August 24, 2018

Conversations with People #4

Earlier this morning when we finished having our breakfast, my mom suddenly asked a question that had come up so many times the past week and was now being brought up again. "Ah, you will leave again soon, Zu... it saddens me. Do you really have to go back to Rotterdam? Nowadays I just want to be like a hen, always bringing their kids under their pits wherever they go... while still be able to make the chicks grow independently"

I don’t know why, but her words made me recall a conversation between me and a good friend of mine merely three months ago. It was in early May, where we were just laying down at one of the largest park in the city, enjoying the weather that was getting warmer day by day. In the midst of our random conversation, we finally reached to a topic that we both were familiar with: long distance relationship.

"I honestly don't understand how can you maintain a long distance relationship with your boyfriend? I mean... when was the last time you met him?"

The conversation began when a friend of mine asked me that question out of the blue, with a face that looked so casual. Even though we had only been friends for less than a year, I knew that she wasn't the type of person who would ask personal questions to me. I am not sure whether it's because she didn’t want to pry into other people’s business or because she already knew that I'm a very reserved person. Once in a while, I would tell my friends about my personal life, if only on a very general level. Hence, I wouldn't be surprised if she was feeling too uncomfortable to ask me personal things. 

"Yeah... it was eight months ago... and we have practically met only, hmm, approximately three and half months since we got back together a year ago" I replied with the same indifferent look as her, while trying to hide my real feelings, which was not as casual as my look. I've never been particularly skilled when it comes to putting on a poker face. 

"Don't you sometimes feel like you don't have a boyfriend?", she asked gently. I laughed. I didn’t know whether because the question was too straightforward or just because it had never been asked before.

"I do! Hahaha! But to be frank, it's not only with him. Sometimes I do feel very distant with everyone in my life, including my family, to the extent that I feel like I'm alone in this world", I replied.

"Well... I do sometimes feel very lonely too. But in that case, I guess we can get lonely wherever we are, even when we are surrounded by our families and friends". Then we were both in silence for a few seconds, only laying on the grass while staring at the fat clouds that hung above us.

"That's true... I'm not saying that I never felt lonely when I was in Indonesia. I did, for many times. But I think it's a matter of us being human, that sometimes we get through times where we are little more sensitive and feel like nobody really understands or be there for us. But here... instead of just me being sensitive, I am, actually and literally, alone... I mean, you know, even though I have some good friends here, it's not like I'm building the same kind of relationship that I've built with my parents, siblings, and of course, my boyfriend, whom I've known for so many years. There are still walls that cannot be broken except by them... not that I want to, but it's just the way it is, if you know what I mean"

I was a little relieved as this is something that had been stuck on my mind for quiet a while but I could not find ways to convey it to words. But I was not sure about her feelings. She looked as if her mind was in the other side of the world until she finally spoke. 

"Yeah... you're right... Do you remember the day I came to school after two weeks of absence because my mother came to visit me? That day I told you that I could hardly stop crying for three days since she left me and it becomes so weird because I never felt like that before..." She stopped for a second and continued, "And the most possible reason behind that is because like you just said... despite the fact that I have some friends who comfort me, none of their presence can compare the warmth of my mom's hands"

Upon hearing my friend's reply, I remembered the excitement that was reflected on her face in a few days before her mother came. Not the "daughter misses mother" kind, but rather the "woman about to get various beauty and skin care products that her mother would bring for her" kind.

"My friend told me that after a year living here, her parents once came to visit her for three weeks. But rather than gratitude, she felt more regret. And you know why? Their presence brought back all the wonderful feelings that she had not felt ever since she started living here by herself... which had sent her into a yearlong depression. For the first three months, she almost cried every single day. And although she's getting better now, she's been struggling a lot to cope with her homesickness"

I stopped mid-thought for seconds, thinking whether the thing I wanted to say after this would be important enough to be told. I looked at her and found her face that looking like she was struggling to find words to respond. Then I decided to continue.

"She even told me that it's the reason why she decided not go back to Indonesia after she graduates nor allowed her fiancĂ© to visit her. Back then, it took her months to deal with the heartbreak after her parents visited her for three weeks. So imagine how much pain she must endure if she leaves her boyfriend again after meeting him"

The sun was shining bright, but under the trees it wasn't too sweltering.

"Yeah, long distance relationship really sucks sometimes. I might also feel the same way as her if I had a boyfriend back in my country... but what about you? Isn't it difficult for you when you have to come back here after spending a couple of months in Indonesia?", she asked with an expression that was glittered with curiosity.

I didn't know what I found funny about her statement... but I chuckled.

"I believe the struggles of having long distance relationship is surely not limited to romantic relationship between me and my boyfriend, but also with any type of relationships I have had with my family, my friends, and even people in general"

And now under my subconsciousness, I sighed. Then I changed my position, from laying down to sitting on the grass. I grabbed and sipped my Iced Caramel Macchiato before saying another thoughts that has been bothering me these days.

"I used to have the same thought too... because as you might already know and experience too with your mom, after getting used to the condition where I'm surrounded and spending much time with my family and my boyfriend, I will inevitably become more susceptible to loneliness. And when there comes the time separate once again, the pain and homesickness would be so much worse, especially the first few weeks after coming back to Rotterdam"

The memory from last year's September suddenly came to mind. The moment I went through the departure gate and waved at my parents, my boyfriend, and my little brother who were there with faces that clearly told me the same mixed-feelings I had. That day I learned that whether I am the one who leaves or is left, as long as it's related to the people whom I open my heart to, the level of pain has no difference.

"But you know what is way sucker than that?"

She was in silence, as if knowing that it was a kind of rhetorical question, and waiting for me to continue.

"When I was in the state where I forgot about their existence, and maybe I was too forgotten by them... I don't know about you or other people, but to me, physical presence is irreplaceable. Call me old-fashioned, but none of the technological advancements we have today has replaced the significance of physical presence. Once in a while and for a small part in our lives, they undoubtedly help in connecting us. But to me, there will always be some days where I would feel less attached because I rarely meet them in present. There would be some days when I feel useless because I can't give them direct support. And partly because I'm not the 'texting/telephone/videocall/you-name-it'  type of person. Most of the time, I'm not good at having conversation and maintaining relationship through those things... not to mention the time gap which makes it harder than it already is. I just realised recently that I'm better at meeting and talking in person rather than through texts or calls. Sounds funny, huh? I keep making long distance relationships with people in my life, and yet I'm actually not good at it"

I am not usually talkative and almost always hold the position as listener. But there was something about talking with her that made me feel better being a talker, no matter what the conversation is about.

"At first I thought long distance relationship won't be that hard as I had been quiet familiar with it since over than ten years ago when I studied in a different city from my parents. My relationship with my boyfriend was also the same... we used to have 3.5 years which was mostly spent by long distance. Thankfully, we are all the kind of people who love to have some space and time to be alone. But you know, the thing is, there are times that we just want to be like other families and couples... that we don't need to wait for almost a year to spend quality time together or even as simple as holding hands just to convince us that we are both loved and love each other"

And after being in silence for a while, she finally replied.

"I can completely relate to you... there will always be a different kind of warmth and comfort the hugs from our parents would bring when compared to the hugs of our friends. For me, no one here can bring out 'the little daughter' side out of me besides my father... or 'the prankster' which I only reveal in front of my little brother only to tease him"

Listening to her words instantly reminded me about the other sides of me: the 'jahil', the talkative, the fragile, the cranky, the spoiled; which I only reveal to a few particular people in my life. All those sides which I have kept hidden here, not because I don't want to, but because I simply cannot. It's not that I never get angry or never tease my friends. But I think the level I have shown those sides of me to them will never be the same with the ones I showed to the closest people I have back home.

Then after that, I couldn't remember how our conversation about long distance relationship came to a close. But besides all the things I said to her, there are actually lot of things that were not told that day. If I could reverse the time to get back to that day, I would add some things that I have only figured out after coming back to Indonesia today.

"The worst thing about having a long distance relationship is that sometimes we cannot see nor experience directly the same situation that other people have which leads us to assume based on what we heard from them, which sometimes is not the same as what they really feel. The fact that I always think my parents are healthy because they convinced me so. The fact that I always think my siblings are able to face their problems without any help from me because I saw their 'good' updates on Instagram. The fact that I always think it should be okay if I can't accompany my boyfriend to attend his friends' weddings and reunion, and even in some weekends, when he goes to cinema by himself. They all said to me that they were all fine, which apparently in some days, was not the same definition of 'fine' as I have"

They said, when we spend too much time with some people, we would forget how precious they are than when we are afar from them. But when we rarely meet them, we would see their worth but at the same time we could forget their existence. And maybe because all of this, it keeps making me depressed. Because whatever path we choose in our lives, whether we want to keep the distance or to minimise it, there will always be trade-offs of our choice. 

August 19, 2018

Engagement Story #2: Cincin & Seserahan

Kalau ditanya hal yang paling mudah diurus selama acara lamaran ini, maka jawabannya adalah berburu cincin serta seserahan! Terutama buat urusan cincin sih, mulai dari proses pencarian tempat membeli hingga pemilihan cincin, berlangsung sangat cepat. Mungkin karena kami berdua pada dasarnya enggak mau ribet dan ditambah saya juga sebenarnya bukan pemakai perhiasan, jadi begitu Ican bilang udah ketemu tempat yang direkomendasikan banyak orang, tanpa ba-bi-bu lagi kami langsung ke sana. Begitu sampai di Toko Emas Kenanga Cikini, ternyata memang ramai hingga kami perlu menunggu agak lama sampai giliran kami tiba. Secara gitu kan, ada beberapa pembeli sebelum kami yang butuh waktu lebih untuk memilih model cincin hingga menegosiasi harga. Sedangkan kami... rasanya enggak sampai setengah jam aja udah selesai. Ha! Dari awal ditanya Ican saya mau cincin seperti apa, sebenernya saya pun bingung karena bagi saya yang penting cincinnya simpel dan bisa aman serta nyaman untuk dipakai sehari - hari. Makanya enggak heran kan kalau cepat selesai :))

Sama halnya dengan pemilihan cincin, urusan seserahan pun Ican sangat membebaskan saya dalam memilih barang - barangnya selama itu akan sering saya pakai. Begitu udah ditetapkan kisaran budget untuk seserahan, langsung deh saya semangat banget merinci beberapa barang yang memang udah lama ada di dalam wish list saya! Kapan lagi kan bisa milih kado buat diri sendiri? Hihi. Oh iya, masalah seserahan ini memang personal dan sangat tergantung preferensi setiap orang sih, tapi bagi saya yang terpenting adalah kualitas dan fungsi barang ketimbang kuantitas. Jadi buat seserahan di luar makanan totalnya hanya lima box, sedangkan seserahan makanan totalnya enam box yang berisi makanan kesukaan saya. Selain itu saya juga enggak mengikuti "aturan" isi seserahan pada umumnya karena ada beberapa diantaranya yang enggak sesuai dengan keinginan dan kebutuhan saya. 

Sebenernya udah dari tahun lalu saya naksir banget dengan sandal uniknya Tigah. Cuma karena harganya yang bagi saya udah di luar harga standar sebuah sandal, maka saya menuda buat beli. Jadi begitu diminta Ican buat list barang seserahan, Tigah ini termasuk barang pertama yang terbersit di pikiran saya. Oh iya, saran saya buat kamu yang ingin beli Tigah, sebaiknya beli langsung dari toko atau seenggaknya dicoba dulu. Dari pengalaman saya, ukurannya enggak ada yang benar - benar pas di kaki saya. Biasanya size saya antara 38 atar 39. Tapi begitu dipakai, 38 terlalu kecil sedangkan 39 kebesaran di kaki saya. 

Ini juga local brand lainnya yang udah masuk dalam wish list saya, bahkan sejak masih kuliah dulu! Ingat banget setiap ada orang yang punya salah satu modelnya, rasanya sirik. Haha! Abisnya lucu - lucu banget, mulai dari desainnya dengan pita besar, pistol (aslik ini kepikiran aja ya bikin tas dengan desain ada pistolnya), relic tote bag, hingga terakhir sih si fur ball, yang paling berhasil mengambil hati saya. Buat brand ini, saya juga menyarankan buat membelinya langsung di toko atau menggunakan ukuran yang udah ada. Karena dari pengalaman saya yang memesan custom made (ini alsannya karena yang small terlalu kecil sedangkan yang large terlalu besar, jadi saya minta yang medium), ternyata hasilnya enggak sesuai dengan ekspektasi saya. Beberapa jahitannya enggak rapih dan itu terlihat jelas banget. Sayang sekali padahal stok mereka di toko seperti HGL (Happy Go Lucky) itu sangat rapih dan bagus ketimbang yang punya saya. 

3. Lima
Selama ini kalau beli jam pasti selalu brand luar karena bagi saya belum ada local brand yang terbukti kualitasnya. Tapi Lima ini eksepsional. Pertamanya saya hanya jatuh hati dengan material kayu yang digunakan serta desainnya yang belum pernah saya lihat di brand mana pun. Begitu lihat review-nya pun banyak yang bilang kalau Lima lebih bagus ketimbang Woodka, yang sebenarnya udah bisa terlihat dari harga keduanya yang hampir berbeda dua kali lipat. Akhirnya saya tetap memilih Lima dan berharap bahwa dengan harganya yang udah mampu menyaingi harga brand luar, saya enggak dikecewakan oleh kualitasnya. 

4. Calla
Sebelumnya saya enggak pernah dengar tentang local brand ini sampai suatu ketika saya ke HGL buat mencari suit. Udah beberapa bulan ini, tepatnya setelah liat Cate Blanchett memakainya di Ocean's 8, saya semakin pengen punya sebuah suit. Saya sempat mengira bahwa akan mudah mencarinya secara gitu kan yaa sempat trend lagi dan rasanya selalu ada aja brand yang mengeluarkan salah satu koleksi mereka dengan sebuah suit. Tapi ternyata susah mencari yang fit dengan badan saya. Sampai akhirnya saya hampir menyerah dan malah menemukan houndstooth suit dari Calla ini. Senang! 

Meskipun belum lama saya tau brand ini, salah satu alasan saya memasukkan Koza adalah bisa membuat saya yang tadinya enggak suka dengan leather bag dengan tekstur ala crocodile leather malah jadi suka! Alasan lainnya adalah karena saya yang enggak terlalu suka clutch karena megangnya ribet, tapi malah jadi suka karena desain (yang juga jadi signature) Koza yang memiliki pengait tangan buat pegangan clutch bag-nya. Dan alasan terakhir adalah brand ini punya teman saya, jadi sekalian bantu usaha teman dan bantu promosiin ;)

Satu - satunya barang yang dipilih Ican buat saya tanpa ada intervensi dari saya adalah outerwear dari Taaronka ini. Berhubung saya memang penggemar kimono outerwear dan motifnya lucu, kenapa ditolak? Hehe. 

All photos were taken by Emer Photography and edited by me.

In general, Chloe ini termasuk salah satu brand yang saya kagumi sejak lama karena karakternya yang jika saya bayangkan sebagai seorang perempuan, ia seperti wanita muda yang classy, elegant, humble, dan independent. Salah satu produk yang bikin saya penasaran tapi ((((masih affordable)))) buat dibeli sekarang adalah parfum! Mumpung parfum saya baru aja habis, langsung aja saya bilang sama Ican kalau saya akan memasukkan parfum ini sebagai seserahan. Yaa semacam mengambil kesempatan dalam kesempitan lah ceritanya :))

8. Vans
Samalah yaa seperti beberapa kasus di atas, meskipun Vans udah lama juga jadi salah satu brand yang produknya ingin saya beli, saya masih belum rela mengeluarkan uang saya buat sepasang sepatu ini :)) Untunglah Ican sebagai pencinta sneakers agak insist buat membelikan saya sneakers dan menawarkan saya beberapa pilihan. Setelah compare dengan brand dan model lain, pilihan saya jatuh dengan original model Vans dengan warna yang sering saya pakai salam keseharian saya, mustard! 

Di saat kebanyakan teman saya udah pada punya beberapa tas Kate Spade, saya sampai sekarang masih terus mikir berulang kali buat beli dengan uang sendiri. Terlepas dari berbagai desain dan marketingnya yang memang selalu berhasil bikin saya semakin ingin punya satuuu aja tas dari brand ini. Soalnya masih sayang aja gitu ngabisin uang berjuta - juta hanya untuk beli tas yang saya tau justru akan jarang saya gunakan dan dikeluarkan untuk special occasion aja karena terlalu "sayang" (takut kotorlah, takut cepet rusaklah). Nah, cuma kebetulan banget tiga bulan yang lalu tiba - tiba aja ada surprise sale dari Kate Spade. Begitu saya liat diskonnya lumayan banget! Langsung deh saya pesan melalui Schatzbox supaya tinggal bayar dan langsung dapat barangnya tanpa pusing mikirin gimana caranya shipping atau nitip teman dari US. 

Untuk kotak cincin, saya pesan di Ate House sedangkan untuk seserahan saya pesan dari Atelier Seserahan. Dua - duanya memuaskan dan recommended tapi sayangnya cuma menerima pesanan di Bandung.