Sometimes, you are a victim when you think you are a victim.

And if you continue thinking you are a victim, maybe the world isn't the place for you. After all, my dear, life isn't about a box of chocolate. Get real.

Fashion of Denial

It was surprising and a bit disappointing. I had been back to the East Coast expecting chilly air that will freeze me to the bone. Instead I ended up carrying my coat and watching people around with a weird feeling. It was definitely more than fifty degree (Fahrenheit, not Celcius, this frigging country has successfully brainwashed me) and most of them were either wearing overcoats, cashmere sweaters, or thick layers of shawl around their neck.

What happened?! It's not THAT cold and if not for the yellow and red leaved trees one can easily mistake this as spring time. They must've clothed based on the calender, not their climate sense.

I suspect it's some kind of denial. Washingtonians seem to be too afraid to admit that winter is getting warmer and warmer. And by putting on outfits that should actually go for lower temperature, they can assure themselves that winter this year is no different to the previous ones.

Creepy. The town must've turned Republican in only a week. Fenty's fault, Fenty's fault.

Ibu Baru Yang Ambisius

... Delivery scheduleku tanggal 27, tapi aku pengen lebih cepat, soalnya ada ujian tanggal 1. ...

09:05:07 pm

Waktu itu balasan dari saya:

Kamu mau melahirkan tanggal 27 terus tanggal 1-nya ujian? Gila kali ya! You are going to be super busy with the baby! Minta ujian susulan dong sama dosennya!

Mungkin Tuhan mendengar doa adik saya, si mahasiswa-sekaligus-dosen-yang-ambisius-ingin-ikut-ujian-segera-setelah-melahirkan, ini. Sesuai harapannya, Abigail Manuela Naulibasa Simanjuntak datang tiga hari lebih cepat dari yang dijadwalkan -- dan berbagi tanggal kelahiran dengan neneknya! (Maq, selamat ultah ya! Emaq baru dapat hadiah ulang tahun paling oke sejagat kan? Cucu pertama!)

Kalau dengar laporan adik saya barusan, keponakan tercinta ini mewarisi gigantisme keluarga saya: panjang 52 cm, berat 3.8 kilogram. Ipar saya pasti kegirangan, karena cita-citanya "memperbaiki keturunan" tercapai sudah, hahahah... no offense to you, Bro!

Isu terkini buat saya adalah panggilan yang saya inginkan dari si kecil Abby. Aju (seperti selama ini)? Tante? (terlalu biasa). Mbokdhe? (ini mah nekat, lah kami mBatak murni-ni-ni-ni). Auntie? (mengikuti jejak si Eda, tapi sepertinya oke juga).

Scribbling from the West Coast

1. Those who say there's no place like New York are definitely the typical disilussioned New Yorkers. Go to San Francisco -- it has everything New York does, except the filthy subways.

2. San Franciscans must be the healthiest people in the world -- or at least in the US. Those fattening snacks will be washed away by the hilly streets!

3. You'll never get bored in San Francisco. NEVER. You'll only get exhausted.

4. Learn French or Swahili or Icelandic before you travel with fellow Indonesians there (make sure ALL of you master at least the basic conversation in those languages). You think you can make nasty comments about people around you in Bahasa Indonesia? Wait until you hear some of them talking back to you in Javanese.

5. LA is the most hyperbolized city. While most people might associate it with grandeur and glamour, I find it boring. Too much hype, I think. In fact, it only reminds me of Jakarta, especially after I got stuck in the worst traffic jam on the freeway! Traffic jams on freeway?????

6. Hollywood lives up to its reputation. As the movie production mecca, I mean. Faux all the way. Yeah, you can tell, I hate it. Sorry, Angelians (double apology if I just made the wrong address. How do you wish to be referred to, anyway?).


Kenapa ya "sunyi" rasanya lebih mencekam daripada "sepi"?

On the Director's Chair

Human being is a fascinating object. Especially when it comes to emotions and inner thoughts -- things not visible even under the super-accurate electric microscope. Not captured by the most technologically advanced micro-camera inserted in the neurons (if such device exists). Things that you can only -- at best -- hypothesize and make prediction thereof. Or merely assumptions, I'll say.

Often times humans remains a mystery to each 0ther. And that makes it even more exciting for them. Humans try to understand themselves, eager to be able to tell their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps it's part of humans survival efforts, an instinct inherited from generations to generations, for millions years.

Studies about human personalities are alive both with the academic level as well as an individual trait. To some people, their fascination in personalities goes to the length of seeing other human being as their object: to test, to exploit, to play with their emotions, and by that are attempting to fit the pieces into the completed jigsaw picture. For personal satisfaction.

The best example of this might be portrayed by a fictional story: Agatha Christie's book, "Hercule Poirot's Christmas". Fellow Christie's fans may remember the plot: Simeon Lee, a multimillionaire, knowing he's dying, invites all his family members "for Christmas". Nothing to do with familial sentiment, he's more interested to bring out the evil inside them. As they gather, he intentionally insults his children, brags about his illegitimate offsprings, shows off favoritism, and announces that he is changing his will. All to force them to take off their masks and reveal their true characters. Nevertheless, this is a deadly game, and in a few days Simeon Lee gets murdered.

Simeon Lee may be an extreme sample -- after all, this is a fictional character. However, it is hard to argue that there are people who like to sit on The Director's chair, create a situation, explore characters' personality and exploit them to get a certain effect. I'm not very religious, but I think there is strong reason God prohibited Earth's first couple to touch the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Lucifer had disclosed it to Eve: you will be like God. To be more precise: feel like God, without the possession of God's wisdom.

O yeah, I am not a saint. I put a large picture of a cat on my Friendster page, knowing a certain someone will get pissed off because it: it features a cat -- the ultimate animal-to-hate for her -- and it represents me -- the ultimate person-to-hate.

How tall is the Ivy tower?

"So how did it go, Mbak?" asked this girl. "Sorry, Eli and I had to go early".

"I know. Eli had told me you guys have class at six, right?"

"True true true. So?"

"Well...," I hesitated for a few seconds. "I'm kinda disappointed, actually. You see, last week the Ambassador and I had an extensive discussion with a group of high school students, in a small town of North Carolina. When I say 'small', I mean small. One hundred and fifty thousand people in habitant. They fired us with brilliant questions, all with sufficient knowledge of Indonesia. Indeed, they are Advanced Program students. But still..." *sighs*

*Chuckles* "Georgetown sucks. Don't you know that?"

"Ha! You should tell me more, girl!"

"You know what it is. Unimportant questions, sugar-coated with sophisticated vocabularies. They are incessantly depressing." (I remember Eli commented that the girl, while being among the smartest people in the program, is often very quiet.)

She and Eli are taking their master's degree in one of the best schools in international relations in the country. The school that is also famous for its wide array of high-profile alumni, and practically has become State Department's human resources department.

Moral of the story: I guess American diplomats are not that well-trained, hehehe...