Travel, Work, & Life Recap: Late 2022 to Early 2023

In the past few months, I had tried to sit quietly and start writing again, which all led to multiple failed attempts. It wasn’t even an effort to write something worth posting publicly – just anything in general. Whether it’s in my laptop’s drive that will never see the light of day, or in my phone’s Notes app, let alone this blog. I was always either in the middle of something that required a lot of attention, or was never really in the right mindset to pour my thoughts and heart out even though what I did most of the time were thinking and feeling.

So this is me, attempting once again. In the days leading to Eid Al-Fitr, where naturally my desire to do work has diminished significantly and I probably couldn’t be bothered to catch up with things I know I eventually will do post-Eid, so one of the few things I could do to avoid feeling like a complete trash is to be back writing again. Here’s me sitting down in a rented apartment I just moved into around three weeks ago, still in the heart of the city I have never been a fan of despite all the positive thoughts I’m trying to “delude” myself with i.e., South Jakarta, with my husband.

Yes, you read it right. I just got hitched – very recently! But so much had happened in my life prior to the big event, that this post isn’t even about the wedding and marriage itself. That one absolutely deserved a dedicated post because of the many thoughts and energy I poured into its preparation and now the household-running business. For now, a little recap about things I’ve left out to talk about ever since my last post which was still in the theme of recovering from my post-pandemic travel. As it turns out, I had gone on several solo trips following that:

UAE Trip

The UAE trip was in a way sort of a bass drop after this post. It was part of my fixed-step learning program from the company, that required us to complete all three schools within a span of typically three years or less. The pandemic obviously affected the way these schools were run, since I was supposed to do my first two schools in UAE as well but they were shifted into virtual schools – which I’m still super bummed about, realizing how amazing my third and final school was that it was held offline in one of our learning centres in Abu Dhabi.

I could honestly write a standalone post regarding the school and the following conference I presented at, because I had nothing but a total blast throughout. Met friends from multiple nationalities I immediately clicked with (even though I was the only person who spoke no languages in common with anyone other than English), met and networked with inspiring people from the company and the coolest people from other companies I am a fan of, presented a paper I co-authored with my coworkers and clients, and the list goes on and on. It was easily the greatest time I’ve ever had working at the company. Not even because of the sense of achievement that came from it, but more about the whole environment itself that allowed me to show the better versions of myself whether professionally or personally.

Jordan Trip

And between the business trip, I had a chance to solo travel to Jordan. I owe a standalone post about this one as well, because, well… this blog was initially supposed to be all about my solo travelling journey before I introduced a lot of self-deprecating posts into it when I had nothing better to talk about. (Still blaming it on the pandemic.)

I only went to three places due to the time limit, which were Wadi Rum, Petra, and Amman. I promise I’ll write all about it soon because some of the experiences were truly one-of-a-kind – but for now, here are some pictures from the trip:

Those series of six weeks have been another highlight of my 2022, other than the one-month trip I took earlier that year. And even then, still came the following.

Career

If you’ve by any chance read a few career-themed posts in this blog, you’ll realize that almost all of the time, I felt unsure of my career trajectory. Almost none of those posts had an overall positive tone – though I am still immensely grateful for it.

But 2022 had been gracefully good. It didn’t start strong because I kept delaying my overdue promotion until sometime in late Q2 where I finally got it. It was quite late compared to my peers, but I was pretty proud of the final project I worked on. Had I tried to present it sooner, I know I wouldn’t be able to understand all the whys and hows that well, whether conceptually or technically, nor answer the questions that well. So I was happy with it.

Prior to that, I unexpectedly won an award for an internal presentation at the country level that was done for each geounit. Because of that, I had the opportunity to present at the Asia level with a domain champion. It felt great because the two of us are Muslim females, presenting among a cohort where no one else looked like us. Long story short, these also led to two papers that I co-authored, and a Bronze Award for perhaps the highest award in the company.

Then came the final leg of fixed-step school I talked about earlier, followed by the presentation at a conference, which was the utmost highlight of my time here. This was perhaps the only time I thought I might have a shot at actually belonging here, or the corporate realm in general – I’m just perhaps in the wrong role at the moment. I can thrive in an environment with certain criteria that I may not experience in my current role. It did give a sense of hope that maybe, if I just hang on a little more, I will eventually land someplace where I feel that my best traits truly fit like a glove. Hopefully.

Vietnam Trip

I flew solo to Vietnam in February 2023 just because I found cheap tickets out of the blue, and thought I needed that break after the hard work I pulled in 2022.

I spent six days in Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, exploring bits of the cities and visiting the famous lantern festival of Hoi An. For half the part, because it was in the middle of our wedding planning that I would talk about just shortly after this, I spent a couple of days just cafe-hopping, coordinating all the wedding stuff from my work laptop that I brought with me because there was also a bit of work at the end of the trip. But nevertheless, I am so glad I went.

This was my first solo trip to Southeast Asia and I am thrilled about the country of my choice. The food was great, many places brought a certain sense of peace that I did not expect to encounter in such bustling cities, and I met a couple of people from Couchsurfing as well. Will post more about it separately when I have the time.

The Wedding

Then the part both of us did not quite expect to take place this “soon.”

My now husband and I had been together for a little more than nine years when he (mentioned his plan to) proposed, but all the talks about marriage had always been sporadic. And truthfully, we barely had a clear plan about the timing. Until the end of last year, when he proposed to me in private and then in front of our families, in my hometown. Therefore, in a sense, it happened quite “soon” because from the moment he told me the idea about the marriage until the engagement itself probably took just a couple weeks, and then another three months until we arrived at the wedding day.

After a careful, meticulous, and delicate planning, we tied the knot a month ago. At a beautiful outdoor venue, with its own waterlily pond like one of those Monet paintings, not far from our university where we first met. And at about half the last hours of the wedding, most guests had left that there were only our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and closest friends so it turned into a gorgeous intimate wedding, just like what we always preferred.

I would totally love to talk about all the wedding planning because I truly enjoyed the whole process. There was definitely a lot of micro-managing involved towards all vendors (because who are we kidding, I am the queen of control freak), a lot of DIYs too (because it ain’t my wedding without a sprinkle of DIY crafts or two!), and a lot of creative ideas that even though many of them weren’t realized due to the time and resource limit, I am now keen on passing this newfound passion for event planning and styling to someone else!

I.e., I am up for becoming a freelance event planner and stylist to hire if you by any chance need one!

Most of all, the bit that I appreciated so much was that the wedding planning served as a new challenge for my then-boyfriend and me that it brought a new source of excitement and thrill into our mature relationship of 9+ years. There was a lot of teamwork and filling in for each other when one cannot take the lead due to certain reasons. And among all the beautiful weddings we had attended or seen somewhere else, we’re proud to say that ours is definitely our favourite.

The Marriage

It has been a month into the marriage now, and I know how cliche it sounds but it’s truly been one of the better times in my life. From the super-short three-day honeymoon to Bali – which was more because we had booked two festival tickets even before we planned the wedding date – to apartment-hunting, apartment-moving, task-assigning concerning the household, house-cleaning, furniture-picking, grocery shopping, and everything else, I’ve loved doing every single one of these with my then-boyfriend who has now been promoted to my roommate for life!

It might be the honeymoon phase, but even past that, I could sense that this way forward is only going to be better. We’ve obviously had our first, second, and n-th small fights as husband and wife, mostly concerning the responsibilities around the house and little disagreements here and there, but even knowing there will be more of them, they just felt… Doable. Things I’m lacking at, he’s good at. Things he doesn’t want to deal with, I would volunteer to tackle. All in all, it has been an exciting journey – especially in this tiny apartment that we randomly stumbled upon and immediately fell for.


So there goes, a quick recap on some of the major things that I went through in the past few months. I am now feeling a little lighter that this post is finally coming into shape. See you in my next one, hopefully soon!

9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. The happiness and positive feeling you must’ve felt, radiating throughout this post :). Congratulation Dania, turut senang membaca tentang perjalanan, karir dan hidup baru pasca pernikahannya :)).

  2. So happy to see your name on my reader list again! Congrats for your marriage and career achievements (not just for the accolades but for also feeling like you finally fit in) 🙂 Jordan and Vietnam seem lovely too! And have I mentioned that your wedding dress looks amazing? Stay happy, Kak!

  3. My heart is full reading this post and beyond happy for everything you achieve, all the places you go, and the new journey. I wish you both happines, strength and peace to face whatever comes along the way, and hopefully more blogposts to come about everyday life. Felicitations!!😘😘

  4. Selamat ya mbak Nabila 🙂 Senang bisa membaca tulisan mbak lagi 🙂 btw, aku suka banget sama latar panggung tempat mbak dan suami berfoto di atas itu. Gorgeous! 🙂

  5. Seneng bgtttt baca rekap kehidupan kak pev. Sangat sangat membawa energi positive dan aku jg kyk ikut seneng dan bangga gitu sama pancapaian kak pev 🥰🥰🥰 selamat yaaa atas pernikahannya. Pokoknya selalu ditunggu tulisan tulisan terbarunya 🤗

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