Promised Land

Los Angeles, February 10, 2018 – 10:21 AM


Day 1 of Yoga and 30 days challenge of total body workout  – checked!

Made a good cup of coffee, had avocado for breakfast – checked!

Now eating bagel (hubby brought it home yesterday) while writing this post on my last day of being 31 y.o woman (LA time) or my first day of being 32 (Jkt time)

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What if there were such thing called GPS back at Moses time? Would he still be faithfully following God’s plan (through the GPS, along with its predicted arrival time)?

Thankfully, there were no such thing back then so that Moses could set himself as an example of a humble servant who were being faithful to his Lord. He didn’t know what would it be across the sea. Man without vision, I must say, but faithfully carrying his mission, which sounds just too impossible for us who live in this modern society.

A conversation with a very good friend of mine, who is now facing a more-or-less the same situation as I am, inspired me to write this reflection. If I have to describe it, I would say it’s like we had been hiking on a mountain (not an easy one for sure) with a great expectation to enjoy the most beautiful view from the top, but only to find out that there’s an even greater mountain to hike.  We didn’t see it when we started our journey. Little did we know that there’s even another mountain! Energy’s drained. Expectation’s failed. And we are about yelling to the sky, “Really, GOD? Now WHAT?”

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When I was a kid, I always dreamed of living in a foreign country. I wanted to see the world. I worked my ass off to learn English as I believed it was my first and foremost window to the world, just as my parents told me so. I still can remember how I cried when I knew one of my good friend (and greatest competitor at school) were moving to Singapore for her middle school. I kept asking why it was not me having that chance of going abroad. I even asked to my parents, “why couldn’t we move abroad too?”. As a kid, I knew that we were not a wealthy family and my parents had done whatever necessary to give their kids the best possible lives they could. They sent us to good schools, they paid for those expensive English and piano lessons for years (and Mandarin later on!). Despite of my laziness and wish to have more playing or TV time as a kid, I tried my best not to let my parents down as I knew how much they had sacrifice themselves too for their children. But still, that was my first disappointment of my childhood dream.

As I grew up, I looked at that dream in many different perspectives. I had come to a conclusion that there was no way of me going abroad for education with my parent’s out-of-pocket money. It was just too expensive and unless I got a scholarship, I didn’t want to be a crying baby asking my parents about it. I still can remember that my Dad told me that he was disappointed too for not being able to send me abroad as he had always been dreaming of. But as an exchange, they supported me to go to the best schools nationally regardless of the tuition fee. They supported my craziest dream to be a professional musician back then. We attended many auditions until I decided that it might not be the path I wanted for my future. I also remembered when my Dad and I attended the information session for ITB Business School in Bandung and when he brought home leaflets from Prasetya Mulya Business School. None of them were cheap comparing to other programs available at that time. But I guess, that was how my parents showed their sincere intention to give the best possible education they could.

Then, by whatever miracle, I got accepted in Universitas Indonesia, one of the top notch public university in our country, with little to no prior preparation during my high school years.  That was the point of me shaping my own definitive dream as a young adult in the field of dentistry. There were ups and downs along the way but it made me happy when my parents told me how they were so proud of telling their friends that their daughter was going to UI. To be honest, I was disappointed with myself for not graduating as a cum laude for my bachelor and DDS degree because I know that it would make my parents even prouder. But I promised myself that I would be the best practitioner possible as an exchange. My early years of career life were not the smoothest one. There were those dark times when my wheel of live turned upside down (in 2011 and I don’t want to talk details about it here). And again, there were my parents by my side, being my greatest supporter to rise again. I can still remember when my dad drove me to International SOS for my job interview. I do remember too how he was being supportive to let me work outside Jakarta (to a remote place that I even had not heard before back then). I know that my parents were absolutely worried back then to let their beloved daughter leaving her comfort nest for months of working in a mining site which were not even included in a normal Indonesian map. But my dad was an adventurer when he was young and he always believed that this experience would lead me to a better future. I must say that the better future didn’t follow right away. But after the trip (and many other trips afterwards), I came back stronger and more confident with myself. That period of time taught me a lot to be a skillful dentist, a good communicator to patients and colleagues, and to work in an internationally standardized healthcare facility (including all of those “complicated” referral system that I was not properly taught at school).

When I was in dental school, I always wanted to be specialized in orthodontics. That particular dream came true when I got accepted in the program in 2012. Again, despite of expensive tuition fee, my parents were there to support me. I felt like I was given another chance to make them proud of me, through my work, through my achievements. I have to say that this was actually the time that I felt like I had come to a right path (I didn’t feel quite the same on my first years in dental school). I felt exactly the same passion as I had years ago in piano, but in a more mature mindset. I’ve been working hard literally day and night, I slept only for few hours after my “supposed-to-be-part-time” job and wake up the next day for morning classes. Drained? Tired? Of course. Mentally as well as physically. But that point, I kept telling myself that these all would be paid off right after that graduation time. And it was.

I’m proud to say that I got the highest GPA in class. I was even prouder when I knew how proud my parents were, and when my dad told me after the graduation ceremony, that he was telling the other parents sitting next to him in the ceremony, “Look, that was my daughter!” when I walked to the stage, representing my friends from the graduate dental programs at that time, receiving the diploma and cum laude certificate of acknowledgement from the rector of UI. On that stage, I was whispering to myself, “this is for you, Papi & Mami!”. My lovely sister (who was my greatest helper during the making of my final comprehensive examination book) took picture of the other oath taking event and posted on her Path account, with the hashtag #bestgraduate and #proudlilsis. My boyfriend (at that time), attended my graduation and told his whole family about my achievement. I must say that this was my greatest achievement in life EVER, to make my loved ones proud of me.

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Being able to work in OrthoSmile Dental Care was also the best period in my career life. I got a rare chance work with like-minded professionals, and the best of everything, this was the working environment (other than Int’l SOS) that I felt treated as a colleague, not as a junior. During those years, I could hear myself telling me “almost there, baby! almost there..”. Yes, I believe I was almost there in reaching my dream as one of the best orthodontist in Jakarta (thanks to my boss, my mentor, my “big brother” – Doc Benny Soegiharto for that).

When your office becomes your home, and your colleagues become your family.

(In loving memory of: drg. Olivia Pribadi, Sp.Ort – my “cici”, my other ortho-role model, my humble and generous colleague, my kind-hearted orthodontist)


Until I made the hardest decision in my life. To leave everything behind, to join this man that I have vowed to honor and cherish for the rest of my life, here in the United States of America. And of course, that decision led me to this (another) point of uncertainty and had (another) session of endless discussion about it with my mate who is now facing the same situation on the other side of the world. From the feeling of jealousy to what our peers have achieved (to this particular issue, yes, social media sucks) to questioning our fate and what we could do about it. We might not have the answer yet. But as I’m reaching the end of my reflection today, I’m coming up with a conclusion that we both are here for another phase of personal growth. Davis (jokingly) told me many times that a “glass half empty” kind of person is more prone to depression, and yes, he was referring to me. And yes, I denied it whenever he said that bitter truth. But I know that I’ve got to accept it and learn to be a “glass half full” kind of person instead.

After all, my decision led me to my childhood innocent obsession, to live abroad. These past few months have showed me many other things that I could have never imagined before. I’m gaining new skills of cooking and doing some house chores.  I’ve got a kind and amazing husband who is always there to help me out with things despite of his tiredness due to his abnormal working hour. I’ve seen some exciting places here and made some new exciting friends. I (am still learning to) drive on the right hand side of the road now. I’m still having families and friends who love me from a far. And most of all, I’ve got the chance to learn that personal achievements are not always as seen in social media. I’m learning to humble myself and accept that life is a constant change.

In the end, when I look back, I have had an amazing 31 years of life. So, on this day, rather than feeling helpless seeing another mountain, I decided to rest for a while, sit and enjoy the view of my beautiful journey up to this point and treasure every single helper that God has sent me along the way.

As cliche as it may sound, promised land might be not a destination after all. It might actually be every “land” we’ve been with our loved ones along our personal journey as a human being in this earthly body.

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*Soft jazz music in the background*

I’ve been a week here, in my Aunt’s place. It is a small town near Seattle, WA. Life here is completely different with what I had in L.A. To be honest, I kinda love this place more than that big busy city. The only problem is just that I couldn’t drive here, and there’s no way to get anywhere without driving here. Everything is just so far away.

But the biggest problem is I’m missing my baby so much! Yesterday, he just e-mailed me the biometric appointment sent by the USCIS (thank GOD!) with a short message “cepetan pulaaanngg”. 😀

The plan was this, when we got the letter, he’d book a flight here to join me for a short vacay and coming back home together to L.A. Couple of days ago, I was so worried (as always) because we hadn’t got any letter. I know I would definitely need to reschedule my flight back to Indo. But I have no idea, how long I should stay here until everything is settled and I get my AP done.

So, the biometric would be on May 31, as written on the paper. But I’ll try to go to the nearest service center to have my fingerprint taken on Monday. Hopefully, I can do it here so that I can push them to get my AP done ASAP. *finger crossed*

In a way, I really want to go back to Indo. On the other side, I know I’ll be damn missing him so much. But well.. October is coming soon anyway 🙂 So yeah, I think I’ll just enjoy every single moment with him, and soon with my family and friends back in Jakarta.

A Hello from Los Angeles

I know I haven’t even visited my own writings for a year! LOL. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a thinker and there were several times that I wanted to write my anxieties here. But yeah, I kept postponing and eventually forgot about it until now, this pretty 16C morning at Westlake, Los Angeles.

Just before I wrote this, I read my previous one. And yes, I’ve made my way to U.S with Davis, now my lawful husband. I’m getting here with a fiance visa that got us married in Beverly Hills, last April 19. It was a quick ceremony followed by lunch for the two of us and one of Davis’ friend, Jimmy, who happened to be our witness.

Few weeks before the civil ceremony, we joined the Engaged Encounter weekend, a retreat for engaged couple as one of the “requirement” for getting married in Catholic Church. It was like an interactive marriage preparation class, which I have to say, it was fun, inspiring and of course making us closer to each other. And at the last night, we had our prayer together with the mentoring couple and it was so touching. We especially dedicated our prayer for Davis’ father, who passed away just 3 weeks before my departure to L.A. The mentoring couple, Dale and Maria, gave us blessings and said “from now on, take care of each other for the rest of your life.” :’)

That weekend truly strengthened us as a couple, and prepared us towards our marriage. And of course, the most important take home message from the retreat was “Love is a Daily Decision”. Another thing that I won’t forget from this retreat is the letter Davis wrote for me at the end of the weekend. That truly reminded me of my biggest reason to take a further step in our relationship, that he has all the good will to make me happy.

As a married woman, I’ve been facing all the anxieties especially due to the adjustments that I need to make here. Apartment, job, finance and Adjustment of Status process. The last one couldn’t stress me out even more. We send our AoS package last week and haven’t heard anything from the USCIS. Meanwhile, I really need to go back to Indonesia, not just for work, but also for all of the wedding preparation. I haven’t even done fitting for my wedding dress! *Sigh..

Nevertheless, the man I have chosen to be my life companion does his part all the time. He always makes me feel loved even though I know that he’s as anxious as I am on our issues. And another thing, I couldn’t ask for a better husband than the one who’s willing to get up super early in the morning for work and still doing chores when he’s home without complaining. Thanks babe, I LOVE YOU so much.



“Hidup Jangan Terlalu Letih”

This link was just sent by my boss, my big bro and my ortho mentor (you know who). Pas nonton videonya, gw brasa kayak lagi disentil sih. Keinget sama hidup gw sendiri tepatnya. Gw bisa dibilang orang yg gila rencana, ambisi as well. Dari dulu gw udah set target2 apa aja untuk tiap taonnya. Yet, selalu aja ada yg terjadi di luar rencana. Termasuk paling gedenya adalah ketika gw harus memutuskan antara karir dan cinta (*tsaelaaahhh). Bukan sesuatu yg gampang sih, walaupun sedari kecil gw bercita2 pengen hidup di luar Indonesia. Tapi cita2 itu kan udah lama terkubur seiring dengan berjalannya waktu, berbagai kondisi (keluarga dan finansial) yg mengantar gw sampai detik ini.. Sampai di suatu titik, gw bilang “that’s it, gw ga mungkin keluar. This is my life, this is where I belong. Dengan karir gw, dengan path yg udah gw rintis sedemikian rupa.. gw harus jadi one of the best and most professional ORTHODONTIST in Jakarta. Gw harus bisa banggain ortu gw dan gantian berkontribusi untuk kebahagiaan mereka.”

Dan hidup menghempas gw kembali ke titik “yg hampir” nol lagi. Dengan ketemunya gw sama cowo gw, dengan hubungan gw+dia dan rencana2 masa depan kami, gw dihadapkan pada pilihan yg ga gampang sama sekali. Hidup yg udah gw rencanakan sedemikian rupa, dan step2nya udah gw tapaki bertahun2, dengan ups and downs nya, dengan segala kurang tidur dan stressnya, demi secarik kertas yg menyatakan bahwa gw adalah a competent orthodontist. Dan ketika gw udah di tahun terakhir pendidikan gw, disitulah gw dihadapkan pada pilihan tersulit dalam hidup gw sama si cowo yg ga pernah gw sangka bakal jadi pacar gw beneran. Dari yg tadinya kita berencana untuk tinggal di Jakarta, tiba2 ternyata rencana itu tidak disetujui pihak sana dan sejujurnya membuat gw merasa agak “cornered” untuk memilih. Kecuali gw beneran punya kerjaan yg bagus di Amrik, bukan hal yg mudah memilih buat ngikutin cowo yg bisa dibilang satu2nya quality yg membuat kedua pilihan itu berimbang adalah his good will to make me happy and to build a happy family with me. Kalo liat sejujur2nya, malah sebenernya bisa dibilang karir gw disini (or at least sekian tahun ke depan sebagai orthodontist) masih lebih predictable dibandingin cowo gw sekarang. Well I’m not talking about how much we earn ya… considering disana apa2 bisa dibilang well and fairly paid. Cuma leaving my comfort zone yg sudah gw bangun pasca runtuhnya “menara babel” untuk menuju “tanah perjanjian” jelas membuat gw mempertanyakan what God’s plan for me is. or.. Does HE even have a plan??

Video tadi ngingetin gw sih (dan kayaknya layak diputer berkali2 kalo gw galau, makanya gw post disini biar ga ilang).. bahwa hidup itu ga usah terlalu letih, ga usah terlalu ambisi, jangan terlalu gelisah.. yg penting apa yg diterima, jalanilah dengan benar. Apa yg ada di depan mata, jalanilah sepenuh hati. Kalo ada yg ga dimengerti, jalanin aja dulu, ga usah banyak tanya, nanti juga ketemu jawabannya. Susah siihhh… tapi mau ga mau emang beneran musti dipelajarin cara hidup kayak gini.

Yah mudah2an… apapun yg gw putuskan membawa gw dan keluarga gw ke arah yg lebih baik. 🙂 Dan yg pasti, tetap sejalan dengan 1 cita2 gw yg seharusnya bisa tercapai dimanapun gw berada.. “membuat bangga ortu dan berkontribusi balik untuk membahagiakan mereka”


“The scariest thing about distance is, you don’t know whether they’ll miss you or forget about you.” -The Notebook-

Distance.. bener2 pisau bermata dua. Let me write in Bahasa for this. Sekarang ini saya sedang menjalani hubungan dengan seseorang yang 8,973 miles away. Ups and downsnya berasa banget. Di satu sisi hubungan ini menguntungkan karena “tidak terlalu banyak tuntutan”, tapi di sisi lain “ketidak bersamaan” itu juga membuat gw keep wondering akankah bertahan hubungan ini? Pengennya sih pasrah aja. Sedari awal juga sebenernya udah mikir “ya udah lah, kalo emang kenapa2 berarti he’s not the one.” Tapi tetep aja kenyataannya ga bisa sepasrah itu.

Satu hal yang pasti dari LDR adalah.. at least buat gw, even the slightest change in the way we talk or text matters. mungkin sebenernya ga kenapa2, tapi kadang pikiran ini ga bisa dikontrol sehingga mulai deh berimaginasi kemana2. 😦 But I’ll talk about it with him soon.

my last 20 mins of being 28

Jakarta, cloudy, alone in my room.. playing soft music from my previous post.

It’s been a while since the last time I write. Said that I’m too busy with my school.. but in fact, I have been a little bit afraid to write this private blog. Too afraid to assume of what has been happening recently. But in these last few minutes, I just want to look back the wonderful things I have had in my life. I wanna thank for the experiences, all the ups and downs. Also for the people I have met throughout this wonderful year, for those who stays, for those who left. Each with their own different reason and lesson. Thanks for my wonderful parents and sister. And thanks for a special someone that makes me wanna sing this song I’m about to post below. I’m still waiting for HIS sign to confirm everything though. However, I still thank HIM for the new colour he’s bringing into my life 🙂 I don’t know what the future brings, but I do really hope it’s another wonderfully blessed one year ahead 🙂

The Notebook

Came back from work, felt hungry.. so I turned the TV on, had some chips and relaxed myself for a while. I switched over some channels and found “The Notebook” being played on HBO. It was actually already in the half end of the movie. I don’t know why tonight some sentences in this movie hit me directly to the deepest thought of mine.

When Allie’s mom took her for a drive and told her own story of choosing Allie’s father over her true love of her life, she said one important message of how life would be so different by making choices. She didn’t regret marrying her husband, but every time she passed by the area where her love worked, she stopped over for a while.. just to look at him from distance. In that movie, with a longing look, I guess. So she asked her daughter, Allie, to choose wisely for her own happiness.

And Noah said, “So, it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? Thirty years from now, forty years from now? What’s it look like? If it’s with him- go. Go! I lost you once, I think I can do it again, if I thought that’s what you really wanted. But don’t you take the easy way out.”

And Allie definitely made the right decision.. ❤ ❤

What made me cry wasn’t merely the movie itself, but I questioned myself “Did I take the easy way out? well actually, did WE take the easy way out?” and something like “what if one day, I am with someone and I still longing for the one that crossed my mind when I watched the movie?”

I don’t know… 😦