Sunday, 13 October 2019

Thank You, Intan Ujung! ♥︎

All my life, all I've ever wanted was to find a place where I belong. Some people might not understand that, but some others might feel the same way that I do. Luckily, throughout the past 26 years of my life, I've found several places like that myself. Back in primary school, back in secondary school, back in Germany—and I thought that would be the end of it. I thought, since then on, I wouldn't find another such place until I get married. However, as you might know, life has that way of catching you off guard. And, back in December 2018, it got me good. Without meaning to, without hoping for it, somehow I found another place where I felt like I belonged. And, as usual, I had to let parts of it go. 

If it wasn't for the mandatory internship program from my campus, I doubt I would consider diving into office life. If it wasn't for my best friend Gina, who worked here before I did, I might never have considered this particular office as a destination. Little did I know I was going to learn so many things that I'd never thought I'd be interested in. Little did I know I was going to cultivate such valuable and beautiful friendships with a lot of my co-workers. Little did I know it was going to bring so many colours into my life, like nothing in the past 5 years could compare. There were so many mistakes to make, so many lessons to learn, so many hellos to say and so many goodbyes to bid.

The meatball vendor who always comes by around 5PM

Earlier this month, our office moved to a new location. Not unlike Firu's home back in 2017, it felt incredibly strange to leave this old place. This was the first office I've ever known—destroying any stereotypes I'd had of an office life—and, needless to say, it was filled with so many heartbreaking memories. In fact, I still remember the first time I arrived here for an interview, not quite sure how to feel about this office that felt more like a home. I also remember my first day on the job, when I was whisked away to an out-of-office meeting, not sure what to make of my co-workers. Since then on, there were so many others I got to know—so many I had the pleasure of hiring—and bid farewell to. Leaving this place feels like leaving their ghosts behind, knowing full well an era had ended and may never return.

The move was completely necessary, mind you. We, as an office, were growing in numbers and this little place can no longer support it. The space became a little too cramped, the air grew stale in the afternoon and it no longer felt conducive to work in. I probably will not miss all that about this old place. Be that as it may, I can't help but to remember all the good things this place brought us—or me, at least. That little shack by the pool where we had all our farewells with my beautiful interns—which also became a quiet place for me at stressful times—will always mean something to me. A similar shack at our backyard—our little smoking area—where I used to have lunch with my smoker friends, holds a special place in my heart. Our cramped office room, yet somehow was almost always filled with laughter, will remind me of better days. Our End-of-Year Party, our long nights, our potluck picnics.

I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't miss them.

The new place is great, by the way. There are so many instagrammable areas—I'm already scouting several spots for a blog post—and our new office room is the absolute best. It has gotten me to become a whole lot more productive. I feel a little less claustrophobic here. My interns don't have to fight for space, which is absolutely amazing. I can feel everyone feeling a little bit happier—which is always good news. I'm sure we'll make several memories here too. Memories that I will hold dear for several months—if not years—to come. Memories that I will have a hard time letting go of as well. There are already some new faces joining the crowd now—and I already see myself enjoying their company as much as I did those who left. I'm sure, sooner or later, this new place will feel like a home too.

All my life, the choice has always seemed to be between leaving or being the one left behind—but what if we all leave together? What if we all pack up and move on to a new space? With or without those who had chosen to go without us. And just because they choose a different path from ours doesn't mean they stop existing in our world anyway. So let those ghosts go, because they're still alive. We may or may not see them again, but they'll never stay the same anymore. Let's cultivate more friendships that may or may not last a lifetime! Let's create memories that we may or may not regret! Just because we're moving on doesn't mean we'll forget those who have come before us nor all we've experienced together. I've said this before and I'll say it again, "Change is scary, but change is good—move on."

Goodbye, Intan Ujung, you've been great!

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Saturday, 5 October 2019

The Wonder That Is Batik

It is officially October, which is my favourite month of the year. Not only is it the month of Halloween—and my birthday!—it also starts with acknowledging the beautiful cultural heritage from Indonesia that is batik. If you've been around long enough, you might notice that I've been in love with this gorgeous art form and resist-dyeing technique for years. It is one of the (few) reasons that I am proud to call myself an Indonesian—and a Javanese. In fact, I originally wanted to write a whole post dedicated to batik. Unfortunately, that has to morph into this outfit post instead, as I have very little spare time this week—should've written it months prior, of course, but shit happens. It just so happens that I was wearing batik last weekend when I went out with a friend to visit Semasa di Balai Kota—it is a pop-up creative market event filled with locally produced goods. The colonial backdrop and the ethnically appropriate getup are purely coincidental.

Hand-me-down batik dress + purse // thrifted loafers + shorts // photos by Agung

This particular batik 'dress' ain't nothing new, to be honest. You might have seen it in this post previously. It's actually not suitable to be called a dress—or even a shirtdress—as it is basically just an oversized batik shirt. One look in the mirror, though, makes me really want to wear it as a dress of sorts. I still had to deal with the high slits on the side—as well as the front—so I wore shorts underneath. The silhouette and pattern work really well together to create a '50s-'70s vibe that comes with post-colonial Indonesia. Actually, I completed the look with a batik band that I wrapped around my head like a ribbon, but it somehow didn't show in any of the photos (lol). Lastly, just to splash a douse of reality into this series of photos, I'd just like to say that the place was actually quite packed. We were lucky to find this corner almost completely unused. Wonderful!

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Saturday, 21 September 2019

Big City, Small Dreams

Jakarta is a big city and, although I don't actually live there, I spend 90% of my daily life on its outskirts. Sometimes I forget, however, how gigantic this city can be. With an office taking place in a house-like environment, skyscrapers aren't part of my daily grind. Often, when I venture to its centre, I gawp at the looming towers of steel and glass and the grey, grey polluted stratosphere that we have grown so familiar with. To be perfectly honest, I hate this city. It's so big, so crowded, so full of problems and so hard to change, despite evolving in its infrastructure every few months. The people can be very stubborn, not willing to alter the way they think or behave, for the sake of convenience and/or a misguided belief that everything will stay the same. What irks me most of all is how hard it is to find a place of peace and quiet in this roaring dystopia of false hopes—and how far away it is from nature. All I'm asking for is a private space somewhere to gather my thoughts or scream at the top of my lungs. All this city offers is the rigid constructions of what consumerism represents. 

Thrifted dress (worn as top) + skirt + loafers // photos by Kuat

You would think that, since I was born and raised in this city, I would grow accustomed to whatever mould it has in store for me. Unfortunately, I'm actually a small town girl at heart. I miss living in places I can pretty much explore in an hour or so. I miss being able to walk from one end of a town to another without much difficulty. I miss seeing small, local stores in an antique turn-of-the-century building. I miss talking to random strangers on a public transport who I will most likely bump into on the same bus. I miss biking along the streets on my way to do groceries. Most of all, I miss being able to call upon a little peace and quiet outside my house. You might also think that these photos, despite being taken in Jakarta, represents exactly that—peace and quiet. Alas no, it was only small bursts of stolen seconds, in which luckily nobody intruded on our little photo sessions. But it's far and few between.

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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 fa├žade 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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