in retrospect (kembali ke masa lalu)

May 12, 2007 § Leave a comment

In retrospect, it’s very strange to remember my days in Nijmegen. I had this deep painful sensation in my heart when I left Italy in 2005 after 2,5 month. Leaving home was tough, it’s always tough. And it won’t be any easier just because you’ve done it many times. Especially when your home is anywhere you’ve let your heart rest; any place where you’ve felt love for life. Leaving Nijmegen after 3 months causes me to have the same residual awkward feeling of “leaving home”.
Although it’s easier to close the folders of previous experiences you just had abroad and go on with whatever current challenges you’re facing, you can never do that. There are experiences from a trip to be shared with your colleagues, there are reports to be written and handed to those who sponsored you. You simply have to rewind and relive everything, and then realize, that those are blast from the past. The experience is over for now.
I have to remember all the joyful moments, the discoveries, the excitements, the enthusiasms each day brings me. It wasn’t all easy, but it was all good. There were nights of exhaustion when I had to cycle my bike against the wind at 10pm from the train station after a whole day of traveling in different cities. There were crazy long hours when I had to continuously stare at the computer screen, and with others had to write pages of article or proposal. There were cold days my body suffered in. There was one stressful day that came out from a simple misunderstanding with my professor there, in Radboud. And, simple but memorable: waking up every morning then do my personal stuff then made some tea then drink the tea and watch MTV playing the same songs every morning by Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce and Shakira, The Fray, Akon, Kaiser Chiefs and Maroon 5; same freakin songs every morning. But, yeah, it was still all good.
However, looking forward to days ahead, there are emails to write and answer, a paper to write and edit, a report to finish, professors to see, pictures to print, posters from my travel to hang on my wall, a presentation to arrange, a whole coassistenschap programme to finish, a career to continue pursuing, a life to continue living in.
Corry reminded me: there are always things to finish, you just have to learn to enjoy whatever it is that you’re working on at the moment.
I have a simple belief, that there are good times, there bad and sad times. But your spirit gotta stay good, gotta keep wanting the good things in life and able handle the bad things as well.
In retrospect, Nijmegen has been so much more than what I’d longed for since 5 years ago. Not because I had lowered my expectations, but rather because there, I had set myself goals to focus on.
I got a souvenir from my professor, Dr. Francoise Barten. We certainly still have a work in progress together, but before I left Nijmegen, she gave me a book about innovations in medical education from around the world. One section talked about “reflective, critical thinking”. It doesn’t matter HOW MANY experience you’ve had. What matters is HOW MUCH reflective, critical thinking you have after each experience, towards the experience. So yeah, you do have to rewind and relive most of things.
Critical thinking is simple. You have to examine your own attitude and way of thinking before, throughout and after the experience, evaluate what can be learned from the experience, question what hinders the learning process, assess the social and cultural context of the experience and see what can be improved and how you can enrich your personal commitment as a (for me and some others) medical professional.
In retrospect, it was all good. And I still have some reflective, critical thinking to do. A compilation of what has to be learned, and yes, unlearned. And it’s always nice and heartwarming to just remember the great time I had in Nijmegen and other cities.
(Ajeng. Jakarta 12/5/2007)
PS: Damnit! I’m gonna miss speaking english!

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