A Little Honey For My Heart

Just your untypical youth, in so many words. Content unrestricted.

Don’t forget that i loved you

AHKONG IG

So today the inevitable happened and my grandfather passed away. Here are my thoughts and activities in no specific order:

  • It wasn’t a surprise because he’s been sick since December but what was shocking for me was how soon it happened. I never imagined that i’d be letting go of him so suddenly. I guess because my family has always been of the dramatic kind, i just assumed that they were creating some false sense of urgency to get the rest of us all stirred up in case we weren’t already.
  • He passed away this afternoon around 2pm after slipping in and out of consciousness since 1am the night before.
  • Apparently, he died when none of us were by his side. My aunt and my cousins were downstairs having lunch, my grandmother was waiting outside because the nurses were changing his bed, my mum was picking up the children and my dad went out for a while. And so during the few minutes that he was left alone, he decided to leave for good.
  • I didn’t get to say goodbye to him at all. Not when i left for Jakarta, not when i got here, not when he was on his deathbed, nothing. When i was leaving, he’d already gone to sleep because he was getting weaker and weaker. And i’ve tried calling home a few times but everyone told me it was no use because he couldn’t hear or respond to me anyway.
  • He got baptized a few weeks before he passed away which is great and i wrote about it here.
  • The biggest dilemma is whether i should go back or not in which most people, including my parents, aunts and grandmother and friends, told me i didn’t have to because well, i’m kinda broke, it would involve having to go to the immigration to make a new visa all over again, taking more time off my internship in which i only have one month left of anyway. Anyway…it wouldn’t make a difference…he’s already gone.
  • But then again, it’s not like i or any of my family members thought to get me back home while he was still sick in the hospital. I guess we were all pushing the envelope in a way. Selfishly hoping that he’d hold on a little bit longer.
  • My auntie texted the family group chat and told us that she found my grandmother crying in the room facing my grandfather’s side of the bed and that she can’t sleep.
  • I called my grandmother this evening and it was probably the first time i ever heard her crying. It made her seem so young and fragile all of a sudden. But then again she’s always been energetic and feisty. She told me she was scared that she would be left on her own if my auntie ever left to get married because it always used to be her, my auntie and my grandfather. I told her she had her grandchildren and that we’d all do our best to always be by her side.
  • My father has been crying himself to sleep according to my mum who has been trying to soothe him. He thinks that he didn’t do enough for his father while he was alive but i fucking beg to differ. My father has done all that he can and still is, while all everyone else is doing is giving shitty excuses about how they’re all suddenly poor as fuck. Fuck them.
  • My dad has been shivering and telling my mum that he feels cold and he believes that it’s because my grandfather is feeling cold as well. My superstitious theory is that it’s because my grandfather hasn’t been buried yet and he’s stuck in the morgue probably in a freezer of some sort. My mum thinks that it’s a good sign that he’s feeling cold instead of hot because in the afterlife, the last thing you want to feel is hot. Do you get what i’m getting at-
  • My boyfriend has been active all day everyday, in charge of making the slideshow for the funeral, buying food and drinks, distracting my younger siblings and whatnot. He’s the best. He makes a better grandson-in-law than i ever was as a granddaughter. I was Skyping with him just an hour ago and he kept tearing up and getting emotional. My grandfather liked him a lot and vice versa. What’s there not to like? He’s a model boyfriend.
  • The caption on my instagram post says,

    “It’s a weird thing when someone you love passes away when you’re overseas. You don’t know to stay or to go. To cry happy tears bcs they’re finally put out of their pain or to cry sad tears bcs you’ll never come home to them watering the plants or washing all the cars in the garage again. But either way tears are unavoidable. I wasn’t the best granddaughter growing up but i will never forget my kind, patient and generous ahkong who never scolded me, not once not even when i “ran away” from home at 13 and decided to camp out on their couch (f.y.i. they live downstairs), not when i came back at 3am and forgot to lock the doors, not even when i wasn’t in Brunei to take care of him when he first got sick in December. I’ll never forget how he used to surprise me by washing my car, how i could count on him to be sitting downstairs in his favourite seat watching his tv shows, how he used to try and wait for me to come home every night. Thank you for being the silent stable presence in my life. I hope you’re free of pain up there and may you be shown the kindness and gentleness you always showed to everyone when you were still here. I love you. Be assured that your future generations will remember you and love you as you were.”

  • I wish i was back for his funeral and that i could read my eulogy for him. But i’m not. And i don’t know what to do.
  • My biggest regret is not being nice enough to my grandfather. I was always polite but i always found way to show my displeasure at something. Small yet distinct ways to make it clear. I wish i had been a better granddaughter to him and that i had hugged him more and said i love you to him. I wish that i had been more comfortable with him and allowed myself to love him more. I wish i had thought about him more. I wish that he knew how much i actually loved him. He’s probably my favourite grandparent out of all.

I was on the phone all day and i had sobbed and howled for hours because my mum told me to leave him a voice message that she could play to him but she never got the chance to anyway. But i decided to pull myself together and to go to work anyway because what the hell else was i supposed to do at home? What good would i be doing for myself and my grandfather by moping around in my room and sobbing in bed, feeling sorry for myself and my family? So i went anyway and by evening i was practically back to myself and laughing at jokes, running around looking for scripts and collecting walkie talkies and handing out programme rundowns. And then i asked myself, am i really feeling that much better already? Shouldn’t i be feeling sadder than this? Shouldn’t i still be grieving? And yet if i’m really that okay, why do i feel such a literal heaviness in my chest? Such a weighty rock just pulling down in my middle, unlike any lump in throat that i’ve ever had.

And that’s when i realized that while i was conditioned with an impeccable coping mechanism which enables/forces me to get back up and running as soon as humanly possible, it also very much conflicted with my feelings that told me that i needed much more time than that. And conflicted i definitely was. A part of me had convinced myself that i was feeling so much better that i had actually begun to believe it. And yet another part was telling me that i was being disrespectful and not caring enough by moving on so fast. I was and am sad but it seems like my mind just won’t let me be. I’m not sure to be grateful or not.

That’s all.

Rest in peace, ah kong. Always and forever yours

Love, Yenyen

Backhanded everything all day everyday

I am so grateful for everything that i have now. I may be broke (just for the moment because of um…bad judgments and poor financial management), i may be alone with no family in this big, scary, exciting place, i may be lonely at times because my friends are scattered all around the world, i may be working long, tiring hours all day five days a week, i may not be able to eat pizza and drink my favourite bubble tea whenever the need overcomes me…but i am here.

I am here in the greatest city in the world (at least in my heart and mind it is), living, breathing, loving, working here in Jakarta. There may be greater cities out there and people may argue that i’ve only seen a tiny fraction of the world to say something as conclusive as that but i know deep down inside that i could be watching all the best fashion shows in New York and i could be eating the most amazing pizzas and pastas in Rome (both of which i hope to stay in for at least a few months in this lifetime) and yet i would still feel a tug on my heartstrings every time my thoughts linger back to the place that holds some of my very best memories and feelings of my life.

I feel hope here, i feel safe (ironically), i feel happy, i feel lucky, i feel satisfied here. For the first time, i feel like i don’t have to be so…me here. Like, of course there’s still the essence of me and i still act on all the things that make me me but there’s also the feeling of being free to act however i want without having any preconceived notions or expectations from my surroundings of how i was and who i was to hold me back.

And when i think of home…all i see is darkness with pinpricks of light shining through tiny holes such as my friends…my siblings…my friends…my car…some food…my room (but even then i’ve made an entire home for myself here so that doesn’t really hold that much weight anymore). Of course, my boyfriend, like do i even have to mention him because that goes without saying. But when i think of family, that darkness turns into a deep, dark, pulsating red with a life of its own and it just blurs everything out. My parents recently created this group chat with all of my aunts and uncles and my older cousins entitled “Grandfather updates” in which they constantly send pictures of my grandfather in the full bloom of his cancer at the hospital, sleeping etc. and squabble over who should pay what and who should take care of who and when. It’s a delight. It really fucking is. If heaven isn’t waking up to uncles and aunties typing in caps over who they think contributes less in this whole tiresome process, then WHEW i don’t know what is. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for this aspect of my life. It’s just a black hollow that threatens to swallow me up whole if i immerse myself in it under the pretense of being “a family person”.

Tonight i asked my boyfriend Demitri if he would consider a common-law marriage…as in just moving in with each other without the pressure of marriage or having kids or all that icky financial stuff to mess things up. Like, wouldn’t that be so hip of us though? We’d be like the Indonesian and Bruneian version of the Maddens. He’ll be the movie director and i’ll be the magazine editor. It would be so artsy. But really, can you blame me for shunning the idea of making my own family when the one i was born into has yet to loosen its grip on my throat?

Lol this post is everywhere which reflects my mood pretty well. Tomorrow is another day– well technically later since it’s already 3am– and as lazy as i am to walk to the office, i shall embrace it with full hearted vigour and be grateful for everything and to accept all that happens as yet another component to this experience of being here. Thank you, God. Thank you, life. Thank you, Jakarta. Thank you, Demitri, for being the bridge that led my soul to this beautiful place i cannot wait to call my home.

The smallest things can trigger big reactions

So tonight is just one of those nights that i’m not okay with going home alone on a Friday night. I mean i’m obviously not looking to bring anyone home with me that way but at the same time, it would be great if i had somewhere to be. I don’t claim to have depression but as a living and breathing human being who is on her period and feeling especially hormonal, sometimes just the smallest things put together in a concession can feel like a great, big “fuck you” from the universe. Usually on Fridays, we get off work pretty early (which f.y.i. is 7pm) and usually i’m okay with going straight home, especially with the traffic and what not. But when i hear colleagues making plans on where to go after work and i’m not invited, obviously i’m bound to feel just a bit shitty. I get that i’m only an intern but when you feel like you get along with your colleagues as well as i do, of course at some point, being a foreigner and all alone in a big city, you eventually hope to bring that workplace banter and friendship to another level. But perhaps in their heads i’m still a foreigner and i’m only a temp so there’s no point in getting too close. Idk

Then to add to it, as i pack up amidst the excited chatter, i dial my boyfriend’s number and he doesn’t pick up until the third try. I mean it’s obviously not his fault, i don’t expect him to be at my every beck and call but it just added to the whole thing. And like to make things worse, when he picked up he was all pissy because his battery was only 3% and he really wanted to eat and he’d had a bad day so that was that and i left him to it. I walk out to the main road, as usual traffic is in full swing and none of the cabs want to take me home eventhough it’s literally a 7 minute drive to my place. Walking takes 15 minutes but the road is really scary at night and my feet hurt like fuck in my new boots so that’s not really an option. After about 4 tries it’s getting quite embarrassing and really upsetting for me and i’m just about to burst into tears (like i’m already hormonal as fuck. Come on, world).

I eventually find a cab that wants to take me home and still feeling like crap, i text some of the other Bruneian interns and woah. The shittiness is overwhelming. It’s none of their faults, obviously, like i can’t stress this enough but at times like these, it really does feel like everyone is out and about without me. One of them is on a road trip with her colleagues on the way to another city. The other two are out at a mall having dinner and desserts together and i wasn’t invited because duh, i usually end work at 10pm so they thought i was still working. So yeay

Update: Right while i was typing this ^ paragraph, i decided to do some damage control and instead of laying it all on my boyfriend (whose birthday is tomorrow) as usual, instead i reached out to someone else who means just as much to me and listens just as well, if not better. We ended up talking for hours on end on Skype and it’s currently 5am right now and words cannot describe how much more elevated i feel. Other than the crazy period cramps i’m going through right now, it’s amazing what talking to the right person can do. Thank you, bb <3

I’m going to do my best to never feel like this again.

P.s. I usually proofread my posts before posting it up but i don’t feel like reliving the whole ordeal so soon. So please excuse any grammatical mistakes and errors throughout the post! That’s all.

Updates from Jak City #4: The Carrie Diarrheas

So i’ve been stuck at home for the past two days with some mild food poisoning from an overly rare steak that i ordered from The Holy Cow @Steak Hotel on Sunday. While having the runs isn’t the most pleasant of experiences, i have to say that having some me time for myself was exactly what i needed after the past few weeks. Sure, the weekend had barely ended before i started feeling all crampy but during my weekends, i’m always so busy overcompensating for my busy week (um i’ve probably said this a million billion times but i work from 12-10pm five days a week. STILL NOT OVER IT) that most of my weekends are spent going out and about rather than recuperating because i’m just so sick of feeling like i’m missing out. 

I obviously feel guilty from missing out on work. Most people tell me not to since i’m only an intern and i don’t get paid by the company anyway but that’s the thing. Some of my fellow interns feel like the host company is indebted to them since they’re working for free rather than the other way round and so they feel comfortable with liberally taking days off. I, on the other hand, feel otherwise because i remember how hard it was just to get the company to review my application and how stressed out i was during the whole process. Not every company has time for that.

And yet i also do feel the indignance of being asked to do something that i feel isn’t in my field or is out of my league or isn’t appropriate for my position. I guess i don’t mind being asked to do menial jobs (sometimes on a slow day i even embrace these small tasks that occupy me) but it’s times when a colleague tells me “hey, i’ve been trying to call this client and the last time i spoke to them they sounded kind of mad. Can you try calling them instead?”. It’s like, i’m only an intern and if you (who are supposed to know what you’re doing) are finding it hard to approach your pissed off client, why are you asking me to do it?  It’s unprofessional and sort of mean knowing that you’re putting me under the heat as well. So the point is, i guess it’s definitely a give and take situation at the end of the day which means that i am expected to feel some sort of guilt at missing work while simultaneously, they are also expected to cut me some slack considering i’m the one in charge of my own welfare while i’m here and i am also the one who has to pay for my own medical bills if shit goes down.

To survive i’ve been buying food from tiny warungs on my street and funnily enough (well not really, considering i have non-existent free time) i’ve never taken the time to actually explore my street other than the usual route i take to work. It just shows how much i hate walking because the other day i was supposed to get some documents scanned for my visa and i took a 10-12 minute walk to the “nearest” scanning shop only to find that it was rudely closed. Then one of the guy from the neighboring shops told me that there was another one directly on my street next to a school. And i was like, “school? What school?”

So i take his advice and i retrace my steps and actually start taking in my surroundings instead of muttering angrily under my breath and stomping my way like i usually do whenever i’m forced to walk anywhere. And wow so apparently, there’s not only a school on my street, there are also two convenience stores, a government building, a handful of tiny restaurants and streetcarts and yeap, you guess it, a stationery shop which also scans and photocopies documents only three minutes away from my house.

Oh well, i really should head to sleep now considering i absolutely must make an appearance at the office tomorrow since i have to take half day off again on Friday for a trip to the immigration. My visa has finally been approved for extension which means yay i won’t be an illegal immigrant after all!

I was actually working on a birthday post before this since it was my 22nd birthday just last week but for some reason, i thought it would be more interesting to talk about my diarrhea. October seems like another exciting month ahead, i already have a few events planned for the next few weekends but as usual i won’t be talking about it until it has already happened. I’ve just never gotten the whole idea of telling the whole world about something when it hasn’t been set in stone yet. Doesn’t it just build unnecessary hype and take the fun out of everything? Oh well. To each his own, i suppose. That’s all for tonight! xx

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