A broken chain…

When I was a child, I really love books and magazines. At that time, there was a famous magazine namely Mentari; it means ‘sun’ in Bahasa Indonesia. I really obsessed with this magazine, almost every day I said to my mom that I wanted to subscribe to this magazine. But, my mom said no.

One day, there is a lady came to our house. She offered a subscription to Mentari to our family! I jumped and sooo happy! But, my dad and mom said no to that lady. I still remember how sad I was, at that time. I cried silently, pretending to sleep on a couch.

I heard my mom and dad debating over this in our kitchen. My dad said that he could manage his salary to subscribe to Mentari fortnightly. My mom said no, she didn’t believe that my dad can do that. So, they left me crying alone without any explanation.

Several weeks later, my dad asked me to join him in Tugu Pahlawan. Every Sunday morning, there is a market that is selling pre-loved products. He walked and walked until he found what he looked for. I was so tired that morning; he is very persistent.

“Vin! come here! look what I found”
(approaching my dad)
“This is what you want” (he showed me a very thick Mentari magazine)

So, there were around 10 out-of-date Mentari magazines bound into one giant book. It was sold very cheaply compared to the new ones.

(I shook my head)
“why? because it is not a new one?”
“no, because I have lost my interest to Mentari already”
“It doesn’t matter whether it is new or used one, the story still the same, the pictures are both same”
“but there are some pages missing, dad”
“let’s choose a better one then”

After a few minutes of selecting the minimum torn pages, I went home with a giant book consist of 10 used Mentari magazines.

I never know how painful it is to become parents at that time. All I know is just, I love reading the magazine, and I want that desire is fulfilled.

I never know that by subscribing to a new Mentari magazine can lead to unstable financial to my family at that time. I don’t know their financial condition. I just know that every day my dad took a train to Surabaya and come home at night.

I still feel the pain of unfulfilled desire, even until now. It leaves me a ‘scar’; well, I have so many scars anyway. I was expecting an explanation at that time. It may be okay for me now if they told me their financial condition at that time. I learn something from this matter which I use to teach Rania.

Give your child all explanations of any matter that are reasonable. If you say no, give them the reason. If you say yes, give them the reason too. Now, I realized why Rania always asks me ‘why’ to every single subject that she wants to know more. She demands an explanation from me, whatever it is, just tell it. She is a human being who thinks rationally and emotionally capable of sensing other human beings. She’ll understand, now or later.

Rania and I were raised in different family cultures and eras. In my era, when I was a child, it was forbidden to ask our parents ‘why’. Just do everything they said to you without asking. Asking means you don’t believe in your parents. Asking means you argue with your parents. But, nowadays, asking means that you are thinking reasonably. Asking means you’re craving for more knowledge.

I used to compare children nowadays and in my era. But, not anymore until my sister in law told me that we can’t compare things that are different. I haven’t married and have any children at that time, don’t really know what she meant for exactly. But, I think it is relevant now.

This post is entitled ‘a broken chain’; it means that I do something different to my child compared to my parents do to me when I was a child. It doesn’t mean that I am better than them, or they are better than me. It means we took a different path because the era demands us to become a different generation from time to time. We can still adopt a good thing from our parents’ era but please deliver it differently to our children.

We learn every day to become parents and human being but the world is continuously changing.

I don’t know why I can’t stop writing these days. I want everything in my head is written in something that can be read anytime by anyone. Ha, weird me..

Welcoming baby #2

Well, Rania gave me spoilers at first. She patted my belly several days before I took a pregnancy test. She said that my belly looks flabby T.T Then, she guessed that there is a baby inside my stomach :)) I just laughed at that time :p

Her feeling comes true, I missed seven days of my period this month. I feel something different in my body and breast. I asked my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. And, voilaaa! two lines 🙂

WhatsApp Image 2019-12-08 at 08.28.42

My husband and I were not really sure until we met an OB/GYN. And, that’s true, there is an egg yolk in my womb 🙂

But, I asked the doctor, will I experience the same symphysis pubic dysfunction like my previous pregnancy? I still remember how hurt it is. Hearing cracking bones and feel so much pain. Unable to walk, only lying on a bed for two months.

She said Yes. When the fetus’s weight is approaching 2.7 kg, I will experience the same thing 😦 and she warned me, if this fetus more than 2.7 kg, my ligaments could be torn.

Every pregnancy has its own story. This is my story.
I should prepare myself and the baby inside.

Should I be happy? because there is someone living in my body.
Or should I be sad? because I know the consequences of having this.

I am grateful, and like usual, I will walk through this, no matter what…

Be strong baby #2! by the way, your sister refused to call you Olaf, we haven’t decided yet, I will let you know 😀

What makes me strong?

Allah.
Rania.
My husband.
My parents.
My friends.
My colleagues.
My students.

I still remember when those mental illnesses hit me so hard, I was blank. Then, seeing Rania praying with her dad makes me ‘sober’. I stayed on the ground for a moment. Rania was praying while holding her teddy bear and she followed her dad to pray for me.

Those moments are scary. I lost control of myself for a few days. I was so scared. I can’t think clearly. I crashed. I sunk. Rania has never left me for a second, she was always beside me, cure me by telling me stories and singing.

“Ran, I am sorry…”
“What for mom?”
“I was angry with you when you broke my laptop when we were in Dublin”
“That’s okay mommy, that’s not your fault”

That piece of conversation melts me down at that time. It took 2 years for me to ask for apologies to her. And I did that when I was ‘high’.

Thanks Rania for accepting me as your mother. I wish that you can learn something from my posts here. I can’t leave you anything but these. I am building a good name for you, as a researcher, as a lecturer, and as an academician, but I am not sure that it will be a good enough for you to be proud of me, like I proud of you 🙂

You are the reason – Calum Scott

Mental Health

Everyone has physical health and mental health. Almost everyone cares about their physical health but not their mental health. Sometimes, people do not realize that they have a mental problem until they talk to an expert (a psychiatrist). But, believe me, in a developing country like Indonesia, meeting a psychiatrist is an embarrassment. People will judge you that you are lunatic or crazy. People prefer to hide their problems even though sometimes they have a feeling that they are not (mentally) healthy. This stigma is still a huge problem in a country like Indonesia.

I am writing this, not because I am healthy. I have been diagnosed with two mental illnesses. My parents asked me to keep this private information only to me and my closest circle, but, I decided to write this in a blog post so people will aware of their mental health as good as their physical health. Well, I also encourage them who feel mentally unhealthy to look for help from a psychiatrist.

What if my students read this post? Will they lack trust in me and think that I am crazy and not capable to teach them? It is my risk.

What if my employer and my colleagues read this post? They already know, and I told my circle. Again, it is their choice to have me as their friend or not, after knowing this.

What if my family read this post? Well, some of them already know. One of two mental illnesses is inherited from my grandmother, so, it is in my gene.

When is the first time I realize that I am not okay? Since I was a kid, third-grade. But it is disappeared through time, my parents ignored it, and it came again last year.

What are my symptoms?
– I am overthinking
– I am too self-centered
– I am over-sensitive, my feeling is easily get hurt by a simple ambiguous sentence
– My sleeping pattern is changed, I constantly wake up in the middle of the night without any specific purpose
– I am restlessness
– I continuously hear people conversation even though I am totally alone
– I have uncontrolled imagination
– I stare to unseen objects
– I lack confidence
– I can’t cry or other emotional expressions (e.g. laugh)
– I am anxious

After consulting with two experts, they gave me pills. I consumed them for 3-4 months and get better. Now, I am so relaxed and enjoy my daily activities. I control my thinking and feeling. My confidence gets better and I find myself again. Those scary moments have passed and I am grateful that I am surrounded by supportive and positive-thinking people.

What are my triggers?
– Stress.
– Long-term sadness, I still remember how sad I was when I got separated from Rania. I can’t walk properly but I must write and finish my dissertation.
– I have no friends to talk to, but I glad that I found a musical instrument that helps me through my hardest days.

People only see me from my achievements, my posts, my articles but only a few who see me as a fragile person. I can maintain my life goals, my physical health, my finance, but not my mental health (at that time). I am so glad that my husband is very supportive and still trusts me as Rania’s mother. Educating and playing with Rania makes me feel that I am wanted and needed; I have to live and cure my mental problems.

If you have or feel that you are not mentally healthy, please visit an expert. Your life is precious and you are not alone.

If you know somebody has a mental problem, please be a supportive person. The least you can do is being a non-toxic and less-judging person. Everyone has their own problem, and your cynical comments won’t help any of those, only making it worse.

At the end of the day, problems passed and I got some learning. I should be more grateful for what God gave to me and to my family. Not all people have this kind of journey, sometimes people can’t appreciate what they have until they lost it. I have lost my mental health in a way that I can’t anticipate. I am so grateful that God gave it back to me. I am so grateful that no one in my circle left me on that day. They support me as a friend, as a family, as a colleague.

Thanks for being there for listening to me; you are like stars, not always seen but always there.

Truth?

Exam invigilations always introduce something new to me, either getting know to new people, new students’ habit, or even new scary incidence. Just to remind myself, that I have spent a special time between my thesis writing to write this post, but I set time to publish this post in next year, 2019. I don’t really want that the unwanted reaction to this post affects my viva or my process to achieve my Ph.D. diploma. Well, there is a possibility that my external examiner was born in a place that will be explained in this post and take it personally. All I want is just to share what I have heard from my new acquaintance during my invigilation time, yesterday (13th of August 2018).

First of all, a crisis in the Palestine and Israel has nothing to do with my professional knowledge as an academician. So, I don’t have any tendency to discuss this thing further or relate this to a political view.
So, the story began when I met David. He is a chief invigilator and he told me that he spent his last summer holiday in Palestine. At first, I didn’t want to get attached to Palestine just because I am a muslim because since the beginning, to my understanding, the conflict was started not because of the religion, but a very old history.

So, on the way back from the invigilation venue to the exam office, I decided to fulfill my curiosity.

“David, I think Palestine is not a common holiday destination, what makes you decide to spend your summer there?”
“Ahemm…”, I think he needs a moment and select better words for not dragging me to a discussion about who attack Palestine, who is wrong, or something like that.
The story goes, he and the other 5 brave Irish men went there via Tel Aviv and spent several days in there only to experience the situation in the middle of a war and full of threats. They all stayed in a Palestine settlement and lived with families there, FYI, they have no Airbnb or a hostel.

He told me that it is a very lucky moment if an aid coming from UN or Indonesia was not shot or attacked. Clean water is very rare. They live with threats like every single day and night. Bombings happen almost like once every two nights. Every time Palestine people tried to build a new settlement, they will demolish in a second. It is like living in a hell. Palestine families where they stayed last summer were so kind sharing their (limited) food to us, so we can still alive and pass this story to others.

I have sooo many questions in my head.

“Then, why you decided to go there in the first place, David? were you expecting that situation before?”
“It is a difficult decision, I have two kids, a 6-year-old daughter, and an 8-year-old son, I might not come back to Ireland to see them again, but I need to find the truth. I do this for them.”

Well, to be honest, I would never have any courage to visit a crisis place like that. Even sometimes, I ignore what the truth is just to make myself safe. What a selfish thought that I have.

He continued his story, in Palestine, there is a granite wall like this (he pointed to an old building on our campus) but not too high so we can see the other side. Then I asked him what he saw on the other side of the war?
“A luxurious hotel, a pool, a jacuzzi, I am so ashamed that they who live in that hotel see these ‘killing’ acts like they view a scenery from their balcony. Even in this era, a holocaust is still happening in front of our eyes and we’re doing nothing.”
“is it at Gaza strip?”
“YES”

My heart stops beating. It is us who remain silent, watching this news with an ignorance. We worried more about looking for the news source, scrutinize their backgrounds, investigate their motives for publishing that kind of news rather than doing something useful for them. Then, we debated with each other just to cover our eyes to see the truth. I know that this is only a one-sided story, only from one source. But there is a message that is being sent to me, and I cannot stay to keep it myself. Well, I still delay this publish time until I have my ‘comfort’ situation even though I know that David was not lying to me.

He found his ‘truth’, what about me?

What kind of truth that we have discovered so far?

——-

“Where are you from, Retno?”
“Indonesia, have you ever heard about Indonesia before?”
“Me, a couple of times, a catastrophic country, and I saw your flags in a place where I took a holiday in last summer”
“Oh really? you’ve visited Bali last summer?”
“Nope, Palestine”

——-

I hope I am still alive when this post is published on the 1st of April, 2019.

Normality

So, today I had a lovely lunch with my supervisor in a very pleasant Italian restaurant. While eating, we were talking about the concept of beauty person in different places. We only compared between Indonesian and European people.

I told her about what Galway tour guide said, around a year ago, about redhead women. I found that the people with red or ginger head are ultimately beautiful; I mean they reflect the natural beauty created by God. They even do not need to re-color their hair to be red or change their contact lens to get blue eyes (like Beth who has blue eyes in Tenerife Sea song) or have a plastic surgery to have a pointed nose. They are just beautiful as they are.

But then, my supervisor told me that ginger head got bullied in the UK. Then, I asked why? That is because they are different than the common people. I asked, what is the normal hair color in the UK? She answered, brown. Well, ginger is light brown anyway. Why they consider light brown and brown is two different things then?

However, I strongly believe that not all people in the UK agree to bully ginger head. But, I just really mad and sad. Why would anyone get bullied because they are created differently? And, they don’t ask God to be created as a different individual!

Well, even though they can recolor their hair, trained their accent to be like normal people speak, wear contact lenses to blend with normal people. But, I just cannot accept it. I will be very mad if Indonesian people bully an Irish person who is coming to Indonesia land just because they are different with normal appearance (i.e. black hair and brown-black eyes).

The most polite that we could do is just to staring and admiring their beauty from far. Yes, we do that a lot to ‘bule’ 😀
But, I guess staring and admiring from far is not considered as bullying, isn’t it? Well, sometimes, it causes some unpleasant feeling to the ‘bule’. I would like to say sorry to them if they feel like that 😦

P.S. This post has nothing to do with whether it happens between Irish vs. British, or ginger head vs. non-ginger head or red hair vs. non-red hair. This post is about the concept of normality vs. natural beauty given by God; don’t mess with the context.