Sunday, 10 December 2017

How to Move On with Your Life

This year 'moving on' seems to be the theme of my life. A few months ago I shared a post on that. While I feel like in the past 365 days I could finally start to make peace with my life-changing decision, compared to the previous years, I can't say that my doubt and pain have completely gone away. There are days when I can totally focus on the present and be optimistic, but there are also days when everything seems pointless and I've got my head in the clouds. In December, particularly, do I feel down right off the bat, because this is the time of year, when I would usually look forward to spending Christmas and New Year's break with Firu. Now there is this void in my heart and I don't know how to fill it.

You know, I have this habit, where at the dead of night, right before falling asleep, I would imagine surprising Firu at his apartment. I would stand at the door of his building or sit on the bed in his room, waiting for him to come home from uni. A smile would be pasted on my face, because I know I wouldn't be able to help it. His face, hopefully, would be full of surprise and delight as he collects me into his embrace. His environment feels so familiar, I could almost see so vividly how he would walk out of the tram station opposite his building, approaching his door. Or the teal-coloured walls that we painted together, the contrasting white bed against it and the mix of orange and red carpet on the floor. Even when I'm not imagining myself in the scenario, just trying to picture what his life looks like at the moment, these details come into view.

However, three months ago, something drastic happened that indirectly affects my life: Firu moved out of his home. It threw me for a bittersweet loop, where I'm not sure whether to feel happy or sad about it. I know, it's probably irrelevant to my actual life, but I can't help but to feel sentimental about the whole thing anyway. I mean, it was the last home of his that I've ever been to. We've created so many precious memories together there. Leaving that place means letting go of them. The walls of his room had to be repainted. His roommates can no longer include me in their lives. And the place is no longer relevant in both of our present—like so many other homes we created before it. Now he lives in a place I've never even known about beforehand, so I can no longer imagine what his life looks like. I can no longer imagine a surprise visit for a faraway future. Everything is completely new and strange.

On the other hand, I'm also relieved. I feel freed from my doubt and haunting regret. If I had stayed in Germany—and, most likely, mainly because of Firu—I would have been miserable, because he would move away anyway. I would be pursuing an education in something I'm not passionate about. I would be living in a shitty apartment that I barely liked. I would only have a few friends to keep me company, granted they'd never left. Who knows what my health and financial condition would be by then. The only light I probably would have had was seeing Firu again soon, which wouldn't happen all that often in his current location. I would be living life as if I'm a ghost, just gliding through each day. It's as if Firu's decision to move away confirmed the vague feeling I have, that the choice I made three years ago was the right one.

Still, I can't help but to feel somewhat guilty, because—let's face it!—whatever the reason, my homecoming was a selfish choice. I constantly feel like I abandoned him, to tough it out alone in a foreign country. Whenever I feel lonely because I miss him so much, Firu constantly reminds me of how lucky I am, to live in a familiar environment, surrounded by my friends and family. And it got me thinking of how alone he actually is, especially now in a different location. While I dream about golden leaves, baroque castles and trams, Firu wishes for rendang, beaches and warmer weather. I would give anything to trade places with him. However, even when he's mad pissed at me, he always says that he doesn't blame me for returning home without him. Why not? I was the reason we couldn't spend time physically together anymore. But, I guess, he doesn't see it that way. He knew I thought it's what was best for me.

Memory is a funny thing; it only lets you see the past the way you want to see it. It emphasises the good and amplifies the bad, depending on where you lean towards. It makes you forget that, even back then, you were just living life. There is a reason the past is in the past and we should trust that we made the right choice leaving it there. People tend to say, "The past can't hurt you," but, at the same time, it also can't make you happy. We're just afraid that change will only bring unfamiliar things—ones that we may or may not like—but if we give it a chance, it may be the best decision of our lives. Every year I say I'm afraid of change—and it may be more glaring and prominent this time—but the next year it proves me wrong. Change is scary, but change is good. Move on.

Goodbye, lovely room, you've been great!

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017


 Kira Kira Ginza

The last weekend of November my best friends introduced me to Little Tokyo, a little corner at Melawai here in a nook of Jakarta. While they've been here multiple times before, this was my first experience. Originally, we were planning on hitting up a different restaurant, but it was packed with a long waiting list, so we quickly slide over to the one next to it called Kira Kira Ginza (translates to Sparkling Ginza), which seems quite peaceful and devoid of people. Long story short, I ended up loving the restaurant so much. The place is marked with a kabuki painting on top, guarded by a sliding door and opens up to a modest authentic-looking Japanese restaurant. They have a TV broadcasting Japanese shows on the counter, Japanese comic books at the back—mostly shounen manga, including a complete series of Monsters—and even the occasional Japanese and foreign guests. There is a wide array of food to choose from—usually the longest process for me—and they all taste like how I'd imagine authentic Japanese food tastes—I've never been to Japan, so I don't know. I'd recommend their chawan mushi, ramen and okonomiyaki.

Firu's old shirt // gifted jumper // vintage jumper skirt // Sis's purse // old hat + tights + boots // photos by Akita

Until now, I've only ever been to this place twice actually—the second time with my sister—but both very different experiences. While I came for dinner the first time, the second time I stopped by for lunch. In the evening, it was relatively more crowded. It wasn't at first, but by around 8 PM, people were lining up, waiting to be seated—a condition that persists until around 10 PM. In the afternoon, it was less so—or maybe because we came at around 1.30 PM. The place became quite deserted at around 3 PM already. Both times I went on Fridays—the second one a national holiday. Usually, they open for a few hours in the afternoon, close then open again for the evening. But that doesn't apply on weekends and, I guess, national holidays. Personally, I'd say I prefer the evening scene, because the place feels rather cozy and you can overhear the Japanese guests talking, complete with the hustle and bustle of the staff, shouting orders to the kitchen. Really love how this place reminds me of Düsseldorf! Yet another place of refuge, until such time as I'd be able to go to Japan.

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Friday, 1 December 2017

November in Overview

Nervous laughing because I don't know how to encourage kids to draw :')

November this year—not sure if it's every year—was so stressful for me. It wasn't at first but, then somewhere in the middle and towards the end, it became really, really frustrating. Exam period was smack dab in the middle of the month and I am almost completely drained—mostly thanks to shitty group partners and vague information regarding said exams. Great! That being said, I did quite enjoy the start of the month, with a few events happening. Looking through my instagram—because that's how I try to recall the past 30 days, usually—it seems like my life has been quite busy and topsy turvy and such, that I barely ever posted anything throughout November. There were a lot of firsts, though, even when I can't quite document them on social media: the first Japan Film Festival I attended, the first workshop I taught and the first time going to Little Tokyo. Can't wait for December already, especially Christmas-and-New-Year's break, because God knows I need it!

Currently Reading

Due to circumstances mentioned before, I didn't get a lot of chance to read this month, but I read quite a fair few. Continuing from last month's wrap-up, I actually spent the first week of the month still trying to get through A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It is absolutely mind-blowing, throwing reminiscent feelings for Sophie's World by Jostein Gardner, with a whole lot of Japanese zen vibe in it as well. Absolutely adore the ending! Afterwards, I continue on with the rest of the Harry Potter series, finding more and more things that aren't available in film form. So far, I've only gotten to the fourth book—which I've only started a couple days ago. However, my feelings and thoughts on the book have been quite controversial—some parts I prefer in the films, for instance. You can read them all in my Goodreads. After this, I'll probably read something else first, mentally preparing myself for the really thick 5th book.

Currently Watching

There has been quite a number of Japanese films this year, most especially because of JFF I mentioned earlier. The movies I watched there were the live-action version of ReLIFE (whose anime-version you might have seen in January) and Daytime Shooting Star (昼中の流星). They're both really funny and really sweet! I especially love the main character of DSS, who isn't at all like most shoujo manga heroines. She's really strong, honest to her feelings and absolutely kind towards others. Meanwhile, I've also been watching a lot of anime at home too. Probably influenced by these two titles, I suddenly had a hankering for some shoujo stories. That's when I decided to finally watch KareKano (彼氏彼女の尋常), which is the best shoujo title I've ever experienced. The heroine is really strong-willed, smart and different from the usual, while the hero is complicated, insecure and honest. It's so true to life and relatable! Lastly, out of topic, I managed to catch a documentary series on DWTV called Founders' Valley, which really opens my eyes about eco-startups in Indonesia.

Currently Listening

For some reason I didn't listen to a lot of music lately, let alone discover someone new. If I have to choose a title or artist that I've been listening to a lot lately, I suppose it's got to be Asian Kung-Fu Generation. But I actually only listen to their track, Re: Re: over and over again. In case you didn't know, it is the opening soundtrack for Erased (僕だけがいない町), which is a tremendous story that everyone should check out. Also, I've been obsessed with the artist who designed the album cover, Yuusuke Nakamura—you might recognise him from his work for Tatami Galaxy (四畳半神話大系) and, more recently, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl (夜は短し歩けよ乙女). These titles also have Asian Kung-Fu Generation singing their soundtracks. See how it comes full circle?

Highlight of the Month

Breakfast-making + current read // attending JFF for the first time // joining Fanart Friday every 2 weeks this month // cozying up to lemon tea and Harry Potter // playing teacher for kids in my first ever workshop // killed my hands while taking notes for exam // visiting a church for group project // first Little Tokyo experience at Kira Kira Ginza // treating myself to a new book

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Mix It Up a Notch: Floral Button-Down

Although originally it belongs to my sister, I've worn this shirt more times than she has—probably in her whole life. It looks very retro, although I think she actually bought it from a local retail store. I myself don't own a lot of floral items—maybe one top or two—but I really love the pattern on this one, which feels rather 70s. The cut of the shirt, with the long sleeves complete with actual cuffs, is really classic and absolutely adds a lot of class to an outfit. But the floral patterns bring a certain whimsy to it as well, allowing a bit of personality to peek out—not completely devoid of emotions and formal, you know. As you can see, I often wear it with skirts—but I think that's more because I prefer to dress up in skirts than pants—but I do wish to wear it with more pants or shorts or non-skirt bottoms. Maybe bell-bottoms or baggy pants would be nice. What do you think?

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Saturday, 25 November 2017

VIDEO: Siblings in Fiction

Usually, when I have a Youtube video up on my channel, there's a blog post to go along with it—and I was ready to write this one too—but I ended up getting caught up in the whirlwind of midterm exams, that I hardly had time to plan out the blog post to go with this video. That being said, I magically managed to film, edit, render and posted a video anyway—which is more than I expected of myself—even though it's uploaded later than I'd like. Just in case you've never known before, let me share this video here to let you know that I actually have a semi-active Youtube channel, where I generally talk about books monthly. This month I thought I'd look at my favourite books that put siblings on the epicentre of the story—there are seven! As a middle child of three, sibling relationships have always intrigued me. I think it's one of the most complex relationships a person can have with another. Please feel free to leave comments on what you think of the books and if you know any other books of the same topic!

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Monday, 20 November 2017

The Calm Before the Storm

The title of this post—which, by the way, works literally and figuratively—is more relevant in my life now than ever. These photos were taken a few minutes before really dark clouds rolled in and bestowed a downpour over my house. I barely managed to gather my things and get back home, before it started to drizzle. In the big picture, though, they were taken in the last several minutes I managed to spare before finishing my freelance job, getting down on some midterm assignments and preparing for a workshop on Sunday. Talk about some storm, eh? The artistic/illustrious part of my life currently piques my interest very much, more so than this little ol' blog—which leads me to post more stuff on my art instagram and tumblr. It might not seem at all apparent, since my social media appearance is quite sporadic anyway, and I still have blog posts ready on schedule. But I've been spending most of my time glued to my desk, drawing fanart—which is also why I rarely ever post stories anymore, well, at least not on my blog instagram.

Hand-me-down floral shirt // thrifted jacket + shorts + hat // Sis's purse // old loafers

To be honest, I haven't been feeling like posting much on this blog, especially outfits. I've been spending most of my time at home or on campus, wearing pretty much the same thing, and the idea of going out with friends scares me a little bit—mostly, from the financial aspect. Also, I barely ever have time to go someplace interesting and shoot lovely outfits anymore, like on this day. My original plan was to go to a museum for this outfit, but it just wasn't possible with the list of things I had to finish last week. Thankfully, I live in a gorgeous place that, with a little bit of perspective, would look so fresh on the blog. For the outfit, I was adamant on remixing this shirt once more, and thought it had never been paired with pants/shorts, so here is me having a go. Let's pretend I'm skinnier than I actually am—don't ask me about my workout routine, please. Well, I guess I'd better go back to studying for this exam that's up in a few hours :')

P.S: In case you're wondering, these were taken yet again with my makeshift tripod substitute, 'cause I still haven't got a tripod yet. I always find it easier and more comfortable to use than an actual tripod, though.

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