My lady engineer buddy, Monica, suggested to watch these movies: Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). These movies are very, very simple, just consist of dialogues! No action whatsoever but they’re beautiful… so beautiful that I feel like wanting to quote all the lines. Monce has already written a comprehensive review here. 😀

Anyway, I fell in love with Celine, the female character of both movies. I don’t know, she somehow resembles the kind of woman that I’d like to be. Twice she said that she was “a strong, independent woman”. At the same time, tho, she’s so feminine, innocent, a big dreamer, kinda chatty but a good listener nevertheless… it’s like a healthy mix of fragile-but-strong, haha. If I were a man I’d definitely want to date her! And she’s very pretty like a Boticelli angel FTW!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Celine in Before Sunrise:

  • I kind of see this all love as this, escape for two people who don’t know how to be alone. People always talk about how love is this totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, there’s nothing more selfish. (in Before Sunrise)

  • I always feel this pressure of being a strong and independent icon of womanhood, and without making it look my whole life is revolving around some guy. But loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. We always make fun of it and stuff. But isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?  (in Before Sunrise)

In Before Sunset:

  • You know, couples are so confused lately. I think it must be that men need to feel essential and they don’t anymore. It’s been imprinted in their head for so many years that they had to be the provider.

  • I was thinking, for me it’s better I don’t romanticize things as much anymore. I was suffering so much all the time. I still have lots of dreams, but they’re not in regard to my love life. It doesn’t make me sad, it’s just the way it is.

  • Even being alone, it’s better than sitting next to a lover and feeling lonely.

This is her best line that really touched me and made me screamed, “Yes! Yes that’s right!!”

Capture6 Capture7 Capture8


Capture94 Capture95 Capture96

  • You know what? Reality and love are almost contradictory for me. It made me feel cold, like love wasn’t for me. Never. But what does it mean, the right man, the love of your life? The concept is absurd, that we can only be complete with another person. It’s EVIL, right? I guess I’ve been heartbroken too many times and then I recovered. So now, you know, from the starts, I make no effort. I know it’s not gonna work out.

Which one’s better, Before Sunrise or Before Sunset? Well I don’t really have the answer. Before Sunrise was filmed when they were in their 20s, Before Sunset in their 30s. In terms of relevance, dynamics of the characters, and reflections upon life, I liked Before Sunrise more. The depth and young innocence’s there. But in terms of love, I like Before Sunset more because being in their 30s, they start seeing love more realistically.

Either way, these two movies are highly recommended. I’ll update the quotes after re-watching the movies. 😀

21 Lessons Learned In My 21st Year

  1. Make peace with your past. No matter how much effort you’re ready to exert, it won’t change. Ever.
  2. Family is the most important gift you can ever have. Don’t waste time staying away from them, they’re the ones who would always be there whatever it takes. And home, indeed, is the sweetest place on earth. Define your ‘home’ and your ‘family’. I’ve seen that it may not be the same standard for everyone. I’m lucky enough to have been raised in a loving, caring, and compassionate family, but not everyone has that fortune. Still… love them. After last year’s internship, I pledged not to take for granted the ones that will eventually perish. I love them to the bone, and will continue to do so.
  3. Love is rough. Sometimes you need to strive really hard for it. Don’t dwell in touchy-feely cheesy fantasies you may have been introduced to in your teenage years. I was a fairy tale supporter but once you’re in your twenties, it gets obvious: they are all fake cotton candies. Love hurts, but ironically, there’s no better antidote to love than love itself.
  4. After all the rants people post on social media –twitter, facebook, wordpress, path, pinterest, etc. – at their core, people just simply want to be noticed. A silent approval that they exist.
  5. Forgive yourself and forgive others, even when they don’t forgive you. Take time before planning on reconciliation. Not everyone is so kind-hearted even if you’ve admitted that you have done wrong. They may not greet you anymore or pretend that they don’t know you, for now and forever. But even so… be the one who loves instead of hates.
  6. Sometimes, people can hurt others permanently just by the fact that they live. Can you believe it? It’s like Spike in Plants vs Zombies.
  7. Your parents age faster than you. Don’t be afraid to show them love, affection, and appreciation, even just in form of ‘thank you for making this dinner’. There may not be tomorrow to express your gratitude towards what they’ve done.
  8. People change – for better or worse. Accept it. You never have the complete story of what they’ve been through. Cherish the moments you had with them, but understand that your paths can be separated and you may never see them the same way again – and vice versa. It doesn’t erase the sadness of losing them, but what else can you do? I learned it a hard way.
  9. This world has been too harsh already without some sprinkles of smiles.
  10. There are certain conditions that cannot be changed, that are simply beyond your control. Don’t force them. Don’t be afraid of failure. I’ve failed a lot of times I’ve lost counts, but everytime I feel like it’s the dead end, someone or something always reminds me that there’s no point of surrender. No surrender should exist if there’s still a possibility that you can thrive. Most of the times, the possibilities are there.
  11. It must be hard for you, but when you must wait, you must wait. Time brings the answers to almost every problem, including the thick, foggy future you cannot lay sights on. And although the belief is decreasing and increasing like a sinusoidal curve, what I believe is that God knows the best way. Trust God. “What time cannot solve, you have to solve it yourself” – Murakami
  12. Financial independence is the key to a more sustainable life, but not necessarily a happier one. Whoever says, “No, look at people in jetski! In beautiful villas! The happiness in shopping!”. It’s all temporary. But we’re in our twenties anyway. That’d be very naive to say that money doesn’t matter. Strive for that independence, I do, for instance – maybe that way you can access happiness easier. Do financial planning. You’ll never know when and how your money will run out, so prepare for the future.
    Pretty much sums up everything, eh? Image’s taken from here.


  13. Give back to others in any form you feel comfortable. “Happiness is only real when it’s shared”, said Buddha. So nurture young ones if you feel like you’re successful. Share, and keep only what you need to keep from others. Don’t be afraid that they will surpass or outsmart you, people have their own portion and their own ways to be successful. Tell them what you’ve learned, make them able to dodge the regret or the things you wish you never did.
  14. College life is the prime time of your short life, the beautiful cherry on top. Make the most out of it. Make friends, expand networks, achieve more than your limit, don’t do stupid things like being lazy or consumed by drugs. You’re gonna miss it more when it’s gone. Take advantage of ‘being understood for your younger years’.
  15. Find a steady partner. I haven’t found mine and it’s rather depressing. Not to settle down too early, but to have passport to social security. Especially when you’re a girl and live in Asian culture.
  16. Diverse choices come up and making choices has never been an easy thing in life. Weigh all the possibilities, list down pros and cons, consult with the people you trust. Remember that what you do now echoes through eternity, you’re forever the bearer of your own consequences. So make ’em right.
  17. Even though they say “Do the things you want to do”, I believe that the output is somewhere along the mix of: a) what you really want to do or really want for yourself; b) social (read: your culture’s) expectation; c) family values that have been imposed on you; d) general rules and norms applicable in your country; e) wild dreams.
  18. In your twenties, heartbreaks become more easily manageable. No more teary eyes after rejections. After series of broken hearts and non-reciprocal feelings, magically I can still believe in love. Affection deprivation is real – perhaps we need love much like we need air to breath, no matter how may times it’s been slipping away from our grip. Don’t take everything as ‘signs’. If someone wants you, he/she will show it. My mother said, “Don’t chase someone who doesn’t chase you back”. My friend Elsa said, “Don’t invest your feelings on someone who will not give you the expected return”. Noted, eh?
  19. The only way to overcome loneliness is by layering work on top of work. Less work? Void. Except if you have someone to share. If only. So the next time you see someone overdo his/her works, check on him/her. Maybe they need some special attentions. In most cases, they have even forgotten how it feels to have a relationship, despite the secret fact that they crave for it.
  20. A woman’s success comes with a price. Face it, men still hold on to the principles that they have to be superior over the XX chromosome. I don’t know if men secretly want their significant others to be emotionally detached. But this is what I feel: the more successful, higher level you are -with the exception of prettier ones, magical encounters, and those who have found someone before they soar high- the less likely you’ll find someone who wants to understand that you’re still the same little girl who needs protection. I’m there. The situation is more complicated because time is ticking for women, and not vice versa. A senior HR manager, very charming, cute, the one you can easily relate to and fun to be with – but very successful, hasn’t married yet, once told me, “We women are like cheese you know, we deteriorate. Men are like fine wine, they get more attractive as they age. So go, find someone before it’s too late, before you reach my age and your choices are not so available anymore”.
    So yeah. The pressure’s there. The dilemma’s there.
  21. Well finally, as Taylor Swift put it, we’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. Can’t make it more obvious than that. I’d have to end this by saying that Quarter Life Crisis is real, but whatever. Twenties should be the pinnacle of your life. But as absorbance curve generated by spectrophotometer has already shown it – peaks can occur more than once.

                                                                Long live the twenties. 🙂

What The Tiger Did to Calm The Monkey

If you’re not familiar with the Tiger-Monkey thing, try to read this book.


Two nights ago I came to my mother with teary eyes, seeking for comfort and reassurance. Lately, life for me has been a tumultuous journey, emotionally. I have to deal with the branching ways of life where important choices have to be made in a very limited amount of time. Issues on personal growth and development as well as the classic “Quo Vadis?” question pop in between seconds of desperation, insecurities, and self-doubt. If my life was a reactor, then I’d definitely need a pressure controller. I was hoping that my mother would be one.

But to my surprise, the moment tears started streaming down my face, my mother didn’t hug nor said comforting words, as what she had done previously. She said, “Kamu jangan dikit-dikit nangis. Jangan cengeng. Kalo gagal ya cari lagi dong bangkit lagi, jangan gampang nyerah. Kamu tuh terlalu banyak “tapi, tapi”. Kalo “tapi” melulu kapan majunya?”

I continued weeping about whirlwind of failures that I have faced recently, the popular acknowledgement that I didn’t really expect, and the confusing choices that I have not ready yet to take. I stated that I was in a state of not knowing where I wanted to go. But she continued, “Anak mama gak boleh lemah kayak gini. Mama gak suka. Kamu tuh harus get up and go. Kamu sekarang gak tau kamu maunya apa, tapi gak mungkin lah dek kamu gak dapet apa-apa. Cepet kerjain semuanya, coba semuanya, nanti baru muncul sendiri kamu maunya kemana. Atau, nanti ditunjukin jalannya sama Allah. Tapi kamu harus usaha dulu. Kamu jangan ngeluh terus dek”

I stopped crying. I realized that this has been my n-th cry in the past few months and maybe she had decided that it was time for me to stop being so intolerable and impervious to failures and changes.

I was actually hoping for a softer approach, but that’s how she’s always been.

My mother never gives me a pat on the back — she gives a push.

That’s what has shaped me into who I am now. And it’s good. I’m growing older enough to understand that her love spreads beyond what seems to be something a ‘good, understanding’ mother may do. She prays hard with tears, and wants her children to understand that this is the way the world goes. Harsh, unforgiving, and leaves no space for the faint-hearted. She’s always been a strong woman, be it by choice or by fate. She expects no less strength from her daughter, too.

And that’s why she’s the best mother I can ever have in my life. Her life lessons are the things that, once instilled, can never be taken away from me.

Thank you, Mom. I’ll make you proud, if only you could ever be. 🙂