The Strangest Afternoon

I actually started writing something for you, a prose that I couldn’t quite finish it. It just seems wrong. The words, the sentences, they seem stilted, forced. It feels like I’m trying too hard to make it rhymes, try as I might, it just doesn’t  seem to work so I left it unfinished. However, there’s this nagging feeling that I need to write something. So as I was doing some chores, my mind wonders to that time I called ‘the strangest afternoon’.

I had planned to visit you with a couple of other friends that day. I had it all figured out when at the last moment life got in the way, I couldn’t figure out how to do all that I want to do that day, something has to give. Our friends last reports says that you are getting better so we thought, okay, we’ll visit you the next day. So off I go to do whatever it was that needs doing.

Ticking off my task list one by one, I was on the way to my last appointment of the day, the one I’ve been looking forward for weeks; to meet with one of my really good friend from BU. Last time we saw each other was graduation. That’s eons ago! So I was super excited. Jakarta being Jakarta, traffic is slow going, light rain was pouring, and I just can’t stop thinking about you. How you seem to be doing just fine, then suddenly got sick, how all of us is praying for your speedy recovery, and yet… Up to that moment, I always pray for a speedy recovery. Yet somehow that afternoon, something is urging me to change my prayer, to wish for the best for you but I don’t really want to do that. That’s usually my last prayer for those too ill to get well and I refuse to entertain that thought. I texted some friends asking for the latest news while there’s this internal debate going on about how to pray for you. Finally I give up. I prayed and hope for the best for you. Whatever it is.

A couple minutes later, a text came in: “Sita, he’s passed away.”

What???

Furious texting to few other people and made a phone call. All I hear is sobbing. A heartfelt sob. Then another text came in formally announcing your passing.

NO!!!

I was so close to the meeting place and I really was looking forward to meet my college friend whom I have not seen since graduation. I was torn. In the end I decided to go ahead and meet him. Who knows when’s the next time he’s coming here. I cried, of course. But few minutes before arriving I told myself, right, get it together don’t cry, this is a happy occasion. And you know, the moment I step into the hotel lobby, it’s like all sadness is on pause. Only happy is allowed.

For the next few hours, it was all happy smiles, laughter, reminiscing, catching up, and even a spot of business talk. My friend is looking into a business venture here and is looking for some insider info. He should’ve paid me for my intel! Naw, it’s all good. Obviously this would just be anecdotal information but if it paved the way for him to invest here, why not? We also talked about class reunion. The Asian contingent really want to have a class reunion in Bali. The North Americans were being geriatric about it, complaining the flight would be too long, the Asians should just come to LA instead. Uh… we already made those long haul flights during college yo…

Soon it was time to go. Snapped some pictures, hope it doesn’t take another 16 years to see each other, then back in the car to go home. And the dam burst again.

Like I said, strange afternoon.

Later on, I was telling my mom about it and I don’t know if she’s being psychic (my mom’s family are somewhat very perceptive about things, some people claim it’s a supernatural ability. I think they’re just very good at reading people) or she just want to console her sad daughter but after I finished my tale, she got quiet for a moment. Then she said, “Your friend is a really good person. He knew he’s going so he’s saying goodbye to his friends, that’s why you keep thinking about him. He was saying goodbye to you…”

I choose to believe my mom.

Yudi is or was, a really good person. A family man who has a big heart  and always wear a smile. He is full of ideas, energetic, very friendly to everyone, has a ton of friends. He has a zest for life. Truly one of a kind.

I am really sorry I didn’t get to visit you again. I did go to your funeral. How strange… your funeral. Even now it seems unreal. We know you have a lots of friends and it shows during your funeral. There were so many people! Little ones, big ones, everyone wants to pay their last respect. It was raining too. Even the weather is sad to see you go.

When it is time, it is time. Goodbye Yudi, it’s been a honour and a privilege to know you. I bet you’re cracking jokes with the angels now, lucky them.

Until we meet again, my friend.

pd indah 210716

 

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Simon’s Wake

Started this
awhile ago
after
your wake
actually.

But, it’s hard.

It’s weird.
Keep thinking
you’ll jump out
from behind
the curtain,
“Ta da! I’m here!”

But, you didn’t.

Your eyes,
stay closed.
Your hands,
clasped firm.
Won’t budge.
Wish it would.

But, they didn’t.

Friends
Colleagues
Family

Shocked
Grieving

Tears
Respect
Sadness
Love

Morning conversations
Coffee breaks
Tennis matches
Brit humour
Integrity
Education
Knowledge
Understanding

Are what they say
about you
They who missed you

Back then,
too upset
to say anything

But Matt said,
please remember
and I do.

so,

Hi Simon,

Thank you
For giving me
a chance
For believing
encouraging
supporting

Thank you,
requiescat in pace.

funeralflower

duwagym 11/11/2014
37 days after.

Inheriting Education

Humans by nature, are forgetful.  As soon as an info is deemed unimportant, we dismiss it from our brain. It’s there somewhere, but not foremost in our thought. Which is why, I believe sometimes things happens to remind us of certain stuff.

For me, what’s been going around me personally and somewhat touched upon in the news, is the importance of education. Both sets of grandparents have personally said to their kids, aka my parents, that in essence, the most important inheritance is that of education. Money can easily disappear, but once you got education, unless you’ve gone crazy, no one can take that away from you.

Truer words have never been spoken. On a much smaller scale, I’ve experienced how easy it is to lose money, to spend it like there’s no tomorrow then frets when the bill came. Luckily I have a guardian angel to bail me out. Not once, but twice! Then I vow never again! It is embarrassing to have to ask for money due to your own stupidity. I mean do I really need that extra pair of shoes?

On a much bigger scale, just take your pick of recent headlines. So many news about people and or institution lose money. Sadly, it also happened around me. To people I never thought it could or would happen. When pondered upon, well, lack of education seems to be the root of it. Whether academical or school of life, it doesn’t matter. If you lack one sometimes it can be made up by a surplus of the other. Lacking both… then you’re kinda doomed aren’t you.

I’m raising my glass to both grandparents for their wisdom that they impart to their children, and in turn, to me. May your principles set your offspring well!

world_book

Widen your world…

Cerita Jumat : Antara Natural Hazard dan Natural Disaster

*Nemu tulisan lama, tapi kok ya ternyata masih relevan sama musim hujan extra lama dan panjang kali ini…*

Kata guru geografi saya waktu SMP (apakah ini hari mengenang kembali masa SMP? dari tadi rasanya pangkal pikiran bermuara pada waktu SMP terus), Mr. Wright, hanya beda tipis antara natural hazard ama disaster. Kalau ‘hazard’ artinya kejadian alam tanpa korban manusia sementara natural disaster artinya bencana alam dengan korban manusia.

Saat itu kami sedang membahas kejadian alam seperti gempa bumi, gunung meletus dan tsunami, persis seperti apa yang sedang terjadi di Indonesia sekarang ini. Menurut Mr. Wright, kejadian alam itu sebetulnya tidak perlu berubah menjadi alam karena semua hal itu bisa diprediksi. Sebagai contoh, kita bisa mengetahui dimana lokasi 2 lempeng bumi akan saling bertemu, geolog bisa meriset dan mengetahui dimana gempa bumi akan terjadi. Yang tidak bisa diprediksi adalah kapan gempa itu terjadi. Tapi bahwa itu akan terjadi geolog sudah bisa memastikan, tidak peduli apakah di lokasi tersebut ada populasi manusianya atau tidak.

Sehingga seharusnya dengan pengetahuan tersebut efek kejadian alam tersebut terhadap manusia bisa dikurangi. Waktu itu Mr. Wright memberi contoh Jepang dan California. Kedua tempat tersebut rawan gempa dan Jepang sering sekali mendapat badai ombak besar sehingga istilah tersebut mereka yang menamakan : Tsunami. Belajar dari pengalaman, kedua tempat tersebut menerapkan kebijakan yang efeknya bisa meminimalisir korban apabila terjadi gempa dan tsunami. Misalnya dari SD mereka dilatih tentang bahaya gempa dan apa yang harus mereka perbuat seperti mengamankan diri dibawah meja. Di Los Angeles yang juga sering gempa secara periodik ada pengumuman di tivi tentang tata cara peringatan gempa, pengamanan dan evakuasinya. Sirine pertanda gempa dibunyikan agar penduduk bisa mengenalinya. Bangunan, baik publik maupun pribadi harus dibuat tahan gempa sampai skala richter sekian, dll.

Karena ini pelajaran geografi bukan agama, apalagi Mr. Wright seorang non-muslim, maka kami sama sekali tidak menyentuh persoalan agama. Namun setelah saya pikirkan kembali, inti dari perkataan Mr. Wright adalah kita harus mengetahui dan mengurus bumi alias menjadi khalifahnya. Apabila hal itu kita jalankan maka Insya Allah apabila ada kejadian alam atau natural hazard tidak akan menjadi natural disaster yang besar.

Kalau saja kita tidak menggunduli hutan, mengubah daerah resapan air menjadi gedung belanja, buang sampah sembarangan sampai menutupi got dan kali, tentunya tidak akan terjadi banjir setiap ada hujan. Tidak seperti sekarang, di satu daerah kelelep air, sementara di daerah lain megap-megap kekurangan air. Untuk bencana seperti gempa, apabila terjadinya di lokasi berpenduduk memang jatuhnya korban tidak bisa dihindari, tetapi apakah korbannya 10 atau 1000 itulah yang seharusnya bisa diantisipasi.

Mr. Wright mungkin tidak bisa mengutip Al-Quran dan hadits, namun dari kecintaannya terhadap alam beliau memperkuat apa yang kita (saya) pelajari dari agama. Bahwa selama kita tidak menjalankan tugas kita sebagai khalifah bumi dan merawatnya dengan baik maka selama itu pulalah natural hazard akan terus menjadi natural disaster yang merugikan kita sendiri.

Baru setinggi paha orang dewasa aja kok…

Emily Was Never Being Boring

 

I’ve been in a Pet Shop Boys’s mood lately and with that came a flurry of thoughts I thought long forgotten. A kind of musical pensive so to speak. Now, because PSB are British and I started listening to them during my years in a British based school, I started to remember all things associated with my ‘Brit years’ so to speak which is really the Jeddah and the Uni years.

There I was happily remembering things from way past when cue in Being Boring. For some reason this really resonate with those wonderful 3 undergraduate years spent in that bastion of higher education in the North aka the University of Leeds. Then came that ubiquitous verse:

” all the people I was kissing, some are here and some are missing…
but I thought in spite of dreams you’d be sitting somewhere here with me…”

And immediately, without warning nor fanfare, Emily flashed into my mind…

In my third and final year, no longer wanting to share house with squabbling roommates – I’ve enough of the drama, but not really looking forward to live alone, I opt to move back to the comforts of the hall where the rent includes; food (not great but at least I don’t have to cook everyday), utilities (North of England is COLD for my tropical sensibilities) and laundry (it gets expensive and annoyingly boring to have to wait for one’s clothing lest it be stolen by those ruthless fellow students!). However, not wishing to live in the main building with rowdy, rambunctious freshers, I requested to live in the annex, a smaller 3 story building in the next street or road as it was small.

I caught a rather nasty cold just as the term about to start. Not wishing to fly when my sinuses are congested, I decided to wait and recuperate in the comfort of my parents’. Thus I was a couple of days late getting into the annex. After settling my stuff in my single room (blessedly I got the smallest one in the whole house. Great) I venture into the common lounge. I met Becky first, with her distinctive twang she said, “So you’re Sita! Your friends been looking for you! Hey Em, come here!”
Seconds later, a chocolate-brown eyes got into my view, smiled broadly and said, “Oh good, you’re here, now you can answer your door miss Popular!”

Apparently my friends been calling ever since the first day of term. Since we had to fix our final year lodging by the end of our second year, we pretty much know where everyone is going to live so no surprise that they knew where I live. Becky and Emily, while having the good fortune of getting the largest room in the house, it is also situated up front where, like it or not, they would hear every single coming and goings of the annex inhabitant, thus became the unofficial door person of the annex.

They thought I was popular, I quickly corrected, I’m merely a final year student hence the (not so rowdy) people at knocking at the door. Becky and Emily are quickly known as the Americans duo that lived in our hall. Like any good university, Leeds has exchange programs with universities around the world including Vanderbilt University. There’ll be a group of them and they’d be scattered among the various halls and student residences including the one I was in, Ellerslie Hall. Usually they would be paired with a Brit kid like Maura (the American) and Caroline (the English) and placed in the main hall. Becky and Emily are different in that they’re already BFF, shared a room, and lived in the annex.

The annex is basically a small house, so all the inhabitants pretty much see one another nearly everyday and got to know each other pretty quickly too. Since my room is the smallest and their’s the biggest, it wasn’t long before I start popping down there to chill out on their floor. We talked about nothing and everything. I’m curious about America and they would answer all my questions while I tried my best to answer theirs. I love to hear their accents, so different from the Brits. Their commentaries are amusing too; “I opened this magazine, lords and ladies start tumbling out of the pages!” was one that stuck to my head 😀

We talked, we laughed, we go out, I even helped Emily packed once. She had to go on this trip somewhere and was confused as to how to bring all the stuff she wanted to bring. With all my years of packing and unpacking I got curious and opened her suitcase. Well, no wonder. It was packed rather haphazardly. So I simply repacked it to fit everything in. Then, when summer rolled in, they decided to throw a traditional American BBQ. Or was it a picnic? I can’t remember. What they did was somehow they convinced the ruler or the annex to open the back door so we can have it in the yard. I have no idea how they managed to get a grill out. Or was it fried chicken only? It’s a while ago so details are kinda blurry. In any case, the American duo got a bucket of KFC, I made potato salad, and there were burgers, sodas, and rather stronger drinks later on. It was one of those blissful moment where everything is cool, everything is dandy, we’re all full and happy.

With summer came the end of the academic year. We had our teary goodbyes in front of the annex. The American duo returned home. I graduated, went back to my parents and potter about wondering what to do next. That wasn’t the last I saw of them actually. At some point the following year I got a chance to visit the States for the first time! And I got to see them again! This time in their home turf. So different from Leeds.

dinner_beck_em

Only Southern style cooking would do!

It is now Becky and Emily’s final year at school. They were freaking out about grades. I was freaking out about live in general. They rent an apartment off campus and I marvelled at how they simply drive everywhere. Back in Leeds I only know one or two people who brought a car. Most just use public transportation. I got to eat Southern food, visit Grand Ole Opry, and had a fabulous time with the gals. The next year I was enrolled in grad school in Boston and lost touch with all my American connection. Great. My fault really. I’m pretty bad at correspondence.

Fast forward to 2008, Facebook is now available to everyone so of course I started searching these long-lost friends. Becky! Hi! Where’s Emily?

Sadly Emily is no longer with us…

For someone I haven’t seen in years this news knocked me in the solar plexus. I can’t believe Emily is gone. So soon. I’m sad for Becky too. It’s terrible to lost a friend, a best one at that. Especially since they’ve sometimes talked about the future, how fun would it be to take walk in the park as mothers pushing their babies strollers, how they’d plan to live close to one another so their kids can be best friends too. It’s not like I plan to pack my bags and move to Nashville either, but somehow I fully expect to also see their kids via social media, to wish them happy birthdays from afar.

“And we were never holding back or worried that time would come to an end”

But time does come to an end…

I cried then. I cried again now.

I won’t ever see Emily again. Those chocolate-brown hair and beautiful smile… Guess I’ll never found out what happened to that guy who followed her around back in Leeds eh? Not that it mattered anymore.

Becky, I am glad to note, is happily busy with her beautiful family and friends. I love seeing her photos, following the renovation adventure and all the daily family stuff. Forward and onward!

Someday I hope I’ll have the chance to see them again. Until then, good night Emily and good day to you Becky.

beck_Em

The Beautiful American Duo

 

Cerita Jumat : Subhanallah, Inilah Rahasia Penciptaan Kucing

Artikel aslinya ada di :
http://www.republika.co.id/berita/dunia-islam/khazanah/12/05/29/m4ronx-subhanallah-inilah-rahasia-penciptaan-kucing

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, Mata kucing merupakan salah satu bukti kesempurnaan Allah dalam penciptaan. Allah telah menciptakan mata kucing dengan pengaturan dan letak yang sesuai dengan makhluknya. Di salah satu ayat, Allah berfirman tentang kesempurnaan ciptaannya.

Dia–lah Allah yang menciptakan, yang mengadakan, yang membentuk rupa, Dia memiliki nama – nama yang indah, apa yang ada di langit dan di bumi bertasbih kepada – Nya. Dan Dialah yang Maha perkasa lagi Maha bijaksana. ( QS. Al – Hasyr 24 )

Penglihatan malam kucing sangat kuat
Kucing dapat dengan mudah membedakan warna hijau, biru dan merah. Walaupun begitu, kelebihan sebenarnya dari mata kucing adalah agar dapat melihat di malam hari. Kelopak mata kucing terbuka di malam hari, ketika terkena sedikit cahaya, lapisan mata yang disebut iris membuat pupil mata membesar ( hamper 90% mata ) sehingga mereka lebih mudah melihat cahaya. Di saat mendapat cahaya yang lebih terang, system bekerja berlawanan untuk melindungi retina, pupil mengecil dan berubah menjadi garis tipis.

Ada sebuah lapisan yang tidak terdapat pada mata manusia. Lapisan ini berada di belakang retina, berfungsi sebagai penerima cahaya. Ketika cahaya jatuh di lapisan ini langsung di pantulkan kembali, cahaya lewat dua kali melalui retina. Oleh karena itu, kucing dapat melihat dengan mudah di saat cahaya hanya sedikit. Bahkan di saat gelap, di saat mata manusia tidak dapat melihat. Lapisan ini juga lah yang menyebabkan kenapa mata kucing bersinar di malam hari.

Lapisan ini disebut Kristal tapetum lucidum yang dapat memantulkan cahaya. Berkat kistal ini, cahaya yang jatuh di belakang mata di pantulkan kembali ke retina. Beberapa cahaya yang di pantulkan kembali ke lensa, sehingga mata bersinar. Berkat struktur ini, jumlah cahaya yang diterima mata meningkat sehingga bisa melihat dalam kegelapan. Oleh Karena itu, kucing bias melihat lebih baik dalam gelap. Ini bukanlah bentuk dari bio-luminescence, sebab binatang tidak menghasilkan cahanya, melainkan hasil dari pemantulan.

Alasan lain kenapa kucing bisa melihat dalam gelap juga karena adanya sel–sel batang yang lebih banyak di bandingkang sel–sel kerucut di retina mereka. Sebagaimana kita ketahui, sel – sel batang hanya sensitive pada cahaya. Mereka membentuk bayangan hitam atau putih tergantung dari cahaya yang datang dari objek, tetapi mereka sangat sensitive walau hanya dengan sedikit cahaya.

Berkat sel–sel batang ini, kucing dapat berburu dengan mudah di malam hari. Seperti kita lihat, Allah menciptakan struktur mata yang sesuai dengan kondisi dan nutrisi yang mereka butuhkan. Mata kucing memiliki struktur dan karakteristik yang berbeda sesuai dengan kebutuhan mereka. Ini adalah salah satu contoh dari hasil ciptaan Allah. Hasil ciptaan Allah yang unik ini terbukti dalam salah satu ayat:

Pencipta langit dan bumi, ketika Dia ingin menciptakan sesuatu, maka Dia hanya berkata “jadilah”, maka jadilah ia. ( QS. Al – Baqara 117 )

Bola mata kucing lebih besar
Selain kemampuan melihat di malam hari, bola mata kucing juga lebih besar di bandingkan yang dimiliki manusia. Jika bidang penglihatan manusia hanya sampai 160 derajat, kucing dapat dengan mudah hingga 187 derajat. Dengan karakteristik ini, mereka dapat dengan mudah melihat ancaman yang ada. Ini adalah contoh karakteistik lain dari hasil ciptaan Allah dengan bentuk yang berbeda. Sebagaimana di katakana di dalam Al – Qur’an, kaakteristik ini adalah pelajaran bagi orang – orang yang beriman ;

Dan sungguh, pada hewan ternak itu terdapat pelajaran bagimu…( QS. An – Nahl 66 )

Struktur mata kucing berbeda dengan manusia
Pada mata kucing, terdapat membran ketiga yang disebut “nictitating membrane”. Membran ini transparan, dan bergerak dari satu bagian mata ke bagian yang lainnya. Sebagai contoh, kucing dapat mengedipkan mata mereka tanpa harus menutup semuanya. Membran ketiga ini memungkinkan mata kucing terlindungi ketika berburu. Selain itu, benda – benda lain seperti debu tidak mengenai mata mereka, sehingga mata mereka tetap bersih dan lembab; sehingga kucing tidak perlu sering mengedipkan matanya seperti manusia. Jika kucing mengedipkan mata mereka sepanjang waktu seperti manusia agar matanya tetap bersih dan lembab, hal ini akan menimbulkan kesulitan bagi mereka di saat berburu. Tidak mengedipkan mata merupakan salah satu kesempurnaan ciptaan Allah untuk makhluk ini.

Apakah mata kucing sensitif pada gerakan
Kucing tidak dapat melihat dalam jarak dekat dengan baik sebagaimana halnya manusia dan tidak bisa focus pada objek yang dekat dengan mereka. Tetapi Allah telah menciptakan rambut sensoris dengan mekanisme sensoris yang kuat buat kucing. Berkat penciuman dan rambut sensoris, kucing dapat dengan mudah mendeteksi dalam jarak dekat. Walau makhluk indah ini sulit melihat dalam jarak dekat, mereka dapat dengan mudah merasakan dengan jarak dua sampai enam meter. Jarak ini cukup bagi kucing agar dapat berburu.

Karakteristik lain pada mata kucing adalah mereka sensitive pada gerakan, keindahan dan yang sesuai dengan jarak penglihatan mereka. Mata kucing dan otaknya memisahkan setiap gerakan bingkai demi bingkai. Otak kucing bisa merasakan lebih banyak gambar daripada kita. Sebagai contoh, mereka dapat dengan mudah melihat tanda – tanda elektronika pada layar televise di bandingkan manusia. Ini adalah bakat khusus yang di berikan oleh Allah yang Mahakuasa kepada semua kucing. Hal ini dikarenakan kucing menangkap mangsa mereka berdasarkan objek yang bergerak.

Detail dan ragam yang mengagumkan di ciptakan Allah bagi kucing
Mata kucing di ciptakan dengan kaakteristik luar biasa seperti makhluk lainnya. Ketika struktur dan karakteristik mata di uji secara individual, maka akan di lihat fungsi yang berbeda dan ini merupakan bukti dari beragamnya hasil penciptaan Allah. Variasi ini tidak dapat di katakana sebagai hasil dari mutasi ataupun seleksi alam. Allah telah memberikan mata yang sesuai dengan kebutuhan hidup dan nutrisi makhluknya.

Memiliki pengetahuan tentang system yang menakjubkan ini merupakan kesempatan bagi setiap orang untuk melihat kekuasaan dan pengetahuan Allah yang telah menciptakan makhluknya. Kita harus berterima kasih kepada Allah yang telah menciptakan alam semesta ini. Adapun bagi orang – orang yang yang menolak ayat – Nya, Allah menjulukinya “pendusta”, seperti di dalam ayat ;

Siapakah yang lebih zhalim daripada orang – orang yang telah di peringatkan dengan ayat – ayat Tuhannya, lalu dia berpaling darinya dan melupakan apa yang telah di kerjakan oleh kedua tangannya? ( QS. Al – Kahfi 57 )

Kucing di ciptakan dalam bentuk yang ideal sesuai dengan lingkungan mereka, mereka perlu bernafas, makan, berburu dan mempertahankan diri agar tetap hidup. Oleh karena itu, mereka harus mengenal dunia mereka, dan membedakan antara musuh dan mangsa mereka. Dengan demikian, mereka memerlukan penglihatan khusus untuk melihat lingkungan mereka.

Bagaimanapun, Allah yang Mahakuasa, Tuhan dari semua dunia, telah memberikan karakteristik yang mengagumkan seperti mata yang memiliki struktur khusus, bentuk dan ketajaman penglihatan untuk kucing. Penciptaan mata yang memiliki kekhususan bagi kucing merupakan pelajaran bagi orang – orang yang beriman sebagaimana di sebutkan di dalam Al – Qur’an ;

Dan disana terdapat pelajaran bagimu…( QS. Al – Mu’miniin 21 )

Karakteristik mata kucing berfungsi sesuai dengan hukum yang di tetapkan Allah. Allah menciptakan mata ini dan setiap detilnya tanpa contoh sama sekali. Hal ini terungkap dalam ayat – ayat bahwa Allah adalah pencipta semuanya ;

Allah menciptakan semua jenis hewan dari air, maka sebagian ada yang berjalan di atas perutnya dan sebagian lagi berjalan dengan dua kaki, sedang sebagian berjalan dengan empat kaki. Allah menciptakan apa yang Dia kehendaki. Sungguh, Allah Mahakuasa atas segala sesuatu. ( QS. An – Nuur 45 )

Sumber: Dikutip dari Yahyaharun.com

Redaktur: Heri Ruslan

Changes and Challenges

Nothing jumps starts a new year like fresh new looks and challenges. After reading the handy-dandy report WordPress freely provided about our blogging year, it is sadly rather lacking. Apparently I only post 6. Yes, only 6 new stuff!!! What was I doing? On twitter mostly.

It is extremely easy to just flash off a sentence or two on twitter. So very easy. Although sometimes one found that one starts to write series of tweets since one’s thought on the matter is actually longer than a sentence (or two). And why am I insisting in writing in third person like this? Oh and I’ve been reading too. Crazy amount of time reading.

I got an iPad mini last year. Then I started discovering the bookstore and that there are free, FREE ebooks abound!!! Of course most of these free books were part of trilogies or more. So before I realise it, I started reading, and reading, and reading, and I’ve surpassed the challenge I set for myself on Goodreads! I set out to read 40 books and I think I read closer to 60. Some books were rather crap so I don’t bother putting it on the list. But then I also realised I’ve been feeling somewhat restless…

I’ve read and now it is time to create something. Since I’m not very good at arts and crafts, I’ll resort to writing. I’m no Rowling, but I don’t think my writing is too bad. I can craft words or two and what better way to start than giving myself a challenge?

The challenge actually one of those Facebook tag thingy but instead of the usual list of 10 things I like about Cats or something, you’re challenge to create a small works of art for friends who replied and forward the challenge too. Initially I wasn’t going to do it but then my friend assured me that writing does constitute a work or art. So I plunge forward, says I’m in and copy the status. It looks like this :

I, Sita Sidharta, hereby promise to make a small work of art for the first ten people who comment on this post and say “YES, I want in”. A ‘like’ alone is not enough of a commitment, nor is a comment about thinking Pay It Forward is a great idea.

You must in turn post this as your status update and make something for the first ten who comment on your status.

* The rules are simple: it has to be your work, made by you, and the recipient must receive it before 2014 ends… *

(Thanks to Sara A Chaudhary)

Seems simple but to write 10 things for people you know puts it to another level – at least to someone who only manage 6 posts last year 😉 So far only 5 friends is up for the challenge. It’ll probably stay that way since by tomorrow that post will be a goner, replaced by steady stream of updates from others. That’s ok. That’s still 5 piece of writing to think about. I’m excited about it actually 😀

As for the change, I change my blog theme again. This time I went for something more streamlined, less clutter. Sadly my cats don’t make an appearance despite the blog being called ‘Metro Kitmom’. I guess I’ll just have to post photos about them then. ha!

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Yep, those are the Bebels; Bella, Joyyo, and Lila, respectively.

Oh and feel free to take up the challenge. There are still 5 spots left so do leave a comment here and copy paste it onto your blog. I’ll write something for you. It may be a prose, a poem, flash fiction… I don’t know yet but I can promise it will come from the heart.

Have a good and productive year!

Langit Biru Chika

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Di bawah langit biru Australia
tetiba teringat aku padamu, Chika
bercerita tentang berjuta cita-citamu

Tentang keinginanmu
untuk bepergian ke berbagai negara
termasuk Amerika, tuk bekerja disana

Dan aku, sangat bisa membayangkanmu
bekerja dan tinggal disana
mungkin di Williamsburg, Queens, atau TriBeCa

Aku bisa melihatmu,
dengan boots dan scarf berwarna
berjalan dari blok ke blok bersama para warga

Commuters, New Yorkers, Manhattanites,
you’ll blend right in!
Of that I’m sure  😉

Ah, aku rasa
tempatmu saat ini lebih ok ya?
lebih keren dari penthouse di Upper East Side

Hanya saja,
sangat jauh dari kita semua

Tuhan menentukan, sementara manusia
hanya bisa berencana…

Sangat jelas langit di Australia
gumpalan awan putih dan langit biru
sejelas daftar cita-citamu

Dalam naungan cakrawala biru
secerah lebarnya senyummu
apa kabarmu disana?

Doa pelipur duka
bahagia di nirwana ya

 

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*between Canberra-Lakes Entrance, Dec 2013*

Dude, We Are Parents ?!?

The good thing about being an expatriate brat is that you get to have friends all over the world.

The bad thing about being an expatriate brat is that you get to have friends all over the world.

Huh?

If you go to high school  and then settled down roots in the same city, it’s a fair bet that most of your classmates also settled there. With friends that are in within your physical area, you get invited to their wedding, visit them in the hospital, buy them birthday present before going to the party, and have the event posted on Path to show the world, “Hey look, I’m here!”

If  you go to highschool elsewhere far far away from your hometown, more than few hours plane ride, well, once you finished school, unless you set up roots in the Western Hemisphere chances are you’re not going to end up growing old(er) with your classmates. If, like me, you’re from the Eastern part of the meridian – the rather poorer parts as well – then good luck finding your secondary schoolmates in your hometown. As much as you would like to, it is not always practical to go to a friend’s birthday party when it’ll took a day or three flying commercial to get there. Although strangely enough, I did found 2 of my high-school teachers here but that’s another story.

Now, as we all know, the internet supposedly brings us closer. In a sense that’s true. If we lived back, say in the 80’s, we’d have to rely on postcards and letters to bring us up to date. With social media, it is much easier to find out what they’re up to. Well, provided they like to post regular updates about themselves as well. Obviously not all of your class mates are social media fans, but a good chunk of them do regularly updates the world about their general wellbeing and sometimes post some pics as well.  So I  get to find out who’s married, who’s not, who have kids, who have babies, etc.

The thing is, even if you see pictures of their wedding and whatnot, because you were never there, even though you know those photos are not hoaxes, sometimes it still didn’t really register in your head that the dude who used to wear grunge fashion all the time is now actually someone’s husband. So when at some point later they have kids, you got nearly choked on your morning coffee upon seeing their beaming face while holding their newborn baby as you checked your fb updates. Especially this year it seems that a bunch of them decided to have another kids, some are still in the oven, some already popped out. Interesting. Never let it be said that the class of 94 are nothing if not productive 😉

Strangely enough, these coffee-choking moments only occurred upon seeing the male members of my high school classmates. Somehow when it’s my girl friends’ babies there’s not a doubt in your mind that they are now mommies. It’s an,”Aww… how cute!” moment rather than, “Say whaaat??? Who thinks it’s a good idea for him to have kids?” Ok double standard I know! Totally guilty. Off to the dungeon!

According to Ishat, it’s because I still see them as those grungy, long-haired dudes waxing poetics about the latest from the Seattle sound or Headbangers Balls. In reality we’re all racing towards the big 4-0, already completed our education, and is now a model middle-class citizens of the world complete with dogs and cats just to make our already rambunctious household even more so. How is it possible that we are now moms and dads? However, as Hollywood tv writers would like you to believe, we never really left high-school.

So yeah, I do know that Em has a son, or that Mel and her sister are both Mrs, and that Mike, Nori, and Nadav are now family man. But somehow in your mind you still see Em as that girl with the big smile and the first person who told you what olliebollen is. You still think of Mel this zany, quirky person who’s allergic to chocolate yet ate it all the time. And the boys? Well, they’re still in that grungy, long-haired, checked flannel shirts period, except for Nori – he had short hair back then. We were a crazy bunch, living in a wild town, in a funky era.

Then again, what are high school if not the crazy time of our life? Now that some distance has passed, I have nothing but chuckles at the memory. We may be old(er) in real life, but we’re forever young in our hearts.

Ah class, I heart ye all.

kusjes!

yep, that’s one of the choices of where we’d go at night 😉

 

The One That Got Away?

… and they call it puppy kitty love….

You know those people that manage to be friends with their ex(es)? Some even claimed to be best friends with them. Well, I don’t belong to those people.

I’ve mentioned here how even though I’m no longer in regular contact, I do sort of keep up with them via the grapevine and what not. For the most part, they seem to be doing just fine and I’m happy they are happy. I wish them all the best.

But you know, memory is a curious thing. Like most people, I put music as background sound while working – it helps me concentrate – and sometimes my playlist would choose something that would remind me of them. Like right now.

I guess it’s the combination of the song and the current time that stops me at my tracks. It is the holy month of Ramadhan and suddenly I just remember how he used to remind me to pray on time. I think he was the first friend who ever did that for me and it sticks.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was hanging out with the bad crowd and he was the saviour. Oh no, my youth is not that dramatic. But back then, I wasn’t very conscious about religion. It’s there, it’s part of my make up but I didn’t really think about it that much. He was the first friend who nudged me about that. At school or during our lengthy phone calls, he’d remind me if it was praying time and would stop the call to do so. He’d call me right back and resume the conversation 😉

He was a very kind boy and I heard he grew to be a kind man too. We parted mostly due to distance and age. We were still in our teens, living in different countries, definitely we were not thinking about marriage anytime soon so we didn’t fight for it. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t broken hearted when it happened. We both knew it wasn’t realistic to keep it going but wasn’t quite ready to call it quits either.

It’s not like I had lines of other boys waiting to go out with me. In fact I didn’t really date anyone at all after him. But after we part oceans, it just seems strange to call someone your boyfriend and not there to prove it. We did tried, we send letters and meet up during the holiday. The letters were not frequent to begin with, but I had look forward to it, gladly penned replies. Somehow, “…it just got colder…” as he puts it (don’t ask how I remember that particular line from his final letter. I just did) It just got strange…

Somewhere deep inside I mourned him though it was a mutual decision. Thankfully there was an avalanche of school work, a flurry of activities to keep me going, and of course, new land to explore. Such was the joy of being an expat brat. Eventually the pain ceased. Life continues.

I sometimes wonder what would happen had we stayed in touch. Would we get back together? Was he the one that got away?

As it turned out, he is not. Oh he turned out just fine, he was a good catch, good husband material, just not mine. People change as they grow. That’s what happened to us I think. We change. We didn’t became bad people, we just grew up.

He sorta became the benchmark of the guys that came after him. Guys that are kind, smart,  intelligent, cute, and religious.  So I am glad I met him because I knew for sure that guys with that kind of criteria exist.

So no, he’s not the one that got away. Because the one that is for me? Now him I don’t let go. Nor he me 🙂