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Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year Thanks

I want to list why I am thankful for 2016, like everybody does. And why not? 2016 has been a particularly rough and challenging years from me, but I manage to sail through it. Not in one piece, of course; there are bits of me floating as debris in the sea of life. Nevertheless, I also accomplished a lot: passing the state exam for Life Insurance agent license and getting my blog reach to 150k+ viewer are two of my many other achievements. We can talk about me, but let's not.

Let's talk about, and give thanks, to the 'invisibles' in our life. 2016 has fair share of unexpected and, in a few cases, downright nasty surprises along the way. We have many hot and sexy topics if we are so inclined: refugee, jihadi war, economic downturn, Trump presidency, and for my Indonesian friends, the cyber war of religious and racial (in)tolerance in Indonesia. Is this not all we have and presented in our day-to-day life? Bad news, inflaming rhetoric, misinformation, hoax, these are all presented to us by our own friends and ourselves who gullibly believe and share them without fact checking. This is why we should stop talking about it, at least this time.

Hate spread like wildfire, while love is sorta like the tree that gives life. Wildfire could destroy a tree, but tree will always regrow. It just takes time. And when it is fully grown, we'll always have the comfort and protection of the tree. And if we nurture it correctly, we'll have a forest of it: giving oxygen, providing shades, providing place to live for small animals, a nurturing and feeding place for all creatures. We got more with tree a.k.a love than with wildfire a.k.a hate. It just takes time and effort, unlike wildfire who can easily rampage everything just from a single spark.

Yet how do we love? To love is to know. To do that, start small and local. Pitiful images and tugged-heart-string stories are abundance out there, sometimes distracting us from what we actually can do, can love, around us. How often do we acknowledged people around us that help us in our daily activities? The bus drivers, the store keepers, the supermarket clerk, the guys who fix the vending machines, the restaurant workers who prepared our food, the delivery guys who transported produce and goods in giant trucks so we can buy them in our nearest supermarkets, the street sweeper, the office admins, the list goes on and on.

An Indonesian artist, Kurnia, draw a comic where Jesus was seen explaining how all human actions, and therefore, our sins as well, are connected with one another. Don't it also apply to human connection as well? How many of us can actually say we did it on our own? To get a slice of avocado in our burritos, for instance, involve the effort of numerous, maybe countless people: the farmer, the irrigation worker, the government admin who help with the land sale, the fertilizer maker, the chain of distribution, all the way to our hands. And if, say if you grow the avocado yourself with no help from others, you are still indebted to people before you who domesticated the plant long time ago; and their domestication effort involved many people as well. 

To see how big the world is we do not need to look far to countries or realms beyond us; all we need is to look around us and see the small things that shaped our world, the 'invisibles' who helped us every day and become a part of our world so much that we taken them for granted, that they are just there. Say hello to them. Look them in their eyes. Give a smile. Give thanks, because they are the ones who shaped our lives. It is too easy to get swapped away with priorities. They are getting paid anyway, are they not? Why bother with thanks? The answer is because we don't do their jobs, either because we can't or we won't, thus a simple thanks and acknowledgement (which cost us nothing) is in order. You can be whatever you want, why not choose to be somebody who'll brighten other people's life?

In the world full of hate, be a singular sea of calmness to quench and killed the fire. We are all humans, are we not? All created with the same image of God, all have the same basic DNA strain [with mutation here and there], all bleed, all mortal, all have desires and emotions and feelings, and most importantly: we all connected with one another. The end is near, some say. Hate and fear are like cancer, that if went uncheck will easily metastase and spread throughout our body and killing us. Is this really how we want to live our lives? In a tortured agony of fear and hate, living a half-life no human should experience?

Love is kind. Love is gentle. Love is calming. Love, however, takes time to grow. And patience. And acceptance. Love needs work; in short, it is not instantaneous. Yet it doesn't need to be hard or self-sacrificing or whatever. It doesn't need to be as dramatic as in the movies or books. It just need our willingness and courage to find ourselves in other people, to acknowledge them as human and connect with each other. See your surroundings and appreciate the people that shaped your life, the overlook part of your daily activities. Give thanks, give proper credit, give a smile of acknowledgement. To know is to love, is it not? Wishing you all the best in the next 365 days to come. Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Million Heartbreaks

A million heartbreaks and I'm still ready to love
The promise of first kiss
The palpating heartbeat
The 'accidental' brush against each other
Who can take that away from me?

A thousand teardrops and I'm still ready for love
The shy but eager smile
The nervous but excited laughter
The tremble as we exchange our numbers
Who can take that away for me?

A hundred sleepless nights and I still want to love
The first whisper of intimacy
The gentle caress and gentler touch
The sweet promise of forever
Who can take that away from me?

A dozen of whys and denials and I still brace for love
The blooming feeling inside
The glittery world so pretty and bright
The 'perfect moment' that seemed to last a lifetime
Who can take that away from me?

Tonight I walk down the City of Angels
Pain in my heart, tears on my face
Void deep inside, fear gripped me hard
The feeling of loss, the devastating defeat
Who can please take that away from me?

The woman next to me answered, "I can."
Exotic brown skin and transfixing smile
Mismatch shirt and cool thick coat
A being out of place, out of love
Can she really take that away from me?

My image in the store window can promise none
Except those that has been set in stone
That the sun will rise, the night will come
That joy and pain works together
That love will always comes around

Let me cry again tonight over my shattered heart
And the next night and the next 
And all the nights until I am ready again
To love, to live, to be myself once more
To say goodbye and close the chapter
But not to forget, no no
No love should be forgotten or despised
Each scar is a part of our soul
Each teardrop is a part of our journey
Each love is a part of our life

A million heartbreaks come and go
And I am still here for love
Still believe in it, still in love with it
Still wanting it, still trusting it
Albeit a million other heartbreaks that'll follow

Rain can't last forever
Snow will melt into spring
Light will chase away darkness
Warmth calms us down
And love will always comes around

A million heartbreaks
A thousand teardrops
A hundred sleepless night
A dozen of whys and denials
Yet love is still the most beautiful thing

I am ready to love
I am ready for love
I desire love
I brace the risk of love
And one day, I will love and be loved

Till then I will walk
Till then I will hope
Till then I will pray
Till then I will wait
Till Love found me, and I found him

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Board Game Xmas

I was introduced to the world of board gaming when I was dating a game store owner. Board games have piqued my interest since I first saw them in Amazon, but not much. Too expensive, too complicated, too much hassle. Of course, I never actually played one except Cards Against Humanity, but that one was a no brainer.

I sat with him as he played the Netrunner, and feeling especially dumb. Too fast and too confusing, I told him. He made me sit and play Guildhall next. I did this too, feeling apologetically stupid. The other two players including him had to guide me through the game very, very slowly. Then Mystic Vale. Descendants of Atheros. Splendor. Costa Rica. Forbidden Island. More Guildhall. Arkham Horror. 5 months later my Christmas wishlist is filled with board games.

There is something in board gaming that evoke your sense as a human. I was surprised to see how competitive I could be, not to mention mischieveous and somewhat ruthless. I pretty much adore games where I can messed with people, it's better than actually winning the game. Of course, thanks to my non-existent skill and experience it doesn't happen a lot; but it is still fun to play. It is even fun to just sit there at the store and observing the players: feeling their energy and passion, watching every gesture and facial expression, and just revel in the madness.

For me, the greatest, absolutely greatest gift I had receive in 2016 was my introduction to amazing world of board gaming and the equally amazing board game players. It's the laughter, the excitement, the fun; it's the realization that there are awesome things in this world that I might not even know of. And that's just grand. We live in the world full of prejudice and distrust for people that are not one of us. It is such a good feeling to open up and learn new things about other people and understanding them as whole.

But it's not just about appreciating the community; I was also madly in love with the games. Often times I would sit there and sift through the opened store copies, unboxing each of them to learn the mechanism of the game and admiring (or criticizing) the art work. He would ask me if it is really fine with me to wait on him until he finish with his work, and I, enthralled with each new treasure I found would look at him confusedly and answered, "Why wouldn't I?". The mathematic and probabilities, the stories, the pictures, the way the game is designed, all announced the glory of the human mind and passion behind it.

I still got blank look from friends and family when I tried to persuade them to play board game with me. Yet a friend became so enthralled with Dice Heist that I had to give her my copy. "Do you know that this is a great vetting tool for H&R department?" she said, "you can see people's character from the decision they made: whether they are greedy or careful, whether they are easily manipulated or not." To be honest, I wouldn't dream of using it like that, but it make sense. Then again, the more experienced player could easily calculate and game the system thanks to their vast experience. Suddenly gaming sounds more complex than just childhood obsession, is it not?

Finding something you like that can lift up your spirit is pretty rare these days. It is such a negative and depressing world that one could easily forget how liberating it is to laugh freely, to gain a sense of accomplishment from mundane things like winning a game, or to simply have fun. Board game did it for me, and those who are interested could easily browse local gamestores or join the community. If it's not for you, there are many other activities/ hobbies/ interesting things that might suit you but you just don't know it yet. Open up yourself, talk to more people, expand your friend circle, know more about people, let each and everyone of them bring you to the new world, the new perspective that you do not know. Life is far too short and far too grand to be spent underneath your shell.

Game on, lovelies. And have a Merry Xmas to you all.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas is Cancelled

Pull out that red lace bra
Put on that kinky thong
Spritz up that sexy perfume
Coz it's Christmas time
And Imma party till I drop
Imma Imma party till I drop
Combat boots and mini dress
Mistletoes and sexy smile
Spiked hot cocoa and straight up shots
Come on, it's Christmas time
And Imma party till I drop
Imma Imma party till I drop
Bodies on the sofa, more on the floor
Everybody else is getting more
How did I get here, why should I care?
Hella yeah, it's Christmas time
And Imma party till I drop
Imma Imma party till I drop
Woke up with hangover like Kesha would
A stranger next to me like Katy should
Starting a new romance like Taylor could
Hey baby, it's Christmas time
And Imma party till I drop
Imma party till I drop
Yet here I am alone in my room
In Superman pajamas and kitty cat socks
Cold, cold beer and spicy hot soup
Entertaining the ghost of Christmas past
I aint getting out, no I aint
Christmas is cancelled love, it's cancelled
The innocent faces were there no more
The happy laughter was gone as well
 No Christmas shopping, no Christmas joy
It's me and the heater and the buzzer for sure
I ain't getting out, no I ain't
Christmas is cancelled love, it's cancelled
"You think it's easy, prick!" I yelled and scream
Even though the picture cannot reply
But what is destroyed cannot be repaired
And this very day, my Christmas end
I ain't getting out, no I ain't
Christmas is cancelled love, it's cancelled
I got Netflix and Game of Throne
I got books and movies galore
I got food and drink and online pals
Whoever need stepkids and family and Christmas Joy?
I ain't getting out, no I ain't
Christmas is cancelled love, it's cancelled
Maybe next year I'll re-instate the Christmas
Maybe next year I'll party so hard
Maybe next year I'll have a family once more
But this year, let the sleeping Grinch lie…
[Merry Xmas for those who are still able to celebrate, you lucky MoFos :* ]

Note: news about this old but gold Xmas Godzilla (all hail Japan!) can be found at

The Song of Doubt

Be still my heart, be still
Don't fret the bright warm days
Don't fear the dark cold nights
Be still my heart, be still

When the world unravels before you
When what you know crumbles beneath you
When you are lost in the sea of doubts
When you are drowned in uncertanties

Be still my heart, be still

When memories assault you like a wrecking ball
When loneliness smothered you like a deadly kiss
When your existence feels like a speckle of sand in the dune
When you future torments you with what it wouldn't be

Be still my heart, be still

When you feel you are not moving forward
When you feel you are shackled to the ground
When you feel you are incapable and unworthy
When you feel you are shameful and stupid

Be still my heart, be still

Yes we are drowning
Yes we are struggling
Yes we are scared and confused
Yes we are losing

For now. Not for long.

Take one step forward, a baby step, a tiny step
Lift our chin higher, a bit higher, a simple smile
Trust ourselves a little better, a little more
See who we are and what we can do, what we will do

Be still my heart, be assured

Look up above to what we respect
Look deep inside to what we love
Look back to see how far we've gone
Look forward to see the tasks laid for us

Have faith my heart, have faith

Acknowledge your worth, acknowledge your strength
Push your limitations, then push it some more
Hold true to what you believe, to what is precious
And when your heart came calling, follow it to the very end

Be still my heart, be still

Trials and tribulations are a thing we can overcome
Doubts and fears cement our faith of what we believe
Helplessness is a reason to be better, to be stronger
And they all will forever be a part of us, to shape who we are

Be convinced my heart, be trusting

Have faith in yourself
Have faith in your intention
Have faith in people that help you
Have faith in who sets you up for this

Be strong my heart, believe in thyself

You are capable to do this
You have good intention to do this
You may need a little more time but heck

So be still my heart, be still

Be confident, be courageous
Absolve the fear and doubts
Hold on to your worth and to your faith
And take that one step forward

Be still my heart, be still
Our life has only just begun
Our self has only just blossomed
Be still my heart, be still

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tea Time with God

The tea was good. It was perfect, as a matter of fact. The light brown color inside the delicate china cup was offset with the bright orange slice floating on top of it.

"Tea cup," She said, "Is wider than the normal coffee cup because you should drink tea warm, not scorching hot."

"Nothing worse than a lukewarm tea, though," I objected.

"Ah," She smiled, "Don't tell me you've never had lukewarm coffee."

I couldn't help but smile on that remark. She was right, lukewarm coffee was pure blasphemy.

I looked at Her carefully: the lining of silver hair on Her head, the soft tender skin adorned with wrinkles, the grace and understanding, the patience. She looked like a content old woman in Her 70s or 80s, had it not been for Her piercing eyes. If eyes are windows to the world, I was lost in Her eyes because the whole world was truly there. The face was familiar too. It was my face, at least I hope will be in another 40 or 50 years. To be honest I was shocked when I saw Her face.

"But why should you be shocked?" She had ask me with a smile. "I am what you see in yourself."

"Do you mean that I have a serious issue of Delusion Grandeur that I see myself as God?"

"No. It means you see Me as loving, caring, and easy to talk to. This is Me pictured by you. This is Me you found in you. Naturally I will take your form. Slightly older though, I wouldn't dream to fool Myself and look as youthful as you," she concluded with a wink.

"Then others will see differently?"

"If I decided they worth the Time, yes," She answered.

"So You deemed me worthy of Your time?" I asked.

"Yes. And also because you need Me."

"Other people need You too." I objected.

"Ah, but you see, they don't want Me."

It took me a second or two to register Her statement.

"You do aware that there are wars fought on Your behalf?" I asked Her tentatively, all the while thinking was I talking with an impostor.

"No, I am not an impostor," She answered with a wink, clearly reading my mind. "Yes, the wars and hatred were done on My behalf, if you want to call it that way, but it really was not for Me. They are worshipping their own Gods inside their mind."

"What Gods?"

"The seven cardinal sins. Sad Ripu. Satan. Whatever you like to call it."

I was perplexed. Her words were surreal. The white linen adorned with lace, the beautiful china set spread on our tea table, the pretty little canapes and sandwiches, were all of those unreal as Her words? The sugar cubes on the sugar container, the honey, the jam, the flowers on the vase, all the delightful color beautifully arrayed on the table, were all of those unreal too? But they were all too beautiful to be untrue.

"That, my dear," She continues. "Is the problem."

"You think that this whole scene is picturesque. You love it. You want it to stay picturesque because it suits your mind. You will do anything that you can for it to stay picturesque. If any one comes and say it is ugly, or deliberately ruin the table for you, you will be angry and avenge your loss. Even though there were no loss, except the one in your head."

I listened to her attentively, still very much lost.

"It's the same with Me. These people picture religion, Me, as the true source of their happiness. Naturally when somebody criticize it and/or do something to destroy their source of happiness, they became angry and retaliate. Was it truly Me or my teaching they defend? Or was it just their lust and greed for happiness?"

"Is that why You said they don't want you?" I asked.

I looked down on my tea, stirring it without thinking.

"You are wrong," I told Her. What was I thinking to defy God?? Yet still I continue, "They wanted You. They needed You."

She smiled. "Your defiance is what made Me think you worth My time."

She bend forward and touched my arm softly, "I am here. I am always here. Your defiance show your faith in me, your desire for the betterment of yourself and your fellow human. How can you, as My child, learn anything if you do not ask questions? How can you, as My reflection, become better if you just accept everything bluntly? Faith understood is a stronger one than Faith memorized."

"Which is why Satan is my second in command."

I looked at Her in shocked.

"No, I am serious. Satan's Seven Cardinal Sins, or Sad Ripu, whatever you want to call it, allow human to grow even more than all my Archangel combined. The true kindness and betterment of self can only be achieved by conquering one's temptation."

"Tell me, child," She continued, "Which one will give you a greater sense of purpose and pride? Earning an A in basic elementary school math or a B in advanced algebra?"

I sank to my chair. My head spun. The warm summer days seemed almost too much for me. The buzzing of the bees and the insect on the garden can be heard from our charming little gazebo. For a while nobody said anything. She only gazed calmly at the garden with a gentle smile, looking very much like a regular old lady who was enjoying Her life.

"Human often see things in a microscopic scale. Only small things, and only what suits their idea of happiness. For instance," She looked at me, "You see the beautiful table arrangement here."

I nodded.

"Did you also see or think of all the bees that worked hard for the honey? The pain of the sugar cane when it was cut down to make the sugar? Did you think of all the living yeast that got burned in a very high temperature to make the bread? Or the cotton picked and spun to make this tablecloth? There's also the salmon caught and killed and cut for the canapes, and various vegetable that used to adorn them. This whole table can be seen as a pure picturesque perfection, and at the same time it can also be seen as pure grotesque perfection if you think of the pain that involved in it."

I started to tremble when I heard Her voice next: "But it is not bad."

She looked at me straight in the eyes. "My dear, this is life. Life is not striving for happiness only, not to pursue a seat with Me in heaven. It will take a long time to be seated with Me with that method."

She waved at the table empathetically, "This, my dear, is life."

"The goal for human is to understand every aspect of it, all the good and all the bad, to finally accept it as it is. Blind acceptance, just like blind faith, will lead you nowhere."

She let out a long, sorrowful sigh.

"It has been too long," she said. "When I first appointed Satan and the Cardinal Sins I thought human will evolve faster, that there will be more of us having tea time together like this. Instead it went on and on, and they worship and revel in the Sins instead, even though the pretext was for Me and My teaching."

"No," I exclaimed. "You are wrong."

She smiled again. Grinned, to be exact, from ear to ear. I blushed.

"There are people," I stammered, "who recognize the hate and fear and sins we are in. There are people who wanted this to end, who wanted the peace."

"People like you, you mean," She answered.

"Well," I blushed harder. "No. Better people. I have sinned too much," as I remember the raucous nights I spend with different men, of all the lies I did and the wrongs I make.

"No sin of flesh is greater than the sin of mind," She said softly. "It is not what you have done, it is your remorse after. It is your faith before and after. It is your desire to be better not just for yourself but also for others."

I started to cry. I was a sinner. I have always been. How can I be forgiven so easily?

"What is there to forgive?" She said gently, "You do not harm others with your action, and even when you did it was either an accident that you regret, or something beyond your control because you go at length to not hurt others."

I cried harder. She stood up and hug me. I knew I soiled Her pretty dress, but I can't stop crying.

"My child, you are good. You are good." She said that over and over again as She stroke my hair gently.

It took me forever to finish crying. By the time I was done, I knew I was unpresentable: red eyes, puffy cheeks, tears streak all over my face. Yet I strengthen myself to ask Her. I just have to ask her.

"What can I do for you?"

She smiled proudly and gently lifted my chin. "Love. We need more love."

"It is a longer and more treacherous path than the sins, a more difficult one as well. But it is a better solution than sins to be reunited with Me."

She sat down and looked at me in my eyes. "Love yourself. Love Me inside of you. Love others. Love Me inside of others."

I held Her hands tight.

"Sins work best for personal evolvement," She continued, "You learn from your mistakes and become better. But what does that do for others? Love and understanding, in the other hand, allows other to be better as well, not just yourself."

"Don't you ever wonder, dear, why all the God or holy people figure are depicted as humble? Some even go as far as to claim themselves as servants. It's because to be a servant you have to take away your pride and other temptation, and understand what other need instead."

"To understand, to accept, is to love."

I held Her hands tighter, gushes of emotions flowing through me. My mind was blown away and I felt like I am in the state of delusion or even hallucination. I wanted to cry, to scream, to ask Her a million questions. Yet what came out of my mouth was: "When and how can I see You again?"

She stroke my hair and said: "I am always around," and gently kissed my forehead.

I closed my eyes. I knew it is time.

When I woke up I was in my bed, alone. It was a dream, I said. A dream. The thought that it merely a dream threw me in a sudden fit of depression. There was no God. There was only hate. There was only pain. I would open my social media account and be flooded with hatred and vitriol comments. I would turn on my TV and be drowned in conflicting news, an endless array of he-said-she-said. I would go out there to the world and there will only be despair and emptiness. I have had enough. Enough.

My phone beeped. It was a message from my friend. I opened it with a sinking heart, fearing what she had to say. It was a picture of a painting of a tea time table laden with goods and overlooking a garden, with a caption: "Look what I got for your bday!" Tears flowed down my cheek. One and two at first, then it was a river. I was wrong. There was also hope out there. And love. And Her. There will always be the three of them together. There will always be Her around. I wept in joy.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hero and Storm

Will kisses do?
Will flutters do?
Gentle touches
Fleeting glances
Will those all do?

Splayed on the finest fur
Burning exotic incense
Dining the freshest fruit
And cool, cool age-old wine
Will those all do?

My fingers in your hair
Sweet words and tinkling laugh
Massage on your shoulder
Erotic touches all over
Will those all do?

The sands of time trickling down
The winds of change blew
What we have now will soon be gone
What I offer now might be too little
But will those all do?

In this moment let me serve you
Caress your body and hug your soul
Though it is nothing compares to you
But all I have, I give to you
Even if those all won't do

Hold me closer a little longer
Laugh with me a little more
Let me show my gratitude
Allow me to be yours
And the little I have, will have to do

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dear China Airlines

Dear China Airlines,
Thank you for the excellent service provided by your cabin/air crew throughout my flights to and from Denpasar. Thank you for the ever-glowing smile on your crew's face. Thank you for their readiness in all situation. Thank you for making my trip an enjoyable one.

One might differ with me, and claimed that your service is merely standard. What is, however, standard? I have been on budget airlines where the air crew look like they forever have stinky dirt under their nose, sneering endlessly. I have been on budget airlines where the crew didn't seem to care enough to wholeheartedly explain the safety instruction. This is only for 2-hour flights, mind you. I dread to think how they will look and act on a 5+ or even 10+ hour flights.

There are better airlines and service. Sure. But you know what? What your crew did up there in the air was beyond compare, because I personally would not want to do their job. I can't even look impeccable for more than 2 hours for meeting purposes, let alone the whole 10+ hours. And as much as I love people, I was up on my nerves with the passenger next to me by the end of each flights. Your crew did that PLUS serving food etc and basically taking care of the passenger's need. There is nothing glamorous in the true job description of your air/cabin crew, yet they manage to make it look like effortlessly graceful. For that, China Airlines, I salute you.

If you ever had the (mis)fortune of a long flight, take a good look of your air/cabin crew and appreciate them for what they do. Imperfection aside, remind yourself that unless you can do better than them, it is pointless to treat them with disrespect or with the air of I-am-higher-than-thou. The first step of being human is to acknowledge other human as equal. And that starts with the people you interact with. Respect them and thank them for what they did. Yes, they got paid for it; but what's the loss in treating them with respect?

I can still remember the way I watch the air/cabin crew with adoration, and how I cringe and feel sorry for them when they have to deal with unruly passengers. The total 23+ hour flights was hard enough for me, but seeing them in action made me feel I shouldn't whine so much. At least I am allowed to not look so chic and slept the whole flight through. And yes, their presence do make me feel better. Thank you so much China Airlines' air/cabin crew. Cheers to your hard work!!!

Cold, Cold LA

I lay awake almost the entire night, spending it in silent agony. I was tossing and turning in my bed; doing every possible, thinkable way to get myself to sleep. 10 pm, 11 pm, 12 am, 1 am, and still I lay awake. The night seemed to go on forever, and the sweet sweet morning will never come.

There was no comforting warmth of my sister's or my mom's body sleeping next to me. There was no promises of silly giggles of my nephews and niece, or cool time with my group at my cousin's cafe. There was no promise of tomorrow, as a matter of fact. As I turned on my heater I shivered. Los Angeles has never felt colder.

I thought of the days I would have to spend alone. I thought of the lonely little shoebox apartment I currently called home. I thought of the awful health service here, how I dread being sick or even to get basic service like pap smear. I thought of the police who nonchalantly claim there was no threat in the intimidating e-mails my ex-husband sent to me, when I was scared out of my wit. Here I have no protection. Here I have no one to call my own. Here I spend lonely nights alone. Why am I here again?

The night grew older and still I lay awake for God knows how long. It was already 5.40 am when I opened my eyes, so I did get some sleep. Yet it seemed like I did not get any. I dragged myself out of bed and start prepping for my day. The thought of tasks at work calmed me a bit. Anything is better than the monstrous night. I will have to face him again, but not until 14 more hours. I tried my best to quenched my fear for the impending doom. I will be fine, I lied to my self, I will be fine.

I manage to catch my first bus on time. Then my second. Then my third. The busy city streets gradually change into freeways and then the suburbs. The city sky adorned with flashy city lights and the purple-orange streak of dawn evolve into warm sun lit day blurred by the morning fog. The air grew chilly, and I immediately put on my jacket. Yet unlike the night, I did not feel the chill in my heart. Instead I found a welcoming comfort, a feeling that I belong. This is home.

Changes will happen, obstacles and other challenges will arise; but the morning light will stay the same. Morning will always come after the night. Hope will prevail. Here lies my dreams and my hopes. Here lies the thing I hold dearest: myself. Lonely sleepless nights await me for sure, at least for now. But bright mornings and hopeful days will be there too. When there is hope, there is life.

As I sat here typing these words, shivering to my bones, I can't help but thinking how shallow it all sounds. I must be kidding myself. The odds are stacked against me. I can't think of a single positive outcome of me being here. These words are pitiful words I said to fool myself. How pathetic. Then the sun hit me, graced me with her warmth. Fear is the night, dotted with uncertainties and terrors; hope is the morning, filled with sureness and dreams. Both exist in our life, both inseparable and necessary. As the night will surely comes, the morning will come as well.

I will fear the night later. I will deal with my terrors later. For now I have the morning. For now I have the sun. For now I have hope. For now the cold, cold Los Angeles doesn't bother me. Have a blessed morning, dear readers.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Three Homes

It's been 13 days since I left LA. The tall buildings, the busy public transportation, the chilly wind, the frustratingly short fall/winter days, they all seemed light years away.

For a week they were replaced with humid (and almost suffocating) weather, bumper-to-bumper gridlock traffic jam, street food and somewhat fancy food, the skyline that stretch on forever, and glitzy malls that made you giddy with opulent excitements.

For the next week those too will be replaced with ceaseless scooter driving, with wind in my hair and the harmonic chaos of gamelan (Balinese orchestra) in my ears, suckling pigs on spit and mom's homemade cooking, temples to pray and bars to play with beaches and mountains in between.

One is a place where I was born and raised. One is where my rightful place is, the source of my blood within. One is where I can be myself. So which one is home?

Home is where I chat like crazy till 2 in the morning, and play card/dice games for hours afterwards. Home is where I sip coffee and gossiped with a friend, and on and on we went. Home is looking at my friend's attractive yet incredibly expressive face and totally understand why people loved her. Home is excitedly yet anxiously sitting in the car on the way to the temple, longing so bad to be there and find solace once more.

Home is running to the ocean with mismatched bikini, and jump gleefully into it. Home is laughing with the wave and splash the water around, feeling purified and rejuvenated and simply...happy. Home is drinking beer in a club made to look like a giant house party, and as the night went on the calm friend became more and more vivid. Home is little tiny hands touching me and calling me over and over again: "Bugek Ary!" (auntie Ary), Dad's plans and Mom's easy goingness, siblings love and bickerings.

Home is long commute with cool bus drivers and interesting passengers. Home is homemade lunch for the weekdays and freshly grilled bf-made meals on weekends. Home is cool job and even cooler co-worker. Home is intense business discus/tsion and entertaining board games. Home is the endearing "Hey" in messaging apps, and the smile I'll soon see in person. Home is lonely life yet a satisfying one, a state of mind where one become the city itself.

Three places, three life, three homes. To say I am merely blessed is a gross understatement.

A true prowess of human is his/her ability to adapt to his/her surrounding, and use it to the max; to be able to see both silver lining in even the most frustating condition and bloomed with it. We know limits in physical matters, but spiritually we are limit-free. Our soul, our mind transcend matter. And thus, we are bigger than we look, than we choose to believe.

Had I lived a life constrained to just a singular home, a life in any of the three homes I have would be fulfilling indeed. But I have three of them. Others might have less, or even many more. This knowledge buoyed my spirit and made me realized how vulnerable yet powerful we are spiritually, how fascinating our mind and adaptation power is, how truly beautiful my life is. We are not a flock of ducks herded by the unknown farmer, we are kings and queens of our own realms.

The three homes beckon me, calling me. I have loathed and feared and angry at each of my homes. I have loved each of them even more. And now I will heed their calling. I am home. I am home. I am home.

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