My Big Brave Baby Boy

To be in a new place is always challenging for him.

It took him a couple of weeks until he can be dropped at school without any drama or crying. He was not talking to friends and teachers until the second term started. Now, after almost a year, he likes being at school playing with friends, he often leaves the school one hour after the school time is finished. He is very close to his friends, he is very attached to his kinder. “I am gonna miss my kinder”, he said many times lately.

Soon, he will move to a new school. He will spend time with new friends and new teachers. He was always nervous in every orientation activity. Today, he was quietly crying once entering the room full of new people, even though I was with him. Only after a while he stopped crying and got the courage to let me go from his side. Teachers and older kids were approaching, trying to comfort him, but he just got more nervous and when he could not stand it, he was crying again.

I was watching from the other side of the room and I was so proud. He managed to deal with his fear and he did not run to his mom. He cried, he did not eat his lunch, he did not talk to people, but he was staying and involved in the activity, eventually. He went out with all the children for bear hunting, without even looking at me. At the end of the session, he returned to the room accompanied by one older kid, and he was smiling.

I am proud of him, not for being easy, but for being brave

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— Facebook, 25 November 2015

Zaidan, Izza, dan Musa

Musa: “Aku sama Zaidan!”

Izza: “Kata siapa?! Aku sama Zaidan!”

Teacher: “Udah, Zaidan sama Rara aja”.

Dulu, saya kira Zaidan akan jadi anak pemalu dan pendiam di sekolah. Saya sempat berpikir, “Gimana ya nanti Zaidan kalo udah sekolah, punya temen ga ya?”. Ternyata, selama kinder dan prep di Clayton, sampai sekarang TK B di Depok, Zaidan justru jadi salah satu anggota tim rusuh di kelasnya. Termasuk gerombolan yang tidak bisa diam dan banyak mengobrol. Bisa main dengan siapa saja, tapi selalu punya teman dekat.

Pulang sekolah saat baru kembali dari Langkawi, Zaidan bercerita, “Mah, tadi waktu Zaidan baru masuk kelas, temen-temen pada hug Zaidan, they said they miss me“.

Melihat bagaimana Zaidan begitu disayang teman-temannya, adem rasanya hati ini ­čÖé

— Instagram, 24 Maret 2017

Dosen Bertato

Salah satu mata kuliah yang saya ambil semester ini judulnya “Terrorism, fringe politics, and extremist violence”.

Hampir setiap mengajar, dosennya, yang titelnya adalah Associate Professor, berpenampilan santai dengan kaos oblong, celana jeans, dan sepatu kets. Di kedua tangannya ada beberapa tato yang ukurannya lumayan besar, bisa terlihat dari jarak agak jauh.

Selama lima minggu perkuliahan ini, Islam banyak disebut dan dibahas kaitannya dengan radikalisme, terorisme, Islamisme, Jihadisme, dan lainnya. Kutipan ayat-ayat Alquran dan hadis juga banyak disampaikan di kelas, dengan fasih. Semua pembahasan selalu berujung pada kesimpulan bahwa tidak ada yang salah dengan ajaran Islam, tetapi interpretasi para radikal dan teroris yang tebang pilih-lah yang salah, ditambah dengan banyak faktor lainnya yang sebenarnya tidak ada kaitannya dengan agama. Intinya, Islam itu damai dan humane.

Beberapa kali saya kagum. Kok fasih banget ya ini dosen menyampaikan ajaran Islam. Ada juga hal-hal yang dia sampaikan, saya baru tahu. Saya jadi malu sendiri, belum banyak belajar ilmu agama.

Barusan saya tahu, ternyata dosen ini seorang muslim. Kalau ketemu dengan orang seperti dia di jalan, baju santai dan tato banyak, tidak akan pernah menyangka kalau dia seorang muslim, akademisi, doktor pula

Satu pengalaman lagi, dari sekian banyak pengalaman selama di Australia, jangan pernah menilai orang hanya dengan melihat penampilan luarnya

— Facebook, 7 April 2016

Sweet Little Surprises from Him

Beberapa minggu lalu, telat men-submit tugas pertama salah satu mata kuliah selama beberapa jam. Walau sadar bahwa konsekuensinya tugas itu tidak akan dinilai dan harus menulis tugas berikutnya sebanyak 7000 dan bukan 5000 kata, saya keukeuh submit karena sudah terlanjur membaca banyak bahan dan memang tertarik dan ingin menulis tentang topik itu.

Beberapa hari kemudian, bapak mamah datang untuk liburan selama tiga minggu. Deadline untuk essay 7000 kata tadi dan essay mata kuliah lain sebanyak 5000 kata, saling berdekatan, dan hanya selang satu dan tiga hari sejak tanggal bapak dan mamah akan pulang ke Indonesia. Produktivitas menurun karena tidak tega membiarkan bapak mamah hanya di rumah tanpa diajak jalan-jalan. Berdoa saja, semoga diberi kelancaran waktu menulis.

Beberapa hari sebelum deadline 7000 kata, ada email dari dosennya yang mengabarkan kalau deadline diundur sampai seminggu kemudian. ALHAMDULILLAH (yang pertama).

Bapak dan mamah pulang, kembali fokus ke dua tugas besar itu. 5000 kata harus di-submit sebelum jam 5 sore hari Senin, dan 7000 kata harus di-submit sebelum jam 5 sore hari Jumat. Bolak-balik antara membaca bahan untuk 5000 dan 7000 kata, saya akhirnya dahulukan menulis tugas 5000 kata.

Di tengah proses menulis 5000 kata, datang email dari dosen 7000 kata, melampirkan laporan untuk tugas pertama saya yang telat di-submit beberapa minggu lalu itu. Tugas saya diberi nilai dan feedback yang rinci. Tidak sempurna, tapi hasilnya cukup membuat saya senyum-senyum. Tugas pertama dinilai, berarti tugas ke-dua tidak perlu menulis sebanyak 7000, cukup 5000 kata. ALHAMDULILLAH (yang ke-dua).

Proses menulis 5000 kata berlanjut, dengan kecepatan yang tidak ngebut karena saya sulit menghilangkan sifat perfeksionis saya. Inginnya setiap kata dan kalimat benar-benar dipikirkan sebelum ditulis. Sampai akhirnya waktu tinggal kurang dari dua belas jam sebelum deadline, saya putuskan untuk menambah kecepatan. Mana bisa perfect kalau waktunya mepet.

Sebelum mulai dengan kecepatan baru, saya cek apakah sudah ada link untuk men-submit tugas ini. Link sudah ada, dan ternyata deadline tidak jadi jam 5 sore, tapi jam 23.59. ALHAMDULILLAH (yang ke-tiga).

Seriiiiiinnnggg sekali saya mendapat kejutan-kejutan seperti ini. Dia kasih jalan dan kemudahan, dan bukan hanya untuk urusan kuliah. Kalau sudah begini, malu rasanya kalau ingat masih suka menunda lapor diri pada-Nya. Baiklah, sekarang, mari lanjut menulis…

*ini berapa kata yak?

— Facebook, 8 Mei 2016

Chasing Asylum

Depressing. Watching it, I was crying, at heart. But then literally, at the end of the movie.

It was showing the condition of the asylum seekers in Manus Island, in Nauru, and in Cisarua, Indonesia, where I worked for almost two years. Had a chance to meet many asylum seekers and talked to them when I was in Cisarua, I didn’t realize back then how depressing their situation was. Maybe because I was too busy to just get things done. Watching it in a film, was totally different.

I have been wondering since nine years ago when I started working for the organization, and I am getting even more wondering now. Will there be any chance, that the Australian Government will change their attitudes and policy towards asylum seekers? Is there anything the Australian people can do to push their government? I was surprised to see, so many Australians are interested in this issue, they came to watch the film, the theatre was full. But after that, once they left the theatre, what will happen?

There are millions of academic journal articles and other writings related to this topic. There have been many discussions on this. I, myself, am now doing the Human Rights unit where one of the topics is about the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. But what will those things do for the betterment of asylum seekers, real people, out there?

Can talking, studying, and discussing human rights, really mean something?

— Facebook, 16 Mei 2016

Ninja Turtles and “Student of the Week” Award

Last week, every student in Zaidan’s class, had to do a presentation. “Places” is the theme. Zaidan was scheduled to present on Thursday.

“Augustine told us about Ghana Mah, he said there’s a king there”, Zaidan told me while we were having dinner on Wednesday night. “So you must tell something about Indonesia then”, I replied. “But I don’t know anything about Indonesia. I will just tell my friends about Ninja Turtles”, he insisted to do his own topic and prepared the properties himself ­čÖł

“So how was it? What did you tell your friends?”, I asked him once he got home on Thursday. “Nothing. I wasn’t ready so I didn’t do it. I want to draw all of the Ninja Turtles so my friends can see all of them”, Zaidan told me ­čś▒“But why didn’t you do it? Who said that you weren’t ready? Did Jenny tell you to draw the Ninja Turtles?”. “No. It’s just me. I have everything in my brain. I want Ninja Turtles pictures now”. Yeah whatever. “I think I want to tell about Grug too Mah”, he added. He made me speechless.

“Are you ok, he’s going to tell random stories?”, his dad asked me, while Zaidan was preparing all the properties; Ninja Turtles picture, his photo in a Japanese traditional cloth, Grug book from his kinder, and some photos of him with Grug. I didn’t have the energy to make him do what other students have done.

“Good morning, so this is Ninja Turtles. Finish!”, that was him practicing as we requested. “What do you mean? You should tell your friends the Ninja Turtles names, how they became Ninja Turtles…”, etc etc I gave him an example of how a presentation should be done. He wasn’t listening. At least that’s what I thought. I wasn’t sure how he will present. I wasn’t sure if he can do it. I wasn’t sure he will have the courage to speak in front of the class.

But yesterday, he received this Student of the Week Award, for his presentation.

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This is not the first time, me being judgmental towards my own son…

— Facebook, 16 Mei 2016

Kumpulan Tulisan

Dulu, saya pernah berniat ingin konsisten menulis di blog ini. Bukan, bukan tulisan serius. Hanya tulisan tentang pengalaman-pengalaman yang bisa saya baca dan ingat lagi, dan tidak ada salahnya juga kalau dibaca orang lain. Juga tulisan tentang berbagai hal; hal yang saya pertanyakan, hal yang saya setujui, dan hal yang tidak saya setujui.

Sayangnya niat hanya tinggal niat. Seperti pernah saya singgung di tulisan sebelumnya, sering saya tidak jadi menulis di blog karena terlalu lama memikirkan apa kalimat pertama yang sebaiknya ditulis. Ujung-ujungnya, saya malah lebih sering menulis di Facebook, dan belakangan setelah menghapus aplikasi itu dari telepon pintar saya, Instagram menjadi satu-satunya tempat saya bercerita.

Beberapa waktu lalu, seorang teman berkomentar di salah satu cerita saya di Instagram dan komentarnya itu mengingatkan saya akan banyak cerita yang pernah saya bagi di beberapa akun media sosial saya. Sekarang, saya jadi ingin mengumpulkan cerita-cerita itu, di sini. Semoga setelah itu, atau justru di sela-sela melakukan itu, saya juga bisa membuat tulisan-tulisan baru di blog ini. Semoga,  pada akhirnya, saya bisa terus menulis.

Baiklah, mari mulai mengumpulkan tulisan…