Marcella Purnama

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Marcella Purnama is a blogger and author of What I Wish I Had Known: And Other Lessons You Learned in Your Twenties. She has just realised that marketing a book is ten times harder than writing one.
459 articles written by Marcella Purnama

My fiancé was sitting down beside me, watching the Australian reality TV show My Kitchen Rules. But he was distracted with his phone and scrolled through a lot of unread emails. I was surprised on the sheer amount of it, because he doesn’t seem like the type that would opt for newsletter subscription.

I said, ‘You should unsubscribe. Like, you’re basically deleting everything now.’

He laughed and showed me his phone. ‘Hun, the emails are from Pinterest, telling me you’ve pinned something.’

Whoops.

So let’s talk about Pinterest: the wedding inspiration platform that has successfully brainwashed me into wanting things I don’t need and needing things I don’t even know exist before.

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Coffee in hand, I proceeded to write an email to the wedding band that my fiancé and I just saw yesterday. Yes, we’d like to put a deposit. And can you recommend the singers that would fit these songs?

Then I copied and pasted the song list that we had created, and told the band manager of our first dance song choice.

I hit send.

Okay, one done.

Taking a few more sips of my coffee, I logged in to my bank accounts and transferred money here and there. I looked at the transaction record for the last few days and checked if they were correct. They were. I switched to Facebook and scrolled through some updates. Oh, it’s a friend’s birthday today. I sent a happy birthday message.

Okay, another done.

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Parents with young children, I understand you now. There’s no such thing as enough time.

For the past few months, I feel like I have a kid. The kid is my three-year-old nephew, who has ten times the energy of an almost twenty-five year old. He could climb up and down the stairs, jump around for ten minutes and run around the house without even sitting down. Me?

Well, I’d have stopped chasing him after the second stair-climb.

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Twenty-sixteen is the year where I choose family.

It’s the year where I decided to go back home to Jakarta, away from my fiancé, to spend more time with my parents before saying yes to forever.

To be honest, it’s not easy to choose family, especially when you’re still adulting. There’s still pressure for me to perform, to tick the boxes and to compete with my peers.

On my two decades of living, twenty-sixteen is one of my least productive years. Yes, I finished a minor thesis and yes, I graduated from my Master’s degree. But apart from those perfectly planned achievements, I have no other thing I can tuck under my belt.

Nada.

Well, it’s hard to be in this life’s season.

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Do you know the meme of ‘What my friends think I do’, ‘What my family thinks I do’, ‘What I think I do’, and ‘What I actually do’? It’s usually funny but sarcastically accurate at the same time. Last Saturday, I was invited by …

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Consider I’m one of the lucky ones – I get to plan for my wedding twice.

Or consider I’m one of the unlucky ones – I get to plan for my wedding twice.

After finding and securing the big vendors (read: venue, make-up artist, photography and the like) for our Melbourne wedding, my partner and I are now planning for our second wedding celebration in Jakarta. This means we need to find another venue, another make-up artist, another photography and another everything.

To the ladies who say that planning for one wedding has caused them much headache, well, try planning for two.

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It’s September, and I’m now officially one year away from my own wedding.

After getting engaged in March and securing the venue of the Melbourne wedding, both my partner (or should I say fiancee?) and I were taking a break. We haven’t done anything wedding-related since May, but now that I’m back home in Jakarta, probably we should pick up the pace once again.

Yes, I’m back in Jakarta. With frequent travels to Singapore and Melbourne, of course, but back in Jakarta. At least until Chinese New Year.

So for the past week, I’ve been researching on vendors in Jakarta. We do have another dinner celebration here, and we haven’t really done anything for this one. So I start by stalking them on Instagram, and asking for their price list and packages.

Here’s something that I’ve known for a long, long time: Wedding is expensive.

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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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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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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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