Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Once in a year, I would like to have a turbulence period, and I am somewhat addicted to it. Last year, my turbulence was when I got graduated and went travel in January by myself to several places, met old friends and a new friend who turned out to be my former boyfriend. After took a rest, I started full time job in the one of coolest places that I ever knew, until now. It's almost two years that I don't have any turbulence period, and the universe conspired to set me up, trapped in that period in the past three months. 


When I received the announcement that I passed the selection for a fellowship program scholarship in the United States of America, I was laying down in my grandfather's house. I suddenly woke up and panic because the schedule would bother my master study and I have to choose one of them. I decided to take the fellowship, and voila - the turbulence bring me away half of earth to stay for weeks in Missoula, one of the nicest cities that I have ever been. I got many lessons for my own life, inspirations, and light on my passions. I did really know what I have to do when I had to go home, and I was feeling very determined, never been that clear in my whole life. I went home, tried to connect all the dots again, catch up with many great persons that I have been lost contact with, and repositioning my personal life. The second turbulence. I broke up.

Another Feet: My Bestfriend
After got home, I decided to go to several places in East Java with my best friend for the last 5 years. As someone says, when you broke up, the best company is a best friend. Suddenly she came and told me that she has an inspiring idea to be executed and we then bought tickets soon to East Java. We planned a 9-days trip without certainty, but I did contact one of my fellows from the US program. He lives in Jember, and was willing to welcome us in his hometown. My best friend and I then departed to Mountain Bromo. Twice hiked Semeru, I have never been in Bromo. 

Ginseng Fruit
Through a 13 hours train trip with her, I found something that missing from my life at that moment; random adventures and mind-blown discussions with great Indonesians. We stepped out of the station and she bumped someone on shoulder, asked where would she go. Coincidentally, she and her husband want to go to Bromo as well. And I was like, hey, welcome home in Indonesia - where you can easily find a friend everywhere. Before off to Bromo, four of us also went to several places in Malang.

The Sun Rises

At 1 AM, we were ready for the Bromo. We were after the Bromo's sunrise, where I actually looked for a quiet moments. The sun rose quietly and the cold hugged me so tight. It was a silent moment of universe that dragged me away to another state of mind. I asked my travelmate to move and ready for another adventure: meeting farmer. After finding a good and quiet inn, we stayed and left at the next day to a crop. Third turbulence: we drove a motorbike, and crashed a truck.

However, the experience of meeting and discussing with a total strange farmer was something that I really missed. Following him to his crop as I followed my grandfather to his paddy field. Sun shone so bright, I got more tanned skin and I love it. Then we left Malang in the day after to another destination.

November Flower
Fourth turbulence: we almost missed our train to Jember. Another homestay trip with local farmers in Sidomulyo, sipping coffee while watching the stars and November flowers, lying in bed with someone who already knew me for past 5 years and having talks before getting asleep - they are all best moments of this year that I can treasure. Going back home and visited Surabaya before another 9 hours train trip.

A Farmer Roasted Coffee Beans

Just three days after got home for being isolated within 9 days, I depart to the United States of America again - by myself. I was all alone, but my hand was not shaking when I hold my ticket. I do believe every country is the same land. The people are all same. And there was me, alone in 24 hours flight to another side of the Earth.  All went well, I jumped on a taxi from airport by myself heading to Washington DC. I met a friend there and stayed in the hotel on the National Harbor for a 3 days summit. It was a summit for medical and health professionals who have implemented engagement using digital intervention. All the attendants are experts in their field, and my fifth turbulence: I know no one.

Christmas is Coming
But it was only at the first day, I began to know and exchange business cards with several people that I found interesting. One of my friends asked me to give tips of networking so here are my advices: (1) always open to any kind of event that is held by another discipline, (2) be respectful for any kind of person that we meet, they might be a top notch researchers or even a starter - but we have to respect them the same, (3) listen to their story - not yours, be sincere when listening to their story, ask them about their expertise and experiences, (4) don’t use words that sounds you know more about something in their expertise than them, keep being respectful in each word that you use, (5) fulfil your promise, if you said you want to contact them, do it as soon as you arrive home, and (6) prepare business card - least practical but important.

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
I was happy to meet aspiring start-ups there, and honestly it was the first time that finally there are people who knew my name's meaning in an international event. After the summit, I depart to Baltimore and stay nearby a quiet and peaceful port by myself, spending cold night - first week of winter with a plate of Chipotle. The day after, I presented my work in my partner's office there and then went to Barnes & Noble alone. My feet were hurt so I can't stroll around the beautiful Baltimore. I was afraid if my feet go wrong, I have no one there. I just wanted to go home.

Beautiful Baltimore
The next day, my taxi driver arrived and we departed to Dulles International Airport. I was imagining the lonely 24 hours flight again and prepare a book for that. Sixth turbulence: my flight to Japan was delayed one hour. With my calculation, I thought that I will be late for flight to Indonesia from Japan. I was so nervous and could not concentrate in my flight from US to Japan. The food was tasted bitter, and everything seemed wrong. When I arrived in Narita, I ran to my gate and it was just closed. I met a foreigner who also missed the flight to Indonesia. I found out that United Airlines had prepared another flight to Singapore, then Singapore to Indonesia. I checked on the ticket, I will spend 3 hours in Changi Airport. However, that delay was the most wonderful delay that I ever got.

Beautiful Delay in Changi

Just three days after that, I had to depart again to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, attending a big summit for all the alumni of the US fellowship program that I joined. I missed my bestfriends from Vietnam and Malaysia so much and I couldn’t help to not run and hug them tight when I met them at the airport. The summit was something massive, 500 people gathered  in one place and I am a kind of person that can be frustrated among many people.

However, the talk sessions were very good. Everyone was excited at the Town Hall with Barack Obama, but the most important for me that I met another interesting people there. Even though I lost my phone at the KL Sentral Station, I thought I would trade it for the experience like that. In the last day, I went to the airport by myself again, separated from my Indonesia team because I were heading to my last destination of this year: Singapore.


Fortunately, Singapore has my favorite thing in this world: flower.
That was my first time going to Singapore (not only for a transit) and I was shocked with the humidity. My skin cracked and bleed in Missoula, but in Singapore, I sweated all the time. I never want to go this country because I am an avid nature traveler, and - what does Singapore has to satisfy me? I went there for the museum - as people say that Singapore is very advance in technology usage, I want to see the implementation on their museums. However, I was satisfied. Singapore may has nothing but they do really know to optimize what they do have. And actually, I was amazed with Lee Kuan Yew's speech in their National Museum. Beside it, Singapore definitely has nothing to satisfy my adventurous blood, but perhaps it is not the destination, it is about the journey itself - like people say. There is someone in the airport terminal who filled the empty chair in front of me when I ate, there is someone who carried my backpack when my feet hurt, there is someone who could speak my mother language in the crowded MRT so no one understands, there is someone who did not mind to walk far through light rain to tell silly stories of that small country, and the most important, from all my journey around the world within 3 months, there is someone who filled the empty seat beside me in the airplane, and listened to my activism stories. Everything will be different when you go with a right person, as Tim Cahill said, "a journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."

My last turbulence was my own conclusion after all the journey:
That if each trip is measured by friend rather than miles, my journey to East Java and Singapore are the most distant trips than the lonely United States trip.
I remember what Christopher McCandless when he was dying:
"Happiness only real when shared."

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  1. thank you for sharing, pitek :) semoga sukses ya :D

  2. i love your words and you Puspita <3
    Almost burst into tears reading your wise words babe!
    I am so honored to be a part of your journey, be your friend!
    We will cross our paths in the future. We are the woman who can do things and dare to make dreams come true!
    Tons of loves, hugs and kisses

    1. Hi Lucia!
      Thank you very much for your kind words babe :)
      I am so honored as well to meet you, a really great woman from Vietnam.
      Yes definitely, and don't forget our promise to meet 5 years from now. I bet we will meet and discussed achievements that we have made when the time comes.
      Warm regards from Jakarta for Hanoi!

  3. What a great experience, pitek! Lama tak bersua, semoga makin sukses berkarya :)

    1. Thank you for visiting Nis! Semoga kamu juga makin sukses berkarya :)


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