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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dance the Sorrow Away

Teraskota, BSD

The night was quiet. It was a Thursday night and not many people crowded the mall. A group of musician was playing in the center of the mall, playing some Indonesian song and also English ones. Yet nobody was paying attention. The mall patrons looked so busy with their purchases and their business that night, nobody stopped to look. 

The man and the woman walked through the mall holding hands, with smile on their face and looked so obviously punch-drunk with love. The woman instinctively sway her body at the sound of the music. Her partner looked at her in amusement, and he stopped and point at the band, saying something to the woman. She bursted in laughter and shake her head while still laughing. He pulled her arm and dragged her to the front of the band, she was laughing and shaking her head all the way, happily protesting.  He laughed and hold her close as if he's going to dance with her right there, in the middle of the mall. The woman grin and hold him too, as if accepting his challenge. A split second later they burst into laughter and left the band immediately, apparently deciding against dancing in the mall.

I recalled the memory vividly, and grinned all the way to the office. It was a particularly difficult week for me, and I miss my boyfriend a lot. One thought lead to another, and I ended up recalling that night at Teraskota. Suddenly my days got a lot better, and all my fears were being washed away.

I've been hearing about the magic of memories for years, how "Happy Thought/Memory" was promoted as an all-ailment cure and how it could help increasing your quality of life. The key is, they say, to think Happy. Probably. I've been brainwashing myself with all "happy"thoughts I could muster, and still I found myself trapped in unhappiness. I would guess it's a matter of being content: some people felt content with their life, others for some reason can not. Yet.

For me, that's the catch. You can't just "think happy". You need to experience the happiness to really feel happy. How? Be open to new experience. Laugh and enjoy even the craziest that happened to you. Love someone. Love your life.

Logically, it would be almost impossible to feel happy when you think your life is terrible and you have no one, despite how hard you try to dispute/hide the fact and tell everyone: "I love being alone." Humans are social creature by default. Everybody needs somebody. And even if you still insist to be the lone wolf or something, your smile and kindness can still spark some happiness in people (though you wish they stayed at least 5 meters away from you). Misery loves company, but happiness demands a full-fledged crowd!

The day was waning and I slumped in front of my work desk, trying to shake the fatigue and get more work done. It has been a long day. But then I remember our almost-dancing escapade and I smiled. We will definitely dance there one day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tidak Profesional? Pasti (bukan) Indonesia....

"I have an advantage because I'm the underdog and I'm black and no one thinks I'd ever win," - Gabby Douglas (Pemenang medali emas olimpiade untuk cabang senam)

Pernah tidak rasanya kesal sekali mendengar bangsa kita diremehkan? Siapapun yang merasa patriotik dan berjiwa nasionalis (ta'elah...) pasti ga akan terima mendengar omongan orang asing yang berkata: "Ah, biasa Indonesia". Rasanya pengen dilempar ga sih itu orang asing?? Tapi bagaimana kalau yang bicara adalah orang Indonesia juga?

Baru-baru ini hadiah saya hilang (oke, tepatnya belum ditemukan) saat dihandle oleh sebuah jasa ekspedisi internasional. Posisi barang saat itu tertahan di bea cukai Cengkareng, menunggu pembayaran pajak masuk. Bukan hanya hadiah saya "belum ditemukan", namun bagi saya pelayanan jasa ekspedisi ini juga sangat lama dan membuat frustasi: tidak ada kabar sampai saya yang menelepon/meng-email mencari kabar, informasi yang sekadarnya, benar-benar membuat stress.

Respon orang-orang di sekeliling saya: "Ah, biasa bea cukai." dan "Maklum, Indonesia. Pelayanan mah jangan banyak berharap." WTF??? Emang kenapa kalau bea cukai Indonesia?? Emang kenapa kalau pelayanan Indonesia?? Ga mungkin gitu kita bisa kirim barang tanpa dikenai "korupsi" atau mendapatkan pelayanan yang bagus? Saya ngerasa tertampar sekali sebenarnya.

Saya kerja di Indonesia, dengan perusahaan yang pemiliknya ASLI Indonesia. Dan bukan hanya perusahaan kami memiliki pangsa pasar dan diakui secara nternasional, namun juga salah satu perusahaan pilihan pertama bagi para klien Australia. Sebenarnya ini absurd karena kami bergerak di pangsa pasar luxury/barang mewah, sehingga klien memang memilih perusahaan saya karena hasil kami sesuai dengan harganya. Dan berikut apa pendapat ibu dari seorang klien saya: "You have been so great throughout this whole process. Very responsive and timely.  You don't find that often with companies nowadays.  We can't thank you enough for you guidance and service." FYI, bride/pengantin wanitanya adalah seorang top officer untuk perusahaan mode terkenal, yang mana tentunya (dan seharusnya) mereka bi(a)sa mendapatkan pelayanan nomor satu. Ini buat saya membuktikan bahwa pelayanan yang bagus itu bukan masalah memungkinkan atau tidak, tapi mau/niat atau tidak.

Kasus saya dan perusahaan jasa ekspedisi ini masih berlanjut, entah sampai kapan. Dalam keputus asaan saya, saya meng-email officer yang bertugas meng-asssist saya di kasus ini dan berkata secara tidak langsung: Mbak yang terhormat, masa sih kalian ga bisa ngasi pelayanan yang lebih bagus? Lengkap dengan saran-saran bagaimana seharusnya melayani pelanggan secara professional. Padahal mereka yang jaringan ekspedisi Internasional, sementara saya cuma sales biasa yang ga penting.

Pada akhirnya, satu-satunya orang yang berkata positif hanyalah pasangan saya (yang mana sebenarnya pihak yang paling dirugikan). Saat saya meminta maaf dengan amat sangat atas kekampretan dan kelakuan orang-orang di Indonesia, dia hanya tertawa dan membuat lelucon: "Hadiah yang kukirim itu memang bagus. Jangankan mereka, aku pun akan mencuri hadiahmu kalau kebetulan aku yang handle." Lalu setelahnya dia menelepon kantor pusat jasa ekspedisi tersebut di Amerika dan memarahi mereka karena telah: "tidak becus mengatur pengiriman barang tersebut selaku perusahaan induk dan menyebabkan pasangan/si penerima (that's me, FYI) merasa tidak nyaman dan sampai minta maaf atas bangsanya." Siapapun yang bilang orang Amerika itu picik dan menyebalkan sangat saya sarankan untuk berteman dengan pasangan saya.

Bila seorang asing seperti pasangan saya mampu berpikir positif tentang bangsa kita, kenapa kita harus "biasa" dengan perkataan miring tentang bangsa sendiri? Saya percaya bangsa kita hebat, saya percaya orang Indonesia itu tob banget. Kita punya potensi, kita punya kemampuan. Pertanyaannya, apakah kita mau? Tentunya tidak akan mudah dan kita harus berusaha lebih keras, karena saat kita menunjukkan kemampuan dibawah rata-rata kita hanya akan diejek, dan saat kita menunjukkan kemampuan setara orang hanya mengangkat bahu dan berkata, "wajar." Kita underdog, kuda hitam yang tidak diperhitungkan. Tapi saat kita mampu menunjukkan kemampuan kita yang maksimal kita akan mampu mengejutkan dunia, karena tidak ada yang menyangka kita mampu.

Mari kita lakukan. Mari bangga dengan karya kita sendiri dan apa yang bisa kita raih, serta bangga dengan apa yang kita lakukan. Mari menjadi seorang Indonesia yang membanggakan, dan bisa berkata dengan pede: Tidak profesional? Pasti bukan Indonesia....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Then Love Enters

Bali: "No, I'm not interested in marrying anyone currently."

San Diego: "The last thing I need, and I mean absolutely last thing I need is to fall for a woman in Indonesia and have to go back to USA."

5 months later he fell deeper in love with her in each passing day. And she tried so hard to be his perfect loving wife. Miracle do happens.

The thing is, no matter how hard we try to have full control of our lives we can never do that. There are too many factors, too many variables. Ian Malcolm of Jurrasic Park explain about Chaos Theory: the reason why we cant predict the weather is because there are too many variables which each affect the other [variables]. Sounds just like life.

To date, I am still amazed with how my life and my believe change in less then 24 hours. One meeting and boom, there goes all that I (think I) have planned before. A life of solitude changed into a life of companionship. I can recite the sequence of events that leads to my meeting, I can offer explanation of what each events mean to me and how in the end it change what I believe for so long, but in reality, I know nothing. It was like struck by lightning, a Eureka! moment that defies common sense and can not be explained. I wonder if Mario Puzo have had this moment before as he described it so perfectly in The Godfather.

My body trembled when receiving the letter above, a part of my 30th gift that sadly gone awry. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, both his and mine, that I started to cry when I read the few first lines of his love letter. Minutes later it was on my desk, and just touching it gives me warmth and comfort. Never in my wildest dream I imagine I will be like this, always thought I'm indifferent and have full control of my life and my emotion. Then love enters.

Admmitedly, my life forever change to the better. Not only for the joy and love I basked in, but also because I now able to accept that things might not always go according to plan. If you be good, it might get better. Way better.

I love you, baby. So thankful our path crossed :).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Life in Time

Patriarca de Floresta - Tree of Brazil (photo from

What is it like to be 3000 years old? What is it like to stand alone, towering everything else? What is it like to know you surpassed all the things around you, as they die and live and die, yet still you live?

In our era, time is a precious commodity. Our lives are divided by time slots. Time to go to work, time to go do this, time to do that. More time or more efficient time management means more opportunity to do work, and thus making more money. And even when we have money to rest and relax, that relaxation period also often divided by time slots. Time to get breakfast, time to have massage, time to sunbathe. When we do not glance at our watches, we glance at our phones and tablets and other gadgets. The time measurement that were created to assist us chained us instead. And all the while, time flows, regardless on how and what we do.

Imagine you are that tree. What is an hour compared to the thousands of days you have lived? What is a day, a week, a month? All time measurement cease to exist or bind you. The sun will shine tomorrow, the cold night wind will blew. Our presence was but a tiny particle in this universe; and whatever we do, whatever we say, time and nature was never affected.

It would be careless to do nothing as to copy the silence and wisdom of the tree. In fact, it is plain wrong. In it's silence tree live vigorously: leaves sprouting, roots dig deep for water and nutrition, amylum and oxygen produced from the carbon dioxide and sun and clorophyl, and all while providing shelter and a place to live for other animals and plants. Living is not only about inhaling and exhaling; it's about feeling each breath we take, grateful for it, and enjoying it. Time and nature is never ours to command, the humbleness to accept this and to enjoy what we have right now is what living is all about. And it's high-time (pun intended) for us to realize this.

I will not last for 3000 years, but I will make the best of my time on earth.

- for more interesting travel stories and intriguing pictures of wonders of the world visit:
- for a glimpse of living timeless/without time restriction for 1 full day visit:

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