Personal

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When Tjok and I first decided to try grow some greeneries, we really, really have no idea how to do it.

Growing plants should have been instinctive—after all, our ancestors have done it for hundreds of thousands of years. But we really don’t get the genes, and everything henceforth is trial and error.

In January, Tjok bought a seed planter kit for parsley, basil, and chive. Since it was summer, we decided to only plant the basil and chive. (We read somewhere that it wasn’t the optimal season for parsley to grow from seed.)

Weeks went by, and our seedlings looked so, so sad.

Really sad.

I wasn’t sure whether I’ve watered too much or watered too little. Or was it too much or too little sun?

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There are those who consider grocery shopping a chore. There are others who genuinely love to do groceries. I’m part of the latter group.

Even when I was still young(er), Mom would ask me whether I want to accompany her to go to the supermarket. Oftentimes, I would say yes, because I like the experience—browsing aisle upon aisle on things that I don’t need nor want, discovering that people do invent weird stuff.

Since I got married, I’ve made grocery shopping some sort of a project. Since my local supermarket (Woolworths) offers fuel discount (4 cents a litre) when I spend AUD 30 or more, that number has become the weekly benchmark. I try my best in shopping the specials, changing my planned meals for the next week should the beef is cheaper than the pork, and vice versa. And it doesn’t really matter if I don’t need other stuff apart from milk, I’d still walk down most of the aisles anyway.

I’d go to several Asian groceries to find out which one sells the cheapest soya bean. And I’d buy fruits at another store—which are of better quality and cheaper price.

Yeap, I really enjoy grocery shopping. I wonder how many of you feel the same.

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It’s easy to look back and spot the stumbling block as something that might even resemble a stepping stone. It’s harder to look at a bump on the road being other than, well, a bump on the road, when you’re actually on the road.

Do you get that? Erm, let me try another analogy.

C. B. Mosher once said, ‘Writing is torture. Not writing is torture. The only thing that feels good is having written.’ This could be translated as another thing: both not yet starting and being in the middle of a season suck.

At least, to an extent.

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I went to the library yesterday to pick up three books I’ve reserved.

One was Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl—a classic, nonfiction book about holocaust. The other was Artemis by Andy Weir—his recently released book after The Martian, which I love. The last was The Woman Who Fooled the World—a nonfiction book by journos Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano, telling the story of con artist Belle Gibson, who made millions by claiming that she had healed her cancer by eating a healthy diet. Thing is: she never had cancer.

I was excited, because all three books have quite a number of reserves.

I walked to the reserved bookshelf, and found the first two books easily. But I couldn’t find the latter.

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I wondered if the guy behind the counter would ask me the question. Again.

I stood up straighter than usual, put on a confident, no-nonsense face, and tried very hard to project the aura that I belong. I walked straight to the liquor section, grabbed a one-litre bottle of Baileys, and walked back towards the cashier.

The guy behind the counter, who looked like he was my age, smiled and asked, “Can I see your ID?”

I tried so hard not to roll my eyes.

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Growing up, I’ve never actually become super dedicated to something, or someone. Sure, like every 90s kid, I grew up liking Westlife, and even own several of their albums. I am a Harry Potter fan, but I never really dress up and queue for three hours to get the next book on the first day of its release.

And while my sister adores Tom Hanks and my friends giggle over David Beckham, I never actually identify as a fan towards a movie actor. Sure, Tom Hanks is brilliant. Sure, Tom Cruise is cute. Sure, Brad Pitt is kinda hot. That doesn’t mean I’m head over heels towards them.

Then comes tennis.

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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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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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