A long time a go, I had a crush on this barista in a small coffee shop nearby my office in midtown. He is not too tall, pretty lean with just the right amount of muscles. And oh so handsome and he starred with a deep cut to your soul. I think he used to wear a black-rimmed glasses, the kind of look that I imagine was stolen from from Raphael Saadiq Vintage Ray era. I didn’t really pay attention until one day he told me my cortado has 4 shots of espresso and he hoped it does the work for my Monday morning.

Almost every morning (because sometimes went straight for a morning meeting), I passed by the coffee shop window and smiled or waved at him. Heart skipped a beat. By the time I got to the order counter, my coffee is ready. He handed me the cup and I sheepishly received it. His left arm was tattoed with a Keisya written in big cursive letters. Almost covered the whole lower arm.

For once I would like to believe that Keisya is a name of a country.
But I am a geographer, and this lie can only stays a second in my head.

That Rockaway feeling

I can feel it’s ending. That Sundays, when everyone rushed to the beach just because we had unseasonably warm weather in late September, there was a pang in my heart knowing we tried our best to grab the remains. Just like when we polish our past bowl with a piece of bread to soak the scrumptious sauce.
The beach was the same, gorgeously lit and warmed by overloaded summer sun, and cooled down by the water nature and breezy wind. The beige sand felt a little rough on my feet, but maybe I was a little too sensitive.
But the food bazaar has closed down, leaving snaky lines in front of the remaining vendors. I didn’t manage to get my last dose of stroberita, the bar closed its curtain before four and I opted for Naraganset from the other seller instead. And at the end of the day, everything felt a bit off. There was something really sad about the fold down the umbrella on top of all the picnic table.
The day was shorter, we talked about this as we were walking down to the van line. It was before 7pm, and the sky already had a dash of pink. We joked around on how winter sucks, but deep inside my heart I know it is never a joke. Oh summer, I know I could never detach my self from you. I tried to smile it off, but it came out bitter. I guess I still couldn’t resist the temptation to hold on to you. I want you to stay, I don’t feel like making space for a new beginning. I want my life to be a forever summer.
But life happens, and northern hemisphere has it’s own thing. This is my test, I guess. I can’t fight something that is not there anymore. That summer feeling, that Rockaway vibes, they don’t come out in pills.
Good times come to an end, they say. I believe they’re making a way for a new beginning. In which at this point I know that it is not always for the worse, it is often for the better. I am hopeful as usual, and believe that time heals. There will be pumpkin season, Halloween party and second season of Stranger Things. I will have more time with my pile of books-to-read and illustrations projects. But as I was sitting in the back seat of the van crossing the bridge going to Flatbush, I wanted to be alone with my whim.
I’m gonna miss you, and I convinced my self that it is okay to feel this way.

2016: Where did we go wrong?

I am so not in the mood to wrap this year with a contemplative writing or some sorts. I feel that this year everything just happened, for better or worse, mostly weird. It makes it difficult to draw some strings or to categorize things. But the tradition must live on, and I kinda miss rambling in English.
So, let’s see.

2016 begins with a new team and a new title: graphic designer. A title that might seems so mundane and hip and all the twenty-something ever think about, including the twenty-something me. Yes, I took a career detour before I got here, but I landed in a pretty good spot. I need to learn and unlearn many things, but never felt this good to be true to myself. Although until now, I sheepishly smile if someone ask what I’m doing which is choosing colors and lay-outing document on a daily basis.
Nothing major happened in the early 2016, maybe because I know I’m not functioning well during winter. So I hauled up with myself in the apartment and read couple of books. We didn’t even have spring! I marched through cold April and May, worked my ass off, spent hours digesting more graphic design books.
And then, boom! It was summer. The summer where I had two two-weeks long vacation, spent endless times by the beach, and was beyond happy. I didn’t even remember any other major life events in the summer, except those smiles and high doses of post-beach session endorphine.
My beau and I managed to visit Indonesia this year. It was a big trip for us, not only in the amount of miles collected, but also a big introduction of Indonesia, islands and culture for him. It also tested us as a couple in a new environment who sometimes barely knows each other.

Fall was dedicated to another phase of learning as I enrolled in a advance graphic design class. I guess the gift of learning is the one that stays with me the longest. The teacher is super awesome and encouraging, the assignments were interesting although could be time consuming. This time I was not shy to give comments in class and actually enjoy the critique class. At the very last session we watched Milton Glayser video and commencement speech by David Foster Wallace as we enjoyed drinks and crackers. I guess I had too much white wine that time, but those clips sank deep into me, as I wrapped my head around the idea of learning and failure.

On the downside, digital life was messy. I’m not into twitter anymore since there are too many marketing induced and sponsored tweet. Instagram was heavily infused by jealousy. And Facebook, oh dear Facebook God, did you intentionally created Facebook to channel that many hatred? I thought dislike button was for fun.
These clutter and noise poked me to commit to less news source. I read at least one article from nytimes these days. And oh, blogosphere still consists of the best people in the internet *fistbump*

And the rest of 2016 was a bit cold and incoherent for me. There was this pang in my heart knowing that I live in the world without David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali and Leonard Cohen. There was this sick in the stomach counting the day of the new president of the United States will be in full force. Where did we go wrong?

I guess everything happens for some reasons. Maybe we haven’t seen the light through the crack, maybe we need more reasons to learn and be relevant. Maybe, this world is indeed a bad place if we do nothing about it. But I honestly have no clue. Like I said, it is been difficult to contemplate things these days. Maybe because on the spiritual or side, I am kinda depleted this year. Nothing really enlightened me and I stop searching for my happy place. Because I know, summer ;)
On the contrary of last year note, this year I found that happiness is not a place or destination. It is us or myself or this soft spot in the centre of my chest that warmth my whole being every time I spend minutes watching kitten video. It is this strange illusions that we must go somewhere to be, but we don’t have to. It is kinda like a feel good lost feeling. I guess in 2016 we learn that we have been doing it wrong all this time, in a hard way.

So, taking notes from a rotten year, may we take a little time to be with ourselves, before we throw a better version of us out there. May we find our centre, our core, our reasons to be here. May 2017 be the year we find our way home and open the door to let people in.

And thank you 2016 for the Stranger Things, Raden Mandasia si Pencuri Daging Sapi and Hinds full album.

Highschool of the damned

I suspect that I have unresolved issues with my high school time and I just couldn’t point out exactly what it is. Though over good fifteen years have passed, this still drives me crazy. Guess the teen angst were tattoed on my mind. Forever.

I was reading Dilan and waiting for a sea of memories drowning me in. But nothing washed me over, not a single tingle of how sweet high school was. When I took a break and tried to recalling things, the first thing that come out was Faith No More. What a weirdo, I spent the first year of high school wishing I was home listening to Digging the Grave instead of spending time with real people in white and grey uniforms.

But I remember finally had a good time with the rest of my time in high school. I ended up relating with my classmates, was in a all-girls gank and took a lot of pictures of them. This awkward and gloomy girl molded herself into one supposedly cheerful chick.

But the truth is, I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it why my friends didn’t get it when I talked about Kurt Cobain. Have you heard about pop-culture? I thought MTV was nation-widely aired. There were places where we feel that we fit in nicely, and high school was not one of the few. Maybe it was too homogeneous for my preferences. Or it was me who miss-understood the hormones imbalance with completely misguided role models. We’ve been very much oppressed our sexuality and as I’ve always been a good girl, I thought I did it well.

And the ugly thruth is, most of the time I felt ugly. I didn’t have a positive body image and hijacked my self-esteem with brain and bad-ass-ness. Maybe, I was not really sure what was happening back then but surely I don’t want to feel that way again.


Flash forward to summer vacation of September 2016, the day I finished the Hairstyle of the Damned. This book by Joe Meno is my forever thing and I wouldn’t take it off the shelves unless I would give it to someone who would sincerely cherish it. For the reason that every time I turn the page, I made a peace with myself and whatever happened in my high school year. Yup, the impact was that prominent. It was so weird that Brian Oswald life in Chicago resonated with me who lived thousand miles away, and the more I read the book the more I get my self.
I finally OK-ing my obsession with alternative music. And I also accepted when I decided that pop music is trash and only listened to music with guitar riff in distortion. And the later when I shyly jumped into the punk scene.

That halloween party scene in the book leaves me to ease to admit all we were, teenager in different costumes tried to blend in. Perhaps, if we had halloween party during high-school years, things would be better? Maybe. I stop my what-ifs and contently leave them like that. I understand my self now, as much as I tried to understand everyone who went to school wearing white and blue-ish grey uniforms. Because high school is what it is despite that I didn’t have any boyfriend or hairstyle.

Starting over

Has it been four years? Nearly five years maybe. Quite a stretch of time since I committed not to have direct communication with him. Well I slipped two times, dialed a number just to hear his voice. I regretted that because the conversation was stiffed, but ever since I’ve been very clean. Living continents apart set a solid distance and I must say that I had my heart healed.

But suddenly the opportunity arrived and I’d be in his town. It makes some sense to pay a visit. Say a hello, maybe. A coffee or two. I braced my self to confront my own shadow and the ghost of him. The soft dark tone that wasn’t haunting anymore but softly lingering.
And it turned out to be a burst of fun. We started with a meet-up in a bar, our bound with beers have always been there. His broken English were still apparent, but I got it. I always got him. His brutal honest sense of humor has always made me like him a little bit more. And after few pints, we quickly tightened the bound between us. It was as perfect as we began our first relationship, as best friends.
So many laughs, as this country was the country we lived in. He seems distanced, but I was very open. I ordered another round, and nudged him to confess. And by then he realized that I didn’t do any harm, the air was filled with a good intention. It was raining gently outside, but inside I felt nothing but warm. We had a good time, but I signaled him that I have to end the night. He dropped me off in front of my hotel gate, and when I took a look out of the window, I could see him walking slowly on a wet pathway with a sheepish smile.
The next morning my landline phone in the hotel room rang. It was him telling me that he managed to rent a bike for me and would like to take me for a daytrip in a country side. We pedalled our bike on the road to Amerongen, he went ahead I followed suit. Such a fine late summer morning until we hit the muddy road. We had too much fun that we forgot yesterday’s rain. His sports bike strolled easily while mine was dragging along with a lot of mud burst everywhere. Oh, we let a lot of laugh.
I had a another day trip without him to meet the guy that I used to have a huge crush on. Two hours went by in a flash, my dreams were fulfilled. During some alone time waiting for the train, I jotted down that I was very happy. Also, I can’t wait to meet him to tell him how happy I was. The urge to share was unbearable.

On my last night in town, we decided to meet up in a student pub. Oh, well. This could have been difficult and awkward. He was usually quiet as I fished out some talks. But I was glowing, and couldn’t stop smiling. I was glad that I spent time in his town and rekindled our connection. After all, he deserves to be loved in a sincere way and sparked with good will.
And when the night finally gave up, we hug. Such a deep and warm hug with all our might. It was as perfect as we hug four years ago, before I departed with my flight.

Only this time we start it all over again as best friends.

I guess I have done my part of forgiveness very well.


It’s been over a month or so that I’ve been under a big project. It will be over soon, and I’m still in the thick of it all, but I feel tired and broken. I made so many mistakes along the way, and I felt that I haven’t prepared enough for such a big project. For the record, I’m not a master of planning, and couple of things I didn’t anticipate beforehand. Usually such things never chickened me out. But the reason that I am very regretful today is, I was unable to nurture my kindness and compassion in a difficult time. When I look back and ask these questions: Was I kind? Did I deliver a solution? Was I supportive for my team? And I hang my head in shame, I wasn’t and didn’t. I was cranky, self-centered and was only able to see things from my perspective. I failed to understand the problems of other people. One of my goal and actually my base to maintain my sanity is, I want to be not only a skillful person but mainly a nice person to work with. I would like to be that co-worker that you’d like to hang out with for a mini coffee break, and I couldn’t remember the last time I did that. I’ve been learning to be a team member except a hero of my own, but I guess I need to learn some more. I don’t know, I might join a hockey team or something like that. I’d be happy to be a compassionate goalie.

The non-presidential debate

I'm signing off the debate. I know where I stand and I'm tired of lame argument. I might be shame of my self because my lack of understanding on religion.
But I guess there's no point of proofing who's right or wrong. We might hate each other a little, and break our friendship. Which I think it is not a purpose I'm connecting with people.
But in the end, there's nothing I can do but sharing space on earth with these people. We might never reach the world peace but I think I can make peace with my self and people around me.
We might have different opinion, because we are two different people with two different personality and background. We were raised differently, our religion might be different. But alas, we have to live side by side and make sure we smile every once in a while.
Cat person ans dog person can argue so much, but cat and dog might live together in harmony. Why don't we learn from them?



A long time a go, I had a crush on this barista in a small coffee shop nearby my office in midtown. He is not too tall, pretty lean with...