Teaching Bahasa Indonesia to Adult Foreign Learners

Hi Folks,

This post is about the new ‘project’ that I started back in May 2014. It’s been more than a year and I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m still very much into it. The first half of this post is in English and the second half is in Indonesian.

Remember that I mentioned about CELTA and what I want to do after the 1-month solo trip back in 2013? Since 2009, I’ve been looking for another type of extra income gig that I’ll enjoy on top of my full-time job and to also maintain my financial health despite living in the most expensive city in the world (according to 2014 EIU Survey). After dipping my toes into some industries for several years, I finally found that teaching languages is the (current) answer to my restlessness. Beside teaching English to some Primary kids privately, I’ve started teaching Bahasa Indonesia to Adult Learners, both in classroom and 1-to-1 settings. Who would’ve thought that I’d teach my mother-tongue to the locals, Europeans and other nationalities in Singapore? It certainly didn’t cross my mind until early last year.

In January 2014, I chanced upon an opening for both part-time Indonesian and English language teacher at a language school. I immediately applied for both positions, as I was then qualified to teach them. One is my native language, and another one was my strongest 2nd language (not good enough to teach Mandarin yet, maybe one day *wishful thinking*). In the end, because I’m Indonesian and my results for language subjects were good, I joined the school as a part-time Indonesian language teacher. It was tough at first, since I didn’t have any experience in teaching my mother-tongue. After more than 1 year, I can finally write a summary of the challenges I’ve encountered so far. I’ll write this section in Bahasa Indonesia (for the English version, please use Google translate;P)

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Catatan: Saya jarang sekali menulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia, bahkan cenderung tidak pernah. Kalau soal menulis, saya lebih suka mengekspresikan pikiran saya dalam Bahasa Inggris. Tapi mungkin kali ini, saya akan coba menjelaskan dalam Bahasa Indonesia, segala macam tantangan yang saya hadapi selama setahun belakangan ini. Saya periksa pemakaian kata disini –> http://kbbi.web.id/ dan suka membaca penjelasan dari web ini –> http://www.bahasakita.com/

Tantangan yang saya hadapi:

1) Mengajar Bahasa Indonesia formal (baku/resmi) atau informal (bahasa gaul).

Dalam percakapan sehari-hari, orang Indonesia sendiri jarang sekali memakai bahasa formal. Lebih sering memakai bahasa gaul/informal/slang dan kadang-kadang mencampurkan elemen bahasa Inggris ke dalam kalimat. Jadi pada saat saya mengajar, saya selalu kesusahan. Di satu sisi, saya harus mengikuti silabus yang sangat kuno dan penuh dengan bahasa formal yang jarang dipakai sehari-hari. Di sisi lain, saya ingin murid-murid saya latihan bicara Bahasa Indonesia yang sering dipakai. Bahasa sehari-hari akan lebih berguna pada saat mereka berkunjung ke Indonesia untuk bekerja atau liburan. Mereka bisa langsung menerapkan apa yang sudah dipelajari.

Jadi sekarang, saya tetap berusaha memperkenalkan versi formalnya di awal, sebelum kemudian mengajarkan versi sehari-harinya di akhir sesi.

2) Silabus yang perlu diperbaharui. Tapi belum ada waktu untuk merombaknya.

Silabus selalu menjadi bahan diskusi dan pertentangan. Tapi sejauh ini, kami, para guru, hanya bisa mengikuti apa yang sudah tersedia sambil menambahkan sendiri bahan yang sekiranya berguna untuk murid. Kami juga kadang harus mengubah materi menjadi lebih menarik untuk dipelajari dan menyesuaikan materi dengan kebutuhan murid. Baru-baru ini, saya meminta dukungan manajemen untuk mengubah silabus dan mereka sudah setuju. Tapi sekarang masalahnya, saya belum punya waktu untuk eksekusi. Setiap hari saya mengajar sampai malam, sulit sekali mencari waktu untuk mengubah silabus. Saya akan minta bantuan guru lain. Mereka juga sama sibuknya dengan saya. Bagaimana ini? *mumet*

3. Susunan kata dan pengaruh bahasa asing.

Saya selalu mengajarkan konsep “ayam goreng” kepada murid saya, Bahasa Indonesia dan Bahasa Inggris itu terbalik. “Fried chicken” akan menjadi “ayam goreng” dalam bahasa Indonesia, bukan “goreng ayam”. Konsep ini dan masih banyak lagi konsep tata bahasa yang lain akan selalu saya ulangi di kelas. Murid-murid biasanya sering salah menyusun kata, terbalik-balik dan terlalu banyak memakai terjemahan langsung ke Bahasa Inggris. Biasanya saya akan menjadi “badut” di kelas dan berusaha untuk tidak memakai terjemahan. Mereka harus berusaha berpikir dalam Bahasa Indonesia. Terkadang saya hanya meminta mereka menerjemahkan kata untuk memeriksa pemahaman kosakata yang sulit. Selebihnya, saya lebih suka memakai bahasa isyarat. Diusahakan 70-80% Bahasa Indonesia dan bahasa isyarat yang dipakai di kelas, sisanya Bahasa Inggris untuk menjelaskan tata bahasa yang susah.

Pada akhirnya, saya berharap proyek yang satu ini dapat saya kembangkan lagi di kemudian hari. Mungkin suatu hari nanti, saya bisa buka sekolah bahasa sendiri? Amin. Sekarang, (slang/colloquial) gue mau enjoy dulu aja deh, mau ngajar Bahasa Inggris atau Bahasa Indonesia, privat atau kelas, sama aja. Yang penting senang ^_^

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That’s all folks. I just used the formal version of Indonesian in this post.

Maybe I should practice more and write more posts in Indonesian? Using slang/colloquial version?

Oh well, Happy August everyone!

Time really flies…

Cheers,

Sien

*in early holiday mood. 33 more days to turning 2-9 on 2-9. 42 more days to a long vacation. Woohooo!! ^_^

Is “what I want” the same as “what I need”?

Hey folks,

Fabulous February is here. Time for another post.

As we’re nearing the end of Horse Year and my 2015’s plans are beginning to shape up, let me share with you the upcoming projects that have been brewing in my over-active brain. I will share this in the form of my answers on the classic question: WANT versus NEED, including some examples of the things that I want and elaborate excuses/justifications to convince myself and finally take ACTIONS.

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2015-2017 Master Plan. Had to write them down, can’t help it:)

The results of a never-ending battle in my restless mind. Here we go!!!

I WANT

to live happily and peacefully everyday doing what I need to do to pay the bills, doing what I love to do after work and during weekends. While at the same time, I still have the time to relax and enjoy some me-time, be totally unproductive once in a while, e.g.: watching YouTube videos or Japanese & Korean dramas the whole night.

Do I NEED to live like this?

ABSOLUTELY YES. Perhaps for now until maybe the end of 2016.

I got really bored and felt unproductive if I just watch dramas/videos, read random articles day in and day out. My brain needs much more stimulation and I finally found it in the form of teaching:). My aim for this year is to arrange at least 3-4 times teaching session, either in classroom or private setting, weekdays night or weekend afternoon. I’ll take my own teaching assignment or replace other teacher whenever I can, as long as it fits into my schedule. I get to meet new students whenever I accept a new assignment. Good for my network expansion and my brain, 1 stone kills 2 birds.

As for the exercise I need, whenever I’m not teaching, I’ll squeeze in a gym session or Saturday morning hiking or Sunday afternoon cycling and have a weekly volleyball game with my regular buddies. Hopefully, if one day I get to be in a committed relationship with someone I like, I could still allocate 1-2 times a week to meet him. It’s all about priority and scheduling. Anyway, you’re never too busy to be with your loved one, aren’t you?

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I WANT

to go on vacation at least once a year.

Do I NEED to have this vacation?

YES and NO.

Yes, because for me, vacation is needed to refresh my mind, get away from the routine for a while, and experience new places. You might be ‘poorer’ in the wallet after the trip but you’ll be ‘richer’ in experience afterwards. It’s about one’s own priority/mindset and choosing a lifestyle that suits you.

No, if I don’t have the resources to do so. If I didn’t set my budget to include any expensive trip, then there won’t be any traveling this year. I thought that’s the case in 2015. But I saw the light at the end of the tunnel near the end of last month. As I looked at my budget again, after clearing the expected-and-necessary expenses incurred last month and including my future recurring expenses for the rest of the year, I feel safe to include just one trip this year, 18 days, still unknown total expenses. I join a friend for this trip. She’s super excited about this one and invited me to join in the fun. So I thought about it for a few weeks and decided to postpone my other trip and joined her instead. Ticket’s booked. Hope we get to see all the beautiful sceneries in September!! Yay ^_^

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I WANT

to teach full time and own a business related to language/travel one day. It’s so bloody hard to decide between turning my hobby into a full-fledged source of income and keeping both jobs to enjoy half the benefit of both worlds (Engineering and Education field).

but do I NEED to make this decision now?

Am I prepared for the decrease of income during the switch? lifestyle difference? change of habit? change of monthly budget? being out of my familiar zone? How long can I maintain this slash career? Do I need more free time for myself and for me to build a relationship? When can I take the leap of faith? All these questions bring me back to my earlier post about doing what you love to do as a profession.  At the end of the post, I refer to myself as the member of this group;

3. Still doing slash career (definition – having a full time day job: it pays the bills but not necessarily the thing that you want to do long-term & after work/weekends: doing what you love to do but not really a $-making venture yet) and waiting to make the switch. Meanwhile, becoming a reliable and excellent support system to everyone and live a full life. Good luck and you’re so awesome! (~ goes to myself + my future self + some other friends)

Right now, I’ve found the 3 hobbies described in one of the quotes below. They’ve made my life more meaningful and brighter. First hobby to make money: teach languages, second hobby to keep me in shape: play volleyball, third hobby to be creative: write a blog post or sing in karaoke:).

I have a road map and currently doing baby steps to make this ‘WANT’ comes true. It includes some further study and courses I want to take, some financial goals to be achieved and lots of other things. Remember the snapshot of my 2015-2017 master plan above? Yeah, I wrote them there.

Even in the end, if my life doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, I’d be pretty happy and satisfied with the current arrangement. All is well. By then, this fickle-minded brain should know how to make peace with it and just continue enjoying the ride.

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I WANT

to share my life with another person, to finally be in a committed relationship.

but do I really NEED one?

No. Not really. If I haven’t found the right one for me yet, I won’t settle.

In general, I’m looking for this kind of guy, someone who:

(1) knows what he wants in life or at least be curious about it. He looks for ways to improve his life, takes on new challenges and becomes wiser each time.

(2) knows how to set his priority. Sometimes, he could be the right person, but our timeline and priority in life at that period of time was so out of sync, that it won’t work anyway. Is his priority right now on his career or love/relationship?

(3) is a good person with integrity (preferably well-traveled and a non-smoker).

Everything else is negotiable. We don’t need to have the same hobbies. Sharing one/two interests is nice, but it’s not necessary. And yeah, I think that initial attraction (or sparks or chemistry or whatever you call it) when you go out on the first few dates are also important. How’s the vibe and feel that this guy is giving out when he’s around me? Is he attentive? Is he a caring person in general? Is he a curious person and someone who can hold a conversation well?

Then afterwards, I’ll ask myself these questions: Am I attracted to him? Am I feeling comfortable around him? Am I willing to follow his lead and see how it goes? How long does it take for a man to court a woman and be committed? love confession or declaration or whatever? 3 months, 6 months? Am I willing to wait? I’ll usually think about these in the back of my mind and force myself not to over-analyze his words or actions, as I believe that for the matters of heart, only time will tell. If he’s interested, he’ll show it. No confusion. No drama. If the first guy approaches and has been around for some time, maybe I’ll meet 1-2 other suitors along the way and ended up with another guy or none of them or maybe I’ll never meet anyone. Who knows?

I want a relationship, that doesn’t mean I need it to have a happy life on my own. Any relationship status you hold right now; be it single, attached, married, divorced and whatever; has its own challenges, embrace it and be happy anyway.

Most importantly, I know that I want to have this kind of relationship one day, with respect, love, loyalty, commitment; and put my heart on the sleeve more frequently, instead of hiding behind a huge wall. When I’ve chosen to be in a committed relationship, I’ll do the same as the 3 points above: be curious about my life (and his life too), re-arrange my priority and be a good person. Hopefully, we could also grow better as a person, walk towards a better future together, hand-in-hand.

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In the end, is “what you want” the same as “what you need”?

There’s no exact answer to this. Depends on what it is that you want and in what phase of life you are in right now.

Just remember to always ask yourself this question before indulging on what you want, “Have I covered all my basic needs?”

If the answer is a resounding YES: you’ve got food on your table, roof over your head (rental or mortgage, doesn’t matter), decent clothing, life/health insurance to protect the wealth you’ve accumulated so far and a generally happy positive attitude towards life.

If all of them are there right now, I’d say go ahead!! Plan, prioritize, take actions, GO and PAMPER yourself with what you want: the things that you’ve always wanted to experience, the places that you’ve always wanted to visit, that further education/courses that you’ve always wanted to enroll in.

Even if you can’t always have whatever you want, don’t forget to be grateful with what you already have!

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Cheers,

Sien

Happy early Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year everyone! 

Be healthy, joyful and prosperous in the coming year!喜气洋洋!

Throwback November

Hey there, it’s been a while since I last wrote a post here. Just feeling nostalgic now, particularly this November, hence the title “Throwback November”. Right about this time last year, I still remember vividly, how excited I was, preparing for my departure to do the CELTA at Auckland, New Zealand. It was an exciting, meaningful, freeing month for me. See the full post on how I decided to take the course, here and my experience, here. Fast forward 1 year later, up to TODAY, here are what happened afterwards:

1) Decided to pursue a part-time gig that’s more of my cup of tea, instead of property and other stuff I’ve got going on since 2009. So $$ factor is not the most important consideration anymore. I could trade my time and knowledge with a decent amount of $ (not tonnes of money, just decent) as long as I enjoy doing it.

2) As early as December last year, beside being busy going for my orthodontist appointment and started my braces journey (click here and here for stories and some ugly braces pictures;p), I applied for part-time classroom language teaching jobs.

3) Ended up with a 1-month in-house teacher training with one of the well-established language schools here. I submitted my application in hope that I could get a part-time English and/or Indonesian teaching job. That was in March.

4) One full month training and one class observation later, I got the job. Yay! Knew about it right after my ultimate adventure trip this year, click here for details of the adventure. After the trip, I was focusing more on building up my teaching experience. I just want to teach languages. And the cool thing is, I can attend other language lessons for free, as long as it doesn’t clash with my own teaching schedule.

5) And guess what, (un)fortunately, they’re more in need of an Indonesian teacher than a part-time English teacher.  I’m a native speaker of Indonesian and wasn’t ready to let go of my full time job yet. So twist and turn, somehow, I ended up teaching Bahasa Indonesia in a classroom. They asked me if I would be keen to switch to full time as an English and Indonesian language teacher after some time. That’s an option in the future. I’m seriously considering this. For now, the current arrangement is the best that I can get from both worlds (my full time to pay the bill, part-time as a hobby, for fun and keeping my brain active; beside that I found that playing volleyball regularly also makes me a happier person. Nothing beats a good afternoon sweat and release of endorphin after a great game)

So after 4 classes of module 1 for beginners, 1 private student and currently teaching a class of module 2 beginners, I found myself enjoying it so much. My brain is constantly challenged. I got to know some grammar points of my own native language that I didn’t even know how to explain to my students at first. I guess, because I grew up speaking it, just like the English native speakers I met during CELTA, the sentences come out so naturally that we don’t even think in terms of structure and grammar points. We just use the language. Apparently, it’s always the same problem for natives who teach their own language to other speakers, GRAMMAR problem. Students need those structures when learning a new language at the beginning and then they can practice speaking in a more natural way when the basic knowledge is acquired.

I start to appreciate Bahasa Indonesia even more now. I think it’s time for the language to shine and for us, native speakers, to speak better Bahasa Indonesia and be proud of it. I appreciate how flexible the language is and how the formal and conversational Bahasa Indonesia can be very different. It’s challenging to teach it…but it’s FUN at the same time. I never know that there are quite a number of Westerners (the Bules) and locals here who are interested in learning Bahasa Indonesia. It’s fascinating!!

Now, I’m finding my way to brush up my Mandarin and English to native level (all skills: writing, speaking, reading, listening) so that one day, I could teach them too, be amazed by how much my students have improved over time and hopefully, have my own language center/school one day!!

Okay, enough daydreaming…one project at a time. Slow down, wake up and let’s float back from Wonderland, shall we?

With love,

Sien

–  no urge to share my life lately, mentally occupied by lesson plans, physically occupied by weekly volleyball game and some outings here and there. At least 1 blog post a month will do:) Keep it rolling girl! 

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The whole shelf of Indonesian language textbooks that I found in Kinokuniya. When looking for inspiration, I’ll go there and browse the books. I’ve been recommending these books to management and hopefully they’re in the library soon!

PS: Kayaknya aku harus post pake Bahasa Indonesia deh dalam waktu dekat ini. Bakal ngerasa aneh gak ya, nulis dalam Bahasa Indonesia? Mending formal atau pake bahasa gaul ya? heemmm…ejaannya aja dah gak bener nih!!

My 10220th Day on Earth is Coming

It’s been an AWESOME and EVENTFUL year for me. Right around this time of the year, I’ll usually have an annual self-reflection. I’m looking back on my amazing year so far and planning for a better one ahead. My birthday is coming. 27 going on 28. And I feel that I have accomplished so much this year. It’s now the time to sit back, relax, enjoy the routine, define my goals, plan for the next baby steps and prepare for a-whole-month celebration in September!! ^_^

I’ve been keeping a daily log of my activities and expenses since 2010. So if I ever need to look back on what I did this time last year or figure out what my weekend activities were, I’ll just retrieve the information in my wonderful excel file (I talked about it here).

While referring to the file, let’s reminisce the moments month by month….

Sep 2013

Started my 27th with a short getaway to Bintan with my younger brother and sister. Had a belated birthday dinner and BBQ with close friends.

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Oct 2013

Prepared for CELTA (here’s how I decided to take CELTA) and kicked start my blogging journey again (the 1st post here).

Nov 2013

One of the best moments in my life (summary of my CELTA experience here). After this whole experience, there’s one thing that I needed so badly. That is the extra COURAGE to make a choice, move forward and never look back. I was still in a limbo at this point of time and even until today (9 months later), I’m still testing the waters. Don’t have the courage to let go of my current status quo yet. What should I do?

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Dec 2013

After a month away, I returned home to endless orthodontist appointments, wisdom teeth surgery & extraction to prepare for my braces journey. I talked about it extensively here. Beauty is still in the eyes of the beholder.

Jan 2014

The new year means new hair color, new accessories on my teeth, new journey to get new part-time gig. I was asked to deliver a toast at my close friend’s wedding and was asked to become a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding this coming September.

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Feb 2014

Attended 2 weddings in a week, was slowly getting used to my new ritual of brushing my teeth after every meal and started taking pictures of my teeth every Tuesday just to monitor the progress. I was doing my usual hiking and cycling activities every other weekend in this month.

Mar 2014

Started the 1-month training for part-time and made a huge financial commitment together as a family. Two major financial commitments this year will certainly tie me down until around Dec 2015 and Sept 2016. I wish it could be shorter than that, especially for my braces. Another 1 year to go? Hopefully? I know it’s for the best. Perseverance is the key. Meanwhile, continue to take care of my health and physical fitness while saving up the $ for short getaways and adventure trips.

Apr 2014

Prepared for my ultimate adventure trip to Lombok at the end of April: hiking Mount Rinjani and diving at Gili Islands (full summary of this travel log can be found here). I was climbing the staircase at my workplace everyday for 1 month (equivalent to 10 floors of an HDB flat) in addition to my hiking routes at Macritchie Reservoir during the weekends. It was a last-minute kind of preparation. Luckily, I survived the grueling climb to the mountain top.

May 2014

End of adventure trip, eventually conquered Mount Rinjani and went scuba diving for the first time in my life. Awesome experiences in a short 8D7N trip. After that, my part-time officially started and I only have free me-time for 2 weeknights. Weekends are usually for other activities (how NOT to become a boring person). Monday, Wednesday and Thursday were for my part-time. It’s totally fun and a good way for me to learn new things while doing what I like: languages, analyzing and dissecting the language. Teaching a language really reminds me of how much I love learning foreign languages. It’s challenging my over-active brain.

Jun 2014

My full-time and part-time are on-going. Learning and having fun at the same time. Attended a friend’s beautiful wedding in Bandung (a short getaway with my girlfriends), back to volleyball and cycling after a 2-month hiatus.

Jul 2014

The 6th month of my braces journey (21 July), parents visit for my sister’s convocation and another visit from a distant friend. Reached new milestones and had so much fun. I started following the Beginner’s workout calendar in Blogilates and eating more regular healthy home-cooked meals (especially breakfast & dinner).  For the past 3 months, I was so busy living my life that I hardly had the time to sit down and write a blog post. Is that good or bad? Whenever my mind goes for an overdrive, I can’t resist the urge to write anyway (like what I’m doing now)…so I guess it’s fine to have writer’s block once in a while.

July was also an eventful month for my home country, Indonesia. Presidential election month and we’ve voted for the first non-related-to-Soeharto-and-his-gang President-elect, Mr Jokowi. My fb wall feed was filled with the election news and hot debates on politics. Five years ago, I didn’t care. This year, I’ve exercised my right to vote and hoping for a better Indonesia in the next five years. I’m doing my small part for the country now, serving as a part-time Bahasa Indonesia teacher to all the foreigners who want to learn. Getting the hang of it and having fun in the classroom. I’ll slowly move on to teaching English in a classroom one day (still thinking of a way to improve my skill and put it to practice).

Aug 2014

Off to Penang for another short getaway (probably the last one for this year. But I might have a short family getaway at the end of this year! Brother is coming to TOWN!! Yaaaay^__^) and also here I am, offloading my mind from this ridiculous amount of ideas and thoughts to this blog post. I’ve got this sudden burst of ideas this morning and just decided to write them all as my self-reflection post. How lovely it feels looking back on what I’ve done this year. Just needed an assurance from myself that I’ve done my best in life so far.

 

Ironically, on my 10220th day on earth, I’ve got no plan yet. It’s probably going to be just another weekday. Fortunately, I’ve got plans for the rest of the year up my sleeve and they’re currently brewing excitedly inside my restless mind.

In summary, LIFE IS TOO SHORT to be spent on worries and regrets and forever going with the flow with no specific purpose in life. I believe in finding my purpose, making plans, executing them and THEN I’ll go with the flow after I’ve done my part. We should always strive to be a better person and choose what’s best for ourselves and our loved ones. For me, I want to live healthily and happily doing whatever I want in life with integrity.

Birthday wishes (H-20):

1) Stay healthy and fit (applicable to myself, my family members and my close friends).

2) Be happier with where I am in life: career, finance and personal development. Never stop learning and trying new stuff.

3) When I’m happy and ready to open my heart, I wish that I could be blessed with a best-friend and lover who will accept me for who I am and is willing to let me into his life. Sharing dreams, goals and a bright future together. As of now, I’m happy being single.  Do refer to my previous thoughts on love and marriage.

After a long-winded flashback, let’s go back to living the real life!

Ciao!! ^___^

Bisous,

Sien

Connecting the Dots – Why You Are Exactly Where You’re Supposed To Be

Do you believe in fate and destiny?

Have you ever had any regrets?

Decisions that you wish you could undo?

Words that you wish you could take back?

Life is made up of the little decisions we took and influenced by those people we met along the way. They are all leading up to the path we’re in right NOW. It is OUR own responsibility to make the most of our life. We decide what’s the best for ourselves and for people we care the most. So when a friend asked me if I had any regrets in my life, I struggled for a while. I can’t think of anything!

A few years ago, when I was still in my crazy unrealistic planning-for-my-next-10-years mode, I used to think of a lot of plan B and what-if scenarios in my head. Lots of pessimism and uncertainties. Nowadays, I don’t like to think about regrets and ‘what if’ scenarios anymore, I’ll just do it. Whenever I feel nostalgic and start reminiscing the past events, I tend to think of my life as connecting those random dots and finding the reason why one thing has led to another in a totally random sequence of events. Most of the time, I could always find the connection and start seeing them in different light. Life will always remain filled with uncertainties. Now, I’d rather choose to see the bright side of every bad ugly things I experienced. Hence, no regrets.

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There are many examples of connected dots in my life. I’ll share some of them in chronological order.

Remember to keep your hope up, dream big, learn, grow and charge forward with no regrets. Your fate is in your own hands.

In 1996,  I had a car accident. 18 year later, what’s left is my vague memory of that incident and a hardly-recognizable scar on my forehead (because I always cover it with my fringe). I still don’t know the purpose of that incident other than wasting a considerable amount of $ for laser treatments and having a split eyebrow (that can easily be fixed with some eyebrow embroidery). But then again, hey, I’m still alive, right? After that incident, I learn to be more relaxed and whenever a long-distance traveling by car or bus is inevitable, I won’t rush the driver to drive faster to get to my destination. I’ll always be alert throughout the journey. Maybe that’s why I could never sleep in moving land vehicles when I travel. I can have a quick nap in a ship or plane, but not in a car or tour bus.

In 2004, I almost lost hope of ever be admitted to my alma mater for my undergraduate study. After the entrance test, I was so convinced that I couldn’t get in, so I started looking for another university. I was considering a major in tourism and hospitality in one of the private universities back in Indonesia. It’s an expensive school and I don’t think they offer any scholarship or study loan. I was interested in languages (and I still am, until today) and I thought hospitality industry could help me make full use of my language ability. It turned out that there’s another plan in store for me. I was given the opportunity to attend an interview for admission, on the merit of my outstanding results at school. While my other bright friends were interviewing for scholarship, there I was, sitting nervously in my first important interview that will determine the course of my life for the next 4 years and in fact, for the next 10 years. I’ve been studying and making a living here ever since. Who knows what would happen if I wasn’t enrolled for that Engineering degree? I might become a hotelier or tour guide? I might be married with 2 kids by now? I might be…..yadda yadda yadda…  That wasn’t my path before and I’m not sure if I still want to go down that path now. I’m right here, RIGHT WHERE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE. Anyway, I still have a dream to open my own language center some day. So for now, I’m keeping the dream at the back of my mind while I’m doing my best threading my own unique path. I’m not in a rush. I’ll enjoy the journey towards my destination.

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In 2008, I had to be in the wrong job for two months before I could fully appreciate my current job. Time flies and it’s been 5 years and 5 months since I started working in company X. I wrote about my first 30 days here. I’ve learned a lot more since then. More about myself, my priorities, my personalities and preferences, my interests. All of them led me to this post here, “Do what you love….and then what?”. Making a living is important, but actually living your life is even more important. We just need to find the balance.

In 2013, I had to finally take a small leap of faith and just do what I’ve always wanted to do. I went solo to study in a foreign country for a month and was living one of the best moments in my life. I could’ve chosen to do it in December 2013, but I went for November course instead. If I hadn’t changed my mind, I wouldn’t have met all my wonderful classmates. We’re all living our separate lives now, but I believe that the memories I had will last forever.

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No matter how small the dots are, they are always connected. One more case, just this morning, I had to choose which slippers I should wear. At first, I was going for my brown slipper that I bought in Sydney. But then I changed my mind at the last second and chose the blue slippers that I bought in Bali instead. On the way to my Sunday duty at office, I missed a step and it just snapped. I had to carry it all the way up, half barefooted. If I’m a pessimistic person, I’d say: “Dammit, I regretted my choice. I should’ve just chosen the brown one.” But if I want to look at the bright side and connect the dots, I’d say that, “It’s OKAY, the slipper is quite old anyway and I just bought 3 pairs of new sandals last week in Batam.” So all is well. I managed to glue the slipper together for emergency but as soon as I reach home later, I’ll just throw it away.

As for my love life, I haven’t found the way to connect the dots yet. I wish I could. Anyway, life must go on and it’s up to me, whether I choose to live it to the fullest or regret all those distant events and wrong people in the past.

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Based on the above assessments, I have to conclude that so far, all my random dots have been connected. I’m grateful for all the good and bad things that have ever happened to me.

How about you?

Are you connecting the dots?

Are you currently living a life with no regrets?

Cheers,

Sien

A Reason, A Season, or A Lifetime

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant”.

— Unknown

My Personality Type: The Independent Thinker

My Personality Type: The Independent Thinker.

Just took this test for FUN!

It’s kinda accurate.

Independent Thinkers are analytical and witty persons. They are normally self-confident and do not let themselves get worked up by conflicts and criticism. They are very much aware of their own strengths and have no doubts about their abilities.

People of this personality type are often very successful in their career as they have both competence and purposefulness. Independent Thinkers are excellent strategists; logic, systematics and theoretical considerations are their world. They are eager for knowledge and always endeavor to expand and perfect their knowledge in any area which is interesting for them. Abstract thinking comes naturally to them; scientists and computer specialists are often of this type.

Independent Thinkers are specialists in their area. The development of their ideas and visions is important to them; they love being as flexible as possible and, ideally, of being able to work alone because they often find it a strain having to make their complex trains of thought understandable to other people. Independent Thinkers cannot stand routine. Once they consider an idea to be good it is difficult to make them give it up; they pursue the implementation of that idea obstinately and persistently, also in the face of external opposition.

» Get career advice for your type

Independent Thinkers are not the type who easily comes out of his shell. Speaking about their emotional life is also not one of their strong points. Anyway, social relationships are not particularly important to them; they are happy with just a few, close friends who find it easy to share their intellectual world. They find it difficult to establish new ties. In love, they need a lot of space and independence but this does not mean that their partner is not important to them. Independent Thinkers often make a cool and reserved impression on others; but this impression is deceptive: they can hardly bear it if people close to them should reject them. They prefer a harmonious, balanced relationship with a partner who shares their interests and with whom they can realize their visions.

Adjectives that describe your type
introverted, theoretical, logical, planning, rational, independent, intellectual, self-confident, analytical, structured, dogged, witty, resolute, self-critical, visionary, inventive, independent, unsociable, reserved, nonconformist, quiet, visionary, honest, demanding, hardworking

CAREER ADVICE

Like all Thinker types you tend to lean towards perfectionism and in the work place you are always striving for as much knowledge and expertise as possible. You are rarely or never satisfied with your accomplishments and that applies to yours as well as the achievements of others. Sometimes that makes it pretty difficult for your colleagues and subordinates to please you. Once you have privately tagged somebody with the label of incompetent, they will not have an easy time in your working environment. However, for those who manage to gain your respect with ability and intellect, you are an equally quick-witted as well as sagacious colleague who is ready to solve even the most difficult problems without apparent effort.

Hardly any other type is as interested in wielding power. However, the Thinker is less interested in wielding power over other people but rather considers controlling nature and his environment to be much more interesting. This is the main motivation for your continuous hunger – almost an obsession – for more information. Improving your capabilities and expanding the store of your knowledge and experience is your life’s main objective.

You are as hard on yourself and your own achievements as on others, and you put great pressure on yourself in your work environment. Sometimes you agonize over self-doubt thinking that you may not accomplish anything after all. Occasionally you stand in your own way obstructing your superior capabilities instead of being able to utilize them. In case it actually happens that you make a mistake, you mercilessly exercise self-criticism and double your efforts for perfection. Your coolness may occasionally appear to be arrogance, and that often deceives people around you about what really moves you.