(This post is written as part one of my three-episode #PeruMarathonSeries🇵🇪 in the spirit of Peru’s 99th independence day on the upcoming July 28th.)
It has also been sitting in my draft posts ever since I came back from the trip in September 2017, and I just never really had the chance to finish it. But now that Peru will be celebrating its 99th independence day next week, I thought what would be a better occasion to wrap up the post and publish it?
Of course with the pandemic and quarantine mode still being around, it may not be the perfect timing to plan another trip. But I hope at least this post might help ignite the wanderlust inside us all to be hopeful for our next travel plans – whenever it may be. Also, if you ever plan to visit Peru, you can always bookmark this post so you know what to prepare once we’re allowed to roam around the globe again!
My significant other of six and a half years (feels strange to type this, I barely realized this is how long we’ve been together) had his twenty-something birthday yesterday!
The spotlight of this post should probably be on him, but I’m afraid this won’t be the case. If you read this with the intention of hearing a story about A, be prepared to get disappointed. Mainly because in this post, I would talk mostly about some of the past birthday gifts that I’ve crafted for him throughout the years – thus this post is more about my crafting journey than A himself, lol.
Although in the past few years we’ve been getting each other more practical, functional, and long-lasting gifts – mainly because we’re way past the adolescent era where we still had the utmost need for attention, treatment, and so forth, and now we realize we could really use some useful “adult” tools to help each of us get through life – today I’m feeling nostalgic and just feeling like reminiscing the good old days where I would try so hard to shower him with those self-made pretty-pretties excessively.
Those who have known me since at least my undergraduate years may know that I’m a huge fan of DIY, designs, or basically anything that screams arts and crafts. So basically, I’ve been using A‘s birthdays as an excuse to nurture my passion about creating artsy-craftsy handmade knick-knacks – apart from the fact that he deserves the token of appreciation as well, of course. From the classic birthday card, birthday book, birthday lunch decor, and a couple of other things, his birthday has basically been a special occasion for me to experiment with papers and scissors.
Ever since I took my first office gig in Jakarta last year, I’ve been moving across a couple of temporary housings in the city. “Kostan” is what we call those accommodations here in Indonesia, which is basically almost like a mix of a dormitory (but not only for students) and shared house (although some of them don’t quite look like a house, especially since some of them are not equipped with parking lot, living room, laundry facilities, or even a kitchen).
Funnily enough, none of them ever felt quite as “comfortable” as an actual place to relax and unwind by the end of the day for me. Although in the context of proper beddings, furniture, and facilities which help me to fulfil my basic needs of a shelter, they are indeed physically comfortable. It’s just that none of them ever feels like a “safe haven” that I would gladly spend a whole week inside, unlike some of my previous temporary bedrooms. (I was even almost gone mad the first two weeks of WFH and quarantine, before I decided to stay with my family in Bandung instead.)
Disclaimer: I know I’m not in any way qualified to really have a trusted opinion about this, since I never even had any first-hand experience on this topic. The last time I made myself available in the dating arena was in 2013 and I had (luckily) settled with one person ever since.Nonetheless, if you still want to read my thoughts despite my absolute lack of experience, here goes!
When referring to modern dating, some of us may associate it with online dating, hence involves dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and so forth; or some dating websites, e.g. Setipe.com (is this even still a thing? I don’t even know). But what I’m about to talk about is closely related as well to other means such as ta’aruf, perhaps. Hence the bracketed modern in the title, because as far as I know, ta’aruf– or whichever term they called it in another sides of the globe – has been around since the first Muslim civilization, as the only way that is actually encouraged within Islam.
Essentially, I’m referring to a way of finding a potential partner through something other than through mutual circles, where you and the other party may not have any acquantaince and/or circle in common. In short, where you both started as regular, complete strangers. And particularly in nowadays world where almost everyone we personally know seems to have made certain trails on the internet.
As one of those people who regularly creates some digital footprints all over the web ever since I was introduced to internet, i.e. through this blog (and some of my older blogs), Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, Medium, Facebook, and so forth – I mean, look at all the social media links I listed on the top right corner of this website, and that’s just a tiny percentage of myself that are out there like an open book for anybody to study – I feel like it might be very daunting if I were to be someone who’s currently on the hunt for a significant other and then I came across and became interested in someone whose online presence resembling mine, with digital imprints from at least the past decade literally being spread across everywhere on the internet.
I know I can’t be the only person who sometimes goes to sleep thinking about a certain mistake, or embarrassing moment, or something utterly nonsense that I somehow managed to pull even out of a seemingly very casual thin air; wishing that by the time I wake up in the morning it’ll all be a distant memory that no longer matters. Except that most of the time, it does not.
The thoughts linger, and when I first open my eyes in the morning, it’s still going to be the first thing that intervenes into my mind. And then I’ll continue to have that battle within myself that won’t see a finish line until a certain situation unfolds and tells me whether or not that mess I created indeed results in something ugly – and if it does yield something bad, how bad it is exactly.
People – at least those on Indonesian Twitter-sphere, it seems, based on my not-so-in-depth popular culture observation – seem to enjoy being in a competition of: “Who overthinks the most?”. I hate to join the bandwagon as I think my particular case is not exactly special and a bunch of you may experience similar torment constantly, but I just wanted to say that these thoughts… Suck. Big time.
I find it funny that only last year, after a series of turbulence that eventually landed me somewhere where I could say, oh look, life is on my side for once – I finally had the confidence to think to myself, “This is it. I can now manage my resources and time independently towards my utmost craving for travels. There’s no stopping me now.” Then all of sudden, the coronavirus came out of nowhere – sort of. Leaving the world shattered in so many ways, in a blink of an eye. A personal long-term goal of mine included.
Until two months ago, I seemed to still have my 2020 plans (and beyond, to some extent) mapped out pretty well. I would spend weekends making a list of places I would’ve loved to visit this year, along with the corresponding dates to get the cheapest flight ticket. I had budgeted the spending for this year’s vacation and estimated how much I need to save each month to afford those. Earlier at the beginning of the year, obviously I had marked the calendar on my office desk with long weekend dates and some additional days where I planned to take my vacation as well. Those who have known me for quite some time might know that these are just the tips of the iceberg on how meticulously irritating I could get when planning something I am genuinely ecstatic about.
Even last year when I decided to sign with my current employer after long and thorough consideration, I thought at the very least that this was going to be the job that could take me to (literal) places and meet a whole bunch of new colleagues from all over the globe.* I had imagined all the mandatory trainings in Abu Dhabi and/or Melun that I, as a new hire, would be doing. Among all equally promising reasons, this was a pivotal one for me. This sort of opportunity was such a routine, a standard normal, a fact that has been going on in the company for literally decades that I didn’t stop to think if there was a remote possibility that for once, this might not be the case.