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Ever since middle school, I’ve always responded “reading!” excitedly when asked what my hobby is. This is true, as I found reading as a means to escape daily routine and be immersed in an entirely different world (I’m a hardcore fictions reader, mind you), despite how cliche it may sound.

However, some reality check. Ever since the boom of articles and “10 most [insert a random adjective here] [insert a random category here]” lists on the net, I have to admit that I haven’t been reading as much — in fact, the amount of books I read in 2015 can be counted with my one hand only.

Having realized the importance of reading to enrich your mind in a deep and thorough manner (something the bite-size internet articles are not able to offer), as well as training your brain on how to effectively deliver messages, I have committed myself to read more this year, be it fiction or non-fiction books.

I set my goals realistic: at least one book per month. I don’t assign a specific genre or ratio of fictions & non-fictions. For a start I just need to read. Period.

So far, entering the month of May this week, I have read four books and currently reading a fifth one, targeting it to be finished by this week! It’s a small number, but it keeps the wheel turning.

This is going to be the list of books I read over the year, and this post will be continuously updated throughout.

  1. Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk – Ahmad Tohari
  2. Lean In for Graduates – Sheryl Sandberg
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  4. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
  5. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
  6. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling
  8. Feminist Fight Club – Jessica Bennett
  9. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

P.S: I will also post a review/post-reading note/reflection in separate posts

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.

Disclaimer:

I am a cheesy person and this is going to be a very cheesy post. You have been warned.

In my life I have encountered so many driven girls — yet the one trait that I have always observed is that, they are almost certainly often feel insecure. Some would feel like they are not good enough career- or school-wise, some would feel that they are too overbearing, some would worry about how they would never have a boyfriend; and the list goes on and on.

Now I have this particular friend of mine: she’s very bright (as in cheerful bright and smart bright, not the convenience store in Pertamina’s retail stations Bright) and I bet that there are lots of colleagues, university friends, high school friends that could validate that. As humane as we all are, she sometimes feel insecure — about pretty much the things that we all would feel insecure about, such as work, romance, life in general, work (uh yes I did mention work twice on purpose 😉 teehee).

Sometimes though, like tonight, I wanted to shout out to her and say don’t worry, you’re doing fine. Ultra fine, to be exact.

Last time I worked with her in a team, she was able to deliver and led a team of 30+ people to create an exhibition and competition which went smoothly; during which for a year of working with her I don’t think I have any complains. From what I heard on her work, she’s doing fine in that front too. And being the ambitious girl that she is, she keeps on finding ways how to develop herself (which on a side note, I’m sure she’ll do stellar in whatever things she decide to pursue).

I wouldn’t call her overbearing, at all. She’s a listener (and equally, a talker too, which is good) and she could (well I hope) stand listening to your endless daily spazzing over an idol who doesn’t even know you exist that lives 5,293 km away from you. Now in retrospect, I think I owe her a LOT of time to listen because 75% of the time I think it’s me who did the talking.

She’s wise! She could give you advice and feedback that is objective and logical, yet at the same time able to convey it in a delicate manner that it doesn’t hurt your feeling. Honestly, if I could bring this back to myself, I appreciate honesty in friendship much more than sweet talks and empty consolations — and she is able to do just that. She’s mature (well, she *is* even older now HAHAHA) so whenever this childish Cahya decides to jump out, she could bring Cahya back to her senses. And that’s nice to have ❤

All in all, I think she’s a good careerwoman in the making (her boss said so), a good human being (she supports refugees), a good fangirl (she likes (or as she claimed, liked with a past tense) Xiumin and Kim Jinwoo), and most importantly, she’s a good friend (Cahya said so <3).

And oh! Today happens to be her birthday.

Happy birthday, Cici! Hope you had a blast! Have a stellar year ahead of you! Thank you for being a friend! :*

xx, mushy Cahya

P.S.: she is the one responsible to encourage me to start writing again (honestly, this was so important for me and it boosted my confidence in writing things again)

P.P.S.: she’s single.

I am an alpha female — or at least I think I am? yea I think I am.

And I have an alpha boyfriend — career and ambition wise, that is.

We participated in several competitions together, we went together (albeit with a difference of 3 months) in a study-abroad program, sometimes our dinner plans got intercepted with work emails (and yeah, I don’t like it either), we helped each other practice for big presentations (seminars, speeches, thesis defense among others), and basically do all the boring things in life together.

We also have this tendency to over-do and portray that we have a ROCKING relationship — when you make an ambitious birthday infographic, or a confusing essay for your anniversary, you gotta be mental or something don’t you think? — and that our relationship works; every single minute, every single second.

Sometimes we have the honor of people saying that they admire us, some dub us as their “favorite couple ever”, some said we are inspiring (it really touches me when you say that — but we seriously have a long way to go to be called as inspiring). We are extremely happy and flattered for that, thank you! Merci beaucoup! Terima kasih!

It also feels nice being in a relationship where each of us are free to chase our own dreams and ambitions — be it being Bill Gates or Sheryl Sandberg/Melinda Gates (a.k.a. #ForeverGirlCrush) — and does not let your significant other hold you back or shrug you off telling you to “slow down, you’re so ambitious”. It’s nice to have someone that will motivate you when you’re feeling like you’re too lazy to work and prefer to spazz over K-Pop idols instead. It’s nice as well to have someone to be in front of you in the racetrack so you don’t feel so complacent about where you are right now — you’ll grow for the better. But of course — it’s nicest when someone can spill out the harsh word to you if you’ve been doing something wrongly and no one else would want to say the plain, harsh truth out loud to you.

Yes it might sound uptight, rigid, no chill, boring and downright no fun. However, I value self-development and self-actualization, so it really suits me and I find them fun along the way.

So it’s rainbows and butterflies, no?

Well, yes, sure, sometimes.

But there are lots of things that the two Alphas don’t tell you:

  • The person in front of you in the racetrack? Guess what, he’s your rival now. Need I say more?
  • There are days, weeks, maybe months when you can’t simply meet up due to unmatched schedules and work commitments. In which it could be very tiring — you have no energy left in the evenings to catch up on each other’s lives and got no sufficient amount of free time to have a quality time and reconnect. No matter how much the word “compromise” got said, there are some moments when you just simply can’t. And it’s tiring. It makes you feel empty.
  • We need more ears than we need mouths. There are so much to say when you have the time to talk and yet so little you want to hear. Sometimes the two of us are so eloquent in speaking that we don’t know how or when to stop.
  • You want to stop running, take a breath for a while, enjoy the sceneries or the sky or whatnots, but soon you realize you’re lagging behind and being the Alpha that you are, you don’t wanna be left behind, of course. (Yes, I know, “then chill a bit! Who’s asking you to keep on running?”)
  • You beat yourself too hard — way too hard. When I was still a free-roamers I’ve always had the tendency to look down on myself and feel dissatisfied of who I am and what I’ve done (you know, my friend, I’m always this insecure little girl). When you’re with someone…who has the exact same tendency….you just end up being two very insecure little girl and boy being stuck together in the bottomless abyss that is the insecurity trap. Sometimes we end up losing faith in ourselves completely.

I know every relationship has its own trade-offs and hard times and fun rides. It’s just this is one of the off moments for this girl right here…

and hell yeah it’s tiring.

Just like my post almost 2 years ago, I find it incredibly amusing to look for search engine terms that lead people to my blogs… Although I haven’t blogged for *so* long, apparently some weird terms still lure people in. In this post I categorized some of the amusing (and downright weird) search engine terms:

  • Weirdest term goes to: apa bahasa sundanya makan mie instan terus kaya anak kostan. Mister/miss, I have no idea.
  • Other weird terms: kenapa nasi uduk murah banget, kenapa undangan indonesia berlembar-lembar
  • Kaderisasi/ospek/perploncoan: starting from the positive ones like “kaderisasi tanpa marah”, “ospek di luar negeri yang tanpa marah-marah”, “cara membela mentor yang dimarahi panitia” to the awful ones like “ide plonco maba pas makrab”, “kekerasan kaderisasi”
  • My friends’ names: seriously are these friends popular or are they just searching their own names?
  • Rute angkot Bandung: ….mister/miss, I only know the route for the purple angkot Cisitu-Tegalega. Other than that, I’m quite blind 😦

Have a good morning! And thank you for visiting my blog!

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“The 4th of April is actually a really unlucky day”

It took me a couple of minutes to understand what she meant by that.

You see, in Chinese culture, the number four is represented by the character 四(pinyin si), which is nearly homophonous to the word “death” (死 pinyin sǐ), so with two fours in the date of our anniversary, perhaps fengshui enthusiasts would cringe.

(Kudos to Wikipedia for that fun fact)

I even forgot I ever said that (he said I said it some hours after we are “officially” a couple) whereas I am usually the girl who remembers the little details of every moment of everything. Perhaps after I said it, I went on to elaborate what I mean by that statement – it might as well be a 15-minute lecture on the unlucky number four, followed by a 15-minute lecture on the Chinese language and 15-minute of self-lamentation on how my Chinese has gotten worse by the years.

You see, I’m chatty and annoying and a truly Ms. Smartypants. But hey! My boyfriend got stuck with me for 3 years now and we are doing an ok job! So maybe, 4th of April isn’t so unlucky! They’re wrong!

…or maybe they’re right. Just kidding.

She’s definitely right though – I am stuck with her, with a healthy dose of a superglue formula called love.

(kemudian ngelem) (nvm)

Just about three years ago, give or take an hour (at time of writing), I finally had the courage to utter a few words, the choice of which I still regret until today. But then yeah, she said yes (actually, more like okay).

The question of the day is: why did she? And why did I even decide to utter those little words?

Teenlit novels would quickly rush to the conclusion: love, of course! (or maybe not, I never read those books, actually)

But I doubt it was. Looking back then, 4 April 2012 was more like a spur of the moment, a blip in timespace which just so happened at that time because on Twitter she sounded as if she actually liked me, with a healthy dose of nostalgia from a certain evening in Washington DC a couple weeks earlier.

Love, my friend, came later.

(it’s just because of that???!?!?!!!)

A couple weeks earlier, the two of us and sixteen other lovely people was attending Harvard National MUN in Boston, with side trips to NYC and Washington DC. I guess that’s *the* moment, where I (sort of) realized he is someone I’m really comfortable around with, someone I can goof around with, who shares the same interest (we were AT AWE with the Smithsonians and we *love* walking), and is just basically there to brighten up my day.

During the two incredible weeks in the States, the team’s anthem was Rihanna’s We Found Love (mind you, it was 2012). And I guess I found love at Independence Avenue SW.

(Okay, I think she missed my point.)

So back to Rihanna. She was right, I too found love at Independence Avenue SW. And in the moment we passed by a Metro station only to decide that we simply don’t have the money to spend on the train. And in the brief stops at every Starbucks around the corner for a glimpse of WiFi. And in the two leftover meatballs they had at the KBRI pantry.

Love we did find, and fall in love indeed I had proclaimed to myself deep in my conscience (to be precise, I said to myself, wow this is like that moment in the movies where the guy and the girl finally realize that they were meant for each other). But in hindsight, it was more like tripping in love.

Yes, tripping in love. Now that sounds like some offbeat B-side hip-hop song title sung by a drunk rapper.

Falling in love was the journey that we started on that evening, a journey that we are still going through today.

Even though we fight *a lot* and our normal conversational tones would sound like an endless debate to an observer’s ears, we happen to survive this one hell of a rollercoaster ride (so far). We witnessed and helped each other change for the better; I, more compromising and (trying to be) more patient, and he, more organized and reliable.

We did fall out of love every now and then – it’s not like couples should be head over heels for each other for all eternity, right? I hate it when he’s not punctual and lebay and mismanaged. Likewise, he hates me when I’m overly demanding and impatient and moody.

Although in my earlier paragraphs I did mention that he shared the same interest with me, we don’t always sync – I guess you can pretty much see it by how our paragraphs differ.

But aside from those differences, at the end of the day, she makes me feel right. To me, she’s like a lighthouse, guiding me with her light so that I don’t stumble over and crash. She’s my best friend – she knows me even when I’m not so sure about myself, and always there for me even when I don’t realize that I need her.

For the past three years I have cherished, and for the many years to come, I shall cherish her presence.

Her unending attention.

His lame jokes.

Her common sense.

His awkwardness.

Her perfectly round eyes.

His perfectly round tummy.

Her creativity and never-ending curiosity.

His positivity and naivety towards the world.

Her wholeheartedness.

His kindness.

…and we could go and on and on.

I guess love is simply about accepting the entirety of your loved one — the amazing things you’ll proudly tell the world about, but also the not-so-good things that sometimes aggravate you but still makes a part of who she is anyway.

But I’ve come to learn that it isn’t just about accepting, but also understanding that she too accepts me for who I am.

So Cahya, happy third anniversary!

Happy anniversary, Andhika! Let’s continue our rocking journey! Bag up your gadgets, snacks, songs for our car sing-along, and fasten your seatbelt. We have a long journey ahead of us!
—-

Co-written by: Andhika Nugraha & Cahyawardhani

Whether Google is going to be the real Skynet or the coolest company ever is an ongoing debate. It has so far discussed in my Facebook comment section, pre-dinner time, reunion, and dates.

Yup. Dates.

——-

Andhika: Eh btw android berikutnya follows you. Whatever you do. Whatever device you use. Sooo scary

Cahya: Maksudnya?

A: Everything you do di semua devices yang powered by Google akan terhubung wkwk. It’s omnipresent

C: They dont know how my poop looks tho

A: …WHY POOP

C: Because they know what I eat, where I go, who I date. But poop is a natural thing, product-free. So. Poop.

A: Well if you use health monitoring devices, maybe even your poop will be known by Google

C: As far as I know I don’t use poop tracking device

A: Maybe you will one day have nanobots in your poop.

——

Yikes.