience teaches me that when it’s meant to be then it’s meant to be; when the moment belongs to me then I’ll have it no matter how long I must wait, no matter how difficult the path that should be taken.

He did not smile a lot but he made sure each fan got what they wanted. After he finished with our moment, the fans moment, he asked who owned the pen. LOL. The funny moment that somehow showed how closed we were with the world champion. The brief part that told me how ordinary he could be. As the owner of the pen got his item, Alessandro left us. I repeatedly warned myself not to mourn over the sweetest ending of my long trip, not to be ungrateful, not to ask for more because I was given more than I had expected, not to get mellow as we parted since I may meet him again some other time.

A year has passed. All the memory remains refresh in my mind. He is now in India. I’d really love to meet him again and again. When the time is for us to meet again, I’ll bring my future everlasting pal. I hope he is so fond of him, too. And I wish I’ll have another picture taken with Alessandro again, this time around Ale will be in the middle of me and my beloved friend, amiiin…

*How relieved, again, to have completed this post for the memory about the meeting with Alessandro Del Piero was weighing my whole week, this whole day when today was exactly the day I met him. Alhamdulillahirobbil’alamin.. thank you Alloh swt…*

Taking the Overwhelming Sydney First Anniversary Trip Out of My Mind

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A grizzly, clear sky greeted me from low-cost AirAsia X airplane window a few minutes before it touched the ground of the Kingsford International Airport, Sydney, Australia. I was so much relieved as I have eventually reached the destination after being about 10 hours in two different planes. I felt so nervous too for I was clueless on which path I should have chosen after leaving the airport:Left? Right? Go straight?

I have magically managed smiling to some officers at the airport although I felt tired, thirsty and confused. When I was out from the airport and saw the blue sky of Sydney for the very first time, I was like ‘Oh Alloh swt.. Thank you for making me still alive… So, is this Sydney?”

Prior to this arrival, I was told by a hostel staffer on how to reach the hostel where which I would stay during the short trip for free of charge. But when I was at the airport I took wrong ways. I wasted, like, 30 minutes before a van driver took me and other visitors reaching our respective places to stay.

The hostel was quite below my expectations. I had to call its receptionist to confim my staying and pay the fee for he was out of the hostel by the time I arrived. Thankfully, a friendly female Westerner who also stayed in the hostel informed me all about this. She was so helpful. She told me to wait for the receptionist in a backyard. It had been a long time I had yet to reconnect with Westerners so I found myself a bit afraid at first. Once I came into the backyard which was half full of Westerners they looked at me so awkwardly. Yeah, I understood that. May be they were thinking I was a weirdo with my headscarf and Asian look.

Fortunately, I got used to this quickly and I did not care all about that. I paid as much as them so why should I be afraid? As this calm state of mind persisted, I met several new female friends from Germany who turned out to be so kind. The hostel staffers, somehow, were rude.

It took around two days for me to wholly and completely enjoy the city, to free myself from all nervousness, anxiety, afraidness and such. I needed two days to readjust myself that I was now in a strange land, very far from home, had no friends at all in the city. After dealing with harsh hostel staffers, my problem was about eating. I had prepared myself to get used of eating burgers and cakes but after two days, I gave up. I remembered so well I felt so hungry after surrounding and taking pictures at the Sydney Opera House and all I wanted was rice, rice and rice.

A bus trip from the city centre to Kingsford was like a homecoming journey. It was so surprising that food was the first thing that reminded me much about home. I was only two days in the city but I missed home, my parents very much. Four days onwards, I came to Kingsford every afternoon, eating rice and noodles, speaking with Bahasa Indonesia with the stores’ owners and staffers. Call me too much but this experience almost caused me to cry. Each time I came to the city area, I felt like I was at home.

Meeting with Alessandro Del Piero, watching him doing light trainings and playing in the pitch after countless times of only seeing Ale via television screens was indeed the climax of the tiresome, unforgettable trip. Another most memorable, greatest moment was getting lost in the city centre because I was carried away too much amidst its old, elegant, historical buildings. For a vintage lover like me, admiring this kind of thing could take up hours and hours till I forgot that my legs got hurt and I was so damn hungry.

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The next thing was garden wanderings with my most favorite one was the Royal Botanic Garden. I was freely lying on the clean grass while reading Alessandro Del Piero’s book namely ‘Playing On’ in the park. The sky was turning red while the air was fresh, slightly breeze. There were ponds, beautiful flowers all around the large garden; old, new trees were scattered as far as my eyes could see. Empty benches were abundant, too. I was indeed in a paradise.

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The Sydney Opera House experience was a bit mind-blowing. I was taking a moment to feel the beauty that was lying in front of my very eyes while I was sitting, stretching my legs on the clean floor out of the iconic building. The windy air stroke my face while I was seeing a gigantic bridge right across the opera house, blue sky, high buildings, clear waters separating the city centre with its surroundings, big cruises taking guests circling the famous spot, various tourists activities enjoying their holidays and so forth. Under the very bright ray of the sun, we were having fun. Again, I said to myself: ‘Oh God, can’t believe I have made it this far. Can’t believe I was finally here.’

The call from the stomach woke me up from this priceless moment. I had tortured my stomach a lot by walking so far now that was the time to feed it, now with the rice, no longer cakes, burgers or even tasteless eggs.

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Experiencing public transport was very worthwhile, too. Precise, fast, reliable. I lacked of positive adjectives to describe it. Not to forget was having social interactions with Sydneysiders and foreigners I happened to encounter during the journey. This made me love the city even more as a holiday destination.

Time to return to Jakarta, though. I really like Sydney and never find it enough to be grateful for the experience. Somehow, I missed home so much. I missed my family, too. Farewell Sydney! Till we meet again. This time around I hope I’ll bring someone along with me, amiiin.

*How relieved I am to have written this post. I was quite overwhelmed with this so-called one year anniversary of the Sydney trip this week that forced me to put them down into words. A year has passed since I launched the journey and it feels like yesterday I came to the city on November 26th, 2013. Forever thankful*

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Nine Life Lessons I Learn As a Football Addict

When a ball is played in a football field by world-class players; when it comes to prestige, win-or-lose philosophy; when it comes to emotional involvement between fans and players or fans with certain clubs or players with specific clubs… about 17 years on, and below are just a few lessons that I have recently drawn out as a huge football lover:

Dream

It starts with one name: Turin. I have always wanted to visit the city that lies in the north of Italy. Juventus, my most favorite club ever, has called me to go there since I was a junior high school student. At some points, I still laugh at the thought of saving money just to go there. But when I really learn about it, no dreams are useless. Turin is only a trigger. A motivation. Studying, working and praying hard to be at the city one day is what it teaches me.

When the time is right a dream will come true. I proved that last year when I met Alessandro Del Piero, the best footballer ever in my heart, in Sydney, Australia. I have been working so hard for about six years. I have saved part of monthly wage without initially knowing how this would end up. When I learned that he was going to be two years in Sydney, I firmly decided to meet him even if that meant I must have spent almost half of my entire saving. I would do it all by myself for the sake of fulfilling my dream as well as giving an early gift for my birthday.

Each time I remember on how I have spent the huge money, how I have patiently managed to go through all visa-passport related stuffs, and most important of all, how I have conquered the anxiety and afraidness, I couldn’t help being proud of myself. So, how the dream has finally guided me! Meeting Alessandro is a goal. Making it all happen with my own efforts is what it’s all about. The end is important but the journey is way more precious. I have become that brave, that amazing, that awesome thanks to the dream of meeting Alessandro. How much have I learned that dreams are the ways of Alloh swt to lead me being a much stronger and grateful I am today.

‘Insha Alloh’ going to Turin is just a matter of time. One day, I will be there. With the consents of Alloh swt, I will go through a hard, long, tiring yet fun process that will take me there just what I went through with Sydney and Alessandro. And it’s going to be so much worth it. Can’t wait to start the journey.

Love

Football players are the people who teach me of loving what they do and stick to that. They don’t regard their likeness as trivial thing. They remain committed to play, follow their heart, inner voice, sacrifice their education and family to pursue their dream of being the best ones.

It is from their seriousness over what people may consider as small one that amazes me. It’s their persistence, their hard training that somehow teaches me about the power of passion.

Faithfulness

I have been a huge fan of Juventus or call me as a Juventini for about 17 years. I have adored Alessandro for more than 13 years. Standing by their side through good and bad times; keeping a strong support during the ups and downs; being sad and joyful when they win or lose; sacrificing all I can for the ones that I love the most all through these years, are so wonderful. How much I can learn about this faithfulness. How much I have grown up over all these times thanks to their models. How much I can apply this attitude to my real own life. And how wonderful this small kind of act can remind me that being faithful, either in the football world or real life, is getting so rare nowadays.

Hardworking

It’s definitely not an easy task to be a great let alone a legendary footballer. With so many talented players going in and going out, love and passion are not enough. Hardworking, raising performance bar, beating self-enemies are keys to always be in the world’s most popular sport. How footballers can play in good shape twice per week; how they can remain in good ball possession even after 90 minutes; how they can remain cool-headed in a world cup finals can only be attained through super hardworking, and may be, just my opinion, intensive motivation sharing sessions. In football or in real life, hardworking is the key of the success. And ever since I have been a huge Juventini, I have applied this principle into my daily life. Sometimes, whenever I get lazy I fancy their faces playing on the field. This works a lot though!

Beauty

I have fallen in love with football since the first time I watched Juventus playing on the field. Can’t remember whose side it was against. All I can recall is that I was completely mesmerized by the teams’ accurate passings. The more I watch the more I get hypnotized. I am a big fan of free kicks. I always look forward to watch Andrea Pirlo shows his magic in each of the free kick that he takes. He’s the prominent player who shows me that football is all about beauty though it is Alessandro who firstly introduces me to that value in his book ‘Playing On.’

And I really love salto-driven goals with the salto goal from very far distance by Zlatan Ibrahimovic when his nation, Sweden takes England is the one I remember the most. It’s one of the best goals ever. The most difficult one a footballer can make. For me, watching football games is like watching art performances. The way each footballer creates touches, passings, free kicks, or penalty kicks, especially Panenka kicks, are all artistic.

Intelligence

Again, it’s Andrea Pirlo who amazes me at this point. His passing accuracy, his brilliance in attack mapping shows me that in order to be a great footballer you need brain as much as you need physical strength. And at this point, too, I salute to all playmakers, such as Zinedine Zidane, though I think Pirlo is the best of all (subjectivity may apply).

You can’t never ever forget coaches. Yes, coaches are the core for this point and I can’t say much because I still learn how to understand each attack or defense system; what it means as, for example, defending is the best attack; total football; and other systems. Best coaches are not only smart in translating his tactic into positive outcome but also the ones who can make their players give their best in each of the game.

All I can say here is that my most favorite coach ever is Marcello Lippi, Juve’s best second coach and the last coach that leads Italy winning its 2006 World Cup. He is so damn outstanding; he is not only smart but also is a great motivator for being able to turn the ‘calciopoli’-plagued national team into a world champion at that time. What a truly winner you are, Mister Lippi!

Teamwork

Eleven players with different characteristics, various abilities and mixed experiences all come together as one team. They set aside their egos, their willingness to be the only best within one team for the sake of the victory. How they can translate coaches’ strategies into goals then eventually win the games are mind-blowing. This can be way more incredible if it is a group of ordinary, cheap players who conquer star-studded team. In this instance, I salute to Diego Simeone who lifts the La Liga trophy for the 2013/2014 season with his team Atletico Madrid, beating super expensive teams, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Diego is one of the best coaches in the current football world. I adore him but still, he is well below Lippi.

Friendship

I always feel touched whenever I watch footballers celebrating goals and victories. I learn to look at that attitude as human beings euphoria. The pictures do not only tell their satisfaction of finally winning the games after so many hard trials, say, within 90 minutes or even until penalty kicks. But also, their way of celebration, they closeness through huggings always touch my heart. Eleven players from different nations probably speaking various languages can come into one friendship under one team for one triumph. How beautiful is that!

My most sentimental yet incredible friendship is between the trio of Gianluigi Buffon-Alessandro Del Piero-Andrea Pirlo. They are the 2006 world champions. They play for the same team, Juventus, before Ale leaves the club in 2012. They remain as awesome active players as ever despite their old age. Looking at their pictures when Juve takes on Australian All Stars last August in Sydney, Australia, I am so moved. They don’t only set good examples as footballers but also as friends.

If you are against certain players or coaches and you really hate them you should really think about it. Or reconsider your views. I dislike Zinedine Zidane and David Trezequet but they Ale’s best fellows. I hate Sir Alex Ferguson, former coach of Manchester United, but he is a great fan of Mister Lippi. Conclusion: I still dislike Zidane, Trezequet and Fergie but in lower dossis of hatred. The point is friendship among footballers or coaches, especially when they meet outside the field, is always touchy for they show that they are the same with us when it comes to friendship.

Being my own kind of athlete

Being a sport lover since 1992, a die-hard Juventini since 1997 and a Delperista for 13 years onwards, here’s how I can be my own athlete, my own champion. And I have RECENTLY concluded about this.

No, I don’t have to train several hours per day, racing 100 km/per day to be my own version of winner. All I have to do is trying to get up early during weekends, jogging and doing exercises two or three hours per week. Thanks to sports, I realize that I have to love my body. And I can do this by doing exercises, eating and sleeping well. Jogging while circling Gelora Bung Karno main stadium per week while imagining the faces of the mentioned players, especially Alessandro, has made me a champion.

Being a champion at heart is as important as well. Putting high respect to all people, even to the ones I dislike is the highest lesson learned from my unlikeness to Zidane, Fergie or Mourinho. Another value of life is looking at the inside not from the outside whenever I fail. Just like whenever Juve loses the games, never ever blame external factors, even if they may have their say on the defeat.

The last and the best point that I would like to write here is keep on improving myself. I specifically learn about this from Alessandro who keeps on playing even if he turns 40 years old today. He teaches me to always beatnegative destructive thoughts, keep on raising my life bar and there’s no age limits to do what I love.

How abundant! And this post is way much longer that I initially expected! Thank you Alloh swt for making me loving football for I don’t know how to live without it now. Thank you football. I owe you a lot!

Flowing Like Water

Recently, two good friends of mine ask this similar question:
“Eny, what will you do with your future?”

The first questioner, my office mate, is a wonderful person. She is married and has a bright career at our office. Now, she continues her post graduate study at the University of Indonesia. I adore her.

The second one, my former journalist pal, is as awesome as the first one. She prepares her future at home in Kudus, Central Java, by setting up a business with her parents.

Then, I simply reply with: “I have no exact future plans. I live my life like flowing water.”

‘But you have plans, right?” the first friend asks again. “Yes, I do have. But for now on, I enjoy what life has in store for me.”

Seven or six years ago, it would be impossible for me to say those things. Back then, I am a very ambitious person. I work from morning to almost midnight. I rarely enjoy my days off. In the first year of my professional life, I have only one day off. I keep in touch with news almost every day. It is my food. It is my life. Literally, my office life is everything. I seldom visit my family far away in Central Java.

No, nothing’s wrong with that. I am young and restless. I have to make ends meet. I have bunch of dreams. I have lots of energy. I am very healthy to stay up late at nights and enjoy unhealthy life style.

Experiencing from 9 a.m-5 p.m working cycle per day never crosses my mind. I would be so boring being at the same cubicle doing the similar kind of task every day.

After three or four years being a journalist, I come at a crossroad. Will I resume my career as a journalist, being in the field, spending the weekend writing about news? Or I stop doing that?

The first three or four years are a very important milestone in one’s career as a journalist. And that happens to me as well. I become reluctant to attend events. I turn out to be easily get bored spending hours while waiting for sourcepeople. I start thinking that my life is useless for going so far away from the office covering certain story. I used to be happy doing that at first. But after three or four years, I rethink about those things. Am I really happy? Is this what I really want? And to be honest, I start getting sick with all the stress, office conflicts that I have been through during those years. Life is tough man, so tough!

Then, I long for enjoying a normal life style. Normalcy in life style means that I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at proper time. I can enjoy two days off per week. I can have regular homecoming schedule. I can hang out with my best friends as often as possible without me having to work during weekends at the office. And definitely, I can perform prayers as punctually as possible. These simple things begin ring in my ears that I consider them as something way more important than just taking some breaks.

It’s like nature conspires to bring where I am now. Definitely far from perfect and ideal but I start loving what I do every day. I can still work and do what I love most; news and translation. My job, though can be quite boring, remains within my interest. I can still deal with media, my foremost love. I translate news from English which is also my passion.

I regulate my biological clock. I can go home once per two months at least. I have funny, kind office pals. It’s been more than two years I have been working from my desk from morning until afternoon and it’s crazy to realize that I enjoy doing all of this. I mean like.. it’s insane to think that the gratitude feelings after waking up each morning is the best mood boaster for the rest of the day.

I can’t believe that doing the similar kind of activities over and over again can bring me a joy. I get bored sometimes but I can overcome this feeling easily. Hanging out with pals is the most wonderful thing to do during weekends. Perfoming a lot of prayers completely help me going through hard times. So crazy yet amazing to have finally realized that those small things, that I used to ignore, are the ones that make my life is wonderful. And once I go with the flow, life surprises me even more like when I visit Sydney and Beijing. Then, watching Westlife’s concert, Juventus match and Shane Filan’s album tour and ‘You and Me’ concert just last Saturday here in Jakarta.

I am grateful and happy with what I have now. I do have dreams (I won’t say it in this post) and stick to it. So, why should I leave the condition that makes me blissful? After years of hectic, stressful daily life, is it a sin that I enjoy a peaceful one?

 

A Sweet Farewell to 2013

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There’s no more challenging in life than learning about myself.

About one year leading up to my departure to Sydney, my heart is torn into two: being excited and anxious at the same time. I was born as a serious person and easily get worried. When I am a journalist, my anxiety is mostly around news seeking, interviews, everything that is related to my profession. But as I stop being a reporter, even small stuff can be such a worrisome. As I have more spare time, I can recheck my bag only to ensure that I have put essential documents or necessary working tools into it. Carefully placing TV and netbook inside a cupboard before I leave my room can take some minutes. I have never thought of these small things when I am a journalist. Is my anxiety worsening?

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I once read the statements of the former chairman of Indonesia’s sport committee, Wismoyo Aris Munandar, that once an athlete is able to beat him/herself, he/she will find it easier to topple opponents. Lately, I learn that you don’t have to be an athlete to experience such kind of thing.

Am I still the same Eny Wulandari who loves adventures? Do I still like meeting strangers? Can I survive in Sydney? Will I be patient in going through visa application?

Sometimes I miss those tiring yet awesome days being in a field. I love those days when I just get into the field, meet strangers, disturb sourcepeople at nights. Sometimes, I recall the moments when I spend hours at weekends writing stories that I like or dislike. A 3-year period of setting aside tiredness and health to chase adventures. The days when what come into my mind is fulfilling my curiosity.

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Definitely, there’s nothing wrong with my current state: working in an air-conditioned room from 9/10 a.m to 5 p.m, translating or writing stories. As the days pass by, you realize you grow old. You love your profession but you put your health above all else. That’s what I try to do. I simply love my body and I’d like to keep it in a balance.

Still, there are times when I have to leave this comfortable zone for a while. I need to ‘roar’. I must go to a completely new, strange place only to ensure that my wildest, craziest trait remains exist. I want to put my adventure to a higher level.

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If I can make a comparison, 2013 is like a very tough game for an underdog football team. Its rival attacks the club in so many ways but at the very end of the game, the squad has a golden chance to score a goal then triumph. This may sound too much but I believe I undergo similar situation.

I may say the first six months of 2013 is like a hell. I am even in the brink of job dismissal at the end of January. If that does happen, my dream of meeting Ale is over because I would fail to get a recommendation letter from HRD manager. At this moment, I almost give up.

When you face a storm, sometimes all you have to do is waiting till the storm is over. After my boss decides that he won’t fire me and my office mates, he gives me tons of translating and editing jobs. I even take up to three freelance translation projects almost at the same time. I spend weekends staring at the netbook, getting so confuded in editing the materials. Sometimes I want to hit my head on a rock for being too risky in accepting those freelance jobs because I feel so restless. But I need money to ensure I won’t be dying in Sydney so I complete the jobs.

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This question then comes up: “Eny, are you out of your mind?” This crazy trip may cost up to Rp20 million!!!”. Before the trip, the most expensive item I purchase is the netbook whose price is about Rp4.5 million. And the netbook is so worth it because I use it for working and everything. It is like half of my life. I am very careful about my own money. Until now, I still can manage to control myself when it comes to shopping. Differentiating which one is necessary or not is easy for me. Then, I am going to spend dozens of millions of rupiah for giving myself the unforgettable early birthday gift before I turn 30 by visiting Sydney and I call this as the MOST NECESSARY item I must purchase!!! This is not so me…

Money is a big thing but convincing everyone that a solo trip is completely natural experience is way more challenging. In a country where being in a group is overated, my decision of going on my own invites mixed reactions. Even my father initially is a bit shocked to have known that I will travel alone. I feel unrelieved after I hang up the phone. I need to send a sms to ensure that he does permit me. Obtaining my parents’ license is all I need to resume my plan despite the fact some friends of mine are unsure with my decision. To be honest, I’m not afraid at all. I stick with my principle that going on my own is much better than being part of a group whose members don’t share the same views. This is going to be a very strange, personal trip thus I have to do this on my own.

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I gradually execute my plan in June. I start it all with passport then credit card. It’s true that I go through these processes patiently but the anxiety is never really gone. At this stage, I often get worried about essential documents that I have to attach along with the applications. After this step is completed, my anxiety moves to A-League ticket. Will it reach my address from Australia? For almost one month I spend days wondering about this. When the ticket does come at my desk, my anxiety grows even bigger. I finally feel that applying for a visa is indeed frightening.

After I obtain visa, do you think my anxiety is over? The answer is not. My problem then shifts into, again, small stuff. I spend hours reading about public transportation in Sydney, accommodation, Indonesian food, and everything. I read too much. I ask myself: “What if I get lost?” “How can I buy bus or train ticket?” “Where can I find rice?”. Too many questions that bring myself unnecessary burden.

All my anxiety proves me wrong once I arrive in the city. Completely false. It’s easy to find kiosks that sell bus tickets in the city. Although Kingsford is very far from the city centre, I can still reach the place and eat various Indonesian food there. The Sydneysiders are surprisingly very friendly.

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Everytime I recall the memories for about seven days in the city, I have one word to describe about myself: CRAZY. Yes, it’s crazy that I do survive during the 10-hour flight with lack of water. It’s so insane that I can sleep well in a room with six strangers from around the world. I can’t believe I still enjoy getting lost in the city for many hours with just one cake and mineral water as the breakfast. As I have my period during the trip, it’s unbelievable that I smile all the way, even when I get lost, which happens every day. Getting lost has never been this awesome as old buildings, beautiful flower kiosks, fresh air in the city entertain my eyes.

It’s too unbelievable that my tiredness and hungry doesn’t reduce any drop of happiness that I feel once I meet Ale. The rainy, cold Friday morning doesn’t prevent me from running here and there just to get closer to him during the training session. And it’s awesome that I am able to slow myself down to enjoy some afternoons stretching my legs at Royal Botanic Garden, closing my eyes while thinking how blessed I am. Finally, I experience what I have watched in movies. I can lie down on the grass, read a book, look at the blue sky, in the heart of the city. It’s almost impossible to have this wonderful thing in Jakarta. And those old buildings… exactly as what I read or see in movies. How I wish I can visit them every day here. I am so absorbed, highly admire the rich history each building may have. I am speechless to describe the building’s magnificence, elegance, grandness. I don’t mind getting lost in those buildings. Not at all.

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I have never been this proud with myself. For two years, I think my adventurous side is vanished. During such time, I think I have been too cowardice to dare myself. I am so wrong. I am thankful with myself as I can easily adjust to the conditions in the city. I can control my temperament once I get lost while feeling so tired. I easily get angry in Jakarta anyway… My legs can even walk although they are so damn exhausted. I am not ashamed to ask people for direction or bus route. And it’s easy for me to ask the help from passers-by for taking my pictures. Despite all problems, I feel joyful and smile a lot.

I feel so grateful and relieved. Finishing the trip, meeting Ale without uploading many pictures in Facebook is a real victory. It feels like the huge rock that I have been carrying in the past one year has been lifted. And best of all is… I am so glad that my fear is not proven; that my adventurous side is still strong. It burns so bright once I put it into a fire. I know myself much better right now. I become a new, stronger Eny Wulandari. And that’s the best of 2013…

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