Sunday, July 30, 2006

If I were a male

Have you ever had a good friend, a very good one, and she is much wealthier than you are?
Has she treated you like a beggar, giving you money, or throwing you with many presents?
Has she treated you like a true friend, supporting you in your ups and downs, no matter what?
And are you jealous to her? Or are you happy for her? Or do you use her?

Tricky, isn’t it?
If you have been through this situation, yes, I have, too, and I am.

I am far from being jealous or am I feeling nothing next to her. She and I are equal. She doesn’t act as a boss paying all the bills or giving me abundant presents. No,.. that’s what I like from her.

I have never asked of money from her. I have a high pride, tho I was once in a difficult financial situation and she, indeed, offered me some helps, I refused it. Yeah,.. it’s my pride!

Her parents? Ah,.. they are okay with me. I know them quite well and they don’t treat me bad either. On the other hand, my parents sometimes remind me to know where I stand; to know that her parents are much richer that mine.

A couple of days a go, I went to a department store with her. I, honestly, don’t like shopping with friends. I don’t like waiting neither do I like people waiting for me. I decided not to look around; yet she did. I was waiting for her. It was a pleasure to accompany her. I felt a privilege to walk with her, although I had to wait. Seeing her picking some clothes was such a nice view. I liked it.

Then, when she paid her shopping, I was shock to death. The amount of money she paid was probably enough to buy ten decent clothes for me.

It was a time, the only time, I felt so down. Was I jealous? Probably! I found it unfair. If I want to buy clothes, I have to wait until for Discount period. If I want to buy something with a normal price, I have to go to the cheapest department store (with good quality, of course). Seeing her just walking in to and out from the stores and having what she wanted irritated me, indeed.

After shopping, we had a little chat while we were walking around this (new) department store. She told me about how her father loved cars and planned to buy a new one; she told me about her mom’s bad habit in spending money to buy expansive, brand clothes and bags. If I had had the courage, I would have screamed, shut up, you hurt me!

We went home earlier than what we had expected. She didn’t know all the thought swimming in my head. I am actually not good in keeping secrets, but that time, I could handle myself. As we entered her car, I had a glimpse: this relationship couldn’t go on like this. I am unequal. We are different – from a totally different world.

Ah, probably I am just too pathetic. It is my parents that do not have money, that are not wealthy. I can be different. I can bring some changes.

Once, I ever asked “Whose fault is it? Who has sinned? My parents or me? So that my family has to go through this financial situation?” The Son of Man answered me, clearly “you are asking the wrong question. You are looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.” He added, “this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in your life.” (John 9:3, the message and NIV).

I haven’t told her about this.
Do you think I should talk to her about this?
I am sure she didn’t mean it to shop like that in front of me, or told me stories about her parents.
Ah, I was probably too sensitive.
Thanks for letting me sharing this. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


As I began starting and planning my life in Indonesia, this song is echoing in my ears. I remembered praying "God, this is my life. You can use it to do whatever you want it to do or to be."

First couple of days were difficult. My mom began shouting to me to start my job. My heart and brain were complaining because they have been useless for some days. My body began groaning of tiredness.
Then, I asked Him, "God, is it really true that I came back to Indonesia?" "Have I chosen the wrong path?" "God, I am desperate. What do you want me to do?"

Silence, no answer.
I made up my own plan: applying to A company, phoning B company, sending an application form for C master program.

"Take my will and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine.
This lyric struck me.
I know, I have surrender everything, all things, to Him.

Lord, Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, and send me out.

Take my Life - Chris Tomlin

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as You choose.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it's all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.

My prayer for today:
Take my intellect and use
, every power as You choose.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Longing to be home of which not mine

My dedicated reader, mbak Ulm, posted a message urging me to update my blog, update it with my latest news. Ulm, not much to say but it is less exited to be here.

Hu,.. it is a very contradictive situation. One hand, I love to be here, with my family, Stefy and friends; yet, on the other hand, I hate to be far away from home, of which not mine: the Netherlands.

Since I am a woman, I will reveal my story easily, probably too easily; thus I better give you some highlights about my first three exiting days in Indonesia.

15 July 2006
I arrived safely in Juanda Airport, Surabaya. After long flight and long transit in Singapore, I was very relieved to be in Surabaya. My luggage appeared on time and was all complete. Thanks God for that! I am always petrified with my luggage when I travel.

My dad, mom and little sista, Joan, welcomed me. In the middle of the crowd, I embraced them. My little sista is not little anymore. With her dark, long hair, and new front teeth, she looked very different. I am happy to see her.

FYI, Bang Tepy, that cruel boyfriend I have (heheh), didn’t pick me up. He rather went to a wedding party than picked me up. Heheheh,.. just kidding. I knew it weeks before I went back to Indonesia. It was his good friend’s wedding party; it was important, too.

I was very exhausted.
I could no longer feel my bones supporting my whole body. I was so weak. I remembered I had not slept well for almost a week. My last few days in the Netherlands were spent by packing, being too exited and stressed.

When I got home, I unpacked my luggage. This was the most interesting part. I loved unpacking stuffs and presenting presents to my family. Joan unpacked her presents and was very exited.

I closed my day by going to bed very early. I was very tired. I phoned Bang Tepy before I went to bed saying hi to him and made appointment for the next day. We were going to church, the 6 AM service.

16 July 2006
Knock,.. knock,..
“Non, your friend is waiting outside.”
Freak, I am late!

It was quarter to six when my housemaid knocked my door letting me know that my friend was waiting for me. It was Stefy.
I was crawling (not literally, but probably limping) downstairs to meet him.
Stef, sorry, I am late. I am so sleepy.
With his half-opened eyes, he replied “that’s all right”
Freak, I ruined my first meeting. I didn’t dress well and appeared late. Ck, ck,,.bad bad! Thank goodness he was okay. :P

Stefy’s church was totally different than Crossroad. During the service, I was praying to God asking His direction: which church should I go. I really don’t mind to return to my old church or go to Stefy’s church, but I, personally, prefer to go to Crossroad-like church. I could experience God’s presence more in Crossroad. Yet, since God is everywhere, I should be able to experience His presence in any other church, too.

In the evening, there was my grandma’s party.
Honestly, I didn’t like it.
It was done in Indonesian way (of course), thus I had to greet everybody, I mean anybody, whom I don’t even know or have ever met some of them.
My mom kept calling my name and showing me off to her friends or relatives.
I didn’t like it. I wasn’t comfortable.

I reckon, 16 July was the date when I felt my first culture-shock and I missed my Diemerkade very much.
When I got back home, I starred at my phone, wondering “shall I call my ex-housemates?”

17 July 2006
I woke up quite late. I reckon I still had jetlag.
Can you imagine, last night, in the middle of the night, I woke up feeling hungry and couldn’t go back to sleep? If it is not because of stefy’s mom telling me that I got chubbier, I would grab some biscuits or any other food to ease my hunger. (heheh,.. it is partly just a joke). I managed to go back to sleep.

In the morning, I went to swim with Joan.
Finally, when I was in the Netherlands, I dreamt to swim outdoor, and now, my dream came true. In the end of the day, I got terrible sun-burn; yet I loved it. Heheheh,.. FYI, my skin is darker than Stefy (hopefully he wouldn’t reconsider me for this matter :P)

The second culture-shock attacked me.
In the afternoon, I would like to have an internet connection. Since Indonesia rarely has modem or excellent internet connection, my dad just has a modem. To install the modem and reconfigure it in my computer was such a pain. In the end, I still couldn’t manage it. Freak!
Then, my tears started going down, “I miss Ardy!”
In the Netherlands, if I have problem with my computer, I would go upstairs, knocking at Ardy’s door and asking for his help. Now, I don’t have Ardy, no Daniel, no IT experts. I miss my friends.
I ended up crying.

Good that I had an appointment with my good friends, who are actually Stefy’s friends from church, too. They were my friends who kept praying for me and supported me while I was in the Netherlands. This appointment kindof eased my sadness.

Here are some highlights of my first days in Indonesia. Some are good, others are terrible. Fewh… still difficult to adapt. Please do pray for me, I really need your prayer.

See you soon, as soon as I have a good internet connection.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Breaking News

13 July 2006
Pathe Arena was the witness of my happiness, relief and excitement. From now on, the world can call me the Bachelor of Communication Management.

On this day, many things occured. Started in the morning, I had to say goodbye to my bike, the one I bought with my own money, the one I loved and I used very much, and handed it over to Elvin. ("Phien, it is your task to take care of my 'Shrek' - I called it 'Shrek' because it is green and ugly - yet it is so lovely).

Late in the afternoon, when I got myself ready, Daniel said something very nasty. If I think of it again, it wasn't that bad, yet, I was probably too tired and sensitive for a nasty, corny joke. I got angry, even cried. Ah yeah, my housemates just teased me before giving me a very nice present I have been wanting to buy for a LONG time - the Message Bible.

In the evening was the graduation ceremony continued with Prom Night. A bit cheezy, tho but it was fun. I confessed, it was the very first time, in the Netherlands, I went to a real party, doing party stuffs: drinking cocktails, queing in an unhealthy snackbar for pizzas and french fries, and going for very late with a night bus. I enjoyed it. I normally don't like this, but it appeared to be fun.

Early in the morning, I had a resolution: I wanted to do something I have never done before in the Netherlands, so that I could remember my last day. First thought was smoking, yet it appeared not to be a good idea at all: unhealthy, addiction and bad image. Second thought was getting drunk (what I knew, gradutaion has to be celebrated with drinks; thus drink till you drop). This idea was even worse because I would be flying the next morning. I left HMH building with a little bit of disappointment. I didn't do anything special (hm,... apart from the basic salsa dance I showed off to Golda).

When we left in the afternoon, the weather was so warm, humid. Unfortunately, since I lived in the Netherlands, the weather was very unpredictable. In the evening, it was VERY cold. I went home, wearing nothing but sleeveless, chinese sackdress. Very cold. Then, like in a comic, a lamp appeared above my head. "I have never done this before"

I grinned. In the middle of a dark, cold night, instead of groaning and grumbling, I was cheering. I jumped and smiled, jumped and screamed, jumped and smiled again.

With the night bus, I went home, feeling cold. I was home, still packing and cleaning my room, and finally I managed to sleep for two hours.

14 July 2006
To wake up early in the morning was not as bad as to say goodbye to the Netherlands, especially to my housemates. My lovely housmates were waving me off in Schiphol. When Daniel and Golda had to leave earlier, I gave them hugs, saying some nice words. I didn't cry, not even a drop. Then, Daniel approached me again, saying things, wished me luck, and hugged me. My tears started to appear; yet I managed to get hold on that.

Anita and Ardy, plus a guest, Mas Tiki, waved me off for the very last time. I just gave Ardy and Anita hugs and waved. I felt sad, but didn't cry. They had to stop at the border because the officer didn't let non-passengers to cross that border. I was queeing, and starting to feel the sadness when I saw Ardy and Anita appeared behind me. I bursted to tears.

On the airplane, I didn't feel better. As the plane took off, I realized that I won't be in Schiphol again, for an indefinite time. Corinne Bailey Ray played her music. As I listened to her, my tears fell down again. I remembered my housemates.

Trying to sleep, but I couldn't.
Thus, what I did in my 14 hours flight was doing nothing but keep switching the channels, going to the rest room over and over again, and staring at the window.

15 July 2006
I am still struggling with the boredom of waiting 8 hours for my next flight. if you read this, please send me sms or something to cheer me up :P I went on a city tour this morning, but it just took up 2 hours of my time. I, now, still need to wait for 3 hours. Oh, God, be merciful to me.

Ah yeah, I just chatted with a nice old chap who is going to China. Hopefully there will be more persons sitting next to me.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Newsletter - NL final edition

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standin' here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

This song has been accompanying me packing and preparing myself to go back home, Indonesia, for indefinite time. This newsletter is my last one from the Netherlands and will be continued by the time I am in Indonesia.

Nia in these last couple of months
I am doing very great. I passed my final dissertation with a rich eight, as my supervisor told me; thus I assumed I got 8+. I praise the Lord for this result. I and my dissertation partner, Ulma, have been working very hard yet we were quite pessimist with the result since we have faced some difficulties during our project. Thus, an eight is a wonder for us.

While I was preparing to go home, canceling my insurance, my work at Albert Heijn supermarket, and other obligations, an opportunity to work in the Netherlands appeared. I was very surprised because it was two or three weeks before my deadline paying flight ticket.

I had applied for this job. I was waiting wondering whether God, last-minute, would show me another way; thus not going back home to Indonesia but to stay in the Netherlands.

A couple days before the deadline, I still had not heard anything. I prayed about it and I went to the travel agent, yes, to pay my flight ticket.

Two weeks ago, a woman replied my application saying that her company needed a Dutch native speaker for the position.

I felt so relieved as well as guilty because I was question and had a doubt on His guidance. Now, I am on my way to go home. Tomorrow (Friday, 14th July), I will be on a jet plane, waving to the Netherlands.

Nia in her new future
Here is my contact information in Indonesia:

Address: Taman Simolawang Baru Utara 15
City: Surabaya
Postcode: 60143
Province: East Java
Country: Indonesia

Thank you for your prayer and support during these times in the Netherlands. I am so thankful to know and meet you.

Prayer points:

1. For this time, please pray for my preparation, a safe journey and a good time in Indonesia.
2. A good resting time. I need a break after four years full of challenges and hard working. Yet, I am very bad at taking a break. I am too active sometimes. Please pray so that I can rest and have a time for family and friends.
3. Please pray for the culture shock I might have to face. It is strange, really, to have a culture shock in my own land. However, I need to adapt to my new life: staying with my parents, meeting and having short-distance relationship with my boyfriend, speaking Indonesian, and Indonesian culture (Indonesian food, as well, maybe).
4. Pray as well for my future: working or doing Master education. There are many possibilities; yet I will submit everything to God. I want to do something that pleases Him.
5. Thank Him for a wonderful period in the Netherlands
6. Thank Him, too, for being able to accomplish a great final dissertation result and graduate.
7. Thank Him for wonderful friends, colleagues and families in these last four years.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Comfort Zone

[Welcome, you are about to leave your comfort zone]

A week to go.

Next week, Saturday, I will be already in Indonesia, probably resting or chatting with my Mom or brother. I don’t know.

It is strange that instead of being exited, I become scared; I feel afraid. As I have always been saying to some people, in Indonesia, I will start a new life. I will stay under the same roof with my parents. I am sure it would be a challenge.
I will meet with Stefy on the regular basis. In our long distance relationship, if I am disappointed with him, I will ask him not to call me or end our chat. Yet, in Indonesia, I can’t. I have to talk about it, face-to-face.

I will live with Indonesian people that have totally different habits and attitudes than Dutch.

I, honestly, am scared.

I feel like a girl who is going to get married the next day and feels petrified. She will start a new life, with her husband, living together under the same roof. She will need to leave behind her life full of having fun, being alone and going out with friends.

I think I am just too anxious to start my new life and leave behind my comfort zone. In the Netherlands, I can be myself. I can be what I like and want to be. I have my own style. I like vintage. I like second hand stuffs.

I like oldies music. I like Beatles, Johnny Cash, and Frank Sinatra. I love music hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s. I love jazz very much. I love classic music. I like strange music (compare to what normal people might like). I don’t like boysband. I don’t like pop, trendy, too R&B music. I can’t stand songs that just expose cute girls with barely anything on and the singer(s) singing nothing but uh-oh, uh-oh.

In the Netherlands, I have my own bike. I don’t need to call my chauffeur to ask him to bring me somewhere, or to call Stefy to pick me up or even to call a taxi. I have a bike that can bring my everywhere, although it is an old bike.

In the Netherlands, I know how to manage stuff, how to manage my bank account, insurance and pay some bills. In here, customers are always the king; we are very important. Sadly, in Indonesia, you need to beg to get your passport. You need to insert a hundred thousand Rupiah money inside your passport to get a new passport as soon as possible.

I am afraid to be dependant, I think.
I am afraid to be different.
Am I?

I don’t know what I exactly am afraid of. It is probably just the idea of starting a new journey.

As I have ever mentioned before, I am very glad that my Big Daddy stays the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow, even when I am in Indonesia.

Elvin said to me this evening. It is actually her mom saying this “it was not easy for you to start your life in the Netherlands. It would not easy either to restart your life in Indonesia. Yet, you have [your family] and friends to help you as you also have had when you were in the Netherlands.”

Yes, indeed, phien, in my first year, I had to just accept my 3.5 Euro per hour when I was working in an Indonesian restaurant owned by a so-called good friend of my uncle. I had to cry or at least be upset when I couldn't grasp what my teachers were saying in front of the class.

I had to be defensive and fight for my right when someone who claimed himself as a family betrayed me. I needed to be totally dependant looking for a new shelter. Yet, this dependency was still not the answer to survive in the Netherlands. I needed a truly savior, best friend and father. I finally knew that being dependant was too hard; instead, I needed to depend on the true One. I did.

The first two years were full or cry and sadness as well as joy and happiness. I always cried after my shift in Albert Heijn because my Dutch was suck. I used to be the underdog in Albert Heijn.

The third year was way better. I had my own rhythm. My Dutch was improved and I did my internship in the best place ever.

Forth year was even better.

I might need to go through similar cycle in Indonesia.

Monday, July 03, 2006

My Future is

1. Meeting my family: Dad, Mom, Adrian and Joan.
2. Seeing Bang Tepy
3. Appointment with the head of management faculty in Ciputra University for job interview (gosh, am I gonna be a lecturer? Can a graduate from hogeschool INHolland be a lecturer?)
4. Appointment with Ms. Hergandi, Director of International Broadcasting Company in Jakarta. I am applying for a position as PR/Marketing manager.
5. Sending application to IBM Jakarta. They have an opening in marketing department.
6. Continuing my SPICE (Intellectual Capital) project in Jakarta with some researchers in Jakarta. I am probably going to conduct some researched in the field of knowledge management and Intellectual capital.
7. Going to West Sumatra to work in an International company. It is a little bit far away from home.
8. Helping my friends in Jogjakarta. They are students organizing an event to help people who are still suffering from the effect of earthquake.
9. Being a very good listener to my friends in Surabaya. (Friends, I am coming soon!!)
10. Organizing reunions: Elementary school, junior and senior high school.
11. Meeting my best, best friend: Yuniana. She is studying in Sydney. I haven’t seen her for four years.
12. Messing around with my siblings. Ha,.. ha,.. ha,.. *a huge laughter*
13. Applying for a scholarship in Australia. I really want to study Knowledge management, hm,… probably in Canberra or Perth.
15. (it will happen next year) Climbing one or two mountains with ELVIN (am I right, phien?)
16. Going to Menado. Yes, BUNAKEN!!!
17. Finding a new church, or probably going back to my old church. Just need His guidance for doing thing.
18. Start WRITING A BOOK. (Hm,… can you do this, Nia?)
19. Develop my webdesign skill. Take a web class probably?
20. Meeting up with my cousins. Need to do this for sure!!
21. Visiting Golda in Medan: drinking Terong Belanda + Marquise juice, eating out in Medan China town (vegetarian menu) and OF COURSE going to TOBA LAKE.
22. Going to KL: meeting up my friends I met in UK, meeting Meilin and Dian, and helping my brother finding a university.
23. Taking (jazz) singing lesson
24. Taking (jazz) piano lesson
25. Using my Dutch for something: giving lessons, writing e-mails to Dutch friends, finding Dutch community nearby.
26. Learning Chinese
27. Organizing Diemerkade reunion as soon as everybody in Indonesia.
28. Tour de java: Solo, Salatiga, Semarang, Jogjakarta, Bandung.
29. Helping Bang Tepy with his thesis.
30. Joining film team led by Mr. Cheeze :P (Our next project is Christmas film)

So eat and drink and do everything else for the glory of God.
Don't do anything that causes another person to trip and fall. (1 Cor 10:31)

What's gonna happen to me in Indonesia? I don't know, yet I know for sure that whatever occurs it is always in His control. Glad to know that I am not alone.