White Ramadhan

You know, there is always be something first for every time in your life. Ramadhan this year is my first experience far away from home. What makes it more special is the Ramadhan in down under is during winter. The benefits having Ramadhan during winter is the day is short, so I already have iftar at 5pm 😀

So, white Ramadhan is not too much since I also went to Snowy Mountain last weekend.

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(also) my first snow experience

Since Australian National Imams Council already announced that we will have Eid Al-Fitr on 25th of June, this year Eid-Al Fitr officially the same day as my birthday. I’m going to be 27th years old this Sunday. How does it feel to celebrate your special day among millions of people all over the world? I don’t know. During prayer, I was thinking about the meaning of Eid Al-Fitr.

Lebaran, in my familiar words, is a pretty special day for all muslims. Its not about the food (although I’m very excited to cook rendang for my friends), its not about you already accomplished full month of Ramadhan, its not about the festive and gather with people you love. I kinda feel more reflective this year. Especially with what happened lately around the world. Anger, hate, and ‘war’ that happened in all over the world. But maybe people forget that we, human, are only a little tiny creature compare to the vast universe. Only little tiny dot that exist in this world.

Yeah, maybe, it’s all about how you spend your time doing what matters to you. Especially to people that matters to you. Maya Angelou had said that our legacy is the every soul and life we have touched with kindness and love. In the world full of pain, be someone that offers kindness might help others to look world in different way.

This year, in my reflective moment, I want to embrace my weakness as human, to have a big ego that makes me forget about what really matters. Which I hope, in the future years, I could reduce my ego and prioritise others needs. Whatever happened to me is happen because of the will of God. Without Him, I might not be in the place where I am today. Thank you for the gently reminder. Indeed, He has spoken to you in many ways.

QS 20: 6
To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil

First Semester: Done!

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So many people asked me, “Gimana rasanya sekolah di Crawford?

Its not the question that tricky, but how to answer the question is. As I believe, people already has assumption and expectation of my answer. Which I don’t know if my experience here fulfil their expectation. And usually I answered it with cliche answer:

“I survived”

But also grateful, surrounded with passionate people, easy access academic resources, and non-stop discussions.

True, it’s hard living here. It never easy in the first place. You have to live far away from home (not far in my case actually). As someone who never live alone (always receive big support from family), the struggle is real. What it means to be independent and living on your own feet. I learnt how to take care of myself, cook for myself, clean up the room and everything. How you manage time between study and everything. Not to mention sometimes you missed your home, your friends, your families and every familiar things back home. Its getting harder especially after you faced difficulties (exams, a lot of deadlines, bad scores, etc).

But… you found your new home here. Your new familiar things. Friends, libraries, buses, foods, etc. It reminds me with a friend of mine who always told me that “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger“. And Canberra is a beautiful place to live in. Rather than complaining, I tried to enjoy the solitude. Yes, it’s quite and less people. By less is, only 388,000 people live here! While in Jakarta, it’s 9,6 million people live there! Crazy. No traffic, almost less pollution (according to WHO, its one of cleanest capital city in the world). Back in my dorm room, I can see the Black Mountain. Only 3k from my dorm, there is a place called Black Mountain Peninsula, which is my favourite run track, that you can enjoy the lake, black swan and beautiful sunset. In front of the National Library, you can practically enjoy the Lake Burley Griffin in the afternoon. It really is a perfect place to live (for those who love tranquil life).Not to mention, the coffee is here is one of the best!

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I called it as “Canberra Syndrome“. When you feel its better to live here compare to Sydney or Melbourne haha.

Speaking about Crawford, I have to be honest, I actually I was afraid of my decision to continue my study here. By hear it name, everybody knows its one of the best school for you who want to study Public Policy. But its perfectly fit with what I’m looking for. And also, my friend always told me that “pisau yang tajam adalah pisau yang diasah di bara panas“, he encourages me to go for the hardest situation. To challenge myself. To see how far I’ll go and how good I’ll become in the future. So, yes, Crawford it is.

It never be easy, but I will try my best to conquer it.

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So how was in Crawford?

If you take two years programs, in the first year you will have 8 compulsory courses to strengthen your basic knowledge. The classes combine with seminar class & tutoring class. In a seminar class, the lecturer will lead the class. And in tutoring class, you will have a deeper discussion with the tutor (a PhD student). Which I found its more interesting to have sharing knowledge and experience with other students in tutoring class. The assignments mostly are essays and papers. But I also have two podcast assignments this semester (kind of a vlog of yourself gives a presentation in specific topic within 3 – 5 minutes). And during you do your assignments, we can discuss it with the lecturer, tutor and academic advisor. Its not just about you can finish your essay on-time. Its all about how well you present your ideas and how well you know the knowledge that you’ve gained during classes. As Indonesian, it’s difficult to write an essay that straight to the point (we are too descriptive sometimes and its unnecessary). We also have different way of thinking and approach to answer the question. I have to agree that maybe this time is the time where I read more books and journals compare to my previous education back home. Lack of sleep is a common thing here. Maybe you only sleep for 3 hour maximum during deadline weeks. Eventhough you already prepare your essay for a month!

But it’s fun. All those struggles, sweat, tears, laugh, smile and sweet moments, its exactly what I’ve wanted. Surely, I’m gonna miss this city and all moments here so much.

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But most of all, pursue higher education is just not about study but experience. I will talk more about it on my next post.

Have a good winter people in down under.

Ujian Pertemanan

I can’t help myself to not be ‘baper’ in the time like this. After pak Ahok got sentenced, the world seems darker than before. For some people, it’s like the dead of hope. For other people, they’re cheering because what they want is finally back to their hand. That’s how bad and ugly politic is.

But what made me more sad is in the situation like this, I have to agree that the strategy of ‘Divide et impera’ of the Dutch is really working. Even after 70s years Indonesian got independence.

Melihat orang terpecah antara kubu A, B, C, D etc dan saling memperebutkan ‘kebenaran’ membuat gue muak. Until, myself cross path with him. A very dear friend of mine who I just realised we stand on different groups. Berbeda pendapat adalah hal yang lumrah. Namun yang menyebalkan adalah ketika saling mempertentangkan kebenaran itu dan memaksakan kebenaran yang ia percaya. In the end, what hurts me most is… after he said to me to understand the both sides, then he just said “I don’t care with your opinion and political’s view”.

Salah seorang sahabat berkata, situasi ini adalah ujian pertemanan. Sampai di titik mana kamu menghargai level pertemanan kamu dengan mereka yang berbeda pendapat? Konyol kalau gara-gara ini pertemanan harus runyam. Konyol karena menurut saya ada hal yang jauh lebih penting untuk dijaga dibanding mendebatkan siapa yang benar atau salah. Misal: kestabilan politik Indonesia? pembangunan Indonesia yang sudah mencapai progres sejauh ini?
Honestly, situasi yang memanas belakangan ini baru seujung kuku. Semua ini hanya lah pemanasan sebelum pertarungan politik yang sesungguhnya di 2019.

When I said to you to spread the love because it hurts me to see that you spread the hate. But you argue to me it’s for “spread the truth”. What is the truth anyway? The truth that you believe is different from mine 😦
And the truth is I was not brave enough to said to you. But because I care to you and our ‘friendship’, I gave my argument to your opinion. It’s not about who’s right or wrong. It’s not about winning or losing in this debate. It’s about how I value our friendship, so I have to tell you in which group I’m in. And to be honest, I was curious with you reaction. I was wondering, how you will value our friendship? But perhaps, I just hope too much on you. You, who always said that you care to me. But, I think ‘care’ is not enough. And how the differences between us just made us separate more than before.

But, A, do you recognise that the world is getting darker right now? In this situation, what we have to do is winning our friendship instead of argue our differences. Just like what Dumbledore said:

“in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.

I hope you do understand.

With love,

T