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!

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):


“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


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.



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.