Saturday, 31 August 2019

Preserving Pastimes

Often when I see local people's #ootd photos on Instagram, they tend to go to caf├ęs 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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Saturday, 10 August 2019

Secret Nook with a Book

Currently Reading: Indonesia Etc. - Elizabeth Pisani

To a lot of people, reading books can be a stressful ordeal. Scanning through all those words—and often without pictures—can send their heads spinning. For me, however, is it a relaxing activity. Whenever I wake up early, I would read my books still half asleep. It helps my eyes open more easily and my mind come back to reality. Whenever I feel high strung, reading a book in my lonesome often loosen me up. My sister once advised me to read lighter books—such as children's literature—to unwind, but, the truth is, it doesn't matter to me if the book I'm reading—even when I'm stressed—deals with a difficult topic. So long as I find it intriguing, I will be able to chill with it in my hands. The problem, at times, is that I don't get to have a lot of time to read by myself—especially at work. Before, I used to be able to read in my commutes. But, now, I take motorbike taxis to and from work everyday, so that option's out the window. It is at such times that I truly understand the term "carve out time for the things you love."

Old top + jacket // hand-me-down pants // thrifted loafers

Luckily, my office is located in a pretty secluded area of the city. It is adorned with tropical plants and has a secret pool area that are usually not frequented by people. Sometimes I would go here to read or just be by myself. My preferred time to go here is around lunch time—after I've grabbed a bite, of course. Since it's an open area, it can get pretty hot in the day, but I honestly don't mind. The trees can provide pretty good shades, after all. Being here often makes me forget that I'm still at work or that there's a hugely polluted city just in the precipice. I could even dream that I was in Bali or somewhere else out of town. I mean, if these palm trees and giant leaves don't make you feel more relaxed, I don't know what will. Unfortunately, I cannot be wrapped up in a nice swimsuit or shorts, since I'm still technically working (lol). So, please excuse the contrast between the gloriously organic background and my business casual outfit.

P.S: Isn't this an appropriate read for Independence Day next week?


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Saturday, 3 August 2019

Putting Myself First

Currently Reading: Diana: Her True Story - Andrew Morton

As you might've known from my previous post, I've been feeling very burnt out lately. So much so that last week I had a nervous breakdown while I was out and about with my sister—second one this month. She was very kind with me, though, advising me to take a bit of time off for myself. Firu also scolded me a little bit for pushing myself too far—he's told me over and over again to get home quickly, not going overboard with work. I should've listened to them sooner. And so, I made plans to go home straight away after work for a week. I also made a point of reading whenever I can, because it relaxes me so. As a result, I have finished Wicked—although yet unable to review it due to its sequel being attached to the same volume. It's taken me far too long to finish, to be honest. Another thing that I've been missing is planning blog posts. Lately, it has felt like a huge burden and done in such a rush, I could barely enjoy it. But taking photos and writing this post by my lonesome feels really great. It reminds me of the good old days when all I had was myself as a resource for this blog. Lastly, I'd love to go off somewhere on my own again. To museums or galleries—or, who knows, a new town? It's been too long since the last time I explored a new place. It's time to really reconnect with my introversion.

Hand-me-down dress + sandals // thrifted denim jacket

Speaking of something that hasn't happened in a long while, let me introduce you to the newest item in my wardrobe: this maxi dress! My Stepmom was ready to throw it away, but I snatched it, completely smitten by its colour and pattern. I love the chiffon material very much, very breezy. I've never had a maxi dress before too, so this was a welcome change. It is actually sleeveless, so pairing it with this denim jacket was a given. I love seeing the contrast between the rather feminine dress and the edgier style of the jacket. This jacket, by the way, has been sitting in my wardrobe for the longest time since I bought it. Usually, it's my go-to jacket, but what with it being all torn up now, I was afraid of ripping it apart completely to wear it often. It's still my favourite outerwear, though, despite the fraying of the material and the yellowing of the colour. It's simply a must-wear for the warmer seasons, you know. I swear the damage done is never deliberate and it breaks my heart, knowing I'll have to say goodbye to it someday. I'm not at all good at goodbyes.

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