Life

Homeland

Saya menghabiskan tanggal 17 Agustus tahun ini di Bali. Waktu di Bali banyak habis di jalan–saya bahkan sampai ke Bali dengan menggunakan mobil dari Banyuwangi–jadi saya punya banyak waktu untuk bengong memperhatikan jalan dan orang-orang. Jalanan Bali penuh dengan dua hal: orang asing dan bendera merah-putih. Hal yang pertama sudah jadi hal lumrah. Hal kedua juga sebenarnya biasa karena masa-masa ini adalah masa perayaan peringatan kemerdekaan negara tercinta, tapi tetap saja saya takjub sendiri saat sadar bahwa bendera merah-putih nyaris ada di tiap rumah di Bali. Besar-besar pula. Bendera di perkantoran Jakarta saja tak melulu sampai sebesar yang saya lihat mencuat dari pagar rumah orang sini.

Lalu saya jadi terpikir soal nasionalisme, Indonesia, dan Ariana.

Ariana yang saya maksud adalah Ariana Alisjahbana. Saya bertemu dengan Ariana tahun lalu, saat sedang di Singapura. Juni tahun lalu, saat sedang mengikuti Singapore MUN, rekan saya di acara tersebut–Mbak Fitri Mayang Sari, pendiri Orang Jakarta–mengajak saya bertemu dengan Ariana. Sudah lama tak bertemu, katanya, dan kebetulan Ariana sedang di Singapura. Ariana sendiri sebenarnya sedang kuliah di Berkeley. Keberadaannya di Singapura pun untuk urusan sekolah, untuk magang di Google sana. Keren, ya. Saya yang anak ingusan ini belum apa-apa sudah terpukau.

Jadilah sore itu kami menyusuri Orchard Road sambil ngobrol-ngobrol. Nggak sih, saya cuma mendengarkan sambil foto-foto Mbak Fitri dan Ariana yang sedang ngobrol dan menimpali sedikit. Ariana bercerita banyak tentang dirinya sebagai diaspora di Amerika. Tentang bagaimana dia bekerja di World Resources Institute (WRI) dan berjuang supaya WRI membuat cabang di Indonesia. Berkali-kali mengajukan proposal (dan saya yakin, membangun reputasi agar suaranya didengar), dan akhirnya WRI Indonesia benar-benar dibuat. Adanya WRI di Indonesia jelas berarti sekali. Berapa banyak sih think tank yang sejenis WRI ini di Indonesia? Lebih-lebih yang memfokuskan diri pada pembangunan berkelanjutan dan hutan-hutan.

Lalu, mengapa sekarang ke Google? Ariana bilang, dia penasaran, bagaimana suatu perusahaan bisa sebesar ini dalam dunia teknologi. Saya ingat Ariana bicara juga soal bagaimana memahami teknologi yang berkembang akan berguna banyak bagi Indonesia, tapi saya lupa bagaimana detailnya. Yang saya ingat, penjabarannya membuat saya terpukau dan bertanya, “What drives you?

“Indonesia yang lebih baik.”

Di trotoar Orchard Road yang mulai remang, nyaris tertegun, saya mencatat jawaban Ariana dalam hati. Tidak ada jawaban yang bisa lebih nasionalis lagi selain ini.

Di tengah pembicaraan saat itu pula, Ariana sempat membahas stereotipe tentang bagaimana mereka yang menetap di luar negeri dicap tidak cinta tanah air hanya karena tidak tinggal di negara tercinta.

“Indonesia juga butuh dikuatkan dari luar,” ujar Ariana, yang saya aminkan dalam diam.

Saya pikir, tak perlu kita sibuk menilai orang yang bagaimana yang lebih cinta tanah air. Toh, semakin banyak orang Indonesia yang berkarya di kancah internasional, semakin baik. Dalam hal apapun. Entah Anda pejabat, pengusaha, insinyur, penulis, arsitek, seniman, jurnalis, desainer, apapun. Tak perlu repot, sekadar berkarya dengan baik dan mendedikasikan karya itu untuk Indonesia (sadar ataupun tidak) pun sudah cukup “berbuat” bagi Indonesia. Misal, para seniman seperti Trotoart yang karyanya di Jakarta Biennale membuat saya terperangah saat pertama kali dengar. Atau para desainer yang membawa batik ke level dunia dan membuat bisnis batik di Indonesia semakin seru. Atau contoh lain yang begitu gamblang bisa juga kita pelajari dari Ariana–yang bekerja di lembaga global dan berusaha sekuat tenaga agar Indonesia lebih dikenal di lembaganya yang mengurus tentang lingkungan–hingga akhirnya berhasil membuat kantor cabang di Indonesia. Hal yang tidak mungkin mau repot-repot dilakukan oleh orang yang tidak memiliki Indonesia dalam hatinya.

Meski, tentu menguatkan Indonesia dari dalam juga sangat diperlukan (saya sendiri bekerja di instansi pemerintah). Kadang juga, setelah menguatkan dari luar pun kita masih perlu benar-benar kembali. Ibu Sri Mulyani, contohnya. Ibu Sri Mulyani berkarier dengan baik sebagai COO di World Bank (dan berhasil membuat bangga sekian ratus juta orang Indonesia), saya yakin membuat nama Indonesia semakin diperhitungkan di luaran sana, dan kembali ke Indonesia begitu diperlukan (dan berhasil membuat ratusan juta manusia Indonesia bersorak). Teladan sekali. Atau mungkin, kalau Anda pengusaha besar nan bisnisnya mendunia, mengikuti program pemerintah yang sedang hits saat ini, Tax AmnestyAmnesti Pajak, bisa jadi sarana untuk “kembali”. Kita semua tahu tujuan utama program ini dibuat, untuk merepatriasi dana dari luar negeri, agar dana tersebut bisa digunakan di Indonesia untuk pembangunan ekonomi dan infrastuktur. Kurang cinta Indonesia apalagi, kalau kita bersedia menarik dana yang selama ini kita bisniskan di luar untuk kita investasikan sendiri di Indonesia, untuk membangun Indonesia. Enaknya, difasilitasi pula.

Tentu, dedikasi, niat, dan cinta, bukan hal yang bisa dinilai dalam sekali pandang ataupun dalam sekali aksi. Kembali atau tidak, berbuat atau tidak, yang terpenting adalah apa yang terpikir saat Anda harus menjawab pertanyaan ini.

“What drives you?”

 

Sedang serius,

Aulia

 

 

*ilustrasi yang indah di atas diambil dari sini

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Life

Eid Mubarak!

Happy Eid al-Fitr, everyone! It’s the fourth day of Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr), and I am happy that I can spend my fourth day of it with my big family! It is rare. Usually it is just two or three days-off for us employees, but for this year, the government sets the holiday for a week straight. Overjoyed, I am.

Every Lebaran, there are some classic matters that you will find in Lebaran in Indonesia. Some of them will make you feel very very very homesick if you happen to be not in the country when Lebaran begins.

  1. The gatherings
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My boyfriend’s family. Taken from his camera.

Friends. High school friends. Junior high school friends. Elementary school friends. Any of your childhood friends. Family. Nuclear family. Big family. Big big big family. You name it. This is the time of the year when you actually can gather with families or the friends that have lived in different areas, everybody goes back to their hometown. Everytime I open my Path, I see grinning faces in kaftans and kokos with joyful captions. The hashtag #lebaran in Instagram itself contains these kinds of photos, mostly selfies, instead of photos of the feast or the celebration.

2. The feast

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Opor ayam

You may eat rendang everyday in your life but you surely can’t refuse to eat rendang (again) or opor ayam when Lebaran comes. Those two are the mandatory when it comes to Lebaran feast. In some area I find that they have another unique food for their feast. In Banyuwangi, my boyfriend says, they usually cook tape ketan. I never see it in my Lebaran time. And in my place, usually my grandmother cooks sambel ati-pete and sayur tempe santan to accompany opor and rendang. Also, to entertain the guests who flood during Lebaran time, my family usually serve pempek and tekwan, brought directly from Bandar Lampung.

If you think the feast is “homesick material” enough, wait until people start to stroll around their hometown and post the food they eat to social media. Wait until those friends you have post pictures of sroto and mendoan as their hometown is in Purwokerto, or post Bebek Sinjay as they stroll around Surabaya. Each time I see those pictures, I weep. Take me there!

3. The kaftans

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Taken from Instagram @vendart

Different from ‘the gathering’, this section covers how people looooove to wear (new) kaftans and take #ootd photos and post them on social media. This is my yearly routine, to observe how kaftans are still happening since…6 years ago? I mean, okay, you wear dresses or long pants or vests on your daily basis, but when Lebaran comes suddenly it’s kaftan time. It is okay. It is beautiful. And actually, my all-time favorite is to watch the kaftans in family uniform. Yes, some families have uniforms for Lebaran. And I love love love to play a guessing game with myself, which color will they wear this year?

4. The question

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Taken from Google

In Lebaran family gatherings, Indonesians have a cruel opening line that every 20’s hates but keeps coming: Kapan nikah? When will you get married?

This is true. Sometimes they don’t even ask the “how are you?” question and just go straight to “kapan nikah?“. For example, an aunt comes and she says hi and you do ‘salim‘ her and then she will say, “Oh, sudah besar, ya. Sudah selesai kuliah, ya? Kapan nikahnya? Oh, look at you, you’re all grown up. You’ve graduated college, right? When will you get married?”.

A question that can only be beaten by “Hehe, iya, Tante. Hehe, yes, Aunty,” and a grin.

I honestly don’t hate this question. In my opinion, they actually only want to start a conversation. The question is just a result of their social awkwardness. Give them a credit to start a conversation, guys. I myself try sometimes to start a conversation with my aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas, and most of the time I struggle. I don’t know what usually happens in their ages, and it feels just so awkward to actually ask about their lives.

For example, I have a cool uncle, and I ask about his job, and since he’s a director in a ministry (just found it out few years ago when I asked him this!) he’s hesitant to directly tells me about his job. Perhaps he’s shy, perhaps he doesn’t want me to think he’s so proud that he will blabber about it. I am used to straight-forwarded people, asking about jobs (skin-deep question) is a normal thing to do. I feel awkward. I just want to start a question and know more about him, but well, it is not as easy as mingling in a friend’s birthday party. No, not at all.

So, chillax. That kind of questions will keep coming in Lebaran. If you find yourself get too furious about it, watch this Alain de Botton’s video about how to remain calm.

Well, most of all, to me what actually identifies Lebaran in Indonesia is the takbiran. The repetitive takbir in mosques, until the prayer starts in the next morning, is a celebration ritual that perhaps I will miss most if I ever celebrate Eid al-Fitr abroad.

 

Eid Mubarak,

Aulia

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Life, review

The Search of The Ring in Jakarta: Kaliem

The first thing we bought when the wedding date was set was the ring.

In the middle of a hot day, my partner took me to the most reviewed jewelry store in the city (based on my own research): Kaliem. It is located in Blok M, inside of Blok M Square, South Jakarta. When I arrived, I saw a lot–really, a loooot–of rings that I was sure Gollum won’t bother about Frodo and just left his ring and chose another from this store. It surprised me to see how crowded that place was. There were plenty other jewelry stores in that place and only Kaliem that had a lot of people in it, looking at the rings one by one and chose and talked and bargained and sighed.

That’s exactly what I did. I looked at the rings, chose, talked, bargained, and then sighed because it was too expensive. The first ring I tried on had six diamonds on it, costed me 27 millions rupiah. That’s why I sighed, and then gave the ring back to the woman that was assigned to help me to choose my ring–err, our rings. The woman kindly explained to me that, “Well, I don’t recommend you to choose that ring to be your wedding ring. You’re going to wear it everyday. Diamonds have tendency to fall off, it’s an inherent risk. I don’t think you want it to happen. They’re expensive. Well, unless you only stay at home all day and do nothing with your hands, though. It’ll be fine then,”.

I laughed. Thank you, Mbak. Such a kind consolation. I then moved on and began to search for another.

The problem was I knew exactly what kind of ring I wanted to wear as my wedding ring. Compromise, I whispered to myself. Compromise. Compromise. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t wear the many-stoned ring in your finger. Compromise. But they are so beautiful, I want them. Compromise. Geez, they’re so out of my budget. Compromise. I don’t want to take the risk of losing the diamonds either. Compromise.

Then I came to a decision–after like more than an hour. Hahaha. My partner is the most patient person in the world, really. We actually spent an hour only to find my ring, since we already chose his ring since the very first time we arrived. Easy. He will only wear simple designed ring, no diamond needed, and he can’t wear jewelry made of gold (it is restricted in our religion). We decided to have palladium ring for him, a silver-colored metal, which narrowed my choice because we want to have same-colored rings. Kaliem had wonderful rose-gold rings, they looked really good in my tanned skin. If you don’t have a fair skin like those pretty girls in Korean drama, go for rose-gold ones, I swear it is good, like real good! I couldn’t choose them though. Compromise, I whispered to myself again, you don’t want to wear a different ring from your husband (for a sentimental reason). Then I decided to choose a beautiful simple white gold ring that looked normal to be worn everyday.

I actually a little bit hesitated to buy rings in Kaliem because I heard that another store had lower price than it. But when this hesitation came, I already found the ring that I wanted (the last one, not the six-stoned ring), and my partner didn’t mind paying for the price the store gave us. It was not really expensive though. Perhaps I could find another store that could give us lower price, perhaps Rp500.000,00 lower, but I didn’t think I had energy left to find another rings just like what I chose. What made the price a little bit higher in Kaliem was because they counted the cost for the making of the ring for each gram of it, while another store usually just gave an additional cost without counting it per gram. The cost of the making is the only thing that you can bargain with the jewelry stores. So if you only wanted ordinary rings, a plain rings perhaps, not a custom-made one, I suggested you to think twice and bargain hard or leave to another store.

But I think if you’ve already been there, if you already tried on many beautiful shiny rings on your fingers there (because you can, and they suggest you to, and they’re just so kind, giving you any rings that you want–but you can’t bring them home because you can’t afford them *cry), I don’t think you want to visit another store. Especially if you’re fasting. Choosing rings in one place for an hour and a half is exhausting already.

Anyway, one box ticked. Yay!

 

Been practicing to say “my precious”,

Aulia

 

*Mbak literally means big sister in Javanese. It is a common word to call/greet young women in Indonesia.

*the picture is taken from my friend’s blog, Esti’s.

 

 

 

 

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Life, review

A Burgreens Experience

Halo, sudah lama tidak bertemu. Sekalinya memegang keyboard lagi, rasanya rindu menulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Jadi, mulai sekarang saya pakai Bahasa Indonesia saja, ya. 😀

Dua bulan terakhir ini saya menjalani hidup seperti orang benar. Makan teratur, olahraga rutin, tertawa banyak-banyak. Semua berkat kembalinya saya ke kantor, tentu saja. Kehidupan kantor yang rutin tujuh sampai lima membuat saya menjalani hidup dengan teratur juga. Yay! Ada untungnya juga jatuh di rutinitas yang membosankan.

Selama dua bulan terakhir ini pula, saya memerhatikan ada yang berbeda dengan tubuh saya. Saya menggendut–dan susah kurus lagi. Hahaha. Umur baru 23 dan saya sudah merasa metabolisme tubuh menurun drastis dibanding dulu saat belum 20 tahun. Karena pola hidup sudah baik-baik saja, terlebih saya bahkan sudah berolahraga rutin, hal pertama yang muncul di kepala saat memikirkan sebab gendut yang tak sudah-sudah ini adalah: makanan.

Tanpa berpikir dua kali, saya membuka situs restoran makanan sehat kesukaan saya, Burgreens, dan memesan kateringnya. Mereka punya banyak pilihan paket katering, kita pun dapat mengatur sendiri kateringnya sesuai kebutuhan kita (misalnya saja, alergi terhadap sesuatu). Berhubung saya tidak punya alergi ataupun sakit tertentu, hanya ingin makan dengan benar, saya memilih paket katering yang paling sederhana (baca: murah), Alkalizing and Balancing. Selama lima hari saya akan dikirimi makan siang dan kudapan ataupun sari buah, yang menurut definisinya cocok untuk mereka yang ingin memulai clean eating. Ini sempurna. Saya bahkan tidak bertanya pada admin Burgreens apa saja menu yang akan saya dapat. Yah, Sagitarius suka kejutan. 😉

Hari pertama saya disuguhi tempe yang dibalur berupa-rupa herba, yang entah apa saja, tapi baluran herba bercita rasa kuat ini sukses membuat lidah saya kegirangan. Kata siapa makanan sehat rasanya tak enak?

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Hari-hari berikutnya, parade sayuran, kacang-kacangan, jamur, dan herba yang melimpah memenuhi lambung saya dalam bentuk yang membangkitkan selera. Belum lagi racikan saus yang mereka gunakan untuk salad sayur dan buah. Nyam! Kudapan dan minuman yang disertakan juga di luar bayangan saya. Dua kali saya diberi minuman, yang pertama campuran sayuran hijau entah apa, dan yang kedua campuran kunyit dan sesuatu yang segar seperti jeruk. Terdengar aneh, ya, padahal saat melewati lidah rasanya sebotol saja kurang.

Benar lho, pola makan berpengaruh terhadap tubuh. Sekarang saya sudah tidak terbawa kemelikan lagi. Biasanya sedikit-sedikit lapar, sedikit-sedikit ingin yang manis-manis. Sekarang, tidak makan malam pun tak apa. Keajaiban apa ini?

 

Menuju langsing 2016,

Aulia

 

 

 

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Life

Sunday Running in the Park

As I gained 10 kilograms compared to how I weighed usually last year, I decided to go for a run at least once a week.

I spend every Sunday morning in the last few weeks, quite early, to put on my running shoes (a Nike Lunarlon, been accompanying me since some years ago), and go to the nearest park. I usually go to Tebet Honda Park to run, until my friend tells me that the park across this park is much more comfortable for runners since people rarely hang out in that park on Sunday morning. I think it is named Tebet Gas Park, but I am not sure.

Different from its neighbor, this park still seems natural. By ‘natural’ I mean there is more trees and less place to hang out. No well-maintained “fitness center”, no bench, no playground for kids, no street vendors. But there is a clean and long jogging track, reflexology stone path, and some shelters for sitting. Good!

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Aulia A. Agassi

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And with stunning rays of sunshine around, we can’t help but taking some pictures.

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Running out of breath,

Aulia

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Travelling

The Kind of Photos You Take in Santa

It was Sunday morning and I already sat calmly in one of the most well-known enhanced traditional market in Jakarta, Pasar Santa. I came early because there was a writing event held in that place, in my favourite bookstore in town, POST. The owner was my senior at college (no, I didn’t meet him in college of course), and the speaker for the class that day was my very own friend too.

This was my one, two, three, four, yes, fourth time  I visited Santa. I usually just visit this place for events, not for strolling around, but this place has its own beautiful side to capture. These are photos my partner took.

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And of course, my ice cream eating partner.

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Walk with you later,

Aulia

 

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