beginning of the second semester

Senin, 07 Agustus 2017
Monday, 7th August 2017

Mondays are tiring now.
I mentioned about taking the plant physiology course and how I was excited about it. Well, it was fun. However, the class would be from 8-11, the pract is from 1-4, on monday. By the time I finished the pract, I was worn out. Like really tired. I don't know how it could drain me so fast. Maybe because I like the course so I was concentrating hard, maybe because one of another reason like I could be mentally exhausted. Either way, this is a bad news. Three weeks into the second semester and I still haven't starting on my assignments. I have submitted the first one, it was only like 250 words of "personal expectation of what I'll learn from that one particular course". So, it wasn't really a big deal. But the coming ones are that thousands or word long, literature review, things like that. So I really have to start writing long before the deadline.
Anyway, aside from the exhaustion, the first two weeks was fine. We went to gold coast yesterday to perform angklung in an multicultural event. Gold Coast is a beautiful city. It was fun. we'll have another performance next week in Brisbane, it'll be Indonesia Independence Day celebration. I'm looking forward to it and it's a good thing that those events are in the beginning of the semester when I still have plenty of time.
I am also excited about going home at the end of this year. I know it's still like 3 months away, but I've known how time works. It flies so fast when you're busy. Before I know it, I'll be home. So I'll hang on for now and do my best.

mid year drama

Selasa, 11 Juli 2017
July 5th 2017
The result of the first semester is out today. I passed, that’s all that matter. Most of the courses I took has satisfying result, but one course result is quite disappointing. It is not that I am sad because I get bad grade, I am sad because I like the professor who teaches that course, and getting low grade for his course makes me feel like I disappoint him. Well, it’s not that he knows me and he knows I like him, and it’s not that he cares about this. But I like him and I want him to be my supervisor. I know he will still happily help me if I ask, I’m just having my confidence crumbled down right now. And the bitterest part is, I knew I could do better. But I was sooo tired on that deadline day, like dog tired. I still had some more time to fix that final assignment, but really, I had reached my limit. I couldn’t use my brain anymore. It had freeze for several times and I felt like throwing up if I force myself to stay in front of the computer and write more paragraph. So I submitted that assignment I half-assedly wrote, then now, I am filled with guilt and regret.
But still, all that matters is I pass every course. I spare myself some sanity and move on to the second semester.

Now, about second semester. I am taking the plant physiology course. Well, this is a mixed feeling of excitement and anxiety, actually. We need to understand basic chemistry to understand photosynthesis. And I suck on this subject. Biology is a little bit better. And I always loved that subject. I was thinking about taking “easier” course, but I only have to options for the compulsory courses, which are the plant physiology and water and land resource management. This water and land resources management require basic knowledge in calculus, physics, and math. So yeah, it’s a bye for me. My chemistry grade in high was barely pass, while math and physics was total nightmare. Let me tell you, math and physics are my worst fear during my high school year. I did all I could to avoid it during my undergrad, and I’ll keep doing so.
So, yeah. I need to prepare myself for the next challenge now.

reality is harsh

Rabu, 07 Juni 2017
I thought when I get my well-deserved holiday and finally become free from assignment, I’ll be happy. The reality is as not as beautiful as I thought. I am still anxious with my grade. I planned to read books to escape reality, but even simply reading is hard. I cannot concentrate, and finally, I just become the person I hated; someone who procrastinate so hard and just wasting time, space, and money.
I went to Brisbane last Monday, alone. I visited the museums which turns out to be smaller than I imagined (maybe because some of the exhibition is closed). I have tons of book from last Saturday book sale that I could read. I have internet connection, I could do literally anything I want to do. But it feels lonely. I have no one to do anything together.

Why can’t I just be happy and enjoy this moment?  

first day of holiday

Jumat, 02 Juni 2017
it's 3rd of June today.
I had been waiting for this day to come; the day after I submit all my assignments and can have a proper holiday without having to think about another assignment until the next semester. Well, it's not that I am all free from all worry, because the fear from my grade still haunt me. I think I did good enough to pass, but your know me, I can't help but having anxiety about things that yet to happen.

So today, in this cold sunny Saturday, I wish I could find something to distract my mind from thinking about grade. Because no matter how worry I get, there is nothing I can do anymore. It's all submitted, the due date is over, I can't fix and resubmit it.
I was thinking about stuff I will do in the next two months. I guess I'll start studying for the next course right after I feel refreshed, I can go to the library and read novels in the upper level, I can stroll at lake Apex and watch birds (which maybe will not be around as they migrate to north during winter), I can go to City and sit in the South Bank park and daydream, or go to theater. there's a lot I can do here, this is Australia! I didn't really explore it since I came here because classes and assignments corrupt my time.

I have to say, I was overwhelmed. In the past two months, I spent hundreds of hours in library. reading journals, writing, paraphrasing, editing, from 8.30 AM to 8.30 PM. I never worked this hard before, and yet, I still tell myself that I didn't work hard enough, didn't work smart enough. Some other people stay at the library until 4 AM! I never had something I fear so much before, something to call nightmare. But today, the nightmare is something that can come to me anytime; failing a course. I can't imagine the shame and consequences I have to bear.
I know it is not happen yet, why worry? But tell this to the people who quote things like "being worry is a wrong use of imagination", that sometimes your brain can have the mind of their own. You do not always have control over your thought, especially if you have anxiety like me.
Oh dear...

Final Week

Kamis, 18 Mei 2017
it is already the time when I cannot go out without a jacket. the average maximum temperature is about 25 degree and the minimum sometimes gets 10 degrees or lower. The real feel temperature is like 2-4 degree lower. I usually can withstand this, but I feel like my stamina is decreasing lately. I can't afford of getting sick right now, there are still a tonne of assignment to do.

It makes me think about holiday too much. The last due date of my assignments is June 2nd, and from June 3rd until probably (I haven't checked the academic calendar) last week of July is the semester break. I really can't wait for that time. I really want to relax and read some journals or books without being rushed by the deadline. I want to go cycling, make a proper phone call with my mom, bird-watching at Lake Apex, freely strolling in the city and watch street performers on Queen Street, and take nap, lots and lots of nap. But until then, I have to finish two essays, one presentation, and one project report, completed with anxiety about whether I'll pass all the course or not. I get really worried, one assignment result was absolutely disappointing. I initially wanted to get at least 6 in all courses (the 100% grade is 7), but now, I am okay with just passing. Like seriously, I am at this level of patheticness and despair. 

Okay, need to get going now. 

finally, milky way

Sabtu, 29 April 2017

29th april 2017
I am so so so tired, not physically, but mentally. I just submitted the second assignment of advanced agronomy an hour ago. If I have to see any more of the assignment file, or the turnitin link, I think I will throw up and get sick.
I spent whole day in library for that assignment. There was Mogomotsi too there, a classmate from Bostwana. I know she got a satisfying grade from the first assignment so I was kinda shocked seeing her there in the deadline day, assuming she would do well and submit the assignment long before the due date.
I went home when it’s almost 10 PM. Rizky gave me and Bandang ride home. Bandang stays at my house once every two week because he needs to go to church in Sunday morning. in the other week, the service is in Saturday and the bus is available so he doesn’t have to stay here.
The day was long, I was mentally exhausted, and I kept worrying about the result of the assignment I just submitted. But on the way home, I was excited and grateful, because I saw the milky way clearly. I finally saw it. the sky was clear, Rizky drove relatively slow, and I saw it from the backseat window. The milky way is so beautiful. Not as beautiful as in pictures but still, I saw it. I finally can cross one entry in my bucket list.
Now, almost midnight. The submission link for the advanced agronomy second assignment will be gone in an hour. Gatton is quiet. i decided I can’t keep thinking about my grade and go to sleep. I need to calm my anxiety down. I need to make peace with my assignments.

just trying to get it out of my head

Kamis, 20 April 2017
Just some random post in IG about Daniel Powter yesterday leads me to the point where I eventually search his old music video in youtube. Bad Day. It was kind of my favorite song in high school. And when the song played, I was dragged back to the past.

I can’t believe high school was ten years ago. What had happened? It’s like I entered the wormhole and come out in the other side half sober half drunk, just like people who had a wild party all night then find themselves in the next morning confused about the new fresh tattoo in their hips, even the pain from the needles are still there, and they don’t actually like the tattoo. But from that point on, they have to spend the rest of their life with that tattoo they don't realize they had.

Lucky for me, I don’t wake up with tattoo that can’t be erased. All I have is crippling anxiety that I am trying hard to handle and cure. These ten years was not so bad, it takes me to the places I wasn’t even brave enough to dream of. As the matter of fact, those were good years, and it allows me to prolong my search; what do I really want in life. Because really, I don’t know…

*I know i probably look like a big pile of mess lately. I don't even know if i have to apologize or not for being like that

daily routine

Rabu, 05 April 2017
Life moves on. And days come and go so fast when you’re busy. And this is my routine now. Go to library at 8 in the morning, then do my assignment. I’ll have class on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. After class I go back to library and stay until at least 5 PM. Sometimes it is until 8:30 PM then I will take the last bus back to Gatton. I have to say, this is somehow boring. But assignment after assignment really take my time and I am still bad at managing my time to study.

I guess I will continue my counseling with Kate, trying the best to get rid of my anxiety. I will book an appointment after Easter and midterm holiday, and I had book an appointment with the doctor in health service regarding my ankle. Things are still complicated in my head. Sometimes I feel like I am strong and I shouldn’t worry too much, the other time I feel like the things I experience is something that will blow people up so it is justified to seek for professional help. But really, the real reason is because these health service is covered by my OSHC and I want to utilize every facilities they gave me. This is something that I can’t afford before.

I have deadline for weed science essay, due to next week, 4000 words count. I guess I will skip EAC class today and just focus on that essay 

Time Heals Every Wound

Rabu, 29 Maret 2017
Gatton, 30 March 2017

It was very hard for me to write about this.

Amak (my grandma) passed away three days ago. She was not ill. I mean, she had stroke and couldn’t get up off her bed in the last 11 months, but she always said that other than her leg and left side body, she felt healthy. She ate well and gain some weight in the last months of her life. I know because I help my mom get her on the wheelchair. Then suddenly, she just left. My mom said she passed away in her sleep, around 4 AM at 27th march. My mom found out in the morning at 6 AM, when she delivered her meal and clean her up, like how she did every single day for the last 11 months. Amak’s eyes was closed. My mom thought she was sleeping. But when she touched her, she was already cold. My grandfather was already sitting in the corner of the room for a while, but he didn’t know. He had no idea that his wife was gone.

I was in the library when I read the family chat group. Really, everything was hard to comprehend. I have mixed feeling of sadness, guilt, and pity. When I left to Australia, somehow I know that it would be the last time I saw her. I knew this would happened. But when it does happen, it still overwhelmed me with shock and waves and waves of sadness. Ya Allah, she was scared. She told me she was scared. “Why can’t I remember the ayat for shalat, Dia? Has my heart been closed?” She asked me that several times. She asked me to write it down for her and teach her the trick to remember it. Then she’ll cry, keep asking will Allah forgive her sins. And I was sitting there like an idiot having no idea what to do. I was a complete idiot. People said that when someone grow old they will nag and whine a lot like a child. I thought it was natural. But even if she started to forget a lot of things, even if it is natural, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t feel fear anymore. It was the scariest moment of her life and I was oblivious of that. When sometimes I do understand about it, I do not have any idea of how to comfort her.

I will be very honest and you’re free to judge me. In the last few month, I stopped praying for Allah to cure her. I changed my prayer. I want Him to give her happiness in the last days of her life, to comfort her heart, and to forgive her sins. I don’t think she was happy, and happiness is the most important thing. Maybe this was for the best. Maybe she will be happy now. But really, I feel very guilty. How could I think of it that way?

And my mom, she was the one who take care of amak when she was ill. She cooked for her, clean her, and bathe her. I can’t imagine how it feels for her when suddenly find out that amak was not around anymore. My mom has been in hard times, but really, I am sure that she’s the one who feels the biggest loss. And I am here, far away from home. Can’t do anything but cry and pray.

It was hard for me, it still is. This is the first time I experience the loss of close family member. I don’t know how to cope with this and to be honest, I am not comfortable talking about this to people. When I am starting to get drawn in assignments, I had the first breakdown during my study here. Really, I know I will naturally survive. Time heals every wound. But until it does heal, it hurts so bad and I am not sure if I deal with it the right way. 

random small talk

Minggu, 26 Maret 2017
it was not true. the self-check counter at Coles does take 20 cent coins, i just put them in the wrong way...

anyway, after submitting my first assignment for the advanced agronomy course, the due date for integrated plant protection essay is in 5 days and the minimum (or was it the maximum?) word count is 2500 words. it is not much different from the first assignment but i'm still relax right now even if the due date is close. first, because i already have the experience submitting it in turnitin so i am already familiar with the similarity, plagiarism policy and everything, second, because the topic is waay more interesting to write. and i am already full of idea. unlike when i did the first assignment, i spent like three weeks jumping from one topic to another.
so, i am not planning to stay at the library today. i'll just go home after the class finish.

One down, hundreds to go!

Kamis, 23 Maret 2017
Congratulate me, everyone. I submitted the first assignment in my master study this morning!! yaaaayy!
okay, that's a bit exaggerating. But really, considering how confusing it was at first and how many hours I've invested in this essay, I deserve some acknowledgement, at least from myself. I kid you not, I was more thoughtful writing this essay about chili pepper and global warming than my undergraduate thesis. Ya Allah, if I had written my undergrad thesis with this level of seriousness, I would not had spent 6 years of my life in Unand. SIX FREAKING YEARS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!
it still freaks me out until now *sigh*
Oh well..
When I reread my essay, it was not as good as I thought. I mean, I am not satisfied with how it turned out to be. I still can resubmit it. The due date is tomorrow. Maybe I'll consider fixing it, or I'll just move on to the next assignment.
Since that assignment is done, this morning i decided to stay at home, do my laundry, and go shopping to town. I get a cute white shirt for 3 dollars. why is it so cheap? because it was from the red cross shop, which means it's secondhand, LOL. It's just not so easy to get rid of old habit of getting secondhand outfit, eh?
I also get some groceries from Coles. Apparently, the computers in the self-check counter don't take 20 cent coin. i have a big pile of coin at home and I keep getting more as change money when I buy something. now I can't even spend them at Coles! I swear I will never use cash again.
I had been staying at library until 8.30 PM for the past two days because of my assignment. I am planning to stay here today as well. It's time to get back to real life.

My Sanctuary: Postgrad Room.

Selasa, 21 Maret 2017
Postingan ini ditulis di ruang postgrad library UQ Gatton, saya tidak mau mas-mas Chinese disebelah saya tau apa yng saya tulis, makanya saya tulisa dalam Bahasa Indonesia.

Jadi, the University of Queensland punya tiga kampus, kampus utama dan yang terbesar ada di Saint Lucia, Brisbane. Kampus kedua ada di Gatton sini, 86 kilometer sebelah barat Brisbane, dan kampus ketiga ada di Herston, berjarak hanya beberapa kilometer dari St Lucia.
Perpustakaan UQ Gatton relative kecil. Walaupun sedang ada perluasan bangunan tapi ukurannya tetap tidak akan ada setengahnya perpustakaan di St Lucia. Ada dua lantai, lantai atas untuk bagian sirkulasi, dan lantai bawah adalah ruangan belajar. Fasilitasnya memadai dan system peminjaman buku dikomputerisasi dengan baik. Instead of kartu perpustakaan, receipt peminjaman dan pengembalian buku dikirim langsung ke email. Tidak ada batasan jumlah buku yang dipinjam, dan keterlambatan juga tidak didenda. Ada mesin fotokopi yang juga merangkap printer dan scanner yang bias dipakai oleh semua mahasiswa. Biaya print nya 0.09 dollar perlembar dan pembayaran juga dilakukan dengan online. Kita menambahkan sejumlah saldo ke dalam akun mahasiswa dan me-scan kartu mahasiswa tiap kali akan memprint.
Jadi, kalau PhD student punya kantornya sendiri di gedung fakultasnya, postgrad student punya akses 24 jam ke ruangan postgrad di lantai bawah perpustakaan. Ketika pintu utama perpustakaan masih tutup, mahasiswa postgrad bisa lewat masuk pintu belakang penggunakan kartu mahasiswa mereka yang juga berfungsi sebagai access card. Tinggal tempelkan kartu di pemindai, dan biip! Pintu terbuka. Ruangan postgrad tidak luas, mungkin hanya 5x5 meter dan hanya cukup menampung maksimal 12 orang. Anehnya, saya tiap hari ada di ruangan ini dan merasa selalu saja ada space kosong. Teman-teman yang mengambil mata kuliah yang sama memang jarang terlihat disini, but hey, artinya tempat ini lebih sepi. Dan bagi saya, lebih sepi berarti lebih baik.
Jadi, disnilah saya tiap hari, meng-occupy computer di pojok sambil mengerjakan assignment advanced agronomy yang keliatannya tidak selesai-selesai. Saya lebih suka memakai computer disini daripada laptop sendiri, karena screennya luas dan kerjanya cepat. Tidak seperti laptop asus sejuta umat yang mulai sering lemot. Laptop itu lebih sering berakhir di loker sekarang. Selain akses 24 jam, mahasiswa postgrad juga difasilitasi loker pribadi. Loker saya kebanyakan berisi print out beberapa jurnal, buku, dan tidak ketinggalan stok makanan. Ada roasted peanut untuk cemilan yang sengaja saya tinggal disini. Ada beberapa tuna kalengan dan sup instan untuk keadaan darurat. Tapi yang paling sering saya konsumsi adalah teh hijau yang saya seduh sendiri dengan air panas dari water boiler dekat pantry diluar. Di pantry itu juga ada microwave untuk memanaskan makanan. Berhubung UQ Gatton adalah kampus kecil, mahasiswanya sedikit, maka antrian di microwave waktu makan siang adalah antrian paling panjang yang pernah saya liat. Panjangnya, yaaa, sekitaran lima orang yang menunggu memanaskan makanan mereka masing-masing selama dua menit. UQ Saint Lucia punya perpustakaan yang sangat besar dan akses 24 jam untuk semua mahasiswa. Ketika kemalaman, mahasiswi juga punya layanan safety bus gratis yang mengantar mereka langsung ke pintu rumah. Sementara kalau di UQ Gatton, kemalaman sedikit artinya kamu harus menginap di kampus, kecuali kamu punya mobil. Perbedaan fasilitas ini adalah sumber iri tak berujung dan keluhan ketika ketinggalan bus. Tapi, saya harus bilang, saya suka tempat ini walaupun transportasinya amit-amit.
Bicara soal ruang postgrad yang kecil mungil ini tidak bias lepas dari membicarakan orang-orang yang ada di dalamnya. Jadi, saya punya beberapa teman yang kenal karena mengambil mata kuliah yang sama. Tapi seperti yang saya bilang tadi, mereka jarang menghabiskan waktu disini. Yang hampir selalu saya liat disini adalah Jizun, teman sesama awardee LPDP, anak Animal Science, dan segerombolan anak-anak China yang selalu berbahasa Mandarin. Something about them is mereka selalu keliatan bersama-sama. Jarang saya lihat mahasiswa Tiongkok yang sendirian, berbeda dengan saya yang practically lone ranger. Beberapa dari mereka belajar di ruangan ini, tapi saya liat ada beberapa orang yang kerjaannya cuma main game FPS. Ada dua hipotesis, mungkin mereka sangat cerdas sampai tidak perlu belajar, atau mereka simply tidak peduli dengan kuliah. Saya tidak mau yang benar yang mana tapi yang jelas saya juga iri sama mereka. How could they be so relaxed?

Sekali waktu saya pernah di pustaka sampai jam 10 malam karena ada tutorial endnote dari Mas Ady, mahasiswa Indonesia juga. Dan kehidupan malam di pustaka terasa jauh berbeda dengan keadaan siang. Well, anak-anak cina itu masih ada, ditambah dengan orang yang tidak pernah saya liat ketika siang yang membawa anjing greyhound nya ke ruangan diskusi. Sejujurnya, saya ingin sekali-sekali menginap disini. Semoga nanti kesampaian.

A Month in Gatton

Minggu, 05 Maret 2017
Second week of class. I have advanced agronomy class today at 2 pm. The professor gave us the assignment last week, I managed to pick a topic for my essay and did some reading. I need a lot more reading because the essay would be 3000 words long and I have no idea how to fill the paper. But, the most important thing is, I started to have faith in me that I can do it. the anxiety about how I’ll mess up and everything started to fade away.
So, it’s been almost a month since I moved to Gatton. In general, I have no problem settling down. Maybe that’s because I live with fellow Indonesian so it feels easier to fit in. But I have to say a little disappointment grew in me seeing how small Gatton is. This small town has only 8000 population and you can ride a bike from one end to another end of the town in like 30 minutes. The bus schedule is the most troublesome. There are only one in like 2 or 3 hours. if you miss it, you’ll have to wait for the next bus in 3 hours because there is no other option other than driving your own car. This is the thing I regret now, I didn’t learn to drive when I was in Bukittinggi. The UQ campus is around 5-6 kilometers from the house I’m staying in Gaul Street and between Gatton and UQ campus the road is a bit dangerous to ride a bike because the minimum speed is like 80 or 100 kilometer per hour (it’s the minimum speed!!)
big big big field on the way to campus

a park in town
i always love sunset

my room, after 3 days i slept there

you can only wash your car at this car wash, not at home 

Potato at Coles. they taste so freaking soft ^^

UQ campus in Gatton is smaller than the one in Saint Lucia. Comparing with Andalas university, UQ Gatton is only like combining the faculty of Agriculture and animal husbandry together. But they have waaaaay larger farm that spread out for dozens of kilometer square. And it is nice since this UQ Gatton is especially for the Faculty of Science in Agriculture and Vet. The facility is better and nicer compared with my campus in Padang. They have better system of assignment, learning resources, better system in library (well, maybe Unand’s library has get better too since the last time I use it in 2014). There’s special room for post graduate student in library and we can use the microwave to heat the lunch we bring. You need to pack your lunch from home unless you want to spend at least 8 dollars for fish and chip in campus cafeteria. For me, 8 dollar for lunch is too expensive.
I have to consider myself lucky to get invited by mbak Nurul to stay at her house. It is only like 300 metres from bus stop and it’s close to Gatton central business area. I can reach Coles, IGA, ALDI, and a lot of other shops, supermarket, and restaurant on foot. There’s an Indian restaurant, Chinese, and some fast food chain like KFC, McDonald’s, and Subway. I have to be careful tho. Not all serves halal food. but still, this is way better than the other LPDP friends. I get the cheapest rent with the best location. Other friends get a house too far from bus stop and too far from the shopping area. the other live in the campus housing, which is nice in the term that you won’t need to spend money on bus fare and won’t be late to class, but become a burden when you need to get something fast from the grocery stores.
When we came to Saint Lucia last week, we obviously envy the beautiful building and all facilities. Everything looks bigger, there’re more option, more entertainment, more everything. That’s a place where you can actually experience the life in city of the first world country. Even I won’t say no to that type of life. But the thing is, I don’t have option. I can’t get it and I won’t get it. but at least I’ll save up more money here in Gatton, LOL. The rent in Saint Lucia is almost twice my rent here. And one thing that is also better in Gatton, the Indonesian community is close knitted and we know every Indonesian here. Everyone help each other and we mingle not only with the students but also with the former Indonesian who has become citizen or permanent resident here. It’s good to have tante Vita who provide all kind of Indonesian food for reasonable price and genuine taste. And she deliver it to our houses with no extra charge.
So, after all, the life in Gatton is nice. Almost a month here and I already feel like at home. Well, my real home is not here, it’s thousands of miles back in Bukittinggi. but I’d like to try the experience like Bodhi in the 2nd Supernova book too, who has home in all over the world, who belongs nowhere so that he could say he belongs everywhere.