I’m not good in social interaction. I don’t talk much, I’m not even close with my neighbours, or my relatives to make it worse… The perks of being an introvert.
I had just finished my literature study. While waiting (and hopelessly looking) for a job to come and reach me, I spent days travelling the city on my own; mostly to some libraries and exhibitions. Other times, I just lied in bed reading books or watching some old series/movies.
Then one day, out of the blue, I found this tweet about volunteering. I had always wanted to volunteer and I thought I had to sign for this. I felt nervous, due to my realisation that I couldn’t communicate very well with new people. So I called my friend, Nella, whom without hesitation decided to join the program.
In the beginning, I thought it’s gonna be a cool experience but it turned out to be more than just “cool.” The people I met in this project had become more than just new friends. They had this, I don’t know, warmth, wittiness, something that would make you feel like you’re close to them. Even after the project had finished, everyone kept get in touch. Not to mention the WhatsApp group of the volunteers is still crowded with hundreds of chats once in a while.
As for the children, oh yeah, the children were as exciting as the rides in an amusement park. I happened to get close with the kids of one class from the beginning of the project. They showed high motivation to study, to learn and play games even without prices. They too are now still trying to contact the volunteer teachers that I sometimes would get terrors of messages from them :-P
When this Children of Tomorrow project was about to finish, I found another project called Jakarta Health Care Project. A friend told me they needed volunteers so I signed up. I got into this by myself. I felt like I had to, I knew I’d learn more. Indeed, I got so much things to learn and a bunch of more friends to remember. The committees welcomed me with open arms even though I joined the project not from the very first. The people I met there, I gotta say, were very friendly. Also, the cancer patients as well as their families were supportive and full of hopes.
Of course, with all this experience, there had to be obstacles. Sometimes I couldn’t handle the children during a lesson -for I’m the kind of person who can’t focus on more than one thing. But then I looked up to other volunteer friends and how they dealt with them. Meanwhile, in the other project, I found that the volunteers were only two or three people since it was a new project. So it was another challenge for time management. Applause for the committees for being devoted and could arrange this new project.
Miscommunication did occur a few times. Though all exchange participants could manage to handle the problems and the kids were not so naughty after all. While the kids with cancer were under treatment when the project happened, they looked fine and eager to share some knowledge. I remember one time, Anissa, a little girl with lymphoma cancer cried out for her mom. Her mom was washing clothes and said it was usual for her to be like that. I tried to calm her down but it didn’t work so I took a puzzle near me and we ended up playing it together.
It’s been a great experience. I learnt a lot from everyone and all the moments shared these past weeks. I also learnt that raising awareness isn’t so easy. Especially after doing the campaign, I realised that most people wouldn’t want to share some of their time just to listen or even notice.
The projects might be over, but the lessons continue. The words I write here may not be able to depict the true meaning of sharing. Still I spare my time to type it on a computer’s library in Senayan. In the mean time, I’m going back to a bitter reality of looking for a job.
An ambulance that says, “ON THE WAY TO HEAVEN.” Couldn’t believe what I saw, or what the maker thought, or whatever happened in this world.
I left my scent all over your bed, so you’d know I had a lot of things to remember.
I left my book under your pillow, so you’d know I had a lot of things to say.
I left my lip balm beside the book, so you’d know I had a lot of things to give.
So when you sleep now, dream of me; my words, from these lips, and a kiss, if you wish, with a twist.
"But have you moved the pictures to your laptop?"
"Yeah, I’ve saved them."
"Thank goodness, because,.. it’s too bad if you lose all those memories."
"Yeah, you can buy another camera, but the pictures, you know….." then she stopped for a while. Her eyes stared down at the table, as if her thoughts were going somewhere, looking for the right words to express. We were both in silence. Eventually, she murmured, her voice decreased in every words. I looked at her, still gazing down the table, but I didn’t notice what she said about the pictures. My mind had went out with her words. The camera might not be coming back.
I lost my wallet on Tuesday. Well, not exactly lost. I went to a nearby bank to block my ATM and I got this new friend of mine, Gisella, going back to the train station to look for my wallet. Soon as she came back, I smiled at her. I thought, “Well, my wallet’s gone, what can I do anyway.” After a while, she told me that my wallet actually had been in my friend, Nella. I burst into tears, knowing the fact that I lost it for some temporary minutes because of my own stupid forgetfulness. She was confused and I told her it was because of the flash drive I put in my wallet. I have photos of my friend who passed away and I couldn’t accept the fact that I nearly lost them all. Although she kept on saying that it was there, I didn’t lose it in the end, but my tears were flowing like the weather that caused the city being drowned by flood. It didn’t stop cause I was thinking about the what ifs. I felt useless, miserable, and guilty for making Giselle walked far for my mistake and the thought made me cry even more. Both of us were in the street and no matter how many people caught me in tears, I kept pouring out my overwhelming emotion. I felt like a child whose balloons were flown away though I could buy other balloons, I couldn’t let go of the old ones.
Eventually, I started to think that I cried not because I was really that sad but because I was touched by the kindness of a person. I mean, I didn’t lost anything at all except my pride for being a tough, mature, girl who happened to just cry in public. Well, I barely even close with this girl and she’s willing to be there for me. The previous day I was lost and I met this lady after a long time asking directions to people who didn’t really do much help (including the ojek driver that set the price Rp 40.000 from Tebet station.) This woman patiently helped me, waited for me, and brought me to where I should take the bus. On the night I reunited with my wallet, I realized that I had been through strange times but during those days I met strangers and found friends throughout their act. I thought , “People like these are rare these days.” People like these are the people I wanna hug and say thank you for sharing some minutes of their life to do good, to actually care.
My sister is having a son, which means I am now a young auntie. Khafid, the three month old baby, has grown into a demanding little kid. By demanding, I mean consistently whining to be carried around or taken out in a stroller and if he does not get what he wants then he will cry the hell out at the top of his lungs. But sometimes it’s not enough for little Khafid. Besides being a milk-aholic, he is a talk-aholic. Of course not an actual talk, he barely can talk at this age, but he likes to be chatted by people. When anyone comes at him and greets and talks and/or sings then he will giggle, his eyes get rounder, or he will mumble “oowaaah” or something like that. I like to watch him, pinch his chubby cheeks, chat a little BUT when I’m running out of what to say, he will begin to make a frown like he’s about to cry out of boredness. My mother even said to me that I should talk more to the baby, she once called me arrogant to that baby (and to our neighbours if I may add) because of my quietness.
I am never good at talking, socializing, and keeping an ordinary conversation up. It is a simple thing, is not it? Yet somehow I just can not do it right. I do not know what to talk about and sometimes I avoid eye contact. I just feel awkward when I talk. The more I talk, the more awkward I become. I think of things, and of all a lot of things stacking in my head, I can not simply picking things out to some words structure at the current moment. I do talk much to close friends, although not so much. I am more of a listener, I ask questions, I listen to answers, feelings, stories. Talking makes me kind of tired. Thus talking to a baby might be a hard task. Well, a baby does not understand what you say so whether you curse or talk about yourself he/she will only respond to you face expression and voice —in some cases they probably can feel your mood. However, a baby also does not give you replies. You ask stuff to a baby and then you will basically speak the answer to yourself, representing the baby. This situation sort of makes me look and feel like a bad aunt.