Live in Istanbul

as I am currently living here, in this beautiful city, I am sharing my experiences with some words that may help

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?

Then, with joyful face my husband said to her 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.

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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.

Istanbul: a Love-Hate-Daunt Relationship

Well, this is my second spring here in Istanbul. Just to realize that its more than a year I’ve been living in here. So many thing have changed into something more virtue compared to my real life that I am now in. Sum of everything has blown my mind into several words that even dictionary could never explain the exact means.

Living with a fear, fear of being a victim not for a heartbreaking thingy that I mostly avoid, but being a victim in what so called a terror. This ‘terror’ definitely hit the button. I am scared, in the sense of losing my life, my only one life. On Saturday March 16, 2015, when a bomb blasted in Istanbul, it was a nightmare.

One or two days before, there were a lot of messages reminding us not to go out if it is not so necessary. For us to avoiding crowded places, it is not a possible thing to do. I mean Istanbul itself is a crowded city, where every corners of this Istanbul is an elbow-to-elbow one. Let me see this as one thing: going everywhere by busses or subways, we are all sardined. So, would you please just let me know, cut the crap, and straight to the point to ask me to only stay home this day? Frankly, I am not the type of it, of staying home all day. That day I decided to watch a movie and have a lunch with my friend, but I canceled it after a bomb has blasted right in Taksim, the heart of Istanbul. Hard to admit, yet yes I was having a cold feet that time. “Don’t go out Dee, please!” This was what my friends exactly told me. Stay home and don’t go everywhere!

Anyway, I am raised with a wise saying: if someone or two tell you not to do something, just don’t. if you do, something bad will happen. Then, that day when my friends called only to make sure that I wouldn’t go out, I bowed to that honour advise.

Several were killed and injured, scared me as heaven. How if I walk out, waiting for my bus to come and a blast is 10 meters away or even just right to me? Or, I wait for my train and a blast is just in the seat I sit or in another car of the train? Or, I sit in the bus and a car is blown up just in front of my bus or beside or behind and I cannot definitely run away? Or let’s make it simple by saying that I will be the victim? Come on!

I never imagine this kind of thing could determine on how I will live my life from now on. I start to love Istanbul when it starts to freak me out.

Anyway, I should welcome the spring at least.

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Blabber

Today was my first day on college after taking a long nap (read: summer break). Well, it is not a break I guess. I was working in OIC for months in Ankara as I could remember while everyone took their holiday. I would not talk about my torturing months in the capital city of Turkey, yet I really want to let you know, oh my dearest readers, that I am now in the gate of hard hard hard 12 weeks ahead.

Yes. I just will have 12 weeks of classes, papers, presentations, reading materials, discussions, and exams. 12 weeks. In the end of December, I will be free like a bird. But before? Do not give me a call for hanging around! I will be a totally nerd with very thick books and swollen eyes for maybe, crying. LOL.

Who said studying abroad with various classmates coming from a whole Europe from eastern to western and you are the only Asian in the class is a simple thing? Raise your hand and I will give you a short smile!

I am woman, well you can consider me also as a girl, psst I am still 20’s. Yuhuu..

I wear Hijab. I take two classes today and… I am the only one who wore Hijab. Do not tell that I am now in Istanbul, city of mosques.

I am taking master degree. It is very common thing yet, taking master far away from your home is a thing. You are dealing with something you can’t. Food, friends, and family. Those are things that you are separated by the distance. Long distance relationship with girl/boyfriend may be something hard. Yet with food, friends, and family? Do not ask. It is hardest.

Too much blabbering? Sorry!

I just really want to share. Share something that maybe can at least give me a little break by writing, or perhaps blabbering.

Thank you for reading until the last word. I really appreciate it. I am about to cry. LOL.

PS. About International Relations assignments, I wont upload it anymore since I knew some people copycat mine without even ask me. Okay, not ask, at least let me know that you take mine. But I realize that this is Alice in Wonderland internet version so you can freely access and imitate and show mine as yours. So, I really wont upload my opinion in IR things..

This blog will be totally personal blog. I mean it. I mean I mean it. *faked emotionally face and keyboard typing*

Culture Shock

“Go get a room, please!”

Saya membatin tatkala melihat sepasang muda mudi sekitar umur 25-an sedang melakukan adegan gigit-gigit dagu di dalam metro train yang saya tumpangi saat itu. Si lelaki sambil menunduk, satu tangan menggantung di pegangan tangan dan satunya dengan erat memeluk pinggang si perempuan. Sedangkan si perempuan? Jangan ditanya, tentunya dengan pose menengadah dan bergelayut erat pada si lelaki seakan-akan lelakinya adalah tumpuan terakhirnya di bumi. *eh

Bukan bermaksud sinis atau apa, hanya saja saya adalah pendatang baru dengan budaya timur yang masih cukup kental dan ditambah dengan budaya siri’­-nya orang Bugis. Disuguhkan pemandangan demikian tentu menimbulkan sensasi menggelitik yang cukup mengganggu. Walaupun sebenarnya penumpang kereta lain terlihat tidak terganggu. Iyalah, pemandangan sehari-hari mereka kok. Jangan harap kamu akan mendapati adegan serupa di negeri khatulistiwa, Indonesia. Oke, mungkin akan, namun jelas tidak dalam waktu dekat ini. LOL.

Tapi bagi saya perbedaan budaya ini memberikan sedikit rasa tidak nyaman. Jelas, karena tidak biasa. Jadi, saya memberikan sugesti kepada diri sendiri: nanti kamu akan terbiasa kok. Akhirnya saya tidak mengalami stres karena hal beginian. I can deal with it. Yah, mungkin juga karena saya dibantu oleh kebiasaan nonton film-film Hollywood dan berujung pada pemikiran-pemikiran cukup ‘liberal’. Eits, bukan berarti saya penganut ya. Cuman, sedikit terkontaminasi dengan nilai-nilai mereka, salah satunya: mind your own business, dude!

Hidup di kota dua benua ini dari awal sudah memberikan banyak kejutan. Mulai dari sekularismenya, kalau yang ini oke sampai sekarang pun masih mengalami, sampai pada fakta bahwa kota ini agak ‘terlalu’ liberal. Tapi, kalau berbicara tentang pandangan politik, negara ini masih memegang teguh yang namanya: nasionalisme tingkat dewa. Soal ini, bakalan ilmiah banget kalau di bahas di blog. Lain kali ya. Mungkin. Hmmm.

Eh, mungkinkah saya mengalami yang namanya culture shock?

Menurut Merriam Webster, culture shock is a sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation. Sedangkan menurut Kamus Oxford, culture shock is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

Well, kalau merujuk dari dua makna minimalis di atas sepertinya kondisiku tidak ter­cover deh. Kata Merriam, ‘without adequate preparation’ itu gak sepenuhnya benar. Saya ke sini dengan persiapan yang cukup baik itu jiwa dan raga. Ehm. Nah kalau kata Oxford, ‘suddenly subjected to…’ sama saja dengan Merriam. I am not suddenly, boom, in here. Jadi? Apakah saya tidak mengalami culture shock? Jawabannya, belum tentu. Mari kita tengok sedikit dari kawan-kawan di The Steger Center for International Scholarship at Virginia Tech. Berikut adalah ciri-ciri yang mengalami culture shock, check them out!

Symptoms of culture shock include:

  1. Homesickness
  2. Boredom
  3. Withdrawal
  4. Excessive sleep
  5. Compulsive eating/drinking
  6. Irritability
  7. Stereotyping host nationals
  8. Hostility towards host nationals

Well, poin ke-7 adalah hal yang paling sering saya lakukan. Sedikit-sedikit bikin stereotype. LOL. Kalau homesick sih muncul karena rasa rindu sama orang-orang yang saya sayangi yang ada di Indonesia. Ciyeh, Masa karena rindu menyebabkan culture shock. Mmm, terserah sih ya. Mau dianggap culture shock atau tidak, tapi sebagai ekspatriat selaiknya saya, ataupun kalian yang menghadapi masalah yang sama, harus senantiasa bertahan. Beradaptasi. Nah, soal ini ada lagi hal yang harus kalian tahu.

Menurut buku You Cannot Go Home Again: A Phenomenological Investigation of Returning to the Sojourn Country After Studying Abroad karya Victoria Christofi dan Charles L. Thompson, ada tiga jenis outcomes yang dihasilkan ketika dihadapkan pada posisi ‘menyesuaikan’:

  1. Some people find it impossible to accept the foreign culture and to integrate. They isolate themselves from the host country’s environment, which they come to perceive as hostile, withdraw into a “ghetto” and see return to their own culture as the only way out. These “Rejectors” also have the greatest problems re-integrating back home after return.
  2. Some people integrate fully and take on all parts of the host culture while losing their original identity. This is called cultural assimilation. They normally remain in the host country forever. This group is sometimes known as “Adopters” and describes approximately 10% of expats.
  3. Some people manage to adapt to the aspects of the host culture they see as positive, while keeping some of their own and creating their unique blend. They have no major problems returning home or relocating elsewhere. This group can be thought to be somewhat cosmopolitan. Approximately 30% of expats belong to this group.

Hmmm, ini hanya sekedar berbagi ya. Bukan tulisan yang benar-benar ilmiah dengan tingkat keakuratan yang bisa dipertahankan di depan penguji. Hanya saja belakangan saya sering merasa bahwa saya sudah terbiasa dengan beberapa nilai kehidupan di sini. Bukannya sok ngeblend, tapi bukankah adaptasi adalah hal yang dilakukan makhluk hidup untuk bertahan dari seleksi alam seperti kata Charles Darwin? Oke, mungkin teori ini sudah ketinggalan atau ternyata telah dipatahkan oleh ilmuan lain. Tapi, saya percaya bahwa adaptasi adalah senjata paling ampuh untuk bertahan hidup dalam budaya yang berbeda dengan budaya yang membesarkan dan membentuk saya. Soalnya, di sini saya ada kewajiban untuk dituntaskan. Jadi, harus bisa sampai pada tujuan dengan selamat tanpa stres, depresi, atau apalah namanya yang bisa menghambat ketercapaian tujuan saya. Elah. Hmmm.

Btw, saya masih mencoba mengeksplorasi budaya lain di sini. Dikit lagi mau jadi pengamat budaya. *lupa diri jadi anak HI

Odd-come-short Shots from Ankara

Hey, it is very long time I didn’t post any photos. So here is some photos from last weekend in Ankara. Only in one day, tho. :p

Jpegsee, author has to be the first. so, this is me in front of the anıtkabir.

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this one with uncle the guardian

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please pardon my duck-face! (obviously Martha and Inna have a “much more mature” pose)

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this one? okay, a very early birthday I had on 28th February.

overall, thanks for this simple but great celebration. well, the treat must be in Istanbul :p

catch you up soon, fellas! *kisskiss

Practicing? Yes.

“Are you practicing Islam?” That was my flat mate question in our first dinner several days ago. “Yes, I am.” Well, I think this obviously something strange in this “Moslem Majority” country, as we also know as a secular one, Turkey. Despite the fact that they are, citizens, Moslem but in practices they don’t. Okay, I am covered by hijab, I do prayers 5 times a day (I don’t mean to show off, pardon), and I do many things Moslem should do. Yet, I never judge another religion believers are bad or even Moslem who doesn’t practice.

This is beyond my expectation that when I arrived here I will get a lot of accesses to do my practice without hesitate. In fact? Please, don’t ask! I love Islam, Islam encourages us to live in peace even with non-Moslem ones. Like what it’s been said in Al-Kaafirun (the Disbelievers) last ayah “laakum deenakum wa liya deen” in translation it is meaning “for you is your religion, for me is my religion” sort of. Saying about something that has been judged for covered girl in this country, it has became a special case that in this mostly Moslem citizens country, that practicing Islam is really a thing.

In return, well I can say that I live with an agnostic and atheist in a shared flat and yes, I can live with it. I am not a radical Moslem girl that couldn’t accept that everyone is different yet I am quite surprise that most of people stare at me like I am a something disgusting. Sorry for that word, I mean, I am yes confused about this secularism theme of every corners in this country. Separation between those two main ‘ideas’ of daily routine: practices and works (or school, like what I am doing) is definitely my first experience. To be frank, I was mistaken by my wishful thinking of beautifulness of this Istanbul. Every thought has a consequence. Well, I couldn’t be more ready tho.

Forgive me if I am wrong, what I already understand with this secularism is separation between the religion and politic. Every public policy is made apart from particular religion ‘law’. So, what I call equality for everyone to decide doing practice or not is more often become a right. Nobody can interrupt it even government itself. If a government or a society being discriminative with ‘religious’ –I define a religious one is someone who does practice-, let say that this is a far away case of secularism which only gives a freedom for non-religious people. Leave aside the religion is, it can be Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and many others. Why Moslem girls become get more discriminative? It is so simple because in everyday life, we are covered (which this is a very obvious look that we are Moslem) and 5 times prayer is something very obligatory and yes obvious also, that sometime I have to ask permission to do that if I am around friends or in class.

This writing doesn’t judge anyone or anything. Also, I am not a saint one, that don’t do some sins tho. I do. I am not wearing long loose skirt or baggy jeans. I wear skinny jeans and close-fitting shirt around. This could be something different with what Islam commands me to do. Most of the things that I should do, in fact I didn’t do. Perhaps people say that I am half-full Moslem, but I am trying to be a full one. I do practices, I do sins. I behave well, I behave bad. I am a human being same as ordinary people.

Assalamualaikum, Istanbul

Sedikit mengutip dari judul film yang baru rilis sebelum saya menginjakkan kota Istanbul ini, saya mencoba sedikit menjadi sosok melankolis kali ini. Berada jauh dari teman, sahabat, dan keluarga adalah hal yang cukup menyesakkan. Saya telah menjadi bagian dari kota Makassar sejak 23 tahun lalu dan sekarang saya menikmati pemandangan kota Istanbul dari jendela kamar di flat yang sederhana ini. Pengobat rindu hanyalah video call, BBM messenger, Whatsapp, dan beberapa jejaring sosial lainnya. Merindukan kehangatan Makassar di tengah dinginnya Istanbul semakin mengingatkan saya bahwa kesendirian ini benar terjadi. Bukan hati bermaksud melankolis, hanya saja saya memang masih membutuhkan waktu untuk beradaptasi dengan lingkungan, budaya, dan juga kenyataan.

Saat ini, banyak sekali kenangan yang tertinggal jauh beribu mil di Kota Daeng itu. Ketidak amanan yang saat ini menjadi berita utama semakin membuat saya was-was dengan keadaan keluarga dan teman saya di Makassar. Semoga Allah senantiasa menjaga mereka dengan baik. Amin. Hanya doa dan harapan yang bisa menjadi tumpuan bagi saya di sini mengetahui bahwa mereka semua baik-baik saja.

Tentu saja di awal kedatangan saya di sini, banyak hal yang terjadi. Cukup kaget dengan budaya yang ada, bahwa tidak semua orang yang manis di hadapanmu adalah orang yang tulus adanya. Kenyataan itu memukul rasa percaya bahwa senasib sepenanggungan di negeri orang memang ada. Tapi tidak bisa pula saya menyamaratakan hal itu. Banyak orang yang memang berniat tulus dan tanpa pamrih. Ada. Mungkin.

Menjalani masa-masa awal berpisah dengan kehidupan yang selama ini saya jalani bukan hal yang mudah. Walaupun bagi sebagian orang berkuliah di luar negeri adalah hal yang mengasyikkan, oke saya pun sepakat, tapi bagi saya berada di sekitar keluarga dan sahabat adalah hal yang terbaik yang pernah saya miliki. Kali ini, merasakan hal itu adalah hal yang sangat mahal. Maafkan kemelankolisan saya.

Menjadi bagian dari kota berpenduduk 16 juta jiwa ini membutuhkan kesabaran ekstra, baik itu berkaitan dengan mencari kesempatan beribadah, bersosialisasi dengan sesama orang asing dan native Turkce, atau bahkan usaha menemukan makanan yang cocok di lidah. Pertama tiba, saya dihantam dengan kenyataan bahwa suhu di Istanbul adalah 2°C, berharap bahwa suhu akan menaik merupakan penyemangat. Sayangnya, suhu semakin menurun dan akhirnya salju itupun turun dengan deras. Bahkan, kuliah diliburkan 3 hari karena badai salju.

Luar biasa.

Tapi saat ini saya harus belajar menguasai perasaan, bahwa yang saya lakukan sekarang bukanlah hal yang diperuntukkan bagi saya sendiri. Ada banyak hal yang menjadi nyata dengan keberadaan saya di sini. Bagaimana meninggalkan kisah lama yang tak bersahabat dan memulai kisah baru yang menantang. Pada akhirnya saya harus menyadari, memahami, dan menerima kenyataan. Itu saja. Saya berharap telah dan akan belajar banyak walaupun baru 15 hari berada di sini.

Maaf kemelankolisan ini masih berlanjut.

I met this man.

Entah harus mendeskripsikannya seperti apa dan memulai perkenalannya dari mana. Seseorang yang ditakdirkan berpapasan dalam kehidupan, mungkin? Oh, semoga saja berpapasannya tidak hanya sekedar lalu. Harapan yang muncul dari kekecewaan di masa lalu semakin memperteguh bahwa harapan yang membuat saya hidup. Menumpukan harapan pada diri sendiri, dirinya, dan kami. Mungkin itu lebih tepat.

Kata beberapa teman, kamu pantas bahagia. You deserve happiness. Kalimat yang mungkin bagi sebagian orang akan terdengar sangat cliché tapi bagi saya kalimat itulah yang membuat saya akhirnya berani mengambil keputusan besar ini. Everyone of us learns from what we call it a past. Sampai saya berpikir, mungkin masa lalu menjadi masa lalu karena seseorang di masa depan telah menunggu untuk menemukan saya atau ditemukan oleh saya.

Entahlah.

Melankolis ini masih berlanjut dan akan terus berlanjut

PS. I have a date with this man. I gotta go. See ya.. :*