The Melting Pot

Build the Wish List

Formal study is out of my dictionary for quite a while. I did some major shift after my undergraduate study and basically there is no formal education background to back up my line of work. I always think that I learn from every single piece and person in every place that I ever been. I learn indebtedly from the warm kiss of morning sun, from people with huge visions about Indonesia that I always love to share my cup of coffee with, captains explaining how their simple boat can endure the vast Indian Ocean, the mighty Google, and this learning bucket are growing.

However, my intention to go beyond has become a burning desire for the past couple of years. I truly think that there is a lot of stories and learning from my country to be shared. And in return, I would love to listen and tap the lessons learned from others as well. And to be (geekly) honest, I think I miss the atmosphere of sitting in a classroom, having classmates, and reading some books. And in the other hand, I don’t think that I can tame my urge to explore things and places. Yes, too much wishes, I’m merely human 🙂

After a series of browsing, I fall for United Kingdom to fit all of my wish list. I even enrolled my posting in a blogging competition held by British Council Indonesia in 2009 for the sake of expressing my desire on why I would love to study in the UK – well, in addition to hope for the Mac Book prize for the winner. I just managed to get into the top ten sadly. But, the awarding event (I was awarded with a package of pen and USB stick, mind you) was held on Education UK exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia where it displayed pictures on Chevening alumni and how they seem to be able to study and yet have a lot of fun at the same time. Just exactly what I always picture in mind. I remember mumbled to myself back then, ‘Alright, I might not get that Mac Book now, but I’m gonna win that one ticket for Chevening.’

Get the Cherry Top

Then here I am, almost two years after the exhibition, finally sitting in front of the window in my room in Edinburgh, overlooking the lush garden and blue sky with hints of white clouds of winter. Does this place give the sharing and learning experiences as I expected before? I would say definitely, even beyond! Today marks the two third of my journey in MSc Environment and Development in the University of Edinburgh. As a city, Edinburgh is just magical. The reasons to fall for Edinburgh pour naturally. The city is pretty and the people are just friendly. Their warmth is so opposing Edinburgh’s weather. It’s just amazing. Every time I ate at the café or just simply waiting for the bus, someone will at least smile at you and surely comfort you if you look lost.

As in academic life, the University of Edinburgh provides me with global experiences just like what I’m looking for. I have friends from all over the world! I can even eat scones in a lot different ways now! The facilities and infrastructures kept on amaze me, such as the library opens until 2AM while my university back home closes the library on 5PM, in addition to closing time during lunch break! The course preparation is very clear and the objectives are well stated. My geek side jumps with glee to see the reading lists and discussions from each of the courses in addition to the inspiring links exchanged in Facebook. Nevertheless, I must admit that my carefree side bursts in tears and heart pounding during the hard time of essays and exams (and most probably the upcoming thesis). It’s just hard for me to digest the concept of sitting two hours for exam to conclude 11 weeks of intensive courses.

Reflecting where I am now, I am grateful that some puzzles of my wishes become more apparent. Moreover, I just realize the cherry top of my experience: my friends in Chevening Indonesia. A truly melting pot of ideas and wisdoms they are and I’m so lucky to have them around. Well, virtually around.

These groups are just remarkably supportive and each of them is indeed the selected few of people with huge passion for Indonesia and has big hearts at the same time. There were times when I stuck with my economic course, then a dear friend was willing to halt her study and filled me in with the concept of discount rate. Another friend studying in London asking the group about updated issues on nuclear, then she got replies from Bradford, Edinburgh, London, and Glasgow showing various angles of the nuclear debates. In between some chatty Skype, I got crash course on west and east perspectives of corruption from a friend in Durham. In between some tube trip from central to Uxbridge in London, I saw the sparks on my friends’ eyes while they talk about food and urban management. On a coffee shop overlooking the King’s College in Cambridge, a friend share his notable knowledge on lawyers in Indonesia. When a friend in Birmingham worry about some exams and essays, everyone from the north to Brighton in the south console each other and I can sense hugs and smiles being exchanged virtually. On top of their wits, their sense of humor is just crazy! My jaw hurts because of the overdose laugh I have with them.

Having them, my learning bucket is certainly expanding. But more importantly, I remember a saying from Ted Mosby, a character in How I Met Your Mother?, ‘There’s no way of knowing for sure where the safest place is. So the best you can hope for is to have some good company’. I think I can proudly say that I have some good company.


Here’s some of us on New Years Eve 2012 Hogmanay’s Street Party, Edinburgh, UK. I’m the one taking pictures 🙂