Thursday, November 10, 2016

Life Lately | Internships, Harvard, and More



It seems that with every post, I always start with "so much has been happening" or "it's been a crazy week" or something like that. Is that just me, or does this also commonly happen with other bloggers? I think it's factual that the last 2-3 months of the year is always the most beautiful, but also the busiest times in our lives. Listed below are some things recently happening in mine:

Internships
For a Personal Development class at school, the final program we're assigned with happens to be an internship. We're expected to reach out to companies that relate to the field we want to pursue for university/our careers, and then ask for an internship position in their company. It'll only last two weeks and will be held next year, but I'm definitely feeling the pressure of having to find companies that will want to take me in. I've sent e-mails (to several of them) and so far, zero responses. Maybe it's because these companies are located outside of my town, but I still feel like this is a bad sign. However, I'm still being extra hopeful and trying my best to get a response from those inside my city as well. Either way, I'm praying that wherever I'll end up in (hopefully somewhere good), I can make the best out of it and gain valuable experience along the way.

Green tea
As pictured above, lately I've actually been loving green tea. I started drinking a cup every morning ever since the start of the month and found that it did make a difference for my well-being. Most people take it for weight loss or "fat-burning", but for me, it isn't the case. To your body, it does give many benefits (boosts metabolism, antioxidant-rich, lowers risk of heart disease/obesity, etc etc), but for me, I've just found that it helps a lot with my anxiety. With so much stress, sitting down and thoroughly drinking a cup really gives a clear head space, and the tea just calms me down. 


A Harvard readiness test

About a month ago, our school took us to the World Education Expo that was held in town, where we got to come in and see many different universities, talk to representatives, and gather information at the booths. One of those universities was the Leadership Management Institute from Singapore. LMI happens to be a school people can enter when they wish to enter one of Harvard's liberal arts programmes. A prep school, of sorts, officially tied to Harvard itself, that allow you to take their intensive course in Singapore to get you ready for your Actual Harvard Admission Test. From there (LMI has a 95% success rate), you fly off and become an ~*Official Harvard Student*~. Quite impressive.

Upon the chance of talking to them, they gave me (and a few of my friends) a free chance to take the Harvard readiness test (originally you had to pay $100, no kidding). This is basically an online placement test that tells you whether or not you're suitable to enter LMI, and henceforth, Harvard standards. We had 60 minutes and it consisted of critical reading and integrated writing. I decided to take the test, and it was pretty complex but I did expect it to be. Two weeks after, they sent a "Congratulations!" e-mail telling me I passed the test. I was surprised, to say the least. They started contacting me and asking to meet up with my parents and I to "discuss the next steps". 

Of course, it's Harvard (the ultimate ~*dream*~) and I could just consider a major in Creative Writing if I had the money. Become a change, pursue something different, make my Asian heritage proud, you know? But realistically speaking, I knew that Harvard was beyond what I could afford (both time-wise and financially). I only wanted to try the test just to see if I could ace it (plus they gave us free Harvard water bottles). Getting admitted into the school gave me an assurance that I'm capable of more than what I give myself credit for. It made me feel a little more confident. But this whole process also told me that sometimes windows open, but that doesn't mean you can just fly through them. There are times where you need to contemplate on the consequences and what it'll actually take. To know that I could've just said yes to LMI and follow a path to become a Harvard student and change my entire life and shock everyone, the feeling is indescribable. A small opening to step out of my life now and go and pursue a whole different, unimaginable life for myself. But for now, I'll just make peace with the fact that I stumbled upon the opportunity, but it was all I can afford and it is enough. Who knows? I might try Harvard some other day in the future. But not today, and that's alright.


Preparing for TOEFL

Because I'm preparing to leave for university next year, I've been stacking up on my portfolio pieces as well as catching up with the English requirements. For studying in Australia, most would recommend IELTS instead, but I opted for TOEFL just to go for something a little more universal. I'll be taking the iBT test this Saturday. I've taken a couple of simulation tests before and have found them to be quite tricky. My final results were always sufficient but I still want to try to achieve more.

So for this I bought a TOEFL iBT prep book. I wouldn't normally purchase a book to study it on my own so this ~*responsible and determined*~ step did make me feel good about myself (even though it was because my family recommended me to and because I was scared of failure). The book was costly, but it contains 400+ pages of guidance for tips and skills to pick up along the way. Also, it gives a deep insight to each iBT section, complete with a disc and several model tests to help us practice. I started using it last week and this week I'm determined to finish at least one pre-test in the book (in the midst of the crazy storm that is my life right now). Let's hope I make it.

Living in the moment
To be real, my life has been a mess. The things above are just some of what's been keeping me extra busy these past few days (I'm talking tests, assignments, and a whole lot of e-mails). But if there's something I've been learning to do lately, it's to make peace with the present time. There's this quote that I keep reminding myself, "No amount of worry can change the future, and no amount of regret can change the past." From this, I learn that when I give in to the habit of beating myself up for every failure, or when I let myself become discouraged because I'm scared of what's ahead of me, it just does a lot more harm than good.

This also has to do with the fact that I have less than a year of living in my country and city now. Next year, my life will already be drastically different, and at that point, that bad grade I got in math class won't even matter at all. I'm not giving up, but I think it's time to stop being so hard on myself. To stop being so fixated with what's behind or in front of me, and make something of today. To give a little room for myself to breathe, and stop thinking about "what I have to do" or "what I should've done", but more about "what I want to do now".

Gosh, what a lengthy post!
But thank you for stopping by and reading this (or maybe bits of it, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't read the whole thing), and please leave a comment below because I'd love to know how you're all doing. :) You can always follow me on my social media as well.

From the girl who's got a lot to learn,


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Songs You Should Already Be Listening To


Happy November 1st!

I have to say that there was a time when my playlist had been looking a little dry. But over the course of October, I did find some amazing tracks, and some of them are so great, I find myself repeating each one. Most of these songs listed are actually quite popular, so give them a listen if you haven't already!

  1. Never Be Like You - Flume ft. Kai - Strangely I heard this song a few times before rediscovering it, but this one time my friends started singing to it and instantly I thought, why haven't I loved this song yet? It's on repeat nearly every morning. Such a good beat.
  2. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur - I couldn't remember how I came across this one, but first I thought it sounded mainstream. After a few times, I was stuck. The lyrics are so nice *swoon* and it has a beautiful tune, to be honest.
  3. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars - Leave it to Bruno Mars for making a track that miiiight be a little R-rated, but leaves you hooked. Not the best to hear from him, but it has that awesome jazz, old-school vibe I've always loved him for.
  4. Heaven - OneRepublic - If you haven't listened to their new album (Oh My My), you definitely should. I heard of the album release quite a while ago but never got around to checking it out. But my boyfriend recommended some to me and this track is definitely my favourite. The rest aren't bad as well!
  5. Subway Car - Marc E. Bassy - It's going to take a lot to try and find this artist online, but honestly, some of his songs are just rad. His style of music is very authentic and different from other small artists I've come across, and this song in particular is addicting.
  6. All We Know - The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan - Out of all the songs on this list, I'll be honest, this one has the least lasting effect for me. But if you're still a big fan of the Chainsmokers (like I sort of am), you won't regret checking this out.
  7. Inside Out - The Chainsmokers - This song, however, had a very lasting effect. I'm so in love with every second of this track, from the verse all the way to the chorus. The tune is so so good, and I find myself singing this over and over again.
  8. Walls - Kings of Leon - I found Kings of Leon after spotting them at one of Taylor Swift's Instagram photos, and now I just wish I'd discovered them sooner! Their new album (Walls) sounds pretty convincing, and this one song is very very nice.
  9. Capsize - Frenship & Emily Warren - As far as popular songs go, this one became quite well-known, but not so popular to the point where it becomes mainstream and overplayed. So that I love. I think it's a killer track, and it's exceptionally good.
  10. Elevation Worship - My ultimate, favourite music discovery from October has to be Elevation Worship. For fellow Christians out there, I'd totally recommend their newest album, Here as in Heaven. The songs are astounding and there's something about their sound that is really breathtaking. I'm so stuck on songs like Resurrecting, Here as in Heaven, and O Come to the Altar. The lyrics are absolutely powerful and amazing as well.

Have you listened to these tracks before? Do you see any favourites?
Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you. :)

Have a good month.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Trip to Madura





I'll be honest, this post is actually long overdue. But I still want to share with you all the beauty we stumbled upon on of the island of Madura. So, a throwback post it is!

Madura is a separate island located very near to my city, only separated by a single strait but connected by a bridge which makes it easy for us to take a trip there. About a month ago, my friends and I had to go and do a video shoot for an upcoming school event we're having. It was a large group (around 15 people, I'd say) and all duties aside, we still wanted to make the most out of this little getaway, so a lot of us were bringing along our cameras and capturing every moment. It was a sunny Monday, and the weather was scorching hot, but I gotta say, Madura doesn't look so bad!


This was actually from a stop we made before reaching our first location. We had breakfast at a small open restaurant but was completely mesmerised by this open rice field we stumbled upon at the back of the restaurant. It was still around 7 AM so the beautiful view felt totally nice to experience.

After taking pictures and having breakfast together and hanging around, we finally went off to our first location: Bukit Jaddih (translates to Jaddih Hill, but let's not refer to it as that.)


As a tourist destination, Jaddih has recently been getting quite the attention. I've seen it in photos before, but arriving there felt surreal. The area looked stunning. Once you step out, in every direction, the scenery displayed white cliffs with coarse, rocky textures that was so picturesque, it was like standing in the middle of a painting, or a charcoal sketch. It was unlike anything I've ever seen before.

My favourite part was the water body we found sitting among the white-and-beige, wall-like ridges. The crystal clear water reflected this gorgeous, serene turquoise colour that was just beyond what words could express. It was the most aesthetically pleasing area to step into.

The soil was mainly limestone, so yes, it was basically hills and hills of chalk, which explained why there were so many trucks in sight, all of which we assumed were carrying the materials. A part of me felt that it was a shame a place so beautiful had to be, well, industrialized. But all in all, I was glad to have the chance to witness it in person.


Another area made of limestone hills, our second location (known as Arosbaya) was just as breathtaking. Of course it offers a different vibe apart from Bukit Jaddih. In Jaddih, the atmosphere was somewhat ethereal, but in Arosbaya, I felt like it was a way one could reconnect with ~*nature and its surroundings*~. You were surrounded with trees and bushes and earthy elements that made it seem like it'd be really easy to get lost.

I fell in love with how these rocks looked, their silhouettes and how it sort of exposed how they were formed. The shapes were imperfect and jagged, yet the side of these cliffs displayed almost perfect lines that adds to the structure of these majestic rocks (it strangely reminded me of the Grand Canyon, or the Twelve Apostles). This location was slightly more fascinating because there were pathways you could take, and caves that you could step into. It offered more and we basically had more to discover.

I actually created a short vlog highlighting this trip, 
you can find the video on my YouTube channel or you can click here:


Overall, this trip brought out the best in me. As a girl who'd relentlessly take pictures, visiting out-of-the-ordinary, beautiful places that were actually not too far from my own city was definitely something worth remembering. That day, we'd left at 5:30 AM and finished up at around 7 PM, so it was no doubt exhausting, but I'm so grateful for the experience. Sometimes you have to step just a little bit outside of your own little world to find places that can amaze you.

I'll see you around!






Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Four Apps to Change Your Life


I'm finally writing again after two weeks of, well, hell. I'm talking tests, late nights, and all those awesome responsibilities. But! I'm so glad I can now finally sit down and finish this post (one I've been preparing for a while now).

When life gets a little too hectic and your phone gets a little too cluttered, or maybe on the contrary, things are starting to look just a little too boring for your liking, I've found that these apps can be perfect for you. I've been using them for quite some time and thought that they were good and useful enough to be shared with all of you! (Note: Not a sponsored post, guys.) Trust me, these apps can change your life.

UMUN

In case you haven't noticed, throughout 2016, social media has been working like a rocket going full speed ahead. And upon this development, it got to the point where Instagram, as we know it, isn't even just a picture-sharing platform anymore. It's art, guys.

Instagram is no longer just about the hashtags or photos, it's your feed. Yes, you are your own ~*brand*~. And I'm not even exaggerating on this. A lot of people are putting extra effort into creating a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed. Where all the colours and layouts count. That's why an app like UMUN would totally come in handy.

The pretty app not only allows you to plan which pictures to post by showing how they'll look on your feed, but it also has that sliding feature so you'll see what happens when your feed changes position after a new post. You can see the stats of your profile, and you can also check what it'd look like if you erased certain photos. Complete with some editing features as well, this app is perfect for helping me organise my feed. (Not that I try to have one ha-ha-ha)*.

*First rule of having an Instagram feed: Act like you're not even trying to keep one.

Evernote

A lot of bloggers have been talking about Evernote and recommending it and I am so glad that I decided to try it out. I keep it because it helps you stay on top of all your plans, ideas, and notes, all packed into one! It keeps you super organised, and it fits perfectly for notorious planners and perfectionists like me.

Other than compiling a bunch of notes and putting them into categories, you can also turn them into to-do lists or reminders, depending on how you wish to use the stuff you wrote down. You could even record your own voice and put it inside your "notebook", and I think that's really impressive and useful for when you have an idea but just can't seem to put it into words in writing or when you don't have the time to jot them down. Their other feature that really impressed me was that you could take a picture of a document or any type of file, and they'll detect the photo and save the file as if it was scanned directly! It makes things super easy. Honestly guys, life-changing.

Duolingo

Haar kaas is mijn kaas - "Her cheese is my cheese". The sentences they choose for the quizzes sometimes just crack me up, I swear.

Being the ambitious over-achiever, it's always been kind of my thing to want to learn new languages. This year, I've been starting with Dutch. I think that compared to other apps that help you with language learning, Duolingo is certainly the best I've ever come across. The buttons and whole theme of the app kind of makes it feel really fun to start learning it step by step. You can set a goal for yourself whether it's just some laid-back practice that'll only take 3 minutes of your day everyday, or for something intensive, like if you want to gain 50 XP in one day (in which case you'll have to do more levels in that one day). 


They also help by sending reminders, that usually say "It's time for your daily Dutch lesson." And I think that makes it quite interesting. The app also makes sure that you're keeping all that new information inside your head, and they do this by making you repeat levels that you passed earlier. The repetitiveness may feel kind of annoying, but it honestly helps you remember, so your learning becomes much more effective! They offer a wide variety of courses (German, Italian, French, and more!) I'm a beginner in my Dutch but really excited that I'm learning it again. If you reach your goal daily for a longer period of time, you'll be keeping streaks, and that motivates me a lot to keep coming back to this app every now and then.

Plant Nanny
Self-care apps have to be one of the best reasons to be alive right now, you guys. The one goal that I've been setting for myself since last September was to drink at least 2 litres of water a day everyday. Thankfully, I've been successfully reaching it on, well, most days. It gets tricky but while continuing on this goal, I decided to start using Plant Nanny again.

The one thing I can't get enough of is how cute this app is. Like the name suggests, this app allows you to choose plants and water them everyday (as you drink water yourself) until they grow and reach new levels. Once they're fully grown, you put them in your garden, harvest their seeds, and you continue planting more.

I think the concept is absolutely brilliant and the plants are so adorable that it makes me somewhat excited to see them grow (does that make sense?). The app keeps your body information (such as weight and activity levels) and lets you know how much water you need in a day, and it keeps reminding you for the rest of the day until you drink sufficient water. According to them, I only need 1.7 litres of water for my body each day, but eh, I always go a little overboard.


So if you've been having a little bit of trouble trying to get yourself to drink enough water, I think getting an app like this would totally be helpful, and it's really fun to have something to "take care of" in the midst of leading a really busy life. In which case I mean your body of course, but in the app, your tiny adorable plants.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it helpful for you! These apps, again, did not sponsor me in any way, but I thought that they were so useful and can totally help change your life in one way or another. What apps have you been loving lately? Do you use any of the ones I listed above?
Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you, or share this post!

Have an awesome day.




Sunday, October 2, 2016

First Day of October

Hello, October! 

Time certainly flies. (Do you see those leaves falling already?) 

One of the first things I did on the first day of October was I drove my car for the first time ever (yeah no big deal ha-ha-ha). Since I'm now 17 and have finished my driving lessons, my mom's been making me drive as much as I can until I can get the hang of it. Yesterday I used my own car for the first time, and went slow and played safe, but I realised I wasn't that bad of a driver! It just so happened that my instructor was a man of many words (mostly telling me all the things I did wrong). But as it turns out, I drive just fine.


For lunch, mom and I went to the mall to this Indonesian restaurant called Linkafe. They served Indonesian cuisine and we basically met up with my relatives who recently flew in from New Zealand. It was a nice afternoon and even though I've been there before, I've come to really admire the interiors of the restaurant itself. The blue walls and cushions kind of just speak to you, don't they?


Pictured above is one of Indonesia's greatest snacks called pisang goreng which literally translates into fried banana. Yes, it's batter-fried slices of banana. Don't question it. It's amazing. Shortly afterwards, we had a lovely chat with all of them to catch up, and at around 3 PM we left because I'd been invited by Intro Magazine to the grand opening of their new retail space!

Intro is a new local e-magazine (although they make prints too) launching their first issue this October. I found them through Instagram and completely fell in love with their content- both aesthetically pleasing and fascinating to read! Their columns are thought-provoking, informative, and overall really enjoyable to read. Not only that, but they're also highly innovative with their new concept, that is turning their magazine into a retail space.


Located at the other side of town, yesterday was a grand opening of the space where they make the magazine come to life. Their motto is "step into a magazine. Literally." And that is indeed literally what happens.

As the magazine covers many topics circulating food, fashion, etc, the retail space (inhabiting a two-story, all-white-black-and-wood, Instagram-worthy building) shows the actual fashion brands featured in the magazine's issue, and these brands will have their space on the upper floor and display their clothes and sell to customers just as you would in a market! The same with the ones focused more on interior and home & living. Food was highly talked about in the magazine too, and in the house all these different local businesses (mentioned in the magazine) set up their own pop-up stands as well, and take their place on the first floor, making the area similar to a food court with a really large variety of food.


Aside from the grand opening, they also held a food tasting event that I was invited to through Instagram. This is where all these aforementioned local food enterprises serve their dishes for a taste test done by a large group of people (I'd say there were about 30 people pitching in. Me included.) I had an invitation for 3 people so I took my mom and my sister to do the food tasting with me. It was great and we loved it.

I found the many local businesses to be really creative with their menus, and each one provided excellent taste, so voting for whichever one we thought deserved the Intro Magazine's Best Dish Award of the Night was certainly a challenge. A few of my favourites- not gonna say which one I voted for though ;) -would be:
  • Doré by LeTAO's signature Fromage cake. I'm really in love not only with the brand and its design and branding, but also their famous Jakarta-based cheesecakes that I got to try yesterday. Totally glorious.
  • Lareia Cake & Co's dishes. They actually served four different menus in the food tasting, but I do recall their to-die-for Tres Leches cake. I've always been a huge fan of Lareia (they make the prettiest cakes that also taste really good!)
  • The Egg'es Project's salted egg burgers. The dishes they served in the taste test came in mini burgers and I thought the idea to put salted egg in a burger was pretty cool. (I might be biased though, because I love eggs. Salted ones especially. And burgers, though! Who doesn't love burgers?)
Other than these, there were also a prawn salsa tortilla, pork belly rice, and a few other dishes. We hadn't had dinner but certainly left the place feeling full and perfectly satisfied!

Finally, we ticked a box in our little pieces of paper and put the vote into the glass bowls provided. We sadly had to leave early because it was getting late (not to mention a long way from home), so we didn't get to see as they accumulated the votes to award the Best Dish of the Night. As it turns out, the winner was the golden cheesecake franchise, Doré by LeTAO. Very well deserved!


All in all, this was an awesome experience. I applaud Intro Magazine for creating such a cool idea and successfully bringing it to life, and I also congratulate them on the launch and the grand opening. I'm so glad that I was able to experience this, especially since my dream job is to end up working in a magazine someday. Opening myself up to events and things like these is definitely beneficial, and helps me to learn more about the creative industry that I'm so eager to delve into.

How did you spend your first day of October?
Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you guys. :) I hope you have a good week!

I'll talk to you soon.









Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thoughts of a Non-American Citizen


My opinion doesn't matter but here it is anyway.

The US presidential debate took place yesterday and of course, now everyone's talking about it. I decided to write about this because I thought it'd be interesting to speak from my point of view. Yes, me. A non-American citizen living on the other side of the world. 

Okay, here's a disclaimer: I'm a high school student. I don't have a degree, I've never experienced living in the United States, therefore I don't have a crazy amount of knowledge on this. I've never actually cared too much about my own country's politics, let alone another's. But what's been happening in the US, I find, is unlike any other political affair I've seen. Topped off with the debate, I've chosen to share my perspective on both candidates. 

Why should you listen to me? Well, I'm not saying you should.

With this year's presidential run in the US, people from all over the world are pitching in, shouting opinions on what's best, all for the sake of one country. One. But of course, it's because America is a great nation. Despite its faults, it still holds a lot of power and influence. So when it comes to who's going to rule as President, I'm not surprised that things are blown way out of proportion. It's not because of the country or the government, or the voters or campaigns. No, I think the enormous attention this year's election is getting from the media is drew in by a candidate. A person. And that person is Donald Trump.

Him

I'm not going to start describing him Regina George-style, but I gotta say, this man has made the presidential run feel very 2016. He's a controversy! When he announced he's running for President, people reacted to it as they would to a scandal. Many strongly disagree, but many also support him.

The most obvious thing is this: Millennials hate him. Perhaps not all, but I'd say most. As a generation rising in a time of diversity, we clearly don't like this man we saw on TV who was saying things about Mexicans and Muslims. Not to mention his commentaries on women. The truth is he's loud and reckless, and it's easy to not like him. (I heard that in the length of 26 minutes, he interrupted Hillary a total of 22 times. Yikes.) But Trump's troublesome behaviour have actually earned him something we hand to him unknowingly: Media attention.

His motto is to "Make America Great Again". And yes, Mr. Trump here obviously has some sets of "greatness" up his sleeve, with his empires and hotels and all things alike. But I just hope that in the midst of chasing greatness in a candidate, America doesn't lose sight of what's actually more important: goodness.

To me, it still blows my mind how this guy would have the audacity to run for President. I couldn't imagine how America would thrive if he were to win. All I could visualise is Trump meeting the Prime Minister of Japan someday and slightly offending them with subtle remarks on Asians. Perhaps not, but you get what I mean. He can be a host of a comedy show, it might even be hilarious, but the President of the United States? Maybe a bit of a stretch.

Her

Alright, so Hillary Clinton is technically the only choice we have aside from the Miss Universe millionaire with a fake tan, yes? Of course, as a girl who regularly looks up to influential women in the world, Hillary would be the candidate I prefer. 

I feel what she has to say about the problems America's facing, knowing she's a mother who has a heart for the nation. Her experience in the White House also serves as a huge advantage, whereas Trump is more of just "ah yes I have a billion dollars, let's build a wall." She's gone to many countries, and worked alongside a number of former Presidents, even married to one. So yeah, this lady seems like the woman with the most knowledge on America.

Now before we go all #ImWithHer, there have been plenty of people disagreeing with what she has to say. Most seem to be calling her a "liar". I don't really know what facts stand behind their comments, so I don't have much say in this also. But hey, aren't all politicians liars? I thought all presidents lie at some point. 

However, I still think people need to look past the euphoria of having their "first female president". While I love and stand with the whole "girls run the world" movement that comes with the flow of Hilary's supporters, there comes a time where people should stop worshipping her just because her role in politics have become an answer to your prayers. Like a Messiah for feminists.

So the ~*girl power*~ thing is great, but you have to pay attention to what the candidate can really offer you, and how she's going to contribute for the wellbeing of your country.

Conclusion

All in all, I think history would be made if, and I obviously hope, Hillary wins. The votes are looking quite promising for her but there is still plenty of time left for Trump to catch up. Other than that, I simply pray that a country as powerful as America can fall into the right hands. Whoever wins the round, I hope they bring a good and lasting change for the nation. And still, all by the people, and for the people.

So what did you think of this post? Which candidate do you personally prefer?
Do share and leave a comment as I'd totally love to hear your thoughts!

I'll write again soon.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Living with Perfectionism


perfectionism (n.)
refusal to accept any standard short of perfection

The other day, my friends and I attended a local university's education expo. The university made a visit to my school a few days before, and yesterday, because my friends and I decided to try and apply, we submitted all our admission requirements and did an interview for them to determine whether or not we were qualified for receiving the scholarships we desired.

At one point in the interview, the lady asked,
"So Joanne, according to you, what do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?"
I kind of saw this coming, and had already set up an answer in the back of my head. I began answering and at one point I mentioned the one most noticeable personality trait I have, that other people already know about me as well.
"Well, I'm a perfectionist..."
The words tasted like vinegar as I uttered it a little quicker than I'd expected. The thing is that I've never actually admitted it so straightforwardly. But it's true, it's been a part of who I am perhaps since middle school. The title of this post might make it sound like a disease or personality disorder, but that's not the case. 

In psychology, perfectionism is defined as a trait characterised by a person's strive for flawlessness. We set immensely high standards and expectations, both upon ourselves and other people. I remember times where I would get a 99 on a test (a bloody 99, which in retrospect, is actually not too horrible) and I would cry. My friends would look at me and think God, is she really this hard on herself?

When you're a perfectionist, failures (or flaws, even) are strictly unacceptable. Many people validate the mistakes they make and simply call it "being human", but for perfectionists, this is almost never the case. When you fail, you think it's because the circumstances went against you, or it must be something you lack. You start questioning everything, and your mind turns to the familiar cycle of "I should've done that instead", "This is all wrong", or "It shouldn't have happened that way". You never feel truly satisfied.

But why?

Well hey, perfectionists, why are we like this? Why do we drown ourselves in phases of "not good enough"s and refuse to give ourselves room for imperfections? Why do we choose to give ourselves that pressure of getting it right

Perfectionism is a sprout that could come from many different seeds. The most common ones are low self-esteem and the toxic habit of overthinking. We don't feel like we are worth the chance of starting over or correcting flaws. 

Comparison also comes into play. We fall into the trap of comparing our level 2 to another person's level 15, failing to take into account that they must've had many trials and errors themselves before reaching their success. But we don't think like that. We grow obsessive, thinking "oh God why can't I do this one simple thing that that person seems to have easily mastered?"

Why do we continue? It's time to step out of that shell. We want absolute perfection, but we have to learn to acknowledge limitations. To live life as it is, not through what you expect out of it, or what you want to achieve. You try your best, and with whatever the outcome, you learn to think that yes, this is enough.

Now I use my perfectionism as fuel to drive me forward. It gives a good set of motivation, because high standards pull out more productivity. It's true that for perfectionists, working is easy. We work at our own pace, and are equipped with a lot of determination. So perhaps, perfectionism is a shrub that we don't need to cut down, but we just need to prune. Life isn't always perfect, and we will not (never) be perfect, but wouldn't it feel great to actually embrace it, instead of constantly trying otherwise?

I'll write again soon.











Monday, September 12, 2016

The Shrine of Remembrance | Melbourne, Australia


Oh I miss Melbourne.

Last June, I visited this gorgeous city with my mom and stayed for about 10 days there. We kind of had to soak up all the winter air but nonetheless, it was still a memorable trip. The thing about winter in Australia is not only does it happen midyear, but it's also not that cold compared to perhaps the US or the European countries. I loved feeling the light breeze while still enjoying a beautiful blue sky over my head. It was a gorgeous experience! I had a lovely time exploring Melbourne in many different ways, especially knowing that it was most likely going to be my home starting on next year until about the 4 years after. Heh. But anyway!

While I was there, I managed to take an afternoon to arrange a meet-up with my good friend Shannon. We only had about a couple of hours so we decided to go to the Shrine of Remembrance! And let me tell you about (no- let me show you) how stunning it was.


The hilarious part was after we took the tram from the city to the Shrine of Remembrance, we had to walk up the hill through the grass and past these beautiful beautiful trees. And we ended up taking countless photos there. By the trees. Before we even reached the landmark. Haha we couldn't help it, this area was so serene and gorgeous and it was so different from home that we loved every inch of it. So yes, we loved walking up the hill and in the distance, we finally saw it.

That's how majestic and big the Shrine was. Featuring my height for scale.
This stunning, iconic Shrine. Where do we begin? Once we walked up the steps, the scenery was stunning. You get a glimpse of the crowded area of the city of Melbourne in the distance, but also right above you, and all around you, just stunning blue skies. It was quite a sunny day, but still windy and just perfect.

I didn't wear any special outfit, I basically had a green coat on with a pair of black jeans, black boots, and my go-to tiny Kate Spade backpack. I didn't want to dress up that much because I wanted to let the day be more beautiful than I was. --> My new motto.

The Shrine of Remembrance was built to pay tribute to the lives lost during the First World War. There were about 19,000 Victorians killed during their time serving in the war, but their bodies didn't get to be buried near their homes. So the Shrine was built not only to preserve the memories of the men and women who served in the Great War (1914-1918), but to give the families a chance to grieve and the communities a chance to honour the sacrifices made. Hence, the Shrine was built as the "national war memorial of Victoria".

One of the chambers inside the Shrine. 

We climbed to the top of the Shrine before leaving and got the most stunning view of the Melbourne city skyline. It got a little more cloudy but once you witness it in person, it would literally take your breath away. Especially since the landmark was located quite outside of the city and away from the crowd, but the view from the top of the Shrine gives you a look past the Yarra river and into the busy CBD of Melbourne. (Fun fact: They also designed the city so that the Shrine would constantly be visible if you walk along Swanston Street, which is one of the main streets in the city, in order to pay tribute to the historical structure.)

I didn't take as many pictures when I was inside and seeing all the exhibits but I can tell you it was definitely fascinating. There were displays of old journals and pocket watches and uniforms that belonged to the soldiers, not to mention the wall that showed seemingly endless rows of medals. It was breathtaking. If you are ever in Melbourne, you totally have to visit. The entry is free of charge, and it's definitely something worth seeing.

Have you ever been to Melbourne? What places did you get to visit? Do leave a comment below and I'd love to hear from you guys :) Stay tuned for more.






Saturday, August 20, 2016

Something Traditional


Last Wednesday was the date of my country's Independence Day (71 years free!), and it was an eventful day. Soon after, I realised that this was going to be my last time celebrating my country's Independence Day inside my country. Chances are, I'll already be studying abroad by next year, and 3 years after that. So I wanted to somehow show a sense of pride for my nation. Hence, this photoshoot.

A kebaya, according to Google, is a light, loose tunic worn by women in Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries. No offense Malaysia, but I think my country deserves ownership over this one.


The kebaya usually comes in a full head-to-toe outfit (yes, the waist-cinching, body-hugging, fitted type of traditional attire.) However, my mom happens to sell these tops along with her friend. The top resembles the upper half of the kebaya, but in this case, you can wear them however you'd like. The trend has become quite popular among girls around here, and I love seeing it. I decided to pair my top with a pair of black jeans because who has time to coordinate outfits? Not me.

I loved wearing it (it was a little big around the waist, but still). In a glance, it obviously looks like your typical ethnic southeast Asian traditional wear. However, I am absolutely in love with both the colour and the intricate hand-sewn details resembling flowers around the front and sides. It gives a sense of femininity. Many other varieties of flowers were available, so a lot of these actually come in different colours and styles. It's also quite practical since I get to wear it with anything like any casual top I own.


There was definitely something empowering about wearing this, not only because it reflected my nation, but because it became a symbol of two things I know I am: An Indonesian, and a feminist.

Does your country have a certain traditional piece that you love to wear or are proud of? What do you think of this one? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to read your thoughts. :)

Until next time,


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Aaaand I'm back.

I have decided against blogging for quite some time now for a handful of reasons. To name a few:
1. I'm having way too much on my plate. School is starting and there are heaps of things to deal with right now and it's been keeping me immensely busy.
2. I didn't know what to write about anymore. I'll be honest, my brain's been so exhausted that it just haven't had the time to properly generate ideas.
3. I felt like I needed to get my life together first. Not gonna lie, it's been messy. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. But I think my stability always comes from working, and from being productive. So that's what I'm going to start doing.

I'm hopeful for another start. I still want to pursue blogging all the way into my future and to actually make something out of the whole process, and it is going to take some time. However, I figured that the only thing that can take me off of the stress that life gives, is giving myself one thing I would enjoy stressing about. If that makes sense.

I changed my layout here and there, if you've noticed, and it's because I'm trying to re-brand this blog so that it can keep up with how I am right now as a person, who's growing- stumbling, but still growing nonetheless.