Third Year Reflection*

As the year-end is approaching, I would like to use this blog post as a medium of reflection. A look back to where it all started three years ago. This month in 2016, I moved to Sweden from my home country. Time has passed by and many things have happened ever since, including having an additional member in the family. So it just feels right to see how it was and how it has been as a newbie living in Sweden.

And here are some random facts about Sweden that I learnt during my first three years of living in the country:

Sweden is a good place to raise kid

From free education to nearly free healthcare, Sweden is one of a few places I can think of when it comes to a “family friendly” country. Yes, the system is bit frustrating sometimes and requires lots of things to do—filling out forms, queuing, making calls to name a few. But once you got in, the safety net is always there.

Sweden also seems to care about and is willing to take part in children development. One tiny example is when my baby turned 6 months old, she received a free choice book from Lund’s state library. From what I understand, it’s a part of the program to encourage reading and literacy (such important skills for kids to have indeed).

Apart from those, generous parental leave, celebrated equality and recognition of universal values are the things that Sweden offers. And those are the list I would love to tick as a parent. Anyway, read more about the rights as parents in Sweden here.

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On BTS: Catching up with the rest of the world

This might sound ridiculous amid the waves of KPop, but to be honest, I’m zero about Korean pop culture.

I learnt about it during my master program when I took the Media in Asia course. But apart from its historical context, its massive and rapid development, I know nothing. And  I’m not a huge fan of it either. In my defence, I have watched some Korean movies and series, such as My Sassy Girl, Miracle in Cell No 7, Train to Busan, and Coffee Prince. And I agree they’re quite good. But those are all I know and those only 😀 .

In terms of music, the only icon I knew was Rain because he was the brand ambassador for a shampoo brand back then so I saw him quite often on TV ads. I know, I know, it’s so last year, don’t judge me 😄 Oh and Psy with his Oppa Gangnam Style, because he’s such a global phenomenon, and who doesn’t know him anyway 😀

Then few months ago I heard about BTS, probably the most popular Korean boyband on earth right now. I had no idea who they were. Never listened to their songs either. I thought they were just like any other KPop groups, but then I heard that they were on the cover of TIME Magazine.

Picture is retrieved from Billboard

Okay. That was something.

Then I heard that they delivered a speech in the UN.

Pictured is retrieved from CLEO


Wow. Now we’re talking.

That time I said to myself: I have to know this boyband. I don’t want to live in a cave anymore 😄

So I began my “research” last week.

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Menyuruh Anak ke Warung

Bagi sebagian orang tua, menyuruh anak membeli sesuatu di warung mungkin hanyalah perkara sepele. Hanya soal permintaan tolong sederhana yang tidak perlu dibesar-besarkan. Apa sih istimewanya mengirim anak berbelanja?

Tapi buat saya, menyuruh anak ke warung adalah momen serius yang terkait banyak hal. Tidak hanya soal memberi kepercayaan, tapi juga soal kemandirian, rasa percaya diri hingga melatih keberanian. Dan bukan hanya untuk si anak. Tapi juga untuk saya sendiri, sebagai ibu.

Momen menyuruh anak ke warung ini baru saja saya alami akhir pekan kemarin. Saat saya meminta anak sulung saya membeli roti dan susu di toko dekat rumah. Sudah lama memang saya berencana melakukan hal ini. Selain untuk melatih anak saya, juga untuk melatih saya melepas anak pergi sendiri. Sebenarnya sudah beberapa kali anak saya pergi tanpa saya atau Ayahnya. Tapi selalu dalam rombongan. Entah itu teman sekolah, anggota keluarga besar, atau tim sepak bola. Belum pernah dia pergi melakukan sesuatu sendirian.

Maka ketika akhir pekan lalu stok susu dan roti kami habis, saya pun menawarinya untuk membeli dua hal itu di warung yang berjarak sekitar 350m dari rumah. Sebelum-sebelumnya saya sudah berulang kali mengatakan bahwa akan ada saat di mana saya memintanya pergi berbelanja tanpa saya. Sehingga ketika hari itu tiba, dia tidak kaget. Setelah menjelaskan ini-itu dan memberinya arahan yang dirasa perlu, saya membekalinya uang 50 kronor, tas belanja dan ponsel saya untuk berjaga-jaga, lalu melepasnya berangkat belanja sendiri. Estimasi saya, aktivitas berbelanja itu akan dia lakukan dalam kurun waktu 15 menit. Dan saat itulah saya sadar, 15 menit itu adalah salah tingkah terpanjang pertama saya sebagai ibu 😄

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Begin Again

The full time mother and part time student

Never crossed my mind before that I would have to learn a totally new language when I’m already 30+. I mean, I’ve been doing just fine with my English skill. I don’t find any difficulty to communicate here in Sweden as most people speak English fluently. I also mostly work in English environment, so there was no particular need for me to learn Swedish.

But life takes a surprising turn sometimes and I found myself enrolled in Swedish course since early October. Yes, after almost two years of procrastination, reluctance, and denial, I finally have the gut to learn this Scandinavian language. 

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Lund, Jogja dan segala sesuatu di antaranya

Pulang tahun ini bisa dibilang sedikit di luar rencana. Awalnya kami berniat pulang ke Indonesia di akhir tahun, sekalian mengungsi dari musim dingin Swedia yang ajaib. Juga menunggu tabungan agak ”mendingan” dulu setelah libur panjang musim panas tahun lalu 😅.

Tapi dua kabar baik di bulan Maret membuat kami menata ulang semua rencana perjalanan.

Pertama, adik ipar saya menerima lamaran dari calon suaminya waktu itu. Rencana pernikahan pun disusun dan waktu yang tepat bagi semuanya adalah di bulan Juli. Kedua, tes urin yang saya lakukan menunjukkan bahwa saya positif hamil dengan perkiraan lahir Desember 2018, sehingga tidak mungkin melakukan perjalanan di bulan-bulan itu. Dua hal ini, kemudian membuat kami memindahkan rencana pulang ke Indonesia ke bulan Juli.

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Segenggam Daun So dan Sepetak Tanah di Belakang Rumah

40cdd708-cefc-4922-b190-038d5cee858aPohon Melinjo, yang bernama latin Gnetum gnemon, lebih lazim disebut dengan pohon So di kampung halaman saya. Saya tidak tahu persis dari mana sebutan itu berasal, tapi pohon So adalah salah satu tanaman yang mudah ditemui di halaman belakang rumah-rumah.

Mungkin karena pohon ini termasuk mudah tumbuh di tanah yang kering dan berkapur. Mungkin juga karena pohon ini memiliki banyak fungsi: daun dan kulit buahnya bisa disayur, sementara buahnya diolah menjadi emping.

Tanpa saya sadari, pohon So telah menjadi bagian penting dari memori saya atas kampung halaman. Salah satu hal yang paling saya ingat dari masa kecil saya adalah menyaksikan nenek saya memanen melinjo dari dua pohon besar yang ada di belakang rumahnya. Dan saya yang memunguti buah-buah melinjo, memisahnya sesuai warna: hijau, kuning, atau merah.

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That Restart Button*

Life as a writer

Moving to a new place when you have a good career back home isn’t just hard; it IS a big decision. But a choice had to be made. And that choice brought me to Sweden, more than 10,000 kilometres away from my home country.

I never thought that I would have to move to Sweden. Not in the way I ended up doing. I had a good life in Indonesia. I had a teaching position in a reputable university where I made good money and good friends. There was no particular reason to leave. Except the fact that my husband and I had the so-called long distance marriage.

Yes, my husband left for Sweden to pursue his doctoral degree in early 2016. That’s why my initial plan was to apply for a PhD position and move here as a doctorand, the Swedish term for this kind of employment, so I could get a study leave from my university. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned.

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