7.28.2016

Trying to Make Sense of Things

The world is small, someone once claimed.

At this moment, I completely disagree with that statement. There are multiple incidents happening in this world we're living. There are bombs dropped in cities, there are families with children floating on the mediterranean sea, there are people dying from starvation, and other heartbreaking stories. 

Stories?

Yes, they seem to sound like stories to me. For I just cannot put my finger on why these stories don't feel real when the world is small? People around me seem to be okay. There are people spending money to get themselves drunk and high to feel entertained. There are others entirely absorbed with their own personal love affairs, and regard them as the most problematic event happening in this small world. I, for one, may be included in the latter category.

But just imagine, in a small world, people are feeling pain and insecurity, but some of them have to feel that while their lives are at risk. How frivolous my own problem is! The moment when our ears hear the blast of explosions and the children's screams, how will I ever feel concerned about my problems? I can't pinpoint exactly whether those stories are factual and I'm just a blissfully ignorant young woman, or are they just stories exaggerated by the media? I'm having endless questions in my head right now, because it's probably more likely that I've been ignorant. 

I feel a pang of guilt when any close friend of mine tells me about their problem, and I instead think that 'you have no idea how your obstacle is negligible compared to what the other side of the world is facing right now'. There are two reasons why I'm overwhelmed with guilt: 

1) They are my friends, and they have the right to expect and receive support and encouragement.
2) I, myself, would be in need of support if i were in their place.

Yes, you see, Karina, people do not have to go through life-threatening events, to have someone feel concerned about their matters. As a famous saying goes, 'everyone is facing a different battle'.

Indeed, it is a small world. An era of globalization. It seems very easy for someone to pack their high-end camera and get a footage from a deserted part of the globe. But when everything is behind the screen, it feels like everything can be fabricated. After all, we are living in a small world full of conspiracies too. People with power, who intend to stay powerful as long as they can, construct these conspiracies to increase power. On the other hand, some others do not desire power, not because they are pure at heart, but because they are too coward to face challenges of having power. Power is good, you see. Power, in fact, can terminate these horrid scenes.

But that's the thing. I'm powerless. And I live in societies that seem oblivious to the problems of this small world we're living in. And it feels so useless, this being of mine.

I feel incredibly pathetic whenever an issue of love gets me so agitated. It feels selfish to not have this same intensity of agitation towards what is happening to humanity today. It feels overly wrong in every way.





7.22.2016

MOMENTS IN NEWCASTLE


So, I know I haven't posted anything for ages (and I realize this is how I always start my post, by pathetically admitting it and not doing anything for improvement).

The above picture sums up my day today with these two girls, Haya and Paniz. Ila, another precious flatmate of mine, was not there to share the joy as she was showing her parents around the city.

I have never experienced this kind of friendship before (please don't interpret it negatively, I have yet to clarify my point). I'm aware that I'm a person who can make a really good first impression when it comes to meeting new people. But when it's concerning long term friendship, I just tend to disappear. I indeed admit that (and not attempting any improvement as well). Actually, I can even disappear sooner. Disappear, as in, suddenly not responding in the group, or not showing up as frequently as I did in casual hangouts. I'm half introverted (as much as how people disagree with this, it's true really), so sometimes I feel like I need to spend time by myself. But I don't like the idea of not doing anything. Sometimes too much socialising has me feeling like I haven't done anything productive or gained any skill. So being alone is a compensation, it's my time to learn a new language (currently it's French), read random medical chapter, or any other constructive activity.

And in life, it is very rare to find someone who respects that personal space, let alone understand it. Until these people came along.

Actually, they usually complain when I'm momentarily gone out of the circle. Hahahahahah. Maybe the first reason why I decided to write this post was to tell about today. Just fyi, I'm currently in an urgent state of being sleep-deprived. My master dissertation submission deadline is two days from now, and I have been spending sleepless nights working on finishing and polishing it. I should actually proceed doing that, but I'm experiencing burnout at the moment.

I have been up since 6 (I slept at 4 am), and been awake eversince. I've been writing since then to submit my discussion part to my post doc who refuses to receive any emails on weekends (which is tomorrow). It's been sent and it's been commented and I should actually be opening it again and rewrite things according to the feedbacks I've been given. But guys, I'm burnt out. Anyways, at two-ish, I joined Haya at Quilliams, a tea shop in Newcastle that has been our favorite spot, one that I'll definitely miss when I go back home. Haya is a great person to study with, because she understands that silence is a must to share if two people agree to study together. So I spent hours with her at Quilliams, us busy with our own stuff, until Paniz came around at 6-ish and the place started to get crowded anyways (with other group of Indonesians). Me and Haya went home, while Paniz decided to attend an invitation somewhere, in which she was half-hearted about going.

Anyways, 30 minutes after I arrived in my room, Haya texted in the group saying she was preparing burgers and anyone who's hungry should come to her kitchen quick. So without further ado, I raced to her kitchen while shouting in the hallway, 'I'm coming....!!!!!'. And I watched her prepare the burgers (yes, I was pointless, as always).

Soon after, Paniz came back too early from that place she was going (because she failed to see John Mauree, haha) and joined us in the kitchen. And that moment was just a regular moment that we're privileged with almost everyday, as we're (technically) living under the same roof. But now that it's almost time for us to part ways, I feel like I can't take advantage of these moments anymore, and I need to write it down.

I already forgot what we talked about while I was eating the delicious burger-in-a-wrap that Haya prepared for me. But I remember it was filled with laughter and really, just lame jokes.

I recall Paniz mentioning how Alberto thinks nobody is having sex in this building and how it bothered him. And we were like, 'how is he supposted to know that? People don't walk around and write a message on their forehead that says 'I've just had sex in my dorm room'.'

And the conversation continued, 'yeah, well he's obviously oblivious to his neighbor's personal activity.' (bearing in mind that his Indonesian neighbor always has this girl who visits his room in irregular hours)

'Actually I never hear any weird sounds from his room,' claimed Paniz, who was also living next door to the guy being gossiped about. 'I think he does it very quietly. I can clearly hear him when plays guitar! Or maybe I do hear it but I have no idea they're making love because it's in Indonesian!'

And I was like, 'I don't think you have to understand the words when people are basically half moaning all the time'.

Paniz crazily asked, 'Okay! Maybe you can tell me how it sounds like in Indonesian!'. She was actually being serious... and of course I said no way.

I remember we shifted the topic to talking about desserts, and then suddenly Haya was like,

'have you guys tried that honeycomb dessert in Pizza Express?!'

And Paniz, who was planning to go to the Botanist (a pub) that night, enthusiastially said, 'OH! LET'S GO! I can go while I'm wearing this outfit!' (she was wearing a shirt and a pair of shirts, mind you, it's not something you can frequently wear in Newcastle [if you're not wearing a hijab], because summer here is very transient and is mostly not sunny or warm, except a few rare days like nowadays).

So, I got very excited because I really preferred tasting desserts rather than going to a place that smells like sweat and alcohol. But eventually, she was like, 'Ughhh no, please, Karina, not today. I know I will regret it afterwards.'

Paniz is on a strict diet, even though, to me, she doesn't look like she needs it anyways. I responded with a disappointed face, like a kid who was promised to be given a candy but was tricked into not having anything in the end. Paniz started to feel a pang of guilt at the sight of my facial expression, so she suggested, 'Okay, look, how about we look up how much calories it contains? Can we find that information, Haya?'

By this time, we were already sitting at the kitchen's couch, and Haya casually answered, 'yeah just look it up on the internet'.

I thought they were joking about it, until Paniz grabbed her phone and said with a typical tone of hers, 'Okay! Let's google it!' And Haya approached with sincere interest. They were really doing it.

'Okay just see the picture first!' Haya said, when Google just callously shows you the relevant images when you're actually looking for a web link.

My God, the picture of this honeycomb thingy was so appetizing. We all reacted like sad kids. And I was utterly surprised when Pizza Express actually had their own PDF-format table on Google page where they list all their meals along with the amount of calories they contain. Seriously, what kind of world is this??

'Ok, honeycomb honeycomb honeycomb *while scrolling down the table rows*...... HA! OMG! I'M GONNA DIE. It's 750! (If I remember correctly)'. That's like two meals..!!!' shouted Paniz.

 And I suggested, 'Okay how about we go eat it and then after that we do squats in front of Haya? (who's the athlete among us)'.

And Paniz was like, 'it's not gonna work!'.

Then Haya came up with another suggestion, 'how about you accompany Karina and you don't eat?'.

We laughed at this, seriously.

'I'll be the one looking like a bad friend, who seems to be eating a treat and refuses to share it with her,' I said.

'Yes! It's gonna be like a torture to me! Witnessing her eating with pleasure while I sit there!' exclaimed Paniz. And we just laughed like crazy.

This whole dessert conversation was really making us crave for sweet things, so Haya said, 'I really want to eat something sweet but not heavy.' So she stood up and opened the fridge..... only to grab an apricot, which to me, tastes sour.

'What the hell, Haya? That's sour, not sweet! I want pure dessert!' I protested.

'Karina, that's not sour. You're unbelievable,' said Paniz. She's been teasing me when it comes to fruits, because most fruits taste sour to me. 'Do you want oranges with honey?' asked Paniz. Of course, she was teasing me again because I tend to add honey to everything that was too sour.

'Hey, I have that ice-cream that was randomly put in my drawer in the fridge!' shouted Paniz when Haya was about to bite her apricot, and our faces lit up. Somebody mistakenly put their ice-cream in Paniz's designated drawer in the fridge. And yes, she did not ask who it belonged to in our kitchenmates group. Honestly, who would do that?!

'Nobody has claimed it yet?!' asked Haya. 'Then bring it over!' (While she put her sour apricot back in the fridge). Haya passed me a spoon while Paniz ran to the other kitchen to get the bloody ice-cream, which was Haagen dasz in strawberry cheesecake flavour. Jackpot.

We squeezed together in that couch while we eat ice-cream and contemplated who might be the original owner of this edible guilty (this term applies to Haya and Paniz only) pleasure.

'I suspect it's Vera's,' started Paniz.

'It's okay if it's hers. She has done bad things, this is the least harmful revenge you can do,' replied Haya. And we giggled like crazy again. Vera, our Chinese flatmate who has been smoking in her room and caused the corridor to reek with tobacco smell.

When the bucket of the ice cream was spotless clean, Paniz said, 'just wait until she asks in the group, 'Has anyone seen my Haagen Dasz ice-cream?''. And we laughed so loud again.

'Okay now throw it deep down inside the bin, out of sight,' Haya suggested.

'Hahaha! It doesn't have her name on it, so just act cool,' I said.

And basically. That's how our day ended. We did not go anywhere on that Friday night. Ice cream and stupid sense of humor were all that we needed to satisfy ourselves that moment. It was just random and sincere. And certainly, these kinds of moments had been taken for granted.

I also don't want to forget that day when there was me, Paniz, Haya, Ila and Mary (a Taiwanese flatmate who happens to be an awesome traveling companion) were negotiating on a day to hike in Lake District. We had two options: Saturday or Sunday. But Paniz and Mary could not make it to one of those days because each had their own plan. Paniz had a fancy dinner to attend to on Saturday, and Mary attends church on Sundays. So we were just there, trying to find another date, but Haya made a clear point that if we postponed it, it will forever be delayed. I completely agreed with her. So we had to kind of choose one of these two days without any of these two people feel like they're being favored over the other.

So I suggested, 'let's toss a coin!'. They were all surprised when I proposed this idea, but they were also thinking (at that time) that there's no other fair solution to make this decision.

At first, they we were all muttering 'I don't have a coin' at the same time. And then there was a random single coin spotted on our kitchen table, 'coin'cidentally. Paniz and Mary picked their head and tail, and the funniest thing happened when Haya tossed the coin: the coin got stuck on the round kitchen ceiling lamp that was hanging above us. And we all just cracked. It. Was. Hilarious.

'Ok guys. That's a bad omen. It means we have to go together,' said Ila, while Haya was standing on a chair to take a look at the ceiling lamp and said, 'it's a head!'.. which was Mary's side.

And even though the coin has made the decision for us, we were still hesitating about leaving anyone behind. So Haya gathered her courage to ask, 'what if one of you just sacrifices their plan?'

..which was the solution that was there all the time in front of our face but none of us dared to ask them. And in the end, Paniz gave up on her fancy dinner. HAHAH.

So we immediately rented a car, and Haya drove us to Lake District the next morning :)




I will certainly never forget these people :)