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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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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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I’m a proud person.

How proud? Well, I’ve immortalised my tendency not to ask for help in a chapter on my book. Yes, it’s that extreme.

On that chapter, I wrote about my reluctance in using ‘connection’—for example my father’s or my friends’—to get a job. I argued that if I’ve gotten a job due to someone’s help instead my own ability, I would forever: a) be indebted towards the person and b) be questioning my own skills as I don’t know whether I’m good enough for the job.

So I rarely ask for a favour.

And if I do, I’d make sure that the favour is something that’s easy to do for the other party—something that’s not going to take too much effort for them. Something like asking for information.

But apart from those information-seeking questions, my lips are sealed.

Yes, I’m odd.

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