why I do not regret going back to Jakarta

A while after I returned from Australia back in 2012, a lot of friends asked me the same question: ‘why did you return to Jakarta?’, to which I replied the same: ‘because I couldn’t find a job in Australia’.

Above all things, there are some reasons to why I do not regret going back to Jakarta:

  1. I love Indonesia. No matter how messy and sucks the country is, I was born and grew up in this country. My family is here. So I have no reason of settling down in another place. Back then, even with the fact that I really wanted to work in Australia, I have always wanted to go back to Indonesia by the age of 30s. I can’t bear the thought of leaving my parents going through their old days only by themselves.
  2. This country gives me more opportunities than other country could. I’m not comparing Indonesia to (no offense) lower level countries – it’s just natural that I would prefer working at more developed countries instead. However, after some conversations with friends, I came to the decision that my opportunities are bigger in Indonesia than in any other countries. I can freely apply for the jobs that I want without working permit restrictions and consequently resign from the jobs I don’t like without having to think about the penalties (that I would be imposed to if I were working abroad).
  3. At the same time, it also gives me more challenges. The best thing about this country is the people’s openness to others from different background. The different background is the most challenging thing of working in Indonesia: you’ll have to be able to understand the way they think and speak since it tends to be different in every region.

on ‘who I am’

I have been so much unconfident for the past 2 years – I feel like I’m stuck with my career that every time someone asks me about my job, I would be flustered and speechless. This is proof that I’ve let my job define who I am, which is not supposed to happen.

When I was younger, I would be so proud telling everyone who I was – I focused more on the personal traits rather than what my class ranking was or what I had created for school expos.

Now that I meet more people from professional relations than those of personal, our conversations will automatically be focused on careers and jobs. Where you work and what you do matter. Hence, when you’re not satisfied with them, you will feel embarrassed.

Some time ago (can’t exactly remember when), I joined a short course themed ‘personal leadership’, where we were told to lead ourselves before we lead others. The most important thing in leading ourselves is to know ourselves – that is, to be able to define ‘who I am’ as a person instead of as whatever role you have in your job.


After the course, I have just realized that who I am matters. Not everyone you meet cares about what you do for a living and how much you earn, but s/he cares a lot about what you do and how you make them feel. So, the next time I need to introduce myself, I will confidently reply:

I’m Inez, a unique woman who would normally feel insecure at times but always try to see the positive sides of things. … (Other things are not going to be shared here.)

what I wish I knew when I was 20

True, I lived alone in a lodging when I was 20 years old. I was in my 3rd year of undergrad and felt like I knew a lot of things. Truth is, I knew nothing back then. Now I wish I knew these things:

  1. A relationship can either be toxic or healthy. Yes, I was never in a relationship when I was 20. And I’ve been in 3 in the past 10 years. And yes, I have been in both the toxic and healthy ones. To put it simply, healthy relationship will make you a better individual, while the healthy one the opposite.
  2. Your career is determined by your first job. Well, how could I have known it? I was just a 3rd year student, still more than one year away from having to think about working. I didn’t even think much about graduating. LOL. Thank God I have my mom who guided me well during the job offer selection. (Otherwise I might have been trapped into working a job I will regret later.)
  3. Your family will be the part of your life that you appreciate most. Everything in your life starts with your family. Now that there are many sad stories about broken home families I heard, I’m feeling even more grateful for the family I was born into. It is true that you cannot choose which family you’re born into, but in most cases, they are the persons who will love you unconditionally.
  4. Who your family is or where you went to school doesn’t matter in life – who you are does. During school years, most students are dependent to their parents. That’s why most children will feel that family and school are important. The opposite will happen after you’re becoming an adult – who you are matters.
  5. Getting a job that pays you decently is hard, but managing to collect money is even harder. I was a fresh graduate when I worked for my first job, with lower salary than most of my male college friends. I’d then continued to Master’s, where after graduating, my first job also paid me lower than most of my male friends. According to research, women tend to get lower pay due to lower self esteem and easier to be negotiated. This is because women have the duty of taking care of their families more than guys do, making them less productive and work less hours. I think I should just live with the fact and stop living a fancy lifestyle, no? ‘No’ would be my answer then, still tempted to eat at fancy restaurants, have coffee at fancy cafes and go on holidays now and then. 😀 Those, for me, are money well spent – an even better investment than bank deposits.
  6. Your friends are not gonna be with you forever – they get lost with time. Research proved that friendships that last more than 7 years are going to last forever. From my experience, only a few high school and college friends are still in contact with me. And even fewer that I still regularly meet. Sometimes I think my parents are right – no friendship lasts forever.

on balancing myself (with gym)

In contrary to what I had always said to people around me, I finally decided to start gym membership back in October last year, with the hope of getting bored after 6 months and signed myself off then. The thought of applying for gym came after: I got easily tired during my Komodo trip (the trip really demanded for physical fitness) and I hung out with Tata very much (she had started being this athletic since her last ex-boyfriend at that time).

30 day home workout plan 2

30 day home workout plan for those who don’t have time for gym

It wasn’t my first time signing up for gym – I was a gym member back in 2010, where the gym was located on the upper level of my office back then, but signed myself off after only 6 months of joining due to the irregularity of me working out (I worked as an engineer who had to visit customers now and then) – so I was a bit pessimistic that I would actually pass my first 6 months. A lot of friends would all be very sporty that they could exercise 4-5 times a week during their first month and stop exercising after a couple of months of subscription. Looking at the pattern, I decided not to be too sporty, keeping working out at my own pace and not forcing myself to the gym if I don’t feel like it. Here I am now, still a proud member of the gym who only exercises 2x a week (with additional 1x session on the weekend per month): 1x self exercising + 1x joining class (my favorite is body balance).

What Tata told me before we subscribed is proved, even though I was initially more stable physically and mentally than her: my mood swing is getting better, I’m less prone to sickness and tiredness, and less emotional than ever (well, I can’t figure out if the last point is because of me exercising regularly or simply getting older).

I came to the conclusion that maybe everyone really needs to find things to balance himself. Sitting on your desk at office, staring at your computer all day, arguing with colleagues, and driving furiously facing the worst traffic jam can really consume you off. Other than the normal movie/music/alcohol/nightclub-hitting, you can start getting healthy by working out. 🙂

Komodo Trip

The talk about going for another holiday has long been around my close friends and me. However, with the marriage of a friend and the marriage plan of another, not to mention earlier long overseas trip 3 of us had, the idea seems so far away from realization (time and money were really the issue). It was pretty shocking (and again impulsive) that we decided to go for this Komodo trip. Again, it started only with the 3 of us, then the group expanded to 8 people, enabling us to open a private trip. The holiday EO this time is Rani, and we went with Salamransel crew for a 4D3N Sailing Komodo Trip (visit their website here).

Our first day started on Saturday at 3 AM (I can’t recall the last time I woke up this early for a first flight, on a Saturday), when we met up at the airport to catch our flight. We flew Jakarta-Denpasar with Lion Air and Denpasar-Labuan Bajo with Wings Air. Thank God the flights were not delayed so we arrived in Labuan Bajo on time at 9.30 AM. We were picked up at the airport and headed straight to Kampung Ujung Port to start our Sailing Komodo trip.

Our first destination was Pulau Kanawa. We went trekking the small hill and snorkeling there. OK, we weren’t too much impressed by the island but it was a good start. Then, off we go to Sebayur for another snorkeling session. I like the underwater view better here, since the fish was more colorful and various here. Tired of snorkeling, we headed to Gili Lawa Island, where our ship was anchored for the night.


Day 1: Kanawa

Our second day started quite early, we woke up at 4 AM in order to trek up the mountain (I cannot say that it’s a hill – it took us 40 mins to get to the top) and catch the sunrise view in Gili Lawa. I started the trek with a lot of complaints, especially since I got really tired of climbing and it was really dark when we started, but what I saw when I reached the top made me forget all those complaints – the view was really breathtakingly beautiful. After a lot of pictures, we went back to our boat and headed to Manta Point, where I didn’t dare to swim (the flow was quite hard and it was a deep, free sea, so it’s a no). We waited there for 30ish minutes until we finally saw 2 mantas swimming around. Quite satisfied with what we saw, we headed to Taka Makassar. At first, we questioned what the place was, and apparently it’s a small vacant island consisting only of a few trees and sand (the sand is half white-half pink), just like Pulau Gusung in Derawan and Karimunjawa. When the sand is covering a wide area with pretty, clear water, take pictures. A lot of them. So that’s what we did.


Day 2: Pink Beach – doesn’t look too pink in pictures

Tired of taking pictures (well, it’s a lie. We don’t get tired of taking pictures. Never did), we headed to Pink Beach for (tired sigh here) another trekking and snorkeling. (I like snorkeling but I don’t really like trekking, especially with the extreme heat in Komodo.) You cannot really see the pink sand from the picture, but if you’re there, then you’ll be able to see that the sand is really pretty pink. So sad with the fact that Pink Beach was our last snorkeling (the underwater experience was very beautiful, by the way), we headed to Pulau Komodo afterwards. I guess it’s a must visit place for tourists, since it’s where the Taman Nasional Komodo (Komodo National Park) is located. Going there, you have to be accompanied by 2 rangers per group, 1 in front and another 1 in the back, since komodo (komodo dragon is the more popular English name) is a carnivore predator that can attack people unexpectedly. Luckily during our visit, we got to meet one by the beach (seems like it needs some dose of the sun also! LOL) and took pictures with it. Our last destination for the night was Pulau Kalong, where we were supposed to see a group of bats flying above our ship during sunset. Unfortunately, the bats didn’t come out that night, probably because there were too many ships anchored there.


Day 2: komodo by the beach in Pulau Komodo

So we’d been warned: trekking on our third day would have been really tiring. It was proven. We started our first day at 5 AM (well, the ship crews started it that early, we only woke up at 7 AM when we’d arrived at our destination) to head to Pulau Padar. It was the highest track we climbed; the track was really slippery with sand and very few rocks to hold on to. We trekked for 45 minutes, but then what we saw was really pretty – we saw 3 gulfs surrounding the island, all 3 with different colors: black, pink and white. It was really pretty that we even recorded a music video there (for private use only LOL). Next, we went to Pulau Rinca, another island with big population of komodo. We also trekked the hill there, but it was not so sloppy so I survived. The komodos were smaller than the ones we saw in Pulau Komodo, so they are said to move faster. Our (certainly) last destination was Pulau Kelor, for another trekking. Due to my shoes condition (the soles didn’t survive Pulau Padar they fell off) and the tour guide’s story that the track there is the hardest one, I decided not to climb the hill. It was not so high, but my friends told me that the slope is 45 degrees and the rocks are located far apart from each other that they had to duck on their way down. After Pulau Kelor, we went back to Labuan Bajo to (finally, yeay!!) stay in the hotel there.


Highlight of the trip (top-bottom): sunset (day 1) and sunrise (day 2) at Gili Lawa, and 3 gulfs at Pulau Padar (day 3)

We spent our last day in Labuan Bajo getting to know around our hotel, trying to find souvenirs (failed) and eating good seafood before we went back to Jakarta. The most interesting thing we tried was Jungle Juice (thanks to Reni for introducing the drink to us) in Treetop Restaurant, a combination of aren (traditional alcoholic drink), Kratingdaeng (red bull), and soda. After a good lunch, we thanked our tour guide and were taken to the airport. The flight home was delayed for 1.5 hours, by the way, which we spent playing cards to kill time (because there’s no reception there for carriers other than Telkomsel). We flew with NAM Airline for Labuan Bajo-Denpasar and Sriwijaya Air for Denpasar-Jakarta.


The peaceful sea view from inside the ship

Arriving home safely, I just realized that I got sun-burnt really badly (my sister would stare at me from head to toe when I arrived, then said: how come you are so tanned), but I am happy. The trip was worth all the sunburn (and I didn’t shower for 3 days during my time at the ship); Komodo is a very beautiful place that I would recommend everyone to visit. However, if you got time, you might want to exercise a bit before going there – one thing I regretted was I didn’t exercise enough that I wasn’t physically fit when I was there. Please, please, please do not let it get dirty. Tourists, please be responsible with nature. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.



[in Bahasa Indonesia] Jangan Masuk ITB

Sudah lama sejak saya post sesuatu di blog ini dalam Bahasa Indonesia, dan jujur saja pemilihan kata saya akan terasa sedikit kaku jadinya, karena sudah tidak biasa menulis dalam bahasa Indonesia (sombong :P).

Saya masih inget banget betapa excited-nya ortu dan keluarga dekat lainnya pas kelas 3 SMA saya memutuskan untuk daftar SPMB (istilah ini berubah-ubah terus dari waktu ke waktu, skarang namanya SNMPTN kalo belum berubah lagi) buat masuk ITB. Saat itu, karna belum ada pendahulu yang bener-bener deket masuk sana, saya juga ikutan excited, dengan bayangan-bayangan indah hasil ‘diracunin’ om saya yang juga lulusan sana (angkatan jebot tapinya). Baru daftar aja udah pada excited, apalagi pas hari pengumuman SPMB dan ternyata saya diterima, girang dan bangganya ortu melebihi saya sendiri.

Masih inget banget hari pertama dateng ke kampus dalam rangka OSKM (Orientasi Siswa Keluarga Mahasiswa), di gerbang kampus ada spanduk dengan tulisan gede-gede: SELAMAT DATANG PUTRA-PUTRI TERBAIK BANGSA. Wow. Baru hari pertama aja udah dibikin gede kepala dengan tulisan begitu. Lalu ada lagi lambang ITB yang kayak begini (harusnya udah familiar ya..):

Kalo kata temen saya: ini menggambarkan kehidupan anak ITB. Titik di atas huruf i dibuat lingkaran gede, melambangkan mahasiswa baru di ITB besar kepala semua karna berhasil masuk kampus yang konon katanya seleksinya susah (well, terbukti juga dengan nyebut kami ini ‘putra-putri terbaik bangsa’, padahal ga semuanya jadi yang terbaik kan). Setelah di dalem, terjadilah si huruf t yang kurus kering. Karna kuliahnya susah dan susah lulus juga, mahasiswa jadi krisis pede dan kurus kering karna stress. Begitu ‘lolos’ (ini becandaan wajar anak ITB), beberapa tahun kemudian kami jadi b, alias bapak-bapak (karna 75%-nya mahasiswa) berperut buncit yang pada jadi bos.

Sepanjang 4 tahun atau lebih, sejak masuk kuliah sampe akhirnya lulus (yang, by the way, bener-bener susah – perkataan orang bahwa di ITB itu “susah masuk susah lulus” itu bukan isapan jempol belaka), dosen-dosen dengan semangat selalu bilang ke mahasiswa bahwa “kalian ini anak-anak terpilih yang berhasil masuk ITB, kalian sudah jadi anak-anak terbaik di Indonesia”. Tujuannya ya biar kami pede, meski sebenernya di dalem kami “berdarah-darah” karena kuliahnya susah dapet nilai bagus, berakibat IP rendah, dan ujung-ujungnya jadi ga pede sama diri sendiri, apalagi pas ketemu sama temen-temen dari universitas lain.

Setelah lulus S1, biasanya kami pun terbagi jadi 3 golongan: golongan idealis-seriusis yang dengan semangat langsung daftar-daftar S2, golongan sok idealis-sok serius (seperti saya) yang langsung daftar S2 tapi dengan kesadaran tinggi bahwa IPK jelek sehingga dengan rendah hati diri cari-cari kerja juga, dan golongan realis-pesimisis yang udah ga kepikir lagi buat lanjut S2 dan langsung mo cari duit aja. Entah kebetulan entah tidak, saya perhatikan, antara teman-teman yang lulusan ITB juga dengan lulusan universitas lain (tidak terbatas pada universitas swasta saja), kami-kami dari ITB sulit sekali dapat kerja. Entah kebetulan entah tidak juga, karena jurusan saya lumayan langka perempuan (perbandingan mahasiswa:mahasiswi per angkatan = 11:1) dan kalau kerja di bidang itu pun sulit untuk perempuan, kesulitan ini lebih tinggi untuk yang perempuan. Beberapa teman perempuan yang tadinya mau jadi golongan 3 terpaksa jadi golongan 1 atau 2, dan sukses dapet beasiswa ke luar negeri (dan sukses juga kerja di negara sana, yang lebih terbuka nerima perempuan untuk kerja di bidang ini).


Untuk adik-adik yang masih atau baru lulus SMA dan punya mimpi masuk ITB, saya sarankan:

  • Siap belajar mandiri semasa kuliah. Mandiri ga berarti belajar sendiri-sendiri, karena kadang materi kuliahnya padat, jadi akhirnya kita belajar bareng. Mandiri ini dalam artian, dosen itu ga selalu “nyuapin” mahasiswanya, kita harus kreatif nyari bahan belajar sendiri. Kenalan sama senior juga berguna, tuh, untuk dapet bocoran mengenai karakter dosen-dosen. Karena joke ini bener-bener terjadi.


  • Tau mau kerja dimana setelah lulus S1. Saya bahkan bilang ke adik saya sebelum dia ikut SNMPTN beberapa tahun lalu, kalau mau kerjanya di perusahaan swasta, sebaiknya kuliah di universitas lain saja, karena bisa dapet jurusan yang lebih bagus dengan nilai yang bisa lebih bagus juga. Kecuali memang punya cita-cita kerja di BUMN.
  • Atau memang sudah punya cita-cita untuk lanjut kuliah S2. Ada 1-2 orang dosen yang semasa kuliah selalu bilang bahwa kalo S2 itu HARUS ke luar negeri, karena di sana kita belajar lebih banyak daripada kalau kita cuma di dalam negeri. Setelah merasakan sendiri S2 di luar negeri, saya harus setuju dengan mereka. Saya sangat bersyukur kuliah S1 di ITB, karena pas akhirnya kuliah di luar, saya sudah terbiasa baca textbook bahasa Inggris dan belajar mandiri, sehingga ga kesulitan mengejar materi kuliah.

Akhir kata, saya mau bilang: jangan masuk ITB kalau kalian tipe yang mudah nyerah dan bukan tipe high achiever. Memang susah masuk dan susah lulus, tapi saat akhirnya berhasil masuk dan berhasil lulus, berapa tahun pun kuliahnya, bangganya luar biasa. Ortu pun pasti bangga sekali punya anak yang bisa kuliah di sana. 😀

another Transjakarta experience

For those who know me in real life, you would have known that I prefer traveling on public transport on weekdays, regardless how bad the service is. The reasons are including, but not limited to: I don’t want to add even more traffic to the existing horrible one we have in Jakarta now, it’s too tiring to drive after I’ve finished working in the evening, and it would discourage me from going out on the weekend (which might cause me more harm, remembering the fact that I don’t like staying at home all day during the weekend). Every weekday morning and evening, I would ride on Transjakarta bus (the so-called Jakarta area government giant public transport project) to and from office.

A lot of stories happen everyday, and after last year’s “speak up” experience, yesterday I had another experience. I call it the bus driver’s experience. LOL.

Just like I normally do, yesterday evening I rode on a bus. What’s unusual was that the bus driver joked a lot with his colleagues along the way. At around 6 PM, it was Maghrib time. So he played the ‘adzan’ out loud on the bus speaker. As a non-Muslim I thought: OK, he’s a good guy. Then things turned out unexpectedly. After the ‘adzan’ ended, he drove more recklessly – he horned practically every other drivers around the street and sped up the huge bus along the way; he even scolded some of them using the speaker. Well.. as you might have guessed, my good thought vanished all over and I’d expected so much that I’d get off soon.

I didn’t take note of the bus number, but I wish that he drives more carefully next time.