Working Mom vs. Stay At Home Mom

Every mom wants to be the best for her child: to do what is the best for her child. However, the judgments of society continue to be there and drag the moms down out there. I am writing this post after I get many people curl their lips at me. So, for moms who are experiencing the same thing, here is my toast for you.

I decided to go back to work after giving birth to my first child. My husband is busy in the lab, then I also work. The question is: who is looking after our daughter? This question is coming from my friends and family. Since we don’t live in Indonesia, of course our big family and friends knew perfectly well that we don’t have any extra help unless we hire a babysitter which we don’t. My mom has stayed with us for almost 3 months but she has to get back to Indonesia. Thus, the only option we had is leaving her in the daycare.

Many have questioned my decision to return to work and my husband allowed me to work. But, I don’t care enough to stop myself from doing what I’m doing: being a working mom. I return to work for many reasons. For me, working gives me intellectual stimulation, keeps me connected to the outside world, and makes me less stressful if I stay home 24/7.

But there is this very powerful thing that we call a social media. It has brought moms out there to sneer at each other. I am well aware that Stay At Home Moms is a formidable mom because they are able to overcome a human’s main enemy: boredom. They are able to spend valuable time at home and take care of the family’s necessities from A to Z.

To be honest, I  feel tired with all the debates about these two types of moms.

We are both parents. We want the best for our children. We recognize ourselves better than others. Whatever decision my husband and I take is the best we think and we realize it is not necessarily good for my cousins’, my friends’, my neighbors’ family, or any family in the other side of the world. Vice versa. So, I don’t care.

I spent my 5,5 years in my universities for my degrees. My parents fought for us to live off in our hard time. I just don’t want to give that up. Therefore, I work. I don’t want my daughter feel the same. It’s just a natural feeling. I decide to ‘help’ my husband paying our bills, movie tickets, or pizza delivery because me cooking a proper dinner is only happened on our weekend. I really appreciate the Stay At Home Moms who always get up to date about what is a good parenting. They can capture every single move their children do. They can cook a good meal for their children and husbands. They can have their own time to try a newest skincare.

But again, there is a price to be paid. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, my dear self.

There are some of my friends in social media who almost always indicate that they are a good example of parenting because they are a Stay At Home Mom. Yes, Dear. You are good for your child and yes it is according to you. But that’s not necessarily good for me and my child. I don’t want to look down your decisions for all the reasons behind that you may not work not out of self-will but a compelling condition: your husband forbids, you don’t fit to any job offer, or you just fail to get a job. The thing that really annoys me is that you simply point out that I’m a type of ‘failed and worst’ mom.

I just want to say that we all want our children to grow up healthy and happy. We work hard for it whatever end we use and how much we spend. We are both mentally and physically tired at the end of our days in the office or at home. We are both short of time with our husbands. We are equally self-doubt about our decision. We are equally afraid that our child wants a different mom figure than we are today.

But, we are equally responsible for our little darling, our household, and the work outside. Mom is the first one to wake up in the middle of the night if the child is starving or in pain. Moms will stay up all night waiting for their children when they are sick. Don’t forget that we, moms, went through the pain when we delivered our little lives that we’ve created.

The debate about who’s the best mom and who’s the worst mom shouldn’t be a trend. The commonality of moms should make all moms out there reinforce each other instead of tearing down each other. Sometimes, the power comes from an unknown person who is equally suffering the same. So, you could be my strength and I could be yours. We should be an ally no matter what kind of mom you are and I am.

We have our own preference and live with that. So, please don’t be so teachy in that mean way.

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Why I don’t post my daughter’s picture on my social media? (They call it Sharenting)

I found myself in a quite difficult situation when I have to explain to my friends and family why I likely never put my daughter’s pictures on my social media. It’s seems like I don’t share my happiness with them when I have this little darling coming to my life. The ‘sharenting’ phenomena has brought my sense back that if I don’t hold myself posting those pictures of her, I would be ended up having thousands of hers running wild in the social media. My thing is, this is not about my wish. This is about her and for sure, under her consent.

Frankly, I would think that my daughter lying naked while bathing would be a funny moment to be kept. Yes. I kept it. I’ll show her someday. But make it public? No. This is my and my husband’s decision to go with after we went through our own thought and research. I am sharing this personal decision because I was amazed with the question of us not sharing our moments with the new baby. They might be thinking that we are not happy with her or ashamed of her. The reality is that I and my husband are so happy to have her right now. Sharing this happiness doesn’t mean that we should post her picture online, at least that what we believe.

Posting up the pictures of your child is a commonplace right now. The proud feeling of how cute their children are or the thought that they are doing a good parenting (and it is necessary to tell people as many as possible) is something that parents have. This is the very basic reason why they post very often (as what I could see so far). Of course, every parents would think they are doing the right things and they believe that sharing it will, somehow, ‘help’ other parents. I don’t blame (and never will) their doings.

When I dressed her and I found it very cute, the first thing I want to do is to share that. Sharing that here look at my baby. Isn’t she cute? When she smiles or laughs, believe me I really want to share it. But again, I think twice. At the first time find myself very hard to not to post it. Later on, I could get in to this line: never, or very rarely, put her picture on my social media. Let alone setting a new account for her.

When you are being amazed with their growth and then get used to post your children’s pictures on your social media, you will find yourself addicted and perhaps, couldn’t stop. Having their childhood moments (embarrassing or not) available online would be something harmful psychologically for them in the future. Someone they know might end up searching their embarrassing childhood moments that you’ve posted. Imagine how upset they are when they know their parents share publicly what they don’t want other people to see. Bullying is a real thing. Life is hard for kids now, I don’t want to make it harder by providing something that may drag my daughter into that thing.

I would prefer spending hours on the phone with my mom telling about my daughter’s new move each day. It is a perfect way to share and keep your privacy in the right track, for me at least. It will strengthen my bond with my family and friends, especially my mom, because they know about my daughter from me directly not from the picture that I post online.

For parent, children are very important. Of course, my daughter is my most precious possession I have and putting her on social media with all the risks that could happen is a very hasty decision. Why would I bring my very vulnerable little princess on a public attention?

I believe no parents ever want or even think to harm their children. None of them does. I do things that I believe it’s right for my daughter and I respect their rights to do differently. I totally understand that this post is kind of creating an image that I’m judging them for doing differently. But here is the thing, by posting their children’s pictures on their social media they just open a potential injury to their children. Posting pictures could unfold the features that shouldn’t be known by strangers: their full name in their uniforms, school’s name and address, favorites (animal, food, and etc.) that could attract them to the strangers anywhere, and some others extra features that the parents may less cautious for.

Sure, I have many moments when I do take a pictures with some family, friends, and colleagues (with my daughter in it). Then I start to construct the idea of there should be a parent consent before posting a picture where there is their children’s feature in it. I don’t want my daughter’s picture being posted by others without my consent. That’s it. The fact that most of the parents don’t care about this thing really terrifies me.

As a parent, I would be happily tell everyone that I’m proud of my daughter and share the achievement she has. Posting it to my social media is very tempting –believe me- but I realize once it is in there, there will be no control over it. It is simply because I don’t want my daughter becomes a subject of people’s attention or judgment (based on her picture) while she doesn’t have to (want it) only because my itchy finger on my phone screen.

And as a person, I’m an old school type in the sense of going online. I don’t post my daily life very often and yes, personal (and family) matter stays personal. Whether I’m happy or not, sad or not, excited or not, I will try to make it personal. You won’t easily find my personal matter online. I don’t have any desire to keep posting daily and being sick if I don’t post anything. Until my daughter could understand the privacy policy of the social media and be able to sign in herself, I wouldn’t put her picture online with full and/or important features of her.

What is that I am afraid of? As a person, I will feel a satisfaction when I reach the number of likes (of my posted pictures) and get addicted to post that again and again. As a parent, that likes and comments will make me think that I am doing a good parenting. Then, I will keep posting my daughter’s pictures and perhaps won’t be able to stop. So, before I trap myself in, I’d rather to stay away from doing that in the first place.

And oh, I really really am confused with the fact that the parents don’t want their children playing the social media themselves without their advice. Yet, the parents keep posting their children pictures online. Have you ever ask these question: why do you put their picture online when in the same time you don’t want them going online themselves? Is it a parent’s ego? Why would you wish your children a happy birthday when they are not in the social media? They are too young to be able to read all those posts (and yes they aren’t on the social media yet).

We, as a child, often think that our parents are selfish. Then now, as a parent, would we think and ask ourselves whether we are being selfish or not towards our children?

Please note that I’m not judging anyone here. It’s just my explanation and rational thought of why I don’t post my daughter’s pictures online.

Me Against YÖK (Yükseköğretim Kurulu)

For an international student, bureaucracy sometime becomes a backstop for education. Well, this is my story dealing with YÖK (Yükseköğretim Kurulu) or Higher Education Council of Turkey. My experience is quite rare actually because I’ve never met any other students –Indonesian or other nationality- shared the same problem. Let me cut the crap and straight to the story!

It was one sunny afternoon on May 26, 2017, when I received an email to ask me coming to the Graduate office of my university. I was about to lay down on my bed because I just arrived from campus attending a seminar. Then, placing a call to the institute secretary was my option. I mean, I fell tired and going back to campus was a burdensome. But, I smelled something fishy after she answered my why question with “it’s better if you just come here and we can talk”. Without wasting any second, I grabbed my bag and went out.

Long story shorted, I sat in her office and heard the most shocking news.

“Amdya, did you remember that we enlist every international students to YÖK?”

“Yes. I did. It is compulsory, as far as I can remember. Do I have a problem?”

“Your university in Indonesia is not on YÖK’s list. We’ve just received the letter.”

“And?”

“You can’t continue your master in Turkey.”

“What do you mean? I’m granted a scholarship from TUBITAK and I’m accepted in this university. How can you say that I can’t continue my education?”

“Every international students’ universities outside Turkey should be in the list of YÖK. If not, there is nothing you can do.”

“Wait! I have three other friends from the same university and the same program with me back in Indonesia. They have no problem with YÖK at all and now they are still enlisted as a student in three different university in Turkey. And, now me? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“To be honest, there is nothing you can do.” In Turkish: yapacak bir şey yok. When this words came out from any other Turks, please never lose hope.

“What option do I have?” I knew that complaining to her would just cost me another time to be wasted.

“You can finish one semester here and get a transcript for that as a guest student or you can finish the two semesters also as a guest student. But if you don’t want, we can give you a student certificate explaining you’re here for a semester. The thing is, there will be no diploma for you.”

“It doesn’t make any sense. Please hand me the letter, I’m going to Ankara now.”

Then, she printed it.

“I hope the best for you.”

“Thanks.”

That was when my journey began. I explained everything with my husband (at the time he was my very close one and he was in Ankara). He arranged me tickets and picked me up. With all those sadness, I went to YÖK office in Ankara. I asked to meet the one who signed the letter but apparently it was signed by the general secretary and there was no way for me to meet him. Thus, we went through all the process to set a schedule to meet him which was never happened.

Gaining information here and there, the officers asked us to fill the petition (in Turkish: dilekçe) to manually register myself to be able to enlisted under YÖK. This process was compulsory for foreign master student. But, later we realized that that was not the problem. The problem was my previous university in Indonesia, Hasanuddin University, was not on the list of YÖK.

The day was very hard for me, and for him too. We decided to go back tomorrow to see how far we’ve progressed and what else we could do. The next day, there was a new positive way out. I could manually enlist Hasanuddin University to the YÖK list. I took all the information from the authorized personnel and started to contact anyone in Hasanuddin University, including my lecturer and international office staff, to initiate the process. Indonesian Embassy in Ankara was our next destination, hoping that we could get any help from there. But, apparently they couldn’t do much. They promised us to follow up and speed up the process once we started initial step.

Fortunately, the international office staff of Hasanuddin University gave a fast response and was ready for the whole process. It was also because of my lecturer’s help who went to the rectorate office explaining my condition. Unfortunately, it would take a long time. The letter should be prepared by Hasanuddin University, sent to and legalized in Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Indonesian Embassy in Turkey, then sent to and legalized in Turkish Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before sent to YÖK for the approval.

Then, I ensured that I was in the right track by confirming it to my institute secretary and the upcoming news was shocking again. She said that I just had time until the next registration term in September, meant that I just had three months left to complete the progress before September. Being desperate, I contacted all my professors, including my advisor, explaining my recent condition and insisting that this would be over soon. In my deepest heart, I fell that I won’t be able to have it done by the mentioned time.

Still, I had no other choice than do what I should do that time. Thus, I prepared for the worst case scenario: say goodbye to Istanbul before even 2 years. But I didn’t want to get back to Indonesia with a shameful face. Even I explained to the world my problem was, there will be no warm welcome or soothe words to burn my spirit again. So, I searched any other opportunity that I could get in other country: being a scholarship hunter again. Thankfully, one of my professor was ready to equip me with a good recommendation and with that, I thought I was ready for the hunting session.

One day after I went back to Istanbul, my husband went to YÖK office to ensure the progress and ask some queries. Then, this extraordinary drama happened. One of the officers, perhaps she was irritated by my husband’s queries, asked my husband to enter her room and look up at her computer saying “just search her university here in the list.”

And you know what my husband found?

HASANUDDIN UNIVERSITY MAKASSAR was on the list.

My university was there.

Unbelievable. It was insane. Really! I couldn’t think more. A human error. Really?

If I was there, seeing that list, screening it, I would’ve asked “Are you blind? Are you illiterate? Is it a prank? Like, Seriously?” I would’ve been a drama queen. Definitely.

This institution, the Higher level of education of this country, almost sent me home only because one of its employee couldn’t read properly. Should I buy him a glasses or should I teach him to read?

Luckily, because my husband is a very kind (or unable to get angry?), he didn’t throw something to the computer (or to the employee). Instead, he said to her nicely (I could imagine) that my university was there and that HASANUDDIN UNIVERSITY MAKASSAR was my university.

Long story shorted, she then prepared a letter to correct the decision. My husband also asked her to call Bilgi University institute secretary to confirm this mistake.

Yes, I’ve been released since the day I heard this bad news. For the first time I could smile and sleep well.

I was waiting my advisor when my husband called me explaining all these dramas. Nothing I did but crying, yes… I barely realized that I was crying when he phoned me. It was a pain relieve. It was a grateful tears.

But on top of everything, it was a question: why they were so incompetent? Didn’t they realize that they almost send me back home only for a human error? The YÖK was the higher council for the education. How could those people ‘easily’ do their job? I was afraid that I wasn’t the only one. I was frightened what would happen if I didn’t fight for this. I was wondering what would happen if this ‘yapacak bir şey yok’ stuck in my head and I followed it innocently because I thought I wouldn’t be able to win against the YÖK, let alone the bureaucracy.

Those thought came up after I almost gave up.

This story, indeed, was a gift for me. A very precious gift that made me learn a lot: that I should never give up even the universe forced you to do so. It made me believe that there will be a guardian angel that God sent for you to get through all of these. I was very grateful for every single particular events.

This is why I’ve told you that for me Turkey is full of surprise. No wonder I was in love-hate relationship with it. I have a lot of reasons thou. So, just bear with me if you still wonder what happened during my engaged time in Istanbul.

Inspiring or Just a Showing Off?

Bedanya menginspirasi dan pamer itu tipis, cyin.

Sudah lama saya cukup teriritasi dengan beberapa postingan orang (yang unfortunately saya follow di media sosial) dan tidak cukup ‘berani’ untuk meng-unfollow mereka karena kekerabatan yang cukup dekat. Hal yang kemudian saya lakukan adalah: menutup permanen salah satu akun sosial media saya, yaitu Path.

Maraknya pertumbuhan angka selebgrams saat ini menjadi trend anak muda dan juga ibu-ibu muda (ataupun tua). Post foto dan kemudian di-like or love oleh followers adalah candu. Candu yang begitu dahsyat sehingga seseorang rela menggelontorkan dana sosial (untuk dirinya sendiri) seperti membeli likes or followers, membeli baju baru untuk bahan post baru, makan di restoran mewah, nongkrong di café baru, mencicipi kue-kue kekinian, dan banyak hal lainnya yang tentu berdasar pada uang.

Sejujurnya, ada perasaan dimana saya sering nyeletuk dalam hati: elah, gitu aja dipamerin. Kadang bahkan celetukan itu menjadi semakin self-centre ketika saya kembalikan ke diri saya sendiri: cuy, saya juga biasa kok makan minum gituan, nongkrong ke sana sini, pake ini itu, tapi tidak saya pamer. Banyak sekali hal yang bisa saya pamerkan, jika saya mau tentunya. Tapi, saya ingat lebih banyak orang yang ‘lebih di atas’ dari saya tapi tidak serta merta memamerkan apa yang mereka punya. Sementara saya, apalah saya ini? Bukannya sok merendah atau sok meninggi di waktu yang sama, saya hanya mencoba mengenali posisi saya sebenarnya. Sounds so pathetic? Yes. Sayangnya, saya tidak memiliki nyali yang cukup untuk dihujat ‘sok pamer’.

Budaya memamerkan apa yang dimiliki menurut saya adalah hal yang baru merebak sejak naik daunnya sosial media segala rupa. Kompetisi dunia maya membuat orang-orang berlomba mendapat pengakuan atas apa yang dilakukan dan dimilikinya. Tapi, bagi beberapa orang-orang tindakan semacam ini bukan memamerkan sesuatu melainkan memberikan inspirasi. Elah! Excuse ini kemudian melahirkan generasi-generasi ‘sok inspiratif’ dalam hal berpenampilan, bersosialisasi, berpendidikan, dan lebih parah lagi: beragama.

Kebiasaan pamer yang semakin menjadi-jadi (dengan atau tanpa disadari oleh orang tersebut) bisa menjadi penambah jarak silaturrahmi. Pamer itu, menurut saya, adalah sesuatu yang dilakukan seseorang untuk ‘meninggikan’ dirinya. Let alone pamer galau dan alay! Itu diluar konteks post ini. Iya, ada sih pamer yang tidak ‘meninggikan’ diri, tapi most of the time pamer itu diperuntukkan kenaikan posisi di mata sosial dengan cara yang cukup smooth.

Bagi saya, candu pamer semacam ini adalah hal yang bisa dihentikan (jika mau).

Mungkin bagi kalian saya terdengar (seharusnya terbaca) adalah tukang ngomong doang. Yah, saya memang tidak menyukai beberapa posts orang yang saya follow dan saya tidak memiliki cukup keberanian untuk menegur langsung atau bahkan unfollow. Iya, saya masih memiliki keinginan untuk mempunyai hubungan baik dengan orang-orang tersebut terlepas dari satu sifat pamernya itu. Iya, dan saya masih manusia biasa yang kadang merasa terganggu dengan kelakuan mereka. Tapi pilihan apa yang saya punya? Satu, cablak aja cuy. Dua, pura-pura tidak melihat dan menyadari. Tiga, tutup akun sosial media aja cyin.

Here, I’m not playing victim. Being a victim is just a matter of perspective. You could bother or be bothered, it’s depend on how you see yourself and where.

If I say: to be honest, I could say I have a lot of things to be shown off if I want. I have a good life with a loving husband and family, nice long last friendships, a kind-hearted boss and a well-paid job, a good education background, a strong personality, and many more that I can manifest into Instagram posts and get admiration for those.

Then, if you read my last paragraph and imagine that I post everything that I have in my Instagram page, would you consider me as an inspiring person despite my dictions? If you have a pure heart (or innocent thought) perhaps you’d say yes I’m inspiration. You will try to copy my life and set your life goal as what I’ve shown. Then, at the very basic you just have to realize that everyone is different. You can’t be me and neither can I. Being inspired is good and being an inspiration is better. But look, it will drive us into some part of deeper relations in an unrealistic world.

Here is the thing, being able to post something magnificent in a social media will cost you a dependency. You will be encouraging yourself to post more and more. People giving you an accomplishment for what you’ve posted is something that will make your day. In a long run, you’ll be exhausted to fulfill everyone’s wit. How if you stop to be inspiring, one day you feel tired and decide to rest, people will mock.  And, you couldn’t blame them for that. Your followers never been wronged. Or the worst thing is, you will be addicted to be a part of the never-end circle of social media trend like once you’re in no way out. It is sound like a horror-thriller movie, isn’t it?

In this post, I may sound sarcastic again. But, the thing is I’m kind of sick of what I’ve seen in my Instagram. I need it to be connected due to my actual distance from most of my family and friends. I need it to be able to see what’s going on, yes I want to be updated also for sure. But then I just realized that everything has two sides. Take it or leave it. And for now, I choose to take it. Leaving it may become an option for undecided time frame.

I know that some of you positioning yourself in mine. Being so sarcastic and a coward in the same time regarding this issue. Some of you may blame my words and consider it as a very insulting and wiseacre person. I could fully understand all those thoughts and I am still being irritated with the way people think. Unfortunately, I could barely stand with that because I still have other persons with the same frequency with me toughen each other.

For those who consider themselves as an inspiration and keep inspiring people with what they believe as an inspiration, I’m not cursing or blaming you all. I just want to let you know that there are people out there, like me, who feel very poor with the recent condition of what you consider as inspiring.

My husband once told me to leave behind those kind of immature people and asked me why I don’t show off what I have. My answer is, I don’t want to be addicted like those kind of likely-inspiring persons, that I’m afraid I will turn out be like them and I won’t be able to stop myself. I just have a different wit with them.

I don’t force them to stop. I don’t force myself to curse more.

The last thing, let me quote one of my favorite old proverbs:

Langit tak perlu menjelaskan mengapa dia tinggi.

Education and Behavior

Education is important. For everyone with no exception.

What, where, and how you will get education is the question that should remain in ourselves. None of us, women and men, wants to be left behind because our lack of education. The thing is, what makes you being educated?

Sorry if my question is quite sarcastic. I was just amazed with how the education could put an extra label on someone. Like, oh that woman is high-educated. Or, oh that woman is a good catch (because she holds a good education level). Well, it is more than that.

The education is not only about the label that you’ve had. Being able to understand the life meaning is one of education is for. I don’t try to sound more philosophically here, I just try to seek the reason why does a person really glory herself because she is ‘high-educated’. This notion bothers me lately.

Okay, let’s start with number. In Indonesia, according to the latest census by national statistical institute (2010), only a slight differences between male and female in obtaining a higher degree in urban area (11.20% male and 10.24 female) and in rural area (2.95% male and 2.9% female). See? Despite the low number compared to Indonesia’s whole population, there is no lagging behind anymore. Or at least women are running fast creating a way for their own in education level.

So, forget the number! I don’t really like the number thou.

Back to the first question, what makes you being educated? A degree you’ve obtained by the class you attended and grades you got? Or by your attitude?

Education is much related with attitude, as far as I believe. A well-educated person could perform a good behavior according to time and place she is in regards with her quality. Apparently, it doesn’t seem so smooth this far. I mean, I’ve seen a bunch of ‘self-proclaimed high-educated’ people don’t behave like what their education require. But yes, forgive me if I’m wrong that in-class education is not eligible to determine a behavior of a person. Yes, I believe that too anyway.

Perhaps I’ve been running around in this post, you may get confused by now.

I just don’t understand why there is a very proud person when she has a higher level of education compared to other people. Still don’t get it?

I point this out to those people out there with a very good education level and ‘less-good’ behavior. It is good that you have the chance to enjoy your education with ups and downs when not everyone has. It is not a sin that you play the ‘innocent’ role who needs people to recognize your ‘achievement’ as a nice high-educated person. The thing is, why do you do it?

A well-educated person will see herself as a person who always need to dig more. Not seeking for an accomplishment. Being a small-minded person while having a very good educational background seems like a deterioration for that person, right? Please, when you already have a degree or two, why don’t make yourself a classy person by not driving yourself down with your ‘unintelligent’ behavior? Don’t you realize that, out there, there are a lot of people who hold more than you have but they behave very decent and modest?

I believe that modesty will set your class and within your good degree you will be become classy. Seeking for an accomplishment, somewhat sometime, is something that in reverse will make people see you as an immature-thought type of person. You think that what are you doing will award you a class, but it’s the opposite. Instead of giving an accomplishment, people will examine you with a question: is this how a well-educated person should behave?

Well, I would like to quote the famous Frank Ocean’s words:

“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noisy.”

[Part 3]

Hold on.

It’s too soon. I would never forgive myself if I don’t push you back. So, I choose to live with the regret of letting you spitting your apology.

“I was insane. I don’t know what to do. She took all my life in a second. That I should’ve told you from the very first, I have a twin. Like before he took his own life, he had this girl and a baby.”

Again. Hold on.

“So this girl came, with teary eyed and a red baby in her arms, asking me to take care of them. My decease twin passed me a thing that never been mine: his responsibility. I was speechless, Nina. Believe me.”

Wait. There are a lot of things that couldn’t fit in my head. A twin. A decease twin. A twin’s girlfriend with a baby. A twin’s girlfriend with a baby coming to him asking a responsibility.

Well, slow down.

“Then, I refused. All I could think about is you, my future. But the next day, she put a note on my desk that she wouldn’t bother to kill the baby then kill herself if I didn’t change my mind.”

“But why didn’t you tell me? How could I not know that you had a twin. We’ve been together in years. How could you hide it?”

“Because I don’t want you be hurt this way. I know it is cliché. I know it is bad. Very. But I couldn’t think at the time, Nina. I just don’t want to lose you but apparently you’re gone.”

“No. I wasn’t gone. It was you.”

The chilly wind blows my hairs and it strikes me to the reality.

“I just want you to understand me, Nina.”

“That is a huge demand.”

“I know. I know. I couldn’t ask anything. But, let me ask for once. She was insane. I could understand how my twin finally chosen to say goodbye to this world and everything. It is better than stay with her.”

Now, you put something in my wit.

“I am listening.”

You stopped. Then I realized, we’ve arrived in my front door apartment building. Okay, let’s end tonight here. Maybe tomorrow. I will need an extra sleep to ensure this is not a dream, to decide that whether it is a good or bad.

“Can we have a cup of tea? I miss your bergamot one.”

 

Hati dan Logika ala Perempuan (Seakan) Realistis

Saya menulis tulisan ini sebenarnya rada gimana gitu. Well, maunya sih keep silent tapi gatal pengen komen soal si perempuan yang mengklaim dirinya realistis dalam menata dan memilah milih masa depannya. Iya, Selmadena Aqilla. Perempuan yang memilih realistis menerima pinangan Haqy Rais yang saat itu memiliki seorang pacar.

Pasti kalian sudah membaca kisah ini. Pendapat kalian tentu beragam kan? Nah, sebagai perempuan saya juga merasa berhak berpendapat dan kita di sini saling menghargai, bukan? Okay, mari mulai!

Bermimpi ingin menikah muda, di usia 25 tahun. Di saat Haqy Rais melamar Selmadena Aqilla, usianya sudah (atau hampir, saya tidak pasti) 25 tahun dan sang pacar yang sedang menempuh pendidikan kepolisian belum kunjung menampakkan itikad untuk memberikan pernikahan. Iya, Selmadena Aqilla menjadikan umur sebagai alasan bagi dirinya untuk bisa membenarkan apa yang dia lakukan: menerima pinangan Haqy Rais. Mungkin dengan menjadikan patokan umur sebagai alasan, Selmadena Aqilla akan bisa menuai dukungan. Secara, umur mana ada mundur cuy? Jadi, kalau umur jadi alasan tentu siapa bisa menolak? Kenapa gak sekalian bilang ajal, mbak Selmadena Aqilla? Kalau alasan mbak pengen nikah karena ajal siapa yang tahu, ya jelaslah siapa yang bisa menggugat?

Kalau memang tindakan kedua orang yang dimabuk cinta dan terlalu ingin ke masa depan berdua, adakah mereka memikirkan perasaan sang pacar yang terkhianati? Katanya sih, Haqy Rais menghargai pacarnya. Tapi, apa bukti penghargaan itu? Mau kenalan 2 atau 3 bulan dulu kalau oke nikah kalau gak ya gak usah? Hwhat? Saya baru sadar kalau menghargai pacar orang ya tawarkan saja opsi itu. “Sorry bro, gue gak cocok ama cewek lu. Ambil aja. Trims.” Oh iya, buat mereka sepertinya “You can’t fix yours by breaking someone else.” itu gak berlaku. Asalkan bisa nikah, gak peduli pacarnya si Selmadena Aqilla mau hancur bagaimanapun.

Melamar. Sebuah kata yang merupakan awalan proses panjang sebuah komitmen dari pernikahan. Dengan lamaran TIBA-TIBA (well, si Mbak Selmadena Aqilla suka capslock), Selmadena Aqilla menjadi bimbang lantaran dihadapkan pilihan take it now or leave it. Dalam sujudnya, dia berdoa selaiknya perempuan yang bimbang. Apakah menerima pinangan lelaki yang menawarkannya sebuah kepastian atau menanti lelaki yang sedang berjuang saat ini demi masa depan yang lebih baik? Tapi, sepertinya opsi pertama menjadi jawaban atas doa-doanya. Memilih sesuatu yang pasti itu. Entah pasti dalam kategori apa. Yang pasti adalah yang melamar atau yang pasti adalah yang sudah punya modal masa depan yang tidak sedikit? Tentu, Haqy Rais adalah lelaki yang pasti itu: melamar dan sudah punya modal masa depan yang tidak sedikit.

Selmadena Aqilla sadar bahwa hidup adalah pilihan. Bahkan dia tidak mau menyakiti hati Haqy Rais, lelaki yang membuatnya galau. Membuatnya harus memilih. Membuatnya harus realistis. Ya, kata itu. Realistis. Selmadena memilih realistis mengandalkan hati dan logika. Jadi, please.. kata-kata si Mbak sudah jelas. Hati dan logika. Logika yang bersandar pada bagaimana formulasi hitung-hitungan materi (sesuatu non abstrak ya, jangan langsung diartikan harta loh) akan bisa membuatnya berpikir masa depannya aman bersama Haqy Rais. Sementara hati, “Cinta datang karena terbiasa. Aku harus terbiasa.”-nya Selmadena Aqilla bisa kalian artikan, bukan? Bahwa sebenarnya dalam keputusan ini, logic comes first and love (or heart, she mentioned) would follow. Jadi, kenapa masih dihujat sih?

Sampai saat menikah pun, Selmadena Aqilla mengakui belum ada cinta itu. Namun, at last Selmadena Aqilla bisa menumbuhkan benih-benih cinta itu karena melihat bahwa kegigihan si Haqy Rais membuktikan kesungguhannya dengan menikahi Selmadena Aqilla. Selmadena Aqilla harus juga dong berkorban: korbankan perasaan pacarnya.

Walaupun berat, keputusan itu diambil Selmadena Aqilla dengan berat. Mengutarakan kejujuran kepada sang pacar bahwa dia memilih lelaki lain yang telah menawarkannya kehidupan masa depan duluan. Okay, Selmadena Aqilla yang dibantu kedua orang tuanya untuk memantapkan hubungannya dengan Haqy Rais akhirnya bisa move on. Menikah.

Bagi saya, Selmadena adalah sosok yang berani. Berani menyakiti hati orang lain yang telah memintanya menunggu walaupun masih lama. Berani menyatakan bahwa dirinya realistis dengan memilih Haqy Rais yang tentu sudah punya nama besar di belakangnya. Berani mengambil keputusan yang tentunya tidak lepas dari apa yang akan terjadi di masa depan. Dan, berani dihujat banyak orang.

Bagi saya (lagi), Selmadena Aqilla hidup di dunianya. Dunia dimana dianggapnya dia adalah sebuah inspirasi bagi makhluk-makhluk tidak berjakun untuk harus realistis dalam memilih pasangan hidup. Duh, sudah barang tentu kita perempuan adalah makhluk yang memang mengandalkan perasaan dan kadang menjadikan kita lemah. Tapi, menjadi perempuan yang gampang teralihkan oleh sebuah alasan logis justru menjadikan kita perempuan yang tidak berhati. Kalau saja urusan ini menyangkut negara, tentu logika menjadi first point. Namun ini menyangkut masa depan yang berkaitan dengan setiap jengkal tindakan kita, adakah Selmadena Aqilla berpikir bahwa hati adalah sebuah benda yang sangat fluktuatif. Terbolak balik. Tidak menutup kemungkinan Haqy Rais akan berpikir “Gue nikahin cewek realistis, bro. Besok kalau ada yang nawarin dia lebih baik dari pernikahan gue, kira-kira dia bagaimana ya?”. Hanya sebuah dialog fiksi, cuy. Yakalik..

Lantas, saya tidak sepenuhnya against her at all. Ada beberapa poin yang disampaikan Selmadena Aqilla yang menurut saya memang pantas dijadikan pertimbangan. Misalnya, laki-laki harus serius dan punya timing and goals. Laki-laki harus meyakinkan perempuan untuk bisa bersama dengan dia suka duka, ehm. Laki-laki juga tidak akan membuat perempuan menunggu sesuatu yang tidak pasti. Well, adakah sesuatu yang pasti di muka bumi ini? Oh, dan katanya Selmadena Aqilla “wanita harus menemani dari NOL, harus RELA MENUNGGU” dan jujur saya ngakak. Mbak sendiri, udah nemenin dari NOL dan RELA NUNGGU belom? Lucu loh.. Sumpah! Oh, sorry mungkin Haqy Rais yang dimaksud ya? Ups. Lucu lagi.

Perempuan memang membutuhkan kepastian namun perempuan juga harus tetap memiliki dignity. Perempuan memang berhak menentukan pilihannya, namun jangan sampai pilihan kita mengorbankan yang namanya harga diri.

Bagi saya, Selmadena Aqilla sangat jelas bukanlah inspirasi, namun bukan juga seseorang yang harus dihujat.

Better you chin up, turn, and walk away while crying nobody sees. Instead of complimenting  and puffing yourself in your wishful thinking. Oh you sweetheart, poor you..

PS. Saya menggunakan nama lengkap karena saya merasa tidak memiliki hubungan dekat untuk menulis dengan nama kecil saja. *lebay

Spouse Visa of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Hello there!

Last month was so hectic. It’s a good thing to know that I am now able to get together with my husband in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Well, I’ve got the visa. I was applying the visa from Indonesia and it’s not a fast process thou. I’ve been waiting for almost two months. Have to admit that that country is quite strict for visa issuing. In this post, I’d like to share on how to get spouse visa for KSA.

My husband is a student in KAUST. Since, he was graduated from Turkish university, he had to maintain stamps from KSA Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education in Turkey on his diploma. To get that, he had to get back to Turkey as well. Yet, he didn’t. His master diploma was refused since he didn’t have those stamps. As he got admitted in KAUST with his bachelor diploma, in which he already got those two requirement stamps, he was allowed to use its making an application for a calling visa. This calling visa is highly required for me to get an actual visa on my passport. Actually, this process took almost two months.

What do you need is to provide:

  1. A calling visa
  2. A passport with expire date no less than six months on the date you apply the visa
  3. A copy of your sponsor’s (spouse) residence permit
  4. A copy of certificate of marriage
  5. A certified translation of certificate of marriage, a translation issued in KSA will be rejected and you should provide a translation made in the country where you are applying the visa
  6. A medical check up result

After obtaining all of these requirements, I went to the visa agency and paid around SAR 2,660 or IDR 9,500,000. For the medical check up, I spent around SAR 364 or IDR 1,300,000 in an appointed private medical centre named Salamat Medical Centre in South Jakarta. It was Tuesday afternoon I applied and my visa was done by Thursday afternoon. I get a single entry for 90 days stay. It’s a plenty of time to apply for a residence permit here.

The agency was good and fast. The problem was in the initial process in KSA in issuing a calling visa. After getting this, you would be having no problem anymore. Except, if you have an issue in your medical result.

I hope this information is helpful enough. Just drop me an email for another questions that perhaps I could answer regarding this post. (:

How to Adapt Living in Foreign Country?

I have been living in Istanbul, Turkey, since February 2015. It’s then almost two years. apparently, being able to survive in here is quite a hard work in terms of the acceptance in culture balancing. Yet, I don’t bother living here for years more. Its just a matter of security and high level of politics life here that play as a huge consideration for me to leave this beautiful country as soon as I can.

Well, it’s so common nowadays living abroad. Moving overseas could be seen as a phenomenon that raise my awareness to be studied. Yet this post would openly show the less serious part of being a migrant or let’s make it more casual: a foreigner.

What comes first is you should educate yourself.

It is recommended to know every possible important thing about the country that you are moving to. For me as an Asian, moving to Turkey is perhaps a challenge in the sense of cultural differences. Its language, politics, social norms, and religion are different with my motherland, Indonesia. Arming yourself with a plenty information regarding your destination country should be put on top of your to-do list before your departure date. Also, keep gaining this from sources that you could seize: internet and people who are there or were there. It could help you seeing the possibility of your life and another point of view that someday would be helpful for you.

It is the language you should know (or learn).

Merhaba! It’s a Turkish’s good morning, good day, good afternoon, and hi. Turkish language is acclaimed as one of the most difficult languages in the world. Yes, indeed. But it is not that difficult if you already know its language or eager to learn it. So, put it in the first place that being able to communicate with the local language would be your most benefited skill. In Turkey, if you are a foreigner and could speak Turkish, you may get a lot of smiles and help from the natives. Then, before you move its better to learn at least very basic daily life conversation in order to make yourself first acceptable. Indeed, body language is one that people will use to be able to communicate with other people with a different language. But most of time in Turkey, they will take you for granted and see you as an idiot if you are not able to understand Turkish. They will not give you their attention. So, how could you ask for help –in every single way- if you could not have their attention? And oh, don’t be afraid making mistake! They will try to understand that you are trying and for that they will appreciate your effort. If you are lucky enough, they will give their heart once you attempt to communicate with their language.

The social norms and politic life.

These two common things should you be aware of. For me, it took months to really understand how these Turkish people live their life. Politically they are so active and I could say they are politically educated as well. How they separate their life aspects: religion, social, economy, and politics is a crystal clear. You may find Turkish people are so integrated in politic sense. Yet, they could perfectly disintegrate their ‘other’ life with politic. You might have a debate with your Turkish friends regarding their political view in the classroom or coffee table, but crossing the door that issue is vanished. This is one of things I like from them. I haven’t find a punch in the face because one defends one.

So to speak, the social life comes very liberal. As what I have wrote in my other post, in Istanbul you can easily find lovebirds. They are everywhere. Living together without marriage bond is never bothering while in Indonesia I will be punished with public and state law if I do. Public Display of Affection (PDA) is a very common thing. Thus, when you feel bothered by that and show your dislike you could be judged as a hypocrite or too-religious-to-live. So, stay cool!

The availability of food that suits your appetite is a rare thing that you may have. For me, until I have this magical help –a rice cooker- I desperately crave for only junk food. Luckily, in Istanbul the food is all halal. But, what if you are moving to a non halal-friendly country? You should pack and stock yours as much as you can. Although this is not so suggested because if you will live for months or years its you who is tortured. You won’t save your baggage for those foods only, right? Be wise, you are going to suffer if you could not bear with local food. I could tell that.

What I am trying to explain is, start develop a new level of open-mindness. Everything you see and experience is a new thing for you. Thus, deal with it with your open mind. If you are not accepting this, your life will be so damn miserable and full of stress. Something you don’t want, huh?

Then, try to not have expectation in hands. I know it is a kind of excitement that now you are about to experience: a new phase of life that not everybody could. A wise proverb once says that a disappointment comes from the expectation. Try to rely on your information you have gathered before. It will help you shaping your new life abroad by embracing it and living with it to the fullest. Of course I am not saying to not to hope, but it’s different between expectation and hope.

So you should make friends as many as you can. Why? Because apart from your family, its your friends will take care of you if you are in trouble. Of course our embassy and general consulate will. Yet we, as an expat, should try to be more active in gaining acquaintance or become a part of a good circle. Not to hope they will take care us like our family will, but to at least lend a helping hand in case we are not able to get out of the trouble we may face alone.

The last but not least, don’t take it as a burden! Its the new chapter that you should explore and discover. Don’t lose yourself inside the local culture! Try to adapt with its value and norms. If it doesn’t fit you by your faith or heart, then you could stand with your dignity but still show your respect at best.

(PART 2)

We then walk in silence, holding hands. I couldn’t draw my hands of yours. That I think its fit perfectly. With the warmth of you beside me, my memory flew back years ago. Our days were so perfect and everything went good until that day, a woman who cut the loose came. Taking you away and leaving me heartache forever. It was that simple, you went away.

Now that you come again. All my fortresses are freezing into an ice and I am skating on that thin ice. Before, the itch was something easy to scratch and you changed everything.

“I don’t know why I left.” You start with words I prefer left unspoken.

Keep silent is my choice. I would never want to hurt myself by giving you any chance to make it verbal. I want you to put it –whatever you may say it, there far the day you went away.

“But I know.” Then, I stop walking not loosening my hands. I want you to see me in the eyes. Directly.

“Yeah, it was so clear anyway. I know I won’t be forgiven. I don’t ask for another chance either.” Your gaze stops at mine, looking for something you may find. A madness. Tears.

“I believe you did. Giving you chance will also cost me another wound that I perhaps can’t deal with.” I better kill myself rather than giving you a shot to shot me in the heart with all your capabilities letting me down.

“I am sorry.”

I then continue to walk, still with your hands holding mine. I don’t want to bother myself to ask this and that, questions remain unanswered. No, they are all answered by my analysis as someone who hurts to the bone.

“Nina,” The way you spell my name, I really hate to admit that I miss it so much. “I don’t know how to start this over again because I don’t know if its okay to start it.”

“Don’t start anything you’ve threw! I am broken, Jem.”

I spill your name out. My defense is totally crushed tonight. Then you stop. Drawing me to your arms again, –twice tonight– and bend your head kissing me. It is a gentle kiss. Stupid, I am crying.

It has been said and done. I. Belong. To. You.

The dream of being with you forever is still there. Waking up is hard because the limbo you’ve been building since we met is the beautiful thing I have.

I live in the dream. I don’t live my life. I am zombie in a day light with routine like a human being. Inside, I am broken. Nobody noticed, but myself. How hard you have tortured me. Its my time to revenge you. But not, I don’t have energy. Furthermore, I don’t own those capabilities like you did to leave someone you love.

It is me who break the kiss. Kiss that I’ve missed. Kiss that wakes my mind.

“Nina, bear with me and I will explain.”