Friday, July 5, 2013

On Friendships and Two Years of Studying

My masters is coming to an end. And truth be told, the worse thing about ending this masters is not the fact that I have to write a thesis, or do an oral presentation about it, nor is it about the fact that I have some disappointments in this programme. No, none of that matters after 10 or 5 or even 2 years.

Friends. That would be the hardest thing I would have to leave.

A few of my friends are lucky enough to be continuing their lives in Europe as a PhD student or working, but I have chosen to return. I know, funny, 2 years ago I would've begged to stay in Europe and I still am truly madly in love with the continent but there is something inside of me to come home. But that's a whole different story.

I have never had so many friends from so many parts of the world. You would think that you will not gain any "real" friendships from such programme but I did. I spent a whole lot of time with most of them and I shared some amazing moments with them and witnessed some changes in personality, within myself and also my friends.

On Funny Moments
There were too many funny moments to remember I wouldn't be able to write them all down without bursting into a laugh. I remember the first time we went out for a party in Nantes following some weirdos, the night ended up a disaster but a memorable disaster. I remember how we danced in the streets of Paris when we failed to find a firework display for New Year's Eve. I remember how me and one of my friends took a random bus in Bordeaux and was in literally in the middle of nowhere and the bus driver took pity on us and drove us back to the nearest tram station.

On Tough Love
I am a whiny kid and I can be very annoying. I had troubles in one of the programming languages and to be honest I was just too exhausted and lazy to try and instead of trying, I complained. One of my good friends took the courage to give me some tough love. He basically told me to shut up and start learning. I most certainly didn't expect such words from him but he said it. I was silent after that, not really sure if I should be angry or not but I took his words, I learnt and I succeeded. Sometimes, you need friends who can just tell you off like that and take you back to reality. I'm glad he did.

On Telling The Truth
I had to tell the truth during this masters. I'm not sure if it was a good truth or a horrible one and I'm still to this day not sure whether or not it was worth the hassle. For sure I am sure it was the right thing to do even though now I have to live with the consequences. Once in a while you have to put something right in your life, even if it means loosing something important.

On Realizing You Have Amazing Friends
I made some many friends from different cultural backgrounds, different life stories, different languages - we practically have nothing in common when we first saw each other. But despite all that, the differences disappeared and similarities started to emerge when I stopped seeing them as a country but as a friend. We laughed, we cried, we told secrets, we giggled, we discussed but we mostly enjoyed each other's company.

For all those reasons, this will be the hardest goodbye ever, but I know my memories with them live on and I will always cherish all the things I experienced with every single on of them.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

[Le passé] Understanding Attraction

She never really understood why she was attracted to him in the first place. He didn't have that special something she shared with her previous boyfriends, but somehow she accepted his invitation for a night out anyway. Why? She didn't know, she wished she didn't say yes.

She was too quick to act, too quick to decide, and too quick to say yes. The days spent with him were a mere blur, nothing interested ever came to their relationship. The end was quick and seemed so long at the same time. She knew the ending would be fast and worst of all she knew where he was heading next. Another heart.

Feeling more mature, she felt she did the right thing and still do. Not all love stories have happy ending. Some just trailled off without reasons, some ended abruptly without a warning and some just slipped off without even realising. All these realizations came through her head like roundabouts of jumbled words. She needed to sit down.

Undestanding attraction to the grown up girl is still a mystery. She could never understand why this love story in particular even started in the first place. But it didn't matter, all she needed to know was it could happen and she won't let history repeat itself.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

[Le passé] The Wrong Handsome Guy

The start of the school year only meant one thing, a new class filled with new friends and hopefully some old friends too. She smiled and jumped excitedly when they announced that she was going to be in the same class as her best friend. Lucky girl.
This year is going to be awesome. Plans ran quickly through her thoughts and some were shared with her best friend. They smiled.

The racketing noise inside her class could be heard from the corridor. She entered her new class pretty confidently. She was no longer the new kid and most kids in her year knew who she was. She wasn't popular but pretty well-known. Greetings from new friends came soon after she sat down. Her new friends scattered to their places as soon as the teacher came in. The teacher's voice was a distant blur as she observed her new crowd. One guy caught her attention, he saw her, she quickly turned elsewhere. A quick teenager tactic for not getting caught staring at a cute guy.

The guy was witty and funny. He was just plain handsome, any girl in their right mind would see that and it was the reason why a dozen girl was lining up wanting to be with him. She, however, had the privilege to be his best friend, what an honour, right? Calls after calls, talks after talks, she realized something in her tummy. Were they butterflies? No it can't be.

When the calls and talks stopped, she knew it was mainly her fault. She was never good at expressing her feelings, she chose to distract herself instead. This time the distraction came from his friend, another beauty, a more mysterious beauty. Maybe that was why she instantly felt the attraction, he was the perfect distraction.

The distraction was not a distraction after all. It turned to be a long term distraction, one she discovered to be her first experience of love. The wrong handsome guy took her from the guy she truly cared, but to some extend she didn't mind. The one that got away, another star lesson put into the knowledge bag. The bag keeps getting heavier.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

[Le passé] High School Dream

Him. Yes he, was incredibly charming. Well, at least for a new 14-year-old transferred girl.

"Hey," he greeted with that high confidence.

"Hey," the girl replied shyly.

And that was how all it started.

The school was new for the girl, so different from her previous all-girls-school which she only lasted less than 3 months. She liked her new class, her new friends, although they were a little boisterous, she didn't mind.
Matches my personality. She thought to herself.

The dark-haired boy stood out the most. He excelled in English, although not so much in other subjects, and was blaring with confidence topped with his sweet-mouthed words. Maybe, that was why she was so curious of him.

Of course then, she had no friends to tell her what a big playboy he was at the school. She had no idea that behind the sweet mouth lays a big jerk who treats girl with no respect. She had no idea, that was why she innocently and slowly fell into his trap. That sweet trap filled with his playful words. She had a weakness for words.

After a few months, she proudly presented him as my boy, my guy, my man...or whatever. Just in the first week of their supposedly happiest week, she found him guilty as charged. Her new friends finally revealed his "open secrets", which she whisked ignorantly, assuring herself that they were just jealous. But her self-assurance faded as she saw him in his real self one day.

And what she saw was a boy with no self-respect stood in a puddle of lies. She slowly moved away from him, thanking the God above it wasn't love. Because if it was, it would've hurt like hell.

Time to time, she regretted knowing him. Now, she knows there is no need for regret, it was a precious lesson. A lesson she will never repeat, but is kept in her bag of knowledge.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Semua Itu...Gampang!

Orang memang gampang berubah.

Gampang mencinta.

Gampang memberi perhatian.

Gampang berbicara.

Gampang memberi harapan.

Gampang merasa memiliki.

Namun orang juga gampang melupakan.

Gampang meninggalkan.

Gampang melepaskan.

Gampang mengambil keputusan.

Gampang marah tak beralasan.

Semua itu gampang! Gampang!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pahit Manis

Gara-gara sohib gw yang paling tengil dan gampang banget tidur Regina bikin blog post tentang pahit manis-nya cinta (yg secara ga langsung nyindir gw banget), gw jadi pingin bikin versi pahit manis gw sendiri.

#1 Saat berdiri di sebelahmu membuatku tersenyum tiada habisnya.

#2 Terhipnotis lagi-lagi dengan pandangan matamu yang begitu dalam dan mengena.

#3 Terkagum oleh pengetahuanmu yang luas dan keluwesanmu dalam berbicara.

#4 Mengendalikan kupu-kupu di perutku setiap kali kau ada di sekitarku.

#5 Memendam senyum dan bahagia tiap kali berjalan disampingmu.

#6 Mengetahui bahwa tidak semua perasaan berjalan sebagaimana kita mau dan terkadang memang rasa sakit harus kita rasakan.

#7 Terbiasa dengan rasa sakit dan mulai mengerti bahwa waktunya akan datang untuk bangkit lagi.

#8 Bahwa matahari besok akan lebih cerah dan bintang akan bersinar lebih terang, semua hanya untuk menemani hatimu yang terkena badai.

#9 Besok bukanlah hari kita, tapi besok adalah hariku. Hariku yang bisa kunikmati sendiri dan berharap bahagia ini bisa penuh.

#10 Memahami bahwa kebahagian dan cinta bukan sesuatu yang bisa dipaksa.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Look Where We Are Now

It was another Sunday being dragged into another church by my parents. I was 11 years old, and the thought of entering another beautiful-from-the-outside but severely-freezing-inside church in Leeds was too much to bare. Most churches we had entered so far had lack of young people and a very bad heating, so what was this St George's church my friend's dad recommended had in advantage, I had once thought. Probably nothing much, so with half eyes barely opened and a huge sigh, I followed my parents to the car park.

From the outside, it was another beautifully carved church, with interiors you'd never see in Indonesian churches. I was wondering to myself why there were so many cars parked, perhaps just people parking their cars in the church while they took a walk to the nearby city hall. I took a deep breath and thought "OK, just suck it up and we'll be out in an hour!". So that was what I did.

A band was playing. The room was warm and filled with many people. It had a friendly-homey atmosphere. There were kids with their parents, some young adults and elderlies. And most of all, there were kids my age, not just one or two, but a lot of them. We took our seats and silently took part in the service.

Sunday school! What?! No! I didn't want to go, my English was still rough, I wasn't confident enough to communicate and I didn't want to participate in any Sunday school. My mum managed to convince me to go. Separated from my parents was a big deal, with stuttered English and feeling very shy, I followed the other kids outside. There I met five girls, same age as me, who greeted me with their friendly, warm smile that I couldn't help but smile back.

It was that simple, welcoming smile these girls gave me that bonded us for about three years. Sundays were one of my favourite days, I didn't want to skip church. I wanted to see my friends, sat at the top corner seat of our church for the first 30 minutes of the service before being called to go to our youth groups. Within those three years, we had done a lot of things. We made a band (every girl's dream!). We performed our song in front of the whole church (the crowd went wild obviously!). We went to the Lake District for rock-climbing, kayaking and all sorts. We had mad sleepovers. We did car-washing Sundays for charity which led to huge water fights. We had countless day outs to Pizza Hut. We exchanged thoughts and opinions. We learned a lot of things from each other. We had birthday parties. We also had leaving parties, sadly.

And as they say, all good things must come to an end. It broke my heart to part with them in 2002 when I had to go back to Indonesia. Saying goodbye to them was just as hard as saying hello to them for the first time. If I could, I would've stayed, but I couldn't.

10 years has passed now, we're all not as close as we used to, but these girls will always be special to me. I was lucky enough to reunite with one of them, Emily, in December. I couldn't believe how much she has changed but in some ways I could still see the teenager-Emily I knew then. I still love her big smile and her patience, especially having a friend as chatty as me. Rosi, the quietest of us all, e-mails me every now and then, we exchange stories of our jobs and experiences. I don't talk much with Eleanor and Rebecca, but both of them seem to be leading a great life (thank God for Facebook!), and I'm not surprised either. And recently Bethany got married, I am extremely happy for her and she deserves all the happiness in the world. I still have that one wish, to see each one of them again, someday.

I still smile when I look at pictures of us, if it weren't for that Sunday I wouldn't have known them. If it weren't for St George's I wouldn't be blessed having such amazing experiences with them. Having to know them is one of the biggest blessings of my life.