Friday, April 24, 2015

Arisan With High School Classmates

Arisan is a term in Indonesia about social gathering that takes place at a fixed interval (being an informal social network, this may be varied, from weekly, monthly or bi-monthly), at each member's home (or other place, as agreed by the members) in turn.

A few months ago, my high school classmates reunited at a restaurant and we decided to hold arisan to keep us in touch. It was the first time after more than 10 years that we finally sat down together. Still can't believe that we've been friends for 20 years.

During the gathering, we shared stories about work, life and future plans. Some work as civil servants, some work in private sector, and some open their own business. I'm the only one who works in a not-for-profit organization.

Anyway, here are some photos of us. Can't wait for the next arisan with these girls.

Having lunch at Bakso Lapangan Tembak Senayan, Cipinang Mall

Trying to look cool while exploring the mall, but it was no easy feat with such loud group :)

 Then we watched Kingsman: The Secret Service together. This photo was taken a few minutes before Dinna (wears black hijab) broke the good news: she's getting married next month! Alhamdulillah, so happy for her.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Facing Your Fears

"I made it to finish line on the kickboard swimming competition last week," he beamed to me from across the table.

We were sitting in front of a nearby 711 convenience store. It was 4 p.m. and we were having the usual afternoon break. He had a bottle of blueberry yogurt, while I sipped a small carton of chocolate milk.

"That was fantastic! I'm so proud of you," I clapped my hands excitedly,"How did you do it?"

"I just focused on the finish line and kept thinking that I should reach it no matter what," he said,"I didn't even check my time."

Our conversation may sound trivial for those who have passion for swimming. But the 1.79-meter tall guy sitting in front of me had been fighting his fears on bodies of water for years. He was drowned twice during his childhood, and the experiences left such a trauma that he would go feverish every time he enters bodies of water.

"All my friends had tried to teach me how to swim, but to no avail. One day, I went snorkeling in Tidung island in Kepulauan Seribu. I saw the fishes around me and vowed to myself that one day I would dive with the fishes," he said.

With the newfound determination, he went to Senayan Swimming Pool and tried to swim. But he was not successful...again. He walked around the pool and watched how the people swim. As he sat by the pool, an old Japanese man glided effortlessly in a freestyle. He slowly memorized the man's movements, went back into the pool to give it a try...and made it.

"After all these years, I finally made it. It was not perfect, but at least I didn't get drowned," he grinned.

He later joined a swimming club and has been practicing swimming albeit with a kickboard. The event he mentioned was the first swimming competition he ever took part in. I find it amazing that people can have fears and they can overcome it, if only they have the will and put a lot of efforts on it.

What are your fears? How do you face it?

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Colleagues Mean New Friends To Laugh With (Or At)

It's bound to happen. Everytime I enter a new workplace, I observe the people and find all the funny things on them. So here they are, the conversations with colleagues :).

Don't Repeat The Same Mistake
Situation: Two colleagues are going home early.
HRA: If you are late to work, you shouldn't late for home.
MEA: That's right, because it means you're late twice. You shouldn't let it happen, like ever.

We're The Piranhas
Situation: The office held an event in Bandung and a lot of staffs come to the Flower City. We spent the night sampling the culinary delights along the citywalk
SHR: We've come a long way to Bandung, and all we eat is bakso (meatball soup) that is sold in front of our hotel???
FO: Don't worry, this is appetizer.
SHR: Oh, ok then.

Important Data, Yeah Right
Situation: A laptop used by one of finance staffs broke down, and the user rushed said laptop to the IT department.  
Me: What seems to be the problem?
FG: I don't know, the hard disk probably broke down. We're trying to recover it as it contains important data.
Me: Of course (thinking 'Oh my, a laptop of finance guy must have contain very important data').
FG: You know, data like my holiday photos, my videos, my travel notes.
Me: *walking away from them*

The Seat Is Not Taken
Situation: after lunch, at a cafeteria. We usually combine several tables and chairs into one. We had just finished lunch, some had left and some stayed to have small talks when a random guy approached our table.
Random Guy: Excuse me, is this seat taken?
HRM: Oh no, please have a seat.
OM: Come on, let's get back to office.
HRM: You're going back already? I'm staying to accompany that guy.

Editing Issue
Situation: in the middle of editing a text
Me: DAP, can you help me? I have an issue with page numbering
DAP: (come over my desk and work on it for 10 minutes) I don't get it, this just won't work.
Me: AH, can you help?
AH: (also work for a few minutes and still can't find a solution) HRA, you're an IT expert among us, come here and give us a hand.
HRA: (also work on it, but to no avail) This is odd.
SN: What's the problem? Try to zoom it to 100%.
(Tadaa...after it's viewed in 100%, there is no problem with page numbering. The problem is caused by bak in the Word Doc file).
Me: My hero! *looking at SN with respect*
SN: Well, it's a random suggestion, I don't know if it will work

Don't Want To Be Alone With The Boss
Situation: after lunch
Me: You can go ahead. I'm going to find a battery for my mobilephone
DAP: I'm coming with you, I need to find a battery charger. After all, I don't want to be alone with the boss 
(After I went around, I couldn't find the battery)
Me: I think I need to come a bit late tomorrow. I want to go to the shops near my home.
DAP: You know what? I can find you the battery in Mall Ambassador on Sunday, after attending mass. My church is near the shopping center.
Me: You just don't want to be alone with the boss, do you? *looking at him, suspiciously*
DAP: *grinning sheepishly*

Friday, April 3, 2015

On Baring Things In Blogs And A New Job

I met with an old friend recently and she told me that most people thought she had a happy easy life/marriage as she often posted photos of her family in a mainstream social media. She finally decided to use a smaller social media to post personal photos.

"Things are not always easy. I've struggled for my marriage, for my job, for my kids. But I don't have to put on a sad face and tell the whole world about it," she said.

It's exactly what I think. I've always been writing the good and fun side of life, keeping any bad news from the light of day. I know most of my blog readers in real life and I think that if they know my daily life troubles, they would think over and shoulder the troubles too.

Other friends remarked how I seemed to be having no problems, for example I could switch profession and find new job. I didn't understand how they got the idea. Any job transition was definitely not an easy feat.

Perhaps it's time to shed some layers. To tell you the truth, I've been jobless since Jan. 1, 2015. My contract ended by the end of the year. It should be extended for another year, but the office was switching to state budget system and therefore, my colleagues and I should undergo the obnoxious e-procurement held by the state.

I was jobless and salaryless between January and March. Despite being unemployed, the boss demanded me to come and did some work. I got a kind of payment to cover transportation, but it was not enough, of course.

Amidst the job uncertainty, I also heard rumors about the boss trying to sabotage my e-procurement result. That was weird, considering that it was the same boss who asked me to come to office. I did have some issues with the boss back then, but I had finished everything she asked and all was well, or at least it was well on my side, she always has grudges on everybody. However, I decided not to confront the issue to her and looked for another job opening elsewhere.

Long story short, I decided to leave, because I found the e-procurement process too exhausting. I took part in the e-procurement process three times, twice failed and the last one I made it, but I decided to leave anyway. And guess what, a job offer came at the right moment! Alhamdulillah.

My new job is still in the line of communications and non profit organization. This time, it's a project on improving the quality of basic education in Indonesia. I'll be handling data and support communications for seven provinces (Aceh, North Sumatera, Banten, West Java, Central Java, East Java and South Sulawesi). It's all new and exciting.

So perhaps I did get lucky. But it doesn't mean I never had bad times in my life. Things are not always great. Life is not always all about the cherries on top of the cake.There are good days and bad days, ups and downs, below the all-smile photos we uploaded to social media.

Here it is, one layer behind the happy posts I posted. Perhaps, I'll be shedding some more layers when I feel  the time is right, one baby step at a time.

P.S. When blogging, do you share both the good and the bad news?