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How Are We Supposed to Respect Our Elders?

Why is it that people keep saying "Respect your elders!" but nothing about doing the same for the young ones? Most religions teach us that God hates people who disrespect their parents, hence it is sinful. What if we respect our parents but they don't have the courtesy to treat us the same way? What does it say about them?

Why is it that people keep saying that "We're young, we don't know any better." But adults make mistakes too, old people makes mistakes too. What does our age have anything to do with it? What qualifies them to know more, to be able to judge better and choose the right things? Aren't we all humans in the end?

Parents can be authoritarian. It's appropriate when we're little, I suppose, but why can't they treat us like equals after we've gone through all these things that forces us to grow up? They say we don't listen and they say we don't tell them anything. But they're the ones who don't listen; I tell them things all the time. But they nod it away and humoured me as if I was still 3 years old, playing house. And when they realise that I tell them something significant, they do nothing but get in my way. And they wonder why I don't tell them things.

Parents almost always change their minds. One minute they're lamenting about how you choose career over education, the next they accuse you of draining their wallet by pursuing a higher degree—despite the generous scholarship you manage to pocket. They judge without question, unwilling to understand our point of view. They're quick to point out our flaws but hesitant to name our strengths. They passive aggressively criticise our behaviour/personality, but somehow unable to see their own faults and wrongdoings. God forbid we criticise them!

They demand respect from us, but refuse to reciprocate.
They quickly see our shortcomings, but unable to acknowledge the same in themselves.

Parents push and pull at use, like a tug of war. Telling us we could be anything, but quickly reject our dreams. Telling us we should have a principle, but will not listen to what we stand for. Telling us the world is tremendous place, but confine us to our beds.

So here I ask you: how are we supposed to respect our elders when they won't respect us?


The Sanctification of Taylor Swift

Ever since her album1989 came out, people have been treating her like such a saint. She seems to have perfect skin, perfect body, perfect voice, perfect mind and perfect personality. I think it helps that she sort of swore off boys there for a while, making her an incredibly independent woman and, therefore, the perfect role model. With the release of her latest album, it just seems as if her previous sins were quickly forgiven (and forgotten). Everyone was talking about her calling out sexist comments about her writing songs about her past lovers. People got behind that quickly, completely disregarding that her previous songs were slutshaming and unfeminist themselves. She talked about how Ed Sheeran writes songs about his past lovers and got no judgment for it—therefore making the whole ruckus a sexist act. Okay, let's talk about Adele then, who also writes songs about her love life and got no prodding of her personal life nor judgment about her men. She's also won tons of grammys, in her mid 20s and writes deeply emotional songs. But no one's said anything about her love life—at the very least not with the same intensity as Swift's.

Okay, so she may be a kind-hearted, generous person who truly cares for her fans and warms up to people easily. I'm not saying she's the devil. I'm actually a fan of her songs for a long time. But let's not exaggerate who she is. She's a mere human being, who makes mistakes and knows about the world just as much as the next guy. So she's beautiful...NOW. I mean, come on, what she looks like now has gone through a lot of alteration from her natural look. She used to have extremely curly hair, terrible fashion sense and quite thick glasses. Now, when people think of gorgeous T.S., they picture a straight-haired girl with on-point makeup and immaculate outfits—who is not even her actual self at all!

So let's just realise that Taylor Swift is human too. She doesn't have to choose between an angel and the devil, because she's neither.



From watching movies and reading stories when I was little, I had an image of what friendship is like: My life will consist of friends and best friends. The way I see it, it's going to be one circle of best friends and then the rest of the world. But I was wrong. Having been on this earth for over 2 decades, I know that now. Life is never that simple. I thought I would find my best friends—which I met in middle school—and they would be the ones who know me best and I would feel most comfortable with them. Then everyone else I meet afterwards—except my life partner perhaps—was just formality; I'd have to meet them but they won't create an impact. Boy, was I wrong.

Since I was in grade school, I always stuck with one circle until graduation—unless when I had no circles at all. Then middle school came and I clicked with these girls and I didn't look for any other circles. It was so comfortable, why should I leave? Until, of course, they wanted me to because I was being a jerk. Then I started seeking other circles, joining different events and meeting new people. In hindsight, this created an entirely different middle school experience for me than my best friends. They often talk about these people they were all close with, but I wasn't even there. Instead, I was in a completely different circle. A couple, actually. And it was all fun and I loved it! We lost contact and grew apart but it meant something to me, although it doesn't concern my best friends in the slightest. That was my first sign.

You know what people say about living abroad, that you'll create bonds with other ex-pats and it could last forever? That's true. That's how I found my other circle of best friends. What's more, it includes my long-term boyfriend Firu. We have so many different inside jokes, we've traveled to many places together, worked a summer job together and shared our woes. I remember feeling lonely whenever I came home to an empty home after hanging out with them. They're the ones I share my first years of adult life with, trying to figure out how life works and who we are. And, although there are so many things I don't know about them or they don't know about me, they will always be bonded to me through this special connection. This feeling of having gained and lost the same things I have.

Sometimes I feel like I would of course be most comfortable, most true, when I'm with my middle school best friends. They were here first, they knew me when I was at my worst and they stuck with me. But...these days I'm afraid to be my whole self around them, although they probably don't judge. I just can't shake the feeling that I often don't fit in. They went to uni in this country. They knew all these people I don't. They played all these games I've never even heard of. And sometimes I just find myself not caring...

And then I go and hang out with my Germany best friends. My face is hot from all the laughing. All these foreign words I've been meaning to use, they get them. It's funny. We don't listen to the same songs. We hardly ever talk when we don't see each other. But we can always fall back to how we used to be when we were there. All these memories we've acquired, all this history. They mean something and I can always feel myself holding back tears at the thought. They remind me of a better life I once had when Firu was within arms-reach and we decided our own fate.

That is not to say that I've never felt like an outsider with them—I feel like that with EVERYONE—but all the history and inside jokes more than make up for it. Maybe I have been away from Indonesia too long is all. But they were like a piece of home for me.



Leila meraih paspor yang disodorkan oleh petugas di atas meja. Sambil mengangguk tanda terima kasih, ia pinggul lagi tas punggungnya melewati bagian imigrasi dan menuju pengambilan bagasi. Ditengoknya layar monitor berisi informasi penerbangan satu persatu. Di mana kira-kira kopernya akan diletakkan?

Belum lama setelah menemukan nomor penerbangannya, conveyor belt mulai bergerak. Para penumpang lain yang sedari tadi menunggu langsung bersiap-siap memanggul barang masing-masing. Tidak jarang yang menunggu di bangku terdekat, sementara barangnya diambilkan porter.

Tas pertama menampakkan diri. Lalu disusul yang kedua, ketiga dan seterusnya.

Leila menunggu dengan sabar, sesekali diliriknya jam tangannya. Oh iya, belum diganti ke WIB. Mama bilang ia akan menjemputnya dengan Papa jam sepuluh. Sekarang jam berapa? Semoga mereka tidak capek menunggu kalau bagasinya lama. Dirogohnya kantong, dinyalakannya telepon genggamnya. Percuma, ia tidak bisa menghubungi mereka. Tapi minimal ia bisa melihat jam.

Itu dia! Koper besar berwarna keemasan dengan inisial LM di atasnya. Buru-buru Leila mengambil koper itu begitu bergulir ke depannya lalu ditarik pegangannya sambil berjalan menuju pintu keluar.

Udara panas dan lembab langsung menyambutnya. Sekilas ia sudah merasakannya tadi begitu keluar dari pesawat. Tapi kini hiruk pikuk orang yang lalu lalang di bandara meski sudah selarut ini membuatnya terhenyak. Bau asap rokok yang menyengat. Keriuhan para penjemput yang mengelu-elukan nama masing-masing orang yang dicari. Langit tak berbintang yang entah tertutup oleh polusi yang pekat atau lampu yang terlalu terang. Sampah yang terlihat di pojok-pojok jalan dan ruangan. Bapak-bapak yang tergeletak di bangku-bangku tempat menunggu.

Semua keraguan lenyap dari benaknya. Kini ia yakin: ia sudah pulang ke Jakarta.

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27. 11. 2015

Blog post ini dibuat dalam rangka mengikuti Writing Project #DanBernyanyilah yang diselenggarakan oleh Musikimia, Nulisbuku.com dan Storial.co

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

  1. When I read, I mouth the words and whisper them, creating a sound almost like chanting a mantra. And I sometimes do it in different accents, just for fun. This is strictly for recreative reading, not for research or other purposes. It takes me twice as long to finish the material but just that much quicker to enjoy.

  2. Even when I'm happy, I love listening to heartwrenching songs and reading painful stories. Definitely much prefer them to happy-go-lucky and cheerier things. They keep me alive in the rawest sense. That's why I love musicians like Daughter, Snow Patrol and Mayday Parade. Also the reason why I'm always nostalgic.

  3. Since I was little, I've always remembered people's birthdays. Well, the important ones. This is due to Dad's idea to create a bio book that I can make my friends fill. Needless to say, I still remember past crushes' birthdays and I can't seem to forget...

  4. From around the end of middle school until around the middle of senior year of high school, I wished more than ever that I was a guy. It made no sense to me to be a girl when everyone else treated me like a dude (including myself). Someone told me that he was glad I was a girl but then he, too, didn't treat me with respect. No guy ever did. Not until Firu, of course.

  5. Sharpening my canines is one of my hobbies, especially my upper right one. I usually rub it with my tongue or against my lower lip, sometimes until the latter bleeds, or bite my fingers (yes, fingers, not nails). When my fingers itch - but cannot be satisfied by other fingers, I use my canines to scratch them.

  6. Before I decide to have a crush on someone, I make sure I get all the facts straight. I always make sure I know their strong and weak points and weigh them carefully before chasing after them. That's why I never had crushes on guys who will eventually be a bad influence on me, nor have different religious beliefs. With Firu, this is multiplied several times before I decided to ask him out.

  7. Gross but true: I like the smell of my own fart and arm pit. Until a couple years ago, I thought everyone does too (not mine, their own) but, apparently, that ain't true. But I can't stop loving mine. So when even I can't stand it, you know I'm already too smelly to be acceptable.

  8. Back when I was a kid, I used to sleepover at my cousin's place with my sister. We three would train to stay up really late, roaming the internet, watching TV, playing games, what have you. My sister usually turned in first, then my cousin, then me. Usually, I roamed chatrooms on ICQ or Yahoo! Messenger, not knowing how dangerous it was for a 9-year-old - naturally, I pretended I was way older.

  9. One day in 3rd grade, all the girls ganged up on me because they felt that the homeroom teacher wasn't being fair to them. They said, they couldn't see why I should be allowed to draw in class when everyone else would get scolded if they did. Before they cornered me, they asked the teacher himself and he said because I kept getting good grades anyway. Apparently, that wasn't enough so they started calling me names when no one else was in the room. To be honest, I wanted to cry so bad but like hell if I were going to let them see me crack. So, instead, I smiled. And they went speechless.

  10. I used to love collecting brochures and the like but they started to become trash at home so I threw them away. After that, I like collecting price tags, tickets, tote bags, hats, dolls, magnets, etc. To sum up, I'm a major hoarder.


Last night right before I slept, I was thinking a lot about regret.
It's a big part of my life and it keeps tugging at me at the back of my head.
Ever since I left Germany, it's been hovering over me like a cloud.
So I thought I'd pour my heart out here.

Ever since I graduated middle school,
there are actions I wish I could take back,
things I wish I could change,
infos I wish I had known.
But that didn't happen and here's why.

For every drop of rain, blooms a bed of flowers.

Last night I followed the trail of my past.
If I undid this action, If I took the other road, If I lived elsewhere,
there are huge chunks of happiness missing from my life.
Like what, you say? Well, like this.

If I hadn't gone to my high school,
I wouldn't've met my friend Cynthia but, also,
I wouldn't've heard the presentation from the agency who conned me.
And that, in turn, would prevent me from meeting Firu.

Okay, so let's go a different route.
Let's say that I did go to that high school,
and I did get conned by the agency,
and I did meet Firu.
And we went to Germany.

What if I had known about the portfolio conundrum?
What if I had been accepted to the art school in Halle?
What if I were smart enough to move in with Firu instead?
What if I had led a very happy, healthy life with him?

Then I wouldn't've moved to Kassel,
then I wouldn't've met Saku-chan,
who later on becomes my penpal and good friend,
even after I moved back home.
And I would've been happy. Or Firu and I could have
broken up.

Now we've come to right now.
What if I'd stayed in Germany? Maybe continued my studies?
What if I'd never come back home? Maybe graduated there?

I could've died from TB.
I couldn't've opened a commission
and earning my own money.
Maybe I'd live my life absolutely miserable.

That's why, I'm not sorry for any of my choices,
no matter how horrible they are.
It's brought me to life's greatest misery,
as well as joy. And I wouldn't trade them for
anything in the world.

Best Blogging Buddy Award

My blogging friend Joni tagged me in the Best Blogging Buddy Award. But I'm only intrigued to answer the questions so here they are. Enjoy!

1. What is something that scares you, but that you also dream of doing?
Hmm...I feel like I should be saying something like skydiving or bungee jumping. But it's really just going camping. I've never camped in the woods but it seems like such a wonderful idea.

2. What color are your bedroom walls?
Just boring white colour. Looks pretty nice, though.

3. If you had an animal side-kick/spirit animal, what would it be?
As a sidekick, I'd love a really awesome dog, like a German Shepherd or a Labrador or any more awesome type of dogs. As a spirit animal, I always believe mine is a monkey. You know, just run of the mill golden monkey like Sun Go Kong.

4. If you could own any celebrity’s wardrobe, whose would you pick?
Without a doubt, Zooey Deschanel. She is my style idol! (or any vintage-fan blogger's idol, I guess) Emma Watson's wardrobe ain't too bad either.

5. What food are you currently obsessed with/eating all the time?
There's this snack in Indonesia that I am currently OBSESSED with. I mean, I eat it with breakfast. Probably not recommended. It's called Smax, a rice stick snack in roasted chicken or cheese flavour. It's crunchy in a soft way.

6. What is your LEAST favorite time of year?
If you're asking for a date, I have none. But I hate when it's time for finals. Don't all students, though?

7. If you could choose any story to be made into a movie/tv show, what would it be?
The UGLIES trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, no doubt! How that series hasn't made it to Hollywood yet, I'll never know.

8. If you could acquire any talent in an instant, what skill would you like to have?
The ability to get people interested in me. You know, so I could get a good PR. I'm the kind of girl people think is nice and kind but never ask for. Those jerks.

9. What store/shop would you work at purely for the employee-discount?
Wow, this is tough. To be honest, I think most bookstores, nothing specific. But fashion-wise, Orla Kiely or Book of Deer!

10. What upcoming movie release are you most looking forward to?
I don't know if this movie is even in the making but The Scorch Trials (#2 to The Maze Runner).

11. What (if any) program would you like to take part in?  (Such as an educational program or a community service program.)
Project Sunlight from Unilever. I feel like it's empowering and speaks to my people, the people who need environmental and social change.

12. What’s your favorite form of procrastination?
Being productive. Haha, I know, that's a paradox. But usually when I don't feel like doing something, I do something else, which might also take effort and time. And end up creating something. That's the foundation on which my blog was build.

13. What historical person would you like to meet/be friends with?
Enid Blyton or Beatrix Potter. Those two seem to have the most extraordinary minds.

14. What’s your favorite animated show (excluding movies)?
If we put aside my all-time favourite Pokémon series and all the Japanese animes I've ever watched (and, trust me, there're hundreds!), I really enjoy the kids' show Blue's Clues. I know it's childish but I adore the animation and the routine of the show. Still miss Steve at times :')

15. What website do you think you frequent most?
Does bloglovin' count?

P.S: Because she asked to be tagged, I'm tagging frictionc and you can see her answers here ;) Also, we're both tagging ulilulelo because she hasn't done this before (so interested to see your answers!)

The Best Compliments of My Life

Inspired by this article, I am going to write my most memorable compliments (+ little anecdotes to go with them). Enjoy!

"I don't want to go home without you." - Cafa (my brother) when he was little even though I bullied him all the time, 2003

"You are a good listener." - Fitri a.k.a. Phitoel after her heartfelt sharing about her crush, 2004

"Just because I don't like you doesn't mean you're not my friend." - Gina after sending me a chain mail about friendship, 2005

"You have such a beautiful voice, even better than Dina." - Yandra referring to the songstress in the class, 2005

"You look, sound and seem like your mother. Exactly like her." - everyone who knows my Mom, since I hit puberty

"Bivi's (artistic) style is so Bivi, isn't it?" - my best friends about my drawings, 2007

"I think you actually have an ideal body, not too fat, not too thin." - Cindy even though I feel she's so petite and cute, 2010

"You are prettier than me!" - Akita (my sister) even after our lifetime of people telling me she's the pretty one, 2010

"Of course I still love you." - Firu every time we fight and in spite of his irritation, 2010-now

"You're not born here? But your German is very good!" - every German I meet in Germany after only a few months of living there, 2011-2014

"What a beautiful girl. The sun just shines with you." - a street cleaner at Firu's house upon my walking out the door, 2011

"You're always so kind to me, I want to give back some kindness too." - Dan Li every time she gives me free sushi from her job, 2011-2012

"You are so much more mature than your age." - Anne every other day, 2012

"I laughed but I actually thought, 'You don't know, Daus and Bivi are inseperable.'" - Kynann after his ex's jealous rampage towards me, 2013

"I believe in you, how can you not believe in yourself?" - Dad after my mental breakdown, 2014

"You brave girl, you!" - Kathy on my surgery and my homecoming before finishing my studies, 2014

Otherwise, people usually tell me that I'm creative, brave and smart. I really love to hear people acknowledge all my strong points, especually when they tell me of my kindness - which I didn't know I had. There might be a bunch of different compliments all throughout my life and I can't remember them all but they also mean to me, obviously. I'm not one of those people who don't know how to take a compliment. I mean, even if I know I'm smart or I'm creative, if you tell me that I am, I will still be super happy to hear it. Thank you for everything you've said to me. Little do you know, it's all shaped my self-esteem and got me to this point of my life. And I can't be happier.

Romance vs. Reality

I always find it interesting to compare romantic notions to the actual reality. As a hopeless romantic myself, I always dream of romantic scenarios, in which I will be the recipient. But, having experienced some of those scenarios over and over, the reality washes me over and woke me up. Yeah, the reality of some scenarios aren't as romantic as they sound or seem. So here are some scenarios that have come to mind that I find so troublesome in actuality:


Romanticism: Isn't it nice having someone watch you when you're sleeping? It means they care, that they're interested in you and that they feel protective of you. Doing this shows how they probably take you for who you are. Because, when we sleep, we are at our most vulnerable as well as most innocent. There's no pretence of any sort and we are left bare. If they watch us sleep, chances are they love how we look even when we're not trying to look beautiful. Also, as the watcher, it's really nice to just watch the face of someone that we adore or attracted to when they are at their most vulnerable as well as innocent. Because that means they trust you enough to just let go right next to you.

Reality: Okay, sure, all those notions...the first few minutes of sleep. Try watching someone do almost nothing (unless they sleep talk or thrash around in their slumber) for at least 7 hours! The most annoying part of other people's sleep is that you don't know when they're going to wake up (unless you need to wake them up). So it could take a long time. Forget 7 hours, even for over 15 minutes could get rather boring. As the person sleeping, there probably no downside. Unless you sleep talk and start talking about something embarrassing or taboo, you will probably only wake up with a start from seeing someone look at you when you open your eyes.


Romanticism: Oh, how cute, they're feeling a little bit spoilt and they decided to sleep on your lap. Or you guys were just enjoying the weather after a delicious picnic and you're in such a food coma that you rest your head on their lap. It's so nice, the warmth of someone else's body as your pillow. You could stroke their head as they slip slowly into sleep. You can bend all the way and kiss their forehead. Such a sweet, sweet notion. And the sleeping can hug the other's waist and bury their head in the other's belly. It feels like the world belongs to just the two of you.

Reality: Uh huh, to do this you normally would have to fold your legs. Which means you will lose feelings on your feet so fast you wouldn't believe. So you decide to change position and straighten your legs instead. Which is all good but you will lose feels on your thighs. The only solution would be to wake the other up. But, really, you want to be that one who ruins romantic situations? Yeah, didn't think so. Being the sleeping one, you could also get crick on your neck, waking up to a certain form of neck and not knowing how to get it back without hurting it. Or, if you're a noisy sleeper, you might just roll off their lap - in which case, I really hope you land on something soft.


Romanticism: Oh my God! I thought you said you couldn't make it or I thought you said you were somewhere else! Yeah, when the timing is right, showing up unexpectedly is a really, really special notion. It was like all hopes were lost when they said they couldn't come or something like that. But, obviously, the impact would be so much bigger when you are expecting the other person and know that they cannot come. Then voilà! There they are! But, if it's just any other day (and especially if you are seriously busy), they would just come out a bother or not all that special. But, otherwise, it would be as if they dropped everything to just be with you. How can you not award that with a delightful squeal? And, if you're the one doing the surprising, seeing their delightfully surprised face will be such, such an awesome reward to our your hard work in trying to hide it from them and actually getting to them.

Reality: Yeah...about that. It works the first and second time you do it. But starting from the third, it just becomes a rather predictable outcome. You just end up getting irritated by all the things this plan lacks, namely certainty. It's not as if your whole life is spent just waiting for the other. If they say they're not coming, there's a chance that you will make other plans. And, even though you're probably delighted to see them, at the same time you're also a little pissed because they might've ruined whatever it was you had planned or because you haven't gotten things quite as you would like them to see. Also, as the person surprising, once you do it once or twice, they might not get as surprised anymore. Or, even at the first try, they might not give you the reward you were expecting. So, yeah, it's romantic in notion but, unless done perfectly, do not expect anything.


Romanticism: I should imagine this could only be done when both of you are not living with your parents anymore. Especially, when you're in an LDR (or SDR, in my case) state. In such situations, it would be great to be able to spend some time together. Not just some time, but also days, so you get to be part of the other person's daily routine. Ah, it feels like you are newlyweds~ So you do everything together: cooking, cleaning, washing, grocery shopping, etc. If you or they live alone, no roommates, it would really feel like newlyweds. Otherwise, you can spend time with their friends, hanging out with people who know them when they're far away from you. Ah, such is life.

Reality: Not unlike being in other people's houses, being in his house means getting out of your comfort zone - your home. Sleeping over at someone else's home might be a little more endurable but being in their home is a little less so once you get in a fight. Sometimes you probably also want a space for yourself, especially when you're there for a rather long time. But, since it's not your place, your space is his space. And that will be so uncomfortable when there's a tension between you. Or, maybe, there doesn't have to be a tension. Sometimes you just want to be by yourself. But you don't have the space because you're not where you actually have a space of your own. Also, you can feel trapped because they probably want to do the things you don't want or vice versa. And! If they're the one sleeping at your place, they might ruin the dynamics of your place. Either way, you're out of comfort zone so it can indeed be less comfortable at times.


Romanticism: There is a beauty in feeling like everything the other person does affects you in some ways. That they brightens your days, that arguments with them put a damper on things and they become the background of your thoughts. You want to hold hands with them, kiss them, hear their voice, stare at them and hang out with them ALL THE TIME. Isn't it magical to finally have someone you can rely on 24/7? To have someone you barely know suddenly becomes a part of you? Surely, you cannot exist without the other.

Reality: Here's the truth. You can exist without them. You probably haven't known them all your life and, therefore, they are a stranger. Even if you have, it doesn't change the fact that they're someone else. They may be a part of you in some way, not unlike your friends and family, but they are not you and, therefore, shouldn't make decisions for you - whether intentionally or otherwise. If you're too dependent on them, you won't be able to function properly. And, the truth is, if you want them to be in the rest of your life, you should be able to. Also, if the table were turned, you wouldn't like to have them all up in your space, do you? The same would apply to them. Every now and then, do not forget to take a step back from the relationship to dignify as well as identify yourself - with or without him in the equation.

Well, that's all the scenarios I can think of right now. If you have any other scenarios that you can think of, please let me know and I will see if I can see the realistic side to the notion. Seriously, I'm a romantic but I'm also pretty realistic. I have been in love with my significant other for four years - which is seriously nothing for me because I'd crushed on guys longer than that before - but everything surfaced. I'm still waiting on romantic situations to happen and all. But it's usually not the situation that should be romantic, but how you see them. And I live life wearing romance goggles so yeah.