to swim

Sometimes I feel like drowning.

I feel like the world is happening in a very quick motion and I am the tiny parts of it, trying to survive, to adapt, and barely making it. It feels nearly impossible to catch up, and I am not even half the way yet.

The thing is, its only me. Everyone seems to be living in their perfectly-shaped bubbles, worrying about nothing, being genuinely happy.  It feels like I am the only one running in this quick pace, as if I am running away from something, from someone. Perhaps, running away from myself.

And in this continuous loop of trying, achieving, running some more, most times just hiding, something down there keep on pulling me down, and those above me don’t help at all. I just feel like I am slowly watching myself sinking, down and down, without being able to stop.

Without knowing how to.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I see the first ray of sunshine peeking through, and yet both seems so far away, too far to be reached, and I am somehow afraid that if I show myself, the shine might burn, and all at once I am out to the world, all screwed.

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goal: to be just as  happy as her // weheartit

adel.

 

*it has been some time since i post anything here, but the past two months have been such a blessings. i start my new school year as an 11th grade high school student, i finished my school’s orientation program as a mentor, survived most of my tests and quizzes, and finally two weeks ago got the chance to go to japan (again!) along with my two bestfriends to attend the most amazing 6 days-program of my life (which i will definitely write something about in this blog)

but, along with having the best experiences of my life, i sometimes feel rather, not alone, because i actually enjoy being lonely, but i just feel like it has been hard to connect with everything around me lately. its like i am walking and living on a different radar, on a dimension others don’t reach. it feels almost like how i describe it above.

no, i am not depressed. i am just a little confused, and maybe a little bit more sad of my recent life decisions and just being unhappy with myself right now. but i know for sure that i will, sooner or later, find a way to get out of this pit of no motivation and this pit of only living my life as a habit, as something i am obligated to do. i also will get back on track, hopefully, as soon as  possible.

it feels so good to finally be able to write again here. 

Japan 2018: temples, trees, and bamboos (2)

If you are planning to go to Kyoto, you might have heard or googled and came across Ginkakuji Temple and Kinkakuji Temple. Both temples are known for their similar name, which means Silver Temple and Gold Temple. They were also famous tourist spots in Kyoto. The Silver Temple were located inside a beautiful garden, where visitors can walk along the pathways and enjoy the greens and very photogenic trees. Seriously though, I took so many pictures inside the garden and made my brothers pose along with me.

 

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adel and greg
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ginkakuji temple

The other temple, Kinkakuji, was my personal favorite out of the two. It was a big temple standing gracefully in the middle of a small lake inside a garden. The temple is covered with real gold and because we came in the middle of the day, the sun was directly shining on the golden temple and it was reflecting the shine well. The garden was a little bit of a downer, I prefer the one before, but the temple was really really beautiful.

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kinkakuji temple

We also walked along the Philosopher’s Path. It was a 2 km walk along a small river from Ginkakuji (Silver) Temple and it ends around the Nan Zen Ji Temple area. The quiet atmosphere made it very peaceful, no wonder it was called the Philosopher’s Path. There were big stones every a hundred meters or so where people can sit down and enjoy looking at the river, reading, talking, or maybe thinking.

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the view on our walk to philosopher’s path
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random selfie is a must
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spotted some where along the philosopher’s path. a dream house!

The small river was very clean. I was not sure it was an actual river, it might also be the city canal, but the water was clean and clear. We saw a lot of fishes and some ducks. It was a very common scenery to see fishes and ducks even in the gutters and drains in Japan.

It took us probably around 35 – 40 minutes to arrive at the Nan Zen Ji Temple, because the first leg of the walk, we needed to take a break every a couple of minutes to wait for my grandma. But then she decided to took the taxi right back to our house and my mom, my brothers, and me finished the walk.

When we were going there, the road passed some schools, and it was exactly around 4.40 pm and the students were going home. They walked really quickly compared to us! Ah, Indonesia really need a lot of work to do, especially on the pedestrian walk!!

The Nan Zen Ji Temple was located inside a big garden in the middle of like, roads full of houses. We didn’t make it to the actual temple, but we took some pictures on the giant gate around 300 m from the main temple.

We then walked back to the closest station, stopped a little bit for ice cream break, and continued the walk. Ice creams in Japan are amazing, and it was being sold everywhere, in every place we visited and every road we walked in!

My mom then came up with this idea to go to Kyoto Station. On her last visit to Japan last year, she tried an amazing 100-yen-a-plate sushi restaurant inside the mall at Kyoto Station. The kids, including me, were so excited and decided to try and find the restaurant. We are all sushi and sashimi lovers!

The restaurant was called Sushi No Musashi. It was pretty famous and you can easily find news and reviews about it from Google. They sell the sushi on conveyor belt going around a giant squared table, pretty much similar to the sushi bar we have in Sushi Tei in Indonesia.

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an actual definition of home

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Most of the plate cost only 146 yen, or 18.000 rupiah. Some of the other menus cost around 346 yen, for the special and more expensive fishes, like FATTY TUNA. You got two sushi, or one (if it’s a little bit premium) for each plate. I ate 10 plates in total. The best thing about this restaurant was that they have different color codes on the plate for sushi with wasabi and the ones without.

The four of us spent 1.450 yen, which was around 450.000 rupiah, but it was worth the 21 plates we all ate in total!

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the literal happiest

After this, we went back to Sanjo-Keihan and walked to the Gion area. We walked to the famous temple in Gion, Yasaka Shrine. Because it was at night, there was not much to see. W didn’t even get in the shrine, but it was beautiful because the lights were on.

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We didn’t actually find Gion that night, but ended up arriving at the City Center, and by that time we have walked too far, so we decided to eat somewhere. Initially, we were lining up for Ichiran, but then we bail because the waiting time was an hour!

Instead, we indulge on this amazing ramen, located right across Ichiran. There was way too much oil there for me, but taste very good.

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look at the onzen eggs!

The next day, we all went to visit the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Groove. It was yet another tourist must visit destination. Being around tall bamboos really made me feel like I am in a different world. It was located near the Arashiyama Station.

Pro tip, you have to come very early to get perfect shots, because there will be not much people in the morning. We came at around lunch time, and it was hella crowded and pretty hard to take pictures.

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Inside the bamboo forest there were a giant villa and a tea house which was owned or used to be owned by someone powerful in Japan. I didn’t remember who he was, but there was a small museum dedicated just for him near the exit. Each visitor got a free green tea along with some sweets on the tea house right near the entrance. They served authentic green tea and a wafer with matcha paste inside. Both taste amazing.

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yap, yap, yap
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straight out of mother earth

Kyoto, I am indeed in love!

adel.

Japan 2018: Kyoto, The Japan We Know (1)

Last week, I went to Japan with my whole family. It was a fun 8 days trip exploring two cities, Kyoto and Osaka. As usual, I will update my traveling experience in series of blogposts, so here we go!

The first city we went to was Kyoto. We arrived early in the morning and the first thing we did was getting our ICOCA card, which was a card you can use to pay train and subway fares by tapping it on the machine before we enter the station and before we left the destined station.

We then took the airport bus to Sanjo Keihan, where our AirBnb was located. It was a really homey, Japanese traditional type of houses, with the tatami and all. Kyoto was actually one of the city in Japan which has a lot of traditional buildings and temples. The ambience of the city was also slower, compared to the bigger and more modern cities like Tokyo or Osaka.

You can feel the taste of old traditional Japan here. We visited the Kiyomisu Dera Temple. It is a big complex with a lot of stairs and not only one big temple, but a collection of small temples in the color of red. Unfortunately, we didn’t enter the temple, which lead to a long path going up a mountain because we were traveling with out grandma and she can’t walk too much, but the view from up there must be amazing, so I will recommend you guys to visit it.

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happy me, happy me
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a temple i saw from the airport bus

 

I have been to Japan earlier this year, but I only stopped by two cities, Fukuoka and Nagasaki, because I was on a cruise trip. Out of so many softcreams being sold in Japan, my favorite ice cream was the one called Cremia. I really enjoyed the CONE!! because it reminds me of Lidah Kucing, an Indonesian traditional cookies. The iccecream was also very milky and almost cheesy, taste like cream cheese.  10/10 highly recommended. Usually it cost more than the other icecreams.

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c r e m i a

Our first night in Kyoto was spent eating sushi as dinner at the first restaurant we saw when we were walking on the way to Gion. It was great and the sushi was fresh. The price was not that friendly though, but based on the brochure which I kept, the restaurant has a lot of branches so it’s not surprising if it’s a well-known restaurant and therefore set their price quite high. They only open from the evening until pass midnight, so there were a lot of people having dinner with their co-worker when we were there.

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Breakfast was quick and amazing with Onigiri from Family Mart. Japan is famous for their convenience stores and how well-served the food being sold there are.  You can expect a healthy meal only from a convenience store, like rice balls or onigiri, salad, cold udon and soba, even teriyaki chicken with rice and pasta! The ingredients were also very fresh and taste as good as the ramen or udon I tried in an actual restaurant.

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the ones i bought from Family Mart. the rice balls from Seven Eleven were cheeper (100 yen!)

The next spot we visited in Kyoto was the famous Fushimi Inari. There were a lot of Torii Gates, creating a path going up to the hill. The top of the hill, or the mountain, was believed to be the place where the Gods live. A lot of people tried to reach the highest point then come back down, and the whole trip would probably take hours.

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But as usual, traveling with grandma means not being able to walk too much, so after like two stops (there were gaps between the rows of Torii Gates where we can sit and enjoy the view around), we went back to the big temple and went back.

The path going to the grand entrance of Fushimi Inari was filled with food stalls on the side of the road, so we decided to try some of the food there. I ate warm rice wrapped with pork, takoyaki, crabsticks, and many more!!

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So that concludes the first part of this Japan trip blog series! I will update more about the beauty of Kyoto and it’s amazing food soon!

 

adel.

JOHN 16:2

I woke up today around 8.50 am to the devastating news about the bombings happening in 3 churches in Surabaya, Santa Maria Catholic Church, the Indonesian Christian Church and the Pentecost Central Church. One of the church, St. Maria, was the church my close friend’s grandpa went to each week. He was there among the masses, and gladly is now safe.

The bombings seemed to be arranged almost very organized, only minutes between the other bombings. A lot of my mom friends live in Surabaya so she kept the family informed through messages she got in her social media. We turned the television on and tuned in Metro TV to get the latest update. I deep down cursed all the perpetrators of this horrifying event and everyone being involved in it, using terrorism as an act to ‘protect’ their identity, whatever it is.

Days before the bombings, the media had constantly talked about other sad and heartbreaking news about terrorism, the one happening on Mako Brimob last Thursday, robbery happening in Cileungsi, this, and now the terrorists who just got arrested  after the shooting happening in Cianjur just hours after Surabaya bomb attacks.

I still had to go to church on 10 am with my youngest brother, so I got ready and went to the church in my neighborhood I used to go to. My parents attended the earliest service and told us not to be scared with the news spreading around.

The church was expectedly a little bit vacant than how it usually was, the 10 am mass is usually the one with the most people attending.  But there were not much people, and I noticed there were a couple of police officers who were standing buy in some locations, spreading around the church.

The atmosphere inside the building was also tense, and throughout the mass, every time there was any loud noises, mostly from the kids who were running around and fell over, people got triggered and started looking around to find the source of the noise.

Let me tell you, it was actually not calming to be in that kind of environment, where people were always aware and awake, in a place where we all used to feel the happiest and safest in. But the atmosphere was quickly changed when it was time for our beloved pastor, Romo Ben, to give us homily.

He talked about the Bible verse we were reading today, which was about the Ascension of Jesus Christ. He spoke about how we who believe in Christ had been cleansed by Him and now live along side with Him through His salvation, and therefore should do as what He always told us to; to love and take care of the others.

We as believers who were faced with this situation should not feel scared or afraid with this, but to pray for them, for all the victims and for the perpetrators too. Christ taught us to love our enemies and forgive those who had wronged us.

Romo Ben told us not to seek revenge or try to strike a certain group, religion, race, etc. He told us to pray, and to restrain from posting any provoking pictures or status to spread hatred. “You can’t fight fire with fire, you can’t fight hatred with hatred. Fight with love, because that is what we all actually need, what they actually need. Love,” he said.

I immediately took my phone from my pocket and typed away everything he said. I felt like as cliché as it is, we do need to spread love. When event like this happen, you can see people being angry and sad, and it is okay express it through social media. But we can never feel afraid. We should not be filled with hatred, but to forgive and pray for the victims and most importantly, the perpetrators.

After homily, we all seemed to relaxed a bit and by the time we all had to shook hands and do Salam Damai, we were all smiling again and shaking each other’s hand, and it warms my heart so much on how much what Romo Ben had said today affect us. We didn’t look scared or tensed anymore, and until the mass finished, things went smoothly.

I can’t imagine a lot of these little kids in Surabaya, waking up excitedly to worship Lord, wearing their favorite clothes and batik, their bag along with their Bible in it, to only become the victim of these heartless people. My heart ache so bad reading the news and watching the live report on the television.

It is never okay to use anything as a justification to kill somebody. Beliefs should make the people of it to live a peaceful life, not to justify yourself doing harm and be cruel. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “Most people today want a religion which suits the way they live, rather than the one which make demands upon them. Religion thus becomes a luxury like an opera, not a responsibility like life.” And I agree so much.

Attending the mass right after the chaos today and listening to what Romo Ben said really do regain my faith in humanity. That even in the midst of this chaos, we have to realize that there is a way out. We as humans have the power to regain back humanity. By fighting against terrorism, not sharing any pictures of the victims, not starting any online war with other groups, or creating new speculations about the event.

It is normal to express our deepest condolences and pain in social media, to remind people not to split but to stand up together fighting for terrorism, to keep yourself updated and tried to help by donating blood or transferring money, or as simple as praying, but it was never okay to comment anything unnecessary, calling it as a drama, or as a deception from something else. Ultimately, it was NOT okay to use this sad event to defend your own political interest (that include your stupid tweet, Sir, you know who you are).

I just can’t comprehend the amount of hatred a person can have towards others, to the point where they think ending their life and killing others as something holy and an act that would preserve the name of God. They want us to feel afraid, but in the end all they did was to make us stronger and regaining our faith on our belief in spreading love. We didn’t get on their level at all.

My deepest condolences go to all the victims and their family. I hope everyone who are hurt heal quickly and get well soon. I hope you don’t have anything towards the people who hurt you, but love and mercy, and the capability to forgive them.

Lastly, here is a Bible verse that I found earlier today, which I think resonates a lot with today’s event, from John 16:2: They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.

Kami tidak takut, kami muak.

adel.

 

k e m b a l i

Aku harap kau merpati terbaik

agar ku tak perlu ragu.

Melepasmu jauh terbang

sebab yang terbaik, akan selalu pulang.

 

Aku harap kau ombak

agar aku tidak perlu takut.

Melepasmu jauh pergi

sebab ku yakin, kau akan kembali.


I hope you are the best pigeon

so I don’t need to hesitate.

To let you fly far away

Because the best, will find home and its way.

 

I hope you are waves,

so I don’t need to feel afraid.

To let you go distant in turn

because I am sure, you’ll always return.

 

Being pretty, and why it’s not my priority

Growing up and even until now, my mom and dad always called me pretty. When I was a kid, I took it genuinely as compliments. But as I grew older and becoming a teenager and learned more about what society’s standards of being pretty actually are, I decided for myself that I am not pretty. I don’t fit the mold that the fashion industries had created or the types of girls most boys in my school likes.

I realized that, looking at other girls in my class and school and realizing that I don’t look like most of them, because first of all I am Chinese. I have the smallest eyes and even a very small nose, not the features girls seems to be dying to have. I never had the skinny body that most people seems to be craving for. I started to take my parents compliments as something every parents would say to their children. Because every parents would have thought their children are the prettiest, or the most handsome.

At first, I didn’t really care. I knew that I am not pretty, but at that point of my life (when I was in elementary), I didn’t think it was a big of a matter. I was friends with everyone, and I was known as one of the smartest student in class. I have quite good communication skill for kid my age so often times when people label some kids as ‘pretty’, or ‘naughty’, I have always been known as ‘smart’ or ‘bubbly’ instead.

But just like most girl, I have felt insecure for my physical looks before. I secretly compared myself to my friends, or specifically the girls that were considered as the prettiest, the ones that my guy friends would chase.

When I was in middle school, my mom once said this. I don’t think she still remembers that she once stated this, but this is one of her words that I never forget. “Cie, remember that there are so much more than just being pretty. There are also so much more than just being smart. You can be pretty, but stupid, and it won’t get you anywhere in life. You can be smart, but if you are not nice and compassionate to others, no one would want to work together or be friends with you. There are so much more to you than just to be pretty.

I was really active throughout elementary and middle school, even until now that I am in high school. I joined and take roles in organizations, and I became the vice president of the student council in middle school and participated in a lot of competitions. I am still not the prettiest students in school, and people have always called me as ‘cute’ instead. Not that I am mad about it though.

Sometimes I do feel the need to look pretty and to be as pretty as other people I see. I mean, isn’t it natural? Humans never feel happy and grateful for what they have had in life. We are too busy comparing our life quality with others without trying to see what they are going through behind the screens, behind the smiles and giggles.

Based on my observations towards a lot of people I’ve encountered in life growing up, I realized that most people most of the times will judge someone by their looks. We instantly would have certain stereotypes about other people.

You know what? Some girls who will instantly make boys go crazy since the first meeting? Not being that type of girls don’t make you any less than pretty.

When it comes to crushes and boys having feelings for me, it has never been and probably will never be love at the first sight. They have to get to know me first, and in the process find something else more interesting than just ‘pretty’. I am an open and cheerful person usually so it’s not a big deal to get to know me, because I will do almost all the talking. I don’t usually notice people having crushes on me until either they confessed it to me, or someone else have to tell me and then I’ll get more aware after, or I ended up liking them after that and starts noticing them differently.

Going through high school, these insecurities starts to pops up in my head more often. I became more aware of how I look in front of people, and I start to care about what do others think of me when they see me. It doesn’t happen every time, but when I do, I got the tendency to look and try to act professional and charming in front of people because I secretly wants them to be impressed.

Until one day, my friend said something that made me realize something. I remembered that I was in a classroom during a debate class. The other students are doing their own thing and having fun, and I was sitting behind one of my friend.

She is one of the nicest and most genuine person I know. She is considered very pretty, and not only that, she is also smart. The first months of me going to high school, a lot of boys and seniors have had crushes on her. I bet she experienced the similar thing when she was in junior high.

No wonder though. She is indeed pretty.

We were talking casually, I didn’t remember what was it about, until she said something like; “You know what Del, sometimes I wish people would want to know me more before labelling me as pretty. Sure, it is a nice compliment and a nice reason to like me, and I feel lucky with it, but I want someone who can see more than just me being pretty.”

Her words really made me think. In the end, we as humans will never feel genuinely happy and content with ourselves. Everyone, no matter how pretty or perfect their life might seem, is fighting a battle that we have no idea about. Her comments made me realize that being pretty is not and will never be the most important thing in life. More people should realize this. That people just can’t see humans from their appearance and looks.

Because each individuals are unique in their own way, not to be compared with other being. We have to remember to never settle for looks only, but to always see more beyond that. We are all deserving of genuine and real love, that sees you more than just your physical look, more than just your brain, but your personality, your behavior, your way of thinking, your soft skills, every little thing that makes you, you.

 

adel.

Doing Java

I am currently reading a book by Niels Mulder called Doing Java. It was an anthropology book about his research on Javanese people and the aliran and how it became the framework of the community and other social groups being made at that time, which was around 1970s.

Let me tell you the back story first. My teacher gave the whole class an assignment to read one non-fiction books and write a long (by long, I mean really really long like 80% of the book itself) summary about it. We have to choose a topic that we like, for example like Politic, Law, Sociology, etc.

Me, given the opportunity, decide to read an anthropology book. But I didn’t find the book I wanted, or at least the one I like and actually is motivated to read, until I found this book. Sadly, it was written in English, and the assignment was given to me in Indonesian class. But I’d rather read a book from a different language than having to read a book I am not interested in at all, so I decided to take it and ask my teacher about it.

Turns out, she gave me the permission to read this book. She reminded me that I would have to write the summary in Indonesian, which means I would have to translate it by myself. The motivated me decide to keep on reading anyway, thinking that it’s not going to be a hard assignment as long as I am actually interested in the book I have to read.

I have been reading this book for a couple of days though, and have read until around 50 pages from the whole 200 paged book. It was, just as I predicted, so much fun. The writer talks a lot about his experience travelling from Singapore to Java using his motorbike, and his experience meeting the locals along the way.

There are some way of life and morals that he learned, like being very surprised with the way people in Bukittinggi eats (Makanan Padang). The servants will serve him all the menu and dishes they have, and he actually only had to pick the ones he wanted and pay for it. He also questions a lot of things (which were also questions I thought about from time to time), like ‘why do the Islamists felt so threatened by tiny minorities like Buddhists of Christians?’. I haven’t got to the part where he found the answers to it, but I really hope he will mention the answer somewhere deep inside the book.

He also wrote statements which probably are a bit provocative, but is actually true, like “I get the impression that all Javanese are believers, but prefer to fill in that belief according to their individual inclinations.” He also wrote about his thoughts on why he thinks Java will never be prosperous at that time.

This book gave a totally new perspective about Javanese people and especially how they live in general influenced their life and the social groups around them. Most of the topics he was talking about was surprisingly still related to the conditions nowadays.

It amazes me how much can you learn from talking and just being there around the locals. From observing and experiencing things first hand, and how great it is to be able to learn about new perspectives of other people’s way of life, the reason behind it, and the impact for themselves. This book reminded me a lot of the famous Buru tetralogy that my favorite Indonesian writer of all times, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, wrote about similar topics.

He talks about the life of Minke, a young Javanese student who lives among the the colonists and colonized of 19th-century Java, and how he fights the confines of colonial structures. But this book was written by a foreigner, a fellow Dutchman, and gives a new fresh perspective of how someone who are not familiar with our culture perceive us.

doing java

I find it quit challenging to translate it and to write a summary about it, because most of the sentences are important and he uses some vocabularies I am not familiar with so I had to go back and forth looking at the dictionary app I have in my phone while doing it.

This book is very very recommended to all my friends and followers who are either very interested in studying more about Indonesia (yes, David, that includes you!), or is very interested in learning more about Anthropology in general.

The other day a random thought came to my head that maybe I really need to take Sociology and Anthropology as my main subjects in University soon. Who knows?