Little Notes of Life

An afternoon in Firenze, Italy

I am a great believer of the saying that getting lost allows you to (re)discover yourself. Thus, I travel a lot, and most of the time alone. Sometimes I understand myself better when I get lost between historical buildings that are also landmarks of a city; and I get to love the person inside me stronger when my feet are enjoying the sand and the salty sea situated on one of Indonesia’s coasts. Today, I just finished a 10-day trip to Italy; spent a few days working and the rest, basically, wandering around the old city. Wondering about my life, being drowned amongst the crowds in front of the Spanish Steps. Imagining of the things that could have happened, or could not have happened. Recalling the events that have built my life up onto this moment and made me meet the people I’ve shared my life with; and the (expected) events that did not really make it.

The year of 2013 has just been here for roughly 45 days, yet so many things have come up. Plenty of things have happened, and most of them have given me a bunch of lessons to be learned. I think it would be very important to take note of them. As a reminder.

I was once a very rational person; I used to assess almost everything with my logic to give my heart a thick shield. To prevent it to be broken once again, especially when I have run out of glue to fix it. But then, love happened, and things changed. They changed a lot. But, at times, we just got to go back to square one. And start over. And be rational again.

One day, I might have a look at these notes once again; simply to prevent them from being forgotten. Consider this as a manifesto. Well, I love manifestos. I thought, someday I would have to write one like that. Perhaps that one day is going to be today. (Although these notes would probably only account a bit of it.)

Why don’t we give it a try.

Feelings are often real. But the words we use to express them, most of the time, are illusory. So, carefully think about the words we choose to use. Never say “I love you” just to create an illusion of feelings, nor to make our counterpart love us. The worst of “I love you”s are those that are not wholeheartedly said. Therefore, when you say it; make sure you mean it.

Being young is not only about leaving a mark in the world. It is also about letting the world leaves a mark within us. May it be through an event, or even more, through a person. So go. Fall in love, make mistakes, break your heart, and probably start over.

There is no such thing as “unrequited feeling”. However, perhaps, the level of requital that we get might be higher or lower than our expectations. (Perhaps it’s best not to expect anything at all, and let it be a surprise. Let life surprises you.)

When God takes away something you (thought you) have, usually you are going to get something better. However, be grateful of what you have at the moment. Keep it. Protect it. Or you might end up losing something that matters the most in your life. (And try not to regret when that happens, especially when you have failed in protecting it. Let it wander to a better place, a place that would keep it safe.)

Never fall in love in your sleep. What usually comes as a dream might suddenly show up as a nightmare. Since then, your sleeps and naps would never be the same anymore. Be in love while you are awake. Be in love knowing the risks you take, the ‘dangers’ you will face. Be in love with a person, not the idea of him/her that you have projected yourself. Be in love with a person, not the idea of him/her that he/she tries to project for you to believe in.

(Always) believe that there is probably a person out there who deserves to get the best of you. (You might meet him/her soon).

The only person in the world who could make you happy is yourself. Before others. (I usually compliment myself with ice creams too, though. Ice creams make me really happy.)

Most of the time, feeling exhausted also means that you have not make your life wasted for nothing. Keep going.

The worst feeling that you could ever possess to someone is the feeling of possessing him/her, as if that person is completely yours. Because you could never, ever “own” a person. You could only be happy when the person you choose to be with also chooses to be with you.

Words might hurt you, but words shouldn’t. (this one’s courtesy of Adriano Qalbi)

Last, but not least,

Be happy. Because you only need yourself to be happy, and because you can. Allow yourself to be happy. With or without someone else. Isn’t it such a great feeling to realise that we can be happy on our own? As soon as we have allowed ourselves to be happy on our own, then we can be happy with another person.

Enjoy your February. It’s my favourite time of the year, usually. I hope it’s going to be yours too.

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Journey with Bold

Last December, I was given the chance to travel to Lombok and the Gili Islands for a few days by BlackBerry Indonesia. I, Nicholas Saputra, Artasya Sudirman, and Kristupa Saragih visited a few (beautiful) places in the archipelago in the “Journey with Bold” programme. The travelogue will be released hopefully soon (so, stay tuned). As for now, do enjoy some snapshots I took with my phone and my friend’s camera. For more photos, you can go to this site and witness the journey. You can also watch the “teaser” here.

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Perang Topat – An annual event in Lombok to celebrate diversity
Tanjung Aan, Kuta, Lombok
Being taught how to make gerabah handcrafts by local craftswomen
View from my room in our private villa
Dining at Square, Senggigi
Sunny days, orange and pineapple juice

One Young World! :)

Last month, I had the privilege to be one of the 17 delegates from Indonesia who could go to One Young World Summit 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. I was sponsored by EuroRSCG Indonesia.

During the event, I met heaps of inspiring young (and a bit older) people. Counsellors, speakers, and delegates were gave so much knowledge and experience in only 3 days. One of the counsellors that caught my attention was Wael Ghonim, a ‘cyber’ activist that mobilized Egyptian youth during the January 25 revolution.

Wael Ghonim mobilized Egyptian youth through Facebook, under the page name: “We are all Khaled Said”, to campaign against police brutality. He was captured by the police for 12 days, but then freed, and was chosen by Egyptian youth to represent them.

You can read his profiles on TIME and BBC.

Aside from Wael Ghonim, there were many more inspiring people attending the event, including the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway, Jamie Oliver, Muhammad Yunus, and plenty others. Our own Sherina Munaf even performed a song she wrote especially for OYW, Sing Your Mind, and received a standing ovation at the closing ceremony.

I’m so sorry for the short post — but will let you know more about it soon! ‘Til my next post! Happy Sunday :-)

Traveling tips

I traveled out of the city for a conference sometime ago for approximately 5 days. Everything I had to bring (including business attire) fitted in a small luggage and a small backpack. My friend brought two big luggages, one travel bag, and one carry-on women handbag. I can never travel like that. :p

I usually travel alone – yes, just like Ryan Bingham on “Up In The Air”. Here are some basic tips from me – especially if you are going to travel alone for the first time.

  1. Travel light – Yes, it is one of the most important things. If you want to have a fun trip, do not bring too many items (especially clothes). You won’t suffer wearing the same jeans, shoes, and jackets/coats everyday. It would be difficult to travel on your own if you bring so many luggages. Only bring what you can bring while traveling a far distance on foot. Before I pack, I always go to this website: The Universal Packing List.
  2. Research – Read a lot about the place you are going. Almost everything can be found on the Internet. You can also buy books about those places. Before I travel somewhere, I usually read about it on a number of websites. Here are my favourite websites: WikiTravel, TripAdvisor, and VirtualTourist. Also check about the public transportation and its costs.
  3. Re-check your documents – Read again! Do the names on your passport and ticket match? Do you need a visa to visit the place? If you do, have you applied? How long is the visa application process? Make copies of them and put these copies in all bags you bring.
  4. Prepare your cash – Some people choose to exchange their money abroad. Truth to be told, Rupiah is not that “internationally renowned”. It is never listed, therefore it can be assumed, people don’t ask for Rupiah and it makes Rupiah depreciated. We might lose much by exchanging our cash abroad. So, exchange your cash here (and not in the airport though)! I recommend Dua Sisi Money Changer (they have branches in Grand Indonesia, Senayan City, Plaza Senayan). They are very helpful, offer good rates, and sometimes have the currency others don’t. My family relative recommended Bali Inter, but they once sold CHF on IDR 10,000/CHF and wanted to buy my CHF for only IDR 8,000/CHF. What a rip off. Good thing Dua Sisi saved the day by buying my CHF at IDR 10,000/CHF.
  5. Prepare your cards, too – Your ATM card is probably accepted overseas. BCA is a part of the Cirrus and Maestro network, Mandiri is a part of Visa, and so on. Check your bank’s website to know how much will it cost to withdraw your money abroad (for emergency situations). However, I was advised that using credit card overseas is better than using debit card – because credit cards have fraud insurance. I once withdrew my cash using my Mandiri ATM card in London. I withdrew GBP 30. When I already arrived in Jakarta, I received a message (Mobile Banking), saying there is a debit transaction worth a few million Rupiahs for around 3 times. Apparently someone “recorded” my card details and used them to shop in Tesco, London. I lost my entire savings worth more than IDR 8,000,000. I then contacted Bank Mandiri in Jakarta and claimed, because I still had my card with me in Jakarta and had proofs that I was not in London; so then Bank Mandiri accepted my claim and returned my cash.

Last but not least… Have fun! What’s your traveling tip? 

Beaches and ice creams

A couple of months ago I visited such a beautiful city in France, Nice, a few days before I had to deliver a talk at Geneva. Nice is located on the Mediterranean coast, along with Cannes and Monaco – to name a few. I backpacked around the city (I left my luggage in Geneva) and stayed in a youth hostel, Villa Saint Exupery (very recommended!). 

IMG_0097 IMG_0184IMG_0178IMG_0145IMG_0134IMG_0118IMG_0070IMG_0064IMG_0039Nice Jazz Festival

Promenade des Anglais from Colline du Chateau
Theatre National de Nice
On a cruise to Monaco with Trans Cote D’azur
Le Port
A cup of latte while waiting for the cruise to start
A scoop of Nutella ice cream at Fenocchio (best ice cream I’ve tried so far!) 
Velobleu bike could be rented at almost every corner in the city
The ‘tag’ on my bed – I slept on the top of a bunk bed, with other 4 girls in the room (from the UK, South Africa, and also Australia!)
Nice Jazz Festival poster 

I spent the weekend working and resting at the same time, but I am glad I managed to spare some time to try out my new ice cream maker! Today was my first attempt and I made Milo ice cream. Not bad. :D

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I am a sucker for ice creams, yes. :] What’s your favourite ice cream flavour or ice cream shop?

Geneva

Last June, I was invited by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to speak on behalf of Asian youth on the youth panel “Global Youth: Leading Change”, at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference, Geneva, Switzerland. I shared the stage with prominent young leaders from other continents, including Monique Coleman, the first UN Youth Champion (who is also an actress! Disney Channel lovers must be familiar with her). It was such an honour for me to be able to speak at Palais des Nations. Here’s a video highlight of the session.

However, I managed to secure some time to travel around. Switzerland is a country with the highest living cost in the world, so I decided I should get out of the country to avoid losing a fortune just by traveling around Geneva. So, I booked a flight with a low-cost carrier EasyJet to visit Nice, France, for a few days. :p 

I took a picture with a miniature of Borobudur Temple made of metal (I don’t know which kind – but looks like silver) given by the late Abdurrachman Wahid to the ILO. I also put a picture of the Geneva scenery seen from ILO’s office, as well as the Jet D’eau, Geneva’s most famous landmark.

I had so much fun in Geneva! Thanks to ILO Jakarta – especially Mr. Peter van Rooij (Director of ILO Jakarta) & Mr. Tendy Gunawan – for giving me such great opportunity; also to Mrs. Clare Schenker who assisted me (a lot!) in arranging my trip. Last but not least, thank you my cousin Didiet Maulana for Ikat Indonesia‘s tenun ikat blazer I wore at the conference, and to Diana Rikasari who gave me one of her UP collections, the gorgeous Anjani Black wedges.

What city would you like to visit if you only had 6 months left in your life? :)

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Mariki: Bali!*

*) Ayo ke Bali!

Liburan!

Suddenly want to go to Bali again. Ada tawaran buat jalan-jalan ke Green Canyon besok, tapi belum tau juga, karena lagi nabung buat beli a Macbook :) I am so lost without it and I just can’t be attached to the computer 24/7. I need to have a portable one.

Jadi, liburan tahun lalu gue ke Bali bareng temen-temen. Sama sekolah sih sebenernya, sebelumnya mampir di Bandung sama Jogja dulu. Pas di Bali, tiap malem deh diabisin buat hura-hura di Kuta. Yaaaah, namanya juga anak SMA :p Setelah temen-temen gue balik, gue stay sama beberapa teman. Kita nginep di Wantilan, resort punya tantenya Nadia. Enak banget tempatnya, bikin nggak mau pulang :) Tapi lama-lama gue sama Nadia kebosenan juga gara-gara nggak bawa laptop buat internetan, dulu belum jaman handphone ber-WiFi, tiap hari isinya cuma berenang. Back to my roots!

Bali emang sempurna banget deh buat liburan! Costnya emang lebih mahal dari Jakarta sih, but I don’t really care, it’s all worth it. It was my first time in Bali, tapi seruuu banget! Gue mau ngomongin makanan aaah…

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Malem pertama di Kuta, kita makan di Kuta Food Festival (atau apalah namanya, sederetan Hard Rock dan Circle K Kuta Beach). Ada counter seafood gitu. Puas banget makannya! Berlima makan puas-puasin “cuma” abis 200 ribu! Jadi satu orang sekitar 40 ribu, itu udah termasuk segala macem seafood, dari ikan, cumi, kepiting, udang… Sampe sayurannya sekalian! Minumnya juga pake nambah. Abis makan di sana, anak-anak pada beli rokok di Circle K terus stargazing aja kita di Pantai Kuta dan foto-foto.

Yang bikin gue agak bingung, udah sampe Bali masih aja pada seneng makan McDonald’s, hihihi. Mungkin itu yang paling “jelas” kali yah, soalnya di Bali banyak sajian ‘ber’-darah, babi dan anjing, dan kita yang Muslim nggak mungkin mengkonsumsi itu. As you guessed, McD’s-nya lebih mahal dari McD’s Jakarta. Tapi yah… McD’s is a guilty pleasure for almost all of us right?

Apalagi ya makanan yang gue nikmati di Bali? Kita nggak pergi ke banyak tempat, soalnya di Wantilan disediain makanan yang sedap-sedap banget. Patungan beli bahan, dan dimasakin pasta, mi goreng (plus sayuran… mantap!), sampai opor ayam.

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Di malam sebelum hari terakhir kita di Bali, gue misah dari “roommates” gue untuk pergi sama salah satu temen gue yang juga tinggal di Sanur, beberapa ratus meter dari tempat gue tidur. Kita ditemenin tantenya ke Dreamland. Sunset di sana! Oke banget deh! :D Abis liat sunset, kita makan seafood di Pantai Jimbaran. Seru banget, soalnya bisa stargazing, liat pesawat take off karena deket banget sama Ngurah Rai, menghadap ke laut juga, sambil ngiri liat orang-orang pacaran yang ditemenin “pengamen” nyanyi lagu I’m Yours! Aaaaah gilaaa… Mau lagi gue.

Tapi, penemuan yang paling oke, adalah waktu kita main-main ke Pasar Sukowati. Gara-gara ada banyak banget yang nitip oleh-oleh, kita pun bolak-balik Pasar Sukowati. Gue nggak belanja banyak-banyak banget, akhirnya gue jalan-jalan keliling-keliling. Di satu sudut Pasar Sukowati, deket ATM BRI, ada bau-bau sedap gitu. Langsung aja deh gue ikuti… Ternyata ada yang jualan sate!

Pas gue tanya sate apakah itu, rupanya itu adalah sate ikan. Kayak otak-otak gitu rasanya, tapi dijadiin sate, dan itu super enak! Sepiring cuma 7 ribu, bisa pake kecap doang, bisa ditambahin nasi. Di sekitar situ emang banyak yang jualan nasi goreng, dan temen-temen gue beli makanan lain, gue nggak mempan sama makanan lain! Tiap ke Sukowati, gue makan sate ikan itu, Halal loh :)

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And you know what, on our last day, kita bela-belain ke Sukowati buat beli 50 tusuk sate ikan untuk dibawa pulang ke Jakarta! Bayangin aja sekotak ikan ditaro di kolong kursi pesawat kecil milik penerbangan AirAsia! Yang di Jakarta juga pada “tersihir” sama keenakan satenya :D

Can’t wait to taste it again!

Apa makanan favorit lo yang cuma ada di tempat liburan? Care to share? :)

Impossible is Impossible

Another round of traveling to London with the Global Changemakers! I am so grateful that I got the chance to have a go again, and terribly sorry if there are some people who think that I am showing off by posting this. No, I’m not. I just want to share the experience to you folks… therefore people will be reminded with what Walt Disney said, If you can dream it – then you can do it. Just Google about something that you really want to do, you’ll find something great, and go for it. Nothing is impossible, trust me.

Learning the hard way!

There were 21 of us, 20 people from the G20 countries + 1 from Thailand as ASEAN’s representative. This event is related to the G20 Leaders Summit, maybe you had watched about it on TV. I met some of the same people from the last event in Guildford including the British Council team (both from UK and Switzerland, plus 2 new members: Paola and Fran), Scott (UK) and Sofia (Canada). I also met new people of course, and all of them were wonderful.

This is what we did in London:

  • Working, working, working… We had to decide what we think the world leaders have to do to tackle the global financial crisis. We thought about it from every aspects, including environmental and social. We also worked with UK Youth to exchange knowledge about what is really happening in our countries. I could proudly say that Indonesia is holding up relatively well, the inflation pressure was reduced, and our economic growth still recorded a surplus. Most of the working sessions took place in InnovationArts, a very innovative place to work!
  • Roundtable discussion with Katherine Garrett-Cox, Simon Taylor, and Diana Wais at The Economist with Matthew Bishop as the moderator!
  • Some of us met the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP at Downing Street No. 11. Too bad I wasn’t one of them. :(
  • Met UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, and President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa of Mexico at Downing Street No. 10. It was a real quick meeting, but I was still speechless.
  • Conversation with Cherie Booth, or famously known as Cherie Blair. Yes, she was UK’s ‘first lady’ but she prefers to be called with her maiden name. She’s a leading specialist in human rights law issues.
  • Went to The Bank of England. Yes, it’s pretty much the same with other museums in the UK. Real fun, free, and you don’t want to get out of there.
  • Reception at the House of Lords, hosted by the Lord Speaker, Rt Hon Baroness Hayman. We met David Miliband to give our version of communique. FYI, the G20 always produces communiques, you can read all of them here.
  • Plenary session with Rt Hon John McFall MP, Chair of UK Treasury Committee.
  • Went to Zuhal Amadeus Sultan‘s recital. She is a Global Changemaker from Iraq and she’s organizing the first orchestra in Iraq, called National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. Check out Zuhal’s page to know more about it. She was really an inspiration.

Copyright © 2009 Chris Tribble/www.ctribble.co.uk.

I couldn’t even believe I was there! The main idea of this event was actually to let us meet our leaders. Unfortunately, only Leticia (Mexico) and Scott (UK) who got the chance to meet their leaders. I don’t want to miss the chance, really. So, I contacted Mr Herry who works in KBRI – I met him on January – and told him that I’d like to meet Mr President. He said that Mr President had a very tight schedule and well, I understood. But he offered another thing, which was having lunch with The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hassan Wirajuda; Indonesian Ambassador for UK, Mr Yuri Thamrin; and also my idol… Mr Dino Patti Djalal! I said yes.

And guess what, I really got the chance to meet Mr President! I shook hands with him. It was thrilling, and exciting, at the same time! I didn’t regret running around the underground stations, walking near the demonstrators, waiting for hours at the hotel corridors… I finally met him. Other people said that it was impossible to meet him in London, but this is an evidence that,

Impossible is something
that’s impossible.

It’s never too late to pursue your dreams. Write what you want on a piece of paper, or in your mind. And, go for it.

PS: Pay attention to my outfit. Yes, I am, Indonesian. And lovin’ it!