22nd

I called the past two weeks as the ’embracing sadness’ week as I lost my cat and things began to scramble in the way I’ve never expected before.  I came down with severe flu, cough, and respiratory problem. I have been developing skin rash spread around my legs and my back. I have no idea why I am this allergic. I was told by the doctors that my daily diet, weather, genetic, protein intake, even my choice of bath soap have contributed to this poor skin condition. I spent almost IDR 500K alone for the consultation and medication. So, be grateful guys if you don’t have a highly-sensitive skin like mine.

Anyway, for the ’embracing sadness’ theme, I finally got over my cat being lost. I am lucky that the only ones who saw (and probably are tired of seeing) me crying were my parents. I kept crying almost 3 days and it hurt my head and eyes. It’s quite silly that I could chin up when I got rejected three times last year on my scholarship without shedding tears but totally broken to pieces once my cat didn’t get back. Well, to think of it, I have never lost someone/something that is really precious before.

Time heals? Not really. Being busy does. Thus, I overcame that ‘excessive sorrow’ by being involved in my scholarship applications. Applying for scholarship and university has brought a special experience for me. Sometimes, things don’t go smoothly as you wish no matter how much effort you have done. But, I know every thing I invest on this process worth the attempt.

Actually, I was bit anxious about my admission as of four applications I have handed in, no institution has given a satisfactory reply. In one of admission process, I had to go to several banks to issue a money draft and unfortunately no banks in my city provided that service. I was quite frustated so I hit my mobile phone and directly chat the faculty officer. It was also my very first time to carry out an overseas payment using my debit card. Several days later, the table was turned. I couldn’t be happier that I got two good news in a row: being shortlisted for Australia Awards Scholarship (henceforth-AAS) Joint-Selection Test (academic interview and IELTS test) and got an offer letter to study in UniMelb.

AAS is one of the most generous scholarships I have been anticipating. Last year, I didn’t even make it to the interview cut; my application wasn’t successful in the first phase. Now, I feel the nerve. It’s even higher when I got to take LPDP substantive test. But, I want to repress my expectation and surpass my self-greed. The things that I learnt from my interview failure that I wasn’t myself and I was trying hard to impress. I was ‘overly’ prepared that it seemed as if I was having ‘memorized’ interview. When I was interviewed in this year PPAN, I’ve never felt that comfortable. I was clearly honest; I laughed if I had to, I smiled naturally when giving the answer, and I gave some even-I-didn’t-expect-myself-could-give-such-answer answers. It’s not that I didn’t give honest answers in my past interviews, but I presented myself as someone who couldn’t fit in naturally. I am afraid of making mistakes and I worry much about how the judges may think about me.

I wish I can mantain that ‘do your best, nothing to lose’ attitude.

Anyway, let’s hope for the best.

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Music Questions

Some questions are taken from here

A song you like with a color in the title

The GazettE – 白き優鬱 (Shiroki Yuutsu/White Melancholy)

When it comes to heartbreaking song, their songs are a perfect sanctuary. My most favourite denial song.

A song you like with a number in the title

School Food Punishment – 04.59

Have you ever been so drunk and not wanting to sober up? Have you ever wanted to stay in your unrealistic expectation and not wanting to admit your loss? Thus, this song is a perfect fit.

A song that reminds you of summertime

ClearxNero – Summer Rain

It is sung by two prominent uttaites, Clear and Nero, and it happens to be my favorite track from their duet album.

A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about

The GazettE – Leech

It is pretty much summing up my former boss. Case closed. Sorry.

A song that makes you happy

Clean Bandit – Rather Be

I don’t like overplayed songs. But this one is exceptional. I always recall those good moments of debating tourney, the days I spent on countless debate practices.

A song that makes you sad

The GazettE – Without a trace or The GazettE – Pledge

I can’t choose between the two. While one tells about suicide, one narrates about someone’s sadness over a broken promise with her lover.

A song from your preteen years

Ali Project – Seishojou Ryoiki

Actually, any Ali Project’s song will do. But, this one that made me fall completely for Arika Takarano’s voice.

A song that is a cover by another artist

School Food Punishment – 君に胸キュン (Kimi ni mune kyun)

It was initially sung by Yellow Magic Orchestra and its popularity reached its peak when the mastered version became the soundtrack of Maria Holic. However, School Food Punishment’s remains my favorite.

A song that makes you want to dance

ClariS – Nexus

A song that makes you want to fall in love

Tokyo Karan Koron – Spice

A song by an artist no longer living

Nujabes – Battlecry

We need more anime opening song like this.

A song that breaks your heart

CHIHIRO – Last Kiss

I remember the first time hearing this through my friend’s ameba. It was my preteen songs as well. Anyway, the title tells everything.

A song by a band you wish were still together

School Food Punishment – RPG

I really wish they were still together. I am not fond of La la larks’s song eventhough it’s still sung by Yumi Kawamura.

A song that you never get tired of

Maximum the Hormone – ぶっ生き返す (Buiki Kaesu)

A song to drive to

TeddyLoid – Fly Away

A song that has many meanings to you

Shihoko Hirata – Pursuing My True Self

A song that reminds you of yourself

Hatsune Miku – Strobe Light

 

The list may go on but let’s call it a day. My highschool friends and people who have known me since 2005 (but probably they won’t read this) will think “you still listen to these songs?”. Well, pardon my outdated taste of music.

nope

I’ve never expected that self-loathing is true. I used to believe “how can one hate oneself so much”. I have no idea that it will be this burdening. I’ve never thought of professional help because I thought it’s silly. But, maybe, in the future, when these anxiety and self-hatred kick in, I’ll seek for one.

One night, almost two weeks ago, when everyone enjoyed the party, I tried hard that I belong to the festivity. I was, unreasonably, insecure. I couldn’t talk to anyone. It was hard to fit in.

That was not the first time when I suffered from ‘not-able-to-communicate-with-the crowd’ situation. Trust me, it’s a real pain in the ass. People consider me as a distant person when I am actually struggling with what kind of topic I’d like to bring in a casual conversation with people I barely know. The worst is I feel I’ve been betrayed eventhough I am not. A lot of scenarios and speculations are played and extended aimlessly on my mind. I hate myself when I am being like that.

My closest circle told me, “it is okay if you can’t fit in, sometimes, you just can’t force yourself to belong to a social group”. Sometimes I second this opinion, sometimes I just can’t think straight.

So, what do I do? I call him telling my stories, rarely check my SNS, do some university admissions. I found out that one of the best things I can do to heal this unnecessary anxiety is being busy.

At least for now, I can calm myself. The only problem that I have is…

How long I can keep this composure.

Ketakutan Diri Sendiri

Tulisan ini terinspirasi dari penulis kesukaan saya, Aan Mansyur

Pada tahun ini, saya takut apabila saya tidak bisa mendapatkan apa yang saya impikan. Atau barangkali cinta kandas di tengah jalan. Saya takut apabila suatu hari nanti, saya mendapat kabar buruk dari orang yang tidak saya kenal tentang orang tua saya. Saya takut kehilangan teman. Saya takut tidak dipercayai lagi. Saya takut apabila saya berubah menjadi orang yang saya benci. Saya takut apabila saya menjadi pecundang, mencari-cari alasan dibalik semua kegagalan. Saya takut apabila saya menjadi pembangkang, tinggi hati terhadap kuasa Tuhan. Saya takut apabila saya menjadi pembual, bercerita tentang keburukan dan menerka-nerka hidup orang lain.

Saya takut, bila suatu hari nanti, saya tidak menyadari bahwa ketakutan ini telah saya alami dan tidak cepat-cepat berbenah diri.

Reading Meme

Taken from here

What have you just read?
The last thing I finished was Rainbow Cowell’s Fangirl and I was disappointed. Yes, I read the entire chapters with the anticipation that something would spice up Cath’s wishy-washy story but I just couldn’t find the peak of conflict. The fight between sisters were fine but repeated scenes of Cath’s sulking just turned me off. Sorry.

What are you reading now?
Romance of The Three Kingdoms (Lo Kuan-Chung, translated by C.H.Brewitt-Taylor) and Calico Joe (John Grisham)

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I probably will hit Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian” once I finish Calico Joe. Looking forward to read my first Korean Literature.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read?
When I read something, I intentionally want to find joy. When it comes to reading assignment, I don’t feel forced either as that’s the way I can get higher score, so why not?

What’s one book you always recommend to just about anyone?
It depends on whom I recommend to. Eventhough most books on my shelf are John Grisham’s, I am quite open to read other genres. But, you just can’t ask me the best teenlit in the town as it is my least favorite genre.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
I have this one book, ‘Empress’ written by Shan Sa. I found it interesting as it narrates the life of a Chinese woman who reigned the biggest and the most prosperous emperor regime in China. I love the idea of the empowerment and the portrayal of ancient Chinese women. This book tells that you never go wrong with education especially if you are woman. Some people whom I recommend to feel that it’s just not their cup of tea and I have no idea why.

 

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
They didn’t tease me as I was lucky to find buddies that love reading too. Instead of teasing, we borrow each other’s collection.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
I had to stay up all the night when I read John Grisham’s The Confession. A 4-day story of saving a kind young black man from being sentenced to death because he is accused of raping a white girl. I was angered by how people can spread some racially motivated-hate and stir up the horror.  I was moved by how some kind-hearted people and a priest unite to defend this poor black man. I was proud of witnessing a real culprit confessing his own sin and asking for help to save someone being punished because of his wrongdoing.

Have any books made you cry?
I cried when I read ‘The Confession’ (John Grisham), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini), and ‘Ibuk’ (Iwan Setiawan). The story of family and humanity never fails to tear me up.

Book Question Meme

Taken from here

1. What new book coming out soon do you plan to buy?

It’s everyone’s anticipation: Lang Leav’s Sad Girl.  I am so ready for being vulnerable after reading this one.

 

2. What series is a must read for you?

Adult series never impress me as much as children and young reader’s. There are two series;

  • ‘Bliss Bakery’ trilogy is so far my favorite. It’s a light read bringing you to the world of magic bakery. Despite its easy-to-guess plot detailing the competition between a jealous aunt and her niece, the pace and the development of the story are just right. I always love when an author offers a pristine and ‘visual’ narrative. This trilogy somehow leaves the similar feeling. Fantasy is my least favorite but this is the obvious exception.
  • ‘The Great Five’ or Lima Sekawan by Enyd Bliton.  Don’t ask. JUST READ.

3. What new author have you found so far in this year?

Recently, I have my eye on Han Kang. Looking forward to start reading ‘The Vegetarian’ after finishing Grisham’s Calico Joe.

 

New house and….home

I moved to this (far-from-everyone’s) house two months ago. Mom got this house last year.  Initially, we would begin moving in the end of January, but Dad changed his mind, so we emptied the  house earlier. Not to mention, mom and dad will be busied by UNBK preparations in their school.

Anyway,  the house that I am currently residing initially was a one-story house with 3 bedrooms, pale-painted walls, creaking doors, and an unappealing bathroom. Within 5 months, it’s renovated under my dad’s supervision. So far, this is the most convenient house we’ve ever resided. Cuma 5 menit dari bandara dan sekolah Bapak-Ibu.

Semoga rumah ini beneran jadi “rumah” dimana pembicaraan, doa, dan kumpul sama keluarga benar benar sering dilakukan.

Anyway, dalam triwulan pertama di 2017, ada beberapa hal baik yang mengawali tahun ini:

Being active in social communities

Never did I expect that I would involve in social-based communities. In the beginning of this year, Eka came up with the idea of establishing community which deals with hoaxes. Everyone was cool with this and we directly established a teamwork. In addition, Eka and I are establishing our second project: asissting the orphans. Ini memang bukan ide yang baru tapi kita berharap kalau ada satu-dua anak yang mau belajar seperti kita. I was quite surpised to know ada yang suka dan ingin belajar puisi.

Skor IELTS yang diluar dugaan

Ini salah satu momen paling membahagiakan di tahun ini. I was taken aback when I faced the real test. I thought I messed it up tapi alhamdulillah selamat. Perjuangan selama 1 bulan belajar, nanya temen yang sudah ambil test, dan disertai dengan mual-mual (literally) hampir setiap malam membuahkan hasil.

Someone confessed to me and I said YES

That’s pretty much up summing up things. LOL. Let the rest unrevealed here.

L.P.D.P

I love to jot things down here. Oh anyway, you may skip this post if you intend to find essential tips because you will see nothing but my wishy-washy story.

I couldn’t ask more for 6 days of ups and downs for participating in one of the most scholarship selection Indonesians would die for: LPDP Scholarship’s.

In mid October, I was notified through my account that I passed the administration phase and was obliged to attend the interview in this November. I spent more than 3 months to prepare the documents alone and I had yet entered the war; its substantive audition. This consists of interview, essay on the spot, and Leaderless Group Discussion. The real battle started here.

God and my closest circle knew how rushed and panic I was to prepare the interview. Weeks before I came to Jakarta, I practiced with my seniors and debate friends. First attempts were not good, far from ‘ready’. The way I talk bored them effortlessly, I appeared quite demanding thanks to the similar tension I felt whenever a POI comes up. ‘Get your shit together, Nin’, ‘I can’t help but yawning at your responses’, and the most hit-on-the-nail feedback, ‘be more humane’. I listed all the possible questions worrying how I should answer.

The latter trials were not satisfying as well. Yes, I made SLIGHT improvements in my speaking tone, but still, ‘you love to obscure things’, they claimed. No objection is needed. It was one or two days before my departure that I cried over the phone knowing how unprepared I was. I was practicing my interview with Bang Fadlan that night and never did I feel so sick of speaking English after these years. I finally let the burden go. I didn’t want to pressure myself. ‘Let’s make this small’ Bang Fadlan said and I couldn’t agree more on that. When I phoned Eka and Kak Winda for checking up my progress, I felt a tiny surge of confidence and relief. Half of the baggage was lifted.

The following morning, my parents took me to the airport and I realized that I am just their daughter, taking her ‘unassisted’ flight and…fight. I hugged them dearly and almost wet my eyelids. This must be how Bang Agung felt when he saw his dad carrying his backpack the day he left for the same test.

November 16th, 2016

I took my ride at 5 a.m and arrived ‘awkwardly’ half hour later. My aunt was with me and she didn’t intend to leave her niece alone.

As I got 9 vacant hours to fill (yes you read it right), I met several people that I knew through an online group. We exchanged stories; study destination, study preparation, and the rumored questions of the LGD and interview. I was delighted to witness something rare these days: brainy yet humble people.  They come from various academic backgrounds. Compared to mine, their social contributions and achievements are great. They are more than ready. Somehow, seeing them gives me a wake up call.

“What have you done?”

LGD and Essay on the spot (EOTS) session 

I got ‘Wacana Kerja Guru 8 jam’ as my topic of EOTS and I messed it. So, for those who want to tackle this session, please master IELTS Academic Writing 2 pattern and pay attention to our nation issue frequently.

Surprisingly, I could catch up in my LGD when we got ‘Brain Drain’ as our discussion theme. Eventhough I am the only one who came from Sumatra, everyone in my group was nice and listened to my opinion attentively.  We were monitored by two psychologists. They said nothing. So, make sure you guys (you and your group members) meet before having LGD. Know everyone’s characters, build good atmosphere, and last but not least, don’t be arrogant. You may conduct your mock LGD hours or 1-2 days before you have your real one provided you have got everyone’s contact.

Interview

In the following day, I got my turn. The interview itself only spent around 20-25 minutes and here is the list of questions (as far as I can remember):

  1. Why do you choose Birmingham?
  2. Who are the prominent figures of this institution?
  3. Why do you want to be a lecturer?
  4. What will you do if your voices aren’t heard? Will you insist it?
  5. Who will get the benefit from your study?
  6. Have you participated in any social communities?
  7. Have you ever been far away from home?
  8. Have you ever cheated on something?

The interview went smooth and was fully conducted in English. I thought I was dead nervous, but I let it go and somehow nailed it.

Result

I didn’t pass it. Of course, I was devastated. But I am grateful that I managed that feeling. I am thankful that ‘I am ready to lose and I am ready to win’ is not empty words. It fills me.

Life goes in a circle.

5 years ago I also experienced the same two things. I failed both my relationship and my university entrance exam. The difference is, at that time I beared it alone and now I have these ‘rahangless’ pals (sorry guys lol) who could always give me  a hand. The following year, series of event brought to me to join debate, unexpectedly, which turned out to be one of the best decision I have ever made. So, on my naive account, perhaps 2017 will be a pack of surprises too.

 

Cats; flashnotes

I once pledged to myself that I wouldn’t pet a cat anymore. Not because I hate those cute fur balls, but I can’t stand when they leave me; died. 

Our first cats are named with Jewel in the Palace’s character names. We called them ‘Geum Yong’, ‘Yong San’, ‘Jang Geum’ etc. It’s so Korean-ish for ‘kucing kampung’. I know right. We had 10 cats at the moment. Some neighbours told my parents that we shouldn’t pet more cats or ‘your daughter will be infertile’ they said. But well, I was just 12 to care about that. 

Then, they left us, gradually.

Having cats means being ready to serve ‘the queen’. They don’t care your babytalk. They are hungry, they crave for attention, and they must get what they want. 

So, these two kittens came to my house around 4 months ago. Once we moved to this house, ‘no cats anymore’ is an unwritten consensus that I, particularly, should obey. But, I broke that. 

Fortunately, everyone loves these kittens.

Those meowing faces weaken me. 

My tolerance is ‘untung kalian kucing’ level so I can always tolerate them. 

Yes, no point in this post.

N. 

Lebaran

Time flies so fast that it’s past 5 days after Idul Fitri already. This year, we decided to stay here. I didn’t meet my cousin. It’s pretty busy here that we welcomed more guests than previous years. 

My acne got treated and I feel much relieved. 

Anyway, I managed to purchase a new phone (as I am typing through my phone too). I am pretty satisfied with this one. Long last battery, high-res camera, bigger storage capacity, and, of course, it’s affordable! 

Selamat lebaran. Minal Aidin walfaidzin. Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.