A lot has happened since the last time I was able to commit to myself to sit down, open my laptop, and jolt something down in this dusty, neglected site.

(To be fair I did write in other medium (hence not mentally burdened by the “write more” goal of 2017 I imposed upon myself) which you can find here. That bit is actually quite cool — I convinced myself to participate in a 15-days writing competition about energy, my field of work where I am passionate about, and apparently got selected as a finalist! Two of the articles I cross-posted on Kompasiana also got featured in their homepage, Twitter, and Facebook which made me excited and nervous at the same time, as these babies got viewed by thousands pairs of eyes. Anyhow, that’s a side story.)

Early last year I got engaged — and in the process of convincing myself that this isn’t a decision I would regret, I wrote down my thoughts hoping that those words would serve as a reminder should I start to falter and freak out (it did help, by the way).

To cut the story short (and no, I won’t delve into the vendor-hunting bits of it), we got married on the eleventh of November last year and as of writing we’ve been married for half a year (shy of one day!).

This is the clichéd part of the blog post where I say “time flies”.


If you ask me, then, how does it feel being married?

To be perfectly frank with you, it feels nice. It is indeed a very anticlimatic and boring choice of word, but it does feel nice.

I used to freak out at the thought of being committed to someone “for the rest of my life” (paraphrasing my engagement post), but many of these days when I see Andhika doing house chores or simply sitting there with his laptop open, I feel grateful that he’d be there for the rest of my life. (A-year-ago-me would feel icky typing that, but well as I said, you can’t logic your way out on this subject.)

It feels nice that someone understands that the number one thing you hate most is doing laundry, and that he’d willingly do it for you. Likewise, I have to understand that he has… different anatomy leading to sleep apnea and rendering you to wake up due to his loud snores.

It feels nice that you can discuss on which Hyrule shrine you should go to next, and hours later in the middle of the night discuss your Individual Development Plan for work and plan your careers together. Sharing notes and lessons learned from our own mentoring sessions are quite productive, too!

And as there won’t be rainbows without rains, there were, of course, down days — those that are more than petty fights over failed dishes and small daily annoyance. I think it’s inevitable — after all you are putting two people with different personalities together in an extended period of time. I still stand by my opinion from years back that these fights will only make you stronger.

We spent more than half of our married months so far being physically apart from each other. I got an assignment in Singapore (another big life update from the past year!) and have been working here since January. This role also requires me to travel quite a bit. Likewise, Andhika’s new job (in which he moved job partially to find a workable arrangement to join me in Singapore!) requires him to travel every now and then, too. This, on top of the first few months of the year where he was still based in Jakarta ends up in us meeting only on few weekends and not more. Some people frowned at this thought of me working abroad and us living separately — certainly not ideal for a newlywed, they thought. However, Andhika and I had agreed before getting married that the marriage should not restrict us in our career and that we’ll find a way to work it out. And after all, there isn’t one model ideal type of marriage and more often than not, overthinking about what others expect you to do don’t get you very far.

More than one person warned me that being married will limit and prohibit you — from reaching your goals, from taking daring decisions, from hanging out with your friends, … and the list goes on.

I would beg to differ. If any, I feel like it expands us. And in a crazier way still, I feel like it grounds us, giving us a firm standing — and in turn propelling you to roam, fly higher. It gives you assurance that there’ll always be something, someone there to return to and catch you should you fall. It strengthens and heals, at once.





Earlier today, through a private family event, Andhika and I got engaged. It was a simple lunch between two (later on, one! :p) families, followed by a sincere conversation expressing the good intent and our plans for the future.

For us, the decision to get engaged (and subsequently, get married) was not an easy, I’m-certain-he’s-the-one-upon-first-meeting kind of decision. It was a decision made over the course of five years — five years worth of dinners, discussions, and debates.

Andhika and I knew each other from a selection round for an ITB MUN team back in 2011. Months later, catalyzed by our love for museums and evening stroll to fetch a document we left in the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, we started dating. Since then, we’ve been together and witnessed each other grow from university students with awful hairstyles to office workers trying to make our marks in this world.

When we realized we’re already a fully-functioning adult, it can’t be helped that we ask ourselves (and peer pressure, and family, too), what’s next for us? Surprisingly, it’s easier to answer such question in career and goals-related context rather than in a romantic context. We are in love and undoubtedly have grown fond and dependent on each other, but we can’t quite figure out if, when, and how we’re going to get married. It was a topic that we usually shrug and dismiss, replying instead with an answer “the time will come, just wait and let it come naturally”. Only later did we realize that shrugging, dismissing, and “waiting for it to come naturally” is akin to, well, not letting it to come. Simply because the topic is in uncharted waters for us, we chose to put it on the back burner. Perhaps we were afraid (mind you, it was a big decision to make).

When we finally sat down and talk about what we’re going to do about this “marriage thingy”, a lot of questions pop in my mind:

  1. Aren’t I too young for this lifetime commitment?
  2. Do I really, actually love him, or is it just a matter of habit to having him around?
  3. Holy cow, I’m gonna be with this guy for the REST OF MY LIFE. Is he really the dude for me?
  4. Will I still be the Cahya I know today? Will my friends steer away from me? Will I still be able to have an impromptu solo lunch at Yakinikuya?
  5. Do I get to achieve my career goals? Will I be limited in any ways?
  6. People say once you get married you’ll lose all the freedom in the world! You won’t enjoy life!
  7. and the vilest of them all… do we deserve better partners?

When faced with difficult questions, I resort to the way I’m most familiar with: being my own devil’s advocate. After many monologues made during the hour-long drive to-and-fro the office, I wasn’t able to find enough solid answers not to get married, and was apparently able to note down more practical reasons and benefits of getting married (jokingly to my colleague: “it seems like a decision that can bring a higher overall IRR to my life”).

Some of my closest friends could testify my worries and doubts I had about choosing a life partner. After all those lengthy discussions and video call, trying to contact different friends with different personalities, I realize that there is no single person I can consult to give a silver bullet for all my questions – eventually I have to decide on my own, take a leap of faith, and just… go with it. After all, I believe that there could not be a person so perfect at any given time, as the definition of “perfection” evolves as we do. It’s not in human nature to be fully satisfied with what we have, hence I reckon that at some point in our life, one should just be selfish and decide for one’s self  on the grounds of what feels right (which, by the way, can also mean not to get married to someone at all. You don’t need a “marriage” to complete you. Someone is not less of a person without a spouse or a partner. Just a PSA.). Anyways it’s intangible emotions not a science on how to fly men to Mars — you can’t logic your way out of this subject.

Being with Andhika for the past five years wasn’t always a smooth and enjoyable ride, but most of the time I was happy. Seeing myself as an independent woman, I’ve always thought that I want someone who will not limit me and respect my personal space and goals, but is still able to love me whole. Thus, I consider myself lucky to have found someone who can be my punching bag and trash can, and at the same time my biggest supporter.

Claire Underwood of House of Cards once said this, affirming its position as my #1 favorite series:

We’re two independent people who have chosen to live our lives together

which I think smartly summarizes how I contextualize me marrying Andhika (go Claire!) (we don’t aim to be a despotic White House couple, though).

I believe that this decision will not negatively alter who each of us is today and what we aspire to achieve in the future. If any, it will positively impact me as I will be able to live with the person I love and provide emotional support for each other. Create synergies and climb the mountains we want to climb together. Walk side-by-side as we unravel life’s challenges and pleasant surprises.

There are days where I still have doubts, and I guess in a way I’m grateful that I constantly question about things around me. It put me in a state of non-complacency and drive the hunger to better our relationship and the two of us as a person.

Eventually, I realize that as much as I’m afraid of the commitment and consequences that entail, I am equally excited to officially live my life together with Andhika, even more than what we have thus far.

So, yeah, we put a ring on it!

Four winters, forty eight full moons (technically we don’t have winters but for literature’s sake just take it as it is…)

We can count our blessings in numbers: forty eight months, nineteen cities, eight birthdays, seven countries, six companies, three continents, two degrees, two universities, one car – you name it.  Numbered milestones are used as a measurement of how we have been and how we’ve changed (hopefully for the better) for the ­­past years. We have evolved from a frugal university students into interns-trying-to-make-things-work and finally an aspiring young professionals (or at least that’s how we wish we are) and on the process, shifting our ways of communication and responding on the process.

Keeping numbered achievements also feel nice – it makes people feel valuable, achieving, successful. Isn’t it nice to put statistics and color-coded map of the world?

I invite us to highlight the fact that it is less about the numbers and the successes, but more to the things we have gone through in order to keep the wheels turning and the counts up. Behind “nineteen cities”, for example, lies endless bickering on where to go and which transportation we should take and behind “six companies” lay week-long discussion on career paths and self-development (in which each of us plays an important role) plans. Behind three anniversary blog posts lay spiteful LINE messages (which usually mean I miss you but I’m way too high in my ego to admit such) and numerous fights hidden by those shiny numbers. These are the things that matter, even more so than the numbers – because they were the ones that made us grow and made us who we are today.

In the fourth of the fourth day of the fourth month (basically, fourth anniversary), let us shy away from the past milestones and instead, look ahead.

It is no time to boast on what we’ve done – it is time to think on what we are going to do. What are we going to do next and how should we shift ourselves so that we fit to each other’s missing puzzle piece? What have we been lacking and how will we address them in order to make things work on the long run? What have we done well and would they still be relevant in the future? Have we been focusing on the right things? Aren’t these the questions grown-ups supposed to ask themselves in a mature relationship? After all, we’ve grown, haven’t we?

There are lots of questions to ask and consequently, lots of answers to be sought.

And I believe we should try to seek those answers together.

Happy anniversary, more to come!

cahya 5

P.S. thanks for tolerating me at my worst

P.P.S. On another note I really think I’ve had too much self-development trainings hence lots of self-reflection questions.

I was afraid.

I will be lying if I tell you that yesterday, when a terrorist attack in front of Sarinah happened and afterwards, I was not.

I was afraid. I was afraid that there could be another bomb, that there could be more lives taken, that there could be more mothers out there that lost their sons and daughters, that there could be more children that would have one less parent.

I passed Sarinah in the morning of 14 January 2016 on my way to a meeting in Bunderan HI area, where my taxi stopped in the red traffic light and people getting off the busway en route to their office. It was a normal morning. I even thought of going to the Starbucks that morning. So, having learned later on the day that the very normal crossroad I passed through was the ground zero for some open gunfire, bombs, and grenades, it was nauseating. I lost my appetite for lunch that day, and was surprised that such thing could happen to my city.

It was also surprising for me how my fellow Jakartans reacted to the attack. It was initially fear (obviously, especially some of us were in the vicinity of Sarinah), and then a sense of unity (for which I applaud), and then spirit to “fight” back (for which I really admire). The hashtags came, from #PrayForJakarta (which I personally think, wouldn’t really affect the exchange rate) to #IndonesiaKuat (strong Indonesia) to #KamiTidakTakut (we are not afraid).

Being in the digital age that we are, of course there are plentiful of memes and stories that arose, the most famous one being the satay vendor that are seen 100 m away from ground zero, already selling the food with a lot of customers waiting for their plates to be served. The point of that post was to show that we, Indonesians, are not afraid. And the day will continue to be normal afterwards.

But for me, the day didn’t. I have calmed down, but I kept my alertness up. If the agendas were not urgent, I didn’t end up going.

An attack did happen, a bomb did blow up, people did die – these are the reasons why I refuse to laugh about the attack.

What I thought was: yes, I should not be drowned in terror because that’s exactly what terrorist attacks are for, but I should not also be careless and take the attack lightly.

And I am writing and sharing my two cents just to spread the message to my fellow Jakartans, we do stand together and united, but please, please also keep in mind that yesterday was real. Although arguably in a smaller scale than what happened in Paris, it was still a terrorist attack. Please don’t let your guard down, please always be mindful of your safety and security.

I’m not trying to exaggerate anything, neither am I understating it.

A terrorist attack is not a small matter.

Stay safe.

When I was in high school, I used to dismiss and sometimes laugh at my friends who love K-Pop. For me, a group of men doing synchronized dancing with matching uniform is just too weird and feminine. The girls were too weirdly dressed and the stigma of plastic surgery made me appreciate them less. Granted, their songs might be catchy, but it was not a strong enough pull noting the “plasticity” and the “femininity” factor of K-Pop.

This was until I entered university and the Hallyu wave (or the Korean craze) hit many parts of Asia, including the university that I was studying in. My (male) friend introduced me to Girls’ Generation or SNSD – and boy, karma does exist, it didn’t take me too long to like them and their seemingly perfect legs. It was just a short hype, no longer than two months or so. However, not long after, out of curiosity I heard the more upbeat songs of GD & TOP (of Big Bang). I started with the song “High High” and really, it hooked me almost instantly! I really loved the song (from a musical perspective) (and not to mention TOP’s ultra-sharp jaw line…) and slowly I found their music to be…acceptable.

Cutting the story short, my encounter with SNSD and GD & TOP led me to the world of K-Pop. Surely the synchronized dancing is still pretty much there in the industry, so does the rumors of plastic surgery, and debates about the slavery-like contract of the idols and the immense pressure of Korean showbiz industry – but I got hooked. I find it to be very entertaining at times and I just simply enjoy it.

I have lived days where I would watch SNSD’s The Boys and their live version of Genie over and over again, ship YongSeo in We Got Married, went crazy over Jung Yong Hwa (of CNBlue). Now, I am a HUGE (all-caps, no regrets) fan of Winner (#teamMino), am patiently waiting for Big Bang’s “D” series to be launched in a few hours, am an avid listener of 2NE1, and (you guessed it) a YG stan.

Although I can tell you Song Minho’s birthday (30 March 1993) or the history behind “Banmal Song” (Goguma Couple!), up to this moment I have never really proclaimed or identified myself as a diehard K-Pop fan. I even distanced myself from being labeled as the “K-Pop fan”. When I told my friend that I like a Korean boy group, I spent about a minute or two explaining why I like their songs and how this band is the “okay part of K-Pop industry” and “it’s not what you think it is”.

I have always tried to justify my liking of K-Pop.

I don’t want people to know that I like K-Pop.

The reason behind that is that I don’t want people’s perception around me to change. I’ve always thought and observed that K-Pop has this negative stigma that if you like K-Pop, you are a superficial person that can be really freaky at times who loves feminine guys and plastic girls. It’s almost as if you’re not cool anymore. And I don’t want people to label me as the freaky fangirl.

Truth be told, when I shared something related to K-Pop be it in the real world or in my social networking sites, people would have various responses. Some were positive, some were neutral, but it’s the negative responses that got stuck with me. Some people did say “huh, never thought that you’re that kind of person who likes K-Pop. I thought you’re more of the cool girl who likes Western music”. Some said “what???? What on earth are you doing liking K-Pop??” Some would go as far as “are you really serious now? Do you need me to pour mercury into you so that you’ll come to your senses?” Thus with fear of being mocked at, I shut myself.

I shut myself and conveyed the message that I like Julie London and Ella Fitzgerald (fyi, I honestly do) so that people would still think I’m the okay girl. It is sad that I have to partially conceal myself so that it will be more acceptable to people.

I succumbed to public stereotypes and I let people’s judgment dictate what I do and what I project to the society.

It took me perhaps a couple of years or so to finally realize that my hiding and denying of my musical preference (for God’s sake it’s just a simple thing – music!) is me rejecting a part of me. How would I expect people to be okay with it whereas at the same time me myself is busy denying it? I rejected, looked down and laughed at myself for something that I honestly enjoy! I was not even at peace with myself!

For something as seemingly simple as a favorite artist or musical preference, it was such a drama (ahem, I just made a 804 words long blogpost above to admit that I like K-Pop) and it made me realize how evil judgmental behavior could be. Extending it beyond musical preference, I realized how our millions of little daily activities and decision making is heavily impacted by fear of other people’s judgment or perception on us – what we are wearing today (will this make me look fat? Is this cardigan outdated already? What if people think this is a cheap dress?), what we tweeted or posted in the social networking sites (will this tweet make me look witty? I don’t want to sound stupid or superficial. Is this post consistent with the hipster image I’ve been trying to portray?), what we post in our blog (will this blogpost make my friends laugh at me?).

Let the avid cosplayer cosplay their favorite character; let our romantic, poetic friend post their pages long poem; let our girl friends who love make up do a make up vlog in YouTube; let our activist friends support the cause they believe in. Really, your life is yours to enjoy – don’t let people limit them for you.

K-Pop is just an analogy. Every day, everyone is dealing with stereotypes and judgments. It’s tiring, useless and vain to keep up with what people are expecting us to do. I have finally came to terms with myself –

And finally admitting, I love K-Pop.

P.S.: through this post, please allow me apologize to my high school friends whom I used to laugh at for liking K-Pop. *bows*

P.P.S.: here’s one of my favorite performances of Winner (especially love that first song – Go Up):

I am surrounded by people who have “volunteering” in their list of hobbies. Some (well, most) glorify volunteering, saying that it enriches your mind, it broadens your perspective, it feels good, and so on and so forth. Sadly, I have never felt such excitement.

My first ever volunteering was when I volunteered for Museum Konperensi Asia Afrika’s 50th anniversary, only a one-off event and I was just attending the blood donor stand, helping with the documentation and administrative matters. It was a really fun experience; well practically I was helping people to help other people (helpception). It was a very valuable practical communication training as I was partly convincing people to donate their blood and be extra friendly although I cannot really understand what they were saying because I don’t speak Sundanese. So, yes, I had my perspectives broaden; yes, I met and interacted with tons of new people; but it hasn’t given me that addiction everyone’s been saying about.

As an avid National Geographic viewer (and partly because of Dee’s Partikel), one of my lifelong dreams is to volunteer in an orangutan camp in Kalimantan or help with Sumatran Tiger conservation. But, that dream is currently a bit far-fetched and the quickest shortcut is through “voluntourism” (with an ongoing debate about whether it is actually positive) and that trip costs at least Rp25,000,000. Like. No way.

However, this weekend I had the chance to volunteer with equally interesting beings: kids. (I don’t mean to compare them, really)

Some of you might know that I’m a big-time museum fan (to some of you who don’t, well, I love museums), and some of you might know that I am currently having an exchange to the UK whose museums I dear so. So I thought to myself, why didn’t I volunteer at one?

Since September 2013, I have applied to volunteer in four different museums in three different cities and I got no luck. Apparently in the UK there are more people who are willing to help and care about museums than positions the museum could offer (while it’s clearly the other way around in Indonesia). So when some weeks ago The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge emailed me to offer a volunteering position for an event, I was really excited.

The position available is to assist families in art activities in Manet’s The Execution of Maximillian special exhibition. Basically I had to help the children to create artworks based on some subjects Manet painted before. I was a bit reluctant at first to register for it; I was not confident with my English, never was I an artsy girl, and I have never assisted children. It was not the type of volunteer I expected; and I thought to myself, who are you to be picky? So with a carpe diem mentality, I signed up!

Long story short, on 28th February 2014, I received the volunteer briefing documents. I went from really excited to really, really nervous upon reading it. I just realized how complicated it might be working with kids! Additionally, my jokes and idioms are not yet synchronized with those of the British’s. In one night, I researched pages about Manet, learned some painting terms and a minuscule of art history, and made up some fictional dialogues that might happen with the kids the next day.

The D-Day.

I arrived at the museum and met the other two volunteers. One was younger than me (and had volunteered at the museum a couple of times before) and one was older (and had plenty experiences in pubic speaking and handling kids). I was intimidated, really. My Indo-American-ish accent didn’t seem to help either; I just wished the day would go by really quickly.

Just about 20 minutes after the museum opened its exhibitions, two lovely children entered – and one of them was given to me alone to be assisted. At first I started really, really stern. Bless her, the other volunteer noticed this and she helped me. I soon copied her, knowing what level of intimacy I should use, what language, and what topics I should talk about. I became more relaxed. Amazingly, as I open myself more to the lovely little lady, she opened herself more as well. She started sharing her ideas with me and became braver.

As more kids came to paint, I became more in love with what I was doing. I am constantly amazed by how they are genuinely interested at so many things we adults often take for granted. I feel very happy whenever they say “thank you” and smiled very sincerely to me even if I only gave them a new brush or a glass of clean water. I am tickled by their witty imagination and their innocence. Their capacity of loving is enormous; their attachment and affection to their parents and guardians are exceptional. The kids and I would laugh at the littlest thing (“fat brush”), and they would be really excited at the things we might see very boring as adults (“AH! we can draw a crab! Uh-huh! A beach ball as well!”).

One difference I noticed from the kids here in the UK and back home in Indonesia is how their guardians would constantly remind them to use the “magic words”: thank you and please. I once wondered how people here are amazingly enthusiastic at small talks and seemingly very polite – never missed a “thank you” or a “please” in their requests. Seeing how the kids at the museum was reminded to use these words, my questioning is finally answered. All of the kids I helped in the past two days said thank you to the “lovely lady” (me (blush)), and all of them would say please when they ask for something. Perhaps the same thing also happens in Indonesia, but based on my observation I believe that the practice is not conducted as much.

Back to the volunteering, besides learning a new life skill (assisting and interacting with children), I met very kind volunteers along the way. I met a school student (not everyday in Indonesia you met school student volunteering in a museum), a charity worker/public speaker, a uni student, and a young adult like me working as a nanny. Their reasons to volunteer vary but they are all equally sincere. I had a very engaging talk with the charity worker, talking about what kind of jobs I should pursue (related to the recently established twenty-something dilemma and professional insecurity), about the perks of traveling, inequality between developed and developing countries (a subject area I have been interested at recently), and working for a cause.

I went home at 4 p.m. that day with a very satisfied face. I did not eradicate poverty nor world hunger, true, but it feels really good helping someone else you entirely have no personal relationship with, even though it came in the form of cleaning dirty brushes or refilling paints. I went home saying I would volunteer for something else back home and I would continue my relationship and research with Museum Sri Baduga.

Although my volunteering experience is far less intense and frequent than that of my friend’s, let’s just say I finally know what the fuss about volunteering is. And let’s just say I am now officially addicted to it.


You are the person that has been beside me the longest.

I have solid proof for that. Yet it might be true that at the moment I am writing this post, I have so many things about me that you don’t know of, many stories we choose to keep to ourselves and our romantic partners. We do not share as many things anymore. Our communication has degraded to instant messaging sticker exchanges, short video calls, and questions about medical condition, final project, or some technical errors. Whereas we used to be the guys who play the game console together (or more like you play and I watch while constantly telling you what to do (which is almost always wrong when it comes to video games)), “play” basketball or baseball or skateboard or cycle around together (because we can’t really do sports, can we?), walk around the food court for a considerable amount of time deciding which food to choose, or even fight over chicken/candies/soft drink/food-related-stuffs. What happened?

Gengsi happens. In their puberty-laden teenage years, who would want to be seen hanging around with their own brothers and sisters, right? (Wrong). We (or at least I) actively want to differentiate myself from each other, wanting to look “cool” by hanging around with the other “cool” kids, family members not included. Instead of playing the game consoles or having some quality chat, we’d rather be online with our own PCs or hanging out in Pondok Indah Mall. Not being outgoing is considered a sin in this “cool”-phase of ours (or mine), and so we went out from our nest.

We went out from our real nest, a.k.a. home, in 2010 when each of us got enrolled into different universities – the first academic institution we don’t go together, before earlier being in the same kindergarten through high school. Different cities. No big deal. We are overwhelmed by it that we often forget to call each other or even instant-messaged each other. None of us wanted to say “hi kangen nih” first, surely, even though eating a really delicious grilled fish in front of my dorm brought you up to my mind. We are busy catching up with new friends and lessons and activities that we did not allocate enough time for each other. We just take everything for granted. (On that note, we can’t even say a lavish happy birthday to each other (hence the creation of this post lol)). Gengsi happened and it costs us big time.

Romance happens. Along came crushes and love lines. As I had my first crush and you had yours, we were too shy to discuss about it with each other that we chose to stay silent. Unfortunately, with the current mainstream culture, love and romance takes up about 99% of our everyday concerns (this is a hyperbole, by the way). With simple logic, it is easy to understand why we did not talk as much as we were introduced to the world of romantic relationships.

As of now, we have our own romantic partners whom we spent at least 70% of our time with. They became the one whom we share our everyday stories with. They became the one whom we do our activities with. It is no longer me who you fight over which restaurant we should dine in anymore; it is her. It is no longer you who I tell to if I find an interesting website; it is him. At times, jealousy swells as I see you paid attention to her more than to me, perhaps the same way with you (I hope the same way with you, haha). At times, I wanted to win over your girlfriend to claim back “the girl who knows you best” throne. I wanted to be the one who gave you advice on what clothes to wear or WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD TRIM YOUR FACIAL HAIR (it is in capslock because it’s A SERIOUS MATTER) (kidding :*) and you actually listen to. Childish and selfish, true, but you know….I just want you? (possessive sister alert)

However, I have came to realize that these role of ours have to be shared, or even passed on, as we grow old. I realize that at the latter stage of life, it is impractical (and impossible, really) for me to be pegged to you all the time (imagine me following you to the remote islands of Indonesia for the puskesmas thing). I realize that having someone else as your significant other does not eliminate our relationship entirely; conversely, it brings an extra family member. All the more joy to be felt!

Adulthood happens. Ageing is inevitable. It is just natural. Surely, we cannot be kids forever, can we? And as we grow older, we receive more responsibilities. We have demands to be fulfilled, and we have dreams to be achieved.

Couple of years from now, you will be sent to the remote islands of Indonesia (amin!) and perhaps I will be in bustling Jakarta working in a fancy office (amin to that as well). Some years later, you (or me) might get married to someone else, starting a new little family. Some years later, who knows? You would be a specialist and I would be something else (wk yup I’m more ambiguous in that part). I might be traveling the world, you might too, and we might not be each other’s travel partner anymore.

You will finally achieve your lifelong dream to be a doctor, a profession I honestly think fits you quite well, noting your patience and all that. Me? I have achieved my dream to study in the UK for the current time, and who knows what my future endeavors would be like. I cannot give an exact answer to what I will do now but I can assure you that I am chasing my dreams; we both are chasing our dreams.

While it is factual that adulthood is inevitable, I would like to argue that being more mature doesn’t mean that we should drift away from each other, making distance along the way to reach our dreams. For that, I ask for your forgiveness.

I ask for your forgiveness for not being attentive and expressive enough in expressing my feelings towards you. I ask for your forgiveness for taking you for granted, often putting you just in the background. I ask for your forgiveness (and your girlfriend’s, too) for being childish at times and prioritizing my feelings and emotions over yours, especially in the context of our own romantic relationships. I ask for your forgiveness if I had been too controlling (an apology I think applicable since 1995). I ask for your forgiveness if I had been a lousy twin sister 😉

Although it is true and almost inevitable that we (you) cannot play Xbox (well it practically is broken) together everyday anymore, nor challenge each other in Guitar Hero (in which I would play in a difficulty level lower than yours) (omg I miss that game!), nor travel abroad as much together anymore, nor *insert any fun memories you have with me here* anymore, I do know that you still care for me and conversely, you should know that I do and will always care for you.

You will always be that other part of me (literally); you will always be my significant other.

(well, it’s not like you can change that, you know, we are like, twins.)

Happy twentieth birthday! (There is a growing trend of trying to be the last one who gave a birthday wish, you know.)