What Did You Do During The Summer When You Were A Young Child?

Back when I was a child, Grandmother had a small wooden cottage where she stored firewood. The cottage was located on a land filled with teak trees. I spent most of my childhood years there, not only during the holiday but also after I went back from school. In that cottage, there was also a modest swing created from car’s tire. I played house there, collecting young leaves and pretending to cook soup for my nephew. Sometimes I also borrowed Grandmother’s firewood to build a small tent. Never worked, but I kept trying anyway.

Photo by willsantt on Pexels.com

July 7th, 2021 – Listening to keshi’s less of you.

Back when I was a child, Grandmother had a small wooden cottage where she stored firewood. The cottage was located on a land filled with teak trees. I spent most of my childhood years there, not only during the holiday but also after I went back from school. In that cottage, there was also a modest swing created from car’s tire. I played house there, collecting young leaves and pretending to cook soup for my nephew. Sometimes I also borrowed Grandmother’s firewood to build a small tent. Never worked, but I kept trying anyway.

Continue reading “What Did You Do During The Summer When You Were A Young Child?”

What Do You Usually Do During the Summer? Do You Have Any Special Plan for This Summer?

I sleep more during the summer. As I have less things to do and no specific schedule to follow, my body becomes a lot more lethargic. On the usual basis I already spend so much time under the blanket, watching TV shows and reading webtoon, but during the summer the frequency is beyond unhealthy. Even when I have enough night sleep, I still somehow end up taking three or four hours daytime nap. And if I don’t sleep, I crave food. Chocolate, salty snacks, even full course meal if it’s possible. These are the habits I really want to change.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

July 5th-6th, 2021 – Listening to Official 髭男dism’s Hello.

I sleep more during the summer. As I have less things to do and no specific schedule to follow, my body becomes a lot more lethargic. On the usual basis I already spend so much time under the blanket, watching TV shows and reading webtoon, but during the summer the frequency is beyond unhealthy. Even when I have enough night sleep, I still somehow end up taking three or four hours daytime nap. And if I don’t sleep, I crave food. Chocolate, salty snacks, even full course meal if it’s possible. These are the habits I really want to change.

Continue reading “What Do You Usually Do During the Summer? Do You Have Any Special Plan for This Summer?”

What is The Most Important Task That You Need to Complete This Summer?

I have nothing, to be honest. I am done with this semester. I have no organization’s obligations. No remedial. No mid-year report. Nothing. I am completely free to do whatever I want to do this summer.

Photo by Monica Turlui on Pexels.com

July 4th, 2021 – Listening to BTS’s Mikrokosmos.

I have nothing, to be honest. I am done with this semester. I have no organization’s obligations. No remedial. No mid-year report. Nothing. I am completely free to do whatever I want to do this summer.

If I have to admit, it’s actually a strange feeling. Since attending college, there are usually one or two deadlines I have to finish during the summer, whether it’s for academic or organization. But I retired from my organization last year and now that the academic year is over, my hands feel empty. Of course I have all those personal projects, but it’s not urgent and it’s certainly not something I have to finish during the semester. They’re long-term project after all.

Continue reading “What is The Most Important Task That You Need to Complete This Summer?”

Do You Have A Lot of Work To Do for School/Job This Summer?

Fortunately, I am free of any school obligations this summer. The semester has already ended (or officially end by next Wednesday), and I have no remedial or make up test to attend to. I also don’t have a job yet, so whatever I am going to do this summer, it’s purely because I want to do it.

July 3rd, 2021 – Listening to LOONA’s Butterfly.

Fortunately, I am free of any school obligations this summer. The semester has already ended (or officially end by next Wednesday), and I have no remedial or make up test to attend to. I also don’t have a job yet, so whatever I am going to do this summer, it’s purely because I want to do it.

I know that many of you probably still have a lot works to be done during the summer, so I hope you manage to finish them as best as you could. My own younger sister will start high school in the middle of July too (she’s already mourning the approaching end of her holiday) and many of my friends right now are completing their undergraduate thesis (I strongly wish for their success–listening to their stories this semester make me nervous too).

Continue reading “Do You Have A Lot of Work To Do for School/Job This Summer?”

What Are Your Plans for This Summer?

Today is the unofficial start of my holiday. Unofficial, because based on the academic calendar, holiday starts on July 7th, which is next week. Unofficial, because today becomes my first day of holiday after I finally submitted my last final assignment last night.

Photo by Monica Turlui on Pexels.com

July 1st, 2021 – Listening to James Arthur & Anne-Marie’s “Rewrite The Stars”

Today is the unofficial start of my holiday. Unofficial, because based on the academic calendar, holiday starts on July 7th, which is next week. Unofficial, because today becomes my first day of holiday after I finally submitted my last final assignment last night.

After more than a year doing online classes and staying at home literally 24/7 at least 6 days out of 7 (because I have no social life that way), even the introvert side of me begins to feel tired too. I rarely contact my friends during exam season and no one live close enough to hang out safely, so I miss them a lot. We only have one class together this semester and since I am half a year later than them academically, I probably won’t be able to meet them in class next semester. Talking about a lone wolf, right?

Continue reading “What Are Your Plans for This Summer?”

Illustrated Journaling Challenge Day #11 – Vacation

21/01/2021 – Listening to TWICE’s Rainbow.

For my mother, vacation means beach. She loves swimming (or at least I think she loves the thought of playing with water). I personally think lake or river is better. I don’t like the humid weather of a beach. Unless it is during rain, but people don’t usually go to beach when it is raining. I like trees better. And mountains. I like place with a lot of shadows, rain, and wind. I love cloudy days. I love thunderstorms. I love windy days when I have to wear my thickest jacket, my boots, socks, and bring umbrella everywhere I go.

I love staying in my room more. I love good books. I love sweet drinks and sweet foods. I love good music. I love good movies.

Vacation for my mother means outdoor. Vacation for my younger sister usually means some place like amusement park or mall. For me, it’s just home and spending a lot of time with my books, my Disney+ Hotstar app, and maybe throw some trees in between.

Sure, it can get boring sometimes. When there is no interesting book on my list. When characters in the movies I watch being stupid and not fun. When I am craving for some junk food (can someone deliver pizza to the countryside?). When I literally have nothing to do that it feels like I’m going to lose my mind (when will the holiday be over?).

For the last six years, vacation usually means simply being with my family. After three years of living in high school dormitory and another three years going away for college, holiday just simply means being at home, waking up to the sound of my mother cooking breakfast, my father watering his plants, and my siblings either still in dreamland or struggling to wake up just like I probably am. Somehow after six years, going on a vacation to another city simply feels more like work to me. For me, real vacation is at home. Boring as it might be, but vacation it is for me.

Working with Strangers: A New Phase of Being A College Student

2020.10.12 – Listening to HA:TFELT’s Cigar.

While I couldn’t exactly call my juniors strangers, it’s true that I was unfamiliar with them in a classroom setting. We did interact during lunch break or club activities, but this year is the first time I work with them for academic purpose.

To be honest, I was perplexed. I have gotten used to the rhythm of my own friends in the same batch–when they’re available online, what apps they mostly use for group projects, the way we divide responsibilities. After three years working with them and with my seniors (whose work rhythm was also kind of similar), I was not prepared to adapt to my juniors’ way of teamwork.

For one, they’re available online most of the times. Which means whenever I put away my phone for an hour or two, I will come back greeted with at least 75 new messages in every class group chats, filled with people discussing the hurdles they have while working on an assignment. I know I’m not obliged to be on every second of the day, but it still makes me feel bad whenever I check group chat and realize my group mates have already started discussing the conclusion of their part of the assignments.

The second reason being my juniors are already divided into several circle of friends. So whenever we get group assignments, the division of groups is already decided. It’s hard for me since I was used to my own batch’s habit of randomizing groups every time we get assignment, in order to “freshen up” the environment. Among my juniors, I will be the last person who is selected for a group. Not because they don’t particularly want to be in the same group as me, but because they already form a fixed group.

I experienced the third reason today. We had an assignment to analyze a Japanese text and summarize it. With my own batch, we will prefer to create a Google Docs, divide the parts, disappear to work on our own, and then come back to unite all the pieces. With my juniors, a group work is a long discussion via video conference app. They work on it step by step together. I have to admit that their way makes sure that everyone understands every part of the text, but it’s also a lot more time-consuming. For someone who prefers working alone on my own pace, this long duration of discussion makes me more stressed than anything.

These reasons make me realize how different my friends are compared to my juniors. My batch upholds individuality and freedom. We have various activities outside of academic, which is why it’s normal for us to only be available at a certain time of a day. While my batch also has its own share of fixed circle of friends, we generally realize that friendship and teamwork don’t necessarily have to come in one set. We can work together even with people we aren’t actually friends with. One of the reason my juniors refuse to randomize groups is because they don’t want to end up with someone who doesn’t want to work or someone whose working style isn’t compatible with them. With my friends, work is work. Either you do it or you don’t. And if you don’t, we simply won’t include your name in our work.

This post might seems like I’m making a comparison between my batch and my juniors, which I actually am, but not in the way that says my batch’s way of teamwork is better. I’m merely making an analysis in order for me to adapt to a new environment I’m currently in. I definitely miss working with my friends and still don’t feel comfortable amongst my juniors, but I’m working on it. It’s not all bad after all. My juniors are generally more academic-oriented, which is good since I’m trying to be more organized with my way of studying. And to adapt, I only need to make small changes here and there. Reach out and ask to join an existing group instead of waiting to be invited. Make sure that my group mates understand that I’m only available for several hours a day. Let them know when I need an hour or two to prepare my materials before diving into a discussion. Small things like that keep the teamwork flowing and avoid misunderstanding.

The Maze Runner Series, Ki Hong Lee, and Being a Mental Health Advocate

2020.10.01 – Listening to ONF’s Good Good.

Last week I was binge-watching The Maze Runner movies (all three of them) and binge-reading the books (also all three of them). I was struck by how different the movies and the books are, but also how each had something I especially liked about them.

For those who haven’t watch or read the series, please beware of spoilers.

SPOILERS ALERT!

I actually watched the movie first and only picked up the book right after watching the third and final movie. The Maze Runner movie was released in 2014. I remembered getting hooked up right away after watching it. I recognized Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the one who played “Newt” in The Maze Runner) was also the same person who played Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones. Newt and Jojen were my favourite characters, so I was excited when I knew Thomas Sangster played both characters. Unfortunately, both characters died (poor me, or poor them. Mostly poor me).

To be honest, I knew Newt was going to die even before I watched The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure (the second and third), which was why I hadn’t been enthusiastic to follow the series. From 2014 to 2019, I basically avoided the series. At least until last week, when I picked up the second movie as my Artist Date plan for the week.

The Scorch Trials, to be honest, wasn’t really my cup of tea. It was a lot of actions and less of thoughtful decisions. Basically Thomas and the gangs kept getting betrayed, had to escape to different places, getting attacked, and so on. It also focused a lot on Thomas, which was a pity, since there were also a lot of other characters I would like to dig deeper. The ending captivated me though, and I immediately picked up The Death Cure afterwards.

If I had to rank the movies by which I liked the most to the least, the order would be The Maze Runner, The Death Cure, and The Scorch Trials. The Death Cure was thrilling and thought-provoking. In this movie, I took a liking on Minho (played Ki Hong Lee). I was already familiar with Ki Hong Lee as an actor. I had watched several of his short movies (mostly by Wong Fu Productions) and seeing him as Minho, a strong, sarcastic, and short-tempered character, was a whole new different experience. I got so interested that I re-watched The Maze Runner movie again just to see more of his acting. The final verdict is that I really love his acting and his works (he has an IGTV series, Mr Soulmate, which is also very entertaining).

I read several articles on Minho’s characterization and was told that his sarcasm and other traits were shown more through the books. Which is why, after having a marathon of the movies, I had a marathon of the books. And damn, it was good.

Through the book, I took more understanding in all the characters, the plots, the universe, and how it differs from the movies. I like how it ends in the book, since they didn’t find the cure so Newt’s death feels more inevitable than in the movies, where Thomas’s blood is deemed as the true cure (which means in the movie, he actually had the chance to save Newt). I like how Newt’s death was known to Minho in the movie. He at least deserved to see his long-time friend for the last time, even in death. In the book, Minho didn’t even get a goodbye or a letter and he didn’t even know that Thomas killed Newt (that’s just so sad). I like Teresa better in the movie since I can sincerely understand her motives for betraying Thomas.

And I love Gally, both in the book and the movie. Played by Will Poulter (known by his role as Eustace Scrubb in Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Gally is possibly the most complex character in the series and the one who shows the most character development. He began as one of the main villains, but then proceeded to be the one who saved Thomas and the key character in The Death Cure plot.

END OF SPOILERS.

After finishing The Maze Runner series, I began researching more about Ki Hong Lee. He had mentioned in several interviews that he was grateful and feeling honoured for the chance to play an Asian character in a Hollywood movie. I was not familiar with Hollywood industry or about Asian-American in general, but this made me realize that it’s a breakthrough for an Asian to get roles with strong characters like Minho in The Maze Runner. I mean, I rarely find any movie or TV series from America who has Asian as lead characters. I remembered all the hype when To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians got movie adaptations. I definitely enjoyed the both the books and the movies, but being unfamiliar with Western film industries, I had never noticed the significance before.

In an interview on CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)’s YouTube channel, Ki Hong mentioned how once he had thought about changing his name into something easier to pronounce (an English name of some sort), but his mother was against it, saying that if people can pronounce names like Tchaikovsky they surely can put an effort to pronounce names such as Ki Hong Lee.

Ki Hong also stated that since there aren’t a lot of opportunities for Asian actors to have an acting career in Western film industry, it’s up to him to create the opportunity. I think I admire him a lot for saying that. Yes, most of the times, opportunity doesn’t come to us. And sometimes looking for it is not enough. We just have to create it by ourselves. Success is not a paved road after all. We have to begin by something.

Many of The Maze Runner casts are mental health advocates. I think I somehow found my way to those kinds of people, like Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Ailee Xu, Stray Kids, BTS, Halsey, and many others. I found myself deeply interested in this topic. For the last two weeks, I had been working on a concept of psychology app for a scientific project competition in my university. I realized that I still have a lot to learn and there are so many ways to help people who struggle with mental health. When my team presented our idea last night during the preliminary stage of the competition, we were given warm response. It seems that more and more people have become aware of the importance of mental health and it is nice to see. I don’t know whether my team would be able to advance to the next stage, but even if we don’t, it is still a fortunate opportunity and I feel proud of what we’ve achieved. The last two weeks have been really busy with college assignments and preparations for the project, so I hope I can take a breather today and tomorrow, before starting to take off again with different projects next week.

Note: I plan to pick up The Fever Code or The Kill Order next. I have noticed that reading a lot, instead of watching YouTube or being buried in college stuffs, improves my mood throughout the day. What about you? What do you do when you need a surge of serotonin?

College Anxiety, First Week of College, and Being in the Same Class with My Juniors

20.09.2020 – The first two days had been the worst. I cried before sleeping and after waking up. Those were the days when I found myself having nightmares at 2 in the morning and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Those were the days when I just lied on my bed until sunrise, tempted to send a message to my professors saying that I was not feeling well and couldn’t attend class that day.

But I managed to pull through.

Last year when I talked to my academic advisor how college (and school in general) had made me feel, she gave me a valuable advice. She said that if I felt like I couldn’t handle it, whenever I had the urge to just run away, she said to fight it. Stay for five minutes. Fifteen minutes. Just come to class. Show up. See how bad it would get, or how good. If I couldn’t stay longer, if I could feel myself having difficulty breathing, when my feet and hands got cold, when my head felt spinning, take a deep breath and go outside. Take a moment to recover. Just step outside. Just take a rest. Congratulate yourself for even getting to the classroom. Applaud yourself for even staying in the class for fifteen minutes. You’re doing great. You’ve given your best effort. The most important thing is just to show up and face it.

So that’s what I kept in mind during the first two days of college this semester. I told myself over and over again, “Just open the laptop. Log in. Show to your professor that you’re there and you’re making effort to be there. Afterward, if it gets difficult, if it gets overwhelming, allow yourself to step back and regain your composure.”

It worked wonder. Most of the time I managed to stay until the end of the class. And even if I wasn’t able to, at least I knew I had tried.

Then the first week of college went kind of smoothly. After Wednesday, my schedule got a bit less hectic and the class atmosphere was much less intimidating for me. There were some internet connection and electricity problems on Wednesday and Thursday, but my professors usually were pretty much easy-going about it. Some of us couldn’t afford good internet connection. Some of us had to share their gadget with their siblings. Some of us didn’t have the suitable environment for online learning. But we pulled through, one way or another. My professors kept telling us that as long as we contact them if anything troubling happens, they would understand.

People are actually a lot more understanding than they seem. All you have to do is just make an effort to communicate your needs and problems.

Since I took a semester off last year, I had to re-take many classes this semester. Being in the same class with my juniors felt weird. I am not exactly social and the juniors I know can be counted with two hands. I had worried about this for the longest time. I had been afraid that it would be difficult to get info for class when I’m not in same group chat as them (since we have our own batch’s group chat). I also had been afraid that it would be difficult to find groupmates when it’s required to do so. But so far my predictions hadn’t come true.

I had contacted some of the juniors I know before college even started, telling them that I took the same classes as them and asking them to let me know if there are information regarding the class. They had responded in positive. Many reached out to me a day before class, telling me how to get into group chats, the contact of our professors, and some even kept making sure that I had received the adequate information beforehand. With forming groups for discussions and presentations, it had been easy so far. There was always someone who reached out to me. And when they didn’t, I was the one who reached out. They were always ready to help me. I felt touched and very glad.

I came to realize that most people are kind. They are helpful. You just gotta state what you need, being considerate of their own time and preferences, and make sure that you do your part of the work—in this case, being active in group discussion or at least doing your share of job properly. I know that I’m intimidating and hard to approach most of the time, but people have never described me as unkind. I also have never found myself describing other people as unkind.

Some people can be stubborn. Some personalities don’t match. Some have different way of looking at things. Some have their own agendas and are busy with their life. But even those who can’t give you 100% of their attention will gladly do some small favours to help you. There is a big difference in being dependent on others and seeking help for reasonable causes. Just be kind. Be helpful. Be more understanding. But don’t forget that you are human too. Don’t forget that they are humans too.

And humans are built for compassion and kindness. That’s how happiness is achieved.

Class Registration, Last Week’s Blog Post, and Ativan Withdrawal

I’m going to rant. Probably. So for the last two weeks I’ve been on edge because of several things: starting new semester, having an identity crisis over my blog’s goal, and experiencing Ativan withdrawal symptoms.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

10.09.2020 – Listening to Stray Kids’s “Hellevator”.

I’m going to rant. Probably.

So for the last two weeks I’ve been on edge because of several things: starting new semester, having an identity crisis over my blog’s goal, and experiencing Ativan withdrawal symptoms.

First thing first. College actually starts next week on 14th. I am extra nervous because it is going to be the first full semester we’re having online classes. I don’t feel comfortable using video conference app etc because there are so many things that could go wrong: my internet connection, my slow laptop, the bad video/audio’s quality, and the possibility that I will lose the neat structure of an offline class (many of my professors/lecturers are not exactly technology-friendly too). They’re mostly things I cannot control though, so I’ve been telling myself that there’s no use in worrying about it.

Today though, another problem comes up. In our college, particularly for this specific semester, we have three different periods of class registration. The first week of September is when we can add and drop class. The previous three days is when we can only drop class. And the next two days is when we can only add class.

Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

In the first week of September, I had chosen a sign language class. It is a very popular class and by the end of the week, I already found out that I was outside the quota. So yesterday, I dropped the class. This morning though, I added a new class (The History of Indonesian Maritime), checked that I was in quota, saved the registration, but then… suddenly I was outside the quota. Probably someone chose the class at the same time I did, but (s)he won it over.

That is so frustrating. I wish blaming my internet connection can be of use, but it’s not.

I just messaged my academic advisor, knowing that there is nothing I could do right now. She said to wait it out. Either the class increases its quota or I will be forced to drop it (and therefore not able to take any elective course this semester).

Well, as I am writing this, suddenly the problem doesn’t seem that big anymore. After all, there is nothing I could do.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Second thing next. About blog post.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I usually upload at least one post every week. Last week though, I didn’t post anything. I actually already scheduled to post a review of a book I read in August, but then decided against it. There are two reasons: I didn’t like how the review turned out and I feel like reviewing books or movies doesn’t align with what I want this blog is about. I’m still figuring out what kind of blog I want to write. These last few weeks I’ve been focusing on writing fictional story or poetry, but the process is kind of long. I don’t want to rush a story every week just to fill in the schedule (even though I know it will also have some benefits, mainly improving my writing habit). But I also don’t want to let my blog be inactive for longer than two weeks. I have noticed that I feel less and less motivated to write (and in life) when I don’t manage my blog regularly.

Actually this week is supposed to be another book review. I wrote the review in March and scheduled it for September (I don’t know why, but that’s how my schedule says). At first, I was thinking that I am going to write a journal entry talking about the book casually, but then I just want to rant. The last two weeks have been crazy.

For now I plan to upload all drafts I still have for this blog while figuring out what to do about the content. I am thinking about moving my review contents to Instagram (I usually talk about songs there) and making this blog as a pure portfolio blog (which means mainly stories and poems) or mixed personal blog (which includes more journal entries). I am still confused.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, the last thing. Ativan withdrawal.

I’ve been taking Ativan for almost half a year now. My doctor has begun to wane it off since three months ago, gradually decreasing the dose, but on 24th last month he said I could begin to stop taking the medicine. He said if I don’t need to, I should not take it anymore. The problem is even if we had begun to wane it off for months, when I stop taking the medicine, it still affects me. For the first two weeks after my last appointment, I have been having difficulty in falling asleep at reasonable time. You could find me still awake at 3 or 4 in the morning and only took two or three hours sleep afterward. Even when then I decided to take the medicine. For someone who’s diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this lack of sleep can be fatal. My mood was terrible. I had nightmares, headache, nauseous feeling, and tremors. Plus a lot of anxiety. Thank God for the antidepressants and mood stabilizers. If not, I probably couldn’t survive through those days.

For this week, I find that I can finally be able to sleep earlier (at 9 or 10 pm) but wake up just as early (2 or 3 am). It’s still an improvement from the previous weeks, so I take it as a good sign that I’m getting the hang of the withdrawal symptoms.

In two weeks I’ll be meeting my doctor again. I think I can manage without Ativan in the future (or at least he can give me less tablets for next month). We’ll see.

Update (01/07/2021): I did survive the Ativan withdrawal and feel so much better now. Just want to give some notice in case there are people wondering (and maybe worrying) about it. I have no trouble sleeping now. I am still on antidepressant and mood stabilizer, but no longer need Ativan to stay asleep.