Truth to be told, I’m not that eager about entering 2018. While the new year symbolises a new beginning, a fresh start, a possibility that ‘anything can happen’, for me it resembles only one thing: uncertainty.

Over the past week, I’ve read many Instagram captions, Facebook posts, and blogs about what friends and other people would like to achieve in the new year. I’ve read resolution after resolution, from being more mindful, doing more exercise, losing those few kilos, to learning a new craft.

Me?

Something to do with a job.

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1. IN THE BEGINNING: A GIRL WHO CAN’T COOK

I can’t remember exactly when I first entered the kitchen to cook alongside my mother. But if you want the answer to how many times I’ve been in the kitchen to help my mother cook, I can totally answer that one — a maximum of eight times.

I grew up in a household where my mother stays at home and cooks, yet I never really learn to cook myself. I’m an expert at cooking Indomie Kari Ayam (chicken curry) and for the longest time, that’s the only thing I can cook. I know the exact amount of water needs to be used to make the perfect soup consistency. But I have no idea how to hold the knife to chop garlic.

During junior high school, the only time I would hold a knife was when I was peeling and cutting mangoes. I love mangoes. And for that sole reason, I would be willing to cut mangoes after school when my mother was away, or taking a nap.

My mother often asked me to come help her to cook in the kitchen. I always said no and chose to finish a quest of Final Fantasy VIII on my Play Station 1 instead.

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AS A CHILD, I love gifts. On my birthday each year, I would get many presents wrapped in colourful paper, and a cake with candles to blow.

My parents, who claim were not spoiling their children but actually did the complete opposite, never failed to get me gifts. If you happen to visit my parents’ house in Jakarta, you’d notice four full cupboards of barbie dolls, poly pockets, legos, stuffed animals, puzzles, comic books, and other stuff. Amazingly, even after their youngest child (read: me) has gotten married, those stuff are still there.

My grandparents have showered me with presents too. I remember getting traditional Chinese music instrument, kites, clothes, toys that walk, toys that talk, and my most prized possession (at that time): a PlayStation 1.

I love tearing the paper, opening a box of surprise that I hope I’d love at the first sight. Sometimes, of course, I don’t.

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YESTERDAY, MY MOM CALLED, asking what I was doing. I was in the middle of steaming my homemade custard buns, so I hung up the phone and Facetimed her instead. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to just show her what I was doing.

She told me that she was going out of town for the weekend, and filled me with news and gossips on family and friends that I had missed since I moved back to Melbourne.

Then she asked, ‘How’s the job hunting? No reply yet?’

Erm, no. Not yet.

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MOST QUESTIONS ABOUT ONE’S life revolves around two things: relationship status and employment status. This is especially true for those who are in their mid-20s.

I know, because after being asked about my married life, the question that follows is this: What are you doing now?

Depending on who’s asking, I would answer differently, ranging from: unemployed, slowly getting into the job market, or enjoying life. And they are all true. Actually, the latter is the most accurate description of the three.

I am what you call a stay-at-home wife. I don’t have kids, but I stay at home. Thankfully, my dear husband is (currently) okay with this.

A typical day for me includes being kissed good morning by the husband before he goes to work. I’d wake up at around nine, then proceed to make coffee. I’d wash the dishes, then open my laptop and browse the net. I’d have leftovers for lunch. Then I do a bit of cleaning, laundry, or anything else that needs tending to. In the evening, I bake, or drink tea while reading a book. At around 6, I’d ask when the husband is planning to be home, and cook dinner. We’ll then eat while watching TV.

‘Aren’t you bored?’ a friend asked.

Of course not.

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I WASN’T THE TYPE of girl who dreamed of getting married early. I never actually dotted down the ‘perfect age to get married’, but if I did it would probably be somewhere in my late 20s. And honestly, I never thought that I’d be one of first ones among my peers to be a Mrs.

My first sister got married when she was 25, and during one of the family dinners my uncle approached me and said, ‘Remember, don’t get married too early. Enjoy life more.’ My parents were also on the same wagon—they preferred their daughters to only be ‘daughters’ for as long as it was possible.

Obviously the advice didn’t stick, because three months after my sister’s wedding, I got into a relationship.

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By now, you’d have probably heard the news: I am married. Tjokro and I tied the knot in a simple, intimate ceremony in Melbourne last weekend, and the day was just magical. I don’t just say that because I’m biased (wait, maybe I am), but it really was a blessed day.

I am yet to find time to sit down and tell you all the crazy stories about preparing two weddings and a marriage, (believe me, this is going to be my next book), but over the past few weeks I did write a few bits and pieces on my Instagram account.

This post is a compilation of those stories in leading to the wedding. And since I am no longer obligated to keep our prewedding photos a secret (not that I ever did), here they are.

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Dear Poy,

Today would be one of the last times that you’d sleep beside me. I know, many times I’ve complained of my inability to get a good night sleep with you kicking me every three or four hours. But now, as I sing you to sleep (and yet you still refuse to close your tired eyes), I begin to feel a pang in my heart.

Today would be one of the last times that I’d get to sing you to sleep.

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I’ve always dreamed of being published, yes, but I haven’t had the chance to dream of being on air.

Nevertheless, the opportunity came along for me to talk about my book on UFM 947 radio, a Jakarta-based radio for mothers (yes, their target market is 25 to 35-year-old women, most of them moms), and I had so much fun talking on it.

Honestly, I prepared next to zero. I have no idea who the host would be, what questions would be asked, nor the tone of the talkshow. Since I knew nothing, I decided it would be better to just do nothing. I jotted down some points I’d like to talk about, then I went to sleep.
But when I walked into that studio the next day I realised that I didn’t need to prepare a thing, as the radio host has masterfully prepared the segment to be as smooth sailing as possible. If you listen to the talk, you’ll realise how much effort he has put into researching this book—he literally read the book from cover to cover, picked the juiciest bits to talk with me about, created a storyline for the 60-minute segment that covered everything, and was able to make me at ease throughout the talk.

Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better host.

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Planning a wedding is tiring.

Yes, it’s a happy time—I’ve been looking at pretty things with hefty price tags and dreaming about them in an obsessive-compulsive way, albeit never going to have those things at my own wedding. That kind of happiness.

A friend has recently, politely, told me that it’s two months to the big day. It hasn’t really sunk in, actually. Should I panic? Is it actually still a long time away? Or is it such a short time away? Should I start obsessing about every single little thing?

Like, I probably should contact my florist and talk about the details. Yet I’m still indecisive on the exact colours of the bouquet I want for that day. I probably should finalise the transportation for our (my fiancé’s and my) big happy family during their stay in Melbourne. Yet I’m still too lazy to make any decisive plan.

We haven’t decided on the songs. Yes, we’ve decided on our walking-down-the-aisle and first dance song, but I never realise that we actually have to choose a song for signing the register, ceremony recessional, reception processional, and so on.

And that’s just the Melbourne wedding.

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