A Decade Rewind

Hi, there.

It’s been quite a hiatus, isn’t it? A year and a half of not being present here, where a lot had happened. Too much, almost.

With the year of 2019 – and basically, the whole decade – is coming to an end, I thought I could maybe write something just so that the blog does not skip a year. Plus, isn’t it basically the most perfect timing? A piece to recap what had been said and done or left otherwise, not only for the past 1.5 years, but also perhaps the whole decade altogether. Crowds on Twitter and Instagram have been doing it anyways, so I guess I might as well jump on the bandwagon.

And so here goes.

My search began on Facebook, so I definitely went a little too extra as usual. Google Photos and gazillion pictures from my external hard drive also brought back endless streams of memories. Spent several hours rambling through those photos, trying to salvage pictures that define each year, or at least resembling it. And it’s amazing how I could still remember much, if not most, of the feelings that I got from those events that were passing by.

Like the lightweight, neutral, and completely undisturbed feelings when celebrating one of my high school classmates’ birthday in a pizza place one afternoon, even though it was gloomy outside;

or the excitement when having a sleepover with my college girls, gossiping about the threads on the Secret app back when it was still the bomb (and available);

or the burdened, heavy mood when I woke up a bit too late sometime in November 2017, realizing that I still had one more year left to pull through before I could come back home.

What a decade it has been, with all those emotions, events, actions, faces, stories, memories, episodes.. And I have nothing but gratitude indeed.

*Disclaimer: I really wish the rest of this post won’t sound like it comes straight out of LinkedIn. But it is almost impossible to do the recap if I have to take out the details on my professional development altogether – especially because it’s the story about my 17 year-old self evolving into the 26 year-old self where nearly everything I did was to try to constantly achieve another milestone – like the rest of us does, I suppose. So you might notice a bit of LinkedIn vibes here and there, but I promise I did my best to make it sound as ordinarily humane as possible!

*Extra disclaimer: You might also notice that the pictures only show happy moments, since apparently – like most of us does – I did not naturally want or even remember to take pictures when I was crying or stressed out to death. So although it might seem that – judging from the photos – I had much fun throughout the years, it could only explain so much about what was underneath. Plus, of course I only picked pictures in which I looked good!

And into the time machine we go..

2010: It’s a bit difficult to recall much, except to remember that I was still an insecure high-schooler who thought everyone was better than me in every possible way. Nevertheless, had my first overseas travel with AFS Jenesys – which basically saved me from believing that the three years I spent in high school were a complete wreck. Experienced snows for the first time, and celebrated my 17th birthday in Tokyo! Stayed in a hotel room that overlooked the rainbow bridge during my birthday, and didn’t expect to still get birthday surprises from the friends I had just recently made.



2011: Finally said “F— high school,” ’cause what matters is that it brought me to ITB at last! This was definitely a year of making new circles. Overjoyed. Had so much laugh. Everything seemed well, felt even better.



2012: Another year of bonding with people. Became a part of Liga Film Mahasiswa ITB, and later studio photographer for the ITB graduation project. Had awesome teammates during the OSKM taplok training where we pretty much spent most of our time dying from laughter. Got accepted into the Geological Engineering major. Did osjur – which I kinda liked in a way that I got to bond with many people I probably wouldn’t have bonded with otherwise, but also made me feel like I was *this* close to dying. Eventually became a part of GEA, then took on my first committee role as a Head of Event during Malam Jakun night. There was absolutely one occasion where I cried after the “rapat” finished because I was *that* exhausted of defending all the arguments, lol.


2013: Climbed my first peak! Mt. Cikuray 2,818 mdpl with an amazing bunch. Also went with the class of 2011 to Sawarna Beach and had nothing less than fun. Became a Teaching Assistant for the first time. (Yay Palaeontology!) Became obsessed with peach color. Definitely that girl who wore galaxy-printed and pink chevron-patterned clothings to her classes. Got A a handmade birthday gift that involved a Sufjan Steven’s song and an expired film roll. September 18 was our official date. Went to a very short escape to Surakarta by train with A and had our first proper picture taken! Tried out graphic designs and video editing, and apparently I had enough skills and talent to become the go-to person for the coming future.


2014: Took on a leadership position that also fueled my passion in creative fields. Still confused as to how I survived Karsam – other than because of the friends I was there with. Went to Duri to have my first internship, at Chevron. Made A a book of birthday wishes from more than 70 respondents. Had our first photobox taken! Joined AOTULE Summer Program. Went to a field trip to Mahakam Delta where I had too much fun regardless of the stinging sunlight and endless seafood that I could not eat. Generally tired and overwhelmed but deeply satisfied. Broke my personal GPA record despite all the madness, yay me.


2015: A defended his undergraduate thesis, so I made more handmade gifts for the occassion. Did my second (and most likely the last, lol) geological mapping during the IGC competition. Couldn’t attend A’s graduation because of that, but we got Best Poster so it was not for nothing :). Lived as “anak kostan” for the first time during my thesis work in Jakarta. Defended my thesis in August, attended the graduation ceremony in October, got a scholarship in December that later brought me to Canada. Also got my first paycheck! And established @dhaniaalbani.


2016: The beginning of an entirely new life. Prior to that, hosted A’s birthday bash with handmade decors here and there – which I was super proud and excited about. Also published my first paper from my thesis! And got my driving license. Then off to Edmonton, Canada, while A was off to Delft, the Netherlands for his Master’s as well. Saw the majestic Rockies. Climbed my first peak of boulders, snows, and extremely strong winds at Mt. Edith Cavell in Jasper. Enjoyed my stay at the International House. Grew really close to a group of friends that I forgot I was supposed to feel scared about moving to a new continent all by myself. Went to a couple road trips with the best playlist, thanks to the U of A Outdoors Club. Went to the States for Christmas and New Year’s Eve with the greatest group of people I could think of. Best fall season of my life – the harsh winter even felt like nothing, almost. Had the best birthday gift from A, which was a video compilation from my closest pals. Also got a homemade birthday cake from a couple lovely IHousers. Thought I was going to love my Master’s years – although sadly, slightly incorrect.


2017: The ride had gone south indeed. Lots of tears, anxiety, and fear, although my travels saved me. Lots of farewell too. Moved to a new shared house. Felt drawn to the comfort of being spiritually “awake.” Started the cycle of sleepless nights. Generally sad except during spring and summer. Going back and forth to the counseling offices. On a brighter note, saw more parts of Canada than I could ever imagine I would be able to. Had my first two solo travels. Also stepped on the South American continent for the first time! And Daughter concert, which brought me to know (and be obsessed with) Vancouver Sleep Clinic who became the opening performance. Attended Oh Wonder concert too. Survived all the heartbreaks nevertheless, couldn’t be more proud of myself. A huge part of it was because of A’s patience as well, so thank you!


2018: Moved to a two-bedroom apartment with one of my closest friends at uni. Experienced the worst feelings I could ever comprehend. Never been that scared, disappointed, and ashamed. More sleepless nights, sometimes for three days straight. In a couple occassions, stayed up at the office until the following morning to finish writing my thesis drafts. Sure enough, had to have the cherry on top which was Edmonton’s longest winter. However, had my best Ramadan ever. Experimented with baking a lot. And finally had a group of Indonesian friends! Wasn’t always happy but when I was, I definitely had my best, loudest laughs in Canada. Also became a speaker at a conference and was given my own geological hammer, so at least I didn’t feel like a failure. Well, of course I’m not, ’cause this bitch defended her Master’s thesis in September at long last!!


Bonus: Bon Iver concert.  (During Ramadan, so I had to postpone breakfasting until 11PM and rushed home afterwards to pray magrib, but it was worth it!)

Extra bonuses: A defended his Master’s thesis as well and graduated from TU Delft, and my not-so-young-anymore brother got accepted into ITB. Alhamdulillah.

2019: Back to my home country after 2.5 years. Reunited with the most important people in my life. Blew the house’s stove when attempting to use an oven to bake banana bread! Oops. Went to a 3-hour karaoke session with Bunda and her friends, singing songs from their era and never felt so belong in a karaoke room. Officially moved out of my parents’ house and lived in Jakarta. Started learning French. Got a job that gave me my first own workstation. Finally came to a point in my life where apparently my personal goals weren’t aligned with what my inner circle wished for, including my family, A, and A’s family. Had my first family drama on convincing everyone to trust my gut and give their blessings for the major choice I wanted to make. Had to make an incredibly difficult decision, but eventually moved to another job that gave me a permanent position. Went to my first overseas business trip to Abu Dhabi!


And that’s it. That’s the decade recap for me.

Conclusion: blessed, empowered, definitely brutal at times, full of road turns. But couldn’t wait to write another history, do my firsts of many things, and break another personal record. And I hope *you* too!

Also, here’s a bonus picture when apparently, there was one time where I remembered to take pictures even when I wasn’t particularly happy about an incident:

When I blew up the stove during my first night of coming back to Indonesia.



10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Kaaaaak…aku kayak ikutan happy banget pas tau kamu dan A samasama melanjutkan master di luar negeri. And knowing that you still mention his name in each year from 2013 until 2019 warms my heart somehow.

    Btw foto fotomu keren banget I love it ❣️

    Oiya kamu juga suka main postcrossing kah?

    1. Waaa terima kasih for such kind words, Nadya 🤍 dan foto-fotomu juga keren banget! I always wish I were that classy old soul girl who had enough talent (and luck) to be able to capture those sweet-toned analogue photos like you did!

      Aku main postcrossing 2016-2018 ajaa, sejak itu belum sempat lagi huhu. Always wanted to do it again but I kept forgetting, lol. I take it that you do, then?

      1. You’re welcome! Anyway I visited your Instagram as well; I was awestruck by your amazing photos. The angel & the tone is just perfffecttt ✨✨✨ I bet many people should’ve pointed this out to you.

        Iya aku juga, tapi di taun 2016-2017/18an dan baru mulai lagi bulan ini karena selalu gasempet sempet idk why padahal aku ga ngapa-ngapain

        Btw kenapa kalau kamu balas commentku ga masuk ke notifikasiku ya? Huhuhu

        1. Awe thank youuu. I’ll fly to your IG soon. Bet it’s equally amusing to your quality blog photos!

          Hm aku juga bingung kalau orang comment di blogku yang ini gak masuk notif di WP Reader deh. Harus login ke blognya dulu via browser (jadi bukan login ke akun WP yang di dalamnya ada 3 blog aku… Kebayang gak si huaha) baru muncul di Comments. Tapi di websiteku yang lain commentnya masuk ke notif di WP Reader. Hmmm.

          Anw coba aku lihat-lihat deh settingsnya, mungkin ada pluginku yang nge-override settingan WP-nya. Thanks for pointing that out Nadya!

    1. My Master’s was a research-based one, so for the most parts I was doing the thesis.. For me it’s not completing it that’s the hardest part per se, but more about the fluctuation in the daily life’s challenges that kinda interfered with my effort in trying to finish my study.. Btw thanks so much for dropping by & for all your comments! You seem to have a fun life going on as well with all those exposures with a diverse group of people 🙂

  2. Hi Kak Nab,
    I had just stopped by your blog and ended up scrolling through your posts. I must say that you are such an inspiration ✨️☺️ not only by the way you entwine words into paragraphs and make your reader dive into your universe (which warm their heart), but also on your value and your eagerness of seeing the world.
    Before reading your blog, I was a bit lost and skeptical on reaching my goals, but your writing lit my soul to strive again kak. Really thankful that I found your blog 🤍
    Thankyou for writing ya kak, keep inspiring 🌞🍃

    1. Awww hello there! You’re being too sweet and your comment makes my day even though I don’t even think I’m half as cool as what you make me sound in your comment lol🥺 Wishing you all the perseverance, agility, and luck to get to where you want to be! Thanks for reading and swinging by as well☺️

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