The Easy Way to Renew US Visa in Indonesia – Without Any Interview!

I got my first US Visa in December 2010, just two months before going to New York/Boston. I’ve since had this wild dream of going back to America before my visa expires in December 2015. Sadly, I haven’t got that other chance… 😦 But just when I thought my visa would end up being a token of memory in my passport, I read about “Interview Waiver Program” for Indonesian citizen.

Basically this program is a “shortcut” to renew your visa. You just have to drop the required documents at your nearest RPX Drop-Off location, and wait until your new visa and your passport(s) are mailed back. You don’t even need to come for an interview at the US Embassy! How convenient!! 😀

So, can everyone just renew their visas through this program?

Well, unfortunately not.

You’re eligible for Interview Waiver Program if you:

  1. Are an Indonesian passport holder
  2. Have a full validity visa (a visa that can be used for 5 years), B1/B2, F, J, C, C1/D type visa that was issued on or after June 1, 2007
  3. Are applying for the same type of visa as your previous one.
    For example, if you had F (Student) visa and now you want to apply for a B1/B2 (Business Travel), well, you can’t do it through Interview Waiver Program.
  4. Are >= 14 years old at the time your previous visa was issued
  5. Have all the passports since your previous visa was issued.
    For example, if you got your visa in 2007 and your first passport expired in 2012, that means in 2015 you currently use your second passport to travel. These two passports have to be sent to get your new visa.
  6. Have not been refused a US visa in the last 12 months
  7. Have never stayed in the US for >6 months with B1/B2 visa
  8. Have never been arrested or convicted for a crime

If you check YES to all those statements: CONGRATULATIONS! You can now start gathering the required documents.

Just like the regular US visa application process, you have to fill in the DS-160 form. Then you choose “Schedule Appointment” on the Embassy’s appointment system.

Wait, I thought you said “no interviews”? Why do I have to schedule an appointment?

As you go through the process, there will be a series of questions (the 8 questions I posted above), and after you’ve answered all the questions, you will be given the option to renew your visa via Interview Waiver Program. However, if you wish to follow the regular application process, you can click further to schedule an interview appointment in Jakarta/Surabaya.

How much do I have to pay for this?

The fee is just the same with regular process — when I applied in October 2015, it was US$ 160, paid at the nearest Standard Chartered bank.

After you have paid the fee, bank will give you a receipt. Save this receipt. After that, you need to go to RPX Drop-Off Location to deliver your documents. I sent it through RPX Bandung, Jl. Sampurna no. 12, (022) 2031800. Jl. Sampurna is on the way to Hasan Sadikin General Hospital (dude, just Google it up! :P)

What documents do I need to send?

You can ask your parents/friends/relatives to send the documents. You don’t need to come in person to RPX. I did ask my mom to bring our Kartu Keluarga, tho, as a precaution. These are the documents I sent:

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

  1. DS-160 Confirmation Page
  2. Current and prior passport containing your previous visa (I sent 2 passports of mine. Don’t worry, they will be safe)
  3. One photo size 5×5 cm taken within the last 6 months, adhered to US photo requirements (just go to the biggest photo service in your city, they most likely know what to do). Oh yeah, if you wear glasses, you don’t have to take it off in the photo.
  4. Dropbox confirmation letter –> you get this automatically after finishing DS-160 form
  5. MRV or EFT Receipt –> from Standard Chartered bank

OPTIONAL, BUT I SENT IT ANYWAY:

  1. A very rough travel plan to the US
  2. Proof of income
    I sent a photocopy of an offer letter from my current company, stating my basic salary per month. You can also sent a “rekening koran” from your bank account. The most important thing is that the examiners know that you have sufficient fund on your own to go and stay in the US for <6 months.

What if I don’t have any travel plan yet? I just want to renew my visa because it will expire soon. 

It’s okay. I don’t have  a concrete plan either. I just made a 3-column table stating that I’d fly from Jakarta to New York on 1 June 2016, travel in New York on 2-12 June 2016, stay at ABCD Hotel in Upper East Side, and go back to Jakarta on 12 June 2016.

The exact dates? You bet. I haven’t even bought any tickets 😀

Oh, I did enclose the contact details of my relative who lived and worked in US, tho. I don’t know if this becomes any factor of consideration by the examiner.

So that’s all you need to do!

You send all the documents, and wait for a new visa to arrive at the convenience of your home! 😀

Hope this helps anyone searching for the easy way to renew US Visa. Don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below — I’d be happy to help!

References:

http://www.ustraveldocs.com/id/id-niv-b1b2iwp.asp

http://jakarta.usembassy.gov/visa/iwp.html

http://rpx.co.id/id/your-assistant/rpx-locator/

 

 

 

The Only Thing That’s Changed

When you search the internet, the name ‘Marsha’ commonly means brave. A brave warrior, derived from the name of Roman’s god of war, Mars. Aside from that, when you type Marsha in Urban Dictionary, a description appears:

Capture

 

Nice description.

 

I’ve been told by friends and families that I’m an almost perfect girl. People are easily drawn to me, and it’s uncommon for me to be told that I am “every good and bad thing mixed in the right proportion”. Along with my name, as far as I remember, I’ve always been a brave warrior. I was that smart girl who voiced her opinion out loud in elementary school, always a teacher’s favorite. Head of study groups. Ran for head of student government in middle school. A usual first rank in high school. A national best speaker. Blazingly left a trail of achievements in university. Left the university with a coveted prize.

 

The brave warrior.

 

Like a microbial growth curve, my bravery slips down after a stationary phase. When I entered university, I was still a hard-logic gal with very high spirit of achieving, and ambition as my fuel. It started slipping down the curve when I entered ChemE. The first time ever for me to develop doubts on myself. But it was compensated. Boy, how it was compensated. No-brainer in reactors, but a Valedictorian nevertheless.

 

Looking back at those times, I’m missing the things left of my current life.

 

I’m now a clueless, loveless, aimless 23-year-old girl trying to build castles in the air. Leaving home, leaving behind a mark that’s probably not going to last. Terrified of having a bitter ending, of realizing that dreams do not come true. And on top of that, I’m losing my dreams. I don’t even know what to dream anymore. I don’t even know what I’m searching for. I don’t even know what to fight for.

 

My option A was lost, and I’m trying to kick the shit out of option B.

 

I have no direction in my career. No goals to pursue. No life to plan. I’ve lost my competitiveness, my type-A cells die slowly inside my non-functioning cerebrum. I’m living in an autopilot mode, going wherever the world wants me to go. Let them be my driver, my automatic system. I’m keeping myself warm and work to supply its electricity and its fuel and hoping that it would take me somewhere good. Boondoggling my own life until I can somehow make it. Or fake it till I make it.

 

I’ve been hurt, and it is universally accepted that it is not always easy to fix something broken.

 

The last closeness with a human soul left me detached. As if I am someone not worthy of being fought for, not good enough to spend a lifetime with. It makes my confidence corrode. My overflowing love, emotions, and gentle care I was always so ready to fill someone else with, retires to its own sanctuary, too afraid of going through the windy field, too afraid of mitigating yet another risk, longing for a key to unlock its tightly protected fortress.

 

Here I am, living my life in a complete emptiness, losing my drive.

 

I am still that almost perfect girl. A mix of every good and bad thing in the right proportion. Somewhere inside me I still keep that brave warrior mummified inside her battle suit. The only thing that’s changed is having a black hole that sucks all my glows.

 

And I’ve been doing nothing about this disastrous event, silently waiting for the magic of new beginnings, half realizing that I’m not going anywhere with these frozen feet.

 

God, help me.

Hujan yang Sederhana

Hujan sore ini, hujan yang sederhana.

Tanpa basi-basi dan check in di tempat-tempat fancy. Tanpa kepalsuan foto hasil cropping. Tanpa tagar yang disematkan berlebihan. Tanpa buah-buah mahal pelengkap diet sehat

Hujan sore ini, cukup deras untuk mengusir udara kotor, cukup singkat supaya aktivitas bisa dijalankan.

Hujan yang pas. Langit yang mendung, sedikit semburat kekuningan, perlahan tenggelam digantikan kelam.

Hujan yang ditemani hangatnya homemade brownies sebagai penawar hati yang kelu.

Hati yang diam-diam berdo’a, supaya tidak hanya hujan saja yang bisa sederhana.

Cruising The Altitude

Airports fascinate me in a lot of unspoken ways. The feeling of watching airplanes taking off beside the thick wide glass of boarding room almost always make my heart jolts with excitement. There is a certain atmosphere that airports bring — they are home to some of the most sincere goodbyes, spectator of willingness to release someone dear into the unknown skies, and a theater of honest kisses blown to the air. Airports are about departure and arrival, the fast-paced shoes of businesspeople and the joy of a loving child. The beautiful mix of feelings in one single space. Much like the real life. 

Image’s taken from here

For me, airports resemble more than just a transportation facility where people come and go. As someone who was not raised in a particularly wealthy family, hopping to an airplane was indeed a luxury. During my childhood, I had to spend so much time going through road trips to get somewhere. I always asked my mom if our family could try travelling by airplane, but I knew she would say it was too expensive for all of us. Like every other luxury my family couldn’t afford, at that time I could hear mom’s voice resonating,

“Believe me, my child, your brain will take you anywhere you wish”

You know what?

She was right. 

The first time I boarded a plane was in January 2011, going to Eastern part of Indonesia for a national varsity debating championship. I still remember that feeling of excitement mixed with I-think-I’m-gonna-puke inside a not-so-good airplane of the first flight in the morning. Kinda like being in a roller coaster while taking off, my heart was swelling with oh-my-gosh that I tried to hide from friends.

Ever since then, airplanes continued to take me into some of the best moments of my life. I could picture that clearly, vividly, the memory that goes up to the surface every time I see an Etihad plane parking on Terminal 2 of CGK airport. 4 pm flight to Abu Dhabi, that would carry my New York City dreams up to the air, my very first overseas flight, 32 hours in total.

Still one of my favorite airlines. Delicious and halal meals, friendly stewardess, smooth landing. My very first overseas trip.  Image Source: here

I never boarded Etihad since then, but it remains one of my favorite airline. I remember the friendly stewardess greeted me, I was having cough, and she attentively offered me another cup of hot drink. We met again on the way when I was going to the toilet, and chatted on how people were not easily pleased even by various choices of menu available. I told her that people were always unsatisfied like that, and we laughed together 😀

It’s funny how you can associate a certain part of your life just by looking at an airplane.  

I was rushing on catching a Garuda Indonesia flight when my eyes caught a glimpse of a Cathay Pacific being parked. As melancholic as I always am, the laughter of my mapres friends came to my ear like a jingle. Jakarta – Hong Kong – Nagoya. Then another flight back from Tokyo. The gleaming lights, the busy streets, the bullet trains, stranded on the super clean streets at 2 am after missing our last bus back to the hotel. Our Toyohashi friends, mixed with streams of Kit Kat Green Tea supplies…

You will always bring me back to the days in Japan 🙂

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is home to some of my most memorable departures and arrivals.

The fight with my ex-boyfriend before I boarded a Singapore Airlines flight to Manila. Two girls giggling with their extra-heavy luggages on Airport Transit Hotel, woke up super early while catching the first flight to Singapore that would take Team Indonesia to the city of Hanoi. Four nista youngsters boarding the cheapest AirAsia flight we could find from Jakarta to Bangkok. Every time I come to CGK, I can still picture the places precisely, every corner hides another story that I could recall from the back of my head.

My Manila, my Singapore, my Hanoi… wrapped up in one single glimpse of this carrier.
My Bangkok with nista gank!
My Bangkok, now my Pekanbaru – Bandung best friend

From a homey kid who never boarded any plane since age zero, I turned into a frequent flyer with various destinations to go.

Times change and airplanes change. People morph over time — leaving their loved ones while pursuing their own dreams. I’ve moved from Bandung to Duri, where my limited stay at home makes the journey even more meaningful. What used to be rare international flights have changed to frequent domestic flights to hold the ones close to the heart. Garuda Indonesia and AirAsia have helped me in transporting to the people I care about the most, the people I would not trade for any gems.

My Surabaya business trips and my trip back home.

 

Airplanes have witnessed my struggle of getting to be where I never thought I could be. My proud parents who could never make me go to another country by their own money. The altitude combines some of fondest memories, best friends, and most exciting journey into the take offs and landings that I will always be excited for.

 

Here’s hoping for more life stories through the air! 🙂

 

 

Belajar Ikhlas

Bukan, gue bukan mau sok-sok alim edisi Ramadhan. Bukan juga ngeclaim kalo hati gue sekarang udah bersih banget. No. Gue cuma mau nulis aja, ga lebih dan ga kurang.

(Btw, yeay for, finally, a post in Bahasa! Although I’m using everyday language, but still :P)

—————————————–

Alhamdulillah kita masih bisa ketemu bulan suci Ramadhan lagi. Setelah ngalamin kecelakaan yang hampir fatal setahun lalu, gue jadi sadar kalo…. idup tuh pendek. Lo gak akan pernah tau kapan lo ninggalin dunia ini, jadi savor the moment sebaik dan sebisa mungkin.

Gue gatau kapan tepatnya, yang jelas rasa itu muncul di awal bulan Ramadhan 1436 H ini. Munculnya tiba-tiba. Rasanya…. sejuk, that’s the word. Kayak nyelusup masuk ke relung-relung hati, dan menyiram semua bagian hati gue yang tersakiti ini (haha). Gue senang bisa ngerasain perasaan ini, it’s like it glows inside me. Kayak pengharum ruangan yang ga abis-abis.

Sebelumnya gue mau cerita kalo di tahun ini, gue putus sama mantan pacar gue. Di saat yang sama, gue juga memulai hidup baru dengan pekerjaan baru yang alhamdulillah lebih enjoy dilakuin. So it’s like a battle of contrasting feelings. Kadang gue seneng apalagi tiap abis liat slip gaji (hehe), tapi juga kesedihan yang gue rasain kok kayak gak ilang-ilang. Mungkin karena gue putus baik-baik. Gue dan mantan gue cocok dalam banyak hal, tapi orang tuanya emang ga suka sama gue, for some illogical reasons. Beneran illogical. Ya lo kata aja dah nama lo beserta tanggal lahir dan hari lahir dibawa ke kiai-kiai entah darimana terus semua bermimpi kalo lo dan orang itu “jika bersatu akan menimbulkan perpecahan”. Semua mimpinya seragam. Emangnya film layar tancep apa. Dan alasannya cuma karena itu, walaupun gue yakin sih ada alasan-alasan lain yang lebih materialistis. Yaudalah ya.

Terutama tiap abis pulang dari rig, gue suka sedih. Ketika lo capek abis berkutat dengan matahari 38C dan jalanan hutan sawit yang harus dilewatin dengan 4WD, normal kan kalo lo pengen disayang. Jablay ye. Di saat-saat kayak gitu gue suka nyalahin Yang Maha Kuasa kenapa mempertemukan gue dengan orang yang baik tapi dipisahin lagi. Like, apa sih salah gue, berapa kali ketemu orang bisanya cuma jadi “mantan” (baik mantan kekasih maupun mantan cem-ceman, hahaha!).

Terus soal kerjaan.

Dalam beberapa hal, ada aja yang ga sesuai sama ekspektasi gue. Gue ga bisa bohong kalo kerjaan kayak gini itu butuh mental yang lebih kuat daripada gue yang kemaren-kemaren, yang bisanya menye-menye dodol nyusu sama emak. Tapi yang bikin gue kesel sebenernya bukan itu. Gue sebel karena gue ga bisa menjawab pertanyaan,

Quo vadis?

Mau kemana?

——————————-

Gue tuh selalu punya rencana. Selalu. Dan rencana gue selalu konkret, ga pernah abstrak. Gue anti banget sama yang namanya, “Yaudah jalanin aja”/ “Go with the flow”/ “Biarkan air mengalir”. Zzzzz. Gue ga suka jalan-jalan random, nyobain menu baru yang tampak aneh, beli tiket pesawat go show, apalagi gambling sama yang namanya takdir. Hidup gue tuh harus berjalan sesuai plan A. Untuk mencegah segala deviasi, gue bikin plan B, C, D, E, F, sejauh mungkin kemungkinan yang gue bisa pikirkan.

Ketika lulus kuliah, semuanya terbentang di depan mata gue.

Pas SD, gue tau harus masuk SMP 5. Abis itu gue tau harus ngejer SMA 3. Abis itu gue harus masuk ITB. Abis itu gue harus masuk Tekim. Abis itu gue harus dapet G*n*s*a P*ize (alay nulisnya haha!). Abis itu gue harus masuk oil&gas sesuai amanah nyokap gue. Terus?

Sumvah ya, kalo ada satu hal yang harus gue pelajarin, itu adalah career planning. 

Makanya gue bete. Karena saat ini ga ada yang bisa direncanain. Your career changes everyday, apalagi di industri serba dinamis ini. Dan gue juga harus inget, sekarang gue gak cuma bawa diri gue sendiri kalo mau membuat keputusan. Ada keluarga inti, extended family, dan nantinya suami-anak.

Di sini nya sendiri, gue juga gatau ke depannya gimana. Karena gue cewek, pasti ga bakal lama di lapangan. Terus gue jadi engineer di kantor. Terus?

Pertanyaan-pertanyaan seperti, kapan ya bisa S2. Aduh tapi siapa yang mau rekomendasiin, siapa yang mau biayain, abis S2 gimana caranya cari kerja lagi, kan gue masih cupu pengalamannya? Kapan ya bisa nikah. Aduh tapi siapa yang mau gue nikahin, jodoh aja entah dimana. Kapan ya punya anak. Aduh gimana ngurusnya kalo gue kerja.

Jiiirrr, ga ada banget nih yang bisa di planning?

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Kembali ke cerita gue di awal tadi, tentang si rasa sejuk.

Karena segala macem pikiran ini, gue jadi ribet. Suka mumet. Suka bete. Kalo shalat maunya cepet-cepet. Dan suka nyalahin keadaan. Sampe di suatu hari, gue udah nyiapin suatu presentasi, terus dibatalin, padahal gue udah bela-belain ga ke rig seminggu demi itu presentasi.

Gue bete sepanjang weekend. Terus gue nangisin hubungan gue yang putus lagi (karena rasanya pas lagi kayak gitu pengen cerita sama orang yang bisa gue hubungin kapan aja, yaitu supposed to be pacar). Puasa, niatnya sekenanya. Shalat, pokoknya I murmured some words from my mouth. Gue nangis-nangis and I didn’t answer calls from my worried mom.

Tapi di suatu titik, gue ngerasa energized. Ngerasain si rasa sejuk itu. Rasanya kayak…………

I don’t know man, it’s peaceful.

 

Sejak hari itu sampai detik ini, gue lebih banyak ketawa daripada nangis. Gue bilang sama nyokap, “Mulai sekarang aku mau ikhlas aja. Capek udah. Ada yang udah ngatur takdir yang terbaik buat aku. Yang penting aku berusaha sebaik-baiknya sama yang aku punya sekarang, sisanya aku banyakin berdo’a aja”. Nyokap gue lega banget.

Sekarang, setiap gue sedih karena putus, gue challenge balik. Emangnya gue bakal bahagia kalo diterusin hubungan kayak gitu? Emangnya gue bakal bisa berumah tangga adem ayem kalo camernya hesitate begitu? Emangnya cowoknya bakal fight buat gue? Jawabannya, big big no. Jadi mending diikhlasin aja. Belum jodoh. Tetap menyambung silaturahmi. Cari orang lain yang lebih baik.

Ketika balik di rig capek ga punya pacar, gue tetep sedih, tapi abis itu gue ngingetin diri sendiri. Dia yang sebenarnya tidak akan pernah ragu. Belum datang, masih di jalan. Cara ketemunya, ya gue perbaiki diri. Tambal sana-sini. Aktif usaha juga nyari. Jadi calon istri dan ibu yang baik. So great sampe ga ada yang bisa nolak, hahaha! Dan juga, kata temen gue ketika gue ngeluh ga ada tempat ngadu,

“Ngadu ke Allah aja, selalu bakal ada buat kamu” :’)

Ketika gue ngerasa ga puas sama kerjaan, gue nginget masa-masa gue capek kerja di company lama. Sakitnya dicampakkan Belanda. Impian yang gue raih dengan susah payah dan hancur begitu aja. Di titik dimana udah ga bisa ngapa-ngapain selain pasrah, se helpless itu. Sekarang gue udah kerja di oil&gas, bisa bantu orang tua, banyak ilmu yang gue dapet, banyak temen yang baik. Walaupun gue ga bisa jawab abis ini mau kemana, tapi ada baiknya ikhlas aja terima apa yang ada, sambil mengusahakan yang terbaik dengan apa yang gue punya.

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Alhamdulillah.

 

Gue gatau ini perasaan bakal bertahan sampe kapan. Tapi saat ini gue cuma bisa bersyukur. Alhamdulillah. I’m so damn lucky compared to banyak orang di luar sana. Kalo gue cuma liat ke atas terus, ga akan pernah selesai masalah gue seumur hidup. Gue harus belajar ikhlas. Belajar mensyukuri nikmat. Dan belajar untuk menjadi manusia yang lebih baik. 

 

Have a great day, everyone! Selamat menjalankan ibadah puasa. 🙂

 

 

Love,

M

I Miss The Adventure

I miss the sensation of going to these events. Conference, young leaders forum, competitions… I’m so lucky to have experienced it all in the past when I was in college.

I miss how it feels when my feet step up on an unknown territory, the chilly winter air, the people with different faces, skin tone, accents… the monuments, museums, parks… it makes me feel like being “citizen of the world”, not just “citizen of Indonesia”. It makes me realize that it’s such a big world out there, and I’m totally nothing, just a speck of dust in this huge universe. 

I miss the pre-conference preparations… days of finding cheap flights, crafting ideas for essays, late-night group discussions, rehearsal for cultural performances…

All these things enrich me in a way I’ve never thought possible.

Will I ever do this again, now that I’m employed? I miss being my younger self, someone who was not afraid to always reach higher, someone who had ambitions after ambitions as her fuel of accomplishments, someone who lived her life fully.

I don’t know if I ever would. But that desire still burns, albeit being an extremely reduced flame. I want to see more parts of the world. More adventure. More people to meet. More life experiences.

See you someday!

 

NYC
My heart still skips a beat every time I see New York City ❤

 

“Find Your Nest Before You Fly”, Disencouragement, and Other Dilemmas

In my 2nd year of elementary school, I punched a boy in front of his mother because he mocked me. When I was criticized of my behavior as “not appropriate for girls”, my 8-year old’s words were clear and sharp:

“Emang kenapa kalau aku cewek?”
(“So what if I’m a girl?”)

To think about it, gender issues have always been something I constantly yearn to learn more and be aware of. As a little kid, I grew up alongside my twin brother. We competed hard ever since the square one. I’ve never felt that I should fall short behind him. I could be as good in school as any other boy could be. But as early as in my adolescence, I started to bombard mom with (the inevitable) question of balancing work and family. Recalling the 17 y.o. me, studying for college entrance test:

Mom, suppose I can get into that top engineering school and be a CEO… (At that time, a woman just became National Oil Company’s CEO for the 1st time in history). How can I be a good mother while working around the clock?”

My family didn’t know the concept of female corporate mothers. All mothers resigned when they entered the having-kids stage, including mine, who was once top-performer in a shoes factory. When asked why she gave it up,

I couldn’t stand having to silently took a bath in the morning so you and your twin would not wake up, scream, and beg me not to go. I wanted to see you two grow up in my own hands. Every day I came from work, exhausted, and asked myself why do I have to do this? While you were sleeping, I looked at your little faces and decided it was not worth it. So I quitted

 

I was petrified by her predictable choice.

 

I had always known where I wanted to go. My destination was always clear. Top schools. Best scores. Highest achievement. It’s been hard-wired in my mind to be the competitive, type-A personality that I’ve become getting used to. As a kid, teenager, and college student, it didn’t matter. It was good. Until one day, my grandmother came up to me months before graduation,

Don’t you think of searching for potential husbands? You’re surely a great young woman, but men are scared of you and your achievements. Don’t you think it’s time to slow down and get your friends match you up with someone? Find your nest before you fly, so you can always have a place to go back later on

At that time, I was the university’s Valedictorian, had two unsuccessful romantic relationships, and a dozen “barely there” love stories with various men, one of whom said to a friend,

She’s pretty and interesting. But it seems she’s just too smart for me?”

I gave up on finding any men worth dating. The lowest hope was Summer 2013, just in time when I met my last boyfriend. He was very supportive of whatever things I wanted to choose for my future, before the relationship crumbled because of some superstitious predictions by his conservative family.

Will cause a disintegration. Will not be good for him. Their future may not be good enough.”

With God’s grace, translates clearly into

“She’s too smart, successful, beautiful, dominant, and have such strong power to overshine our man. Forget her. Find another woman who is modest enough to be your bride. This woman is going to cook for you, have babies with you, and would not burden your life”

(Because, hey, no other reasons speak louder than that)

 

Which moves me into these questions:

  1. Why, are we women encouraged to reach high during our school years, if the end product will not be appreciated for any of her “superiority”? Why are “successful” women being socially punished?
  2. How do we, as high-achieving young women, find a spouse who would be supportive of our plans for the future, who would not be overwhelmed by our personal success, whose ego wouldn’t be “hurt”, and who would treat us as equal partners?

 

The “Having It All”

The mixture of being socially punished and too-late realization of self-worth creates this halo that errodes women’s confidence. The external pressure fractures our strongly-built bricks of pride in our own achievements. It’s sad to be the one who is trapped between the constantly escalating, incoherent expectations. Men never have to regret being who they are.

I’m now working as a Site Manager in a multinational oil and gas company. Now how’s that sound? For me, let’s be realistic:

  • It heavily minimizes the possibility of being paired with a man who earns less than me, and not working in Oil&Gas/any comparable industry as well. Even if we’re compatible, the families would squeak. The woman’s would encourage to find another man who “can balance you out” and “We believe there’s better men out there”. The man, unless he also comes from a wealthy or super tolerable family, would not completely be delighted.
  • Unless for some lucky exceptions to the rule (which actually happens, once in a while), the man would not want to see her woman getting herself dirty in a drilling mud with old guys as her rig crew. Trust me.

Eventually, the pressure goes on into the woman’s internal considerations. I’ve heard myself asking, and doubting:

  1. Why this heavily male-dominated industry? Why not a bright career in a big city, with malls just steps away and I can wear beautiful dresses and put on fancy make ups? “Because that’s what’s a woman’s supposed to do?”
  2. Do I really want to be the corporate leader, ah, do I have to be? Isn’t it enough just to be a regular worker, stuck in a non-existing career ladder….?
  3. I want kids, and I’m afraid they are not going to grow up as good as I expect them to be. When is the time to slow down? I know I’m ready to compromise if that’s what it takes, slow down my career for my gorgeous little precious, but when?
  4. When is the right time to get married? If I get married, can I continue working? Do I really want working, at all, after marriage? Being a housewife doesn’t seem to be a bad idea, either. I know a lot of women who are happy with that, and I’m happy for them too.
  5. Now, where do I find a man to get married with? I’m afraid of being single for the rest of my life. I’ve seen too many older women who haven’t been married, who are successful, who are lovely to be with. And I’m too afraid of how this society will perceive me if I am unmarried.

 

You may think I’m desperate by writing this.

I am, and I’m not afraid to admit that.

Because it’s too hard to be a woman in this 21st century, where you are expected to be too damn perfect in every aspect of your life. Those who have found her nest before she flies are so lucky, you should be grateful to have someone who wants to be your real partner. Those who can craft out their career plans clearly without having any doubt, ought to be thankful for their courage, because that’s what I’m lacking of right now. Those who cannot stop dreaming and reaching high because they are not afraid, are great, and I wish I could have that positivity.

But I’m inclined on the side that says this is not just me making up stories. These are real women’s issues that may have crossed their minds once in a while. I try hard to avoid saying this, but then again, we are just women. We want to be cared, loved, appreciated, and be heard for our own aspirations. We want to be free and be content with who we are.

Why, why is that too much to ask………..