If we were having coffee…

20160430_134704I’d invite you back to one of my favorite cafes closer to home. You came here about two coffees ago; remember their iced coffee? So good! Isn’t it great that the cafe is empty today and we have the space to ourselves? The place is quiet save for the Tribe Called Quest record that’s spinning, the softly chattering voices of the staff downstairs and the noise of the aircon being pumped through the room. As much we both love company, it’s nice to have the place to ourselves; it’s like we own the space!

How has your week been? What have you been up to since we last spoke? Any news or updates about the activities/events/things that you were looking forward to or dreading last week?

The week was relatively quiet for me. My nan went to Bangkok with a group of retirees who she exercises with on a weekly basis. Work hasn’t been anything special – productive and busy as always – but nothing out of the ordinary happened. This week I’ve realised how much I get through every day on autopilot. I don’t think, I don’t question, I just do. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore that fact and just do but other times it’s startlingly apparent. Autopilot is easier because it helps me to forget the not-so-good parts of the “routine” that I have established here: Wake up-Eat-Work-Exercise (occasionally)-Home-Eat-Sleep and repeat. Thoughts of the other stuff that I don’t have in my life here, I usually just push aside to a corner of my cave where the light cannot reach.

Okay, so maybe it’s been a bit of a low week but it’s fine. Sometimes we have our off weeks, right? We just have to work through it. I’ve been thinking a lot about how easy it is to feel lonely here even when I’m surrounded by people (my colleagues) every day. A lot of events this week have led my thoughts to circle back to relationships and that kind of companionship. I don’t know why but the seed was planted in my brain last week and I can’t seem to shake it loose. I miss that kind of companionship. I miss obsessing over shows, movies, food, music and life (in general) with someone who feels the same way. I miss going out and sharing exciting adventures with someone. I miss being goofy and real with someone. I miss coming home to someone and knowing that they will take away everything shitty that happened and heighten every good thing and feeling. I miss having someone to just hold me because they can. I guess I just miss having someone…

What? Oh, I guess I really got sucked into my lonesome-romantic fantasies there, didn’t I? Sorry… It sucks to be a hopeless romantic and still be so cynical at the same time; I feel like these two parts of me are always constantly at war! Anyway, I’m just going to look forward to enjoying the rest of my weekend and hope that the lonely feeling goes away and the week ahead is better:)

Thanks for the coffee and listening to me babble. I’m really grateful for your company and I can’t wait until we have coffee again; next week, as usual?

This post is part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare event hosted by Part-Time Monster. Check out my previous coffee shares here, and other coffee moments from around the world here. And hey, if you’re interested, why not join in the coffee sharing fun?

Contemplation – Week 9

Welcome to Week 9 of Contemplation! I have to admit that I missed one post for this event but I have uploaded Week 8 here now, so if you want to see that or the other Contemplation posts that I’ve done, you can check ’em all out in one go.

Just little note for those of you who don’t know what this series is about, each week DJ over at musings of a frequent flying scientist will share a prompt from her Kikki.K A Sentence A Day Journal and invites us to share our answers with her.

What is your favorite topic of conversation?

When I first read this prompt, my mind drew a blank. Is there any one topic that I favor above all others? I don’t think I consciously steer conversations towards a particular topic, nor do I make sure that any particular topic is touched upon in conversations. For sure, there are those topics that I don’t contribute to as much in comparison to others – such as politics. It’s not that I’m uninterested in politics but I wouldn’t say it’s my forte.

Thinking back on talks with my friends though, I notice that we always, eventually, end up talking about people – in particular, human behaviour. Most of the time we get into discussing ourselves or the people that we meet throughout our week and we talk about situations with these people and how we acted. In general, I love people watching and learning more about others and trying to understand what makes people tick (and that’s probably why for my BA I majored in Behavioural Studies). We talk about what we think drives people to act the way they do? What factors affect their behaviour and how we react to their behaviour?

They’re not always serious conversations but we toss around reflections and ideas and see what the other thinks or what the other has to say. Reflecting on these talks, I realise that I really enjoy contributing to the discussions and it’s usually when I hesitate the least in contributing my thoughts.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t really answer the question (or maybe I did in a roundabout way?). But it’s nice to reflect and contemplate the answer for questions (such as this) that I never really thought about before. What’s your favorite topic of conversation? Do you have one?

Unloading Emotions

I need to get something off my chest. There’s a fire inside me that has been steadily burning since I spoke to my parents on Sunday evening and since this morning it has crescendoed into a raging inferno. I don’t think I’ve felt quite this angry in a while – at least, not on behalf of someone else.

My parents are currently traveling around Europe (Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, Austria and Hungary). Now that my dad is retired and they’ve finished building their new home and settled in Indonesia, they’ve decided to do what almost everyone dreams about doing – travel around the world. They’ve been planning this Europe trip since last year and I know that overall they have been having a good time. They’ve met with friends who they haven’t seen since we lived in Bangladesh the first time in 1991-1995; they’ve visited famous landmarks that these countries are known for; they’ve tried lots of amazing food and dad has drunk a lot of great beer and wine. I know they’ve been enjoying themselves but they have also had their fair share of troubles, especially lately.

When I say troubles, I specifically mean that they’ve been cheated and they’ve also been targets of theft on more than one occasion. I guess people see them as easy targets, not only because they’re foreigners, but because they’re obviously not as “sprightly” as they used to be (they’re both in their 60s). As their daughter, it’s distressing to hear about these things happening to them. I know they’re completely capable of looking after themselves, but still, it makes me want to go out there and defend them from these slick hands! While it’s upsetting to hear about these incidents, that’s not really what makes my blood boil.

It’s not the fact that they were cheated or identified as easy prey. Apparently, this is quite a normal experience for many people who visit Europe [Side note: Judging from my parent’s friends who commented on their status update, at least 90% of them said that they either experienced the same or had been forewarned in the last few months about the deteriorating situation in Europe. Be warned, people who are traveling there!]. No, what makes my blood boil is the fact that, through all the troubles my parents faced, not one person came to their aid.

No one turned to help my dad when he caught the person who attempted to take his wallet from his pocket. He was standing in the middle of a crowded station platform in Vienna with people milling about and even the conductor, who was standing at the door of the next car over, didn’t bother to turn around. My dad was shouting at the top of his lungs for help, for the police and no one paid him any attention. Having been caught-in-the-act with no one to hold them to account, the perps casually sidled off and went up the escalators to freedom.

Last night, my dad’s backpack was stolen on the train from Vienna to Budapest. They said that they went to the police station on arrival and tried to report the incident and you know what the police said? “We’re busy today. Come back the day after tomorrow.” Um, excuse me… What? My parents just got robbed and you’re too busy to help?! You are in a position of authority and yet, this is not important enough to warrant any attention from you. You’re in a position where you are meant to make people feel safe – regardless of where they’re from or how “busy” you are. Newsflash: you’re meant to be helping people not sending them away!

Then there’s everyone else who stood around while my dad was shouting for help. Is this really what we’ve become? Our “global society” – turning away when we see other people in trouble? Turning a blind eye and pretending that you’re not aware of what’s happening? Or even worse, standing there and watching the commotion unfold, but doing nothing at all to help someone who’s crying out for it? Have we become so selfish that we care for no one but ourselves? Wouldn’t you want someone to help you if they saw you shouting for help or defending yourself from someone who is trying to take your personal belongings? It makes my blood boil and makes me want to shout at people to wake up! When did we become like this? Is this really the norm now for people to not care? It makes me so disheartened and so sad.

So… Breathe. I just really needed to get that off my chest.

Late Night Coffee Share

If we were having coffee this week, it would be a late night event. Coffee late at night, you ask? Yes. I’ve been feeling a bit restless and unable to sleep (and no, it’s not because I’ve been drinking coffee at night), so I thought there would be no harm in drinking the stuff when I already don’t feel tired! You can have tea though, if you don’t feel like having coffee.

I’d invite you over after dinner and we’d plop ourselves on the couch full of fluffy pillows. We’d sit in silence for a bit as we inhale the aromatic scents floating up from the steaming mugs in our hands and then I’d probably moan about how sad it is that the weekend is already half over when I feel like it’s only just begun. Sorry, that’s not a positive start, is it? I just wish that weekends felt as long as the weekdays often do. Although I admit last week wasn’t so bad. Even if it was as busy as it always is, it was a week full of (more) positive energy and accomplishments and that always feels good! After several long months of working on the marketing and acquisition plan for the office, it has finally been given the stamp of approval. Now there’s no need to wait for the bossman’s okay and all systems are on go: full speed ahead!

If we were having coffee I’d also tell you that I’ve finally pulled myself together and joined a gym close to home. The place has a pool as well so I’ve started swimming again. I was quite pleased with myself for getting up so early to head to the pool before work and getting a few laps in. I know it’s hard to imagine since it’s no secret that I’m so not a morning person but I did it! Although intuitively I knew, I’ve never really confronted how much I let myself go until I got into that pool and felt my muscles scream in protest at my lack of movement over the last year. Despite the protesting muscles, it felt really good and invigorating; it felt fresh. Sitting in a chair for 9+ hours a day, five days a week, without doing anything else active definitely isn’t healthy. It’s silly isn’t it, that I let myself go like that? It’s so easy to slip into that state but hopefully I will keep up with the fitness… This time!

If we were having coffee I’d also tell you that I didn’t hear back from that job after the interview. It’s okay… No, really, I’m fine. Sure, every day that I checked my email and saw that there wasn’t any news from them was disappointing and I did feel down for a while; but I’ve decided to look at it positively. Perhaps it means that my time here isn’t over just yet and I still have more to contribute, more to learn and more of an impact to make. Thinking back over the last year, it does feel good to know how far I’ve come, personally and professionally, so if I look at it in that light, I don’t feel so bad. This job has taught me a lot about myself and I’ve gained a lot of insight into my strengths and also my weaknesses and finding ways to address them. With these positive thoughts in my head, I’ve been able to turn around how I feel about work and in the past week I’ve really felt a tremendous difference. I’m feeling motivated again and I’m ready to face the challenges head on. There’s not such a heavy weight sitting on my shoulders anymore. (Or is that just the exercise?)

But enough about me – what about you? How has your week been? Are your family, friends and work doing alright? I hope that you got some positive energy from the last week and if not, I hope the week ahead is better, brighter and brings more positivity!

This post is part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare event hosted by Part-Time Monster. Check out my previous coffee shares here, other coffee moments from around the world here and if you’re interested, why not join in the fun?

Contemplation – Week 7

We’re back for Week 7 of Contemplation! For those of you who are wondering what it’s about, this series/challenge was started up by the wonderful and talented DJ over at musings of a frequent flying scientist. Each week she shares a prompt from her Kikki.K A Sentence A Day Journal, her response and she invites us to join in by sharing our responses to the prompt as well. You can check out my earlier posts in this series here. Now, back to the prompt!

What quality is most important to you in a friend?

It’s a great question and if I’m honest, it’s one that I never actively thought about before; although funnily enough, when I was having dinner with some friends last night, it was a topic we briefly touched on. Over the last few years in particular, my blog posts seemed to find their way back to the theme of friendship. Although I grew up moving around and in a way “getting used” to saying goodbye to the friends I made and the people I met – whether in school or as in my university years, outside of it – it never got any easier. We’d always say “we won’t lose touch!” “we’ll always be great friends no matter where we are!” and so on. Of course, life happens and people change and as a result, I now only have a handful of people who I know are my true friends.

These are the people who have stuck by me through thick and thin and everything in between. They are people who I trust with my everything and who I know I can turn to whenever I need them – no matter the distance between us (which is actually several thousands of miles away). They support me and pull me up and out of the dark places when times get tough, celebrate and laugh with me when life is on the up and generally, challenge me to be a better person and to believe in myself when I stumble. They are the people who I know I can share my most outrageous and loony thoughts with and who won’t go running away screaming, questioning my sanity in the process or judging me in any way. These are the people who I can be 1000% myself with and I know that at the end of the day, through everything, they’ll still be there for me. It’s also exactly the same way that I am with and for them.

So, what is the quality that is most important to me in a friend? Without a doubt, loyalty comes first and foremost. Loyalty to our friendship and not to their need in our friendship – whereby, if they’ve gotten all they want from me, they’ll just leave me behind. It’s sad to say but I think that loyalty is a hard quality to find in people these days, whether concerning friendship or otherwise. I feel like people are always looking for the next best thing and always ready to “fly off” to it and as such, not appreciating what’s in front of them. I know that’s not true for all people so I can’t generalise but that has been my experience in recent years and it only makes me cherish my friends all the more.

What do you think is the most important quality in a friend?

If We Were Having Coffee…

I’d welcome your arrival with a giant panda smile and wave. If we know each other a little better, or you’re simply just a hugger like me, I’d also give you a warm hug and invite you to sink down onto the bean bags at this outdoor cafe on the beach. Before we order, I’d tell you how glad I am that you could make it today after my last minute reschedule yesterday because if we had met up then, I would have been feeling harried and caught up in the proposal I was working to submit. Yes, I was working most of my Saturday afternoon and yes, it was horrible!


If we were having coffee you’d beat me to asking how the last week has been and I’d tell you that it wasn’t anything special. It was just another week in the life of a “workaholic” who lives on a tropical island. You say I should try to get out more and explore the island, like I mention doing in my 2016 Panda Goals and I’d tell you that I know. As our drinks arrive and we both take our first sip of our strong iced coffees, I’ll start to wonder whether I’ll really do something about my regular weekend idleness but before I can decide, you ask me to tell you what else happened in the last week.

I’d tell you that the only that happened outside of work was my interview – you know, for the communications specialist job at the USAID funded project together with ASEAN? The one that I really wanted because not only will it be a great boost for my career path in communication for development, it’s also something that I’m interested in and feel passionate about? How did it go? To be honest, I can’t really say or I’m not quite sure what to say about it. You probably read about my pre-interview jitters and those jitters ate me up completely before the interview began. The interview itself was oddly informal and the informality of it kind of threw me for a loop. I felt like I was conversing with an acquaintance; which was good to a point, but I think it made me to feel too comfortable and I felt it let me become too informal. I don’t feel so positive when I think back on that interview and a part of me feels like I’ve already left it behind because I’m quite sure that I won’t get the position… The announcement for it will be made next week.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot this last week about where I am in my life right now. How quickly time has flown. How far I’ve come. But mostly, how much I’ve changed from that sort-of-really-loud young girl who was filled with so much passion for life and everything that lay in store for her, to the girl who’s becoming more socially anxious, who takes refuge too often in the worlds of fiction and whose life has somehow come to be consumed by a  job she does not enjoy. I’ve wondered about just how much I’ve let certain situations influence who I’ve become today, even when I deny that they have had such a big impact on me. How much have I really let myself go down this rabbit hole? How do I get out again?

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’m feeling just a little bit lost (again). We’d both sit in silence for a little while, after that confession, and just look out over the beach that has filled up with people who are watching the sunset and getting ready to say goodbye to another weekend. I’d tell you that it’s nice sitting here with you, over a (big) glass of iced coffee, watching families, couples, individuals sitting like us or milling about the beach and ending the weekend in a nice way. I’d tell you that before we move on from my side of the conversation, which has admittedly been a little on the down side, I wanted to share a song that I found on Friday night. I fell in love with it because the words dig in deep – especially with what I’ve just mentioned I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s by Sara Bareilles and was actually written for the musical Waitress (also a movie!) and although I do know what the song is referring to, I’m interpreting it my own way, for me (and that is the beauty of music)!

So now, moving on up and onward. How are you? Was your week more exciting than mine? I’m sure it certainly was a bit more chipper! Or even if it wasn’t, I’m still curious to hear all about it. Tell me about it, I’m all ears :)

This post is part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare event hosted by Part-Time Monster. Check out other coffee moments here and if you’re interested, why not join in the fun?

Pre-Interview Jitters

I’m currently feeling some serious pre-interview jitters. Throughout the day, the creatures in my stomach have steadily nudged their way out of their caves and are currently having a wild time going round in circles together. As such, it now feels like my stomach (and I must admit, my heart) is going to crawl its way up my throat at any second.


The weekend before last, I mentioned in my Weekend Coffee Share that I had found a job opening through someone in my parent’s network and that I had submitted my CV; although I don’t think I mentioned how I was almost sure that I wasn’t qualified enough to even pass through the initial inspection round. To my delight, and slightly surprised shock, I received an email last Wednesday asking me to be present at an interview for the position! Obviously they thought I was already in Jakarta as they wanted me to be in their office within two days’ notice but after explaining my situation, they agreed to interview me over Skype and now it’s happening tomorrow!

Oh my, there goes the stomach animals again!

The last time I found myself preparing for an interview was almost around this time last year for this job that I now have. Who knew that I’d be looking for a new job (by choice) so quickly? I’m so excited at the prospect of getting this job but at the same time completely terrified because I really want it. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’ll be an amazing opportunity to dive deep into a specific project and give me the chance to really hone my communication and management skills. If there’s one thing that being in my current job has revealed to me, it’s realising what I want to pursue further: communication for development (C4D). I’m actually really questioning whether this is “the real life or is it just fantasy?”(Sorry, I had to throw that in there!) It feels a little surreal to have practically stumbled upon this opportunity so randomly but there are ‘changes in the air’ and it feels like something big is coming around the corner. Good or bad, I’m not yet sure, but there’s this energy vibrating all around me!

While I’m thrilled to be interviewed, I’m also trying not to get my hopes up. While it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t get the job, I know I will be sorely disappointed… Though that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying or looking for another “perfect” job, I think it might take me a while to get the engine revving again – not because I will feel too demotivated but because my current job is already taking chunks out of me and I don’t know if I’ll have the energy to deal with anything else. Maybe that’s not the best attitude, is it? I’m sending out as much positive energy as possible and trying to keep myself cocooned in it for as long as I can (at least until tomorrow is over).



Woah boy, if this is how jumbled I’m feeling now, I wonder how I’m going to be feeling by tomorrow afternoon before the interview! I’m trying to channel the 3 C’s: Cool, Calm and Confident in preparation for the real thing and I think I’m d’okay? << Or maybe not as I literally just typed that out without meaning to.

Blogosphere, any last minute prep advice or general interview tips for this bundle of nerves?