“Dedicated to everyone who wonders if I’m writing about them. I am.”

I feel called out by this anonymous quote I found one day on Pinterest. It is the truth, after all, I am constantly writing about them.

About the kids that I grew up with whose presence in my life now is nothing but a few Instagram notifications from time to time.

About the girl that I low-key looked up to in middle school.

About the old friends and the almost-friends and the ex-friends that I wished I talked more with.

About the strangers that I only met a couple of times whose life stories are still etched in my memory.

And about so many others who I have met in my short 16 years of living.

Real-life mundane, often overlooked, stories always fascinate me. I believe that there is always beauty in every small interaction and conversation. In the way that our eyes lit up when hearing our friend’s stories. In the faint smile and subtle signs of contentment. Even in the knowledge that hundreds of people we meet every day each have their own lives to live, their own stories to tell.

Small moments always hold the most value, even if we don’t realize it at first.

And I always love to capture these stories and moments in my writings. I enjoy remembering overheard whispers and conversations while trying to guess or make up my version of what happened there. I like interpreting faces and gestures, attempting to figure out what kind of person they are. And I especially love to imagine alternative endings to real-life situations I experienced or heard of. This is why I started the Conversation series so that I could have a space where I could share these –hopefully somewhat relatable– semi-fictional stories. 

The first –and currently the only one I have published (Conversation #1: A Girl in Her Shadow)– is about several different girls that I have compared myself with ever since I started becoming a teenager. Some of them I have never even talked with, and one of them I’d consider as an almost-friend who I had an “I don’t like you” and “I want to be just like you” complicated relationship with. It might sound silly, especially because I don’t communicate with any of them at all these days. But in this story, I combined them all into a character referred to as her, and I imagined myself being honest with her while also coming to terms with all the self-comparison I did to myself.

So, I guess, consider this post as an introduction to what kind of writing I’m going to publish more in this blog. Of course, there would still be book reviews here and there and occasional stories about some of my experiences. But also expect more of these semi-fiction pieces and personal reflections, where I will be writing stories inspired by people I know in real life (and yes, it might be about you :D). 

“Aftermath: Population Zero” Film Analysis

The documentary “Aftermath: Population Zero” ponders what the earth would be like if humans suddenly disappeared. It promotes the theme of the interconnectedness of human life and nature. Multiple times, the documentary emphasizes the fact that humans are so dependent on nature. To the point where we control the force of nature to serve our needs until it reaches the issue of global warming. But unlike humans, nature is not dependent on human life as it can sustain itself and go through positive changes without us. Thus, the purpose of this film is to remind us how disruptive our lifestyle could be toward other beings such as plants and animals.

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Conversation #1: A Girl in Her Shadow

"Why do I still feel like I'm living in your shadow?"
She looked at me, "how? I'm not even there anymore."

Unsure of what to say, I just shrugged. 

I looked back at our pictures together. There were lots of them, I noticed, in the first few weeks of us meeting each other. There were lots of them before everything went awry. Before the two of us drifted apart from each other.

There is nothing special about the pictures. It was just us, with some other people, smiling at the camera. But despite our slight resemblance to one another; soft features, dimpled smiles, and calm gaze, there was always something more to hers.
Her smile, brighter.
Her gaze, steadier.
Her gesture, friendlier.

Or at least that's what I have convinced myself to believe.

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It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

A feature article (Year 10 English Acquisition assignment) for Sekolah Cikal Surabaya Student Council‘s Bilik Ekspresi Program.

It was 11 pm when Sarah, who was already half-asleep, nearly jolted awake due to what she guessed were the 10th intrusive thoughts she had that night. From school-related anxiety to an existential crisis. The number of things her mind can worry about is endless. Yet she doesn’t know how to stop it either. Hence, sleep deprivation has somehow become a habit for her lately.

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To Grow Up is To Embrace Uncertainties

As I got older, birthdays that were once full of hope and dreams turned into a day full of anxieties that only reminded me more and more of the uncertainties of life. The hope and dreams were still there. But there were also lingering feelings of disappointment whenever I realized that my childhood birthday dreams would continue to be just that. A dream. A past expectation stuck in my memory. A reminder of how I wish everything could have been.

So for the past week, I have been asking myself. Am I going to let this disappointment wash over me on every future birthday I’m going to have? Am I going to let my future birthdays be ruined because of the anxieties I have about my uncertain future?

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A Letter on Middle School Reminisce

Coming from an academic background that values grades and achievements more than anything, those were what I strived to accomplish when I was a new student in Cikal. Never have I thought that what I gain from being here has so much more value than just being a booksmart student.

When I first came to Cikal, like many of you, I was not used to being trusted in leading my own learning journey. And I think that is what makes Cikal so special. We have met teachers who would willingly ask us about our needs. Which brings us a sense of liberation, as we are able to explore our personal interests inside and outside of the classroom. 

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“Malu Bertanya Sesat di Jalan”, Cukupkah Pepatah Ini?

Sejak kecil, satu kalimat yang selalu muncul dalam kertas ujian, dalam buku pelajaran bahasa, dan terus digaungkan oleh guru di masa TK dan SD adalah:

“Malu bertanya, sesat di jalan.”

Pepatah ini tentu baik artinya. Mengajarkan kita untuk tidak segan bertanya atau mencari bantuan orang lain ketika sedang menghadapi persoalan.

Tapi pepatah ini seharusnya tidak menyebabkan misinterpretasi yang akan berdampak tidak diinginkan pada murid, atau siapapun yang menggunakannya. Sebagai contoh, apakah melontarkan pertanyaan itu harus selalu didahulukan? Ataukah ada hal lain yang seharusnya bisa lebih dulu diupayakan untuk mendapat informasi?

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2020 Reading List

Throughout 2020, I have discovered a lot of books that I enjoyed reading and became my personal favorite. So, since the year is coming to an end, I thought it would be appropriate for me to share a list of all the books I have read as well as some of my thoughts about it, in case any of you need inspirations for your TBR list next year!

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Video Kelas Kemerdekaan Temu Pendidik Nusantara 2020

Hari Pertama – Proses Refleksi Berkelanjutan untuk Peningkatan Kualitas Belajar

Bila video tidak bisa muncul, silahkan klik link berikut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vboylWevD8c&t=2851s atau search AKEM1023.

Hari Kedua – Dokumenter Pendek: Covid-19 and Its Impact on Teenagers’ Mental Health

Bila video tidak bisa muncul, silahkan klik link berikut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNOCEOWHq9k atau search BKEM2068.

StudyTube Culture: Discouraging or Motivating?

study hour 1 | Free stock photos - Rgbstock - Free stock images | lusi |  January - 29 - 2010 (273)

As much as YouTube is usually used for entertainment purposes, there has been a new subgenre in the YouTube community that defies from that stereotype, called StudyTube. Just like the name suggested, these StudyTubers exclusively make content related to studying and education.

Within this genre, you may expect an abundance of study tips and methods videos, alongside ‘study with me’ videos, which is a long video (some reach 4 / 5 hours or more) of people studying, and stationary hauls, ‘journal with me’ videos, and many more. These are basically the types of video StudyTubers makes over and over again, or perhaps with some variation of vlogs and routines videos. Whatever it is, videos they make not only attempt to encourage productivity, they also romanticize and make studying as a part of their identity.

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