ordinary life

In exactly two weeks minus one day, I’ll be a university graduate once again. That is, considering that I’d write and submit the 8000-word research report in time, because honestly, I haven’t started.

I tried opening a blank Word doc on Monday. Obviously, it didn’t work. I ended up having lunch with my sister and other friends, accompanied her to buy some stuff and watched Masterchef and The Voice at night. Yesterday, I tried starting again. I managed to go as far as keying in random words on Google Scholar before watching Masterchef and finishing Andy Weir’s The Martian. It’s a good book. But if you’re not a reader, watching the movie is suffice.

It’s 11.40 am when I write this entry. Obviously, the real work will start after lunch.

And has anyone felt that Melbourne’s getting colder by the minute? I refuse to get out of bed in the morning just because it’s too cold. I’ve been sleeping in my sister’s (empty) room and turning on the electric blanket. I wrap myself with the throw on the sofa almost every waking moment. Throughout the day, I alternate between drinking Japanese matcha green tea and Japanese normal green tea.

Then it hits me: I’m going to miss this.

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Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.

William Martin
what does home mean to you

Last weekend, I helped my partner pack up all his possessions as he was about to move to another place. As I put both meaningless and meaningful stuffs in different bags and boxes, I started to develop a new sense of appreciation to my own apartment.

I’ve never moved before. Well, not completely.

When I moved from Jakarta to Melbourne for the first time in March 2010, I still left half of my possession at home. When I moved back from Melbourne to Jakarta in December 2012, I left three-quarters of my stuff here.

Every time I move, I am pampered with the fact that I don’t have to vacate the place. Both Jakarta and Melbourne are home to me, and I have actual, physical homes at both places. That’s a wonderful feeling.

I’ve never realised how liberating it is, until I help my partner move.

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every dollar counts

Last year, I won second place of a poster competition and received a $100 gift voucher to be used at the university bookshop. I was so happy. I bought some books and saved the remaining money for another time, thinking that I would buy more books in months to come.

As I’m nearly at the end of my university journey, today I went to the shop with one objective: I would spend the rest of $39.44 and never think of it again.

I didn’t realise the experience would bring me so much pain.

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decluttering

After submitting that thesis, my life has been put on hold. I’m still not yet done with university—there are two more assignments due on June 7th—but for the most part, I’m living like a college graduate. I cook, I bake, I clean the apartment, I watch TV, I spend the entire morning drinking coffee and staring blankly at ‘Add New Post’ page and I send a few emails.

So what’s on the agenda for this bright and beautiful Monday morning? (I have no work and the sky is literally blue; I can say that it’s a beautiful Monday.)

Today, the agenda is decluttering.

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trying to be an adult

All throughout childhood, we can’t wait to grow up. But now that we’re of adult-age, why does it seem so hard to fully embrace adulthood?

Here’s a confession from your fellow gen Yer: despite having been an adult for six years, sometimes I still feel like I’m a fraud. I’ve always thought that being an adult, I would dress better. I would have deep and meaningful chats with friends and acquaintances every time we have Italian dinner. I would walk pass the salespeople on the street and politely look them in the eye and say, ‘No.’ At the very least, I thought I would be able to go to the liquor store and buy a six-pack without getting asked for ID.

Some weeks ago, after having dinner with a friend, we stopped by the supermarket and I was thinking to pamper myself with a bottle of beer. I marched as per usual to the counter, and the Caucasian lady in her late 40s took one look at me and asked for my age identification.

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not yet a woman

In the month when I turned 24, I embarked on a project: asking people from various walks of lives on their take on adulthood. I aim to get 24 responses, and ended up getting 50.

These are their answers, and together, they account to over 10,000 words. For the sake of readability, I’ve broken up their answers to ten on each page (hence, five pages in total). The answers are of random order.

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supporting your partners dream

Two years ago, I wrote and published a short ebook titled Swimming with The Sharks. It was a 20,000-word PDF file containing stories of my life after graduation—how I got my first full-time job and threw it away, and how I got my second full-time job and threw it away. Ah, life was good.

Two years later, like all writers out there, I Googled my own name to see what the world know about me. (Ahem, don’t tell me you’ve never Googled your own name before.) I found my website, my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter account and this: a Goodreads page on my ebook.

There was a review on it, a good one, and I was excited. I took a screenshot and sent it to my fiancée. He disappeared from the What’sApp chat for two minutes. The next thing I knew, he had straightaway went to Goodreads to rate the book.

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On closure

I have only been to two funerals that I remember. One is my grandfather’s funeral from my Mom’s side, who died of lung cancer when I was eight. I didn’t remember the songs we were singing, but I remember we did sing some songs. I remember going to the funeral house at night and talking to relatives and strangers alike. I remember sitting down on the side of the casket, my sisters sitting beside me, listening to the pastor talking. I remember looking down the casket and seeing Kung Kung lying there, wearing a flawless black suit and white gloves, his hands folded on top of his chest. There were two white cottons stuck on his nose holes. I remember the funeral the following morning, where we throw flowers and water to the freshly dug earth.

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The real meaning of proposal

Having been engaged for almost one week, I want to tell you that life’s pretty much normal. Despite what my friend told me on the day, I slept very well, thank you very much. I cleaned my apartment and had coffee and went out with friends.

I’m happy that I’m engaged, but apart from being self-conscious about the ring on my left hand’s fourth finger, life’s still, pretty much, the same.

A lot of people see proposal as something life-changing. It’s such an important day, and there’s so much pressure to make it perfect. It has to be a surprise. It has to be something very meaningful. It has to be grand. It has to be magical. And remember the year where everyone seems to propose with a flashmob? Yeap, good luck topping that off.

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