time to give thanks

By the way, have you ever heard or known about the following song? It’s written by Indonesian singer (Jeffry S. Tjandra, if I’m not mistaken) and is one of my favorite gospel songs because when the first time I heard it, it slapped me indeed. Oya, I have to ask you another apology of the messy translation from Bahasa to English. Please do revise them if you find them incorrect.

Seringkali kudatang Tuhan, hanya kar’na sejuta keluhan
Seringkali kulupa, Tuhan, seharusnya kudatang

Dengan segenap rindu dari lubuk hatiku
Dengan hasrat yang tulus, kar’na kucinta pada-Mu
Tak hanya memikirkan, berkat yang Kau berikan
Sungguh hanya kar’na ku mengasihiMu s’lalu

Seringkali aku berdoa, hanya kar’na tak ingin dicela
Namun kini kusadar, Tuhan, seharusnya kudatang –back to reff.–

I often come to God, just for millions complaints of mine
I often forget, God, that I should come…

With my longing and all my heart
With humbleness, because I love you
Not only thinking about all Your blessings
But only because I love You always

I often pray, since I do want to be praised
But now I understand, God, I should come –back to reff.–

Yeah, it’s true. I merely often have a long prayer if I have a problem or something to request (i.e.: a house, job, car, scholarship, etc). The bigger problem and request, the longer I pray. However, when I’m completely in great condition and everything is perfectly ok, I do forget to maintain my relationship with God. I forget to pray, I forget to read the Bible, and I forget everything related to Him. Yet, if something bad occurs, I will desperately keep asking Him why it should happen to me, why He let the unpleasant things come to me and everything. This is a very bad thing of me that I never ask why to Him when He’s giving me blessings (the similar meaning of never thanking Him) but I always ask why to Him when He seems to let me have problems (the similar meaning of always complaining Him).

Now I realize that I just simply do what psalm 100 says. Praise the Lord!
Be happy…. Smile…. Be happy…. Smile…. Be happy…. Smile….

Tuesday, 28 March 2006
04:55 pm

family picnics

Yep. The festival, indeed, had made family picnics. Every time I went there, I saw lots of them sitting on the field near the festival venue, eating food they brought and having a casual and cheery chat each other – the father, mother, and their kids, sometimes family friend(s) too.

However, it’s over already and I might not have such view as often as the time during the festivals. As a matter of fact, the family picnics have led me to realize that I would love to have one or two kids with me having a picnic. I mean, my own kids – neither nephew nor niece. This is jc’s declaration, admittedly. I had ever told most of my friends that it’s not pretty easy to have babies and kids and I’m not going to do it soon after our marriage. Now I want one, though. I don’t know why. It’s because the family picnics I had been observing during the festival, maybe. One of my friends is going to have the second birth this year, even though her first child is still learning to walk. I reckon it will be difficult both for her and her husband to have two active little kids (the first one is very cute and active!) at home. Well, I’m sure they must be well-prepared for the ‘worst’ circumstance.

Back to jc’s surprising desire to have kids, I’m wondering when God will give us one. After we go home to Indonesia? Soon? After we procure a house? After we are completely ready for everything (a house, job, mentally, spiritually, financially, etc)?

One for sure, it will be simply best for me and my hubbie to walk through His path, whenever it will take place.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006
03:22 pm

ps: I think I prefer a boy for my first kid ;D. Will God make it come true? Only goodness knows.

never ending story

Watching TV in afternoons has been my habit since I moved here. However, I’m getting bored to choke you all my complaints and gripes about how difficult I am trying to look for job. I just want to believe that soon I will get the most appropriate job in His line.

Anyway, this afternoon I unintentionally watched Oprah Winfrey Show in Channel 10. Being full enough about Commonwealth games (and Australia always won over and over, it’s nearly predictable and not fun anymore) in Channel 9, I found myself sitting in front of the TV showing The Oprah. Guess what? I will not put it down here if the topic is not pretty interesting.

This time, she invited a Greg Something (I can’t remember his complete name, too difficult), who is a co-author of the book entitled “He’s not that into you”. Again, it’s simply about complicated relationship between man and woman (the most interesting topic over the years, all the time!). An attractive woman was presented and she told that she has been five years getting along with her boyfriend. After all, she has a desire to get married with him. She is certain enough that her boyfriend loves her indeed and so does she. Their relationship has been smoothly and perfectly going on. The only problem is: her boyfriend refuses to have engaged with her. She wonders why and she cannot understand him at all.

The Greg deadly questioned her why she would love to get married if they had had a perfect relationship. What’s wrong with the relationship that she specifically wants to convert it into an uncertain relationship so-called marriage? Well, you’re correct. The Greg got the attractive woman there. No answer. No further argument. That’s understandable. If I were her, I precisely could not argue what he claimed.

Now, if I question you (those girls or women who live in Indonesia, specifically), why do you want to get married? Why do you want yourselves engaged if your current relationship with your boyfriend or fiancĂ©e or something likely is perfectly smooth? Are you, as a matter of fact, culturally controlled by your surroundings? Are you desperately insisted by your parents or grandparents or family or relatives to get married and then give them the next generation to possess their-great-family name? Are you seriously distracted with the miserable fact that all your friends got married already and haven’t you yet? Then, I am imitating the Greg’s question: what’s wrong with the relationship you’re having that you specifically want to convert your perfect current relationship into an uncertain relationship so-called marriage? Yes, of course, you live in Indonesia, a beautiful and tropical place where your life is not only spotted by people you know but also those you don’t even know – that everyone will scornfully be chitchatting on you just because you are a woman and unmarried and you have been 30+ years old already, for goodness’ sake, what’s wrong with that?

Someone once told me, that indeed, a relationship between man and woman is basically controlled by culture. The difference between the two creatures is mostly acknowledged by culture as well and a small piece of spiritualism. No, I am not blaming your culture (which is obviously also mine) and not having a pity for myself because I have been married already. I am just assuming that the man-and-woman problem will always be a massive problem for the next centuries.

So? To be continued….

Thursday, 23 March 2006
04:44 pm

commonwealth games fever

Welcome to commonwealth games…!!!!

Well, I think it’s a bit late to give welcoming to the games, since they have already started a week ago. Along with the games, there are lots of events up coming in the city. Parade. Circus. Arts. Play. Concert. Lots of them. I got dizzy to pick few of them to come. However, there were several of them I had missed and the followings are my tips for you all if you would like to come to those parties.

1. Never wake up late just the way we did on the day of Moomba Parade (the midday before the opening ceremony of the commonwealth games) being up to, because you would miss everything and you did not get anything but the last part of the parade (it was unfortunately Barongshai, which I’d ever watched before) and you won’t be the only one who’d love to come to the event; you're in fact competing with thousands people
2. Get a ladder with you only if you’re certain that you’re short enough to see the show with hundreds to thousands people after you. Otherwise, you would find yourself jumping all the time and still, you could not satisfyingly witness the great moments
If you don’t have any ladder, get prepared with drugs for your boyfriend or husband so that they are strong enough to carry you on their shoulder for a few time
3. Don’t say no to junk food; you will be thankful for the existence of McDonalds, KFC, Hungry Jacks or Subway, because you can buy your lunch or dinner, carry them with you, and rush to the events you desire to see without getting late and stomachache
4. Take the booklets of the schedule with you everywhere, though you are not planning to go to the events and stay at your campus to study; otherwise you will regret it if you change your mind not to stay at campus and go to those fascinating events (trust me, they are very tempting!!)
5. Take your camera as well wherever you go or you’ll miss anything remarkable moments (You said you can put all the splendid things in your mind? Do not lie to me. You cannot, of course, save them in your mind all the times. Your job, lessons, and another moments will soon replace them)

However, I reckon all the Australians here have got the commonwealth games fever. Most of them bought some tickets to watch the games and every time I get on the tram, I saw lots of people carrying Australian flag (S – small size, M – medium size, L – large size, and even XL – extra large), putting some colors of the flag on their faces, wearing caps and jackets with Melbourne 2006 embroidered on them, etc. There is one interesting ad I do like that says Support can make the difference. It’s true. Lots of Australians are going there, giving their support for the athletes and what they do is not of no use. Up to now, Australia has been at the first place among the other countries, followed by England (or United Kingdom) and Canada.

I am not about to go and buy the tickets, even though I’d love to, yet I think I’m in love already with the people here. This afternoon, when I was going home by tram after shopping family food in the city, there was a girl wearing a Wales-flag-colored t-shirt and a name tag on her neck, and –if I’m not mistaken reading her tag– she’s one of the athletes from the country. She was no beauty (based on women magazine). Taking a seat in the tram, a man greeted her excitedly, asking her some questions, talking to her and wishing her luck when getting off the tram. I never saw such phenomenon in Indo. Well, you know what I am trying to say, do you? You must be a very pretty girl or have an extremely good-looking to get some greetings from strangers. You must wear very nice suit that makes you look gorgeous and rich so that many eyes have a curious look at you and the owners will be wondering to how to get to know you. Here, particular individuals are highly appreciated with their skill, not appearance. Appearance is somewhat important, but definitely not in the first place.

Nevertheless, I’m still thinking that appearance is still in the top of the list in Indo; because if it is not, they won’t bother of RUU pornografi and pornoaksi.

Monday, 20 March 2006
08:10 pm

a stupid girl

After a month here doing nothing but spending money, I start to get bored. I don’t have any idea what else should I do to look for job. Many times I applied for job - many times I had to be disappointed that in fact I was waiting for nothing. I was forced to have to scarcely understand that it is not obviously that easy just to get a casual job.

Then, up to now, I decided to qualify myself. Let us take a quick look in the following:
1. I am a very stupid girl, who just accidentally graduated from English letter, but in fact I cannot do anything but be perplexed when someone speaks to me in English (and I’m afraid I’ll be forever like this)
2. I am a dreadfully lazy girl, who is hiding behind her husband and pretending to be a good housewife, though I’m not.
3. I am physically too small and short that all the employers in Australia won’t take me as their staff (gees….) coz they think I’m just an elementary student who would like to mess their company all around.
4. This is the most important thing. I am too proud to beg the employers to give me a job and money to fulfill my daily expenses (lunch at Nando’s, cappuccino at Starbucks, shopping at Myer, purchasing XBOX 360 at Harvey Norman, etc, etc…)
5. I am also too proud to ask my friends in cell-group (just the way my friends in Indo did every Tuesday evening) to pray for me who is looking for job, yet I am doing as if I am very well-thank you.

I’m not very well, thank you. Have I qualified myself, I had been actually walking around the city, preparing my resume (I printed 5 copies of them), coming in and out to any restaurant and store who stick vacancy on their display, being kicked off their place if they think I’m not qualified enough, wasting my afternoon-to-evening on the street and becoming the most sinful person in the world if spending money.

“Sorry, we need experienced waitress.”
(I am a waitress, a cook, a meal server at home! What else experience do you want, Sir?? Try me! Try me!)
“Sorry, we’re close at the moment.”
(What?? You said in your vacancy I should come after 11 am to submit my resume and it’s now 3 pm already! Am I late??)
“Just leave your resume with us then we’ll call you.”
(Why don’t you straightly say that you cannot hire me as your staff because of some reasons?? I can understand you!)
-taken from jessie's adventure on Swanston Street to Bourke Street-

In Surabaya, I got a very good job, a nice desk; I was perfectly equipped with facilities (air-conditional room, fridge, internet – which allowed me to chat with people around the world, some snacks – anytime, helpful colleagues, etc, etc), and all I needed to do was just to be creative all the times. While my friends made any complaints of their own jobs, I gave my word of thanks to Him who gave me a better job than theirs.

I suppose I am about to learn of being humble now. Gosh…. Being humble is somewhat difficult, trust me. You need a big bunch of humility and a few brave acts to prove it. I was simply trying to prove it yesterday. I threw my pride away, did what I could do and leave it to Dad. It’s not easy, though, yet I tried to.

Wednesday, 15 March 2006
09:01 pm

let's talk about love!

See 2 Corinthians 5:10-15 (The same reason with my previous sharing)

I read Daily Bread one year edition for my quiet time. And today I was given the verses, in which the writer will talk about the law of love. I reckoned it would be about to love should do this, to love should do that. In fact, there is only one word ‘love’ in it. It is impressive, however, that it’s written about Christ’s love which constraineth us. I consider ‘constraineth’ as ‘shield’.

Supposed Erwin, as my husband, when he married me, he gave me a list which contained what I must do and what I mustn’t do. For instance, at what time should I wake up in the morning and serve the breakfast, what should I do with all the dishes, when should I be ready for anything. And he said he did all those things in the name of love. Would I be happy after all? No way!

Now let’s turn our imagination into this new situation: when Erwin married me, he is full of love, and he does anything which makes me happy. What do I do? I should still wake up earlier in the morning to serve him breakfast. I should make up all the rooms cleaned. I should be ready for anything needed. They’re all in the list of ‘the bad Erwin’ above. The same question: would I be happy after all? Of course! Because of what? It’s simply because Erwin showers me with his love too, then I do all things to make him happy as well.

That is similar with Dad in heaven. He showers me with love first, then I love Him back. Many times I fell down, many times He lift me up. Many times I was away from Him, many times He called me back to His hug. He wants me to do all things He commands, but He wants me to do them with all my heart – because I have felt His love, not because those are duties.

Let me tell you a little secret that makes me ashamed of myself. Yesterday, I went to Irwandy’s house and found the latest Harry Potter in his shelf. I told Imelda if I could borrow it and I was allowed to take it home. I was so excited and at home my mind kept going to that book. Every time I see it, I just want to sit and read. I want to overlook all I should do (washing the endless dishes, cooking, serving meal, tiding up, etc). The book kept calling me on. Then, there I was definitely giving up the temptation, steadily sitting and reading the book and up to now, I’ve read 438 out of 607 pages. And I’m planning to finish it today.

Had I read the passage, I questioned myself. If I love Him, why is so difficult for me to read the Bible every day? Why is so difficult for me to have my mind on it as well as on the Harry Potter? Why is so difficult for me to plan to finish reading the Bible? Why?? When I am writing this sharing, I’m hardly struggling with myself not to touch the book. No, I am not blaming the Harry Potter book. The main problem is all about me. I mean, blimey! I could not prove my love to Him! Eerie, isn’t it?

By the way, I think our Bible has more complete stories to read, compared with the other books. It talks about love, romance, law, politics, social, leadership, history, miracle, family, financial problem, future, etc. All in one package. So?

It should not be my duty to read His words, it should be my desire to do because He has loved me and I want to love Him in return. Who’s with me? Up your hand!

- jessie -
Wednesday, 8 March 2006
09:01 pm

bush dance vs p3kmaba

Aku sama sekali tidak bermaksud membandingkannya. Sungguh! Tapi setelah beberapa kali erwin membawaku berkeliling kampusnya, mau tak mau aku sedikit membandingkannya.

Ketika aku pergi ke kampus erwin hampir dua minggu yang lalu, aku baru sadar bahwa waktu itu adalah masa orientasi mahasiswa baru. Tapi pada waktu aku datang kesana, klub-klub sedang memamerkan kebolehan mereka masing-masing. Di Petra, kau bisa membayangkan dengan Open House Unit Kegiatan Mahasiswa. Aku menonton klub break dance, girl’s dance (mereka punya nama sendiri, tapi aku tidak ingat), juggling (semacam keahlian sirkus seperti mengendarai sepeda roda satu, melemparkan beberapa bola hanya dengan dua tangan, dll) dan theater. Sangat impresif dan berbeda dengan Open House di Petra yang tiap klub-nya kebanyakan hanya diberi satu atau dua stand untuk dihias secara tematik sesuai dengan klub tersebut dan menyebarkan brosur tentang keuntungan-keuntungan yang akan didapatkan selama ikut dalam klub.

Siang itu juga, erwin mengajakku ke suatu acara, masih dalam rangkaian masa orientasi. Hanya saja, acara ini khusus didisain dan diadakan untuk international students atau overseas students. Namanya bush dance. Waktu pertama kali aku dengar namanya, kupikir aku hanya harus duduk diam dan menonton orang-orang menari. Tapi ternyata aku salah. Tiap orang yang mau mengikuti acara tersebut diberi stiker untuk nama yang ditulis sendiri. Dan masuklah aku ke aula yang luas dengan kursi berjejer-jejer melingkar, menyisakan tempat kosong yang luas dan sama sekali tak ada panggung. Aku duduk di salah satu kursi dan diam. Erwin bilang, seharusnya aku mengajak berkenalan satu atau beberapa orang atau paling tidak menyapa orang yang duduk di sebelahku. Orang yang duduk di sebelahku ini cewek yang kuduga berasal dari China, melihat ia terus ngobrol ngalor-ngidul bersama teman-temannya dengan bahasa lokal. Dan kapan aku bisa mengajaknya berbicara? Jadilah jessie menjadi seseorang yang pendiam dan pemalu sebelum acara itu dimulai.

Seseorang menyapa erwin dan mengajaknya mengobrol. Dia cewek dari Malaysia (disini kami banyak sekali bertemu dan berkenalan dengan orang-orang dari Malaysia), salah satu anggota panitia dan ketika erwin memperkenalkanku sebagai istrinya, ia hanya membelalakkan matanya yang sipit sambil berseru: “You’re kidding me? Are you married??” Disini orang menikah muda seperti kami malah dianggap aneh. Umumnya orang-orang menikah diatas dua puluh delapan atau bahkan tiga puluh.

Acara itu mulailah. Yang memimpin acara ini seorang wanita yang kemungkinan besar berwarga negara asli Australia, melihat dari logat bicaranya, yang didampingi oleh grup musik lokal yang memainkan lagu-lagu Australia. Kami diminta untuk membuat lingkaran dalam dan lingkaran luar. Kemudian kami juga diminta supaya sebelah kanan dan kirimu adalah mereka yang berlawan jenis denganmu. Jadilah aku berada di sebelah erwin dan seseorang yang tak kuingat namanya karena merupakan nama china tapi ia berasal dari Malaysia. Kami hanya berbicara sebentar, saling memperkenalkan diri dan permainan itu mulailah. Sebelum suatu tarian diajarkan, kami harus bergandengan berpasang-pasangan. Guess what, aku tidak kebagian berpasangan dengan erwin, tapi malah dengan cowok Malaysia itu. Si pemimpin acara kemudian menjelaskan aturan mainnya. Setiap pasangan akan menari berputar-putar seperti yang akan diajarkannya kemudian berganti pasangan. Terus seperti itu sesuai dengan perintah dan musik.

Seperti yang sudah bisa ditebak, aku dan erwin berpisah. Ia harus ke kiri dan aku harus ke kanan mengikuti arus. Semakin jauh dari erwin, semakin aku lupa diri. Apalagi aku bertemu dan berkenalan dengan banyak orang dari berbagai negara. Malaysia. Philippines. USA. Africa. Canada. India. Sri Lanka. China. Japan. Indonesia. Menyenangkan sekali. Cowok yang paling lama berpasangan denganku bernama Hubert. Ia dari Malaysia (again!!) dan merupakan salah satu panitia acara. Berpasangan dengan dia cukup enak karena ketika aku tidak terlalu menangkap maksud dari pemimpin acara, ia dengan sabar dan senang hati menerangkannya kembali. Ketika berpasangan dengannya, kami menarikan permainan “Good Day”. Kami harus berpelukan dengan pasangan masing-masing sambil meneriakkan “Good Day!” kemudian menari berputar-putar. Awalnya aku agak canggung berpelukan dengan seorang pemuda asing. Tapi nampaknya semua begitu menikmati permainan ini dan ketika permainan tersebut diulang, aku sudah lebih rileks. Di akhir acara, aku baru tahu kalau ternyata erwin keberatan dengan apa yang aku lakukan. Lagipula karena ia sendiri juga tidak melakukan hal yang sama yang seperti aku lakukan dengan pasangannya yang sama-sama orang Indo. Well. Kemudian kami berganti pasangan lagi. Begitu terus dengan pola permainan yang sama tapi tarian yang berbeda.

Yang paling aku suka dalam acara ini adalah suasananya. Aku sama sekali tidak merasakan suasana tertekan, canggung (kecuali pada awalnya, tapi tidak pada waktu permainan sudah dimulai) dan asing. Aku jadi ingat ketika aku menjalani masa orientasiku sebagai mahasiswi baru yang bernama p3kmaba di Petra. Disini, tidak ada aturan tentang pakaian harus berwarna putih (dengan benang putih juga) dan berbentuk kemeja, celana standard dan rok dibawah lutut, rambut yang harus dikuncir, memakai tas yang sudah ditentukan supaya tidak menimbulkan rasa iri hati karena yang satu memakai tas bermerk, sedang yang lain beli di pasar loak, rambut yang harus hitam dan tak boleh berwarna, wajib mengenakan sepatu kets dan tidak yang berhak tinggi. Disini, aku melihat berbagai macam kostum dan gaya. Ada yang mengenakan tank top, ada yang mengenakan sweater, ada yang memakai celana tiga perempat, ada yang pakai rok panjang dan pendek, ada yang hanya memakai kaos tanpa lengan. Ada juga bermacam-macam model dan warna rambut yang kuyakin sebagian besar dicat, direbonding dan dikeriting. Mereka juga memakai model sepatu dan sandal yang berbeda. Tidak melulu sepatu kets. Bahkan ada yang memakai sandal jepit. Tapi tak ada yang peduli. Seolah-olah menyadari bahwa perbedaan tidak harus disamakan, tapi tetap bisa disatukan.

Kadang-kadang aku merindukan suasana tanpa pura-pura seperti itu di Indo. Hanya itu.

- jessie -
Thursday, 2 March 2006
12:35 pm

life on the outside

Galatians 5:1-14
(I won’t put all the texts down here since I only have the bible in Bahasa with me, so you all may take a look at it by yourself. I give you another passage to read, don’t I? ;D Oh, and please highlight Gal 5:7.)

When I was leaving Indonesia, there was only one feeling and that was excitement. You know what I mean, rite, I’m gonna leave Indonesia and live in another country! That is one of my dreams! Well, I knew I would leave my family, my best-friends, all the colleagues who had always been there when I needed them. I was too excited, though.

However, I did not totally have an idea that I would be away from God Himself. He is everywhere, isn’t He? Once I got here, was going around the city, introduced to few strangers who now become my friends :D, I knew that I have forgotten something essential. Sometimes I forget to pray before I sleep or after I wake up in the morning and I often leave the quiet time that I should not forget behind.

It was Sunday, two weeks ago when Erwin took me to Swanston Street Church of Christ. I was sitting there, expecting something special from the songs and the preacher – something that would lead me to understanding that God is near me wherever I go. I was quite shocked and could not believe that honestly I had difficulty to follow the service. It was simply about language. And the songs as well, anyway. I just read the passage and interpreted them by myself and that’s it. It awfully annoyed me – as if God did not speak at all to me. Erwin said that I will soon be familiar with the system (language and songs), but I wasn’t really sure at that time. And I reckon it explained my absence in church last week.

I was certainly grateful that I have joined the Timothians group and God uses the group to push me to maintain a good relationship with Him. That’s why I got the task to read a passage and share it once a week.

Now let me tell you a strange thing which I believe it was sent by God Himself to call me back. Last weekend, I went to city with Erwin – thinking that there was a special occasion in square. Nothing’s there so we decided to just walk around until it rained and we made another decision – going home. There were two men passing on the street beside us. They wore costume, one man became Jesus with His cross and the other became one of His disciples. The ‘jesus’ gave me a card, which talks about Jesus, the way of the truth and a suggestion to always read the Holy Bible. When I accepted the card, I just read it once, kept it in my pocket coz I thought I knew it already. Not far from it, as we were waiting to cross the street, someone approached me and gave me another card with different contents but the same points. He seemed waiting for me to ask about the card but I didn’t say anything. I kept the two cards – still thinking that I am a Christian and know the truth very well.

The task and the cards, however, always stay in my mind, dunno why. They appear in front of me all the times – when I was reading all the sharings (Dilys’, Ayna’s and Paul’s), when I wore the same pant with those cards in it – all the times. Along with them, I deal with another difficulty: job search. It becomes a scary thing for me that perhaps I won’t get one at all. I simply lost my self-confidence. And I understand it was simply because I’ve been away from Him. I did not build a relationship at all with Him. Those cards were slightly for me, a Christian.

Today, I decided to take several minutes to talk to Him, to seek Him and cried coz I found out that He never leaves me even though I did. If I could build and talk and always seek Him when I was in Indonesia, why couldn’t I do them here? He understands my language, any songs that I sing and I should listen to His words not by my ears but my heart. God really gave me His words from the passage (esp. the one that I highlighted). Life on the outside is terribly hard but I know He will give me strength.

Now, I just want to say to Him: “Dad, I’m back.”

1 March 2006
10:06 pm

ps: Gosh, I’ve just realized that I’ve written long sharing. Once I talk, it’s usually difficult to stop. I hope it doesn’t burn your eyes. ;D