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.