A Voice from Jakarta*


Hello!

It’s Annisa, the 56th IATSS Forum participant from Indonesia.

It’s been more than 100 days since I left Japan, but a little part of my heart will forever stay there. The post-IATSS Forum syndrome (or should I say shock?) was surely difficult to overcome, but I realize that I have ‘graduated’ from the training to finally go out to the real world and contribute -however small, to the community now.

The biggest change I feel after returning from Japan is my own way of thinking; of how I value my life and other people’s life. I started to realize how important it is to live a healthier life, both mentally and physically, in order to do bigger things in life.

I met amazing and inspiring friends, staffs, mentors, volunteers and people during my training in Japan and they have touched my life in their own ways. They are my new family because family is not always about blood; it is about people who accept me for who I am and share the same vision of how we want to change the world and leave it better for the next generation. This treasure of social capital is something that I will never get from somewhere else and because of that I just want to pay forward whatever I get from the training to the next people.

On the 25th of November 2016, I helped IIFA (Indonesia IATSS Forum Alumni) conducted a public lecture about Community Resilience on Disaster Management in Bandung, West Java. This program received a full support from the IATSS Forum Japan and the Magister of Social Science of Parahyangan University. We were delighted to have Professor Tsutomu Mizota of Nagasaki University and Mr. Siswanto B Prasodjo of the National Board for Disaster Management shared their knowledge and experience about the discussed theme.

Last December 2016, I also had a chance to join the first cross-country learning and leadership development in Thailand. This program was initiated by the TIFA (Thailand IATSS Forum Alumni) with the support of IATSS Forum Japan. During the program, I had a chance to see how the communities in Thailand implement sustainable community designs. I also met more amazing and inspiring alumni of IATSS Forum from ASEAN countries who continuously work hard to contribute in their own fields long after they have completed the training in Japan.

To the future participants of IATSS Forum, welcome to the family! We are lucky to be among the selected few of people who get a chance to join the training. This will be a challenging yet rewarding experience in your life, so make the best of it.

  • Be careful of getting too attached to the amazing, kawaii and lovable IATSS Forum staffs
  • Just skip some breakfasts at the boring-yet-excellent all-you-can-eat buffet at Sora Tabeyo Restaurant when you cannot wake up early because you sleep late trying to finish a report. Maybe by doing so, you will not miss having breakfast at that restaurant when you finally return to your own country.
  • Do not fall in love with the people, the culture, the custom, the city, the language or the amazing country! It will be difficult to move on. Trust me, I am still struggling to move on.
  • Be ready to get shocked once you return home because you will have a love-hate relationship with your ‘oh-so-organized’ life in Japan and all the busy day-to-day routine (I love the 2-week schedule!)

On a serious note,

  • What you read and heard about the Japanese being really strict about time is true. So don’t be late and respect the time.
  • Be honest and be patient with the learning process.
  • Be part of the group and be open-minded with all the differences.
  • Be active and committed to create a safe, meaningful and happy learning environment for yourself and fellow participants.
  • It’s okay to have a different opinion, you don’t have to always agree.
  • Invest your time to get to know people better.
  • Find a personal time to do a self-reflection.

Consider yourself warned!

With love,

Annisa

Annisa @Sanjusangendo.JPG

*This letter is written as an article for the participant’s voice section on IATSS Forum official website (as requested by Mie-san on Feb 17, 2017)

Be my baby! 


I had this one crazy thought lately. If only I could find someone who’s crazy enough to meet me half way. The idea was to just meet someone and be in a relationship with ’em even though we didn’t really know each other. But hey, it’s not a marriage proposal! Don’t freak out. Oh well, it doesn’t mean that it’s not serious though. Being committed to someone means taking away your freedom and be devoted to one person. At least you try hard to make the relationship works. I honestly love the idea of that. Here’s a condition, that person and I have to at least like each other. But of course it’s gonna be weird to just jump into being in a relationship, right?! Riiight?! I know I have crazy ideas sometimes. Sigh. If only I could find someone who’s crazy enough to be my baby….

-And then I found this quote!-

Thank you, Andy! 


“Some people come in our life as blessings. Others come in our life as lessons.” Mother Teresa 

I am grateful that I had a chance to meet Andy. It was too soon to call it love, but there’s just something about her that makes me attracted to her. Somehow I got the courage to be more of myself after our short interaction. 

Some people are just not meant to be in our life, that’s something I need to accept. Sadly, Andy won’t be in my life. However, her short presence was to give me a valuable lesson. 

Because of her I had the courage to tell my best friends about my struggle. I was worried that they won’t accept me, but to my surprise, they understand me and they accept me with open arms. They are also sympathetic to my situation and concern about my wellbeing. 

All this time I was worried that I’d lose their friendships, but knowing that they’ll support me and still think of me as their best friends makes me realize that I have found my true friends. 

I no longer have to look somewhere else for comfort and encouragement. Apparently they are always around and waiting for me to come out of my shell. I should have trusted them and given them the benefit of the doubt. 

I won’t live an easy life, but I know I’ll have my support system and I will be fine. Even one of my colleagues and friends told me that it’s okay to be selfish. It’s okay to think about my happiness instead of thinking about what people say about me. 

What happened between Andy and I have led me to this precious discovery of true friendship. So, thanks, Andy! And goodbye to you….

My 13-day Diet Program!


In case you wonder what I ate in the past 13 days, here’s a preview of my meals.

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I joined what they called ‘Mayo Clinic Diet.’ If you google in Bahasa, mostly you’ll find that this type of diet required you to eat no salt and no fried food. So, all the food supposedly was prepared with no salt on it (Sigh, it was difficult! I also had no rice for 13 days :P). If I google some information from the mayo clinic website, this diet is designed to change one’s lifestyle by adding some healthy habits and break the unhealthy ones. It is done by reducing the consumption of fats and sweets.

I got a recommendation from a friend to join the program provided by @eep.catering for IDR850k (free delivery). So I paid for that service.

Here’s an honest opinion of the service, in 13 days, I lost 4kgs, which was okay, but a bit disappointing because I was hoping to lose 5kgs. The not-so-maximum weight loss is probably because I didn’t put an effort to exercise. I was feeling too exhausted to do anything else other than work. 

Despite all the temptations, I am proud that I didn’t cheat at all. During IATSS Forum I learnt the importance of being honest of the process. Cheating won’t do any good for myself, so I have set my mind to this one program. That kind of self control is important to divert my energy and focus to things that matter to me. 

Here are some highlights: 

  1. The response to the new customer was really quick. I contacted the owner on Monday, paid for the program and started the program directly on the next day.
  2. I actually have some concern because I wasn’t sure if the meal plans are supervised by a nutritionist/dietitian.
  3. The meals tasted okay, some dishes like grilled fish and chicken, tempeh, spaghetti and special glass noodle was even better. It’s delicious! 
  4. The packaging box is nice
  5. I think they could give more green veggies
  6. Some of the veggies were overcooked. So it was not good and disappointing.
  7. I dislike the low fat milk that is provided because it’s still too sweet for me. Maybe it’s better if they can give Bear Brand Milk (sigh, how I miss Meiji Milk. It’s the best!)
  8. They delivered both lunch and dinner meal at one drop. I usually had dinner at 5pm before I left work (only because I don’t have microwave at home to warm the meal lol)
  9. Most of my meal arrived before 12pm except for one time when it didn’t arrive (on my 12th day). I sent some text messages the day my meal didn’t arrive at usual time, they replied and responded, but not as quick as I expected it to be. The owner apologized, said that all meals have been dispatched since 9am through a food transport service and wondered why mine didn’t arrive. 

I was upset because I didn’t want my program to fail. I had 2 more days left before I finished the program!! They said they’ll give a compensation for that day and offer free meals for 3 days. They also finally sent a new dinner meal using GoJek service. It arrived around 4pm. 

Unfortunately I didn’t receive any free meal today, so I was wondering if it’s only a lip service. I wish there wasn’t any issue on my 12th day so I can get a better overall experience using the service. So, that’s my sharing!

A picture of me and my colleagues today!

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Hello, 2017!


Right before the new year came, I was talking to Jo Chau (I seem to have many good friends with that name lol) about life, relationship and stuff. She’s one of the Vietnamese participants of IATSS Forum from previous batch. I met her during the community work and cross-country learning and leadership program in Thailand. Gosh, it’s amazing how we can understand each other after only spending a short time together. The feeling is mutual, that is why it’s so much fun. Even Ishii-san said that our face look similar lol I feel like finding a long-lost sister. We did not spend too much time together, but I feel like I can trust her and that she’d be a really good friend.

A: “I often hate myself for caring too much. For feeling too much…

J: “Because you always take care of others. You know, sometimes when you are too caring, they took it for granted. They felt bounded by your emotions and love. I used to behave like that. And a friend told me “Your crush is looking for a partner, not another mother.” The silver line is – love yourself first, then your crush. Cancer is way too caring. Too caring that people know Cancer never leave anyone. Only the other side leave Cancer’s side. Don’t hate it. Love it. When you love it, you’ll learn to protect it.”

A: “Well, sometimes I love myself for having this deep feeling, but sometimes I hate it. I am still giving too much for others, but not to myself” 

J: “Because you have not love it enough to think for yourself first. You prioritize others and their needs, over your own needs. Think carefully what are your needs, what do they need from the other person. If they cannot fulfil it, they don’t deserve you. SB for example – that person likes you, but needs someone close and constantly by ’em side. They know it well and They live for themselves before you. Same for CB, they prioritised their needs before you and considered their emotion before your emotions. But do they know yours? A relationship needs contributions from both side -equally. Whichever giving more will end up unsatisfied -forever. You are giving in yearning for their attention. Love someone who don’t make you feel like you need to sacrifice yourself more than they do”.

Damn! She really slapped me hard with her words. I think deep and long about it, I know I have to change. That kind of mentality will not do me good in 2017.

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Apart from her advice, I also found an article (Let 2017 Be Your Year Of Healing And Redemption) that resonates true to my situations. I have learned my lesson in 2016, I fell in love, got my heart broken and met amazing friends who have taught me the meaning of life. From these people, I also learn better about myself and my characters, I discover things I never knew was there, and what I can do to improve myself. Because life is about being a better person and being present for others.

Let 2017 be the year you will take it easy on people, on things. The year you will lose all kinds of expectation from people and just grant them the freedom to be who they are and who they want to be. Permit them the space to grow, to find themselves, to discover their passion, their people and their places here on Earth. Let this be the year you will have the heart to understand that people grow at different pace, people grow apart, and that you cannot keep them forever. Let this year give you the grace to comprehend completely that these things happen and it’s out of your control. The only control you have is over detaching yourself from people, even the closest to your soul. Let this be the year you will realize that we all need time on our own, away from certain people, certain places and certain things. The year of just taking your time to heal, no matter how slow, as long as you are healing. A year you will no longer fake strength; but just be honest with what’s going on inside you. Let this year be the year you will be whole, again.

So here I am, 20 days has passed in 2017 and I am starting to love myself more, to put myself in the first priority, to consider my own needs before others (when it comes to relationship!), and to give people I like more space to breathe. I also want to eat healthier food, cook my own meal and move to my own place. Today I am on the 11th day of Mayo Diet program and still committed to finish it, I have lost 10kgs since I returned from Japan and I love this tiny transformation.

So, Hello, 2017!

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#ThisTooShallPass



Since I returned from Japan, I have been feeling a senses of detachment and emptiness in life. It’s like I am losing the purpose of my life. It is definitely not the kind of post-#IATSSForum life that is expected from us. 

I feel like a failure. I have been trying so hard to navigate my feelings. I am overwhelmed with all these emotions. I shared some of my burdens to my close friends, they kept on saying that “this too shall pass”, “you’ll move on”, “you’ve survived and you’ll survive.” I feel like I am losing myself in the process of making myself better. 

I started seeing the vulnerable side of me and this side apparently only appears when I fall in love. Yes, it’s been a while since I felt this way, so I don’t know if I should celebrate or commiserate this feeling. 

I become so insecure and I cannot think straight. I want to be able to control my own feeling, but it seems like my brain has stopped functioning. All the good mantra I tell myself when I wake up has no effect in helping me getting a grasp of the situation. I wish I could just disappear. 

This afternoon during lunch, I saw a body was being taken to an ambulance. The body was found in the morning and was suspected as a suicide case. That was a sad reality, but it’s not a movie scene. It’s real! I keep on telling myself that I will never do that stupid thing. That life goes on no matter how difficult it might seem. Whatever miserable feelings I have right now shall pass. 

I doubt myself though. I don’t think I am strong enough. I have protected and guarded myself from falling for people because I know things will never work out; that it’ll just bring more pain than happiness. But I cannot control it. Now I just want to numb my feelings because I don’t want to feel anything too deep. I want to wake up and forget everything. A little part of me misses my old self. 

I can only seek protection from God. He’s the one who gives me this loving feeling, I just need to figure out His intention. He might prepare me for something bigger. I need to have stronger faith. I am struggling, Dear God. This my learning journey, but I am weak…

#NotGonnaGiveUp


I was about to have lunch with my colleagues when I saw many people standing in front of a house next to the RM Padang I went to. Abang RM Padang told us that there was an incident happened; someone committed suicide in the house and they have just found the body. He said that the victim was a loner and was not married yet, he lived with his dad and his mother passed away already. That’s all the info I could hear.

I felt so sad when I found out what happened. What happened today was a reminder to cherish life no matter how difficult and hard it might seem. There were times when I got so depressed and I could not contain my sadness. I always overthink everything and it’s killing me.  I know it’s not healthy, but I keep on doing it. There are things I cannot control and when I am ready to let it go, I will feel happier. I just need to remind myself that it’s okay to feel this deep feeling; that it’s part of who I am. I need to love this part of me. This huge heart feels so deeply of everything and right now I am overwhelmed with all the emotions.

I do not want to do anything stupid anymore, I promised myself and closed people of mine not to do anything stupid. That I will not give up with life.

Songs of the week (still having too strong feeling for しるく right now):
Namie Amuro – Baby Don’t Cry
Yura Yunita – Intuisi
Maera – Benak
Sara Bareilles – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

I am in love…


I am feeling miserably in love lately. I cannot concentrate and all I think about is her. Pfffttt. I miss falling in love and now I am falling in love, but all I feel is this miserable feeling :P The feeling is not reciprocate, but I realise that love is love.

Thanks for the encouragement, M!


Thinking of how hard it is just to be yourself in your own country really hurts me. I don’t know what your religion teaches you, but it doesn’t change the fact you are a great person just who you are. I love you just the way you are. (MKD)

I finally spilled everything to MKD. She’s been a good source of support. I could tell that she noticed something was going on with me. Thanks for the help and support <3

Why I miss Japan…


Leaving Japan was difficult for me. Adjusting to life in Jakarta is not as smooth as I want it to be. There are some reasons why it’s not easy.

  1. I fall in love with someone and although it’s a one-sided love, still it hurts to leave the place and the person.
  2. The people in Japan are my new family. I get so close to some of them. I wish I could be more open about who I am though. I am tired of hiding who I really am.
  3. The amazing staffs of IF. Always so inspiring, smart and hardworking.
  4. I love all the routine and the busy schedule.
  5. I love the food. I didn’t even have to think about what to eat. They have prepared everything.
  6. Free alcohols whenever we had a field trip outside Suzuka lol
  7. No crazy traffic jam.
  8. I stayed in a hotel and they clean up the room everyday, except Sunday!
  9. Sora Tabeyo; A buffet breakfast. I miss ice coffee, salmon, seaweed and ice cream.
  10. Meiji Milk (the one Silk always bought for me lol)
  11. Cool and fresh weather.
  12. Japanese class with Mie-san :D
  13. Singing while Tickgate is playing guitar
  14. ASEAN Cultural Day dance practice
  15. Setting up Indonesian booth for the ASEAN Cultural Day
  16. Playing congklak with Silk
  17. Singing and dancing + Zumba with Tomoe
  18. Field trip to Kobe, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nara
  19. Take the staffs back to their cars
  20. Cycling with friends to AEON Mall