Making Moves and Changes

Warning: This is a looong post!

It has been two days now since I have moved into my Kost, a room in an Indonesian boarding house/apartment, in the area called Kebon Kacang or ‘Garden Beans’. You have to walk through narrow but surprisingly well-ordered streets that barely allows passage for a car and carries the scents of cooking oil, fried foods, cigarette smoke and the over-ripe scent of garbage carelessly discarded, to get to my little box-room located on the top floor of a moderately tall building behind one of the bigger malls in the city. The air is always full; it hangs heavy with humidity and the ever present smog of pollution from the too-many cars and motorcycles and the old beaten-down buses that travel up and down the well-worn streets of Jakarta. Each day this week as I walked towards work I have wished the sidewalk could be enclosed in a bubble of air-conditioning so that (just once) I can reach the office without looking like I just stepped out of a shower (of sweat). At the same time I am glad for the change of pace – of not having to cringe every time I zip through the morning rush on a motorcycle and then battle the hordes waiting to get on the bus heading towards town. It is refreshing (ironic considering the pollution) to be able to walk down the street in a city not known for its pedestrian walkways.

I have taken to sitting at the table on the common ‘balcony’ (it’s a covered roof/kitchen area) just outside my room every evening and have had the chance to speak to several ‘Kost-dwellers’, some of who have lived there for more than a year, and who I think are more fascinated by the fact that the newcomer is an ‘Indonesian-who-isn’t-really-Indonesian’ rather than anything I have to say. It’s something I have come to find amusing more than anything especially since it happens every other time I meet someone new; although I hate the spotlight it shines on me because of it. Most of them seem friendly enough and willing to talk in (slightly awkward) broken English-Bahasa with me which makes me glad to have people to practice my language skills with. While it may be painful (sometimes) to hear me speak Bahasa, the more I practice the more I hope to sound like the natural speaker I should be.

I know it has only been a few days but deep down I do feel as if this move was the right step for me. I was worried (a little terrified?) about moving out of my (comfort zone and) aunt’s house and I do feel pretty awkward in front of the other ‘Kost-dwellers’ due to my lack of knowledge on how ‘regular Indonesians’ do things but I am also establishing my independence here and I think it is about time. I am still lonely/alone sometimes (although it is something I am used to and don’t mind much) but now I can also step outside my door or give NF a call whenever I feel the need to be sociable. Since my move out to this area NF and I have been hanging out almost every day and as we get on well, have the same tastes and our personalities click, I am so glad for the company. It’s nice to have someone to banter with and talk to about things on the regular (rather than keeping it all inside to stew).

Perhaps the one downside to all of this is that my bad sleeping patterns seem to have flared up all over again. Or maybe it was just that I got used to actually falling asleep easily and without any help (finally!) at my aunt’s house that now I have moved somewhere else my settled pattern has been thrown off-kilter, leaving me to feel more exhausted than usual. It’s a pain constantly drifting in and out of sleep, having nightmares that are a mix of my surroundings and dreams and waking up disoriented at all hours of the night. I am hoping it is just a blip in my sleep radar which will slowly ease back to normal sleeping habits as the month(s) passes and I settle myself more…

On a more emotional (?) note, I have come to realize that I don’t think about him so much anymore. I’m not saying that he’s gone – that’s not it at all – but his larger-than-life presence has receded to the background so that he’s not constantly at the forefront of my mind anymore. It is a relief to realize that I have been thinking of him less lately (at least over the past few days anyway…) though that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss him anymore. Unfortunately for me there is still a gnawing ache in my gut that pines for him but I guess that’s also something that will slowly ebb with time. After all, when it comes to matters of the heart we (read as: me) don’t expect miracles to happen anymore. If I allow myself to linger on the thoughts of him I am repeatedly shocked to realize how long its been since we last spoke. 9 weeks today. 9 bloody long weeks since we spoke for the last time (oh deary, getting teary) and it’s hard to push aside how much of a struggle it has been for me. It’s really ridiculous how quickly time flies, isn’t it? It’s his birthday next week and I am working up the courage to message him for it because I can’t be the bitch and ignore him. Besides, we’re supposed to be friends (eventually) right?

Anyway, I guess you could say that the steps I have taken as of late have all been steps forward and not backward no matter that on some days it really feels like I’ve taken a wrong step on an extremely slippery slope. One step at a time is not so bad after all.

2 weeks and 2 days until I make my way home to see my family in Manila – I can’t wait!


Let Go

I am angry. I am frustrated. I am annoyed. I want to scream and I want to cry. I want to punch and I want to fight. As the days passed over the last week I have noticed that a buzzing and angry ball of energy has grown steadily inside me. There is so much that I want to say but I am not even sure how to say it. All I can keep saying is that I am so MAD! I am mad mad mad and I want to keep screaming. Screaming until my throat is so raw and parched that there is no sound left to come out of me. Scream until I can no longer cry at the frustration I feel inside. I am so angry that all I have to do is think of how angry I am and I cry. He got exactly what he wanted. He was the one who couldn’t wait to be together anymore so he has no right to tell me that he just can’t stop wanting to know how I’m doing. That is selfish. Selfish and unfair when I’m the one he left behind. Does he not think I suffer enough when every day, every goddamn miserable day, I wake up thinking about him and wondering how he’s doing or what he’s doing? Does he not think I feel my heart break each and every time I think of him with someone else? Someone who has filled my place in his arms, in his bed, in his heart? I hurt so damn much every day knowing he is not a part of my life anymore and still, I’m the one suffering by hearing from him. When he ended things I couldn’t even fight anymore. Didn’t even have the strength to fight for it because he was so convinced we were too broken to be restored. I didn’t hurl abuse when he decided it was time to call it a day. No, I just cowed down and accepted everything he decided to do.

So respect me. Respect what I want need. This is nowhere near what I wanted when it came to you but I didn’t have a choice and you made the choice you thought was right. I’m sorry. You were the one who set me free, so now it’s time for you to let me go.


Open Heart, Open Mind

Ever since I started this blog, I have noticed several trending topics that I tend to repeatedly post about. One of those topics is Friendship. Friendship is something that many people tend to take for granted – not because they don’t appreciate their friends and all the good they bring, but because they have always had the pleasure of being constantly surrounded by them. I was one of those people who always had, if not a barrage of friends, a constant group of people who I hung out with wherever I lived. You know, the people you can spontaneously call on for coffee or grab a bite with, go see an unplanned movie with, go out day-drinking with or party with to the early hours. It wasn’t until I left my ‘crew’ in Australia to go live in Cambodia with my family and experienced difficulties making friends, that I realized just how important having a good group of people to surround and support me really is. Although I eventually made friends there, it wasn’t the same as what I had with my crew back in Melbourne. It may sound lame to a lot of people, but I really had a tough time learning to deal without that closeness and constant companionship. In the UK it was different because I had the chance to meet some incredible people in my classes and dorm; my roommate and (I swear) soul sister, and of course my ex and his friends too. That all started to tip towards the wrong side of good when classes ended, school was over and people started leaving for home or to start their new post-graduate lives. Even though I had my ex and his family/friends, I was slowly starting to lose my ‘coffee’ friends and it left me feeling lonely and at times a little miserable. After all, who likes to see their friends move away?


In the past year, the lack of close friendships in my life has been felt as profoundly as a sharp stone stuck somewhere in my shoe; like a thorn in my side. Although I still keep in touch with my best friends who are spread out across the globe, it has been tough dealing with the roughness of life without the immediate presence of friends by my side. Even worse is when I have something exciting to celebrate but I have no one to celebrate with. While I am so thankful that I know who my real friends are because although we are all thousands of miles apart they are still there for me, there’s only so much they can do from a distance. Having said all that, I am hoping that my luck is turning around. Tonight I got a call from someone I met a few months ago who, after seeing my status on Facebook, decided to take me out for dinner/drinks in order to cheer me up. It has been a while since I have had a ‘girl’s night’ and I have to say, it felt really good to find myself there again this evening. It felt satisfying to be able to talk to someone face-to-face about the emotional wringer I am in and to be cheered up enough (with food, wine, good conversation and laughs) to have my night end on a (more) positive note. Although this is a new friendship, I am hoping it is one that will last and it also gives me hope that maybe if I continue to keep my heart/mind open to this city, I will really start to find the right people who will bring more happiness into my life.

Right now, I am feeling pretty okay and it’s all because friendship came to save the day :)



Predictably Unpredictable Life

Life is, if anything, predictably unpredictable. In the flash of a simple moment you can laugh, love, cry, scream, feel sorrow, pain or joy. Literally, in the blink of an eye, everything can change. As we start a new week in the second month of this new year, I found myself getting up at 5.30AM to get ready to attend a funeral 3 hours away. Over this long CNY weekend, the husband of my work colleague passed away. Save for the flu and the persistent cough which plagued him for the past week, he was a healthy and hard-working husband/father, but on Saturday night he had a heart attack which ended his life. If it is hard for me to process this information through the shock I feel, I can only imagine what my colleague is going through. Although I had personally not known him, the thought that only 3 days ago my colleague was wishing me a good weekend as she headed home to her daughter and husband, makes me shake my head in disbelief. Can life really be so cruel? This incident once again proves the fragility of life and the importance of living in every moment as if it were your last (as overused and cliche as that line is) because who knows what can happen? And yes, life with all the beauty she gives can be one hell of a cruel mistress; anything is possible and everything can (quite simply) change.

This mournful start to the week/month is actually quite befitting in that the mood I have been feeling for the past week has been continued. In its own way, I am also in the stages of facing a (metaphorical) death in my personal life which has brought up feelings of deep sorrow, anger, frustration, embarrassment and to an extent some resentment as well. Last night I found myself colliding head first with my second heartbreak in the short span of roughly 3 months and to my embarrassment, the second round was done by the same person who broke my heart the first time. What’s that saying again? “Fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice shame on me?” Safe to say I feel like a foolish and naive little girl who got her hopes up for a forever that was never meant to be. I guess you could say love blinded me to the reality of the situation because I was so sure he was the one for me. And because a part of me still believes he is the one, the notion that I will never see or speak to him again still hasn’t registered as 100% real. In fact, I feel like any minute now I am going to wake up from this nightmare and realize my heart is still in one piece. I know I shouldn’t kid myself about this: it is actually really over this time and he’s out of my life for good. No longer should I be thinking of him first thing when I wake up in the morning and last thing before I go to sleep at night. I shouldn’t be thinking about what he’s doing during the day or still be wishing I could be there with him instead of here. I shouldn’t be missing him. I shouldn’t think of anything to do with him and the future I thought we would have together because just like that, in the blink of an eye, he put an end to ‘us’ without breaking a sweat. I should remember that, in the grand scheme of ‘forever’, if waiting two additional months isn’t enough to sustain your feelings for the person you claim is “the best thing to ever happen to you”, then I deserve better. I deserve more (I know this in the back of my mind somewhere). I was willing to wait for however long it took because I believed that in the long run all this distance and hardship would have been worth the wait and at the end of the day, we’d still have each other. Silly stupid me – this isn’t a fairy tale and he will never give you a happily ever after. As much as I know it is time to move forward, it will be hard letting go. I can’t have him be a part of my life anymore and it (still) kills me.

I feel like I am starting from square one all over again just like after the first break up a few months ago. While I am not breaking down crying everywhere I go (like I did after the first round), there is still a heaviness in my heart that makes me feel weak and restless. I can say with certainty that the second round hurts no less than the first and it plain as day, sucks. Erasing the traces of someone from your life is no easy task, but I know myself and if I don’t go ‘cold turkey’ there is no way I can completely heal. Is this what it feels like to fall off the wagon? I guess it really is just one day and one step at a time…

Two thousand fourteen. Despite having only been through the month of January, it has already been full of ups and downs. The end of 2013 saw me fall off the Blog-o-sphere almost completely but I assure you I have made many attempts to get  back into writing. Who knows, maybe this moment will help spur me back into writing again. There are so many things I hope will happen this year but what I hope for more than anything is that 2014 will be extremely different to 2013. It is safe to say that for me 2013 was akin to a ride through hell. I have never felt so continuously miserable and downtrodden as I did throughout the majority of 2013. I would really rather not have this year be a repeat of that. It is going to be hard bouncing back from this heartache again but I started to get better once and given time I know I can do it for a second time. Like I said, anything can happen. Everything can change in the blink of an eye so live every second you have with whomever or doing whatever as if it was your last moment because you really never know when it will be. Cherish every moment you have, good or bad. Take the emotions you’re feeling and really live through them – don’t hold it in or let it take over your life. Use those emotions, those memories and those lessons to strengthen yourself and to mold yourself into a better person who you can be proud of because you did it – you got through the really tough shit! I am going to try my best to live that way. Life is nothing if not predictably unpredictable – so why not grab it by the balls and swing?



Fix You

When you try your best but you don’t succeed. When you get what you want but not what you need. When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep; stuck in reverse. And the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone but it goes to waste; could it be worse? Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you.

And high up above or down below. When you’re too in love to let it go. But if you never try you’ll never know just what you’re worth. Tears stream down your face when you lose something you cannot replace. Tears stream down your face, I promise I will learn from my mistakes. And I… Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you.

Note: This is one of my all time favorite songs and I’m sure many people will say the same. It’s an amazing song and I think it’s one of those songs that we can all relate to at one point or another in our lives. Right now, the lyrics are hitting home and it has been on constant repeat all week. I heard it played live the other day and when I went on Youtube today this version popped up on my ‘Watch Feed’ and I listened to it and I fell in love all over again. Plus, these two singers are amazing(!) and I think they do a fantastic job with this cover. Enjoy the sound and feel the lyrics.