This week has been a roller-coaster ride. Or should I say, this month?
Eleven months ago, before I decided to follow my husband’s footsteps to Surabaya, I mapped out several plans on what I’m gonna be doing for the next 3-5 years. I decided that Long-Distance Marriage is not for us. We’ve been through 4 years of LDR before and we felt like we needed to stay together as to unfold each of our own pandora boxes.
I value transparency and authenticity in my relationship. It’s not that I have low trust issues with my spouse, it’s the other way around. I have some trust issues in how I will deal with my spouses in day to day interaction. I wanted to build a strong foundation for my family and that requires a regular conversation talking about our life goals to our daily expenses.
My decision is not without its price. I kinda lost touch with my circle in the Big Apple, I also need to adjust my working environment here and there. Some days, I even thinking of applying for another job in town so that I can have a regular income just like locals do to survive. I moved farther from my family, thus making it more expensive to travel if I’d really like to see them.
Some people were shocked when they heard that I’m doing this “ngikut suami” thing. It’s just not like me, someone they know. Well, it’s also terrifying to think about how I manage to make such a decision, leaving all the
comfort zone golden opportunities and certainty behind. But hey, there’s always a silver lining!
Surabaya has been awesome – that’s an understatement!
After several considerations, I decided to work remotely from Surabaya. I took a new challenge in helping my current office developing digital tools for its service. Sometimes I worked at home, sometimes I went to a coworking space, which was GREAT! It’s 100% free, provided by the lovely Mayor of Surabaya and has many desks with a good 3rd-floor view. Did I mention that it has a speedy internet connection, too?
I went there almost every day if I’m in town, to discipline myself to concentrate on work. It gives me some advantages, like meeting new people and I also went to many free workshops. I develop networks – not much, but some are worth to keep. I met young talents, heard stories about them, and I feel somehow content. Seriously, Surabaya youth should be really grateful to have ibuk Risma!
I rent a place in downtown Surabaya. It’s close to my husband’s office, to national hospitals, to the malls, fruit market, to the station – basically to your basic needs. Also, the parks!!! The attractive parks with fresh air and beautiful grass and flowers everywhere. Again, it’s 100% free. I went to the park every weekend to exercise and have a Sunday convo with hubby, and that can’t be more rewarding.
Our living expenses also kept minimal. The transportation cost was low, we can reach anywhere with motorbike and Gojek is very affordable too. We practice badminton weekly without to pay much, sometimes free. About the food? Don’t you ask! Surabaya is one of the culinary heavens in Indonesia. Too bad that hubby is a bit picky eater, so I have to cook for him every day.
Self talks and self-realization.
Even though I worked remotely, I realized that it came with many downsizes. I needed to find a way to expand my networks – also, my skills. No one will be there if I need specific help and it’s frustrating when you feel like you didn’t go anywhere. Not only that, it’s even more depressing when you scrolled through Instagram and see how far your friends have accomplished something.
So I didn’t stay still, of course. I tried to join the Apple Developer Academy. I thought I’m gonna make it since my test score is higher than my peers and I know what it takes to build a start-up. But the universe told me that it’s not my place there. I lost to a friend who is a founder of an online community and I didn’t see that coming.
Again, it’s like a blessing in disguise. The failure I experienced kinda wakes me up from realizing who I really want to be, what I really want to be doing. Working remotely, alone by yourself, does spoil my introversion side but that’s a result of it. Somehow, I became more aware of myself.
I listed out my self-talks, and step by step try to rebuild my blocks. I constantly asked myself: “do I want this, do I like this, are these aligned?” that kind of questions. I prayed that Lord guides me to His path and keep me close to those who do good and will help me walk through that path. Being lonely has its advantages, you know.
Slowly, I get a better vision of the light in front of me. Some close friends come to town and make time for me, which is something I truly grateful for. I did several new projects which were key to my career. I get to some important realization that another person’s path is not my path… that I have my own and I am very comfortable with it.
The worlds keep changing and it doesn’t stop there.
One day, on a sunny Sunday morning, while I sat with my husband in the public park, he mentioned something about coming back to school. I thought that is the plan that we’ve discussed before and we’ve been preparing that as well. I didn’t realize that the urge came sooner than I thought.
We’ve been doing an online class because both of us would like to come back to school someday, not in a rush. I felt like I need to be doing more research about the industry before hitting that apply button, while hubby who is doing his finding almost every day, felt like he should not wait for too long.
It took me quite some time to respond to him. I wholeheartedly support him in every way I can, somehow felt like a deja vu.
A little interesting story, so when I get to the airplane after our wedding day, I was having this feeling when I say goodbye to Jakarta. It’s like the city whispered me back: “no, you don’t get to say goodbye. It’s a see you later. You’ll come back because I’m not done with you.”
Weird isn’t it???!
So weeks later, I put on some calculation (just like most wives do, right? 🤪) and trying to map it out realistically. I can’t lie that if I needed to go back to Jakarta or move somewhere closer to my family I would be really happy – but my husband’s career and education is also one of my top priority.
As I saw the world keeps changing every day, I said to myself that I needed to embrace changes, too. So before I adopt my husband’s plan to become our plan, I make sure that we both would be responsible for it. We would be patiently doing all the process and be very patient about the outcome as well, while also bear the consequences.
Pura babbara’ sompekku… Pura tangkisi’ golikku
It was President Joko Widodo’s statement during his inauguration last Sunday. The day when we both set our foot back in the Capital city. A historic day when Praveen Jordan and Melati Oktavianti won the Super Series for the first time (Danisa Denmark Open 2019) after repeatedly failing as the new Indonesian XD pair.
“Layarku sudah terkembang… Kemudiku sudah terpasang…”
This brave statement means that a huge change is coming. I don’t know how and what kind of ride I will have this time, I am just hoping that Allah will always guide me and remind me of our purposes as mankind.
I am grateful to be back in this city and I can continue what I have built upon these years, with a more powerful heart. Surabaya has been more than great and will always be our home. Just like I whisper to Jakarta, I said to Surabaya: “see you again. I’ll be back soon, just so you wait 😎” ***
Feature image: Erda Estremera on Unsplash.