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

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.

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UK & Ireland, 2022: A Month of Serendipitous Occurrences

UK & Ireland, 2022: A Month of Serendipitous Occurrences

Came for the places and the chance for a month-long quality time with myself, but stayed for all the serendipitous encounters and happenstances that I never anticipated to happen.

That is perhaps how my recent travels to the UK, Ireland, and other British Crown dependencies in-between in May 2022 were best summarized.

It was the first time I solo travelled after a long-overdue five-year, also the first in my late twenties. Perhaps the title that is most fitting to label the trip was an “ultimate bachelorette solo pilgrimage,” considering this might have been the all-in journey that uplifted me emotionally and spiritually in a way, almost like a personal pilgrimage, and also possibly the peak of travels I’d be able to do in my unmarried years considering my hectic daily 8-to-5 job in that would most likely stay so in the next few years.

I remember that my younger self used to consider solo travelling as an outlet to be fully alone with myself – a time where I would allow my introverted side to shine unabashedly.

However, it was a much different one this year. Being 28, I had approached the chance to wander around a foreign territory all by myself differently, without even realizing it in the first place.

To start, I met and connected with dozens of interesting souls that I’d definitely lose count of had I not jotted their names down a list in my private notes. I witnessed how my best personality I had forgotten to possess bloomed and lingered given the right circumstances. I experienced a handful of surprising, even to some extent life-altering occurrences that I hadn’t even thought about ever coming about. I also had a few moments of deep ponders and contemplations about life that led me to revisit my childhood dreams, ask myself about what rings the truest to my heart, and notice all the different spectrums of emotions I could be immersed in had I just allowed myself to sense and absorb them mindfully.

It is perhaps impossible to include all those stories about rewarding and meaningful occurrences within a blog post. A whole book is what would be needed to elaborate all the intricate details – the tiny bits that led to the bigger picture of recalibrating my north star, redefining my core, and rediscovering joy and love. And I certainly did not expect a month trip to lead to this much of serendipitous encounters and findings.

But this post will be the start – the prequel that perhaps serves as an epitome to the thirty-day journey, which to me meant way so much more than just visiting and seeing new places halfway across the globe after years of deferral. To me, it’s the people, and the compassion from them and the universe that had made all the differences.

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That Heathrow Morning Scene; May the Fifth

That Heathrow Morning Scene; May the Fifth

It followed a seven-and-a-half-hour flight across the terrain, where the last one-third of a night slowly shifted into a dazzling sunrise from above the clouds, followed by a sunny, lukewarm morning on a different continent.

The woman could particularly recall a pair of hazel eyes and coiffured, well-groomed hair of a similar shade from that morning. Fair skin in contrast to her tan. Sharp-edged nose underneath a black-coloured face covering. An approximately six-foot tall man in his white tees and beige sweatpants. A black carry-on duffle bag. A two-hour conversation and shared chuckles, that led to zero names, let alone trails of any sort.

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Happy Birthday, A & Some of His Birthday Memento in Review

Happy Birthday, A & Some of His Birthday Memento in Review

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.

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Memory from a drizzly afternoon spring

Memory from a drizzly afternoon spring

Edmonton, Spring 2018

There is something quite liberating about chilling on the balcony of your third-floor apartment in a rainy afternoon, under the huge, shady trees, just letting the rain shower your bare skins as you embrace the spring breeze. For a moment, forgetting about those unsettling emotions and unfinished chores. Breathe, let loose. Smell the dry earth. Sing a farewell ode to snows.

I think the majority of us often forgets to appreciate the small details that make life hurt slightly less, and enlighten the world slightly more.

A Decade Rewind

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.

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