Friday, 1 January 2016

Ringing in the New Year!

Welcome to 2016! Can you believe it's already this year by now? Honestly, I cannot remember much about what happened throughout 2015. Life still seems surreal and how the year started and how it ended were completely different from one another; it makes me feel like it's been longer than a year and also like time hasn't moved on at all. Strange, isn't it? There has been tons of positive development but also some...well, let's just say I can't cope with the current situation just yet. Without further ado.


The year started out amazingly with my determination to blog in a more organised way and draw every outfit that I wear on this blog. My first attempts were done using Copic sketch and drawing pens. It was also the start of my mural chasing days, which you will evidently see throughout this recap. Fran inspired me with her "Let's Go Out!" videos so much that I shot, edited and uploaded a video myself. It was an interesting experience to sit somewhere and observe then draw on sight. Absolutely refreshing! It was the month I got to meet a "fan" of mine too—named Gratjia, who has an amazing apt for drawing. I felt so honoured to see her reaction upon meeting me.


February was a little quieter than its predecessor. The month started out with mural chasing again. Then I started looking into learning the art of batik. Luckily, one of my stepmom's old high school friends has a clothing line based in the art form, so I started learning from her. Boy, it wasn't as easy as it looked. This month my sister's boyfriend also came to visit—he actually lives in Australia—and we hung out as a family. Towards the end of the month, I finally attended my first ever Fashion Week—although it wasn't what I imagined it would be. This also marks the beginning of my freelance career, as I started accepting commissions professionally in February.


It was environment awareness month on the blog! This was the month I first interviewed one of Indonesia's ethical fashion designers, Ms. Sancaya Rini of Kanagoods. It was really insightful and I learnt about the batik conundrum, which has always itched at the back of my mind. By pure coincidence, I also got to tend their booth during Pop Up Market. Halfway through the month, I got overwhelmed with the outfit illustration idea and abandoned it. The second half of the month was spent in Surabaya, when I went to visit my grandparents by myself. It has been a while since I last boarded a train on my own. It was really fun! I don't know how I missed all these beautiful natural sceneries before. It was a chance to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.


The month kicked off with yet another video upload on my Youtube channel. The theme this month was literature so I was all up for it. It was actually also the month I got reunited with my Germany gang because Edwin came home for good! Woohoo! Also, I got to see Cynthia again after months of no contact. She was really hard to get a hold of. Looking back, I feel like she's come so far from this point and I cannot be more proud of her. I almost couldn't believe this was less than a year ago, seeing how different and happier she is now. Well, let me cut that short before I start to cry.


When Daria of Kittenhood asked me to guest post on her blog two months prior, I could hardly contain it all to myself. But I managed to do so enough to give you a surprise at the start of this month. This was the month I first had my Indonesian Childhood Games Handbook for sale—over a year after I finished it. I'm so glad many people seemed to enjoy it! You can still buy it now, if you're interested by the way. I managed to get reunited with Ervina as well this month—after 3 years of not seeing each other. Although we promised to see each other again afterwards, we didn't manage to before she went back to Germany. At the end of the month, my family went to Semarang to attend my cousin's wedding. I took advantage of the time to explore the town and snap some shots.


June has always been packed with birthdays for me. In my family, at least three people were born on this month consecutively. Naturally, we celebrated once and for all. It was also the month of reunion, apparently, as I got to meet up with my high school friend Vanessa again—after how many years has it been?—in which I took her mural chasing, of course. It was also the month I got to hang out with my old Germany gang, as our friend came back home for the holiday. Fun time all around! June was a proud month for me too, as I managed to get sponsored for the first time by Anjolee! And—let me tell you—it was quite a generous pay and in keeping with my principles. Absolutely perfect!


For the past 5 years, July means Firu's birthday for me. And, although, we cannot see each other on the day this year, I spent it with his family while Galuh came home for the holiday. This month I also took some time off the blog to visit my grandparents for the holiday, so a couple guest-bloggers came to fill in for me. Thanks, guys! In the spirit of Eid al-Fitr, I wrote a post on hijab and religion in general. Looking back now, I guess it was influenced by many women in my life who suddenly decided to cover up. The month was beautifully concluded by my first ever LINE Sticker set going on sale. I planned for it to be on the market on our anniversary, but I miscalculated some things. Oh well, at least it was only a little bit late. Part two coming soon!


How is it that August is always the most eventful time of year for me? First of all, I got to meet a long-lost underclassman of mine at PopCon ASIA. It was also the first time I met Mei of Big Dreamer. I also got sponsored for the second time; this time by Aisle Style UK. A week later, I met up with my old friend Divina and new friend Tasha. We had a little outfit photoshoot and it was tons of fun! This month was prominent because I officially finished my Tuberculosis treatment! It was a call for celebration and I couldn't be happier! I also got to hang out one more time with Firu's family while Galuh was still in town—this time his older sister also came. Lastly, Divina and I had this wonderful idea to stage a swap photoshoot, which was really fun since we have completely different styles. I'm still waiting on the video from her though...


T'was the month to start over. September started out straight away with orientation week at my campus. It felt almost embarrassing to begin again now but, well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Part of that O-week was a self-initiated social project by each class. I wasn't the only one with a new beginning: Gina also started a new life. She flew to Japan to get her master's degree. I'm so sad to let her go, but we keep in touch everyday so it feels like she never left. Thankfully, I got to hang out with Uli a lot this month. We went looking for a farewell gift for Gina and to Brightspot Market later on this month, where I bought a lovely birthday dress for myself.


When October rolls around, as usual, I turned to my birthday list and see which items I could check off—then show what I can on the blog. So I put up the Indonesian books I read throughout the year early in the month. It was also around the time I finally managed to get used to uni life in Indonesia, which is assignment-packed, as opposed to my previous experience. However, luckily, on my birthday, we went on a field trip and had basically some time off. Also, of course I posted another birthday list. Lastly, this was the month I finally set up a Patreon page. It would mean a lot to me if you'd consider pledging.


November started out with many happy things in the mail, most especially a lovely peter pan collar from Klara. The month was spent trying to style it a couple times, including to an abstract painting exhibition by one of my lecturers. It was also quite a stressful month with midterm going on, but I managed to pull through quite brilliantly—if I may say so myself. At the end of it, I decided to treat myself to the Arts and Coffee Festival with my best friend Uli. There I met many talented people, bought amazing artworks and drank decent coffee. It was a well-deserved ending to a hard-packed month.


Phew! December was the most hectic month of them all! It started out with Artvolution, an event on my campus, of which I became a committee member. Not only did I have to go home later than usual, I also had to skip class and miss a whole lot. But it was a lot of fun and a valuable experience. Right after, like academical suicide, I decided to join a handlettering workshop taught by Sherchle, neglecting my assignments in the process. But I enjoyed it all the same and gained some new insights and friends. Afterwards, thankfully, came the Christmas holiday, so I was able to share my body story which required a great deal of thinking and self-reflecting. The year ended with changes on the blog starting this year.

When I wrote my 2013 annual recap, I said it was about goodbyes. Then 2014 was like a flurry of dreams. Funnily enough, last year was about a whole lot of beginnings. It was also a flurry of firsts: first time meeting a "fan", first time drawing batik, first time riding on a train in Indonesia by myself, first time selling my work, first time getting sponsored, first time meeting an online friend, first time being a committee member of an event and first time joining a workshop. This was the year I realised that I made the right decision coming back. But I also cannot shake the feeling that I didn't. But, I feel like, this was finally the year I was unapologetically being myself—femininity, quirks and all. Let's go to the score board:
  1. Finally monetise the blog and improve my networking 
  2. Go to Japan, one way or another
  3. Draw everyday (if not possible, at least once every week) 
  4. Keep strong on being in a long-distance relationship with Firu ♥ 
  5. Be open to changes (and keep a positive attitude) 
This is the year I can finally say: yes, I have earned money of my own! And also that I'm finally considered a professional blogger and illustrator—though still new and small. Sadly, it was not the year I would finally go to Japan. But I had to be real, that wasn't on the top of my priority list. Also, to be honest, I don't know if I drew everyday or every week. But I was stuck to my desk a lot this year, working on an illustration or two. The LDR status is still on, of course. Almost every night I dream that we would see each other again, but even when we don't, my feelings won't change. Lastly, the "changes" thing. Well, I don't know if I have done so, but I have embraced every opportunity that comes my way and tried to keep working toward my dreams. It has allowed many amazing things to happen to me and improvements to grip me. Now, as for next year:
  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

Maybe 2016 will finally be the year I become an adult. What do YOU want to achieve this year?

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