Bali Withdrawal Syndrome
Today I feel very sad for no reason. It’s been a week since we got back from our Bali holiday and the daily routine has started to sink back in. And I can’t take it anymore.
The noise bothers me.
It never used to be this noisy, but now I can hear everything; trucks, motorcycles, public announcement from the mall next door, the prayers from nearby mosques in unison, the neighbors playing loud music or movie and the bass thumping in, not to mention that a new mall is building on the other side of the neighborhood. So our complex is going to be wedged between two giant shopping malls, in addition to the existing 2 malls across the main road.
You know what I really, really want? A good night sleep with nothing but the sound of crickets. Or bats. Or owls. Or whatever nocturnal animals that you can name of. Anything, but this.
During our holiday, not once did I wake up after 8. I woke up between 6 – 7 am and feeling very refreshed and well rested. Knowing me, I love sleeping – precisely because I find it hard to fall asleep, so once I do, I’d sleep for 8-13 hours if I could, which is what I’d do on the weekends. But in Bali, despite being on vacation, I could sleep easily, and it didn’t matter whether I’d lacked sleep the previous days, I’d wake up before 8 am, feeling good and refreshed.
Here, all I feel is grumpiness. Waking up – no matter on weekdays or weekends when I get to sleep in – is difficult and need mustering a lot of energy just to get my feet off the bed and on the floor.
And then there are the people.
Rude, obnoxious, assholes that I have to deal with everyday. On the road, at work, in public. If looks could kill, they’d all be dead, and I’m sure the world would be such a better place without them.
And I have to deal with it every – single – day.
More often than it should, I often wish I could just leave everything behind and live in the jungle – like Tarzan. Just leave all this madness and never look back.
Faith in humanity restored.
My car broke down this morning.
I should have suspected that it would happen, after the recent difficulties of failures to start the engine. But I didn’t make a big deal out of it. Not until what happened today, when it wouldn’t start no matter how many times I tried. And I tried lots.
What made it all worse was that I was right in the middle of a busy road coming out of the tollway at peak hours – luckily I managed to steer the car to the side even though I still made it difficult for other cars to go through. It was mildly embarrassing as it is – being the one who caused traffic and getting angry horns from random cars and trucks – there are lots of them in the morning – as they drove past.
I could only call people at work as I wasn’t far from it. But there was pretty much nothing I could do, really. I could only tried and tried many times to start the engine and failed and failed again.
I called a colleague who was still on her way but she would come out of the same road.
While I was stuck there trying to call people – and realizing I didn’t have much credit left on my phone, dammit! – this hawker who sold bottled water, tissues and lilies (they are pretty common here, and they carry their goods in a box strapped in front of their chests) – knocked on the window and I wound it down. He asked whether I needed help to push the car to a safe spot. I agreed, although other part of me – the suspicious one – was feeling alert. But I was desperate for any solution; I even gullibly asked him what was wrong with my car and what did those symbols on the panels meant. Obviously he had less clue than I would be.
The guy indicated to his fellow hawkers to come and lend him a hand, and they pushed my car to a safe spot. And I waited again while trying to call for help. Then one of them tried to get my attention the something across the road.
It turned out that a fellow colleague who was being driven to work by her husband drove past and they noticed me; her husband honked and asked if I needed help and I told them that I called for help already, seeing as they were on the opposite of the road and my colleague was five months pregnant, I wouldn’t want to burden them with my silly stupid car problem.
The hawkers disappeared out of nowhere, perhaps continuing onto doing their job, and I didn’t even realize it because I was busy scrutinizing the car manual I found on the back of my seat.
Something that you must understand is that in my country, it is quite typical for people to take advantage of other people’s misfortunes – especially when they know they can get some money out of it. So I was prepared for it to happen and I was surprised when it didn’t. Especially in that busy road where it was common for people to get aggravated and tensed. It is also very common to be suspicious of getting helped by strangers as there have been reports of people’s cars broken down and getting helped by random strangers who then managed to steal their belongings from their cars.
Fifteen minutes later, I saw my colleauge’s car approaching and out of reflex I started the engine again and – voila! it started as if nothing happened at all.
Five minutes later I got the car garage to pick it up and have it serviced.
I am now home, safe and sound. But I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling of being helped by total strangers and knowing that there are still good people in this world.
Faith in humanity restored.
I used to love my job, but…
…it’s not the same anymore.
I love teaching and I get a sense of personal achievement when seeing the students grow and become more confident.
but several incidents that have happened this year make me question myself:
Am I really good at what I do?
Am I a good teacher?
Do I really contribute anything to the students’ knowledge?
In mid 2012, I found out that an entire class of students of whom I was homerooming were cheating. Well, not all – about 98% of them were. This was a real blow to my confidence and faith, because I really thought they were smarter and wiser than that, and despite cheating the scores were not even improved – they got the wrong source. It wasn’t the cheating part that really disappointed me – it was the fact that they didn’t have any faith in themselves that they would trust answers from an unknown source (apparently it was someone the previous class who had done the same exams) and use them for their final exam, rather than believe in themselves that they were smart enough to pass the exams.
Despite its relevance, the whole thing reflected badly on me. Although I was the only one who felt it, but I felt as if I weren’t a good enough teacher for them. I felt as if I had failed to be a teacher – because in the end the students still didn’t feel confident enough to pass the final exams that they had to turn to desperate measures.
After what happened, I began to lose my motivation. I never thought it would happen to me, as I always consider myself to be a person who really cares about her job, but in the end I kept thinking – why bother? They would all cheat anyway. and maybe the previous classes cheated also. Maybe all that sense of achievement was all in my head. Maybe, I am not a good teacher after all.
I know it’s unfair to generalize but I can’t help thinking that way. It was bad enough that they cheated, but it was even worse when, upon being found out, they apologized by buying us food and flowers, thinking that our apologies could be bought. The blow was just too much for me.
Then, a couple of months later, I found out that the students who have graduated and are now working onboard the ships said that we never taught them anything useful while they were training with us. The same students who treated me so kindly and called me their “Mom”, who asked to take photos with me and told me they would never forget me and that I was their best teacher.
Perhaps it’s all a lie.
Perhaps, it’s time to find another job.
I Am Not Your Savior
One of my students had to go home the other day, and for some reason I couldn’t stop crying because of it. I am crying now even thinking about it.
I knew he was one of the weak ones; he was actually repeating the class because he failed the previous one. But I’d seen improvements from him, and he tried so hard to keep up, and I kept thinking I should do something to help him.
But that opportunity never came, because the academic director had told him before that if he still couldn’t improve after three weeks, he had to go home, and I didn’t know anything about it.
What killed me more was the fact that he didn’t tell me about it, he’d kept it to himself for three weeks and I couldn’t do anything to keep him in the class because he had already made an agreement with the Academic Director. I just thought it was deeply unfair that he couldn’t stay until the end of the course and get to be interviewed like the rest of the students there. I even stated my objection but the AD was adamant that what was agreed couldn’t be changed.
It was hard for me to see him go, as I was the one who saw him everyday in class, and I noticed how hard he tried, and he did show improvements, and my belief in him grew; I had faith that he could make it this time around.
When the news had to be given to him, I saw that he was disappointed, but what killed me more was that he was still smiling and said that it was alright, that he would come back next year and try again. He was so optimistic still, even though he had failed.
It was even more unbearable to see him come to class and pack his bags while the rest of his classmates just stared at him in disbelief. I had to hide what I was feeling at that time, and fortunately I was pretty good at it. I’m not sure whether the students saw what my face looked like at that time but I was about ready to cry right then and there, in front of all of them.
It’s funny in a way, because this class was pretty solid and most of them were quite smart. But there was always the one student that I couldn’t save. It’s funny how I cared more about the one that I couldn’t save. And I don’t know why up to this moment I am still deeply troubled by it. Everytime I think about it, I have tears in my eyes.
Yesterday he added me on Facebook and I told him how sorry I was for not being able to help him, and he said, “It’s OK, Ma’am. I am stupid.”
No, you are not. No one is. You are good, but in the real world, being good is simply not enough. There is no place for good people who have to work ten times harder than the rest just because they are slow. There’s no place for effort, no matter how insignificant, to be appreciated. And I feel like I am a part of this cruel world.
I am sorry, I am not your savior. I wish I could be.
My Guide to Life
Here’s the reason why this post is awesome:
- There must be some people out there naive enough to swallow every single thing I write without questioning it nor wondering about it. Hey, if it works for religions, why not?
- This will be a great tag post as the blogging world seems to have gone a bit slack (including yours truly), I’m hoping this post is going to get everyone up and running again.
So here we go:
Stop watching local TV nor read local newspaper. This will only depress the hell out of you. Subscribe to TV cable instead. Life’s sunnier that way, even if it’s rose-tinted and far from reality.
Giving money to beggars is not going to make a lot of difference. Well, the only difference is that there will be more beggars out there, since the one beggar who you give money to, has probably gone to his/her friends and tell them about this one awesomely rich person who seems to shit money from his/her ass, and is kind enough to give it to others – for free! I would rather give my money to animal shelters than beggars anyway. Because human can still help themselves, but animals can’t.
Except for cockroaches. Feel free to eradicate them anytime, anywhere. They’re the only creature that can survive nuclear wars. Them and Cher.
“Never judge a book by its cover” – whoever invent this saying is a patent liar. Because as far as I know, life on earth is all about appearance. So ladies and gentlemen, prettify yourself as much as you can. Start by putting on make up, wear better clothes, Photoshop yourself until people no longer recognize you anymore; really, whatever it takes!
Stop buying fashion magazines at once. Why? Look at previous point and scan for the word “Photoshop”.
To single ladies out there: if your man doesn’t marry you within at least 5 years, dump him. Dump him immediately. It means he’s just not that into you. 5 years is too long anyway. No excuses really. If he really wants to be with you, he’d do anything to make that happen! Except if he: hasn’t got a job/is a junkie/lives with and off his parents, then you should dump him instead.
Second single ladies advice: Don’t be desperate. It’s a turn-off. Trust me, I’ve been there. And the more desperate you get, the worse choice you will have on men. I know I’ve dated some men bad enough that if I met them now, I would shudder and run for my life.
Third single ladies advice: Be honest. Be yourself. If you’re a bitch, then be a bitch. If he doesn’t like it then he’s not for you. It saves time and money to just get it all out in the open. No pretenses.
If you’re engaged to the love of your life and is planning to get married, do it exactly the way you want it to be, but don’t let anyone pay for it, not even your parents. Once you let them in, they’re gonna start running your whole life. And you will always remember your Wedding day as the worst, most exhausting day of your life, instead of your happiest. And it’ll only get worse. Can’t afford to pay for your own wedding? Save up!
Race, as politically incorrect as it is, is an important part of living in Indonesia – heck, even in most parts of the world. Wherever you are, whoever you are, people are going to wonder where you come from and what ethnic you belong to. And they are not going to stop until they get to the bottom of it.
It’s okay to watch crazy, stupid, fucked up shows like Jerseylicious or Jerry Springer, but only when you’re sick and can’t do anything but lie in bed and watch TV. Trust me, those shows will make you feel better about yourself.
Money is just a medium – earn it, use, utilize it, but don’t get too obsessed with it, or before you know it, you’re a slave to it.
Friends come and go, but dogs stay forever. At least when you train them well, anyway.
Men, though. They’re not so different to dogs. But just make sure you don’t tell this on to my husband.
Speaking about men; bad boys are called bad because they are bad. They make you go all horny and lusty and in the end you will get pregnant and he will ditch you. What you really need to find is a bad boy hidden underneath the exterior of a geeky, nice boy.
Another thing about men; you do realize they don’t change, right? So if you meet a man and immediately feel an intense urge to change him; either his looks, habits or personality, just forget about it. He will change if he wants to. You can’t do it for him and telling him to either choose between you or whatever it is that you want him to change from, is only going to make him feel resentful.
Everybody has an agenda. Even if they look as if they’ve got nothing to hide. So don’t be too naive. And don’t believe anything I’ve said in this blog either.
Alright! Now that I’m done confusing the heck out of you, it’s time to tag some people:
Rima, because I can’t wait for her Guide of Life, which I’m sure will be ten times more interesting and entertaining than mine!
Ivy, because she’s gorgeous, so kawaii, and sexy mother of two who never takes life too seriously but surprises me every now and then with her quirkiness,
Maureen, because she’s a lovely mother and a strong woman who inspires many female bloggers in the world!
Anita, because her posts will keep you interested and keep coming back for more. You don’t believe it? Just visit her blog!
Cn, because she’s feisty and I love her!
Wiwin, because she’s the only one who can get away from liking Britney so much… no, I’m kidding. She’s creative, talented and charming. And did I tell you she’s a huge fan of Britney?