I came back to Jakarta on 1st January 2017 and i set my big “deadline” would be 31st August 2017. By this time, i had failed to secure a scholarship for a Master programme in Australia and UK. And, i need to decided whether i still wanted to do that, to go back to school. So, what did happen afterwards?
At a first step, I decided to visit a friend in Bandung (his name= PONS) who has lived the bittersweet of tech start-up for a heart-to-heart conversation. I asked him, “Will i survive with only eat plain rice and sweet soy sauce?” – Thats how afraid i actually was to start again. People called me brave, but there was this uncertainty that i even couldn’t foresee. And this time, i felt all alone, without any safety net.
Then, you would say, “Come on, you have family. You have friends.”
True. But, being independent so long made me wanted to stay independent much longer. Its not like being someone who is too arrogant to ask for help, but more towards like i will do my best to survive this, even so i am alone. Alone but free.
I knew from the bottom of my heart that this decision itself was a bit selfish. I was raised with very earthy and family-oriented family. In my age, i should settle, take care of my inner family. I should even have had family for my own. But i thought, it was not the time, yet. But it doesn’t mean that i don’t love my family. Thats why i came back home for around a month, the longest time i stayed at home ever – usually i came back home for 2-7 days. During those time, i just lived, enjoyed Chinese New Year, and i helped established small start-up using my photography skill.
What i learnt at home was my decision affect my family in general. In Chinese family, familial ties are strong. They might not say that they love you on your face, but they would still bragging about you behind your back. So when my “profile” changed, didn’t mean that they would accept it socially. They accepted the change for you, but didn’t mean that they would share it with their friends. But, it was fine by me. I was not the one who need to live there and face the gossips or anything related to that. But, my family would. I would not lie to anyone, if they asked. But, i would not also try to explain everything to everyone. I was done with the need to explain. And, if they really wanted to know, they would ask the right question, to the right people.
By the end of my stay, i said to my Mom that i might go to Germany. But i was not sure too because i had no idea what should i did to achieve that. But, i set my eye to Germany as a next step.
Then, I came back to Jakarta, applied for master courses around Germany and took an intensive German course in Goethe-Institut. To be frank, i never imagined myself learning German at all. Perhaps French and Italian, but German? Seriously, no. After 6 months, i got to appreciate the specificity of German words (even though i am still confused with the exact meaning sometimes, till now).
Beside that, i took my very best to spend the time with my friends. I went to all the wedding i could attend, even though i need to travel outside Jakarta. I took a last holiday in between my German courses to explore South East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore – the story will come later!). Why last? because i even didn’t know if would have enough savings after this.
To have an education in developed country is expensive, especially if you are from developing country. Money that much could last for a long time in Indonesia. I couldn’t imagine how many Nasi Padang i could eat with the same money i would need to spend later in Germany. IF i get accepted, my savings wouldn’t be enough for the whole 2-year of my study. That was another reason to choose Germany, its allowed to work part-time while studying. But still, I couldn’t imagine how to work part-time and study full-time, but my friend said it could be done. So i trusted him.
In between these 6 months, there were career opportunities came to my door. It started with re-connect with my Uni’s friend who has rich experience in start-up business and investment. He offered some connections to interesting jobs, but i was not interested. I got multiple calls from head hunters for various positions interview, but i always found a reason to decline. Why? Because my head was not in that game field, at least not that time.
So, what happened at the end? Did i get acceptance letter? Did i go?
Before i answered that, i would like to add more. Its hard to write what happen in 9 months into 900 words, a lot had happened. I might even oversimplified what happened so it could be easily understood. But the essence is here, the struggle, the fear, the hope, and the feeling as everything might be the last time for a while.
And this is the answer for above question:
By the middle of October, i embraced my student life in Freiburg in Germany.
How did it feel? I will let you know in the next post!
At the end PONS said to me, “You will be fine. I might share you an egg or salt on top of your sweet soy sauced rice.” He is this kind of gracious good man that somehow i can relate with, no matter how long i have not talked to him and no matter how different our path has become. Thanks, pal!