What We Have But They Don’t

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“Aislinn, what makes us work?”

I felt some weight shifted from the side of my body. Aislinn pulled herself, making us seemed like two individuals sitting properly on a couch after how-many-hours-only-God-could-count spending the rest of the Sunday being two individuals clasped in one wrapped by a thick white duvet, looking like a potato made of snow. “Huh?”

“What makes us work?” I repeated.

“I cannot see where this conversation is going,” she said blatantly. I don’t blame her. My random question might have distracted her focus from solving Tommy and Tuppence’s case narrated by Agatha Christie inside the thin N or M novel she had on hand.

“We were once complete strangers, but now look at us! We’re the dynamic duo, two relationship virtuoso.” I saw her smile broadened a little. “So, I was wondering, what is the thing between us that makes us work?”

Aislinn put her book down and she then gazed at the ceilings. Her eyesight might be limited by white-painted walls around us, but I exactly know that her mind was wandering freely to the edge of the universe, seeking for answers. That’s just the way she is, a deep thinker, a great companion slash lover.

“Is it our similarities?” I asked again. “I know that we’re not so much alike, but is it those small similarities that makes us work?”

She then turned at me. Her eyes were locked at mine.. and I was lost. I was lost at her warm almond eyes. I know that ‘similarity’ was not the answer we were looking because she was diving to the deepest part of me by looking into my eye. She often did that, as if my eyes held all the answer she needed.

“I know what makes us work.” Funnily, we both said those exact words at the same time.

“What do you think it is?” she asked quickly.

“I think we have big enough hearts to understand each other. We digest information from each other thoroughly before we reply.. and I guess that’s why we’re able to understand each other well enough.”

“Hmm, similar,” she said. “I think we work because we listen. Honestly, I really appreciate it whenever you stop looking at your phone every time I called your name. It might be something very simple, but it means a lot to me. It’s a proof that you’re a good listener, and that’s all I need.”

“Oh, I just don’t want you to take my phone away just because you’re mad at me for gaming all the time,” I said. Oh, teasing her was always fun!

“If that’s so, you’re such an arse!” she sneered, sticking her tongue out at me. “But really, I think people nowadays should stop taking public speaking classes and start taking public listening classes instead, if there is one. We always want to be heard ’till we forget to listen. We humans are too selfish, aren’t we?!”

She started ranting for like a whole five minutes, condemning humanity. That’s one of the thing I like about her: she’s fully aware of anyone’s flaws (including hers) and she’s eager to mend it. She is like a program which automatically knows when to hit the refresh button.

“You know what, Aislinn?”

“Hmm?”

“I really appreciate it when you answer my silly questions seriously,” I finally said. Really, I’m truly grateful for it. Finding someone who would listen to your dorky dreams or silly stories is like seeking for a needle on a haystack. It’s hard, nearly impossible. Dear Good Gracious God, what have I done that makes me deserve her? “Thank you, love.”

She didn’t reply, but what she did next was enough to light my heart the whole evening. Our random Sunday discussion ended with her bright smile addressed to me.

Yes, to me.

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Why “The Greatest Showman” Is NOT The Greatest

Disclaimer: if you haven’t watched “The Greatest Showman” and you don’t want any expectations ruined, you better skip this post and go ahead.

Okay, okay, before I elaborate the reason why I ‘mock’ everyone’s favorite lately, I must inform you that I watch this movie without any expectation. I hadn’t heard anything about The Greatest Showman until the day I accidentally saw the trailer on a local cinema while I and my dad queued for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The trailer didn’t enchant me the way Pitch Perfect 3‘s enchanted me (which happened to roll on the screen right after The Greatest Showman‘s trailer). Just compare it yourself:

To me, The Greatest Showman‘s trailer is lacking of conflicts and baits. The trailer only emphasizes its audio and visual aspects, it doesn’t sell the story. On the contrary, Pitch Perfect 3‘s trailer has everything a trailer should has: short and catchy line(s) that describes the whole conflict the movie is about. It also has interesting puns (thanks to Amy!)(but I’m fully aware though that puns won’t be available on The Greatest Showman since both of them are on the different pole of the genre spectrum).

However, since I don’t want to miss any Oscar-potential movies, I decided to watch The Greatest Showman too, without any expectation. Plus, people say that it is even better than the anticipated Insidious 4, so why not? Turns out… I like it! Despite the trailer, The Greatest Showman gives me more satisfaction than Pitch Perfect 3!

Yes, I admit it, The Greatest Showman is totally a movie worth watching. It is great, really. But why do I still think that it is not the greatest?

Now that I’ve watched The Greatest Showman, I put it on the same class as La La Land. Why? Because both of them are musicals and quite phenomenal.

Comparing those two makes me notice flaws in The Greatest Showman. But before I go, I must inform the great things about The Greatest Showman to make it fair:

Its audio and visual are really pleasing.

The great thing about The Greatest Showman is that the crew managed to find the perfect cast for the characters. All of them are so good on screen: eye-pleasing, great at acting, and able to sing!

You can see the chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams when they’re on screen. I see that both of them are suitable for each other ’till I and my friend (who I went to the movie with) panicked when P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) started being flirty with Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson). You can also see the chemistry between Zac Efron and Zendaya when they sing “Rewrite The Stars”.

Plus, the colors of the scenes (although still not good as La La Land‘s) are able to make us feel the mood the story wants us to feel. Bright colors coated with upbeat lyrics and tones really make me want to sing and dance (although I can’t). Dark Manhattan sky with some household fumes make me feel like I was suffering the way they do. The depiction is great, honestly.

The set is neatly arranged too. I can see that the crew put lots of effort on it, mostly on the costumes. Dang, the costumes are so old fashioned (and it is a good thing, of course, considering its era of the story)! I wonder… is it possible for The Greatest Showman to win the Oscars for The Best Costume Design this year?

The last great thing about The Greatest Showman is the lyrics of the song they sing. The lyrics really speaks its singer’s heart.. it is the kind of song that touches your soul, kind of. When I heard it, I feel like I was waiting for the next part of the song because I want to know what can possibly happen next. Although the lyrics are better than La La Land’s or Beauty and The Beast’s (another musical you must have heard of), I don’t find it as catchy as La La Land’s.

Yes, The Greatest Showman is great, but for me, there are still some flaws that keep it a little lower than La La Land on my personal chart:

1. The story can be easily guessed.

Since the very beginning of the movie, everything seems so smooth. Although P.T. Barnum has lots of misfortune, he seems like he’s able to overcome his problem eventually. You won’t see a lot of his struggle on the movie and that will make you feel like everything is kinda easy for him. The father of the girl he likes disapproves him… but hey, look, he get her eventually! He’s fired from his job… but hey, look, he has a tricky idea! And so on. It is unlike the characters in La La Land or in Sing whose struggles can bring out our empathy.

So, as I watched the movie, I couldn’t stop thinking “What is the big conflict which he cannot overcome easily?”. And until the end, I don’t see one. There is too many small conflicts until there’s no big fat conflict as its main attraction.

2. Unexplained cases and unfinished conflicts.

  1. When P.T. Barnum mails Charity regularly, what is his address? Isn’t he homeless? How could he still receive messages from her?
  2. What does he, a poor little boy, do on his childhood and teen age ’till he can walk up to Charity’s parents’ door to ask for her with a clean suit and a fancy hat attached to his body?
  3. Okay, what’s wrong with P.T. Barnum and apples? You can see two apples on this movie: one when P.T. Barnum is still a boy and one when P.T. Barnum is already a dad. The problem is, you don’t get to see him finish eating the first one! Undoubtedly, you’ll mistaken the second apple as the first one because the second appears on screen not long after the first!
  4. Why does people keep saying that he is a fraud and his circus is fake?
  5. What happened to the protesters? Does moving the circus to a tent on the outskirts of Manhattan silence them?

I wanted to add “He’s very stupid because he buy a lavish gigantic house instead of paying his debt” to the list, but that won’t be fair.

The flaws aren’t that many, but those still disturb me from completely enjoying the movie. Nonetheless, the great things about The Greatest Showman can still cover its flaws, making it still eligible as one of the movies you recommend to friends.

If you have watched the movie and you agree or disagree with me, tell me on the comment section below! I’d love to know what you think. (Wow, I sound like a YouTube-er). Arrivederci!

2017: A Year of Choices, Wrong Decisions, and Faith

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Hello, internet! Months have passed since the last time I post something on this dusty ‘lil blog and it is already December! They say December is “the most wonderful time of the year” and I agree on that since December means holiday. And holiday means free time to do things I really like, blogging for instance, yuhuu!

Just like every December these past few years (except for 2015’s December, I just realize that I forgot to summarize that year into a post), I’d like to summarize my experience this year along with all lessons I’ve learned. Quick story before I start: the movie “New Year’s Eve” inspired me to do this. Having a moment to reflect all deeds I’ve done in a year sounds like a good idea to me. Plus, I need something to do on new year’s eve since I can’t sleep thanks to the bangs (although this one and the last one on 2016 is not written on new year’s eve). So, straight to the points, here we go!

1. On attempting new things: consider the reason why you start thoroughly.

Last year I made a promise to my self to be more selective when it comes to saying “yes” and “no” to new opportunities. This year, I think I’m still unable to select what’s the best for me.

The year 2017 is the year I enter college, therefore the year 2017 is the year I discover lots of things. By “lots of things” I mean a lot. One of those things is these amazing people whose “personal brands” are outstanding and that make me feel smaller and smaller and even smaller.

In college, it is very easy to define people: John Doe the president of organization X, Richard Roe the entrepreneur, Jane Doe the researcher, etc. Those people have participated on international conferences, joined nationwide summit which made them have new acquaintances, attended talk shows as the key speaker, and so on. It seems like they have reach the front door of success at a very young age (oh please, none of them are above 25!). But above all, those outstanding people possess something not everyone have: the power to give good impact to wide range of people.

I want to be one of them. To be someone whose presence is not only as another plus one; to be someone whose presence can be a great impact to lots of people.

I realize that to find the definition of someone, to be well-known at a particular field, or just to be able to contribute to the society via a certain field, someone must be competent and professional. And to be those two, I also believe that experience is the best catalyst. Experience can be gained through formal studies, taking extra classes, being a part of a community filled with bunch of people with the same interest, being a committee of an event, and so on, depends on what field you want to master. That way, you’ll become an expert on your field and you will be like one of those outstanding people who can contribute a lot.

And that is where I went wrong.

Just because most of those people I met are committees of something or researchers of something doesn’t mean that I must go through the same path as they did. Everyone has their own field and every field have its own stage at the end of the path. I figured out lately that having “what field I want to master” or “what field is the most beneficial if I master it” in consideration is not enough. “Want” and “beneficial” are what make those not quite right. When you only have those two in considerations, when you finally meet an obstacle on your way, if your will is not strong enough, it will be easy for you to give up.

I figured out lately that “what field I’d love to master” is what should really be considered. When you’re in love with something, you will fight for it despite all the hardships that come to you. You’ll face obstacles with a light heart and you will still be happy. Forget about long-term benefits; your happiness must be prioritized because…

2. Happiness is what truly matters.

It doesn’t matter whether what you’re doing is beneficial for you or whether what you’re doing can fund seven generation of your descendants, if that makes you unhappy, ESCAPE THAT TOXIC JOB OR ACTIVITY IMMEDIATELY! What makes life precious is the small happiness you get on random occasions. When you’re older, the moments you’ll remember are the moments when you’re having a conversation with your best friends, not those moments when you’re studying all night without a break to get straight A’s! I’m not against studying, trust me, I support it fully. But, sometimes we just need a break. Life should be balanced, isn’t it?

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I need to keep this one in mind more. I often forget this one because I’m often too focused on my long-term goal, duh.

3. On befriending people: it is always about quality over quantity!

I’ve been on my most comfortable zone these past three years. The people who surround me are the best kind of people. They always bring the good side of me, and when I’m not, they’re still there to handle me. Long story short, they’re the best kind of friends I could’ve asked for.. we just clicked. Thank you!

Stepping into college means I must get out of my comfort zone. I don’t get to hang out with my old friends everyday though we still communicate regularly.

For exchange, I get to know new buddies from different parts of this country. They’re cool people with different backgrounds. They have interesting stories to tell and I respect them for how they struggle to enter college. But still.. it is not that easy to click with them.

In college, I also met various people whose personality make me shakes my head.

I met someone who take advantages from me. Don’t get me wrong, I like being beneficial to people. I love to take part in someone’s life as someone who helps them. But.. being that someone who is contacted only when being needed.. that’s not what I want. I’m here to also make friends, you know, not only to be someone’s helper.

I also personally met these bunch of people who talk politics and other sensitive topics to strangers. I don’t mind if those topics are being discussed just for the sake of knowledge, but these people, these bunch of people, even try to penetrate their ideologies to strangers. Yes, to strangers, duh! I don’t know about other people, but I think it’s inappropriate. Political views, religious views, and other similar things are private things and better be discussed in private too.

Bottom line, I now know that I really need to be selective when it comes to befriending people. There are lots of toxic people out there and I should do my best to not allow them spoil me in any kind of way. Befriending lots of people is good, but make sure to only have the best kind of people in your inner circle!

4. Stop thinking and just do your best to chase what you love!

This year’s greatest lesson is that I need to think less and care less (of what people think). This year’s greatest mistake is that I think too much ’till I forgot to listen to my heart. I think too much about possibilities and advantages ’till I forgot to consider my passion in my decisions. That made me really unhappy and that drove me a little mad for a moment.

This big mistake I made is not easy to fix; This is the kind of mistake I need to get along with. And I don’t really know how to face it; I have never made a mistake this big in my life.

But, to think… was it really a mistake? Or isn’t it just me who is still unable to see the good in His plans? Who knows, maybe it is the latter. I don’t know about you, but I believe that every thing that has happened, happens, or will happen in this universe is already planned by Him. And I also believe that He is The Best Planner of All.

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This brings us to the last (big, major, notable) lesson I learned this year:

5. Stop having what if-s, start having what’s next-s.

Having what if-s in life won’t help us anything, really. Having what if-s turns us into an ungrateful person. It will also make us hate ourselves more and that will be counterproductive. Mistakes are made in the past… so what? There’s nothing we can do regarding to the past.

All we can do is to plan something to mend our future, and that’s the only thing we need to do. It is easy to say and I know that it is so hard to execute, but I believe we can do this. We can go through this!

So, arrivederci people! From now on, let’s hustle!

The Horcruxes We Made

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for Shafa and Atika: both of you are actually still here in the city
and for London, the city where I hide one of my Horcrux

Summer. It should be sunny. The dry wind should travel around, delivering light touches to some people’s exposed skin. As it is summer, those who used to be lazy has their spirit magically turned on. They go out to see some friends, have some nice barbecue, or crash someone’s party by the sea. Somewhere, in summer, laugh must’ve been the highlight of someone’s day.

But sometimes, to remind those people to stick to the ground, universe intervenes.

Once in a blue moon, a day in summer might have lost its summer. The sun has left its 7 billion fans and let sheets of grey clouds replace it. To people’s disappointment, it also starts to rain. Some might have been driven mad, and some might have been driven sad. The joy of summer is gone.

“So, this is it?” Aislinn dropped her best friend’s duffel bag next to the yellow line drawn along the platform.

“This is it.” Tanya said with a sigh. She didn’t sound regretful; it’s a kind of sigh to welcome a new chapter of her life.

“After all those silly things we’ve done, you’re still going to leave me?”

Another sigh, the kind of let-me-go sigh. “Please, don’t put it that way. You’re just making me feel more guilty. I’m off to chase my future, don’t you want me to succeed?”

“Of course I do. That question is so rhetorical.”

“And I hope your understanding is also a sign of your blessing.”

A frown. “Huh, such a trickster you are.”

“You still love me no matter what.”

“Ha! Sure.” She rolled her eyes. “Silly me.”

“Oh, come on, it is not that I’d be gone forever. I’m coming back.”

Come back? Why would she? Aislinn thought. Tanya was going to have everything. Starting tomorrow, she would be sitting next to a window with Eiffel Tower as its main view. She would study in one of the world’s most prestigious university, accompanied by her life-long companion, Tyler, who also happened to had a project to finish in Paris. She has no reason to come back to this monotonous city, NYC.

“What? You seem like you don’t want me to.”

“No, sure I want you back here. However… if I were you, I won’t come back. I mean, you’re going to a more promising place. You can have a life there! You will more likely have a future.”

“But that place… that place is just not home.”

“Don’t be silly! You once said that home is wherever love is… and there you go, you bring Tyler with you! You’re taking your home with you and it makes you have no reason to come back!”

Seeing her most independent yet somehow most needy best friend almost cry, Tanya rushed forward and gave Aislinn a last hug. She didn’t want Aislinn to know that her eyes started to go blurry too. “Don’t cry, please. You’ll be fine, no, we’ll be fine.” Just like what Tanya believed, when one is weak, the other should stay strong.

“Aislinn, think of me as Voldemort,” said Tanya.

Aislinn pulled herself from Tanya’s hug. She seemed confused. “And why should I imagine you as a nose-less monster when you’re about to leave the country?”

“Oh, come on! I thought you’re great at analogies!” shouted Tanya a little louder than she planned. When other waiting passengers turned their heads to check on them, Tanya nodded a little and mouthed “Sorry.”

“So?”

“So… I’m Voldemort. I created Horcruxes as I live, and so are you and other people if you notice. I left a little part of my soul at everything that makes me feel like I’m home. You, our cramped apartment, and New York are just three of my Horcruxes that I left here. I do bring my other Horcrux, Tyler, with me, but I also left other Horcruxes here. I left pieces of my soul here, Aislinn, of course I’ll come back.”

Aislinn went blank for a while as if electricity on her head’s circuit board were jammed somewhere. A moment later, she oooooh-ed, and give Tanya a hopeful look, “I’m one of your Horcrux?”

“Sure. I left a little part of my soul at someone who always cook me dinner these last few years, at someone who is always ready to hear my whines.”

Aislinn smiled. Somewhere, deep down, she felt warm. She never thought that her simple acts of caring would actually make her win someone’s heart. She never thought that she would be someone’s reason to come back. It had never occurred at her mind before that distance means nothing when two person cared so much at each other.

And so they both said goodbye. Aislinn and Tanya shared one last hug and exchanged promises they solemnly swear to fulfill. A few minutes later, Tanya jumped on the next train that brought her to the airport. Soon, she’ll be reunited with Tyler who had been waiting for her in Paris and she’ll start a new chapter of her life.

Being left had never been easy for Aislinn, but as time went by, it was getting easier for Aislinn to face it. From afar, Aislinn whispered, “I’ll stay here and be the reason for you to come home. I want you to succeed and be happy. Go.

Teladan-ku Sayang, Teladan-ku Malang: Sebuah “Frequently Asked Questions”

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Dalam satu  minggu ini, aku bertemu dengan banyak teman baru berkat ospek kampus. Seperti pada umumnya, kami berkenalan. Pertanyaan perkenalan yang dilontarkan cukup pasaran: namamu siapa, prodimu apa, asalmu dari mana, dan SMA-mu dulu di mana. Pertanyaan terakhir selalu kujawab dengan penuh syukur: “SMA (Negeri) 1 ‘Teladan’ Yogyakarta”.

Teman-temanku yang berasal dari luar kota biasanya cuma membalasnya dengan “Ooo” yang singkat, padat, dan jelas. Informasi yang kamu berikan cukup, Alima, kini aku sudah tahu. Terima kasih. Kurang lebih begitu maknanya. Akan tetapi, mayoritas teman-temanku yang berasal dari Yogyakarta membalasnya dengan “Ooooooooh pantesan”, dilantunkan dengan nada yang menyiratkan sudah kutebak!

Reaksi mereka memantik suatu rasa ingin tahu dalam diriku: menurut mereka, anak Teladan itu kayak apa, sih? Mereka nggak bisa menjawab ketika aku bertanya, “Apa yang membuat kalian berpikir kalau aku anak Teladan?”, tetapi mereka bisa dengan lugas menjawab ketika aku meminta pendapat mereka, “Lha, memang menurutmu Teladan itu seperti apa?”

Jawaban mereka cukup beragam, tetapi memiliki benang merah yang relatif sama. Sehingga, pada postingan ini, aku akan merangkum jawaban mereka serta mengklarifikasinya. Demi kamu, Teladan-ku sayang, Teladan-ku malang.

“Kalau aku sih milih di SMA lain daripada di Teladan. Teladan isinya banyak Muslim-nya, kan? Aku nggak mau terkucilkan di sana.”

Klarifikasi pertama: Teladan bukan sekolah Islami; Teladan adalah sekolah agamis.

Teladan tidak memaksa siapapun dalam beragama. Teladan hanya mengarahkan.
Pada hari-hari tertentu, ada kegiatan keagamaan di pagi hari. Yang Muslim mengaji di kelas, yang beragama lain beribadah di ruang agama masing-masing.

Tenang aja, semua agama dihormati dengan setara, kok, di sini! Teman-temanku yang beragama Kristen dan Katolik sering mengadakan retreat di Kaliurang dan mengadakan doa bersama di ruang multimedia. Mereka juga punya ruang agama yang teramat sangat layak (re: sekarang malah ada AC-nya).

Memang, jumlah siswa yang beragama Islam lebih banyak dibandingkan dengan jumlah siswa yang beragama Kristen, Katolik, maupun Hindu. Akan tetapi, itu hal yang wajar, kan, ketika kamu bersekolah di sekolah yang terletak di Indonesia, yang mayoritas penduduknya beragama Islam? Jadi, bottom line, semua agama terfasilitasi kebutuhannya.

“Teladan itu isinya orang-orang yang ekstrem dalam beragama, ya? Isinya anak-anak yang Islam-nya radikal, kan?”

Kalau boleh jujur, aku pengen ketawa kalau dengar ini. Ketawanya ketawa geli sekaligus sedih. Ya Allah, sekolah dengan lingkungan (terbaik, menurutku) kayak kamu kok bisa dituduh kayak gini, sih?

Pertanyaan itu biasanya berasal dari beberapa fakta:
1. Anak Teladan kalau pakai kerudung biasanya lebar-lebar.
2. Anak Teladan biasanya celananya cingkrang (dipakai di atas tumit).

Klarifikasi kedua: Nggak semuanya seperti itu; itu bukan kewajiban; itu hanya kepercayaan masing-masing pribadi.

Kenapa kerudung siswi Muslim di Teladan lebih lebar dari teman-teman SMA lain?
Peraturan MPK Teladan mengimbau kami untuk memakai kerudung hingga ujungnya menyentuh sabuk, tetapi tidak sampai menutupi seluruh lengan (biar masih kelihatan kalau pakai seragam). Selebihnya, kalau ada yang lebih panjang dari batas sabuk, itu sejatinya murni keinginan dan kepercayaan tiap siswi. Barangkali mereka memercayai dan mengamalkan QS. Al-Ahzab: 59 (lengkapnya bisa dipelajari di sini).

Kenapa beberapa siswa Muslim di Teladan memakai celana cingkrang?
Mereka nggak lagi kebanjiran, kok. Tidak ada alasan lain selain mereka memercayai dan mengamalkan sunnah Rasulullah SAW (lengkapnya bisa dipelajari di sini).

Ada pula rumor tidak sedap terkait Teladan yang kerap beredar:
1. Anak Teladan diajarin bikin bom.
2. Tangga di Teladan dipisah bagi yang putra dan yang putri.

Klarifikasi ketiga: anak Teladan nggak ada yang bisa buat bom.

Terus terang, kimia adalah mata pelajaran yang paling tidak diminati di sini dibandingkan dengan fisika dan biologi. Jadi, gimana kami mau buat bom kalo kami aja masih bingung membedakan alkana, alkena, alkuna?

Klarifikasi keempat: cuma ada dua tangga yang dispesifikkan peruntukannya.

Tangga apa itu? Dua tangga menuju lantai 2.
Teladan punya delapan tangga: dua di gedung induk, dua di lobi baru, dua di dekat perpus, satu Tangga Hijau Al-Uswah, dan satu di Aussie. Yang dipisah yang mana? Tangga Hijau Al-Uswah (menuju lantai 2) diperuntukkan bagi perempuan karena dia mengarah langsung ke pintu masuk Masjid Al-Uswah area perempuan dan tempat wudhu perempuan. Sementara itu, di dekatnya juga ada tangga yang diperuntukkan bagi yang laki-laki untuk naik ke lantai 2. Ya kali yang laki-laki mau lewat tangga yang mengarah ke area masjid untuk perempuan?

Terus, kenapa kalau ada acara apa gitu di Teladan kadang tangganya dipisah? Kayak waktu TUC gitu? Ini adalah cara Teladan menghormati perempuan dan laki-laki yang ada. Ketika massa yang menapaki lorong Teladan begitu banyak, Teladan mengantisipasi terjadinya dempet-dempetan dan tabrakan yang tidak diinginkan.

“Aku takut masuk Teladan. Lha isinya anak-anak yang kutu buku semua, e. Aku nggak kuat belajar terus.”

Percayalah, anak-anak Teladan malah cenderung lebih sibuk berkegiatan daripada belajar. Kegiatan eksternal kami memang tidak banyak dan tidak begitu terlihat apabila dibandingkan dengan kegiatan SMA lain. Akan tetapi, kami memiliki banyak sekali kegiatan internal. Kegiatan internal ini menguatkan relasi dengan teman-teman seangkatan maupun lintas angkatan. Hal ini lah yang membuat anak Teladan tidak ragu untuk saling sapa ketika tidak sengaja bertemu di temat umum meskipun mereka tidak begitu saling mengenal.

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Jadi, ya, begitu. Tidak ada hal aneh yang diajarkan di Teladan, insyaallah. Kalau Teladan dituduh mengajarkan suatu hal yang tidak wajar untuk diajarkan di SMA negeri yang lain, aku akan setuju kalau hal itu adalah berproses menjadi lebih baik.

Teladan? Jayamahe!
Teladan? Jayamahe!
Teladan? Jayamahe!

The Question Only Time Can Answer

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What’s your plan for the next 20 years?

That is the question I must answer as a consequence of being a newly registered medical student (not really, never in a million years I’ll be entitled as a doctor). As someone who entered med school for the knowledge it provides and not for the curing license it gives, I have no plan at all. Therefore, this question haunts me day and night as the deadline of the task is not getting any longer.

Wherever and whenever I try to arrange the plans I’ll provide as an answer to that one particular question, I have flashbacks of a quite enlightening conversation I had with some friends. We  were sitting in my class on a one fine afternoon after school. Out of nowhere, someone asked me why I consider choosing health nutrition as the major I wanted to excel in although I had a greater passion in something else (communication). Long story short, I told them that I chose it because I believe it is the most logical thing to do; it is the all-in-one package of things I want to study.

In the university I enrolled in, the health nutrition major demands us to study diverse topics (which I’m interested in): communication, management, psychology, and philosophy. I’ve seen other majors’ curriculum and none of those are as diverse as health nutrition’s. Since I’m totally aware that college is expensive and it is more likely to be a chance of a lifetime, I try my best to pick the major that gives the greatest reliever for my thirst of knowledge.

At that time, I shared my worries to those who were there. I told them that I was in a dilemma: should I follow my heart (which will more likely lead me to the thing I’m really passionate about) or should I follow my brain (which decided to think logically)? At that time, my inner self rooted for my brain as it has more pros instead of cons. However, never had I before imagined my self being a nutritionist, telling people to live healthy while I myself prefer greasy lamb chop than carrots and broccoli.

Probably pitying me for drowning in my own worries, a free-spirited friend of mine spilled his opinions out, “You cannot decide who you want to be from what undergraduate major you choose. Undergraduate studies only carve the way you think. What you’ll be is decided once you study in postgraduate school.”

You see, he and I are nothing alike. All my life, I used to have a life-long plan. I had always known what school I want to study in, I had always discovered what I wanted to do in life. But him? He is some kind of a free-spirited artist. He never really thinks his life through, but somehow he managed to keep himself afloat in this deadly current named life. He enjoys his life to its fullest while I focus on the present deeds I must do in order to secure my upcoming happiness in the future. Although I understand his principles, I always find it hard to imagine my self having those as mine.

However, that time, I kinda trust his words. Maybe I found it true, or maybe I was too desperate looking for words that can soothe me. From that day on, I change my perspective. I won’t let my major steers my future; I’ll use my major as a vehicle to reach my future.

So, right now, by the time I write this, I don’t have any detailed plan or grand ambition when it comes to my life as a health nutrition stud (I haven’t even had a single class!). When it comes to my life as a health nutrition stud, I just want to start college, learn new things about a particular thing I’m interested into, and see whether it works for me or not. If it works, sure, I’ll try my best to excel in it. If it doesn’t, maybe I’ll try other things. As Rumi said:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.

However, I still have lots of ambitions outside my life as a health nutrition stud. Since I’m aware that I’m a little bit derailed, I’m not going to rush to make things happen. I’m not going to take it hard on my self, too. From now on, I’ll try figure out how my vehicle works out before using it on a journey in an alien terrain en route to my ambition. Yet, it is still possible that someday I’ll grow an ambition in the “health nutrition land”.. who knows?

This time, I’m a little bit relaxed because I used to be in some kind of competition (competing to get the best junior high and high school in town) and now I’m not. College doesn’t work that way. In college, I believe success is no longer defined as “accepted in the school of your dream” or “stand out among others”; to me, the definition of success has transformed into “live happily and be the kind person you want to be“.

Well, maybe this is just a rambling from someone who entered a major due to logical reasons instead of any magical callings from the inside, but I’ve witnessed lots of friends who half-heartedly choose to stay in a major he or she doesn’t like because of harsh reality and I hope this helps (although, praise the Lord, I don’t stand on their shoe, so maybe this is not too accurate)(plus, I consciously choose my major as the vehicle of my choice).

So, to answer that haunting question, can I say that I can’t? I have never been a 38-year-old woman and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m at that age. The age 38 is still 20 years away from me; for an 18-year-old girl, that age feels indistinct. And.. within those 20 years, anything can happen. Life requires people to open doors that lead to lots of opportunity; life is full of plot twists and surprises. Sometimes we can go straight to our destination, but sometimes we need to take a detour just for the sake of life lessons. That question can only be answered by time with the help of sudden inspiration.. and I cannot be forced to answer it right away. So, instead of planning it down to every details, why don’t we just focus on walking down the road?

oh how I want to write this on my paper

Parts of Me Were Made by You

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“Hey, what are you thinking?” said the girl who wore long white dress with laces.

“Oh. Um… hey?” answered the girl who wore long black velvet dress. “Right before you came, I was thinking about how gorgeous this dress fits me.”

“You look so beautiful in that dress. I’ve always known that you would be beautiful if you made time to take care of yourself, but I’ve never thought that you will be this beautiful.”

The girl who wore long black velvet dress shrugged. Her palms were sweaty. “Thank you, I guess. Well, I won’t be this beautiful if you hadn’t give me this dress of yours. So, thank you.”

“You’re welcome, sister,” she said with her sweet signature smile. Not too broad, but enough to comfort the disturbed hearts of those who get the chance to witness it.

“I was also thinking about you, you know? I wasn’t expecting to receive this dress this soon. I wasn’t expecting at all.”

“Well, life is full of surprises, I think you already know.”

“Yeah, I do.” But this bitter surprise? I hate it.

“Besides about this dress-and my other fashion items that no longer suits me-I gave you, what thing about me are you thinking of?”

“I was also thinking about your profession. I believe that you’re going to be one hell of a human’s-mind-and-heart healer. You’re so kind and sincere, I believe lots of people will be delighted to have someone like you to talk to.”

“That’s very nice of you to say,” she blushed. “I’ve never known that you’re such a romantic person.”

“We don’t really know each other well, do we? I didn’t really recognize your age until today, I don’t know your future plans, I don’t know whether you have someone on your mind or not. I didn’t even know that you left home for that final test for months!”

“Fair, then,” she said with a nod of agreement. “But you know why I chose to devote my self in the field I studied, right?”

“Sure! I know your reason. I also know the reason why your blog’s background is black, and the origin of your blog’s name. Believe it or not, I still remember that you once want to live in Paris, Marseille, and Lyon.”

Her eyes brightened. “You do know me, after all!”

“Although we barely speak heart-to-heart, I’m your little sister, after all,” she let a downcast smile slipped through her lips.

“You are, and you will always be.”

They stared at each other for a moment. Both drowned in their own waves of emotion; joy, excitement, sorrow… all mixed in one and couldn’t be distinguished. Those emotions blended together and one couldn’t show up alone without bringing the others. They became a new kind of emotion nobody ever named.

The girl who wore long black velvet dress broke the silence. “I love you, you know. I adore you. I admire you. I’m grateful for having a great sister like you.” She started sobbing. “And I’m sorry that we rarely speak to each other, mostly because we rarely make time to meet each other. Sorry for being so distant. Sorry for taking you for granted all these years.”

“Why do you tell me all these now?”

“It’s better late than never. I know that this is very late, but I just wanted you to know.”

“Without you being this blue today, I already know. Thank you for giving me things I need instead of giving me things I want,” she said as she was about to leave. “Just promise me one thing, will you? Take care of yourself. Be bold. Say ‘I love you’ although it makes things awkward. I don’t want you to have this kind of conversation with other people. Let me be the last person you have this kind of conversation with.”

A pause. The girl who wore long black velvet dress couldn’t think of a proper goodbye since they had never had say a proper hello to each other. She hadn’t finished saying hello. And, so, she closed her eyes. She imagined reaching her sister in her arms, hugging her for the first and last time. I will, I promise. Thank you, I love you, and see you later, she whispered in her sister’s ear. She still hold her for another minute and when she was ready, she opened her eyes. Her sister had gone from her sight.

But never from her heart.

in memoriam, seven months later
so that it won’t happen again

and for those who I often talks to
I hope you all realize that I adore you
without me having to tell you