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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