In the words of Fitzgerald.

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case,
too early to be whoever you want to be.
There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same,
there are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.
And I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of.
And if you find that you’re not,
I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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On Completing School.

2012 marks the year that I finally completed my studies.

It has been a long journey which began at a mere age of four when I was still such a cute little peanut.

The notion of completing college probably seems a lot bigger for me than it does for many people, simply because eight years ago, just the thought of enrolling into a good college felt rather impossible. But impossible is just a word, invented by people who are either too scared of failures they don’t even want to try or too soon to give up.

But what about men giving birth? That’s impossible.

Oh, honey. Haven’t you heard?

What about curing cancer? That’s impossible.

No, Sir, that is not. We just have not managed to find the cure. That does not mean it is impossible, it simply means that humanity needs to wait a while longer while the scientists are experimenting and doing their best to invent one.

I understand now that given enough effort and passion (and sometimes, a splash of desperation), almost nothing is impossible in this universe.

So, college.

Was it hard? Arguably. For me, though, it was. Was it the hardest thing in the world that I’ve ever gone through in my 24 years of life? Most definitely not. But it was difficult, maybe it’s also due to the fact that I was enrolled to the School of Engineering, majoring in Electrical Engineering. I mean, those resistors, capacitors, transistors, circuit designs stuff weren’t exactly very fun to me. And did I mention how one incorrect connection may result in burnt fuse, and oh what’s the smell? oh my god is it my hair? Those guys would never understand the intensity of having their hair on fire.

I did it, though, managing to score a bare minimum on most of my modules, failing  once (Integrated Electronics is the bane of my existence), and acing a few ones, so few I probably only need the fingers on my two hands tops, with some to spare for my first-class-honors mates. How do you people manage so many A’s, really?

And then I am done. On that last day of my Final Year Project presentation, I took the time to walk around my campus. Those memories. They just almost suddenly flooded my mind. Benches on the parking lot which honestly witnessed how much work I did for that Bachelor’s Degree, academic buildings, canteen, even the medical center – god knows how much antibiotics I’ve inhaled throughout my 3 years in school.

What’s weird though was the feeling that overflowed my heart as reality knocks. I completed university.

Have you ever wanted to prove someone wrong so hard, tears welled up on your eyes? That’s the kind of feeling I’d been holding in for the past 7 years since I finished secondary school.

And that one fine day, knowing that dude, I’m done proving you wrong, I realised that I actually didn’t care anymore. It did not matter to me anymore if these people know that I, the once complete failure, managed to bounce back. It didn’t even matter if anyone were proud of my accomplishment. The only thing that mattered right then was how I finally let go and forgive.

Because it finally occurred to me that the one person I’d been holding grudges and blaming on is me. That 15-year-old me who screwed everything up. I made peace with her, in fact I thanked her, because she made me to be who I am today – tough and persistent. Most importantly though, she taught me to not take life too seriously, to understand that it is human to mess up once in a while. I need that failure to keep both of my feet on the ground while holding my head high, knowing that from here onward, nothing – not even myself – will be able to stop me from doing my best.

Thank you, 15-year-old me. You took one for the both of us.

The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee.

My favorite professor in school shared this story with us today.

A professor is standing in a class full of his students. He brought along with him a few items and placed them on the table.

Towards the end of his lecture, he picks up an empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls. Then, he asks his students, “Guys, do you think this jar is now full?”

All the students reply, “Yes!”

He then proceeds to pick up a few tiny pebbles and without emptying the jar fills the empty spaces with as much pebbles as he can. He again asks his students the same question. And they all agree that the jar is full. Even fuller than before, of course.

Now, he pickes up a bag of fine sands and fill up that jar again until it almost fully covers the entire jar. After the same question asked, his students reply that the jar is now completely and entirely full.

Suddenly, the professor picks up two cups of coffee and pour them into the jar, filling the last of the remaining spaces. The students smile and agree that the jar is full.

And then, finally, the professor speaks,

“You see this jar can be used to represent your life. The golf balls are the most important things in  your life, and they should be made priorities. They are the representatives of your family, your friends, and your loved ones. The pebbles and the sands are all the small stuff that you shouldn’t sweat too much over – your job, your house, your car. As you yourself have agreed, that even without the pebbles and the sand, you life would still be full.”

One student, then mentions, “Then what is the coffee for, Prof?”

He smiles and replies, “I’m glad you asked, the coffee is here to tell you that no matter how full your life is and how busy your days are, there should always be time for a cup of coffee with a friend. So, when the time is hard, and you feel that you have too much to handle and 24hours a day is simply not enough, just remember this Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee.”

Day 04: Your Biggest Fear.

My biggest fear in life is, without a single freaking doubt, confined spaces. That’s right, I am claustrophobic. A crazy one at that.

I have never really told anyone about this phobia before and I always tried to keep my cool whenever I am put in such situations. For example, when I am in an elevator. Holy gracious Lord, that is like a vertically-shaped casket for me. I mean, whenever possible, I always try to avoid lifts. But of course, sometimes when I am out with a group of friends (even worse, new friends), I can’t simply tell them that I prefer taking the escalator because I am scared just to be inside the lift. Umm, no. I’d rather learn to conquer my fear and keep my friends. Not the other way around.

But then again, it’s pretty normal for a claustrophobic to be scared of the almighty elevators.

What I can’t comprehend is you know when sometimes you’re taking the train and it goes underground? And sometimes during peak hours, the train stops in between two stations because otherwise there will be huge collisions among the trains? Yeah, during that one-minute stop (at most) I get jittery and fidgety as if I just missed my dosage of Vicodin (not that I am taking any, relax!). I mean, what if all of a sudden the train shrinks? WHAT IF THAT HAPPENS? I will be stuck there, squashed between gazillions of people and I can’t escape. Just the thought of it gives me goosebumps.

That’s also one of the many reasons why I love bus-rides. If, heaven forbids, it shrinks, I can break the window, and tadaaa, out I am.

I know, don’t you just love how weird I am? Dillon loves it. Go ask him. But don’t mention anything about heights or altitudes or anything higher than a hundred feet above the ground. (Hello boyfriend! :D)

Day 03: Your Definition of Love.

To me, Love is..

  • giving up that last bite of your favorite pancake to your sibling.
  • saying sorry not because you are wrong, but because you don’t want the fight to go on.
  • not about saying ‘I love you’ every single seconds of your day.
  • an ability to compromise.
  • traveling forty-five minutes  to your girlfriend’s house at 6am in the morning, just because you know she can’t carry all those heavy luggage by herself even though she has refused your help.
  • wolfing down a simple meal that your partner makes and mid-eating mentions, “Ooh, this is nice! I’m not gonna let you cook for any other guys.”
  • respecting the differences and staying curious about your partner’s interest.
  • working your life away just so that you can send your kids to good school, although deep inside all you ever want is a Harley Davidson Motorcycle.
  • about giving some space and a chance to miss each other.
  • making out like when you first met, and understanding like a couple who’s been together for eternity.
  • insisting a warm tight hug although he doesn’t respond, just because you know that he needs it and it is going to make him a whole lot better.
  • all about giving in, but not about giving up your rights.
  • letting go off your children when they are ready, not when you are.
  • giving each other chance to explore their dreams, no matter how far away they need to go.
  • forgiving.
  • ordering a Caramel Frappuccino instead of your favorite Vanilla Latte just ’cause you know we are sharing. (and guess who’s obsessed with Caramel)
  • laughing over the stupidest mistake and the lamest jokes.
  • never judging.
  • and above all else, love is one thing that I will always believe in.

Day 02: Your Childhood.

My parents met when they were working together in the same company in their early twenties. They got married when my mom was barely 23, and my dad was 28. I am not too sure if they actually planned to have a baby so soon, but a year later, a baby popped out, and oops, what were they supposed to do with the baby?

When I was born, my parents were in a very difficult situation financially. They almost could never afford to get a powdered milk for me because it was just so dang expensive. Thank God for breast milk. And there was one time when I was out with my parents, I got so thirsty and my mom refused to breastfeed me in public (seriously now, mom?), they decided to purchase a pre-packaged tea in a box (think Juice Box), Teh Kotak, and in my head I was like, “Dude, where’s my boobies of milk?” but I was so so thirsty that the moment my dad handed me that Tea Box, I sipped it right out of a straw. That’s right, I instantly knew how to maneuver my way through a straw when I was barely six months.

I was milk-deprived because only a year after, a skinhead fatty decided to pop out and dominate the milk supply (Hello Brother!). Come to think of it, maybe the Universe decided to return me a favor and granted me with, well, a pretty decent set of breasts. Hey-O!

My childhood wasn’t all that great but it could have been worse, so I am not complaining. Like I’ve mentioned before I was pretty tomboy because I always hung out with my brother and my cousin playing fake swords and such. However, I also have a slight memory that I used to go out and play with my neighbors. Ooh, didn’t they own some cool toys! They were lovely enough to let me play with their cooking set, or rock their Barbie Dolls, or when toys got boring we played hide-and-seek. That’s also one of the things I miss about my generation’s childhood. We went out to play, we ran around, we hid-and-sought, we played catch (oh wait, that’s the dogs not me), we played Tak Jongkok Tak Patung. Ahh.. Weren’t we so so lucky? (: I am not trying to compare, but I can’t help to feel sorry for this generation of Blackberry and Facebook and Wii and Nintendo DS and Twitter. Well, maybe they’ll reverse it back and play hide-and-seek when they are twenty-five.

Academically speaking, not to toot my own horn, but I was quite smart. And my social life was so much better than it is now. I am not saying that I am an introvert or an anti-social now, but when I was young, I could befriend anyone. Literally. I even befriended the school janitor and I was involved in many activities in school. Girl Scouts, Choir, Girl Brigades, Drama Club, Traditional dance Club, and many more. I am not sure what happened along the way that I’ve become like this. Oh wait, I know what happened, I grew up. And it sucked. For the most part.

But at the very least, I have memories of my endearing childhood, and nothing or no one could ever take that away from me (:

Day 01: Introduce Yourself

Hi, my name is Alga and I am not a drug-addict. I have recently just turned 23. I am currently a third year Engineering student at a local university in Singapore. I was born and raised in Indonesia until I was fifteen when I my parents decided to send me here for a better education.

I am pretty much like any other girls/women you see on the streets, except that sometimes when I am around certain groups of people, my behavior becomes completely out of the world. Imagine chicken dance as I am crossing the road? Ooh yeah, I’ve crossed that off my Things To Do Before I Die list. Another thing about me is that I don’t particularly enjoy shopping. I shop like how men do. I don’t compare prices, if I am looking for a pair of shoes, I get into a store, try on the first pair I touch, it fits, I proceed to the cashier. Hell, I am more interested in that two-scoops of Gelato at Market Street than a gorgeous dress.

I am a huge, huge food-lover. My boyfriend can testify to this fact. He always tells me that he likes to feed me because when I am presented with good food, my eyes light up as if I have just been given a cheque with nine zeros following a number. And in USD, not Rupiah. That’s how much I love food. My favorite food would be, this is difficult but if I really have to choose, Sushi. Oooh, I can eat sushi all day everyday, and finish off every morsels of Salmon Sashimi that’s delivered to me. Too bad, my wallet doesn’t really get a long well with Sushi.

In case you are wondering why I am introducing myself in the middle of a two-year-old blog, I am currently embarking on this 30Days Get To Know Me project. Honestly though, my main purpose of doing this is so that this blog won’t go dead like the rest of its’ predecessors and I have a topic to write about because nothing calms me like writing does.

So, here I go.