A Send Off and a Kick Off

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Five days in the first month of 2014. Though I am still trying to string together all my wishes, dreams and aspirations for this year, I know I have to start somewhere and welcome the new year.

But before that, let me do a proper send off to 2013. If there’s one word to describe the year that was, it has to be the word CHANGE.

That year started with me living in Indonesia. I was barely 2 months in that country when I welcomed the new year. I was actually at a loss on what the year has in store for me as I was living in the hills where opportunities to make things happen is slightly hampered because of my physical location. But 2013 was a surprise, such a pleasant surprise. It was a great year. It allowed me to live and work in another country again and experience new things my home country cannot offer. It allowed me to meet amazing people and provided me adventures of a lifetime. It widened more my perspective about human nature and stretched more the capacity of my heart to welcome individual and cultural differences. It made me become a better friend to the self. And my most favorite part, it led me to that one person.

Now that 2014 is here and I have repatriated back home, I am excited to live a new phase in life. 2014 will be a year of COMMITMENT. It will be a year of commitment to SIMPLIFY.

By simplification I mean it in every sense of the word. I hope to simplify all areas of my life. As I mentioned in my newly created blog, I have been so into reading a lot of materials on the said movement last year. I like it so much that I want to add to the conversation. From lessening my ecological footprint on earth to really figuring out and enjoying what really matters, my COMMITMENT to SIMPLIFICATION will be my guideline in living my life this year.

So there, welcome 2014. Take me away.

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My Brave Heart

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I am taking it all in. I am trying to make everything count just in case I never manage to go back. Every wave, every smile, every simple conversation, every quick joke thrown here and there, all are enjoyed, all are cherished. I don’t know when I will get the opportunity to do these again. With them. Here. Maybe soon. Maybe later. Maybe never.

The decision did not come easy. It was a series of long tossing and turning in bed, of writing in my journal, of seeking counsel, of meditating, of praying. When I made the decision, I did not feel happy. I felt scared and very sad. How can I do this? How can I just walk away from something so beautiful? How can I ever think of leaving?

I have no answers. Even now, when it is almost here, I am still battling with the self. I am so scared. Only a stupid person will do this, I say. But I guess being scared is good. Being scared means another opportunity to know the capacity of the self, to befriend the self, to take the self by the hand, to walk through it with the self until everything becomes alright.

I know I have been in this situation many times. Leaving. Sometimes I think there is something wrong with the self. Most of the time I think there is. Why can’t I just stay, be still, grow roots, settle? It will make my life easier once and for all.

But I know I will be doing a disservice to the self.

I cannot discount the voice within. The one that is saying just close your eyes and jump.

And all the time I am led. I always believe. I always follow that tiny voice in my head saying, “Get up. Come. Let’s start a new adventure.”

I am one emotional mess right now. There has been a permanent block in my throat the past few days. Everything makes my eyes well. I love this place, God, I love everything in this place. The birds in the morning, the many faces of the lake, the perfect weather, and the unbelievable kindness of people. What else am I looking for?

I don’t know.

Everywhere I look is begging me to stay. Heck, even the animal towels I always find shaped on my bed. I know I would also want to stay. The tears won’t be there if it is not very painful. I am breaking my own heart.

But I am one crazy person.

Because just when the roots are beginning to dig deep and anchor themselves to the earth, I surprised it by uprooting it and subjecting it to blinding brightness again.

I am trying to be brave to leave everything and walk away.

For what? I don’t know.

To where? To wherever life leads me.

I am so scared.

But I am ready.

Bunga Sedap Malam

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I was wondering where the scent was coming from when I sat on the chair. And then I saw this. It is like our sampaguita except that it has a more powerful and lingering smell. I asked for its name. Bunga Sedap Malam. In Indonesia, Bunga means flower. Sedap means good. Malam means night. You get the picture? They told me this is a night flower. A flower for the ghost.

So what is it doing on my table?!

My guess is as good as yours. Because it is lovely ghosts or no ghosts.

The 10th before the 11th

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I woke up to three beeps from my Blackberry. Who is sending me messages at such an ungodly hour of 6:30 AM?! Yes, 6:30 is still an ungodly hour especially when my alarm is supposed to wake me up at 8! Aaargh! I will really kill that person! Or maybe not. Not a nice thought in the morning.

With eyes still half-closed I tried to locate the phone and peered through it. It is one of my colleagues explaining to me what Niat or Niyyah means, an Arabic concept he was passionately explaining to me yesterday. Something about having one’s intention known clearly, like an honest resolve in achieving something. I will probably post about it one time (after I killed that person who woke me up!).

Actually, it was fair enough. I suddenly remembered about that concept around 11 PM last night and sent him several messages asking him how to spell the word while he was probably snoozing. So yeah, quits. And yeah, I love spelling.

I decided to check the other phone. Messages from *him*. Butterflies in my stomach. It made me smile.

As I was contemplating if I will go back to sleep, which is the only enticing option for me, my brain gave me a quick run through of what to expect for the day and I didn’t like it. It will be busy. Sheeeeshhh. I checked the date, 10th. What?! That woke me up. The last day before the 11th?! Is it that fast?!

After having some inner battle inside if I will try to get back some sleep or not, I kicked my heavy comforter out of the way, took a quick pee (yeah, I know you don’t wanna know) while steeping some tea, opened my window to a welcoming morning, listened to the birds chirping by the river next to my room, meditated and decided to make the last day before the 11th counts. I only get this one chance.

Good morning everyone!!! 🙂

On Saying Goodbye

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I have seen it several times the past few months I have been here in Indonesia and though I can say that I have learned how to hold back tears and control emotions, it doesn’t make it any easier. Today, I said goodbye to one of my best staff. She was crying and I was just hugging her telling her everything is going to be alright.

I almost joined in her tears but it doesn’t look good losing my composure especially when I already look terrible to begin with. It is my day off and I was lazily enjoying my bed in my pajamas and messy hair reading blogs when my phone rang. An unknown number popped out. I answered and it is her. She said she wants to say goodbye. I don’t have time to take a shower or dress up as she is outside my door. I pulled my hair in a ponytail or a semblance of it and did a quick physical check if I am wearing undergarments. No time even to wash my face. When I opened my door there she is, tears welling up in her eyes. I hugged her tightly thanking her for the wonderful service she has done and that I wish her success in all her plans in life.

As I look at her and hug her again and again, there was a slight pinch in the heart. In as much as I want to compartmentalize my life treating work as work and personal as personal, there comes a time when the merging happens without us knowing. I cannot claim that all those people who have said goodbye to try something new or to welcome new experiences are very close to my heart, but those few who were able to transcend the imaginary professional block that I have created occupy a very special space within me because they found a way to touch me dearly.

I am trying to hold back tears now as I type this but I am also joyously aware and thankful that I am allowed to feel this kind of emotion.

I know the coming and going will always be a part of life. That’s what makes it interesting. That’s what makes it worth living.

To all those ex colleagues who became special to me in one way or another, thank you for touching my heart. Thank you for allowing me to play a part in the story of your life the same way you played yours in mine.

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