Saturday, 14 September 2019

Lucky Number 13 pt. IV

Happy belated Friday the 13th! Or, I guess, Saturday the 14th. It has been one hell of a week, filled with goodbyes (and a few tears), happy times (and big laughter) and disappointment (and white hot anger). Surely, it wasn't the best or the worst week of my life, but it will most likely be memorable for a while. This week I had to watch my 'children' at work fly off and leave their professional nest. Even after all this time and all these farewells later, I still cannot get over the pain and sorrow of parting with co-workers—especially my 'babies,' who always look to me for guidance and company. They've given me a newfound love for my office and my job. They believe that I taught them a lot, although I believe it's actually the opposite and I'll never forget them. At times like this I've always thought that my world would stop with their departure—like when Firu left—but I found that I could still enjoy the little things after all. This isn't goodbye, it's only a till-we-meet-again. 

Hand-me-down jumper // swapped top // old skirt // thrifted loafers // photos by Agung

The other week my sister and I did a little wardrobe decluttering. We ended up giving away a lot of my sister's old clothes—those that she has neglected for the greater part of the past 5 years. We also kept quite a number of items in the process, though. One of the items that I decided to keep was this jumper. It used to belong to my late Mom and I absolutely love it. The material is rather soft, the knit patterns allow wind to touch our skin. It looks rather bulky and uncomfortable, but, actually, even in such a beautifully sunny day like today it's not that hot to wear outside. My favourite part, however, is the fact that it used to belong to Mom. Just imagining that she wore this as a young woman—probably during her college years—gives me a sense of connection with her. For a while, it makes me feel closer to her again. Just another reason to love hand-me-downs, really. Even long after she's gone, I can still feel her presence here.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Someone Else's Fences

Currently Reading: The Undoing Project - Michael Lewis

If you want to see a true Indonesian city aesthetic, I think you should look at the fences that adorn the rows and rows of houses. Small paved alleyways lined with rusty fences and old houses are my favourite settings. Often I feel inspired to get my photos taken at such settings, but those streets are usually highly used—meaning there'll be cars or motorbikes every five minutes or so—that I can't, in good conscience, position a tripod and myself smack dab in the middle of it and snap some self-timed shots. Which is why it's always a welcome presence when there's someone else with me there. This instance, for example, in which my brother and sister were kind enough to accompany me to some random neighbourhood to snap these shots—okay, we also just grabbed pizza and gelato beforehand. These are literally random people's houses; we don't know them and we probably never will. But the façade is just so aesthetically Jakarta that I was instantly smitten. Thankfully, this small road was barely used by anyone, allowing us some pretty good shots. This whole experience somewhat reminds me of this instance. Here's to more photos in front of random people's houses!

Old t-shirt // hand-me-down skirt + sandals + bag // photos by my sis

Lately, I haven't had much time to conceptualise blog posts or even think up of a location to have as a backdrop. Usually, my blog photos are taken on Saturday—unintentionally at golden hour, cutting it dangerously close to sun down. It could be anywhere, depending on where my sister and I are at the time. The problem, often, is that the places we visit will be too packed with people to be a great setting, so we'll venture somewhere close by, find an okay place to frame and hastily snap some shots. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of my photos will suffer in quality. It's been making me feel less inspired and excited to share—which makes them pretty much pointless, to be honest. The other problem is that I often haven't got enough brain power within the week to think of the outfit I would be wearing. As a result, I usually just slap on anything I can get my hands on—like this one. What do you think? Do you notice the struggle behind the scenes?

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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Preserving Pastimes

Often when I see local people's #ootd photos on Instagram, they tend to go to cafés and/or hip-and-happening installation exhibitions created solely as backdrops. When a location is hyped on social media, you can be sure to find tons of people taking photos there in no time. It's not unlikely that they had to pay a certain amount of money or wait in a long line to do so. But I feel like places like that can be found pretty much anywhere on earth. For me, local aesthetics always feels a little bit more enticing. Often I would prefer taking photos at old museums and galleries, preferably with a post-colonial vibe to them—perhaps mixed with some close-to-nature approach of local styles. However, sometimes a simple spot like this alley at the market can attract my eyes. It's located very close to an MRT station and so, as I walked out and spotted this gem of a backdrop, I was smitten. It may not be very pretty or even very clean, but it really shows Jakarta in its truest form—reflecting the chaotic and can-do attitude of its residents. If one day I were to leave Jakarta for good, I feel like I would miss places like this one.

Thrifted shirt + loafers // hand-me-down bag + skirt // photos by my sis

This city is rapidly evolving—a fact I had to learn quickly when I came back for good 5 years ago. It was a culture shock, since development in Germany wasn't as rapid—at least not in my neck of the woods. Roads I often went past back in the day became unrecognisable. Routes I used to take to get to a place lead to somewhere new. Buildings I remembered one way now look entirely different. Not going to lie—it brought me to tears the first few weeks after Firu left. These were places abundant with memories of us together and now they don't even look the same anymore. With these thoughts in mind, I suddenly find the urgency of taking as many snaps as I possibly can of places I would normally take for granted. This market, in particular, bears no significant meaning for me, to be honest. It was the scene itself, which is quintessentially Jakarta, which brings warmth to my chest—men setting up their food cart in a deserted market come twilight, a couple eating their food on plastic chairs and a makeshift table with puddles of water around them. Then there's my sister and I, always on the move—like most Jakartans.

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Saturday, 24 August 2019

Washed Up with Regret

Perhaps I should've written this post sooner, as now that shark week is in full force, I can no longer remember how to feel happy or even simply content. This past week has been rather like a roller coaster of sorts. Monday was great, Tuesday was amazing, but things started going downhill from Wednesday—it was the start of my period. As I was underprepared, I had to resort back to a disposable menstrual pad and quickly went home to get my menstrual cup ready. Thursday got me feeling absolutely blue from the get go and Friday was just pure hell. I hate period brain—it ruins everything. Maybe guys won't understand this—and some girls too—but I feel like I'm losing all rational thoughts on my period. Anger and tears would seep out of me uncontrollably and I'd wish the earth would just swallow me whole. Friends and family can throw logic at me and I'd evade them with no difficulty. But I would have more sense in the morning and my mind would be washed up with regret. And repeat. Do you feel the same way on your period?

Swapped shirt via Tukar Baju // Ask by Asky dress (old) // thrifted loafers // hand-me-down purse // photos by my sis

Right now I'm at the phase when I regret what I did last night—how I acted, how I reacted, what I decided to do and not do. Being on my period isn't unlike being drunk, to be honest. The next morning, I would have horrors about the way that I behaved the previous night, wishing I could turn back time and erase the decision that drove me to act as such. I wonder, though, if I could learn to control it somehow. If I'd just reduced stress beforehand or eaten better, perhaps I could have less emotional turmoil as menstrual blood flows from my insides. If I'd exercised more or had enough sleep, maybe I wouldn't be such an emotional wreck by the time shark week starts. Or maybe this is just an embarrassing phenomenon that we all have to bear as women. Or perhaps, even, just me. At times like this, I'm ashamed to say that I wish I was a man instead. Gosh, just imagine! If this is what I'm like during my period, who knows how I'll be like when I'm pregnant...

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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika?

Dirgahayu Kemerdekaan Indonesia yang ke-74, teman sebangsa dan senegaraku! Gimana, gimana? Apa kegiatan kalian pada tanggal 17 ini? Ini pertama kalinya aku ikut merayakan 17an di kantor lho—ehem, pegawai baru—yang diadakan kemarin. Ada banyak lomba yang unik-unik dan seseruan ala orang kantoran, kocak banget! Kebetulan aku dicatut jadi salah satu panitianya nih. Maklum, namanya juga kantor startup yang kadang orangnya masih minim. Alhasil, harus ada orang-orang yang memegang peran ganda deh. Ngerencanainnya stres, tapi pas hari H seru juga. Yah, jadi berasa cukup sepadan aja hasil kerja keras semingguan terakhir ini. Kayaknya udah lama banget ngga nulis pakai bahasa Indonesia di blog ini, tapi semoga lebih luwes keliatannya. Sekarang aku kerja sebagai copywriter di kantor, yang diharuskan menulis banyak artikel pakai bahasa ini. Jadi, sekarang udah ngga terlalu kagok lagi kalau disuruh nulis pakai bahasa Indonesia. Masih lumayan bingung sih, nge-balance antara penulisan yang baik dan benar dan keluwesan bahasa percakapan—minimal untuk keperluan blog ini. Gimana menurut kalian?

Batik Keris skirt (worn as dress) // hand-me-down knitted top + sandals // detachable peter pan collar 

from A Robot Heart // photos by my sis

Secara ngga disengaja sama sekali, aku sekarang lagi baca buku Indonesia Etc. karya Elizabeth Pisani. Aku pinjem buku ini dari temenku sekitar bulan Mei dan baru sekarang sempet ngebacanya. Melalui buku ini, aku jadi belajar cukup banyak tentang Indonesia yang sama sekali ngga pernah aku ketahui sebelumnya. Salah satunya adalah tentang betapa terpecah belahnya kita sebenarnya. Aku bukan ngomongin soal isu agama atau budaya yang akhir-akhir ini makin marak dibahas di kancah politik. Tapi aku ngomongin soal gaya hidup suku yang beragam di Indonesia, yang kental banget sama adat masing-masing daerah, yang seringkali masih belum diakui atau diketahui bahkan oleh pemerintah pusat sendiri. Suku-suku ini jadi lumayan merasa terasingkan dari orang-orang di pulau lain, terutama Jawa, sehingga kurang merasa menjadi bagian dari satu kesatuan, yakni tanah air Indonesia. Sedih sih bacanya, tapi jadi bikin tergerak untuk mencari tahu tentang budaya-budaya di Indonesia yang ada ratusan jumlahnya. Kalau kalian, seberapa banyak yang kalian ketahui tentang suku-suku di Indonesia?

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