A lesson from a trip to Jakarta #2

What do you see?

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This post is still inspired by a trip that I took to Jakarta by train yesterday. I am happy that I got to fill my Christmas break with some trips that are full with eye-opening experiences and life lessons. What a great way to spend a holiday for sure!

Okay, this time is a lesson about perspective. See that picture above? Yup, I believe you guys are familiar with that kind of picture. There are a lot of perspective pictures like that and they usually go with the question, “What do you see?” or “What did you see first?” different people come up with different answer. Some will say they saw a dog and some others will say they saw a bird. I am not intending to go deeper with the discussion of the meaning of seeing a dog or seeing a bird, but I am using that as an example to convey my point. Different people can see one thing at the same time but have different interpretations/reactions/responses to it.

Yesterday, when I was on a train, I sat next to some young moms with their little kids. I believe the moms are around early twenties and the kids are around 4-5 years old. In front of me there standing two young ladies who were bank workers (I could tell because of the name tags hanging on their necks). The moms let the kids play on the floor and they looked happy with it. The same thing with the two young ladies in front of me, they seemed to be okay as well, they were holding on a handle and talking to each other.

While watching the scenes around me, I recalled a conversation with a friend of mine. He once shared with me about his reason of pursuing his masters in Urban Planning. He is especially interested in revitalizing the mass transportation systems especially in the cities. He told me that the precursor of pursuing the higher education is from his experience commuting with trains every day while he was doing his internship in Jakarta. He was inspired to do something about how the mass transportation systems in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, through his own experience as a passenger.

What I am trying to say is this: there are many people taking the very same trains every single day, but their responses to the experiences are varied. There are people like those young moms and young ladies who seem to be okay with the situation and they just accept it as it is. But there are also people like my friend who sees a situation and it inspires him to do something about it.

Isn’t it interesting? We may look at the same thing but we may see different things out of it.

Well, just another interesting thing to write about. Have a great one, everyone!

-superriska

A lesson from a trip to Jakarta #1

What are you thankful for today?

I realized that it is a good question to ask every day. Sometimes, we are just too busy making a living that we forget the gift of living itself, to enjoy every step of the way. I think it is good to just pause for a few minutes every day just to think about the good things we are thankful for that day. There must be bad days but it does not mean that there is nothing to learn from them. It is all about our perspective and how we respond to things in our life. So, I made that decision to take some time every day to think and write about at least one thing that I am thankful for that day.

Yesterday I went to Jakarta to meet with my friend. She is leaving for Australia next week and we thought it was great to catch up before she departs. So, off I went. I took a train to go to Jakarta because it is cheap and it doesn’t have to get stuck in traffic jam for hours like riding on a taxi or a bus. I left at 2.30ish from Bogor station. The train was not too crowded and it was great. However, it was a different scene on the way back to Bogor from Jakarta. Pardon me for not being really familiar with the scene but this is what happened. I was waiting for the train to get back to Bogor at Cikini station in Jakarta and I realized it was a Tuesday, a working day. I said to myself, “Oh, it’s pretty fine. It’s not too crowded.” I saw a couple of trains passing by and only a couple of people were standing. It’s not too bad, I thought to myself. Until I saw the Bekasi train passed by, I was like, wow that was crowded and I was thankful I did not have to take the train. Then came the train to Bogor, which was the train that I had to take to get home. I could not believe my eyes. It was full but people kept going in. I jumped to the train and tried to hold on to a handle. The train made a few more stops and more people got in to the train. I was like, seriously guys, it’s already full, there’s no way more people can come in. I could barely see the floor of the train. I put on my earphones and listened to some music, trying to enjoy the crowd. Then more people got in and I was blown away with the craziness. I asked a lady next to me, she was trying her best to reach a handle to hold on, “Is it normal? Like this?” She answered as-a-matter-of-factly, “Oh yeah, it is very normal. It is like this every day.”

It was terrible to get stuck in a train full of strangers that day. I just can’t imagine doing that for every day of my life. But for these guys, they don’t have much choice. They have to do it or they don’t get to go to work. Even right now, as I am writing this in my cozy room, the same people are still going through the same thing they went through yesterday. That experience taught me to be more thankful for what I have. Life is tough at times, but we have to choose to see the bright sides and not only focus on the dark ones. I have been complaining about how hard my job is – difficult students, coworkers, situations – but I forget how convenient my life is. I have an apartment on campus for me to stay that I don’t have to commute to go to work every day. I even have somebody clean my apartment so I can get home to a nice clean apartment. Yes, there are hard difficult times to my job. But they don’t have to blind me from the fact that there are also things to be thankful for at the same time. I mean, isn’t there supposed to be challenges to help us grow? That experience that day helped me a lot to see the good things I have but I often take for granted.

Lessons are everywhere and we are lifelong learners if we choose to be one. I learned something from my trip to Jakarta that day and I will not forget the lesson that I learned. There is always something to be thankful for. What are you thankful for today?

-superriska

Hope exists.

building up sometimes means tearing down

and…. starting over is sometimes even better than fixing what has been so wrong for such a long time. There are 27 teachers assigned to go and pioneer a takeover school, formerly known as SD SMP SMA Kristen Palopo, to become Sekolah Lentera Harapan Palopo.

The first and foremost struggle of takeover schools is adjustment. The students have been used to their old system, which it was okay if they did not do the homework, which it didn’t really matter whether they could read or not the teachers will still pass them to the next grade levels, which it didn’t really matter if they did not come to school without any notification for many many times and still not got dropped out from school, which they did not have to worry of repeating class because the teachers were always ready to mark up their scores to just pass them to the next grade levels. and believe me, the list goes on.

Bringing a new system, with the hope of bringing a better one, is no easy task. Dealing with fifth graders that are not able to differentiate the letter b and d is just plain frustrating. Teaching division to fourth graders that are not able to subtract 7 with 1 is simply stretching our patience to its furthest limit.

One thing I learned, challenge is everywhere. No matter where we are, we are faced with challenges every day. Every time. Then we might ask: why bother wearing ourselves out doing such thing? I believe a better world is made by people who are willing to take the risks to do something and make all the difference.

Most of the times, we only see the darkest nights of what we are doing. For sure, if we keep our focus on the obstacles, we will only find discouragement and despair. At times also, as we think that we have done our best, we have put our best effort, but the result may not always aligned with what we had in plan, we become disappointed too. Why there seems no better option?

I got reminded by a friend here, a fellow teacher, we plant and water our students but still, it is God who gives the growth.

This is for all the teachers in the world, we might not see the fruit of what we are doing right now, but please keep in mind and keep believing that what you plant with tears right now, will not be back in vain. Keep doing God’s work! Keep the patience and diligence in serving His people.

Remember that hope exists.

hopefinally, to end this reflection let me recite a prayer from Jenna Miller:

Dear Lord, in my quest for success and accomplishment, help me to remember that to truly be successful, I need to develop the ability to learn from my mistakes, be a servant to others, and put my best efforts into whatever I do.

May this be our prayer too.

Bloom where you are planted

bloomexactly 4 months ago I accepted my placement letter. as I opened the letter, I saw the word Palopo for the very first time I believe. I had never heard of it before, I didnt even know where it is. Around four first days after accepting that letter I was excited. I thought of many interesting things I would do, thinking that I am still young and adventurous. But the fifth day after that day, I found myself bursting into tears knowing that I have to go so far away from my family, best friends, loved ones, and from everything that could make me feel safe and sound. Back in that day, I could not imagine flying to a place where I knew nothing about, where I had no one at all. I had no clue at all.

But, I was thankful that I got opportunity to spend time with my loved ones before I left. The last days spent with them mean so much to me. One thing I want to share here is that I know that they all pray for me and their prayers gave me the courage to go. Knowing that they support me through their prayers gives me the new spirit each and every day to wake up and live again. Because I believe that prayers do connect people even though they are miles apart. And I also believe that prayer is one way of hugging our loved ones from miles apart. Keeping them in prayers means keeping them tightly close to our heart.

And well, I am here now. Palopo, South Sulawesi. 1200++ miles away from home. One hour ahead from home. This is the place where God has planted me, and I believe that I was called to bloom here. Yesterday, was exactly my second month here. The question is: what have I done for this city? for the students? for the school? I dont think I have done much. But with the time I have left, I will strive to do my best. To make a difference, to bloom where I am planted. Doing our best is never easy, we fall every day, we stumble every time. But the commitment to do that is surely taken each and every day. We can never do our best with only our strength, because in fact we are just not strong enough. To love the unloved. To look upon the insignificant of this world from Jesus’ point of view. But we know where we can ask for strength, we know where we can cry when we need to. We know that we are just a prayer away.

*picture was photographed and edited by SUPERRISKA*

For us to ponder…

SMILE!when was the last time we put on a genuine smile like these?

when was the last time we just burst into laugh freely?

when was the last time we jump, play, and run without worries?

 

growing up sucks. we’ve gotta admit that. but growing up is part of our life cycle. that is for sure.

however, once in a while, take off your shoes and walk in the rain..

get with some friends, get some ice cream

look around and laugh at random things!

indeed, life is just not the way we used to know it.

because the older we get, the harder choices we make.

-superriska

Open your eyes, do not lose the diamond!

well, I just looked around my notes in my computer and I found this writing that I wrote last year.

I just finished watching 500 days of summer, and I dont like the story. But the last scene of the movie gave me the idea to write.

Well, in the story, Tom, the male main character was in a relationship with a girl named Summer, the female main character. Tom was all about Summer. He was head over heels in love with this girl. Summer then became his center of attention, and yeah, Summer was everything he saw. Long story short, he did not end up with Summer, who actually decided to get married to someone else. At the end of the story, Tom met another girl in a job interview, and they talked for a couple minutes..

Girl at Interview: Have I seen you before?

Tom: Me? I don’t think so.

Girl at Interview: Do you ever go to Angela’s Plaza?

Tom: Yes… That’s like my favorite spot in the city.

Girl at Interview: Yeah, except for the parking lots.

Tom: Yeah, yeah I agree.

Girl at Interview: Yeah, yeah I think I’ve seen you there.

Tom: Really?

Girl at Interview: Yeah…

Tom: I haven’t seen you?

Girl at Interview: You must not have been looking…

Tom: …

From this very short conversation between Tom and the girl in the interview, I got something to share. I think, just because we’ve never seen something, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because we’ve never known about something, it doesn’t mean that that thing is not there. Things are there. They are around us. But most of the times we are just too busy paying attention to one thing that we forget to look around and realize that there are other things too.

There are lots of times in our lives that we are too preoccupied with some things. That might be a person, a piece of memory in the past that we really want to live it back, a problem, an obstacle, or whatever, you name it.

Open your eyes, look around.

Surely, there are things to be thankful for.

And surely, you dont wanna lose a diamond, while youre just too busy collecting stones.

collecting stones

A Whole New World

Anybody knows the soundtrack of Aladdin, a whole new world? that is my favorite song ever! hahaha. I dont know how it got stuck to my head and I cant remember when I started singing that song. But, ever since, I have been infecting people with that song just because I really like to sing it no matter where I am, bathroom, toilet, pantry, even laundry room. All my friends in the dorm knew it. Anyway, speaking of a whole new world, today I just arrived in my “whole new world”. Leaving my home, flying to a different island with different time zone, to teach English in Sekolah Lentera Harapan Palopo, South Sulawesi.

Okay let me start with this sentence: Life is an adventure. So, this is going to be the beginning. I just made it safe and soundly in Makassar, which is not the last stop. The last stop is Palopo, a small city that is actually still 8-10 hours away from Makassar. So, my journey today does not simply stop there. I am now writing while I am waiting for the bus that will get me to Palopo. Well, just for your information, my plane landed at 4.30 pm and right now, 10 pm, I am still here in the airport. *fiuhh* so, I have been waiting for around five and half hours. Does not stop there, I have one more hour to wait, since the bus only comes twice a day, early in the morning and 11 at night. Interesting? You bet!

 Well, it is a little bit frustrating waiting in the airport doing nothing. So then I decided to get my computer and write for my blog.

Let me tell you, having a beginning of something can make you feel lots of feelings at the same time. I’m all excited to start teaching and working with the kids at my school, but it is also sad as well, knowing I’m living so far away from home. It’s just not easy I believe.

My friends and I flew from Jakarta at 12.30 pm Jakarta time, and landed here 4.30 pm Makassar time. I am now in a different time zone from my home, well, not too big difference, only one hour difference. And also, let me tell you, the people here speak in a funny and strange Indonesian accent that I am not used to. Hahaha. I have had some girls in my dorm coming from this part of country and they also spoke just like the people here, but it was not everyone, but now, it is going to be everyday and everywhere, everyone is going to speak that way. Alright, that is going to be one of the interesting things I’m going to experience here.

Okay. I think I’m gonna enjoy my time waiting in the airport by watching people, that is always interesting, you know. Looking at people’s expressions, and yeah, simply just looking around. More updates about my three-year-journey are coming soon. And by this post too, I am declaring that my three-year-journey is officially started!! 😀 *yeay*

Keep in touch, peeps! 😉

More Than Just For the Sake of Being Smarter

 

alright.

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I am officially done. yeay. 😀 *party!!* haha.

these past four years I’ve been learning a lot of things. more than just knowledge of my discipline, well, I am studying Biology Education in Teachers College Universitas Pelita Harapan Indonesia. My school has a partnership with Corban University, USA, that gave me the Bachelor of Science after my name. but more than getting a degree, I want to tell you something more.

I believe that getting into university is more than just for the sake of being smarter. getting into university is one of the precious opportunities that one could ever have. yes, we study about our discipline, we make projects that are related to our discipline. but above all, these past four years I have been learning something more than just those things. I learn about how to build relationships, connections, and being exposed to many ideas, opportunities, and also interesting experiences. college is more than just attending classes, making homework, and getting straight A’s. Those are indeed part of it. and yes they are very important. but I guarantee you, that you just dont want to spend your college life only for those things. I’ve done all the series of these precious four years of college, and when I look back to what I have through so far, I am amazed.

College years are really good years of making friends, real friends, getting connected to the world, spreading our wings and experiencing great opportunities. we are exposed to many new ideas, we are invited to think about what it means of doing what we are doing and why we are even doing it.

this is a message for you. who still have one, two or three more years to go.

move your ass. get involved in some organizations or events in your campus. gather as many experiences as you can. you surely do not want to regret at the end of your college time and brooding of why you never got yourself involved.

more than just for the sake of being smarter, you may want to have an exercise of a real world experiences.

oh, I know, sleeping is more interesting than getting involved in campus events. but please, guys, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. you may not want to miss it. you may not want to just let it go without getting yourself enriched and learning more than just for the sake of getting smarter. for sure.

The Legacy

I went to a memorial service tonight. A teacher, missionary, and more than anything mentioned, he is remembered as a godly man. He is Pak Ban Garcia. He passed away on Tuesday after a long comma, exactly two years and two months of being unconscious, he was called back home. No more pain, no more tears, as He has promised that He will wipe away the tears and cast away the pains. This is really a story of a man that has responded to God’s calling all his life, leaving his homeland, traveled a long journey to a no land, serving the people until the very last breath of his life. I know of his family, not so closed, but being exposed to their life, I am amazed and thankful to witness such devotion, willingness, and love, especially from his wife. We usually call her Ibu Ban. This lady, let me tell you, she is a humble, ladylike, and strong one. Knowing her from afar, seeing her life, and getting in touch with her for a little while has taught me many things.

From this very event, I learn many things. Really.

In the service, there were some people invited to share their testimony about Pak Ban. He really is remembered and known as a man of God. He is known as more than just a smart person, he is remembered as a man who has devoted his very life for the sake of God’s glory. More than remembered as a rich man, he is remembered as a missionary that has left everything in his homeland, Philippines, to go and reach out to the people in remote place in Toraja, Indonesia. He is remembered as a runner of the Gospel that has left a legacy for the people behind him to go on the race after him. He was a godly man. No more words. He really was.

His wife, Ibu Ban, is also a godly woman. She has the heart for mission and together with her husband, they have become example for other people. Ibu Ban is known as a humble person, her beauty shines right from her heart, her very heart for the people. And really, looking your loved one lying down helplessly in bed for more than two years is more than difficult, but this lady, she still has that real joy to share to her surrounding. I once visited Pak Ban in the hospital, and I met Ibu Ban there taking care of him. I saw her holding Pak Ban’s hand and talking to him. I was struck. I was amazed. This one is true love story. More than what movies and fairy tales could ever show.

I feel so blessed to witness such thing.

I really see the life of the people who put God first and how they live their lives, they have made a difference in this fallen world.

I asked Ibu Ban if I could hug her before I left.. she said why not? and she hugged me. I said thanks that she has taught me so many lessons, then I left.

Pak Ban is not here anymore, physically. But I see that part of him stays with Ibu Ban that will surely continue to work on what her husband had worked on.

I question myself,

What kind of legacy I want to leave to the people when I die someday?

Tough. But this very question refers us back to the very purpose of our life. Maybe today or tomorrow. We never know.

Rest in peace Hidalgo Ban Garcia. Thank you for the legacy you have left behind.