GULP! Another birthday, another year older. This time it didn't feel like it was only yesterday that my 22nd birthday came and went. It felt like it was seriously ages ago! A lot has happened since the last time I was a birthday girl and I feel like I've grown up quite a lot. No matter how prepared I was for the unexpected, I still couldn't see what was coming and it caught me quite off guard. To be honest, if I had my way, I would really like for the world to stop spinning for a bit and let me be 22 for at least a couple more years. I'm not ready for 23 - as lame as that sounds - but I won't deny myself all that I've learnt and all the determination I've managed to muster because of exactly that number. That being said, let's see how much (or little) I've accomplished from the 22 Before 23 list I made last year:
Okay, I'll level with you: when I set out for this goal, I already knew it was going to come true. Around a month afterwards, my best friends and I attended Pasar Seni ITB - which is held Gina's campus, just in case you're wondering. Turns out this event was only held every 4 years or so, not annually as I originally thought. The place was super crowded but understandable - since it's held only every few years or so and there's no entry fee. Now that I'm going to uni, I feel like I'll be in more of these in the months to come - obviously not counting my orientation week.
This is one of those things I've been meaning to do but somehow time slipped past me and I haven't got my license yet - and my birthday is tomorrow! But I've been getting reacquainted with the steering wheel, pedals and gears so let's say I'm halfway there. I promise myself to get it before the year ends, so that I can finally ask my friends to hang out and be all like, "I'll pick you up at 10, okay?" Yeah, I'm 23, it's about time.
5. Join an Organisation/Association
In the last several months, I've been thinking a lot about social work and projects. When I entered university, as part of our orientation week, the students were obligated to create one social project per class. It felt good to be giving something back, although I also felt like I haven't really made a dent in world crises. In that spirit, I've joined Indorelawan.org, which is a website here in Indonesia where you can find any kind of volunteer work you might be interested in. It covers all sorts of field and topic, that it won't be too hard to find exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it. It's almost like a job market but for social work. I'm not a member in the conventional sense, I guess, but, hey, it's a step forward.
Soon after I set this goal for myself, I went high and low on social media to find people who create good art but aren't too busy and will be willing to do an art trade with me. Needless to say, old habits die hard: I abandoned the majority of them - and they did likewise. These three are the only ones that pulled through. The first one is with Karla Alcazar, the second one is with my friend Beth and the last one is with my friend Enggar. This was one of my favourite pastimes back in middle school and throughout high school. I still keep most of the art trades people made for me - some of which, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't return the favour. If you like to draw and you're interested in doing this with me, please don't hesitate to ask. I'd be more than happy to oblige!
As you can read here, last week I cooked my family a bit of dinner. It's the only time I did it out of my own initiative and almost without anyone's help. Throughout the year, my sister and I sometimes had to cook dinner for everyone when our Stepmom's out of town. But, for the most part, she would leave us pre-cooked food and/or instructions to follow so we need only to put it into action. However, when we feel brave and wild, we really just experiment with whatever we can find in the kitchen. Make of that what you will.
In every list there hast to be one item that is almost exactly like this one: the one you do as much as you promised you would until one day you just don't care and do it willy-nilly. Although, I must say that I've pretty much stuck with it through to the end. It's not quite as hard, what with living at home and having my Stepmom to cook my every meal, which is almost always complete with veggie, and a fridge stuffed with fruit. This year I've decided to go nuts and take full advantage of my living in Indonesia by eating all the tropical fruit, such as starfruit, pomelo and dragon fruit. Yum!
Last year I didn't set my goals too high. I opted for just ONE blogger, because I don't know if any of them would want to be friends with me. But lo and behold, I made friends with three - one of whom doesn't actually write blogs anymore, though. I've met one of them and it was a blast! With one, we kept missing each other, but she guest-posted on the blog. The third one I haven't had the pleasure of meeting - nor can I see an immediate future where I can visit her - but we keep in contact from time to time. That, of course, is to add up to the blogger friends I already had. It's been fun trying to get to know new people online - and how their online persona and real personality can be quite different, in a good way.
When I set out to do this goal, I really didn't know how easy it would be to get my hands on Indonesian food that I've never tasted before. Most of the photographed above were brought to me by pure chance, if anything. From left to right, top to bottom: Bubur Coro (from Demak), Manisan Carica (from Dieng), Fried Eel (from Surabaya) and Kue Jubung (from Gresik). This really opens my eyes to how little I actually know about my own home country. And these all come from Java alone! Imagine what more lies out there on the other islands! I'm so intrigued to taste more.
In September 2014 I was diagnosed with Lymphadenitis Tuberculosis - you can read the story here, here and here. The doctor told me I had to go through a year of treatment and that I did. Finally, this August I was through with the treatment and stopped taking medications. Although the doctor hasn't quite denounced me healthy yet - and my condition is still under surveillance - but at least I am free of pills and surgeries for the time being. If I play my cards right, in two years, I should be back to 100% again and - hopefully - stay that way. Yup, no more scalpels and antibiotics for me, thank you very much.
As you can see, my blog has gone through a change in appearance since the last time I had a birthday. It's something I definitely hopped to right away. The design has gone through some minor details throughout the year because - guess what? - I'm actually planning to change it again. I already started on a new design but I'm not an avid web designer, you know, so the process takes longer than it should, I reckon. And then uni came along and I haven't had a chance to even look at it again. The new design will be easier to navigate, now that I know what I want to keep and what I want to discard. Oh well, I guess we'll see when I'm done.
Every year I set out to do this but it was almost always a failure. Not this year, no. You can finally call me a (part-time) working woman! I am so psyched about this. How, you ask? Well, first off, I opened a commission - which is still available, by the way - and put Indonesian Childhood Games Handbook for sale. Second of all, the blog has been sponsored a couple times and I've been paid generously - so to speak. Last but not least, I've started selling my LINE Sticker set on LINE Creators Market. It's not steady income yet, unfortunately. But there are plenty more projects to come so let's just wait and see, shall we?
The dynamics of my relationship with Firu changed last year, with me moving back to Indonesia and him staying in Germany. This means long-distance relationship between us, but also close-quarter relationship with his family. I've never known anyone with this kind of situation before so, at first, I was kind of nervous and awkward about it. But, little by little, I enjoy my visits there. In the past year, I've visited Firu's family on around 3-4 separate occasions. They're like family to me and I'm so happy to have known them in my life. You can see a bit here and here.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to my stepmother's high school friend who happens to own an ethical batik clothing line, called Kana. Her name is Ms. Sancaya Rini and she is super friendly and welcoming toward young people who are eager to learn her form of art. Although brief, I learnt a lot about the way of batik-ing and natural dyeing and it was magnificent. It was definitely harder than it looked - I got hot wax all over my hands. Let me tell ya, cleaning it up was a total bitch! But it made me realise how amazingly hardworking and talented all these batik artists around the nation are. Also, I learnt about the batik conundrum from Ms. Rini as well. It makes me sad to think how little we care about authenticity these days.
When I made this goal, I really just wanted to introduce local taste to foreigners and other Indonesians who might've been missing out. I really wanted to feature than just good food and good atmosphere, but also good history. The one spot I actually feature does have that and it is still by far my favourite place in Semarang. However, I also went to some other culinary installments in Indonesia, which I didn't feature but wrote in posts here, here, here, here, here and here. If ever you want to check them out, please do - although I wouldn't recommend all of them, to be honest.
When it comes to reading, you know I'm quick on my feet. This year I read several Indonesian books and even finished a series - granted, it's a trilogy but still. Some of them remind me exactly why I stopped reading Indonesian literature and some of them make me have faith in our nation's literary talents all over again. I did a run down of all the Indonesian books that I've read in the past year, which you can read here. This got me excited to read more Indonesian literature in the future, so yaay!
Ding ding ding! Time for the million-dollar question, huh? Last year when I wrote this into one of the things I wanted to accomplish in a year, I was feeling quite lost and could only see a bleak future. I was pressurised by time and financial condition, that I feel like it was of the utmost importance that I do this. 365 days later, things have changed and I've managed to do so much that I've never done before, I've learnt a lot from the experience and I am finally sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. Of course I'm still growing, which means things can alter again, but, at least for now, I'd like to stick to being a freelance illustrator and blogger. I'm already planning some things to make this happen and I'm so excited to see where we go from here.
Well, that's all I've got this year. Every year I try to shoot for the "realistic" stars and every year I let myself down. I guess, it all lies in the fact that nobody knows what the future holds and it can mess up some previously set plans/schedules. Of course, let the record show that despite not completing some of these goals, I did other things that are different and new to me and beyond my - apparently - wildest imaginations. That, alone, should be worth something, right? One thing's for sure, though, I don't think I would ever tire of making such lists. Self-set goals are so much more fun to pursue. Stay tuned to see what's on my 23 Before 24 list!
(Already twenty-four? Yikes!)