Wanita dalam Perlombaan

I am so amazed and thankful for the existence of internet and social media, tanpa mereka gw gak akan bisa hidup sebebas ini, gw berani memilih ngejalanin apa yang gw lakuin sekarang karena gw yakin gw beruntung hidup di zaman yang tepat. Zaman dimana orang bisa sukses tanpa harus merelakan tidak menjadi diri mereka sendiri. Namun demikian gw kadang rindu zaman sebelum adanya social media, waktu dimana kita gak perlu berlomba-lomba mengukuhkan eksistensi diri, berlomba-lomba menunjukkan siapa yang lebih bahagia, sukses, bahkan tingkat iman pun diperlombakan. Waktu dimana kita melakukan sesuatu karena rasa suka, bukan karena ajang di panggung yang semu.

Dari pandangan gw sendiri sebagai pengamat (dan mungkin tanpa sadar pernah menjadi peserta), wanita adalah yang lebih sering ikut perlombaan fana ini. Emang udah fakta umum sepertinya kalo wanita memang jiwa kompetitif dan insekuritasnya lebih mudah diombang-ambingkan daripada pria. Atau mungkin pria lebih jago menyembunyikan insecurities mereka ketimbang kita.

Memang sulit jadi wanita, kita selalu hidup berkompetisi. Kalo kata Oscar Wilde, “Women don’t dress up to impress men, women dress up to annoy other women.” Sadly true. Di umur yang sudah sedikit melebihi seperempat abad ini, gw udah melihat dan menjadi bagian dalam kompetisi wanita ini, kompetisi yang gak jelas judulnya apa, namun intinya, dalam kompetisi ini kita harus menunjukkan dan kadang menjatuhkan wanita lain untuk meraih gelar ‘Gw lah yang paling wanita sejati!’. Di tiap jenjang umur pun, kategori yang diperlombakan berbeda-beda, namun piala akhir tetap sama, yaitu gelar ‘wanita sejati’. Dengan adanya sosial media, kompetisi ini semakin sengit dan jelas terpampang.

Gw sudah melewati umur dimana kriteria ‘wanita sejati’ ditentukan oleh bentuk fisik. Kulit warna ini lebih baik dari warna ini, tinggi badan segini lebih baik daripada yang itu, lingkar badan, jenis rambut, cara berpakaian, dan lain-lain. Hal ini paling kenceng terjadi di usia belasan tahun, biasanya diiringi dengan kompetisi ‘siapa yang punya kawan paling banyak dan nge-hits abis’. Kalo kemana-mana bareng orang se-genk udah kayak mau kampanye. Tinggal bikin yel-yel aja lagi.

Ketika udah bertambah umur, level kompetisi semakin sulit karena berhubungan dengan pernikahan. Dimulai dari umur 23 tahun, foto tunangan, prewedding, undangan, pernikahan dan honeymoon semakin bertebaran. Hal ini tergantung di kota mana kamu tinggal atau kuliah dulu, kalo di kota besar mungkin agak relaxed. Fisik bukan lagi masalah yang penting, yang penting di level ini adalah status. Buat apa cantik kalo nikahnya belakangan, begitu lah kira-kira stereotypenya. Di umur ini banyak banget jiwa-jiwa insecure bermunculan, kode minta diajak nikah berserakan. Apalagi bagi yang belum mendapatkan pengalaman kerja atau gak puas dengan pekerjaannya, fikirannya pingin nikah aja, seolah-olah nikah adalah solusi wahid bagi semua masalah. Kalo masih jomblo atau galau tanpa kejelasan hubungan di umur ini, bertahan lah. Nanti juga momen ini berlalu di umur 25 tahun.

Gw ngerasain dan ngeliat dengan jelas gimana kompetisi di umur ini terjadi. Banyak yang promosi diri sebagai wife material nomero uno, hobby dan cara berpakaian pun  pun langsung berubah drastis, caption yang elegan jangan sampe ketinggalan, walau pun hasil copas. Ada kenalan yang tiba-tiba rajin posting hal-hal berbau agama, cara berpakaiannya berubah drastis. Ternyata lagi ngincer ustadz, walau pun ustadz-ustadzan. Kalo udah putus, ganti lagi, kode lagi. Pengambilan keputusan dengan cepat, banyak yang nikah dengan memaksakan hubungan yang sebenernya gak bisa lagi (ujung-ujung pas nikah langsung cerai atau diselingkuhin), kadang alasannya se-sepele hanya ingin pamer foto prewedding atau foto bareng suami di sosial media. Sosial media membuat seolah-olah nikah itu masalah gampang, yang penting bisa bikin caption #withhubby, adu du du duh…

Dengan adanya sosmed, persaingan di fase ini makin berat, karena adanya banyak aspek. Dari ada dan ketidak-adaan pasangan sampai acara resepsi. Harus ada foto bridal shower dengan girls squad-nya, belum lagi prewedding, foto aja gak cukup, harus pake video juga biar oke dan geger seantero Instagram. Undangan juga harus kece, baju bridesmaid jangan sampe malu-maluin. Di umur ini, umur baru mulai kerja dan berpenghasilan, tapi persahabatan diuji karena banyaknya ‘biaya persahabatan’ yang harus dijaga, dari persiapan bridal shower, jahit baju bridesmaid, sokongan kado, tiket pesawat, akomodasi, makeup artist, dan entrebe-entrebe lainnya. Semuanya demi apa? Demi menang lomba!

Lalu apakah kompetisi ini berhenti setelah menikah? Kagak, welcome to the next level. Level dimana suami aja gak cukup, harus punya anak juga untuk pembuktian betapa wanita sejatinya kita ini. Bagi yang telah melewati fase sebelumnya dengan status ‘masih single’, ini adalah momen dimana kalian bakal jadi penonton para istri-istri baru berkompetisi di level ‘siapa yang hamil duluan’. Sumpah ini konyol banget, seolah-olah membuktikan uterus siapa yang paling unggul. Saking konyolnya, bagi yang masih single bakal sering ditanyain sama teman lain yang sudah menikah apakah teman dekat kita yang juga baru menikah sudah hamil atau belum, kenapa gak tanya langsung sama orangnya aja yak? Gw kan bukan suaminya, gak pergi control ke dokter bareng gw juga. Kalo di fase sebelumnya bertebaran foto dengan pasangan dari engagement sampai honeymoon, di fase ini foto yang bertebaran adalah foto hasil test pack atau hasil USG. Langsung deh posting-posting tentang anak, menjadi orang tua, dan bahagianya menjadi istri. Gw ikut seneng kalo liat temen-temen gw bahagia, tapi ketika masalah punya anak dijadikan bahan perlombaan, aku hanya bisa facepalm.

Di fase ini adalah dimana tidak sedikit kenalan-kenalan yang sudah menikah tadi jadi sensitif berkelebihan masalah belom punya anak, terlebih kalo ditanya sudah berapa lama menikah. Gemes rasanya kalo liat perempuan yang sedih, kesepian dan merasa gak sempurna karena belum punya anak biologis. Hellow… lady, you’re still a woman!

Wanita-wanita yang udah menikah dan punya anak juga punya kompetisi lain sesama mereka, salah satu contohnya siapa yang bisa tetap menjaga penampilan, langsing dan menawan walau pun sudah launching produk. Hal ini memberikan pressure kepada mamah muda yang gak bisa back to normal pasca melahirkan seperti artis-artis di media, gak semua orang punya genetik dan kondisi fisik yang sama. Ada yang jadi udah males foto selfie lagi karena ngerasa udah gak cantik lagi, jauh benar kalo dibanding waktu single dulu yang tiap menit upload foto narsis muka close-up melulu, sampe ada yang udah bedah plastik untuk mengecilkan segala bagian yang membesar, dari bentuk hidung, pipi, perut, dan lain-lain.

Setelah lewat umur 27 tahun, para kontestan yang gagal nikah di umur 23-25 tahun tadi ternyata sudah banyak yang telah berubah, mereka bebas melalang buana menghabiskan duitnya untuk dirinya sendiri tanpa harus berbagi dengan orang lain, banyak juga yang karirnya menanjak atau telah menemukan passionnya. Tanpa disadari mungkin mereka melakukan pembenaran, ‘syukurlah gw belum nikah, daripada udah nikah hidupnya cuma gitu-gitu aja.’ Di lain sisi, pihak yang sudah berlabel istri gak mau kalah, seolah-olah gak ada posisi yang lebih indah dan terhormat selain menjadi istri, apalagi kalo udah jadi istri, bisa juga jadi ibu biologis, sudah lah jannah di tangan.

Namun para ibu-ibu yang udah punya anak pun juga bersaing dengan sesama emak-emak perihal siapa yang jadi ibu rumah tangga dan wanita karir. Siapa yang mengasuh anaknya sendiri dengan siapa yang memperkerjakan baby sitter. Siapa yang hanya bergantung dari dompet suami dengan siapa yang punya penghasilan tambahan atau ikut membantu keuangan keluarga.

Ya ampun, baru 27 tahun gw hidup di bumi tapi udah banyak banget segala kompetisi yang gak jelasnya hadiahnya apa. Membuat gw jadi bertanya-tanya setelah umur ini, levelnya apa lagi? Kadang gw heran sama yang rela mati-matian transgender buat jadi wanita, persaingan di dunia wanita keras lho, bro! Kalo sekarang anak mereka masih sama-sama kecil, masih belum punya pendapat yang permanent. Gimana nanti kalo anak-anaknya udah pada remaja atau lulus kuliah, apakah kita harus bersaing siapa yang anaknya paling banyak prestasi akademik? Masuk sekolah mana, pilih jurusan apa, nikah ama siapa dan umur berapa, dan pilihan-pilihan lainnya yang menentukan prestasi seorang wanita menjadi seorang ibu. Bukannya hal itu terlalu selfish, hanya untuk pembuktian diri sendiri kita harus mengorbankan orang lain. Orang tua yang hasilnya memaksakan kehendak kepada anaknya mungkin adalah orang tua yang belum lepas dari bayang-bayang perlombaan.

Kenapa dan kenapa kita gak bisa berbahagia saja atas pilihan kita DAN pilihan orang lain, berbahagia atas apa yang terjadi di diri kita DAN di orang lain. Tanpa harus membandingkan siapa yang lebih bahagia, sukses atau lebih wanita sejati. Karena selama kita masih sering membandingkan, gak ada yang sebenarnya menjadi pemenang.

Hanya karena kamu sudah menikah, bukan berarti yang masih single hidupnya merana dan kesepian. Hanya karena kamu belum menikah, bukan berarti yang sudah menikah hidupnya tidak bahagia dan terkekang. Hanya karena kamu sudah punya anak, bukan berarti mereka yang belum adalah wanita gagal. Hanya karena kamu belum punya anak, bukan berarti mereka yang sudah punya anak hidupnya terbatas. Kalau kamu memilih menjadi wanita karir, bukan berarti mereka yang menjadi ibu rumah tangga adalah lemah. Kalau kamu memilih jadi ibu rumah tangga, bukan berarti mereka yang bekerja adalah durhaka.

Siapa lah kita untuk punya wewenang mendefinisikan standar kebahagiaan orang lain. Terlebih lagi masalah jodoh, anak, rezeki dan perasaan orang lain adalah sesuatu yang di luar kontrol diri kita, bukan kita yang mengatur. Setiap orang punya jam yang berbeda-beda, adzan shalat aja beda RT beda waktu, bisa gak barengan, apalagi yang namanya jalan hidup seseorang. Perempuan sesama perempuan sebaiknya sama-sama mendukung, bukan menjatuhkan perempuan lain agar terlihat lebih sempurna. Tentang apa yang terjadi di masalah jodoh, anak, rezeki dan perasaan orang lain kita hanya punya dua pilihan; either berbahagia dan iklas atau berburuk hati dan prasangka. Pilihan pertama tidak memakan biaya sedangkan pilihan yang kedua menghabiskan budget, tenaga dan waktu.  Rempong, ciiinnn…

 

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“Kenapa Harus Bule”: When Indonesian Woman Dating Bule

“Kenapa harus bule?” (means “Why Bule?”) is one of the most-asked questions people give to me lately ( in the first place is question about how I can stay skinny –..–” ). The term ‘bule’ (read: boo -lé) means non-Indonesians, mostly referred to white people. If they’re not white but non-Indonesians, they are still referred as bule, added with the name of country they’re from, for instance; bule Arab, bule Korea, etc. Historically, it was a derogatory towards white people, but it’s changed a lot, maybe because most Asians adore fair skin or it’s the dollar effects.

This post is inspired by a newly released Indonesian movie with the same title, “Kenapa Harus Bule”, that tells about a brown-skinned, black-haired Indonesian woman in her early 30s who’s looking for a man to be with but she’s been told many times that her look is not up to Indonesian standard of beauty and only bules find her beautiful. Anyway, this post is not a movie review, because I haven’t watched it yet. It’s my own opinions as an Indonesian woman who hasn’t dated Indonesians for years and because of that, people like me, can easily got labelled as a Bule Hunter. Bule Hunter is such a phenomenon that I don’t deny it exists, especially in touristy areas and has negative connotations because they’re mostly only after the dollars, or other prestige or any other silly reasons. Of course there are also people like me who just happen to have/ have had non-Indonesian partners because we really fall in love with the persons they are, not because they’re bules, it just happened to be a part of their identities. I mean, come on, me?? hunt?? I’m the fox, baby! LOL.

In Indonesia, it’s common to give stereotypes to Indonesian who’s dating or married to a bule, especially if the bule is Caucasian. These stereotypes are more easily thrown to Indonesian women who date bule than Indonesian men who date bule. Why?? Because that’s just the world of patriarchy works, so sad but it’s still the world we live in.

I’ve dated (and flirted with) both locals and bules, from my experience, I can say that we’re all the same in many ways regardless the country, race, religions, etc, there’s only one race which is human race. You can find douchebags Indonesian guys, you can find douchebags bule guys. There are good, open-minded bule guys, there are also good open-minded Indonesian guys. But yeah, I do admit that there are some traits that can be easily found in westerners, there are some traits that can be easily found in Indonesian guys, it depends on what you’re looking for. I mean, I’m 27 y.o and just like most 27 y.o, we’ve known our selves well, we already know which person will go along well with us, we know which one will make us feel comfortable without being someone we’re not. And in my case, local guys who have that are either in relationship with other people or don’t find me attractive. Hiks!

Of course in dating we’re trying to find someone we feel most comfortable with who has the same values and points of views. I think it’s kinda obvious for people who know me, I don’t think like many Indonesians especially from the ways I look at gender roles. Well probably it’s because in Indonesia (especially in small towns) and many Asian countries, at home parents really give samples of gender roles, home chores are mostly given to girls and young girls are told about how important marriage is since we’re 16, how to be a good wife, how to find husband, etc. I’m too rebel for that. For a small example, I witness a lot how wives are exhausted taking care of the house and kids all day and when the husbands come home, they asked the wives to make coffee for them. I mean, are you serious?? You have legs, hands, and brain, why don’t you do your sh*t by yourself? And if I speak my mind about it, I will be called ‘a challenge’ or ‘disturbed’ or whatever that sounds like I got wrong education. Meanwhile in bule’s culture and countries, maybe it’s not easy to afford a housemaid, so they’re accustomed to take care of their selves and don’t feel right to ask somebody to do small basic stuffs for them, like making coffee. Some bule guys I was seeing earlier complained because I always gave drink to the guys first before I gave for myself, they asked why I was doing that and they wanted us to be equal.

In Indonesian relationship, women are expected to sacrifice once they get in relationship or marriage. That women are the ones who more likely to give up their career and dreams in the relationship. I disagree with this, why can’t we both grow together? In a broken family with a working mom in Indonesia, woman will be the first to be judged for her husband cheating on her, that’s crazy, if she’s not the one who cheats how could that be her faults? Raising kids and saving a relationships are the responsibilities of everyone in the relationship, not only one side which is determined by gender.

Other thing that I find very obvious is the way of expressing love. I don’t know why in Indonesia it’s so common to believe that if you love someone you need to forbid him/ her from many stuffs to show that you love and care about them. I’ve been told many times by local guys (event though in friendly situations) about how to think, how to dress, which to befriend with and what I think the worst is how and what to dream. Every time I give them signals of interest, they always start to show this symptom. Meanwhile with bule, I feel they’re more free, they may disagree with what I do, but they will not just forbid me right away. I feel more loved when I am given trust rather than limitations without logical explanation.

Also I don’t think I belong to the attractive category in Indonesian standards which prefer lighter skin. I admit that this ever affected me when I was a teenager that I tried so badly to whiten my skin. But deep down I’ve always found sun-kissed skin very sexy, I was just afraid people didn’t find me attractive because I didn’t match the standards. I went out with some locals who told me that they liked me because I was fair and if I was darker, they wouldn’t even try to approach me. Well it’s fine for me and I respect their honesty, we all have taste. What bothers me is when they try to control and make fun of me when my skin got darker after an outdoor activity. One day I posted a photo on my soc-med of my hand holding my then BF’s hand, you know what response I got from my local friends (guys and girls)? “Cihud why is your hand darker than your BF’s hand? He has a more beautiful hand than yours.”, seriously as if I didn’t deserve him because of my shade. I know it was joking, but still didn’t find it funny. So I feel more appreciated by bules that find me physically exotic (that’s what they say). Not only physically, but also intellectually that these guys who I hanged out with always said that the most attractive asset I have is not my skin, face, hair or look, but my mindset and passion. If I was just an exotic brown-skinned but didn’t think like this, didn’t have any other drives in life and only accepted what guys give to me, they wouldn’t fall for me. While many local guys tend to see this as a threat that needs to be shut down.

Also Indonesian guys tend to be more in a hurry when it comes to relationship, they like to plan about marriage at very early stage of relationship for many reasons (not all, but so common), most common reason is age. I kinda see it dangerous to only want things without really knowing why you want it, and I don’t want to be married with someone just because of his fears; fears of age, fears of time, family, etc.

For most Indonesian guys, age is an important consideration. Woman closing to 30 y.o is closing to her game-over. You can be smart, good looking and successful woman, but if you’re over 25, it’s like you’re over 52. Meanwhile, age has never been an issue with bule.

The way we see concept of success also influences how people behave in the relationship and how he/she expects the other to behave. I personally feel that local guys prefer their women to be more needy to them. While for me that is not cute. I always got complaints from local guys for being not needy. One very little example is shown by so many Indo girls speaking in baby voice, like literally baby voice, when they’re with the BFs. Every time I tried this with bule, I successfully got cringe in their eyes, like, “Babe, did you hit your head in a car accident?”

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Or maybe I’ll end up with a swan. We already have a pre-wedding photo.

So, based on the points above, I think my point is that everyone has his/her own ‘market’. Your market may be different from mine. There are billions of billions people in the world, there are so many places. To limit based on specific area is like wasting opportunities, nobody can guarantee that the person who was destined for you was born in the same city, district or country. Maybe he/she was born somewhere in other parts of the world, maybe he/she was born right in the same neighbourhood with you, who knows. So we can’t judge other people’s path that’s different from ours. For many people, they find it easier to understand partners who are from the same city, country or customs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to me, I find understanding Indonesians harder, or maybe it was just bad luck for me to meet only the difficult ones. Nobody can know whether I will end up with a bule or local, nobody knows. Also, to generalize all bules based on race and countries of origins is wrong, they may look similar in our eyes, but they have different passports, different habits, different many things. There were locals who treated me bad, there were bules who treated me bad. I will share about the common misconceptions about dating with bules in different writing later. The more we meet people from different backgrounds, the more we feel that we’re all the same, that we want to be loved, understood and appreciated. We just want to find which one does us more.

Bye Bye, My Friends!

After months of being away from home and travelling here and there, end of last month I finally reached my parent’s home again where all of my stuffs are. First time I opened my room, I looked around that pinky room that I left for half a year and whispered to my self, “Sh*t, I’ve got too many stuffs all this time that I don’t need nor use anymore.”

One of them is my book collections, among them are hundreds of my comic books. Unlike other kids who just borrow comic books from friends or comic book rental, I always push myself to own things I like since I was a kid. Many of these books had been moving places to places as I brought them with me, I wanted to be close to my books just in case I suddenly miss reading them. But this side of me has been bothering me as a person who moves often, they take space and cost money to transport them to new place. Also, in the era where you can get many books and information so easily from the internet, it’s impossible for me to choose to read these comic books again amid all the downloaded books I plan to read. So what’s the point of keeping them anymore, I don’t want to be trapped in dependence on nostalgic feelings. Furthermore, who knows where I would be and live in the future? One thing I know, I will not live in West Sumatra for a long time, maybe in other cities, maybe other countries, who knows. Hence I decided to donate them.

I’d never thought that I would ever give away my books just like that. I bought them with my pocket allowance saving when I was in elementary school. I remember how I starved myself during breaks and watched my friends enjoying their snacks. I always thought I’d have a library in my future house where I would put my books and my kids would read them. If my friends borrowed my comic books, I nagged them (sometimes terror them) to return the books immediately. Because these books mean more than books to me, they’re dreams, memory and friends. They were medicines when I felt sad when I was a kid, I grew up with them. The early role models I had in my life were not from real life, they’re from these stories instead. I didn’t like reading books without pictures, because I like drawing and adoring other people’s drawings.

But let them be those good old days, I don’t prefer purchasing real books anymore because of my nomad life. I want to keep less things in life. Also, I don’t think my kids would be interested to read them, they will have other new heroes, even I don’t want to read comic books from my parents’ era.

So finally after 20 years (I started buying books since I was 6 y.o), I posted on my soc-meds that I was looking for a new home for my comic books, my childhood friends. I don’t want them to stay unread in my quiet bed room anymore. Better they give dreams to other little kids like what they gave to me, before other new heroes come and fade their charms away.

A friend suggested me a non-profit library in Padang, West Sumatra called Shelter Utara. There, people can read and borrow books, they don’t need to pay if they want to borrow books, but they have to put books in exchange. The books I found there are very interesting, if I stay in Padang, I will absolutely rent books there. Shelter Utara also regularly holds event and discussions on arts, literary works and social phenomenons. I was amazed that this organization has established since three years ago and managed by collective young people whose vision and mission is to share knowledge. They even held free classes for kids in the neighborhood and they said kids like to come every afternoon after they play soccer. Doing this makes me feel happy, knowing that my books will cherish other people’s lives.

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I may not have them in my bookshelves anymore, but I will always have them in my memory.

Lessons that Travels Have Taught Me (so far)

Experience is the best teacher and the most experiences I’ve got are from travelling or living nomadically. I’ve moved a lot in my 27 years although none of the places I’ve lived in or visited is abroad. Well my country is big and it’s not easy for a developing country citizen like me to travel abroad. Also, every corner of Indonesia is so different even though it’s in the same island; the people, culture, norms, weather, etc are different. The first time I moved to other city was when I was 17 y.o when my parents decided to go back to their hometown in West Sumatra. I hated it back then, the fact that I had to be separated with the things and people I’d been familiar with. Ten years later, I’ve become a restless soul that always wants to be challenged by new environment periodically. It has given me long-term impacts and lessons that shape the person I am and will be. Even the ways I travel changed. Let me share some things that travels have taught me so far :D.

  1. Travel has made me realize that life is short.

Life is short to do and be something I’m not, to only read one book, to only have one perspective, to stop questioning, to not seek for answers, to be spent in only one place, to only have one dream, to learn only one skill. And most importantly, to not be shared.

2. Changes are not always scary.

Fly High Yoga by the sea in Gili Air

Starting again in new places with new people, situation etc sounded scary before for me. But I survived, I’m glad of most changes that happened, sometimes a reset button is necessary. Breaking the comfort zone is good, just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it’s better. It is when you’re already outside the box then you can see what’s wrong about the box.

3. The world is so big and there are so so so so so many people in the world.

The more places I visited and the more people from different background I met, the more I want to see and experience other places. This makes me realize that for me moving is one of my needs. Many people seek for settling down in one place until they’re old and die, while I don’t think myself belongs to that category. Even if I know Bali is my fave place to live, it doesn’t mean I want to stay in Bali forever. I will someday settle, just not now. Also, knowing that there are billions of billions of people in the world–I mean yeah of course all people know the big number of population, but many of us choose to trap ourselves into small community; like people in our city or our country only–makes me more optimistic in life that it doesn’t matter if one person doesn’t agree with nor like me, there are still billions of people in the world, even Trump is still liked by some people. It doesn’t matter if I feel I don’t belong with people in West Sumatra, maybe I just happened to be a black sheep, I met people who are like me–the black sheep–in Bali, whose homes are away from homes. There will be a lot of places in the world that are more willing to accept who you are, you just need to find where it is.

4. The more I travel, the more I need less.

The moment of packing and unpacking are the times I know I’ve been collecting or wanting things I don’t actually need. It’s the time I have to decide which one to keep in my life. I still don’t travel light, but for people who know me and with so many things I had back home, it’s an achievement to pack my life into just some briefcases. It makes me realize that if I’m ok with it during travelling, then I will be okay with same at home. The more I don’t understand why people could be so obsessed with having a big big family home, taking loans for big house, fancy cars, electricities, etc. That makes more sense to me if it’s for property business, but I can’t see myself living in a big house because I don’t need that. I need plane tickets, enough money and health.

5. Self-discovery.

I’ve read somewhere that if you want to find yourself, leave your home. My self-discovery process happens faster every time I am away from home, my goals get clearer.

6. Travel gives me hope and faith that THAT kind of life is possible.

Since my childhood, my parents and most adults around me taught me how scary it is to have no uniforms, which means a job in institution or company. I believe that every generation has their own advantage from the previous generations, hence we should not live with the same fears. My generation’s advantage is the advance of information and communication technology. I don’t want to miss this opportunity. Nomad living is possible which allow us to make money from anywhere we want. It makes it possible to earn in different currency. That if I really want something to happen, there’s always ways. Travel allows me to meet alike-minded people who many of them are more successful in their 30s than my parents who worked for over 30 years in institutions. And what great about these people are their energy and creativity that are always alive and pumped.

7. Complaint less, be more patient and grateful.

When you just move to a new place, then expect the unexpected, things go out of plans and it’s okay. I saw how people can live with less and still be happy which all too often we forget how to live like that.

8. Shop less, experience more.

I can say I’ve been very lucky to be able to travel myself since young age. But the way I travel and how I see it have changed a lot. I used to only target big cities with big malls during the sale season, travel was only about shopping for me. I always flew back with extra baggage than when I left. Doing it for years, I always felt exhausted after the holiday (and broke, of course), also felt rushed during the travel. I used to list so many shopping agenda in my itinerary for a 2-3 day holiday. I think that’s how most Indonesians are like during holidays, we try to go to as many destination as possible in super short time that we don’t really enjoy our visit anymore, it’s become more like a check-list than a relaxing holiday. Now I prefer to have much less agenda and be more spontaneous. I rarely shop unless it’s something very special that I still think of after 3 days, by then I know I really want it rather than an impulse buying. I buy something that I will use and remind me of the place when I see and use it. Someday when my hair turns grey, it’s the experience that I will remember, not how many and expensive things I bought.

9. Enjoy solo travelling while you can.

The idea of travelling with a partner and family may sound tempting to many. I have friends who missed their travelling opportunities or chances to move somewhere only because of waiting for a life partner to arrive. That’s not me, at least for this moment. Most of the time for me at this moment, I want to have a time for myself. When I get married, I will less likely have it anymore, I will have husband and kids to travel with for years. So now is my time for my self (before I get stuck with them, LOL). It’s nice to have a travel partner sometimes, but not every time.

***

So that’s my ode to travel. I’m sure that’s not all yet–at least what I can think of for now. I want to continue living like this, moving place to place, looking forward to more adventures and changes for the better because nothing is more exciting than seeing who I will be at the end of each one. PS: this year I will have my first international travels, can’t wait!!

Jakarta, oh, Jekardah

Jakarta as the country’s capital is just another big city like any other big cities, harsh in its beauty, or beautiful in its harshness. Many Indonesians moved to Jakarta hoping to reach their Jakartan dreams; the high desires for lifestyle, convenience and fame. For me, I cant stand Jakarta at all. I don’t understand how people can enjoy life in Jakarta, because you have to have the ability to ignore your surrounding and turn off your empathy.

Jakarta is the ugliest face of this country for me. It’s not only about the traffic and politics, but also the face of social gap that it serves right in front of your eyes.

You work extra just to be enough to pay the bills and spend extra hours stuck in the traffic, wake up at 4 am and reach home at 8 pm. Can’t even imagine doing that for two weeks, don’t even ask me for years. It’ll age and drain me emotionally and physically. And will that job be able to pay your health issue later?

Having stayed in Bali where sexy is make-up free, cheerful and relaxed, I was feeling strange when I came to Grand Indonesia Mall in Jakarta. I didn’t know what it was, then I realized that I felt strange because I hadn’t been seeing that much hair extension, thick makeup, and 8 cm heels for a long time. People looked uptight, I don’t know whether its the botox/ facelift or that they dont wanna crack their make-ups. I passed a pillar mirror and saw how barefaced I was from head to toe compared to my surroundings.

The big malls I visited in Jakarta are always busy in the cafes, food courts and restaurants. I checked the price and it’s more expensive than the bule cafes in Bali, but still I always saw many Indonesians lining up for those expensive cafes in those fancy malls. I couldn’t believe what I saw and asked, “Are we that rich? Really?”

As soon as I walked outside the big mall, I saw similar view outside the building at the street food seller next to a smelly dirty water drain. I don’t want to dare my self with Jakarta street food, coz I always got bellyache and diarrhea right after it. Most of them were store employees in the mall. Ironically some of the people were wearing the uniforms of restaurants from the malls. That’s Jakarta, that’s Indonesia.

In Bali, beauty is for everybody to enjoy, whether you’re rich or poor or middle class, it doesn’t really show. In Jakarta, beauty is luxury and people want to show off how rich they are compared to the other people around them. You may see them taking GoJek, but at the same time holding their Zara, HnM shopping bags, these brands are not cheap for Indonesians.

For Indonesians–which are very different from the developed western countries–, living in a small room in a tall-apartment building means that you’re rich, rather than having a house with a garden. These apartments are mostly equipped with swimming pool, gym, convenience store, cafe, daycare, playground, tennis court, etc. The fancier ones even have sauna, jacuzzi, library, coworking, etc which are included in the fee they pay every month. But these life-indulging facilities are often lonely. People don’t have the time to enjoy it, they’re either busy working overtime or stuck in the traffic.

You can’t be impulsive in Jakarta, you need to know what you wanna do and go every day because it’s not easy to move around. Sometimes one km can take up to 30 mins or an hour.

But what for me is really frustrating is that the fact that even after you pay a lot for convenience in Jakarta, it’s still not worth it. You live in your expensive apartment but every time, every morning, you are served with the view of Indonesian poverty, the slum areas which are located right next to your apartment. If you look straight to the horizon, you see the optimistic tall buildings that are far away from you. But when you look down, just 10 meters from your place are houses made of paper boxes. Why do you pay so much if this is what you are going to see everyday?

What really slapped me in the face was when I was taking my baby cousin to the play room in a fancy apartment that my uncle owns. One side of the room is a glass wall so you can see everything outside. In that play room for the rich kids, the toys were complete, I’d never had that many toys in my childhood. What sit right next to the big glass wall was a 1.5 meter wide doll-house, complete with the tiny furnitures, I never played with a doll house when I was a kid, nobody in my neighborhood had a doll house. How ironic the contrast of the doll house and the view of human houses outside the glass wall is. Even dolls, non-living things, have a more decent house than human houses. What should I tell my baby cousin later about it when she starts to speak and ask questions? Other kids in the room were so loud and naughty, they just didn’t care about it, maybe they’ve been used to it that they didn’t even bother to ask what are the paper boxes with roofs outside the window.

This is Jakarta, this is Indonesia.

Feb’s Faves: Skincare Drugstore & Organic Murah

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Semenjak di Bali kemaren, hasrat belanja skincare organic dan drugstore gw terpenuhi karena banyak pilihan tersedia, gak seperti di Sumatra Barat atau Lampung dulu. Yang pasti gw selalu mengincar yang se-natural mungkin dan anti beli yang mahal, dulu gw udah pernah coba produk-produk dari yang mahal sampe yang murah gak jelas karena cuma jadi korban marketing. Dengan pengetahuan yang udah lebih mumpuni, udah fixed deh yang natural memang lebih baik dan cantik–walau pun harus bermodal–gak mesti mahal. Beberapa produk ini udah gw pake selama 2-3 bulanan, so here’s why I like them:

  1. Energizing Day Cream by Himalaya

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Gw emang udah lama banget nyari day cream yang cocok, selama ini pake produk dari Acnes dan BioDerma tapi ngerasa kurang greget karena gak mengandung pelindung dari sinar UV, terlalu ringan untuk di umur aku yang telah meninggalkan usia belia ini, haha… Pertama kali beli agak ragu karena harganya agak mahal juga sih dan packagingnya gak travel friendly, tapi setelah dipakai hasilnya lumayan oke, creamnya cepat meresap dan menahan minyak lebih lama dibanding dua merk sebelumnya.

2. Body Butter by Utama Spice

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Gw udah ngefans banget lah ya sama brand ini, khusus untuk body butternya gw udah pernah review di postingan sebelumnya, bisa dicheck disini.

3. Face Serum Mineral Botanica

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Face serum ini ternyata penting banget agar manfaat cream-cream setelahnya terserap dengan baik dan lebih maksimal. Sebelumnya gw pake pre-serum dari The Body Shop dari rangkaian Drops of Youth dan gw udah menggunakan itu bertahun-tahun, tapi hanya dipake untuk ritual malam aja, karena mahal ciiinn… jadi pemakaiannya diutamakan di malam hari aja, nasib miskin memang begini lah.. haha. Terus ketemu dengan face serum dari Mineral Botanica ini, ada dua varian face serum; acne untuk wajah berjerawat dan brightening yang fungsinya untuk mencerahkan dan anti-aging. Jangan tertipu dengan kata brightening-nya dan berharap kulit bisa jadi putih, karena sebenarnya yang dimaksud adalah membuat kulit lebih fresh dan lebih kencang.

4. Castor Oil Utama Spice

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As you may know, gw penggemar body oil, dari VCO, olive oil, rose hip oil, dll. Utama Spice yang produk-produknya banyak menggunakan bahan minyak alami adalah salah satu incaran gw. Salah satunya adalah castor oil yang baru gw coba dan baru pertama kali denger tentang castor oil. Castor Oil berasal dari tanaman Riccinus Communis ini memiliki keistimewaan di antaranya:

  • Mengangkat kotoran sisa make-up (bahkan yang waterproof)
  • Low comodogenicity, artinya tidak beresiko menimbulkan komedo/ jerawat
  • Baik untuk rambut dan kulit kepala yang kering
  • Dapat digunakan sebagai pelarut maskara yang kering

5. Baby Skin Pore Eraser by Maybelline

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Cocok untuk bagian hidung yang lebih mudah oil, sebelumnya gw pernah pake Wonderblur dari The Body Shop, tapi mehong bo’… Ternyata produk dari Maybelline ini gak jauh beda kualitasnya, bikin bagian hidung jadi smooth banget dan oil control lebih lama dibanding hanya dengan menggunakan moisturizer aja. Pore erasernya ini diambilnya sedikit aja dan dioleskan hanya dibagian yang pori-porinya lebih terbuka.

6. Micellar Cleansing Water by Garnier

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Micellar water udah booming banget semenjak diperkenalkan oleh Bio Derma yang harganya mahal banget. Emang bener sih, micellar water ini emang terobosan baru yang lebih mengangkat kotoran muka bahkan setelah cuci muka. Namun setelah menghabiskan tiga botol micellar water dari Bio Derma yang tidak ramah di kantong, gw mulai mencari alternatif baru yang lebih murah dan mudah didapatkan di Sumatra Barat, dan pilihan jatoh ke brand Garnier. Awalnya deg-degan takut gak cocok, ternyata kualitasnya gak jauh beda kok, emang sih pake yang BioDerma wanginya lebih harum dan rasanya lebih fresh, tapi untuk masalah pengangkatan kotoran, hasilnya sama kok.

7. Purifying Neem Mask by Himalaya Herbals

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Menurut aku ada dua brand yang bisa jadi alternatif varian Tea Tree dari TBS, yaitu Acnes dan Himalaya. Neem mask ini tekstur dan hasilnya mirip dengan charcoal mask TBS, tapi wanginya lebih nyengat. Aku tadinya sering pake clay mask dari Utama Spice, tapi rempong juga kalo harus diracik dulu, jadilah pilih Neem Mask ini yang bentuknya tube, praktis digunakan, murah, banyak, dan ampuh buat jerawat!

8. Hair Oil by Botaneco Garden

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Berhubung gw gak bisa hidup tanpa hair dryer dan catokan, jadi berbagai vitamin rambut is a must untuk menjaga ujung rambut dan kehitamannya. Kalo menggunkan VCO atau olive oil, rambut jadi berminyak dan lepek, sedangkan kalo pake hair oil dari Botaneco Garden ini membuat rambut lebih berkilau tanpa rasa lepek, wanginya juga harum, botolnya aman dari tumpah. Gw sih lebih suka ini daripada hair oil dari L’Oreal.

Co-working Spaces in Bali

Millennials have brought a new style in work habits in which we prefer to be able to still make money from anywhere we want. Bali as the holiday destination is also in the digital nomads’ travel lists where they want to travel yet still be productive.

Co-working space is basically you’re renting a desk instead of a whole room or building as a place where you go to be more productive even when you’re working freelance or on your own stuffs. Maybe this sounds a bit strange, why would you leave your job to later spend money just to go to an office? Well, for many people, we can be more productive and motivated when we’re surrounded with people with the same working ambience, while at home or a nice cafe, we tend to procrastinate.

To be honest, I didn’t know about this concept until August 2017 when I came to Bali. I was totally amazed by this idea, also the fact that most co-working spaces in Bali have communities and interesting programs that help you to network or improve your knowledge in other fields. Here are some co-working spaces that I’d been to during my stay in Bali from October 2017 to March 2018. These places are located in different parts of Bali, if you don’t know, one good thing and very unique about Bali is that every area has different vibe and different characteristics of people. Say, Ubud is more like the meditation and yoga center, Kuta is for party animals, Sanur is where the oldies go to, Canggu is creative and relaxed.

  1. Kumpul Coworking

Kumpul is located in Sanur and shares the building with a creative house Rumah Sanur, a cafe and coffee shop, then a shop. Equipped with a good internet connection and office equipments (printer, fotocopy, skype rooms, lockers, infocus etc), it has a well-balanced proportion of members between locals and foreigners. Faye Alund, the founder, is also an amazing woman who likes to share and help women and communities as I’ve attended some events for women entrepreneurs that she held. It collaborates with Google and became the place where Google’s Gapura Digital initiative took place. Various membership package starts from Rp 30.000,- (USD 2.2) for hourly drop in, one day visit Rp 200.000 (USD 15) , weekly and monthly packages for 20 and 40 hours, and unlimited monthly and weekly. There’s discount for Indonesians too. However, I didn’t register myself here because lately there have been less events and people, also I’m not a Sanur people.

*Photo source: Kumpul’s IG

2. The Night Market Cafe and Coworking

It’s located about 5-7 km from Seminyak, I don’t really know what the owner’s concept of the place is. The building is nice, the cafe is also good and cheap, but for a coworking place, the music is too loud and there’s no office equipments nor community like other coworkings. But it rents out meeting rooms also with good internet connection, with electricity socket almost in every table. There’s no border between the cafe and coworking, so you can be in the same room with lovey-dovey couples, families, etc while you’re working. There’s no membership fee either, you just need to buy the food. It doesn’t open 24 hrs, and I don’t recommend coming at after 16.00 as the cafe starts to get busy.

**Photo source: The Night Market’s Instagram

3. Genius Cafe and Coworking Sanur

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with my besties, Jennifer and Gaby on my last day.

Even though Sanur is not my fave in Bali, but I came to Sanur Beach almost every week for the free talks that the place holds every week. Every day it has regular free events, and my fave was the talks where people who are already experts in their own field can register themselves to host a talk, mostly business coach. During the talks, they give 50% discount on food and drinks for Indonesians and Genius members. Although it also doesn’t have office equipments, skype rooms and indoor rooms, it has a very nice community with very positive vibe. The staffs are very friendly, they remember our names. I met some good people here where I’ve learned a lot from, including Dee, the owner and founder of the place. She’s a Rusian woman with a love for Bali and dedication to women empowerment. When I visit Bali again, Genius cafe is in my must-visit list for sure, I miss the people already! Check out its price here.

4. Hubud

Hubud is the first co-working space in Bali, one of the two coworkings in Ubud. Hubud is for me one of the best, it is designed with an open space concept, surrounded by gardens, and equipped with amenities such as fast internet, a printer, a scanner, a copier, and a seminar room. Located near The Monkey Forest, next to Habitat Cafe. The people in Hubud are fun, also every week they hold regular events and most of them are free. Too bad I’m not an Ubud person, but would like to visit Hubud again in my next Bali visit.

Check out its price here.

5. Dojo

Dojo is the winner, it’s my fave coworking space, also because I’m more of a Canggu person. Well, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been to Bali. Dojo has the coolest office place because it has a pool! Yess, you can work by the pool on bean bags and if you’re lucky, hot guys usually jump into the pool, what a distraction you wish you have in your office, right? It opens 24 hours and offers you a night worker membership for you who work like an owl (read: at night). The coolest thing about Dojo is the vibe that you get from the people there, every week they hold free talks for members and public, Dojo also provides events where start-ups can meet up and network. Some successful youtubers and vloggers did talks here, I was lucky to get knowledge from them. It also has regular photography meetings. Btw, in Canggu and Ubud, people are either barefoot or in flip-flops, and when you enter the coworking space, you leave your flip-flops outside and work barefoot. Also, there’s no AC in Dojo, unless in the meeting rooms.

Check out its gallery, price and events here.

Actually, I made a youtube video on this topic, I didn’t take pics, hence I’m using photos from their own IG accounts. But if you wanna see a tour of the coworking spaces, please kindly watch my vid 😀

Happy nomad life, everyone!