Standing up for the right thing

I WAS sending my fiancée home when I brought up the honey incident for the third time that week.

Passionately, I told him that my Facebook comment was marked as spam and that the Twitter representative stopped replying after I asked for the complaint procedure. I told him that I had filled in an enquiry form through the website—that I had asked an acquaintance for their email address and sent my complaint.

He was listening silently. Then looking towards the road, he said, ‘I think it’s too much.’

‘What?’ I said.

‘This. I think you need to know when to drop it.’

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Photo used with Creative Commons Zero license.

In 2013, evolutionist and atheist writer Richard Dawkins created a fuss on Twitter because he was not allowed to ‘bring his honey onto a plane in his carry-on luggage’. We learned the lesson and we put all our honey jars inside our checked-in luggage, yet I would still end up creating a fuss.

My family—my grandparents, my parents, my sister and my baby nephew—were about to fly back home to Jakarta after spending their holiday in Australia and New Zealand. They decided to buy manuka honey as it is a well-known souvenir from this region.

My mother wrapped each jar of honey with duct tape to prevent a leakage, put all eight jars (of 500g each) into a small box and then placed them into a bigger box with other souvenirs—Tim Tams, Lindt chocolates, Kiwi biscuits and more.

We went to the airport, paid AUD 14 to get the box to be wrapped nicely with plastic and walked to the Garuda check-in counter.

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living alone

It always comes as a surprise to me that most of the people I know never live alone. And that includes my partner.

After helping him move last month, I came to realise, again, that he has never lived alone. He always has housemates, living with friends or with a guardian uncle who took care of secondary school kids when he was in studying secondary school in Singapore. But even after he moved to Melbourne to study and eventually work, he always shared a place with friends and acquaintances.

‘I don’t like coming home to an empty house,’ he said defensively. Well, it’s not like I attack him or something, but I’m a real advocate when it comes to living alone.

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searching for perfect wedding venue

Here is what I thought I would feel when I finally sign the contract with a wedding venue: ‘OH MY I CAN’T BELIEVE WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!’

Here is what I actually felt: ‘Hunny, let’s just get this over with.’

Wait, what? I’m not supposed to tell everyone that I have a date and a venue? I should share those details a few months before the big day? Ah, you know I’m a blogger.

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on death and dying

Before I go any further, I’d like to talk about why I’m talking about death.

The first reason is I’m a younger sister of a legit medical doctor, and I’ve lived with her for almost five years when she’s practicing medicine. I have heard many stories on patients dying told over dinner, car ride and on the phone while instructing me what vegetables to chop for dinner that day.

One of the things I remember my sister said to me is this: ‘Die of a heart attack.’ Don’t get cancer, don’t get neuroblastoma, don’t get an illness that makes you progress slowly but surely towards your death. Most of all, don’t get diseases that progress in the brain. That’s the worst.

Of course, everyone wants to die of old age when they are sleeping, but the stats says that out of 70% of Australians who want to die at home, only 14% eventually did. And only a fraction of those 14% would die peacefully.

So the next best thing is dying of a heart attack.

Not that we can choose how we die.

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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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