things you may not want to know but I'm telling you anyway

Adiós Bogotá.

I first came to Bogotá, Colombia, on 6 August 2017. I think it was a start of my bad trip for the next three years. I was supposed to leave Bogotá today, on 24 July 2020. Unfortunately the rise of covid-19 patients in Colombia forced the government to suspend international flights in Colombia until 31 August 2020; which caused me to still be here until the end of the suspension. I figured I’m going to be busy nearing my departure to Indonesia later on, so I think I’ll write my goodbye letter to Bogotá today.

I came to Bogotá hopeful for new adventures. I was young(-ish) then, thinking I could hold the world in the palm of my hands. I was hopeful that things will turned out the way I had planned. Little did I know, the moment you think you had life figured out, that’s when life was never yours to understand. I learned that being brave and independent means jackshit when you’re harassed. I thought I was this strong independent woman, but I was nothing but a coward that closes itself up when at 29 I experienced sexual harassment. I was angry, I was sad, I was scared, but most of all I hated myself. Why didn’t I fought back? Why did I just closed up like scaredy cat. Years of being angry whilst pretending that I’m not slightly bothered by it taught me that it is what it is; it is a part of my life, but it will not define who I am. I am still a strong and independent person that I have always thought of all those years.

I came to Bogotá thinking that this will just be another bump in the road that I must go through, much like all my previous adventures. But, I guess I was wrong, again. I was angry with everything for the better part of 2018. Angry over something that I couldn’t even understand. Talking about this now, I know what angers me then, but back in 2018 I was just full of pent up anger that knows no where it should go. I cling onto the belief that a strong woman will not break down over being alone and lonely halfway across the world from her loved ones. I was bitter and then I chastised myself for being bitter. Instead of taking care of myself, I was chastising myself for not being able to be this strong woman I have always thought of myself. I was a disappointment for myself.

I came to Bogotá with a notion that I’ll be better after all of this is over. It’s always like that, isn’t it? Things look bleak now, but years from then you’ll realise it wasn’t entirely bad. But, things didn’t turned out like that for me. I was depressed and anxious. My mind wanders to places it has never been to in the 31 years that I am alive. I felt like an utter failure; to myself, to my husband, to my family, to my future that I have planned for me. But, I trudge on, for I have no other option to trudge on. I cling on to the hope that this will all be over, eventually.

And it did, though it took longer than I had expected it. As I look back to my three tears in Bogotá, I’d probably will associate those memories with bad ones, but it’s not all bad. I think it’s just me being a hard headed person and not wanting to admit that all those three years just gone down the drain.

At the end of the day, Bogotá taught me that you are both your own worst enemy and also your only knight in shining armour. People can shit on your life, but when you shit on your own life yourself, that’s when the shit hits the fan. That’s when life loses all its meaning, because you can’t even defend yourself. But, help yourself up on your own, because that means so much more than expecting others to extend their hands. I learned that I’m not as helpless as I thought I was when I first came to Colombia. I learned that crying your eyes out doesn’t make you any less strong. I learned that it’s okay to give up once in awhile. I learned that I am my own best friend.

I make lots of crude remarks about my life in Bogotá, but truthfully it has been fun being here. I learned that I like living on my own. I will most definitely miss the solitude of being on my own once I’m back in Jakarta.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I want to bid my farewell to Bogotá. I probably will not going to miss Bogotá so soon after leaving her, but I’d probably looked back to my three years in Bogotá sometime when I’m 60 or so, and maybe then I’ll be able to laugh it all off. But, just for right now, Bogotá has been one hell of a stop over in my life that has rocked me more than the other places I’ve been in all 32 years of my life, so far.

Gracias Bogotá y hasta luego.

things you may not want to know but I'm telling you anyway

Whatever happened, world?

A lot has happened since the last time I diligently wrote book reviews in this blog. Honestly! I mean a LOT. I don’t even know where to start. But, considering that this is my fourth day working from home due to the Covid-19 outbreak currently happening worldwide, I thought maybe I should try to at least get back to writing. I literally have tons of book reviews waiting to be written and posted, but I’ll write about a bit of a life update right now.

Somewhere in mid of 2019, I was going through a rough patch. And yes, I know I used the term way too often that at this point, one has to wonder, “what sort of rough patch are we talking about right now?”

On a serious note, it was a pretty rough patch. I had assumed I was probably depressed and/or going through some anxiety streak, but then again I’m not a medical professional, therefore I cannot diagnosed myself. So I went to see a psychiatrist, who then diagnosed me with early onset depression. I was then prescribed with Prozac. It took me a week until I decided I was going to start taking Prozac.

I’m not very keen on taking medicines, but I have to admit I can feel the positive changes in my life after I have been going steady with medication. Things aren’t back to the normal days yet. I still struggle with going back to my normal routine, but signs are pointing to a good direction.

It has been close to nine months since I was on Prozac. I still am taking it.

Now, 2020 was literally the only year I have been waiting since October of 2017 (and people said I’m not patient enough to wait..) as 2020 will mark the end of my assignment in Bogota, Colombia. It wasn’t until mid February that I finally received the letter that informs me of my termination of my assignment. I was on a high. I was excited to be back home. I start planning on packing and selling some of my stuffs.

Then, 6 March 2020 happened.

It was the day that the first case of Covid-19 in Colombia was confirmed. Seventeen days later, Colombia now has 277 confirmed cases (three died and five recovered). My office decided to put everyone of WFH (Work from Home) since last week with shifts in between to go to the office. But, just last Friday (20 March 2020), the Mayor of Bogota decided to have a drill lockdown that supposed to end today (23 March 2020), but it is now being extended until midnight of 24 March 2020 so as to coincide with the enactment of the Nationwide Mandatory Preventive Isolation. That being said, everyone in my office is going on WFH now.

On 21 March 2020, President Ivan Duque decided that at precisely 23.59 of 24 March 2020 until 00.00 of 13 April 2020, all citizens of Colombia will be subjected to the Mandatory Preventive Isolation to help curb the spread of Covid-19 in Colombia. There are some exceptions being made, say for medical personnel or for other emergency that would still allow several people to leave their home. It’s a very technical thing, but suffice to say, yours truly is expected to stay at home too.

How do you get food, then, if everyone is being lockdown in their house? Well, the rule states that one person from one family may leave the house only to buy basic needs, and that’s pretty much it. Well, if unfortunately you do have emergency, you may of course leave your house too. Basically, if ever you need to leave your house, you better have a justifiable reason to do so. Other than that, everyone must stay at home.

So, how does this affect me? Guys, I have to say, I’m grateful that I am privilege enough that WFH is an option for me, and that I’m well stocked in terms of food supplies, and that at the very least I am only responsible for myself. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in 19 days lockdown and you don’t have my privilege. My only problem is that my Prozac can only sustain me for the next 10 days. I hope I can get another batch before this one runs out.

Look, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m not a medical professional. But if a medical professional said that by staying home I can help curb the spread of Covid-19, I’m going to do just that. If you can’t stay at home, be it due to your work or other reason, please take care of your health, remember to wash your hands diligently, gargle often, and change your clothes when you return home.

Okay, I’m signing out. I will start writing my long overdue book reviews starting tomorrow. Take care and stay healthy, guys!

things you may not want to know but I'm telling you anyway

Happy birthday, Ayah.

As I pedal my bike on my way to work, I can feel the sweat sliding down the side of my face. I can also feel the snot winding its way down my nose, as it was a cold morning that day. I struggle with my breathing; I haven’t biked to work in quite some time. I told my beating heart to steady itself, lest I would collapse from the exercise itself. After quite some time, I have found my rhythm and biking became easier as I got nearer to the office.

On my way back home, the ride was easier as the road goes downhill. I feel the scream of the night’s wind in my ear; relishing the freedom that biking had given me the past few months. As I rode the bike, I thought that after one in a half year in Bogota, I have finally found the one thing that keeps me grounded, biking. I am glad that I knew how to ride a bike.

And that is when it hits me, my dad had taught me how to ride a bike. Insist on it, might I add.

Continue reading “Happy birthday, Ayah.”
#RetrospectSeries

January, what’s good?

Yes, it has come to my attention that I have failed to follow up on what I promise I would. I don’t have any other way to explain it other than saying, life gets in a way and by the time I realised I haven’t done what I should have done, I’m too lazy to do it.

I can’t believe we are finally in February, after what I felt to be the longest January ever. Honestly, how is it that there are 31 days in January but it felt it’s been three months in?

For most of January, I felt like in a limbo. RAM has finished his assignment in Nigeria, and will continue his assignment in South Korea. Whilst the distance is awful for the both of us, I am super excited about his new assignment and I feel the 14 time difference will actually work and bode well for us, rather than the 6 hour time difference before.

RAM did stop over to Bogota, Colombia, for a week before he went back to Jakarta in preparation for his new assignment. And, whilst living together wasn’t something new to us, the seven days that he was with me in Bogota made me realise how much having someone you love around is one of the most beautiful thing in life. That having someone you love around you will surely make everything bearable. Unfortunately, it was not to last, because we don’t live in fairy tales.

You know what? I am going to say it. I thought in 2019 we would all learn from our past mistakes and be better. But, nope. Some people are still a jerk. Some people are still so oblivious that they fell victim to the same hole, twice.

I had my co-worker caressed my back where my bra line should be, and caress my hand and fingers. Do you think that’s harassment? Because I do. I did not want to be touched in those areas. It made me uncomfortable. And there was never enough reason or justification that said co-worker should caress those areas of my body.

Unfortunately, much like cases of harassment, not much a victim can do. There were not enough proof other than my own experience. And not to say that my experience is not valid, but we all know harassment cases are always a ‘he said, she said‘ case; one that goes on forever until one or the other person broke and gave up.

I’m angry at the injustice of it all. I’m angry at my inability to fight for what is right and just. I’m angry at my inability to protect myself, much less other people in my shoes.

At the end of the day, I learned that people sucks. People sucks so bad. Especially people with power. They will crush you into dust and blew you away because you are so insignificant. But I also learned that I am not alone. That I can get help. And that sometimes, all it takes for you to stand up straighter and taller is to say NO with pride and conviction.

I can’t change the world, but I can change myself. I may be a victim (again) to harassment, but this time around I am going to say no, louder, stronger, and fiercer, because, by God, if you don’t say no, you’ll hate yourself again.

So, yeah, January has not been the best of month, even with having RAM around for a good solid seven days. I’m not holding it against January or anything, because we all know when you hate something with a passion, anything that revolves around it will become the things that are not favourable no matter how you look at it.

 

#RetrospectSeries

November, what’s good?

Four days late, but I have a completely good reason for the lack of posting and for being late this month. I have been on a two weeks holiday to meet up with my husband. We met up in Tokyo, Japan, along with our two friends also. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for the holiday, for a break from the constant misery of living alone in Bogota. That being said, the downside to going on a holiday is that when one is back, one is overcome with extreme holiday hangover. Waking up this morning at 6.30 AM, after going to sleep at 2.00 AM (I’m guessing it’s the jetlag taking over), made me feel like in a daze. Just a day before, I woke up to the grey sky of Tokyo, accompanied by the hustling and bustling of everyone going to work on a Monday morning, and comes Tuesday, I am on my bed, in my apartment, opening my curtain to the blue sky of Bogota and I feel nothing but dread.

Continue reading “November, what’s good?”
#RetrospectSeries

October, what’s good?

Do you know how each week I exaggerated things, by going on to say, “oh this has been a crazy/hectic/roller coaster month,” but then come the next month I would probably say the same thing about the month at hand? Yeah, I know, I do that a lot, but I kid you not, October is just bizarrely crazy, hectic, and such a roller coaster. It’s the triple threat of a month!

Okay, dilchh, calm yourself down. Surely it’s not that much, eh?

But, see, the thing is, October is really just crazy! And hectic! And such a roller coaster!

Continue reading “October, what’s good?”

#RetrospectSeries

September, what’s good?

Here’s what happened in September.

Oh I’m sorry, were you expecting the usual mumbo jumbo and then for me to ask, September, what’s good? Well, not this time. I have too many things to say type, I really can’t be bothered to type complete and utter nonsense. Well, without further ado, here’s the highlight of my September.

Continue reading “September, what’s good?”