All posts filed under: Musings

On Grace

Tuesdays and Fridays are my favorite days because I get off work at around 4 o’clock, which means that I still get to see the sun. With my full schedule this semester and the wintertime, I’m realizing more and more how sunshine is a privilege. I relish every opportunity that I get to bask in the warmth of the sun in 30-something-degree weather. On my walk home, I pass by a nearby public school. Besides the afternoon sun, I see children in their uniform—navy blue polos and matching skirts or pants, high socks, and different iterations of scrunchies or basketball shoes. Their tiny hands inside larger hands that belonged to someone walking alongside them. Sometimes, they would walk in groups to the metro station, presumably to go home. The train becomes lively with their laughter, their banter, sometimes their mischief. And for a moment, I’m reminded of my past life before I embarked on this journey to follow my dreams in the capital city. A year ago today, I was analyzing data from the midyear …

Papa

On Father’s Day I noticed that every year I stumble upon the same photos of me and my dad that I’d post for Father’s Day. My dad lives in Indonesia, and the last time I saw him was last summer. I still couldn’t find many pictures of us together. Then I realized that the reason why he isn’t in the picture is that he’s always taking the picture. Whether it’s an iPhone, a Chinese iPhone (“Xiaomi a better iPhone!”), a Canon 5D Mark II, or a Fujifilm, he’s the man behind the lens. I remember the first time he formally introduced me to photography. He bought me my first Canon D-SLR: a 550D (in the US it’s called a Rebel T2i). I remember how he first taught me to use portrait mode. Before teaching me how to compose a photograph, he had made all the necessary changes so that the default setting makes for the perfect picture—brightness, contrast, and all. That’s the kind of person that my dad is: instrumental, yet humble. He always ensures that …

Dear First-Year, Post-Grad Me

My spring semester, junior year in college, I became the President of Furman Creative Collaborative, and my first event as president was “Dear Freshman Me.” We set up a booth in front of the library on the last day of class. On colorful cards, students can write a letter to their freshman selves. I officially finished my first year of teaching and also my first year of adulthood. I’ve learned a lot this past year, and to reflect on a year of personal and emotional growth, I’m paying tribute to one of my fondest college memories. •     •     • Dear First-Year, Post Grad Me, I am writing you today from the day that you will wish would have come sooner when you’re exhausted, frustrated, afraid, and feel like a failure. By the end of this journey, you will be able to relate spiritually to this line from a Coldplay song: “Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard.” Right now, you are a bright-eyed, hopeful, naive …

Resolved: A New Year

The other day, I was driving to the mall with my family in the car. There were two left-turning lanes and I was in the rightmost lane. When I made the turn, I noticed that the car to my left was swerving towards me. At the same time, the driver on the opposite side of the road was also swerving towards me. I was staying perfectly in my own lane when my extra-cautious, backseat-driving mother exclaimed, “Watch out!” as she pointed at the drivers to my right and left. I flinched from the loud noise but didn’t swerve or change what I was doing. I stayed in my lane, let out an exasperated sigh, and muttered some expletives under my breath. No one was hurt and my car wasn’t scratched, but it was quite an experience. If you follow me on Snapchat, you’re probably familiar with my many rants about the crazy drivers in my city. Now, I’m not saying that I’m an excellent driver (I’ve had a couple of fender-benders and I didn’t pass my driving test on …

For when you are in need of affirmation

A Love Letter to Myself Dear Oryza, They say that comparison is the thief of joy. As a person, you’ve learned that comparison is the name of the game. As a child, you grew up understanding that good behavior is modeled. You listened to the plethora of stories about your cousins, your parents’ friends’ children, even strangers whom you’ve never laid eyes on, who modeled what it means to be a good child. You learned that not only will you never be that person—that it’s impossible to escape your own being—but that you’ll spend most of your life trying to be someone that you’re not in an attempt to make your parents proud. As a female, you grew up with no sisters and were told by society that your worth is defined by the attention given by the opposite sex. You will soon learn that sisterhood, in all its forms, is genuine and real, as are patriarchal and heteronormative power structures. Nevertheless, you still get stuck in the inescapable trap of comparison every now and …

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar?

It is an unfortunate circumstance of the world that we live in that the number of books about women and/or written by women in our usual college curriculum are few and far in between. Unless you’ve taken up a specialized major like Women’s Studies or Gender Studies, or you’re taking a class on feminism, it’s rare that you read a book by a woman at all. I began this semester a bit disappointed that my political theory professor took out Hannah Arendt from the syllabus, knowing that no one else teaches Arendt and the rare opportunity to read her work was a major influence on my interest in the class. Nevertheless, my bookcase from my four years of college is dominated by male (white, European, Christian—alas) authors. Given the rare circumstances that females have the opportunity to speak about our experiences, to finally give a dimension of reality that is oft neglected in an academic setting, we get passionate. This, I think, is a reasonable response. But what I find especially striking is the side-chatter of …

Here’s to Starting Anew (Over)

Plot twist: Oryza creates a new blog. But the word “creates” implies that this was totally intentional, that presumably I wanted to start something new. So, let me start over. Oryza lost her blog. First, let me share with you three lessons that I learned the hard way: Every adult in existence who has ever told you to save and backup all your work was right all along. Following their advice earlier, rather than having someone tell you on the other side of Customer Service that you should have done that, would hurt a lot less and probably save you from looking dumb when you’re in a public place, you’ve learned that you just lost your website, and the person on the other line just got hired at GoDaddy and has no idea how to fix your problem. Nothing is free. The word “free” is just a marketing tool to entice you. Somewhere in the annoying, boring, mega long Terms & Conditions (which you should all read from now on) says that you’re going to have to …