Happy 64th Birthday, Papa!

Surprised him at midnight, made this birthday card

February 21, 2013. It’s Dad’s 64th birthday.

Dad has suffered from stroke for almost 8 years now, but he recreates the spirit of youth everyday. He carries on optimism  to balance mom’s pessimism. He’s always lived his life as if life has never been hard. That’s what makes him the happiest man on earth I’ve ever encountered.

Me and my twin’s wish for him this year is that we could travel around the world together someday. Maybe not literally around the world, as he’s sick. But at least for me, I want to go to Lincoln Memorial with my father. We unintentionally had a strikingly similar pose  in different time span. He pursued his master’s degree in USA in 1980s, no wonder USA has occupied a lot of my childhood stories. Being able to be with him in the place that we both have been to separately is a wish I’ve been echoing since I took this picture.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, United States of America

He teaches me to dismiss my fears and that life is not all about doing what I have to do. That life is meant to be enjoyed by doing what I want to do. He often tells me to get some fresh air and clear up my head. And he says that I can be his little princess forever. Whenever it feels like my head is about to explode, I know I can always come to him and cuddle like he’s my personal big bear.

Happy 64th birthday, dad. Yes you’re old and sick and rotten, but your soul doesn’t wither a single fraction.

Your twins love you.


You only need simplicity to be happy

Today I decided to walk from home to campus. I refused to go with my twin brother and took of the risk of being the only one coming so early in the morning. I enjoyed every second spent in a more relax way — searched for the right outfit, poured fresh milk combined with muesli as my breakfast, actually had time to blow-dry my hair, put some lotion and my favorite Victoria’s Secret scent.

I’ve always been busy and done every morning thing in such a rush, but today it felt different.

I stepped outside the front door. I was greeted by familiar mid-age women while walking. At that time I realized that I haven’t interacted much with my neighbors recently. They asked why I was on foot today. I smiled – a genuine smile – and told them I just felt like doing it. They waved me goodbye.

Only one smile, but we rekindled the silaturrahim.

I walked across the housing complex. It was a beautiful morning. Sun didn’t shine too brightly, I could still smell the fresh morning air of Bandung. “I’m gonna miss this when I’m gone, when I have to leave this city to pursue my own life”. I watched an old women and a young maid, chatted while gardening. I heard the birds sang happily in between tight leaves of trees.

The simple beauty of nature.

I walked until I could stop an angkot nearby, but I didn’t. I moved to wherever my feet took me, breathed in and out. I half understood why I was in bad mood these past few days, and I did what I thought would heal: a long, therapeutic walk. Just like how I healed myself in similar situation, four years ago.

I had a better understanding of myself.

An angkot was very persistent – it stopped 3 times despite my attempts to say “no”. I stopped walking and took the offer, tho it was only 500 meters away from campus. I intended to take the long route and imagined the 16 year old me, when I walked here while praying, “Allah please grant my wish, I want to be a student of ITB”

I am now, and I’m about to go.

I went to Microbiology and Bioprocess Technology Laboratory, Chemical Engineering Study Program. I had a..um, may as well be said, “fine and fun” experiment for my research today.

Always remember to put phenolphthalein instead of wasting pH meter strips or relying your life on automatic pH meter, unless you live in first world countries. Noted.

I wouldn’t remember anything about Valentine’s Day if kids at lab didn’t mention anything about it. I don’t understand why people actually do celebrate Valentine’s Day. More than one of my friends are currently celebrating the night with their special ones. Not that I’m jealous. I don’t have any significant other, but even if I do I won’t do such things. I said this quote to my friends today,

“A special day is only special when it is actually special. You don’t have to follow other people’s tradition or rituals. You make your own special days”

After lab I went to Perpus pusat to find literatures for plant design. You bet, I have to make a commercial enzyme plant. Like, seriously? Maybe you don’t have any idea how it’s that difficult. That’s okay. It was supposedly a daunting task, but I actually liked the smell of books and how the interior of the library is now that modern. It somehow adds another ‘longevity’ to read. I found some good and relevant books, too 🙂

People went to cafes, I went to my old pal, books.

Outside was raining quite heavily, but I loved rain. I always do. The sound it makes when it touches the ground, the smell of wetted lands, and the cold breeze it brings. The breeze never changes. Always the same, familiar flow that made me fell in love with this campus at the very first place, 6 years ago.

There’s just too many memories I’ve made here.

Mom came to my aid. I clung to her hands while she was driving, surprised of my sudden kiddo gestures. She brushed my hair with her nails and kissed me on my forehead. I could feel the warmth of her love. Sometimes it’s sheer, but it’s always been endless. And I couldn’t ask for more.

We stopped at a small kiosks and I bought chicken pineapple with rice. Another love of my life: Chinese food. How could I not be happy?

There are only 3 simplest things that can make me absolutely happy in this world: an enough time of night sleep, a long hot shower, and Chinese food.

Yes I’m that easy to be pleased. And whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, I learn that you only need simplicity to be happy.

Oh and exactly two years ago, at this hour, I was on board in Etihad Airways’ plane with 17 fantastic delegates in the very beginning of our journey in USA.


I’m happy. Are you?


I’m not allowed to cry. Never have, never will. However sucks the change is, I’ve always been demanded to be strong.

No matter how it cracks me to the bone.

All these three things happened in the first 1,25 months of 2013. I wonder where this will lead me. I hope it’s something worth awaiting. I hope it’s for the greater good.

But I’ll never know what’s in store for me. It’s either I face it or not doing anything at all. Because I can’t just run away and pretend that all these things don’t happen, that they’re just in my imaginary bubbles of nightmares.

This is real life and it sucks. The un-flush-able shit happens, but there’s no more turning back. And what’s more terrifying is that I don’t know if this stream of mischance will end in the right way, or in the right time span, or just barely end.

This is why Five For Fighting’s Superman is my all-time favorite song.

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me
I’m more than a bird,
I’m more than a plane
I’m more than some pretty face beside a train
And it’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
And it’s not easy to be me

Grow up, people say. Because a part of growing up is also to accept that we can never be impervious to change. Not growing up is never a choice. And this time, I have to re-iterate what my debate coaches have stressed upon me almost 5 years ago:

You’re acting like a spoiled little brat. Don’t be a self-centered kid.

You can’t expect the world to wait for you. It’s YOU who should catch up with the world.

So wake up, I say. You’re not living under the protective shed of home. Either you break your wings or learn to fly.

Jumbled Thoughts Under The Rain

Don’t you think it’s fascinating? Along the time we live, we meet people. We cross each other’s orbits. At some points, turns out some people aren’t meant to be in our life. We’re then separated. But we’ll always meet new ones, they offer us new adventures, and they make the loss of old ones bearable. It goes on and on. Some people stay longer than others, sometimes even until the very end. These people are not just wonderful travelling companions. They stay when others leave.

Somewhere along the journey, we realize that eventually change is the only constant. We move from one comfort zone to another, pushing ourselves towards the edge of possibilities. We crave for new challenges, anything to keep us occupied. The irony is that we hate changes, but we can never be satisfied with anything we have. Having more doesn’t keep you from wanting more. Or else, why do you think we’re urged to struggle for the rest of our lives, knowing that enough is never essentially enough? Why do we look forward and anticipate? Why do we strive?

At the end of the day, we’re going to realize that there can never be an absolute happiness. I think we’re all in this same discontentment that happiness always has its own price. As Murakami put it, “We each have a special something we can get only at a special time of our life. Like a small flame. A careful, fortunate few cherish that flame, nurture it, hold it as a torch to light their way. But once that flame goes out, it’s gone forever.”

And we’re all destined to be lonely. Because in the end, no matter how faithful or significant other people may be, we only have ourselves. The only thing that matters to us.

Serenity has too long been forgotten.


On March 3, 2010, I tweeted:

What’s the point of reminiscing when the person is no longer worthwhile? When their heart is somewhere else?

On July 20, 2010, I tweeted:

When you tried to scare me and didn’t mind when I cling to your arms while screaming, listening to your crisp laugh, it felt good.

When you call my name, I always have this unanswered question, “Do you want me to stay?”, cause my mind tells me to go away.

And in the dead of night I’d get myself some dolorous tweets in healthy dose, just to feed my undisclosed desires.

Then I’ll go to bed, re-filling my empty house of sanity, and wake up in the morning thinking about being perfectly lonely.

Through that way, I think I might sustain life. It sucks,it’s full of lies,it hurts,yada yada.Mumbling would never get me out of my delusion.

Reading through my twitter archive and I found myself constantly moving from one special person to another. There’s just something mortal about the love I felt and the love we shared.

And when I think about it, there’s no point in missing someone who doesn’t miss you back.

Why would I go on a search again when I know what the end will be? What good is love when it keeps on hurting me?