Sunday, 1 January 2017

Turning the Page

There is something about the new year that makes you feel a little different. When I was much, much younger—although you could argue that I am young even now, it used to feel like letting out a long breath. It felt like hope, like something big and new is going to happen soon. Now it seems a little bit mellow, like there is a huge mist before your eyes and you don't know where to step next. Not just for me; for so many people the fate of the world seems to hang in the balance this year. But, personally, too, it seems tons of things have happened to me this year although I don't document them all on the blog—though I can't say they're all exciting.

January
When 2015 ended I was determined to blog less to make room for more exciting—and hopefully professional—opportunities. I cut down on my blogging significantly, but I still try to be active with the new meaning of the word. The start of last year I shared five lessons I learnt from 4 years of blogging and the first showcase of ethical fashion labels.  I've also received the first set of prints I've ever bought from Valerie Chua—which you might know I adore SO MUCH—and visited an exhibition at Hubble Scoop. A bombing also happened in Jakarta, which wreaked havoc—but most of the casualties are the culprits themselves, so it's fine. The biggest highlight would have to be my first ever purchase from Book of Deer. They're still two of my most beloved pieces to date!

February

February was such a blissful month for me. Why? My dear friend Iva finally came to town! Wilson, Edwin, Iva and I quickly arranged a meeting. This has been the moment we were all waiting for—if only Firu were there to complete the gang. We met up twice: once for a karaoke get together and bubble tea chats and another one with another friend of ours for a hotpot dinner. It was THE BEST two days of the month—if not the year—and I miss her already. Aside from that, my friend Jess and I also joined a workshop with Kamo-sensei, who is a well-known kawaii illustrator from Japan. Blog-wise, this was the first time I applied my post to be featured in the Links à la Mode feature by Independent Fashion Blogger. Thank you so much, Devinne, for letting me know about this!

March
March was eventful in a very strange way, I suppose. First of all, there was a full solar eclipse going on in the beginning of the month. It was the first of such eclipse that I've ever witnessed and it felt surreal. Muslims perform a special prayer for this occasion—but it's not obligatory so not many people do it. Then I finally met Amel of The Charming Berryz after a couple years of missing out on each other. It was a blissful meeting and I can't wait to see her again sometime! On a more terrible note, a tremendous strike and riot happened in the Jakarta city centre. It basically stopped the traffic, making me unable to go to class and stuck to watch the whole event unfurl. The month closed with a sweet note, though: a former neighbour and childhood friend of mine offered me a job which would become an ongoing project to this day. Little did I know, this was going to be the start of my freelancing career.

April
April started with a bang: my good friend Mimin finally came home—and just when Gina was about to go back to Japan! The last time I saw here was four years ago. Man, how time flies! Meanwhile, at campus, Marvel came for a visit and basically gave a run through of their history. Not a huge Marvel fan myself but it got me warming up to them. April also meant Fashion Revolution week! Last year I contributed by making a Haulternative video on some of my favourite thrift finds—it was a terrible video, though. I also visited a Galeri Tie Dye exhibition, where a friend of mine happened to have her work displayed. The month ended with Catalyst Art Market, which I've been trying to visit more often now. They have the best talents in there and I met a lot of new illustrators that I've never known before.

May
May was very low key. Midterm exams were on and I barely had time to do anything. But I did manage to go to Big Bad Wolf Major Book Sale and snag a couple books—after cutting down from the ten or so that I picked. This was also the month I started taking the train more regularly and basking in the glamour of it—if it's glamorous at all, really. Aside from that, I drowned myself in Pokémon for the rest of the month, by snatching Mimin's 3DS shamelessly. Not much else seems to be up, though, as I'm busy curling myself into the ball of introversion.

June
With June comes Ramadhan. I was so swamped I barely noticed it passing by. Yes, it was also time for finals. This was the month I spent so many nights at campus or a cafe nearby the printing house. It was seriously intense on my body. By the end of it, I was practically beat. But I managed to make a video to apply for the Kopernik volunteer program. Unfortunately, I didn't make the cut. I also managed to print out some name cards for an event the following month. Not much else happened, I'm afraid. I must have slept for 24 hours straight after all that cramming—except not really.

July
July means holiday! It's also filled with important dates, such as Firu's birthday and our anniversary. Can't believe it's been six years already. But, as usual, we don't get to see each other this year as well. Eid al-Fitri rolled around and our family didn't go to see the grandparents this year. It was a mellow holiday for us this year. Since my schedule was all freed up, I got to hang out with Tasha again this month. It was a lot of fun and I found another great place for photos! And also another meet up with Ervina. Sadly, my phone cracked and the LCD broke nearing the end of the month—a day before Comic Frontier 7 too, where I sold my creations. It was stressful and heartbreaking, saying goodbye to a phone I'd been using for one and a half years.

August
August was surprisingly filled with art exhibitions. My sister and I visited two exhibitions together and I traveled to Surabaya by myself and visited two parallel ones. The first one we visited was Negeri Dongeng Nusantara, which is an exhibition of some illustrious works from the colonial and modern times, inspired by Indonesian folktales. The second one is the 17:71 exhibition held by Istana Merdeka, a collection of paintings from the Palace—and President Soekarno. I finally got to see Raden Saleh's Prince Diponegoro painting in the flesh! Then I went to Surabaya for a week to visit my grandparents because I didn't get to do that during Eid al-Fitri. There I managed to tackle two exhibitions on one day on my own, which is Haris Purnomo's parallel exhibitions. As if those weren't enough, my sister and I also visited darbotz's exhibition towards the end of the month.

Aside from all the exhibitions, another highlight of the month was seeing two of friends again. I went on a little lunch with Rezy at Burgreens—because he wants to try this vegan-friendly and healthy spot. Also, I was again reunited with Divina when she asked me to help her create the backdrop for the photo booth on her engagement party. Last but definitely not least, Cynthia and I had our first collaboration for the blog this month. It was her idea and so much fun! August has always been very eventful!

September
As September rolled in, I started doing Meatless Monday. It's been a struggle but I really do enjoy it. It opens my eyes to how much non-vegan food I actually eat in a day—yeah, I try to go the extra mile and go vegan every Monday. I also got to reunite with Firu's family after so long, to pick up the phone Firu decided to "give" to me—although now he says he's lending it to me. Pfft. I feel bad for having an agenda but otherwise I'd feel like such a burden, coming to their house like that. Also, Divina got married this month and the next day we did a collaboration for the blog and her channel. One o the biggest highlight of the month was when Schmoe drew me for her #drawmeschmoe hashtag. I woke up that morning pleasantly surprised. I have no record of it, but I think this was also the month my hard drive broke...

October
October was busy, but it started with a bang. The ex-pat gang was partly reunited with Ratri's homecoming. We ended up going home really late and it was a total blast! Man, I miss them already (again). This was also the month I decided to join #inktober and go through with it until the end. Guess what? I did it! It wasn't easy with work and assignment drowning me, but I stuck with it! You guys respond well to them too, which motivates me greatly. This was also my birthday month, which means recap of past goals, reading diversely tag and new goals. I did a little get together this year too, but it was rather mellow. The month wrapped up nicely too, with a little Halloween collaboration with Cynthia. It was hella fun and I can't wait to do it again next year!

November
November was burying me alive. Midterm was on and it was brutal! From the get go, I was already tied up with work and assignments. Then midterm actually kicked into full gear and I was sucked into a whirlpool. It's the good kind of busy, I guess, but it comes with so many sleepless—or sleep-deprived—nights that I can barely remember why it was supposed to be a good thing to begin with. I got to collaborate with Cynthia again, though—this time for an assignment. I also had a good number of TBR—some German books that Ratri actually brought with her—to keep my mind entertained. But I barely managed to submit all of my midterms—and one of them was way overdue—that it was a relief when it was all over!

December
December was a nostalgic month for me—which I'm guessing maybe you guys feel the same?—and it's been rather hard to move on from certain things. That, at least, is what was happening in my mind. Physically, I joined an illustration competition on campus, which I failed quite miserably. But it didn't feel all that stressful, since some of my friends were joining as well. Then school felt busy for a bit, but also a little bit...ephemeral. Christmas break came along and it gave me the chance to meet up with some friends from Germany—whom I've missed for a while—and hang out with my siblings—making ourselves positively broke in the process. It was a mellow New Year's Eve—ever since my homecoming, I suppose—but it ended quite peacefully.

Going with the theme from last year's post, if I have to describe what 2016 was all about, I think it's "appreciating what I already have." Last year I almost didn't travel at all, but instead explored Jakarta a whole lot more. I also spent most of my time hanging out with the friends I've always had. In terms of shopping (for clothes), I only did it twice—and one of them ended up being a swap. For literature, I started to discover the beauty of secondhand books—thrifted or hand-me-downs. The past couple years, I was still struggling with the turn my life had taken—and desperately sought out ways to get back to the life I knew—but in 2016 I started to accept it and made do in the here and now. It may not be perfect yet—will it ever be?—but I'm content with the life I have now. Even if I'm not, there are still ways to change that this year, right? Now, let's see what the resolutions have to say:
  1. Live your life according to your principles (no more excuses!)
  2. Do more, talk less and plan more effectively ✓✓✓
  3. Spread kindness to everyone you meet (as best you can!)
  4. Be a loving partner to Firu and keep strong in our LDR ♥ 
  5. Never forget the important things
When I wrote this resolution, the "principles" I was talking about is to go zero waste—among other things. But that definitely didn't happen this year. I do try to cut down on waste by using less packaging or shopping less—opting for homemade meals instead. It wasn't accomplished but it's definitely heading in the right direction. The second point is more about practicing what I preach, I suppose. By ignoring white noise from frustrating sources, I cut down stress significantly last year. Also, my time management skills have gone up a couple levels—juggling between uni, work and the blog. It was a tremendous struggle. Spreading kindness, on the other hand...I'm not sure if I've done that. I try I guess but that's for you lot to decide. The LDR is still going strong, of course. What else is new? Important things? I'm not sure what I meant but I think I start to see the bigger picture.
  1. Constantly seek out and try out more opportunities
  2. Consume less, produce more, use wisely
  3. Find time to get inspired
  4. Try to understand Firu better and work harder to see him ♥
  5. Be more considerate of others and stay humble

May 2017 be a prosperous year for us all. What do YOU want to achieve this year?


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