Mrs Fantastic

On our way home the other day, my daughter and I had a small talk like we always had. We discussed this and that and she excitedly told me about the unit she’s currently doing: “Human Body” and how she did a research on skeleton as part of the unit. That day she said that an adult has 206 bones while a new born baby has 300+ bones which eventually fuse to form the adult bones and that’s why the number is decreased. My comment was: “Wow, I didn’t know about that. Well done.”

Later she asked: “Do you think Ayah knows?”

“I don’t know. You can ask him when we’ve arrived at home,”

“But Ayah is very smart. He’s so intellectual and knowledgeable. Maybe he knows already,” she replied reluctantly.

“Yes, you’re right. He’s super smart. But it doesn’t mean that he knows everything. You can still tell him that information. I’m sure he will be very happy to hear it.”

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What to Expect the First Year (in Sweden)*

People say the first year of everything is actually the hardest. What about the first year living in Sweden? Well, it’s not easy, I must say. But, if you know what to expect, you will know how to deal with that.

  1. Bureaucracy

Welcome to Sweden!

First thing first: get your personnumer and your Swedish ID as soon as possible. These two things are essential for your new life in Sweden. Brace yourself during these times, as Skatteverket will be your number one office to visit. Expect a long queue so come to the office early. Make sure you provide every document they need and double check no document is missed. Then, whenever you are in doubt, ask!

I know that coming to Skatteverket office over and over can be really exhausting (and boring!), but it is unquestionably important to keep your eyes on the whole process. I personally had quite an experience with Skatteverket when my personnumer application was rejected but I didn’t know it sooner because for some reasons I didn’t receive the rejection letter. Later I knew it was because my residence permit was almost expired at that time so I needed to renew it first to be able to apply for personnumer. Thus, if you found something suspicious with your application, like the duration of the process or no reply after two weeks, do not hesitate to check it in nearby Skatteverket office.

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Year End Note

The end of 2017 is almost here. Time surely flies before we even realize. The day when I left Indonesia for Sweden still feels like yesterday. But in fact, I’m going to witness my second new year in Sweden, in the next few hours. The 2017 itself is really something for me as this is the year of a new beginning and also a year of paradox because there were unfulfilled dreams at one side, and dreams come true moments at the other side. Just like you, and other people in this world, I had quite random stories in 2017. Not all the stories had happy endings. But there were more stories to be grateful for. And I thank God, the most gracious and most merciful, for that. Anyway, here is the recap for the year:


Trying to embrace the ways of living in Sweden. Adaptation was the key word during this month. We experienced the first snow in Lund. And Hayya started her new school.


Zaki bought me a new phone. Went to Lomma beach on winter. Made cilok 😁

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Zaki and I had a bedtime talk the other day, about me who had just changed my current crush from Alexander Skarsgård to Thomas Beaudoin. He found it’s bit strange because I change my crush like a girl changes her dress (yeah, just like that Katy Perry’s song 😆). Very quickly.

Unlike him who’s “committed” to Jennifer Aniston since F.R.I.E.N.D.S was still the biggest show on TV (I know. It’s so last year, right? Told Zaki already!). None of my crushes stayed for more than a month. I’m too easy to fall for someone indeed. I watch a movie for once and I can instantly crazy over one of the characters. It’s been like that since forever. I once obsessed with Jude Law, Matthew Goode, Hugh Grant, Hugh Jackman, Josh Hutcherson, Miles Teller, Armie Hammer, Shah Rukh Khan, Chris Pratt, Alexander Skarsgård and the list went on. Currently, I’m smitten by a Canadian actor: Thomas Beaudoin which I first noticed from a cheesy romantic comedy on Netflix 😅. But I’m 100% sure it won’t last long. Give me few weeks and I will easily move to another crush. Haha. That’s just how it is. Easy come, easy go.

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Seorang Penulis yang Bertanya pada Dirinya Sendiri

Seorang penulis suatu hari bertanya pada dirinya sendiri.

Apa jadinya jika dunia kehabisan kosakata?

Akankah diksi menjadi sunyi?

Tak ada lagi awalan atau akhiran?

Tak perlu lagi imbuhan?

Pertanyaan-pertanyaan itu tak kunjung ia temu jawabnya.

Tapi setengahnya ia tak lagi peduli.

Toh, kata sekarang makin kehilangan makna.

Tak lagi diperhatikan tanda bacanya.

Tak lagi dihiraukan ejaan dan aturan bakunya.

Seseorang bisa bilang ”kami” atau ”kita” tanpa peduli bedanya.

Barangkali penulis itu sedang mencari cerita dibalik bahasa


Ia hanya seorang penulis yang tengah lelah merajut aksara.


Lund, 15 Desember 2017

The First Anniversary (of Living in Sweden)

Today marks one year since me and my daughter moved to Sweden. Yes, we arrived exactly on this date a year ago. So, happy first anniversary! Haha. I know it’s not really something to celebrate but we’re glad we had quite a wonderful first year (and are excited for the following ones).

I can hardly believe that it has been a year. I mean, the day when we arrived at Lund Central station still feels like yesterday. But I also notice that lately, things begin to change. I’m no longer feel like a new kid on the block. I’m not getting anxious or thinking that people are looking at me anymore. I start to feel that I really belong here, even if I still don’t speak Swedish (and certainly don’t look like a Swede. Haha).

Looking back on the past 365 days, here are the things that we have “accomplished” so far:

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Better When I’m Writing

Zaki asked me the other day, what things I am still passionate about lately. I gave him three answers, and among those, the first and most definite one was writing. Later I realised that writing is actually the only thing I consistently do since I was still in the elementary school. Though I must admit, I never had any chance to work on it properly.

Part of it was because it seemed like being a writer was less prestigious than being a doctor, or a teacher, or an astronaut, or an architect, or any other profession in this world. And it was just so hard to keep your passion when everyone around you didn’t take it really seriously. In my case, I found it was hard for me not to be tempted with the idea of being “somebody”. And the general definition of “somebody” in Indonesia is anything but freelance, including writing. Most people will consider it as merely a hobby.

I got some people who supported my passion, in different ways, though. My dad used to take me to his school library so I spent most of my childhood drowning into books and that’s how book became one of my obsessions (there’s a story about it here). My mom gave me a diary so I had something to write on. And there was a teacher in my junior high school who once asked me to join a writing competition. I didn’t join the competition at the end (because I wasn’t sure what to write and bit lazy, to be honest) but he was one of the few people who made me feel that I can write. Somehow. Someday.

Continue reading “Better When I’m Writing”