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


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.




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-

So This is Winter


So this is winter—
and what remains of the world

now that autumn has left us,
gone underground with the
once luminous grasses and the husks
and seeds of all the left-behinds.

This is the cold season.
Learn to endure it

Laura Lush, from “Winter,” The First Day of Winter (Ronsdale Press, 1997)

Being Grateful, Finally


There is no exact measurement of gratitude , but most of us expressing gratitude when things are good.  When everything goes well, when it shines the brightest, when things go as planned, seeing discount banners at the mall, an exceptional grade on a difficult subject, a good plan executed flawlessly, you named it. 

On the contrary ? Hang there, not so easy . A hard path walked alone , an argument unheard , being misunderstood, being hold responsible , and the list keep going way down, not even close to an end.  What left there was grief , despair, cynicism, and so on .

After what happened to me in the last 3 years, I think I  just figured out something.  I was once given a task ,not so hard, but I made it worse by finding no reinforcement due to my lack of experience in persuading people. I had to manage things and people alone, for almost 3 years.  It was depressing.  Not only the task itself , but the responsibility to make sure everything goes well is soul-consuming.  Trying to get some attention but few actually really cared.  In the end finally nailed the tasks , week by week, month by month.

Now, another fellow who got the same job description got so many help and affection from another people.   Looking back at what happened , I was surprised that I was actually able to nail the tasks alone , just because of His grace.  I could have ended up in a worse mental state , thanks God He kept me sane enough to stay.

Bad experiences teach us to be grateful .  Not only as comparison, but as a lesson as well as a milestone, how God has been with us through all the storms.  I try to believe the saying that ” one day you will be grateful for the whole history that happened in your life” . Just started the journey to be there 😉




picture source : http://blogs.jamaicans.com/micanbe/files/2011/10/gratitude.jpg . this new wordpress template has not been familiar yet to me :p

Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Text : Hugh Martin
Music : Ralph Blane

Have yourself a merry little
let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles
will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little
make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles
will be miles away

Once again as in olden days
happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were
dear to us
will be near to us once more

Someday soon we all will be
if the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to
muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry
little Christmas now

This is Libera’s version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  Light and burdensome at the same time.

Anyway,  Christmas should always be that time when you stop for a while and let the joyful sounds and light warming your heart once again.  Merry Christmas!  🙂


The Daily Routine Trap

Hupla!  So right now I am guarding the backstage of an ongoing piano competition.  I was wondering what I’ve been doing these all times.

Have you ever felt like you are doing something you don’t know what for? I have.  I didn’t know why I was doing these things : playing music,writing,teaching,reading, beside going to college.  Back then,I guess doing those things in the same time looks so challenging and interesting. I just don’t know why I don’t feel thesame.
Ah, I remember my late uncle once wrote about the essence of working and finding the meaningof life.  If God wants me to do a certain job, He definitely will provide the thing needed,if only I take a closer look on what I was about to be in the thing I was doing.

I was trapped in the daily routine. I just did things because I needed them to be done.  I was tied with regulations, forced responsibility, and guilt for not doing the job. I was becoming the job’s slave.

“Do what you need to be done. God does not put you somewhere on accident.  There must be something He wants you to achieve there” #notetoself.

*Trying to look for some directions on the crossroads of life* 🙂


Eternal Father, Strong to Save

So I was randomly looking up my Twitter’s Timeline when I found an interesting work by Hans Zimmer . Hans Zimmer is an award-winning composer famously noted for his work in movie scores , such as Inception, Batman Begins, Gladiator , and many more .  He composed Crimson Tides (1995) movie score, one of them titled Roll Tide . Roll Tide is the ending theme of this naval-themed movie . What amazed me is that this song includes an excerpt from the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” as written below :

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

This hymn  was written by William Whiting for his student who was about to travel to the US . The tune, composed by John B. Dykes, is called “Melita” , which is associated with the Malta Island. This hymn is strongly associated with the US and British naval services. They even have many versions for various jobs in the naval services 🙂

I like this hymn as it reminds me of how God never fails to save us in this peril on the sea of life . He holds the storms, He holds the wave, and He guides our boat along our life-long journey 🙂