Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: future

Trying to be positive…

I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again. I’m not excited about working in KL at all. Part of the reason is that I don’t know the country! I hate this feeling of not knowing what to expect. I’m kinda lost and intimidated and I’m not confident about it at all.

For studying, I’d prefer to go to a country that is unknown and foreign to me. Before I went to the Netherlands, I didn’t read anything about the culture or the people or even the country itself. I wanted to surprise myself and experienced that culture shock. I deliberately did that.

But for working, I’d rather go to somewhere I’m familiar about. I’m not sure why it matters so much. Somehow, working in a familiar place boosts my confidence. I know how to deal with the people. I know the tricks. I know what to expect. I know what to do. I know my way around. I just feel more confident about myself.

But, seriously Amel!!! You just have to dive into it whether you like it or not!!! What’s so different about working and studying in a foreign country, anyway?! Both of them are foreign to you and you just have to get used to it!

Meh. Oh well.

I’m trying to list the good thing about living in KL/Malaysia so that I’m not too stressed out about moving there:

  • I’ll be closer to my sister! When was the last time we lived under the same roof? 11 years ago, was it?
  • Malaysia is close to Indonesia. Not that I want to frequently visit Indo… but if I want to travel to Papua or Celebes (still a dream) I can do that easily! Ok, Amel, just be realistic. Sumatra is much closer to Malaysia. Might as well visit that island first!!!
  • It’s an Islamic country. No need to be the center of the attention just because I wear hijab! Yay! I’m just like any other people. This is awesome.
  • I can hear ADZAN! Perrrrrrfeeeeect!
  • Middle Eastern foods can be found easily and they are cheap over there!!!! Yum!
  • I have few friends to annoy over there  😛
  • The culture is also similar to Indonesia. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of culture shock I’ll have once I’m there 😛
  • It’s a multicultural country! Just like Australia and the Netherlands :). Me likey.
  • English books are not as expensive as in Indo and postal service is more reliable! Yay online shopping!
  • Indian food scatters everywhere!
  • Nando’s is also everywhere!!! Hehehehe. Oh peri-peri sauce, I’ve been missing you so bad! Muacks! xx
  • The language is similar but funny hehehe. Ah, I’m just going to stick with English for now.
  • Malaysia is also close to Thailand. Does it matter? Hahaha. I have no idea. I’m starting to think about doing a road trip to Thailand! LOL. Is that even doable? I  just want to continue my yearly road trip in SE Asia, you know 😉
  • The main hub of AirAsia is in fact in KL!
  • And… according to my friend, KL has everything hahaha. I’ll need to prove that one myself. LOL.

Change of Plans?

Well, how can I say write this? I’m getting a bit emotional now.

It isn’t exactly right to say that my only sister is ill. Because most of the time she is perfectly fine. But let me put it this way: for more than 5 years, she’s been struggling and suffering. Almost every year, there’s a time when she has to be sent back to Jeddah and take a break from the university for months. Everyone, especially my parents are worried about her. She has a lot of dreams but somehow her suffering prevents that.

My parents asked me a few moments ago if I’d be willing to live with her for 2 years until (at least) she graduates. They wanted me to take care of her and hoped that I could find a job there. This was a hard decision to make knowing that I got a lot of things I wanted to do (in Indonesia) but I knew that I had no other choices. I gotta do this for sure :(. I never thought of (temporarily) giving up my dreams to someone coz for me it was impossible. But hey, it doesn’t seem impossible anymore. I’m sad, because I’m still in shock but I know I’ll get over it soon.

I ask myself this question: am I not destined to go back to Indonesia? LOL

Go easy on yourself…

No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from you it cannot flee.

Umar Ibn al-Khattab

Years of My Life

*Posted on my Twitter, but I gotta put it here too…

2000 was the year of freedom. I got the opportunity to live far away from my parents for the first time in my life. It felt great to finally be the pilot of my own life. I was in control of everything.

2004 was about getting away from my comfort zone and experiencing things that I never experienced before. My love for cultures started here.

2007 was the important milestone of my life. I was one of the proudest kids around. But farewell was the hardest thing. I had to do it…

2008 was a dream come true. I had been wanting to step into this continent since high school. I finally made it! Alhamdulillah.

What will 2011 be for me? Insya Allah I’ll pass yet another milestone. And it’ll be the year when I’ll be searching for my passion and my home.

I used to be passionate about one thing that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But that passion was gone. I’m searching for a new one. And how about home? I haven’t found one. And that’s okay. Coz that means I won’t stop exploring 🙂

I still remember the comment in my blog by a blogger friend of mine, Mulia, loooong time ago. "Luck is not for free. The more you get, the more you have to give." That comment struck me. And I’m determined to pay it back. That’ll be my focus from 2012 onwards. Amin.

I may not be certain about what exactly I’ll do in the future, but I know that I’m going to work in an NGO somewhere outside of Java, preferably Aceh. If I have enough money, I’m seriously considering volunteering in Palestine, but that’s still impossible.

I realize now that the only reason for me feeling rather hesitated to go back to Indonesia is because of Jakarta! I don’t want to live there. I’m not excited to live there for too long. So now I have to find a place somewhere outside of Java to live in. Friends suggested me Bali or Balikpapan. Well, let’s just see where I’ll end up in :).

To conclude: there isn’t anything in my life that I regret. I’m grateful for everything. Alhamdulillah. Allah is great.

The Poor

I was watching some videos on when I suddenly encountered this interesting comment about poor people:

You probably think poor people all across the United States can just pick themselves up out of the dirt, go to college, and get a great job, thus eliminating all of their problems. And if they don’t do that, they’re lazy. It’s so frustrating dealing with people who do not understand how external factors contribute to the perpetuation of poverty in the United States. Take a look at "In Search of Respect" by Philippe Bourgois, and he’ll show you how the downtrodden turned their lives around, ditched the drugs, and said to society "I"m ready to change my life." They try to get a job. Society replies, "sorry, you don’t fit in with us well-to-do people. You don’t dress right, you don’t have the skills, and you don’t have the attitude to be a successful person." Yet, from the beginning, society inhibited their ability to, for example, get the decent "education" required to function in society. It’s a vicious cycle, and it applies here.

Michael Toyama

It doesn’t only exist in the U.S. It’s everywhere. What can we do about it?

A Woman

A woman worries about the future
until she gets a husband,
while a man never worries about the future
until he gets a wife.

— Proverb

Hahaha! This made my day! 🙂

The Aftermath of Eat Pray Love

I watched Eat Pray Love with Jessie today at the cinema. On the way back home, passing through the empty roads (mind you, it was past midnight), I did a lot of thinking and I realized that, hey, I was in the similar situation too: confused about what I wanted to do with my life! It’s a life dilemma, the first time such thing ever happens to me!

I used to know what I wanted to do with my life. Hell yeah, I was good at it! Since high school, I had my own life map drawn showing me which path I should take. When others were still confused about which university they wanted to go to or which major they wanted to choose, I already had everything set. It seemed so easy and I did it without the help of my parents, who practically lived miles away from me. I planned everything by myself. I knew that by the time I finished high school, I would go to Australia to study. Then afterwards, I would do my Master degree somewhere in Europe. I would then live somewhere in the Middle East to work and encourage more women to participate in the workforce.

I also used to dream about having a successful IT career. I would live abroad, have a great life as a single career woman, and at the same time, support my family; be it helping my dad to finance the education of my siblings or financially helping my mom to build a house she ever dreamed of. Then I would start to slow down, fall in love, have kids, and so on. It was an ordinary dream, a traditional and “selfish” one, I would call. Nothing fancy. It was a dream most girls in this world dying to have.

Those things kept me going up the ladder. Plus, I loved what I did. That’s what mattered. I loved what I studied. I was so passionate about the computer world that I would swear myself I would be doing it for the rest of my life. I remember when I first came to Eindhoven, a friend told me that he never met any girl who was so excited about being devoted to this field! Most of his girl friends, he said, ended up doing something totally different than IT, or throwing themselves in that field due to lack of choices. Well, it never occurred to me that I became one of those people he mentioned a year later! I didn’t know what had happened!

During my lifetime, I have learnt. I have been inspired and encouraged. I have been moved. But it all came to one thing: I always have wanted something different. I realized that the field of IT was not for me. Was I bored? Perhaps. I always get bored, even with my love life, which always makes me question, will I ever find a guy that I will never get bored of? I always demand for changes. That’s why you’ve seen me hopping from one country to the other. I want to see different things. That’s why you’ve heard me talking about being in the ocean. I don’t want to be in the same situation all the time. I want to feel energized every time. And that’s through experiencing different things.

Truth to be told, I can’t help thinking that I would be spending my entire life in an office, behind a computer! Even thinking about it already makes me crazy. Of course, I could be a manager or a head of something, like people ‘suggested’ me, but in general, working in the office hasn’t been a favorite to me. It’s too monotone. Imagine, every single day you wake up and do the same thing. It’s not exciting! It’s not fulfilling. You won’t feel satisfied. Why do you think people hate Monday?

So now, yes, officially, I have lost my passion. I don’t know my destination and goal are anymore. They disappeared without me realizing it. I am now in the intersection of a big road, confused of which direction I should take. Street signs are everywhere but they aren’t meant to help me with choices. They really confuse me!

Some people know that I’ve been really interested in the development world, especially education, youth, and community development. I’ve been looking into that field a lot. Is the development world really for me? Of course, at some point in our life, we want to help others and make a huge impact. But let’s just forget about it for a moment, because for me, if I want to help others, there are many members of my own family (relatives) who financially need help. And I think I have to prioritize them over anyone else in this world.

But then why is the development world seem so exciting for me? I feel like, by going deep into this field, I can interact with other people more often. The real people. The people who can inspire me. The people who may teach me more about trust, love, or anything. The people who can straighten my faith. The ‘ordinary’ people who know much better about what life is all about than those people who can’t seem to have enough of things. That’s what I love about it. Those people live their life based on love, the support of their family, lessons they learnt in the past, and experiences; not based on cool gadgets, money, BlackBerry, or fancy dress. I can’t find satisfaction in those. Perhaps, yes, temporarily, but not in a long term. If I work in an office, I can only imagine the usual boring everyday routine and the fact that there would be less human-to-human deep connection. People (including me!) are getting so further away from each other, thanks to the computer, Internet, and social networks. In addition to that, when you deal with people, you will be facing different cases or stories at some point. Surprises await you. Not to mention when you travel to different places, culture influences the creation of different individuals and that’s what makes it so bloody interesting!

I can’t say confidently that I have finally found my passion right now. I feel like I want to devote myself in the field of development. But everything is still vague and blur. Everything that I see is pictured in my selfish imagination. I haven’t really dive into it yet, nor am I experienced in it. That’s what makes me stuck. That’s what makes me afraid to go on and to take the risk. Even worst (and I say it again), I don’t know how to start. I haven’t met people who are experienced in this yet. I have no clear picture. I’ve been wanting to go to Jordan or even Palestine to do some voluntary works after I graduate but everything is still an immature plan. Everything that I have in mind is still in the phase of ‘let us see what happens after I graduate’. I don’t want to make myself completely into this yet, because I know I have some priorities. Unfinished business needs to be completed first.

It does seem like I don’t appreciate what I have right now. Don’t get me wrong, I do. I am grateful each day for everything that God has given me. But if God allows me to take a different path, why can’t I choose that path? If that path makes me more satisfied and fulfilled, why can’t I take that direction then? 🙂 I have a full control of my life. It’s matter of choice: whether I will spend the rest of my life dreading of going to the office OR waking up each day, full of love, excited about the surprises that life would bring for me. Of course I would rather choose the second one. Because I believe that “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy” (Rumi).


Before Going to Bed

Today’s reflection before going to bed…

If you want to go back to Indonesia for good, make sure you don’t find a job. You create a job.

— Mas Oki

This quote by a friend has stick to my mind ever since. And I’m still figuring it out how I’m going to do it. Too many things I want to do. Too little resources.

What adults can learn from kids

Another interesting talk from TED, this time by Adora Svitak about what adults can learn from kids. The fact that kids are so naive and have much less experience than adults makes them dream with no limits and boundaries. As a kid, I used to do that. I used to dream about traveling abroad during the time when my dad had little money to even support us. But who would have thought that few years later, my dad took the whole family to travel around the Middle East. I also used to dream about studying in an English-spoken country when I knew that it was impossible to even talk about it! But who would have thought that I got the opportunity to set my foot in Australia in 2004? It’s amazing.

Now.. moving on to my dream about setting up a school for lower class to middle class Indonesians in Jakarta. I’m no longer a kid, but I still have this dream. Whether or not I’ll be able to realize this dream is another story. But I just need some support from people around me, especially my own family. Mom supports me, of course, but she has this skepticism (as always) and she thinks that it’s very hard and I shouldn’t be too ambitious about it. Now, I don’t like this kind of attitude. Of course, I’m not expecting it to be easy: building a school with cheap tuition fees but high class teachers… who would think that it’s going to be easy? But positive attitude (including trust) and continuous support is all I need, and that makes me want to dream more, feel motivated, and try harder. I don’t think I mind if I don’t get to reach my dream, but as people say… the experience and the journey to reach such dream is what makes a difference.

If I look back to my life, I realize that high expectations and trust from my parents is the reason how I get into this milestone of my life. I do think my parents place a very high expectation on me, as the oldest child in the family, but if they don’t do that, I’d probably end up doing Bachelor degree in an ordinary university and doing ordinary job. As a person who will end up being a parent later, I’d place a high expectation on my kids too later on. But perhaps I’d take a different approach from my parents. I’d give them freedom to do what they really want and continuously support them without forcing them to be on top of the world every single time. I don’t know how exactly I’m going to approach this, but like I said… I have all these exciting ideas about teaching and educating my kids and I have to read a lot of parenting books… 😀

Children & Musical Instruments

Several scientific studies have demonstrated that children who learn to play a musical instrument have increased success in reading and math, improved self-esteem, better ability to work in teams, higher school-attendance rates, and a greater likelihood of graduating from high school and going on to college.

Bill Clinton in Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

This is very interesting, indeed!

The truth is that, I can’t play any musical instruments. I regret that I didn’t have the motivation to take any musical classes back when I was still at school. I went to an Indonesian school in Jeddah and there were no extracurricular activities available during my 9 years of studying there. Taking musical lessons in Jeddah was very expensive and I don’t think my parents could afford it. I wasn’t encouraged or pushed by my parents to do it either, so I wasn’t motivated to do it even if I had the chance.

It was in Indonesia that I got this huge chance of taking musical lessons. I went to Madania Boarding School and we were given freedom to take any lessons that we wanted; be it guitar, piano, cello, etc. We could even take two or three classes without having to pay extra (coz it’s already included in the tuition fee). But sadly to say that I didn’t take that golden chance. I took an art class instead of a music class and even then I couldn’t really enjoy it because it wasn’t my “thing”.

It’s never too late to do it actually. But I feel like I have more important things to be done rather than going to a musical class. I guess, I have to accept the fact that music is not something I’m passionate about 🙂

But I always look up to my friends who can play any musical instruments, especially piano, violin, cello, or any other “rare” instruments. Somehow I feel like these people are not only good at what they do in music, but also in academic fields! They are smart, outspoken, and critical. I don’t know why, somehow they have these similar traits. But after reading the quote I mentioned above, it is indeed true!!!

I feel that it’s okay for me not being able to play any instruments. But I’m going to encourage my children later to take the lessons and not miss that chance! 🙂