Growing up suspended

February 27, 2007 § Leave a comment

A friend and I had this talk about my other friend. It’s probably my nature, and the nature of this blog, to become quite public of something quite personal. But I figure that, well, I can always stay discreet about the identities.

Here we go. I guess today I give up on someone. I’ve given up the possibility of him being able to grow up, become an adult his age (27, by the way, acting like 14 year-olds). I’ve given up any possibility of us being able to have a really good time together. Now, for me, a good time is without him, what a shame. I’ve given up the possibility that we may have the decency to be polite and civil to each other.

There was a strange cloud hovering over me and this guy. It’s like a cloudy Saturday when the forecast tells you there’s a possibility of rain. You’re not sure what you should do today, because staying home means you waste your entire free day, but going out means that it may not be a pleasant after all because of the possible rain. Everything is just plain awkward, weird, and full of unconfirmed assumptions. Let’s just hypothetically say that the awkwardness is my fault because I have my thoughts and it may have changed the way I respond to him. But I made a conscious decision to just let them be my private thoughts because to say these things to him will just be rude and he may be offended, as opposed to just acting weird to me now. And I had enough of it yesterday, when I found out that he cancelled a trip because I would also be in that trip. I was so ready to give him a safe space where he can just say anything about me. But of course, him acting like a 14 year-old meant that he didn’t use that opportunity well . So here how the conversation went.

Me       : Hey, I heard you won’t go with us.

Him      : Yeah.

Me       : Why?

Him      : Well, there’s this big exhibition, and I want to go there instead.

Me       : Are you sure?

Him      : Yeah?

Me       : Are you sure that’s the only reason or there’s something else?

Him      : No, that’s all.

Me       : So you have nothing to say to me?

Him      : No.

Me       : OK.

I’d sensed that the sole reason of his canceling the trip was me. For me that was the one chance he had to clear the air bit. And a chance is like a ripe fruit, you take it while it’s at its best. Too soon means too raw, and too late is rotten. He had his perfect moment to talk to me, and he didn’t use it. I was simply responding to his behavior; if he’s not ready then for a real adult conversation, he’d never be ready anytime soon. So we dropped that conversation there and then, and I went back to my room relieved, coz I have done my part.

So, I guess it’s still a cloudy day after all, but now I’m sure of what I want to do.

-Ajeng-

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Mindfulness

February 27, 2007 § Leave a comment

We had to do a massive amount of work for our research proposal today. We started the day a bit late, at 10am, then finish up things for review around 12.30pm. We met our tutor at 2pm and had to finalize our work before 5pm. It was a race up until the last second. And I must say that again I find my talent (or rather, my responsiveness to stimulants such as coffee and tea) to stay stable and focused and productive in critical hours. It was injury time by the last minutes before 5pm and I was just glad that we managed to finish it and meet pretty much all the “demands” of our tutor. As I was having a discussion about our proposal with a friend in my group, I suddenly came to a realization. Hey, this is it! It was the exact moment when I was actually having a serious academic activity in the Netherlands. The exact moment when I was so absorbed in a work that I hadn’t really thought about anything else other than figuring out whether this sentence I made (“Logistic regression models are used to investigate the correlation of the different variables with the hepcidin levels”) were good and succinct enough to be put in the proposal. I was just a student, doing my study assignment. The fact was, at that same moment I was a foreign student, I was not speaking my mother tongue for weeks already, having no relatives within the radius of 12.000km, living alone in a small room, and use my allowances for food, drinks, or travel. And yet, I hadn’t thought about all that. I hadn’t thought about my country, I hadn’t thought about missing home, friends, or family. I was just there. Wise people say it’s those moments that you look for, the moments when everything is crystal clear and you can actually cherish things for what they are, not for what they’re supposed to be. And this mindfulness, appreciation of moments, is something you should train yourself to do. It’s not instant achievements, it’s activity that may eventually become a habit. And I love the people in my group. With some very rare exceptions, we work well together. It’s just great to work with the people you like, or like the people you work with. And that is a privilege.

Rotterdam!!!

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

Tram SUNDAY, 25/2

It was time for me to start traveling alone again. You can get pretty spoiled and all comfy in your nice warm little room after a while, but that will be a major time-waste, especially when your 1000 USD plane ticket is covered by some sponsors. You better get your ass off the bed and start doing some real traveling!!! The classic problem is, there’s no one I can travel with (let’s see: N is busy with her thesis, L is being a total as*ho*e, T are not inda mood for traveling, M didn’t really answered my invitation), and the only person I can depend on is myself. And traveling by myself it is then!!!

It wasn’t the perfect start this morning in Nijmegen. The rain poured mercilessly, mocking my whole Rotterdam plan. I decided to try for the bus, it’s 8.15am and just about the time for me to leave. I really didn’t feel like going with bike in the rain, not to mention having to ride it later in the evening when I’d arrive from Rotterdam. When I got to the bus stop the bus wasn’t available until the next hour. I decided to walk instead, about 30 minutes with my speed (not the walking type of person!). Then I got myself a train to Rotterdam with 1 train change in Tilburg. It wasn’t a complicated change, just moved to the opposite platform.

The thing about a country is when you get to know the typical things, they rarely differ from one place to another. So it’s basically the same everywhere in dutch central train stations. It’s tram and bus stops in front of the central station and VVV office somewhere around the corner. And everyone speaking great english. Only in Rotterdam, the VVV office is somewhere quite far from the station, so I jumped into a tram instead, number 7. I’d known where I was heading, the Erasmusburg. Then I was surprised when the tram driver greeted me with assalamualaikum. And I immediately thought that this guy must have known many Indonesian. And he started talking to me in Indonesian. Whether I was alone, where I was going, where I’d stayed. All conducted in Indonesian. I was not sure about the whole security thing, so I went to sit down in front row. But then he called me again to his side, he said he wanted to talk. So we talked. He’s from Suriname, he’s father’s Javanese. He learned Indonesian language in Holland though. And he said he’s visited Indonesia several times already, and he’s going to go again in July because he’s relative was having a wedding. Wow. And he’d like to live in Indonesia someday. Holland is just for work and money. We arrived in front of the bridge, and he had 5 minutes. So he took my picture in the tram, and then a couple more with the bridge in the background. We exchanged numbers. Just in case. I’d like to have him think he’s related to more things in Indonesia. He seemed to be missing the country so much.

Then I walked a bit to find the Wereldmuseum, which attracted me just because entrance to the permanent collection is free. Then I walked up to the Erasmusburg. Took a lot pictures. I was actually puzzled why so many people went with Spido, the boat. You could practically see the port form the side of the river: there’s no need for boat ride.

I wanted to go to Euromast, but I thought it’s a huge distance to walk there, so I took tram 7 and asked for centrum. The tram man told me where to get off, which is basically the VVV office. Aha, I’d thought. Finally, some sort of structure to my short visit. I asked for a map and some suggestions on where to visit if I only have today. She told me the "walking tour", but again, I hadn’t felt like walking too much. So she told me the tram I had to take to get to Euromast. And I went. It was located across Erasmus Medical Center, "the largest medical center in the Netherlands". The Euromast didn’t look that massive, it didn’t seem like a cool building either. It was just "there". But I came with high spirit anyway, desperate for some kind of exciting activity. I decided to get the ticket bundle with Spido as well (haha…. So much for not needing a boat ride!!!). I thought that I wasn’t in the mood for any museums, so I’d better done something nice. The ticket cost 15,50 euro for both Euromast and Spido. Not bad at all, considering that Van Gogh Museum entrance was 10 euro, and Pisatower entrance was 15 euro.

First there was an elevator taking us to the terrace. Then another elevator that took us to the Euroscoop. We lined up and patiently waited for our turns. Then the spinning thing came, and we entered it, sat down facing outward, and then… it started spinning and moving up. It was quite shaky, so it’s a bit scary for me. But the view was amazing, and no shakiness could disturb my concentration in enjoying the city from above. It’s so nice that I did went twice. I didn’t know if you’re actually allowed to do so or not, but I did it anyway.

I moved on to the next ride: Spido. It’s a 10-15 minutes walk along the river. I figured I still had plenty of time, so I stopped for a large fries. I decided to just walk and eat the fries along the way. But then it rained. Yeah, I was all wet with my fries. I insisted on walking and eating, so I hadn’t used my umbrella just yet. It’s still pretty good, the whole eating/walking/raining thing. It’s Rotterdam, everything should be good. So I arrived at the Spido place and had to wait for about 30 minutes before the trip started. Then we got on the boat and it was just great. We passed under the bridge and it’s an even more awesome structure when you looked from down under. Massive, yet elegant. Then the boat move along the river to the port area. Which is the whole point of Rotterdam. After the 75 minutes boat ride, I went to find the Blaak metro station, famous for the design, and the cubic house. It was quite a long walk in the cold wind and rain. I wanted to pass the center, so I took a turning route instead of just going along the river, which would be faster. The center was not exactly the prettiest. Just plenty of shops, without any impressive landmarks. Oh, but there’s the Laurenkerk, and that’s kinda old, and quite stunning, and quite touristy as well. But then I continued walking to Blaak. After the center, there was this big open space where the city library was. And then, there, I saw it. The cubic house; Kubuswoningen. Sure, I’ve seen the pictures. But when I was there, and looked at it myself, it’s even cooler. It made you wonder how those people lived in there, tilted and just put in such a bizarre angle. Beside the Kubuswoningen lied the Blaak metro station, which pretty much looked extra-teresterial.

Then I walked on to find the Oude Haven. It didn’t take me too long there, I was on my way to the central station once again, through the city center and on to a tram.

From the central station, the long 2 hours journey back to Nijmegen began. It was a nice warm end to the cold and wet but amazingly pleasant day in Rotterdam. I wished I’d had more time and definitely more sun. Another time, maybe.

(More pictures in the photo album!!!)

The_bridge

a week in review

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

MONDAY, 19/2. Studying day. I forced myself to get out of bed, which was very difficult, and just sit in the living room. Then later in the afternoon I went to the library for some studying, not much. Then I called Neeltje to have dinner in the restaurant. The food was really bad, but I just felt like eating hot food in the restaurant that night. Maybe I was still quite sick so I didn’t eat as much as I’d like to.

TUESDAY, 20/2

Glad I’ve felt really good in the morning. We went to the police to have our name and passport registered. It was a strange setting in the police. The policeman didn’t look like your typical police officer. He’s probably more of the undercover type: long hair, rugged look, casual clothing. Then he let me in. It’s a very strange office. There’s a table with the computer facing the door, and I was told to sit at the other end of the table. Then he had a lid blocking my way from where I sit to the door, so I was actually cornered. Then he just asked for my passport and asked some questions about when I arrived and when I’d leave, if this was my first time in Holland and Nijmegen. Then he scanned my passport, put a "permit" sticker on it, and gave me a card that I’d have to give to the immigration when I leave. He said that now I’m registered and if I come again to Holland they’d have my data. Whatever dude. I was just happy of that cool pink sticker. Whatta souvenir, I thought. Any questions, he asked. Nope. Ok, thanks. Bubbye. So I left. Then I went with Luis to the station to get extra credit for my mobile phone. Then I went back alone by bus. And I took bus number 4, and asked the bus driver for Radboud hospital. He tried to say something in dutch. And I just thought, "Oh, whatever. I’ll get off when I see something I recognize." Then the bus went. When we turned to Erasmuslaan, a girl came to me and said, "If you want to go to the hospital you have to get off here because after this the bus will go to the other way. Do you know where to walk?" And I was quite surprised that she had paid attention to my ineffective conversation with the bus driver and were kind enough to help me out. The bus stopped exactly in front of my place, so it was no problem at all. Still, it’s good to get unexpected assistance from strangers: you won’t feel so alone in a foreign place. 

I decided to study in the main library instead of my room. The point was to have some quiet space where I could study without being bothered by anyone making too much noise on my floor. So I brought all my books and notes and went to the biggest room in the library, got myself a huge empty table and just spread every pages in front of me. Actually, that’s what everyone do there: read and study. So it really brought out the inner-study-mood in you. It’s very easy to just "get in the zone" and focus and memorize. I’ve never studied in a place like that in my entire life. And I thought: it would be nice to come here again, to Nijmegen, to this library, to study. I love this place.

WEDNESDAY, 21/2

Today we had the exam. I’m happy because I think I did quite well. Dr monique asked before the test, "Perlu kamus?" I smiled and said no thank you. Ya ampyun… I had no idea her indonesian is that good. I should speak it with her, just so she practised it more.

THURSDAY, 22/2

Work on research proposal. Then went to Katharina’s for dinner, then watched Blood Diamond in centrum.

FRIDAY, 23/2

Work on research proposal from 9 to 5. Then I stayed late in the library just to figure out my travel plan on March and April.

SATURDAY, 24/2

In the morning I went to the sport center to watch Kat played in the badminton tournament. Basically, I reserve this Saturday so that I can watch her play and enjoy a Saturday in centrum with some other friends. Well, my badminton playing friend is actually the friend I’ve been hanging out with in and outside class. And she’s good (well done Katharina!). It was for me just to watch not just my friend but also all the people playing. I guess watching the sport that you understand can be a real entertainment. I told her that I’d pay to watch her play. I guess that’s a compliment. I watched 3 games that she played (2 singles and 1 double) before meeting my friends to go to centrum. Then I went back later in the evening to watch another double game that she played. I found out she won 1st place in the single category, congrats!

delirium 12000km away from home

February 20, 2007 § Leave a comment

Interesting. This is an sms conversation I had with a friend this morning:

Me in foreign country: Hi!How r u?Yesterday I was practically dead!High fever,myalgia,even delirium!I slept 21 hours straight,didn’t eat anything.I could barely walk to the toilet.Today it’s better.

FACTS:

– I woke up every hour to look at my watch, change position and sleep again.

– I drank water every 2 hours. But even then, there were times when I felt too weak to get up and reach the bottled water on my desk, just 60 cm away from my bed.

– I really didn’t eat anything. I took some sweets. 2 of them.

– My friend knocked my door to check up on me and I said, "Sorry I’m sleeping.. I’m really sick and I need to sleep because of the drugs I took. Thanks anyway."

– My room was so quiet and people had thought I went out of town to see the carnival. Not true. I refrained from going because I was WAY too sick.

– I knock myself out with acetaminophen + antihistamine combination, just so I can rest. The muscle pain was terrible, I needed to sleep it off.

– Standing up was a struggle.

– Walking was painful.

– I went to the toilet (10 m away) shivering and holding myself against the wall.

THAT’s how sick I was.

Bestfriend in home country: Ya ampun.. Trus temen2mu ngurusin kamu ngga?Moga2 cepet sembuh ya… Makan dong Jeng (and some other words here that are not suitable for public viewing) Get well soon.

Me in my small flat: heh.kmrn holiday weekend,everyone went drinking or outta town.and this is europe anyway, you live alone and die alone, in short. You gotta be independent. Friends were busy or working.Today I still cant eat much but food are going in.Tomorrow is exam!I wanted fast healing coz I need to study

Bestfriend 12.000 km away: Ajeng, makan! Harus! Gmana caranya mau sembuh, all I can do now is pray for you. Cepet sembuh ya…

Me again, being a very bad patient: Lagian kalo ngga sembuh ga bisa nongkrong di bar. Hehe..self-destructive habit.malem sebelum sakit parah aku ke bar ma Kat mpe jam 2 pagi naek sepeda. Wish me luck on the exam!

It’s scary to be that sick. But… you just try to get thru it. You gotta have plan on why, when, and how you’re trying to heal.

Alhamdulillah today I’m practically OK. I was sick on Sunday. Monday was starting off quite difficult for me, but by 2 pm I was starting to study, though I still couldn’t focus. Today… I’m on the go. I feel good. Tomorrow is exam. I should… get back to my studying. So, cya l8ter!!!

van gogh museum

February 14, 2007 § 1 Comment

Last weekend I visited Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam with 2 friends. This is a little something about it.

Since my europe trip in 2005 I’ve known that europe is all about art, culture, and history. People here appreciate those aspects a lot more than poor people in our country do. So to experience europe we must experience the art, the culture, and the history. One way is by visiting museums. In 2005 I was introduced to paintings also because of the many museums i visited host a vast collection of paintings. Since then I’ve known how I can personally enjoy a painting.

And van gogh… now I know how amazing he was! He was not a genius starting from 3 years old like Mozart. He actually learned how to paint, and after he could paint he learned how to do it better. It’s crazy because there were more than 200 of his paintings in the museum, and they’re all arranged chronologically. You can really see the transformation and progression of his skills and preferences. He also learned how to accentuate colours through the colour theory in books that he read. Unfortunately, he learned the theory without looking at it’s practice by another already famous painter, Delacroix, so that he was practising it wrong and didn’t get the best result of colour use. After some time, he found out how to use it properly, thus producing his later and most famous paintings. It’s crazy. He continuously use different choices of colours. He knew where snd how to put which colours. He knew which colours go with which. He painted anything as he wish, with any exaggerations and stress he chose. “Extract nature”, he said. And, as always, when you look at a powerful piece of art, it always evokes feelings. You feel strongly about the painting you’re looking at. And from van Gogh, the feeling that comes up over and over again to me is how gentle and tender he must have been. There were tenderness in the final products of the paintings despite the use of strong solid colours like red, blue, green, yellow. It’s crazy how he used colours. It’s just too hard to be put into words.

The truth is, looking at a painting is an experience. When you play "The Sims", you know that it’s a recreational activity a sim can do. That’s exactly it. It’s beauty. The idea behind art is not trying to immitate God nor to even compare the resemblance of paintings to the real living objects. That’s bullshit. It’s to explain and express how you experience His creations through paintings. When you want to paint something, you’re forced to notice details, you’re forced to experience nature or people or whatever objects you chose to paint. So you actually appreciate more of God’s work, God’s magnificence. And to create is to know that He is larger than anything, because creating is difficult. To look at our own work of creation, the love and dedication we have for them, is to learn more about God.

I can go on and on about art and God, and how experiencing art, to me is a spiritual satisfaction. It’s beautiful.

This feeling of intimacy with art is not something I can have in Indonesia. Too bad. All the thoughts of school, hospital, sick people, exams; they make me lose contact with art, making me use less and less of my right brain. At the moment, I’m back to living a life with thoughts of art again and I’m extremely happy.

hari pertama di nijmegen

February 1, 2007 § Leave a comment

Alhamdulillah sampe dengan selamat dan lancar di Nijmegen. Hari ini langsung masuk ke flat. Ada 7 mahasiswa internasional, satu dari Indonesia dan lainnya dari Tanzania, Burkina Faso dan El Salvador. Belum ada kegiatan formal. tadi 2 mahasiswa ngajak kami keliling, termasuk ke supermarket.

Kamar kami semua sebelahan, dan di lantai 6. Sayangnya siang ini lift mati, jadi… yah begitulah, mendaki tangga sampai ke lantai 6.

Aku online dari komputer di perpustakaan. Sayangnya ngga ada slot buat flashdisk, jadi pupus impian untuk ngetik di laptop trus tinggal dkirim dari perpus. Yasudahlah. Dis is already great enuf.

Besok kita bakal perkenalan dengan dosen2.

Dan malam ini, kayaknya aku mau bobo aja deh. Jetlag. Kepala masih berat. Rasanya kayak tension type headache.

Cya later folks!

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