Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Iftar Dinner with OIA Family

The idea was two. First, we missed Bu Rio and wanted to arrange a fast-breaking with her. Second, I did not want to make a burden for one person only for preparing the meals and drink. Therefore, the idea of POTLUCK was highly appreciated.

Finally, here some picture of foods that we brought:

Amel even spent her time specially for making her lumpia. We really appreciated that and it taste really good btw.

With two 'brothers' of mine in OIA which are really annoying sometimes yet very kind, supportive and reliable.

Our pose in the lovely gazebo on OIA backyard. Unfortunately, it was not a full team. Some already left earlier.

After all, we had a really nice time, happy tummy and a left-over food for Sahoor. The potluck idea is always a good idea. We were glad that we made it that day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Piece of PISA and Fruitful Dinner

Dr. Alexander Wiseman, from College of Education- Lehigh University USA, is an expert in Comparative and International Education, Series Editor in International Perspective on Education and Society, and also Co-chair of International Symposium of Comparative Science. He came to Indonesia for the first time, and I arranged his activity during his stay here. His main purpose for visiting Yogyakarta is making sure that the pilot project of Community Service (KKN) in which his University sent five students to UGM this year would run smoothly as expected. 
This Lehigh internship project is the pilot project of UGM and Lehigh University, and a follow-up project after the successful program of USIPP Summer Program and USIPP Faculty Workshop. Lehigh University is not a well-known university among other American university for us. It is located in Pennsylvania, and private collage with an excellence reputation on its quality. Moreover, the tuition fee is much higher compared to other public university in the US. Lehigh has been a closest partner of UGM in the region of America.
The preparation for this project had been discussed for a year. The massive e-mail and SKYPE meeting had been conducted several times. I never involved in the meeting since it always take place at night. I just help with the communication and prepared the SKYPE meeting. Then, finally the five students came to Yogyakarta. They stayed in UGM dormitory which we considered the best one compared to other dormitories. It is located quite far to the Campus, in Baciro area. The students came a week earlier before KKN starts so my office arranged orientation, language course, and cultural visit. The rest was just free-time.
In brief, the first problem occurred when there was a complaint from student's parent who said that they were disappoint with the arrangement. Then, I identify that there were essential root of problem such as: miss-communication perceived during SKYPE meeting, for example different perception about the cost of the program, condition and activity in the village, extra-cost for extracurricular activities and days-off program. Not to mention also: the various characteristic of the students, some are not mature and not ready for their main reason why they are coming: Community Service.
Those are the reason Mr. Alex was coming, he was appointed as supervisor of this joint-pilot project of Community Service UGM-Lehigh. 

"Test is a test and you can teach people how to a take test"

That was a shot and the best quote I got yesterday. It was on a lecture about "How PISA Inform the Global 'Crisis' in Education"  co-organized by Office of International Affairs and Faculty of Psychology. Before Dr. Wiseman's lecture, I had no idea at all about what is PISA. I just knew that it stands for 'Program for International Student Assessment'. During the lecture I just remembered reading a newspaper a while ago that said about the performance of Indonesian student in the PISA test is on the second lowest rank among all of countries being tested.

Dr. Wiseman sees PISA in a cynical way which I can not agree more on his argument. PISA itself was founded and constructed by OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ). So, I knew who are behind the gun and what the reason behind. Moreover, he said that PISA is just a test and not educational. From his research, despite a real good quality on education, the countries that ranked highly in PISA test are countries which has excellent testing system. Therefore, he underlined that 'test is a test (nothing educational), and you can teach how to take test'.  Moreover, he also explained factors that contributed to the high score in PISA.  The lecture was a great success. It was thought-provoking and insightful. The discussion went really well and fruitful. Most attendees also asked about the education system in Indonesia, how to improve, what is wrong, and etc.

It was raining at the evening when I picked Alex. We walked together from Indraloka Heritage Guest House to Gendhis Resto when we had dinner. The dinner was really important since we would meet the key persons in OIA and LPPM to solve the problem. It was a casual dinner to discuss all issues raised before KKN and during KKN. A night before, I was called by key persons in LPPM that made sure we had the same perception. I was glad that I already shared and discuss with the newly appointed executive director at my office. The dinner went really fruitful, a lot of laugh, win-win solution, saving-face exit strategy, and shared visionary for the future project. It was attended by six people, five male and I was the only female. At the end, I was much relieved that we could compromise and agreed on the solution.

I could sleep really well now, since I was the main communicator on the project. After all, I think having a reliable and trustworthy male boss made life a lot easier. They just do not have any hormone female bosses have, they just think and act rationally and avoid emotional bias. That was only my personal thought.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tell Me How to Respond, Please!

I need to prepare myself when series of personal questions are coming up, soon, usually in Lebaran. When family and friends gather, they usually start to 'care' about how we are doing: work, study, and love live. For example, they would ask how was your thesis, where do you work, how was the job, when will you be married, how many kids you have, and so on. This personal questions are sometimes really annoying, however, we should respond it nicely.

This year would be different. Most my closest friends are married already, this year, and the year before. It is sometimes hard for me to think that it is really already the time. Family and myself are really aware that we just needs to pray and ask Allah for that. My parents are the one who consider that as priority (maybe after completing thesis). They always told me that each night they always pray for that. It was their priority wish-list. And I am really thankful for that.

I also appreciated parent's efforts who introduced me to many friends which I ended up 'do not know where to go' or 'do not clique for some reasons'. They happened to give up for introducing more people. Then, my brother who had the idea to tell me about his friends. I myself are open-minded person, would not refuse this kind of approach as long as it would not hurt or take advantage or bother other people. Moreover, in the mean time, I also have a close friend who is really caring, loving, and kind, yet unsure when and where we will end up since we will face many differences. Destiny is a real mystery. 

I sometimes think that my past contributed to my present life. Therefore, maybe I had many mistake and was guilty so I need to reflect and ask forgiveness or more 'Istighfar' to Allah. Or, maybe Allah tested me so that I can get closer to Him. Ramadhan is the best time to really purify my soul and surrender all my heart and life. However, it was really challenging to fight with our nafs to Dunya. Astaghfirullah. Hopefully this year I can get the answer. I myself do not want to force much and  am still enjoying the process to improve myself. I am still far for being an ideal or better Muslimah or person.

Sometime thing that really hits me is the feeling of completeness of being woman; having family and kids for sure. It just made me envy more is when I see a Mom and her lovely kids. Also it really burden me when my parents start to tease me that they are ready and wanting  for grandchildren. Or when my younger brother thought that he is more than ready than I am. At first, I was being uneasy and kinda yelled at him, but recently I was just being calm and support his decision as long as my parents give their approval.

I hope when the questions are being asked, I would be able to respond it nicely and elegantly! But, tell me, how??

15 Ramadhan 1435 H

Time Will Heal, Time Will Refill

Change is inevitable and the only thing that is constant.  It is indeed true. However, the abrupt change in my Office drove me crazy and dragged me in a moment of sadness and emptiness. The first days of reality , I felt like there was a big hole in my heart I did not know how to overcome. It was the nature of being woman who are blessed with a high sensitivity and emotionalism. I, the person, who thought am very senseless, really could not help crying. I cried for couple days in the morning before going to Office. I was confused to whom I talk to, discuss with, and rely on. For me and for us, I think it was just  too sudden.

Time indeed will heal. I believe in that. Hence, when you needed urgent response and not enough time to consolidate. How to react? I was very thankful that there are many supporting colleagues and friends who sincerely help. I thank to the one who always listen patiently, support, and  advice wisely. I was also very grateful that my colleagues are also a part of the problem solver.

I learned that we just need to be open, ask to the right person, seek for solution, and communicate effectively. Do not ever think that you are alone. Do not ever feel that you can do everything and you can solve every problems. Imperfections and mistakes are very natural. At the end, you will discover that you are stronger than what you ever think!

I am feeling better now, and believe that things will get better.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jangan Dibelenggu Usia

13 Ramadhan 1435 H- Yogyakarta.

Semakin bertambah usia, hendaknya manusia semakin bijaksana dalam menyikapi persoalan, kehidupan, dan perbedaan. Idealnya memang seperti itu. Namun, kadangkala tidak semudah itu ketika dihadapkan dalam berbagai kompleksitas hidup. Manusia seringkali lupa bahwa hidup adalah proses untuk terus berjuang, terus bersyukur, dan terus belajar dalam menyikapi persoalan dengan lebih bijaksana.

Ujian untuk menjadi bijaksana seringkali berasal dari usia itu sendiri. Usia kadang menjadi alarm, yang sangat mengganggu kenyamanan tetapi sangat kita perlukan sebagai pengingat hendak ke mana dan harus apa. Pertambahan usia memang sesuatu yang sangat niscaya, dan refleksi dari bulir-bulir waktu yang kita habiskan dan keputusan-keputusan yang kita buat. 

Ketika hidup bermasyarakat, usia seringkali menjadi ironi dan tidak mencerminkan kedewasaan. Namun, masyarakatlah yang menjustifikasi manusia tertentu untuk tunduk pada budaya yang telah disepakati. Stigma akan melekat pada manusia yang menyimpang dari kebudayaan atau kebiasaan yang telah berabad dianut. Di situlah ujian berasal terutama ketika kemampuan manusia terbatas dalam menyikapi reaksi dan respon dari perbedaan.

Usia akan menguji kesabaran dan kebijaksanaan, terutama ketika dibenturkan dengan tekanan-tekanan dari dalam dan luar. Pilihan menjadi bijaksana seringkali diganggu dan dibelenggu oleh keinginan-keinginan muluk nan ideal yang ada dalam imagi manusia. Banyak keinginan dan kemauan yang justru merusak pikiran jernih kita.

Usia juga menjadi faktor dan alasan dalam mengambil keputusan-keputusan penting dalam hidup. Semoga apapun keputusan itu tetap didasarkan pada akal jernih dan kebijaksanaan, bukan hanya karena kepasrahan dan keputus-asaan.

Janganlah kita dibelenggu usia, tetapi jadikan usia sebagai pengingat ke arah yang lebih baik!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Where were I ??

It has been almost a year since I 'abandoned' my blog.  There were many ups and downs, tears and laughter, sad and happy stories. Overall, this one year is full of life learning. I will write some stories of my life on my blog soon. Hopefully for the days to come, I will regularly share my thought and concerns on this blog.