Eid al-Fitr celebration #inthetimeofcoronavirus

Every Eid celebration has its own story.

And I will remember this year’s Eid al-Fitr (1441H/2020) as a very quiet and lonesome one, even for me who hasn’t been home for Eid for years.

There was no communal Eid prayer in the morning. No family gathering. No friend visit. Nothing really special for a big day like Eid.

We got used to the idea of celebrating Eid far from home actually. This is not our first time celebrating Eid not in Indonesia. But at least in the time before coronavirus, we got to pray in nearest mosque or park, met friends and later gathered with them, so the festive spirit was still there. We also had an Eid festival where we could really enjoy the joyful moment and meet fellow Muslims in Sweden.

But this year, we just prayed at home with Zaki as the imam and the preacher. Then video calling all day long to greet our extended families, both from my side and Zaki’s. It’s still good to see them, talk to them, laugh with them.

But there’s this void that needs to be filled somehow.

I know I should be grateful. At least I’m still able to celebrate it in good health, not in exile or war zone. Nobody said #lifeinthetimeofcoronavirus was gonna be easy. So I think I just need to make peace with the fact that things are different now, including Eid celebration.

Although we plan, God also plans, and He is the best planner after all.

So, for the sake of keeping the Eid spirit, Zaki and I decided to still cook Eid specialty dishes, like opor and sambal balado, even though it’s just gonna be us who eat them 😄. I even made apem, a rice flour cake specially served during Eid in my hometown.

The essence of Eid al-Fitr is joy, supposedly for being reborn as a better person as we celebrate it after the fasting month. That’s why on Eid we gather with families and friends, we cook good food, we dress nicely, and we are obliged to pay Zakat, so that those who are less fortunate can also celebrate the day and be in joy.

This year’s Eid celebration is definitely one of a kind. But let’s hope that it’s just temporary and that we will be able to have a proper and better Eid al-Fitr celebration next year onwards.

Finally, from my family to yours, we wish you a blessed and a joyful Eid. I hope we can still find a ray of happiness and gratitude, despite the pandemic situation we are currently facing.

Eid mubarak! Glad Eid! Selamat Idulfitri 1441H!

Tentang Kehilangan dan Patah Hati Itu

Saya berusaha untuk tidak buru-buru mencap 2020 sebagai tahun yang buruk. Saya masih ingin percaya bahwa kejadian-kejadian beberapa bulan terakhir ini hanya kerikil yang terjal di awal, dan akan membaik pada akhirnya. Ini toh baru bulan kelima, masih ada tujuh bulan untuk menebus bulan-bulan tidak menyenangkan sebelumnya.

Tapi jujur, berat merawat optimisme itu. Terutama sejak kabar-kabar kehilangan berjejalan di lini masa. Dari yang sekedar grafik dan angka hingga nama-nama yang akrab di telinga: Glenn Fredly, Irrfan Khan dan yang baru saja, Didi Kempot.

Setiap nama tersebut memiliki memori tersendiri bagi saya.

Glenn Fredly adalah penanda masa remaja yang dipenuhi tayangan MTV. Gayanya di video ”Cukup Sudah” membantu mendefinisikan kata ”cool” di masa itu. Lirik lagunya yang romantis selalu membuat saya terpikat, baik saat sedang atau tidak punya pasangan. Bahkan, ”Terpesona” masih menjadi lagu wajib saya setiap kali karaoke.

Lalu, meski tak sebanyak Glenn, memori atas Irrfan Khan adalah memori yang menawarkan warna lain untuk kegemaran saya menonton film India. Dia tidak mencuri perhatian lewat gaya dan penampilan fisik, tapi aktingnya di The Lunchbox, The Namesake dan Piku meninggalkan kesan yang tidak sedikit.

Sementara Didi Kempot, lagu-lagunya selalu mengingatkan saya pada siang-siang yang terik di Gunungkidul.

Pada angin kering musim kemarau yang bebas keluar masuk dari jendela dan pintu yang dibuka lebar-lebar. Pada satu momen ketika dua orang pekerja bangunan sedang mengganti ubin, salah satunya sambil menghisap rokok dan menggumam pelan, samar-samar melantunkan Ketaman Asmara yang diputar dengan lantang dari VCD player di ruang tengah.

Begitulah memang cara mendengarkan musik di desa saya: diputar keras-keras seolah sedang berlomba. Tumpang tindih dengan suara mesin kompresor dari bengkel milik tetangga. Dan deru mobil serta sepeda motor yang berlalu lalang di jalan raya, persis di depan rumah.

Pikiran saya merekam episode-episode kehidupan itu sebagai memori yang menyenangkan. Karenanya, kepergian si penyumbang memori mengusik ketenangan dari kenangan-kenangan itu, menimbulkan rasa kehilangan dan patah hati. Karena bagaimanapun, mengutip Didi Kempot sendiri, “aku nelangsa, mergo kebacut tresna” (aku merasa nelangsa, karena terlanjur cinta) (Cidro, 1989).

Maka atas nama kehilangan serta patah hati itu, saya membuat satu video dengan latar lagu Sewu Kutha yang saya nyanyikan awal Februari lalu. Meski tidak istimewa, semoga bisa menjadi penanda kenangan yang tersimpan lama.

On K’s birthday

Last month in 2019, Baby K turned 1 year old. It feels cruel, sometimes, how a year can passed you by in the blink of an eye. She was just this tiny red blueish baby not so long ago. Now she’s not a baby anymore, she’s officially a toddler.

She already has four teeth. She’s very messy independent when it comes to eating, but clingy when it comes to socialising :D. She’s a strong willed little girl. She drives me crazy with her unlimited energy that keeps her awake till late. Every. Single. Night. And yet, she makes me laugh with her funny behaviours, and warms my heart whenever she hugs me tight.

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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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Berlin, I’m in Love

02e6f069-5f08-44f7-84f6-5c0127b6d67d-1049-0000009b7dcbe115Germany had always been in our travel list since the first day we arrived in Europe. But we were bit on and off about the right time to visit the country. Mainly because we wanted to visit some cities in a row. Haha! What a plan indeed!

We wished we could travel to all the cities in Germany where our friends live. Like for example: 2 days in Hamburg, 3 nights in Berlin, couple of days in Frankfurt, stopping by in Cologne, Nuremberg, and so on.

But that ambitious plan isn’t so budget friendly of course 😆 So we ended up just going to Berlin last July.

Why Berlin?

Geographically speaking, Hamburg is much closer from Lund and we do have friends who live in Hamburg so we could have started from there. But, there’s no direct flight to Hamburg and we wanted to try a short and easy first flight for Baby K. So Berlin is a perfect choice as it’s just 40 minutes flight from Copenhagen. Besides, it’s BERLIN. The capital of Germany. Famous throughout history. Do we really need a reason to visit it? I don’t think so 😄

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Investasi Perlengkapan Bayi

Sejak sebelum punya anak, saya sudah mudah tergoda dengan barang-barang perlengkapan bayi yang lucu-lucu, yang seperti melambai-lambai minta dibawa pulang. Belakangan ketika sudah punya anak, saya sadar banyak perlengkapan bayi yang sebenarnya enggak butuh-butuh amat untuk dibeli. Dari situ saya belajar melakukan semacam “investasi.” Membeli perlengkapan bayi yang memang benar-benar nyaman, berguna dan tahan lama, bukan sekedar “cute” saja. Tentu saja melalui proses trial and error juga. Ada barang-barang “tidak berguna” yang pernah saya beli sewaktu anak pertama saya lahir dulu. Misal saya pernah beli pelindung lutut, sepatu (bayi yang belum berjalan sebenarnya tidak perlu sepatu, bukan? 😅) atau detergen khusus bayi.

Dari beberapa pembelian, berikut adalah daftar perlengkapan bayi terbaik yang pernah saya beli. Siapa tahu bisa menjadi referensi bagi mereka yang merencanakan punya anak, atau sekedar ide kado.

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The writing that helped Hayu re-find herself*

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The move to Sweden became a major transition for Hayu Rahmitasari. In order not to feel idle, she took up writing. Now she has released her first novel – which may be adapted into series.

December 2016, Hayu Rahmitasari moved from Yogyakarta, Indonesia with her then six-year-old daughter. Her husband, Zaki, had received a doctoral position in Lund and they first thought of a long-distance marriage. But after eight months, the distance became too large so she resigned from her job as lecturer at the university in her hometown and moved afterward.

The couple are both media and communication scholars and in fact they were also “competitors” for a while.

“We applied for the same doctoral position, but at that time we did not understand that it was only one position available in Lund. He was the one who was eventually hired.”

Continue reading “The writing that helped Hayu re-find herself*”