November 10, 2017

Conversation with People #2

I always believe that at any point of our lives, there will always be good people, be it someone we have known for the longest of time or recently acquainted, whose act of kindness will impact us in the most unexpected ways. But these people will only come to us if and only if we allow them the chance to enter our lives and help us. And by 'allow them the chance', I am referring to any form of action. It can be in a way that they come to our lives as people who intentionally help us or it can be the other way around, meaning that they come to ask for help first. And by 'help', it can be anything given to us that we never knew we needed. 

As I am typing this I was reminded of this one particular person, who had helped me in the most unusual way, and whose help would not have occurred if I had not given her the chance. A friend from college in England five years ago, we have done fun things together but we were not too close to share lots of personal stories. Although we had been maintaining contact ever since I left England, it was never more than a reaction to each other's Instagram post. Then sometime in August, she sent me a message that inevitably changed the way we perceive and communicate to each other. 

"Zuu. Do you have any time for a phone call? I just read your blog post about depression. I really want to chat to you about that Zu, cause I'm going through the same thing that you did and I was as confused as you were until I read your blog post"

I was a bit dumbfounded when I read the message for the first time. Not that it's because about depression, but because it came from her, this  energetic, cheerful, and passionate girl whose I am secretly envious of when I knew she got a chance to climb the Himalayas. 

"Of course! How about this evening? I'm still collecting data for my research now and only finish in the evening".  
I replied her message, gave my Whatsapp number, and set the time to make a call. 

At that time, my feelings was mixed. On the one hand, I felt sorry for her and wanted to help her any way I can, but on the other I was a bit nervous. First, we had not talked each other for quiet a while and this one time that we did, it was about a very difficult subject. Second, I have never been a fan of phone call, having always preferred meeting in person or texting. To me, any phone call except from my parents, my younger sister, and my boyfriend, is most likely to get me nervous before I pick it up. Third, I was afraid that I would disappoint by not being able to do much about her problems. And it seems as if the universe responded to my anxiety on the situation, it was rather difficult to match our schedules. Either my phone running out of battery, she was still on the way to her home, or me falling asleep while I wait for her to come home. Indeed, we postponed our call until two days later when she finally texted me again.

"Zu, can I call you now? I really need to talk with you, even only for fifteen minutes"

And after her message at that time we finally made the call which lasted for almost an hour. 

The conversation went well. I didn't feel awkward about talking with her, even when we delved into her depression story. To this day we still chat once in a while, though most of the time we tend to send voice notes, one of the best inventions ever I might say, due to its convenience. To me, it feels like exchanging letter in that we do not need to reply each other's voice notes in a rush. Not only does it get me more excited whenever I receive new notes, bit it has also made our communication more lasting than if we meet for just couple of hours in a day. So far, we have lots of interesting conversations, some of which have inspired me and are worth remembering. I might write about these in the future, but now I want to share some conversation that led to many others since.   

"Zuuu, halo! Umm, I want to ask something... so, I'm feeling better now and happy more regularly... but at the back of my mind I still feel the burden.. b-but it's weird cause I'm only happy on the surface. But when I'm alone, all the negative thoughts come back. Did this happen to you, o-o-r am I becoming better? What's happening to me? Ooooh my god". It was her first voice note. There was the sound of undulating ocean waves in the background of her "half worried and half confused laugh" voice. 

I was in the train as I replied, the sound of its wheels bumping against the real tracks in the background. I told her I felt relieved to hear that she was happy and agreed that she should avoid being alone in her room as it easily brings negative thoughts. She replied back, saying that she was felling good at that moment because some of her good friends came to visit and they went to this beautiful remote island for a weekend getaway.She continued that she was afraid of being left alone again once all of this is over. I could relate as I had had been there last year when my sister and good friends left Rotterdam. But only then I had an epiphany. 

"Oh, it's good to have friends accompanying you there. In my experience, it's important to have people alongside you in this kind of situation... they don't have to be the people closest to you, indeed, they can be anyone as long you can hold on to them to continue living. It's like trying to cross a deep river by stepping from one stone to another. They might come in all shapes and sizes, but as long as you have them, you will be safe from drowning"

Two days later she replied me. This time it was quiet, her soft voice was the only sound before it trembled slightly in the last minute of the recording. 

"I agree... it's so easy to get caught in our thoughts that we don't have anyone. I mean even though physically I'm literally alone here, but I do have lots of friends and some of them are even helping me a lot at the moment. Like you... even though you're not here physically, but just by listening to me and giving advice, it does mean a lot to me. I think you're right that sometimes our thoughts can really mess us up and it's really dangerous... but when there's emotional support, no matter how small, it does help.... thanks a lot, Zu.. seriously, I'm really really really grateful.. even though I know you're busy with your research at the moment, you still make the time to listen to me and help.. it's a journey, and I'll still need your help. I can say that I'm in a better place than I was last week"

And everything was going well until she sent me a voice note in the next two days. There was a long, deep sigh before she started to say something. 

"Oh my God... I'm so tired of this ups and downs... I thought I was getting better..." 

She took another long and deep sigh before continuing.

"So yesterday I went to psychiatrist.. I just wanna get checked like am I okay, or am I not okay. If I'm okay then great, I have nothing to worry about.. I can, you know, keep continuing on myself as I did for the past couple of days... but.... it turns out that I need to go for a therapy. She said I have mental depression, and I need to fix myself with this... and it crushed me because just a moment when I thought I was okay, then there's another step back.. I don't know what to do, Zu.. I'm so tired of all of this..."

The pain in her trembling voice was palpable. It was obvious that she almost, if not cried. I couldn't help remembering my own experience in the situation last year. The moment that I was so tired of life because I was so confused of what stage I was in it. Those moments where I convinced myself I was okay but suddenly feel down again by the slightest gust of wind.

"If you think that going to the therapy would just make you more depressed because of the burden, then don't do it. I also used to think about going to a psychiatrist here but I realised it would only complicate my life because of the long procedure. So I decided to hold on. And even though it's a long process, I have reached a point where I can safely say that I can (still) handle this on my own" 

But the day after I sent her the voice note, she replied and informed me that she decided to take the therapy. 

And it's been a week since she gave me her last voice note about her decision to go on for a therapy and I just realised it today that I haven't replied her message. Things got bit more hectic than before as I was busy with my preparation for another data collection in Semarang. 

"Hi youuu, how's the therapy been going so far? I'm really sorry I just replied your message as things got busier and also I was sick the last time you contacted me. I hope the therapy makes you feel better"

We started chatting again, catching up on the latest news about each other. While she said the therapy had made her slightly relaxed, she still felt anxious and panicked from time to time. In return, I told her that lately I was also started getting anxious and panic more often, but I always try to find distraction.

"Yup, that's what I also found... but have you ever felt like when you get panic and try to do something else, but it apparently makes you feel more anxious because you feel like you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. But when you try to do it, you just cannot because you're panic. So it becomes a vicious cycle"

"As you said, sometimes I also feel that way and when I do, I try to do things that could calm me down without making me feel guilty afterwards... something productive like doing exercise, walking, or trying to do the less stressful part of my work... but if all else fails, I would stop doing anything, and usually end up crying... but I think there's nothing wrong with that, because I tend to feel completely relieved afterwards and ready for work"

"To me, the hardest thing from my depression is my own thoughts... whenever there is a problem, I will always think about it till I reach a point where I cannot see any way out. Is it the same to you?"

"When I get depressed, I also thought that there was no way out... but I try to trick my mind, ensuring myself that there will always be a solution. Even though the results won't be according to my expectation, I see it as another challenge for me to convince myself that imperfection is a part of life, and that it's completely fine if sometimes reality doesn't meet our plan or expectation". After saying this, I realised that advising someone else is always easier than doing it to myself.

Being alone in an unfamiliar city with almost no familiar faces around me, plus the fact that I started to get more tired each day because of the field work I had done for almost three months now was surely taking lot of my energy, both physically and mentally. This condition opened up some negative thoughts again in my mind.

"To me, one of the reason why I fell into depression was when I found out the fact that to live is to suffer. Sometimes when I'm alone and too sentimental, I feel so tired to live my life because we always have to fight for living and to hold different kind of pain when we enter different phase of our lives"

I was aware when I was writing the sentences that it seems so pathetic and rather childish which made me feeling guilty afterwards.

"Sorry I know I should give you more positive messages but instead I wrote something that sounds so pathetic and pessimistic" 

But her answers were making me so peaceful to the point that I would read it whenever I feel down. 

"Honestly, I also feel the same way sometimes, so in this case you're not alone. I found myself asking to God quiet often lately, 'Why it has to be me who go through all of this?' Like yesterday my motorcycle fell down and my mom who was sitting in the back was having a light short term memory loss because her head hit the road. Before it happened I was happy because we actually just got back from a trip, and the bad thing happened again. Then all those inner voices started and I had to battle with it. It got to the point when I said to God that I'm so tired and ready to go. But he said not yet, keep pushing through. It's not time for you to go. I'm preparing you for something greater and to everything there's a process. I can't tell you what my plans for you yet, but you will see"

"The thing is, for people like us who are perfectionists, this is tiring, I mean living life which is full of uncertainty. But just how you can trick your mind that there's a way out to every problem, maybe do the same when you feel that this life is all about keep fighting. Tell your brain to shuddup and tell your hear that this is a process that you're getting to something greater"

"Now I can tell all of this wise things just because I'm in a good mood, but when I'm down, I feel like falling down from Himalaya and find myself hard to climb up again. If anything, we are going through this together. I share things to you, and you can do the same to me. It makes me feel happy, indeed. And don't feel like you only need to share positive stuff. Only McDonald's who always can make us happy so he can produce happy meal. Real people have struggles and we can't do life alone"

By the time I reach this sentence, I just couldn't help myself smiling and laughing. She was really in a good mood that she could make a joke out of depression. But what made me feel much better was that since then I found the person I can talk and fight together with. Not everyone can handle negative thoughts and anxious voices, but with her, through our occasional exchanged voice notes, I can do something that I hardly do to other people, just because I'm always afraid that I will be judged or be a burden to them, especially those who haven't really experienced what I have been through. Then I realised it isn't actually me who has helped her, but indeed, she has been a much helper to me to this day. 

November 07, 2017

#ROH 73 : Winter Outfits

Jadi setelah setahun lebih, akhirnya saya posting foto ala - ala lagi! HA. Jujur aja, udah beberapa bulan ini semenjak saya merasa pipi semakin membulat dan badan semakin melebar akibat banyak faktor salah satunya karena eating disorder saat lagi stres melanda dan juga saat tinggal di Bandung yang setiap harinya nyobain makan ini itu, saya jadi semakin enggak pede buat posting foto ala - ala *yaa meskipun akhirnya beberapa tetep diposting juga di Instagram, heu!*. Bahkan saya pun enggak pede untuk memakai hijab yang terinspirasi dari Hana Tajima, karena membuat muka saya semakin mirip bakpau :)) Tapi kali ini udah enggak sanggup menahan hasrat buat foto ala - ala, yang sebenarnya udah tertahan dari Desember tahun lalu, loh. Karena sebenarnya salah satu yang membuat saya bisa menerima winter adalah outfit-nya yang membuat orang - orang terlihat lebih berwibawa serta tentunya 'kapan lagi' bisa menggunakan winter outfit kalo bukan pas lagi di negara empat musim, kan? ;)

Oh iya, sama seperti postingan yang saya buat spring tahun lalu, postingan ala - ala terakhir yang saya buat (bisa dilihat disini), kali ini sebenarnya saya juga excited karena mempersiapkan outfit buat next trip (akhirnyaaaaaa!). Nah berhubung akan banyak faktor yang membuat foto ala - ala enggak maksimal, seperti cuaca yang tidak menentu dan waktu yang cepat sekali gelapnya, maka lebih baik hasrat foto winter outfit dibuat dengan menggunakan self-timer supaya terlihat lebih maksimal. HA. Kali ini sekalian nunjukkin beberapa atribut winter yang menjadi favorit saya, mulai dari pakaian dentam perpaduan bernuansa pastel dan terang agar mengurangi suasana winter yang cenderung gelap dan sebagai alternatif dari kebosanan akan warna monokrom. Karena winter enggak selalu harus hitam dan abu - abu, kan? Lalu ada topi fedora dan tentunya glove yang bukan hanya membuat hangat tapi juga jika kedua atribut ini digunakan dalam satu waktu dengan coat atau cape, maka secara otomatis memberikan kesan elegan meski mungkin wajah tidak mendukung untuk terlihat elegan (seperti kasus saya contohnya, pakaiannya udah elegan tapi muka enggak bisa dikontrol #nasib). Oh iya, dari winter tahun lalu hingga sekarang saya masih belum bisa move on dengan cullot dan tights. Beda dengan winter sebelumnya, yang cenderung didominasi dengan skinny pants, kali ini entah karena faktor usia atau faktor berat badan (ha!), saya sering merasa enggak nyaman dan enggak cocok menggunakan skinny pants. Lebih tepatnya karena bikin paha saya keliatan gede sih (ha!). Dan satu lagi atribut winter yang sebenarnya udah saya pakai hampir tiap hari dari musim semi hingga musim gugur, yaitu oversized jacket. Meski kadang pada kenyataannya malah jadi bikin saya semakin terlihat berisi (ujungnya selalu mentok di urusan badan ya, hahaha), tapi untuk sepedaan, oversized jacket ini lebih nyaman dipakai dibandingkan coat.

P.S : karena foto - foto ini diambil dengan waktu yang seadanya, jadi harap dimaklumi jika background yang acak adul, kualitas foto (lebih tepatnya pencahayaan) yang kurang bagus, dan muka saya yang kurang mendukung. Harap fokus pada outfit-nya aja yaaa :3

 • Pastel Clothes • 

• (Bright) Colour Block •  

 • Cullot & Houndstooth  

 Fedora & Glove  

 • Oversized Jacket  

October 30, 2017

Vienna : The Elegant yet Forgettable One

Sejujurnya saya udah hampir mau skip kota ini dan langsung ingin menceritakan tentang Porto, karena saya sempat merasa kayanya enggak ada yang begitu menarik untuk diceritakan dari perjalanan singkat saya di Vienna. Untung banget sebelum saya memutuskan untuk melupakannya, saya melihat postingan Echa yang menceritakan pengalamannya selama disana, dan seketika segala hal menarik yang saya lihat di kota ini pun langsung kembali muncul di pikiran saya :') Kayanya karena perjalanan saya sangat singkat dan ditambah lagi sudah terlalu lama menunda buat menceritakannya, jadinya keburu lupa deh. Padahal sebelum berkunjung ke kota ini, saya sangat excited loh untuk melihat dan merasakan langsung seperti apa kota ini. Saya yakin siapapun yang mendengar Vienna pasti setuju bahwa beberapa hal pertama yang otomatis terbersit dalam pikiran mereka adalah kota yang pintar, elegan, dan klasik. Entah fakta bahwa banyak komposer, seniman, hingga arsitek yang menghasilkan mahakarya mereka di kota ini, atau karena coffee house culture-nya; yang jelas memang ketika jalan - jalan di kota ini saya pun merasa jadi mendadak elegan, haha! Meski memang harus diakui sekalipun begitu banyak hal menarik, secara personal, Vienna enggak segitunya memorable hingga membuat saya segitunya bersemangat untuk menceritakan kota ini. Tapi tetap aja sih begitu hari ini mengedit beberapa foto selama disana, pada akhirnya tetap menghibur saya yang lagi rindu dan butuh  jalan - jalan ke kota lain di Eropa, fufufu! #ehjadicurcolkan #gapapalahsekalikali :))


October 21, 2017

The Season of Transition and Contemplation

Dua hari yang lalu, salah seorang teman saya menulis di Instagram tentang betapa istimewanya musim gugur. Bukan hanya karena melihat kecantikan di saat daun - daun berubah warna, tetapi lebih dari itu, ada makna lebih dalam yang dirasakannya ketika melewati hari - hari di musim ini. Mengingatkannya tentang transisi antara satu tahap kehidupan ke tahapan berikutnya. I think almost everyone can relate to her experience. Melihat dan mengamati perubahan yang terjadi setiap harinya dari peopohonan di sekeliling saya ketika berjalan, bersepeda, maupun saat berada di dalam bus. Dari yang awalnya hijau, kemudian mulai berubah menjadi kuning, merah atau cokelat muda, lalu menjadi kuning dan merah terang serta cokelat pekat, hingga akhirnya satu persatu mulai meranggas, dan akhirmnya berguguran tanpa sisa. Makanya ketika musim ini tiba, saya selalu mendorong diri saya untuk lebih sering keluar apartemen, sekedar berjalan - jalan santai sambil menikmati dan memotret pemandangan yang mungkin tidak akan saya lihat kembali esok hari. Menghargai setiap waktu yang tersisa, sebelum memasuki musim dingin yang serat akan cahaya matahari dan kental akan suasana yang suram.

Bagi saya pun, setiap memasuki musim transisi, yaitu musim gugur dan musim semi, selalu ada perasaan yang mendalam dari biasanya. Ketika mendengar suara nyaring dari ban sepeda saya saat melintasi para dedaunan kering yang terhampar sepanjang jalan. Ketika menggunakan pakaian berlapis - lapis dengan perpaduan berbagai warna bumi. Ketika mencium aroma apple-cinammons dari scented candles yang sedang menyala, atau sekedar ketika meminum secangkir teh susu panas. Ada perasaan berbeda ketika saya melakukan semua hal itu saat musim gugur dan ketika bukan musim gugur.  Dan yang paling tidak terelakkan adalah perasaan yang membawa semua kenangan di masa lalu. Tentang tepat satu bulan yang lalu, ketika malam ini saya masih berada di Bandara Soekarno Hatta bersama beberapa orang tersayang, menahan perasaan sedih akan kenyataan bahwa akan kembali jauh dari mereka. Tentang perubahan rutinitas, kebiasaan, hingga bagaimana saya membawa diri ke orang - orang di sekitar saya, ketika berada disini dan beberapa bulan yang lalu ketika di Indonesia. Membuat saya terhanyut oleh beberapa bait dari lagu The Beatles. There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed, some forever not for better, some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall. Tapi diantara berbagai kenangan yang sering menghampiri saya, salah satu yang paling jelas teringat adalah ingatan akan musim gugur sebelumnya, musim gugur tahun lalu. Karena saat itu diri saya rasanya seperti salah satu dari dedaunan yang sudah mulai menunggu waktu untuk terjatuh dari ranting pohon. Mungkin karena itu, musim gugur kali ini terasa lebih berharga, mengetahui bahwa saat ini saya masih berdiri kokoh dan berusaha untuk tidak kembali terjatuh.

Anywayyy, seperti tahun - tahun sebelumnya, pasti saya membuat Autumn playlist (meskipun selain itu juga saya tetap buat sih) dan berbagi disini. Sebelumnya saya selalu buat di 8tracks, tapi berhubung saya udah jarang menggunakannya, jadi saya bikin di SpotifyIt might not be a typical Autumn playlist, tapi saya bikin karena lagi suka aja belakangan ini dengerin beberapa lagu itu. Kalo kalian lagi seneng lagu apa? Boleh banget berbagi playlist atau rekomendasi lagu yang lagi sering didengerin belakangan ini :)

October 16, 2017

Conversation with People #1

There was this particular night when me and two others - my boyfriend, and a good friend of his - were talking together in one of my favourite coffee shops in Bandung. I can't recall exactly how our conversation started but it led to my friend asking me a question that I never expected to come from him or any other friends of mine. Not because it was silly or impolite, but because I didn't think I was the kind of person who could answer that kind of question.

"I've been wondering, how do you build your personal brand to attract blog readers and followers on Instagram?", he asked me seriously, but still with a smile on his face. Whether he did so out of curiosity, confidence in guessing a potential answer, or it's just simply his typical face when he's comfortable talking with people. It is hard to pinpoint. 

I only looked at him, with a hint of uncertainty as I was trying to digest his words before responding any further. 

"I mean, reading your blog posts, almost all of them seem very honest and authentic. But are you really being honest, or are you trying to build a particular impression?”

I was a bit surprised and actually wanted to say why he asked that kind of question to me. I felt that this question about self-branding should be addressed to those influencers who have at least 10k followers on their Instagram or those whose blog statistic reach one million readers. In this case, I'm definitely not one of them. Though to my surprise, I was asked the same question again in other time. This time cam from my blog readers who I haven't met before. 

"Hmm.. Honestly, I don't have any intention to brand myself through my writing, let alone a strategy. What I write on my blog is actually my honest feelings and thoughts, because I need to have an outlet to express myself and pour down my thoughts."

"But have you doubled standard your writings? You know, when you write things that only attract or indulge your readers?"

I was stirring my ice coffee latte with a straw, though at that point there were less coffee and more water from the melted ice. 

"You won't believe this, but I didn't even know that my writings would be that interesting to other people until two years ago when a publisher asked me to compile some of my blog posts into a book. So all these years, what I've written on my blog is truly something that comes from myself and to myself"

Both of them staring at me in a way that they were waiting for more explanation from me. 

I was in silence because suddenly I remembered the first time I realised that my writings are attractive was around two and a half years ago, when someone close told me that he read my blog. That moment I expected him to compliment my photographs, but instead he said he really liked my writings. I was touched because it wasn't something that I often heard from people when they look at my blog. 

"Of course, there are still boundaries that I put on my blog, meaning that I select which ones that I share with the public and which ones that are not. I don't tell stories or share my personal experiences on my blog until I've worked through them; I almost always share them first with my closest people, asking their opinion on my writings. I'm also still avoiding some sensitive topics, like bringing up 'Ahok' case on my blog, simply because it tends to cause conflicts and also I don't know the whole story surrounding it. But if I share my personal experience and feelings, even if there are different perspectives towards it, I won’t have to feel guilty or insecure about spreading false information, because I know the truth about what I write”

We became quiet again for a few seconds and this time, my boyfriend broke the silence. 

“She isn’t typical blogger who sells her blog and Instagram for endorsement and other people's demands. That might be the reason why even though she isn’t as popular as other bloggers, she has some loyal blog readers… because she’s being herself and authentic”

I nodded, showing my approval towards his statement

"If I want to make blog as tool for personal branding, I would have done that since years ago, and of course, my efforts would go beyond writing honest and authentic posts. I would have focused solely in writing posts consisting of fashion wear like other bloggers. I would have given tips and suggestions on traveling than my personal perception towards the experience. I would have just posted  "Pinterest" or "Instagrammable" photos. At the same time, I could join other community bloggers or hijaber communities to expand my blogger network. I would accept several collaborations that come from Indonesian companies and even a recent offer from an London-based international ad company. But as you can see, I don't do any of that simply because I value my blog much more than just a tool to elevate myself in other people's eyes and make business out of it. From the first time I discovered blogging, I've always been interested with blogs that I can identify with, blogs that have a feeling, blogs that can bring me to that person's world. And maybe it's the reason why I put mine into that direction. I don't know what kind of blogger I will become in the future, but at least for now, that's still my preference".

That was my answer to them. But these past few weeks, that question has been echoing again in my mind. I feel like they weren’t looking for an answer to the question, but at the same time I couldn't see the missing gap between my answers and their questions until last night, when my mom called me and suddenly brought up this question out of nowhere. Well, I assume she just read the comments from the previous posts on my blog and started to realise that I have some blog readers. 

"It's good that you found your passion through blog. But what kind of person do you want to show from your blog? A young woman who can cope with her struggles, yet would occasionally allow herself to disclose her vulnerability to the public? We decide how other people see us, we are the one who make those impressions through everything we post on our social media. So whether you write something for certain purpose or not, what you write would eventually influence the readers' perception towards you".

I kept quiet when my mother said that because suddenly I remembered the other time when I heard that there was someone who had been talking behind my back, claiming that I was the catalyst of my friend's falling out with her boyfriend because I'm the type of woman who does not need a "man". That time, I actually just posted something on my blog about how being single isn't something bad. I wrote that because I felt burdened with my then-status because of the society’s negative view on being single. So I wrote that post hoping to change that perception, that sometimes it's okay to be single and there are even some benefits to it. What I didn't realise earlier that not long before that, I also wrote my thoughts about single woman and PhD. But did I intentionally create the idea that I am an independent woman who is against relationships? Nope. Not at all. That time I wrote all of those things simply because I felt like I was a victim of social paradigm about my position as single woman who wants to pursue a higher education degree than most women and men in my age, which hinder me to have new relationship. In this case, I just realise that I build a certain impression of myself to other people, which I didn’t expect.

I used to be ashamed about myself in many ways before, simply because what I am and what I do, more than not, do not fit with what most people are and do. I spent more than half of my life being embarrassed with myself and struggling with self-confidence. To be frank, I'm still struggling sometimes, and I think I would continue to feel this way for the foreseeable future. Through this blog, I simply want to share my experiences once I pass through said struggles in life and if I cannot hold my feelings alone, I will implicitly (or explicitly, albeit unintentionally) tell my personal (and sometimes, if not most of the time, sentimental and vulnerable) stories. But having this conversation with some people, I understand that despite my initial intention to simply just share my experiences that I hardly get from the society I live in, I need to be more aware and rather be careful of what I write and post in here (and Instagram), because I would both intentionally and unintentionally have created particular impression about myself to other people. To conclude, self-branding is not only for influencer or celebrity, but even for us, as common people. Because if we give false impression, that would be burden on our shoulders. 

October 15, 2017

Semarang : The City of Good People

Pernahkah kamu melewati masa dimana kamu merasa begitu banyak hal – hal buruk menimpamu dalam satu waktu yang berdekatan, hingga membuatmu berpikir, dari karma yang mana lagikah yang sedang semesta balikkan ke hidupmu? Kalo mau bikin satu postingan tentang hal – hal menyebalkan yang saya lalui selama seminggu ini, mungkin postingan ini akan menjadi lebih panjang dari yang saya publish sekarang. Tapi kejadian tadi sore membuat saya tersadarkan kembali bahwa diantara banyak hal buruk selalu ada kebaikan yang tidak saya sangka dan datang dari orang - orang yang tidak saya sangka juga. Di lain waktu akan saya ceritakan apa yang terjadi dengan saya, namun kali ini saya lebih tertarik untuk menceritakan pengalaman yang saya dapatkan ketika di Semarang, sebuah kota yang tidak pernah saya sangka sebelumnya, akan menyentuh hati saya karena kebaikan yang diberikan oleh orang - orang yang saya temui selama disana.

Saya ingat betapa resahnya hati saya ketika sudah mendekati waktu dimana saya harus memulai riset saya di Semarang. Enggak ada yang familiar bagi saya, baik kota maupun orang - orang di dalamnya. Bisa dibilang, satu - satunya orang yang saya kenal adalah Iluk, salah seorang teman blogger yang selama ini hanya saya temui di blog, atau di Instagram-nya. Pertama kali kenal Iluk karena kepo setelah dia men-tag saya di salah satu postingannya saat ia membeli buku saya. Terus iseng - iseng buka blog-nya, langsung merasa ada beberapa persamaan diantara kami. Tapi yang namanya teman di duna maya, rasanya masih terasa seperti "orang lain" hingga beneran ketemu di dunia nyata. Makanya terlepas dari keyakinan saya bahwa kami akan cocok ketika bertemu dan tentunya tawaran - tawaran baik dari Iluk untuk menemani saya jalan - jalan selama di Semarang, yang cukup menenangkan hati saya, masih ada rasa cemas yang menyelimuti saya ketika sampai di kota ini.

Tapi enggak butuh waktu lama untuk melihat dan merasakan kebaikan orang - orang di kota ini. Mulai dari kehangatan para mahasiswa UNDIP yang sempat membantu saya survey disana; yang sejujurnya sedikit saya dapatkan dari para surveyor di Bandung yang *padahal* berasal dari almamater saya. Belum lagi warga kampung yang menjadi responden riset saya, sebagian besar dari mereka sangat welcome untuk membantu saya mengumpulkan informasi yang saya perlukan dari mereka. Bapak penjaga kosan saya, Pak Midi, yang dengan sangat baik membuat susu jahe setiap malam dan sarapan untuk saya yang memang saat itu sempat enggak enak badan selama beberapa hari; dan itu hanya dari kepekaan beliau ketika mencium bau kayu putih ketika berpapasana dengan saya di dapur. Mas Adin dan Mas Bagus, perwakilan dari Komunitas Hysteria, yang juga sangat welcome dan membantu saya mengumpulkan informasi untuk riset saya. Hingga ke pihak pemerintah pun, yang awalnya paling bikin saya skeptis, ternyata sangat mudah mewawancarai mereka. Karena pertolongan dari mereka itulah yang membuat pengambilan data riset saya selama di Semarang lebih cepat dari yang saya rencanakan, dan tentunya membuat beban saya terasa lebih ringan.

Diantara berbagai orang - orang baik yang saya temui, tentu aja yang paling berjasa menemani saya selama di Semarang adalah Iluk. Mulai dari mengajak saya untuk bermalam di rumahnya ketika malam takbiran dan menghabiskan Idul Adha bersama di puncak-nya Semarang, which is something I highly appreciate, karena merayakan lebaran sendirian di kota yang enggak familiar adalah salah satu yang sempat saya cemaskan sebelumnya. Dan Iluk yang tampaknya udah mulai menyadari bahwa saya tipe orang yang enggak enakan, berhasil meyakinkan saya untuk ikut ke rumahnya.

"Enggak usah enggak enakan kak... Aku tuh dulu pernah di posisimu, Kak.. jadi tau rasanya menjadi anak rantau yang kaya anak ilang. Tapi aku bersyukur banget di saat itu banyak dibantu orang lain. Makanya aku juga mau ngelakuin hal yang sama". Kurang lebih begitu jawabannya, ketika melihat saya bolak - balik merasa enggak enak karena udah banyak merepotkan. Mulai dari nemenin kuliner ke berbagai tempat yang bisa dipastikan enggak akan saya coba kalo enggak dibawa Iluk, seperti salah satunya yang jadi favorit saya adalah kuliner di taman segitiga, nasi goreng Padang Bangjo, dan Tavern; nemenin benerin laptop saya yang tiba - tiba enggak bisa dinyalain; nemenin jalan - jalan ke Kampung Pelangi dan Kota Tua Semarang; dan lebih dari itu semua, berhasil membuat hari - hari saya di Semarang lebih menyenangkan dari yang saya pikirkan sebelumnya dengan berbagai candaan receh kami. Makasih banyak, Iluk, udah jadi adik, teman, kakak (karena seringkali lebih wise dariku), dan sahabat pelipur lara :3

P.S: Luk, jangan sampe diabetes ya abis baca postingan yang kalo kata anak - anak milenial "sweetness overload". HA.