We Listen to Reply

Based on my previous blog post, chronologically this post should be about “How to Apply for Germany Student Visa” or “First Week in Essen” and so on, but anyway :p.  A few months ago, I found this quote from Stephen Covey somewhere in either my Facebook timeline or Tumblr dashboard

the-biggest-communication-problem-is-we-do-not-listen-to-understand-we-listen-to-reply-2cb19

At the moment I was like “Wow, this is so freaking true”.  I personally don’t like to talk if there is nothing I want to add and I feel annoyed if in a meeting or discussion people just throwing out their opinion without a point and just reciting everything else that has been said before, just for the sake of replying.  I am not saying that I hate people expressing their opinion, but at some point at some institutions this ineffective habit of throwing pointless arguments is just, well, time-wasting.

Not until I have moved to Germany that I found this quote way way more relevant to my daily life.  FYI, I live in Essen, the 6th biggest city in Germany, the 2017 European Green Capital City with around 560.000 inhabitants.  It’s a very busy city along the Ruhr River, home to the famous steel company Thyssen Krupp and in the 19th century was a highly industrialized (and polluted) area.  People here are highly busy but not that english-speaking as another bigger cities such as Berlin or Munich, just to name a few.

Before I come here I have taken a German course in Bandung for 1,5 years.  I was thinking that “Well, I might not be able to write something in perfect German but I think I can manage that”.  Turns out I was wrong.  Yes I am able to understand some German terms, yes I can write e-mail in German but I cannot understand what the people are saying in German.  At all.  So I can start a conversation but I am not able to interpret what the response is.  Up until this time (4 months) I only manage to understand at the most 50% of what people are saying.  This is because they speak very differently with whatever it is I have learnt. Different speed and different accent.  There was a period when I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I cannot understand spoken German that I just didn’t want to go anywhere.  Even asking for toilet location at church can be overwhelming, simply because I was too afraid that I wouldn’t be able to understand the reply.  And I learnt it the hard way that to learn a language in its native land, you simply need to understand, and you should thrive to listen and understand what the question is.  (That also includes the courage to ask “Could you repeat a little bit slowly?”)

To speak about linguistics would be too far, but this is the point of communication.  How could I reply, if I don’t understand what the question is in the first place ? I have experienced this same thing with Sundanese and Javanese language back then.  But I never think of it, after all people will ask me question in Indonesian anyway, so why bother?   But here, I was given the basic, most important lesson in communication the hard way (well, according to my previously-spoiled-life-in-convenient-city). We listen not to reply, but to understand first.

 

October

I don’t really like October

Somewhere in the past, somebody left in October. Another also left in October.  The former left to another hemisphere of the earth while the latter left for a new stage in life. So it is normal (?) if I always welcome October cautiously.  Triggers are everywhere.

And yet this October will be full of drama

What, So What, Now What ?

 

One of my favourite thing to do is attending seminars. Like seriously, if I could spend my whole life listening to people talking about something in particular, listening to lectures, and reading book, I would. There is nothing more satisfying than gaining new knowledge…only to find it buried down deep for the rest of my life (until now, hopefully).

Last year I attended a Bible Camp on Christian Apologetics and last Saturday I found myself in a similar but slightly more comprehensive seminar by the same speaker and I could not help but start wondering “what have I achieved this year?” Seems like whatever I was learning last year just stay there, unanalysed even though I am really trying to implement it in my daily life (super difficult, though). So the thing is that for me, I am searching for so many knowledge and found them not useful, yet. Or it was me not trying to make use of all of them. I always get motivated in a seminar and by the time I get out of the building, the motivations disappear like a vapor into thin air. I also fancy collected tons of training materials, only to found it not being used until now, where I found myself wondering I could have done this project better, if ony I refer to those training materials. My bosses have also admit that they attended lots of training or seminar and then buried the material somewhere inside that enourmous cupboard on the corner of the room.

This made me recall an event I was doing last month with my colleagues. It was a training and bonding activity and one of the key message that kept resonating inside my head is “reflection”. So let’s say that you have a particular event in your life. How big it will have impacted your life will be determined by your reflection on the event. What is the event, so what you feel about it, and now what you will do about it. Those are the questions that were continouously being asked by the facilitators. Although to be honest, most of the training materials are quite heavy on New Age worldview, which are not suitable with my worldview, I had quite a battle inside my heart over it throughout the training *sigh* . Anyway, without routinely reflecting on everyday events, my life and the worldview I hold onto wouldn’t be developing too. In short, we can develop much more progressive toward a better person, if only we tried to routinely reflecting, in my case, on those seminar materials, training, and of course, life’s tribulation

Cheers,
Lydia

Disclaimer : The title of this post are mottos frequently said by the EcoLearningCamp team

2014

I should be so depressed at the moment, after failing (another) master’s scholarship application, failing to meet a dearest old friend after 2 years since last meeting (and 6 months of silence), the AirAsia QZ8501 accident which triggered all emotions from 2012’s Sukhoi accident, and watching a friend with his significant other sharing some good times while here I am standing and pouring all those feelings out (and secretly hoping to not meeting any of them again). That was stupid and momentarily though, I should not be expecting to not meeting any of them. In fact they have been such good friends, it’s just me who found it damn hard to face reality as it is and stay too long in the past.

Anyway, to ease such pain, I decided to make a list of things that happened throughout 2014 that I should be hugely grateful of. Even though the year 2014 ended quite chaotic for me, I believe there will be something good come through this messed-up yearend, maybe this year, maybe 2 yrs from now, maybe 10 yrs from now, God knows 🙂

1. Graduation ! After another depressing episode in the past of doing my undergraduate thesis, dealing with those daphnids, struggling and pleading to be permitted to have the examination before new semester started, finally I tackled the exam on January 17th (new semester started at January 20th!) and enjoyed a bit of the ceremony on April

2. First job. I was offered to fill-in my thesis partner in assisting our advisor on an EIA project for 500 kV transmission line for the national electricity company. The project is still ongoing until now (national company’s habit) but we are hoping to finish this by April. Nonetheless, so far the project taught me a lot of things and gave me chance to work with the assistants (my classmates). We have been stuck here for a long time and hopefully we’ll end this soon enough !

3. Prothumia Camp. I have been a long time fan of Christian apologetics but did not have any chance to learn it thoroughly. So when I saw this announcement of apologetics camp at South East Asia Bible Seminary , Malang, East Java, I was so attracted but I did not apply immediately. After finding myself drown in apologetics questions, I applied on the last minute. So many knowledge and faith-strengthening insights. Sometimes we do not ask questions because we are afraid that the answers will not make us satisfied, or worse, disappointed. I am so grateful that in this camp I got the answers to the questions I were afraid to ask.

4. Second job. Since the EIA project progresses very very slow (typical national company), I decided to apply for another job while keep applying scholarships. Submitting my application 2 days late than the actual deadline for the position, I found out that they replied my application pretty fast and offered me a full time job in the interview! This ordinary motion turned out to be super extraordinary when the projects we were involved in are in fact challenging my personal skill while at the same time facilitate what I have been longing for : working with foreigners. The project were super time-and-commitment-consuming but I am so beyond grateful to finally finish the project. Combined with the responsibility trusted on me, words cannot express how grateful I am.

5. My best friend wedding. It was super fun to be part of my besties wedding, the 1st year college gank returned to have some fun and witnessed the happiest moment in our friend’s life

6. Christmas Eve service. As I have mentioned before in #4, the project my office was involved in made me unable to craft any ideas for the XMas Eve service, where I was assigned to accompany. Thank God on the D-1 day, I found out that the choir conductor’s husband has been longing to play in the service (If only I found that out earlier!). So we had practice in the morning and played in the evening. Turned out the congregation was really enthusiastic to sing the songs in the liturgy.  I could say that my comeback as an accompanist after 2 month hiatus just made my day, while earlier at the same day I found out that another scholarship application was just turned down. It was such a blessing to close that day.

There were lots of things that happened that should be grateful of and I cannot made a detailed list of everything. At the end of this post I just want to wish everyone a happy and memorable new year! Stay thankful (to me also) !

Coincidences

Most coincidences are happy

There are silly coincidences

There are exciting coincidences

There are important coincidences

There are significant coincidences

There are also silly, unimportant, and insignificant coincidences

(which leads to nowhere but a mere reminiscence, a whisper from the past, an annoying nostalgia, a stone in my shoe)

 

Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.

– Haruki Murakami-