Gradschool Life #5 (End) – Leaving Boston, What Did I Miss The Most?

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Running, Sunset, and Charles River

I can’t believe that I finally finish my graduate school at Boston University! Can you believe its been 2 years since I am leaving home in Indonesia to move to Boston? Time really flies when we have so much fun. Its a mix feeling when I have to leave the city in August 6th, 2017. I am so sad leaving the city that has been greatly influence my life in this past 2 years with all the memories, my apartment, great friends that become family, and a lot of fun things that I did in the city. I remember I spent my last week in Boston by exploring the city by walking from Cambridge to Boston, from home to downtown, from home to campus, Trader Joe’s, Brookline, Charles River, Yusuf Mosque, Chesnut Hill Reservoir, and many other favorite place in Boston.

However, I am also happy to finally going home and end a very long distance relationship with my boyfriend, getting closer (in terms of distance) with my best friend and family in Indonesia, and start doing something that I left in Indonesia.

To stay or leave Boston, has been my biggest question since the end of 2016. There are so many freedom and opportunity that I can pursue while I am in Boston yet there are people I love that I can see if I stay in Boston. There are also several best friend in Boston that I am so sad to leave them 😦 It’s been a very difficult decision until finally I decided to go home for a while.

But the next question is.. where is home? A definition of home become a wider perspective to me after I left my heart in so many places. During my stay in Boston, I have been able to visit my lovely people across Canada, my best friend in Puerto Rico and Peru, get an unforgettable experience in Tanzania, traveling across the U.S., even going back to Indonesia twice for conference and thesis research, and visiting my sister in Japan. These experience teach me to travel light and being a nomad if needed with my backpack. I have a 4 hours long conversation with Professor Barry two days before I left and he said, “I am pretty sure even though you are going back to Indonesia, you will be everywhere, Dini. Who knows you will be back in Boston again, doing some businesses or collaboration.”, and Fiona, my favorite staff in my Department hug me when I say goodbye and said, “You will be everywhere, I am sure you will not stay in one place forever.” .. that statement really make me think about myself. Am I a nomad? Maybe for now? Maybe I will settle later in the future when I find a place to settle? Again, the same question, where is home to me?

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Me and Didi with the Coffee Farmers in Bajawa, Flores for our research in May 2017
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He did not attend my graduation in Boston but we have our early ceremony at Kelimutu National Park, Flores!

When I finally land in Indonesia and meet Didi and JP, I feel so happy. Nothing make me happier to be able to see lovely faces for the first time I go home to Indonesia. Then, we have lunch and I see Adrian, his present with JP make me miss Boston a lot — yes in my first day in Indonesia. But surely, to see Didi and then see my sister in that night, I feel home. From that day, I never really stop moving, being a nomad on the road by accompany JP to do his research in Lombok, going to Yogyakarta for another research and academic purpose, got an invitation from Kick Andy to represent Wanderlust Indonesia, went to Ujung Kulon for Wanderlust with Kick Andy team, accompany friends from Seattle who visit Indonesia for 2 weeks, and spent quality time with my lovely people in between.

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Shooting for Kick Andy at Ujung Kulon
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After Kick Andy show with Friends & Family of Wanderlust Indonesia

After 2 months leaving Boston, sometime I really miss some of things that I can get in Boston. One of the #1 thing I miss about Boston is my room in Boston! I miss the not-so-hot temperature in my room where I can relax and being alone, playing my record player / spotify, reading my book and drinking my coffee or tea. Being a nomad for 2 months make me miss that space a lot. I never really know that I will miss my room that much.

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Hello 1472A! I miss you!

#2 – I miss my morning coffee routine! :(( Did you know that I broke my coffee grinder after I use it in Indonesia because it has a different voltage between US & Indonesia? I am so sad that I only have my manual grinder (which has a really bad grinding quality) and it will take longer to make a cup of coffee. Being a nomad and not having a portable coffeemaker such as cafflano make me really miss my morning routine in brewing my own coffee. Oh plus making a breakfast!

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Missing this routine a lot 😦

#3 – Which related to breakfast, I miss cooking a lot. Not to mention, cooking with Kuniii, my lovely roommate in Boston. We have such a good time cooking together in our kitchen in Boston and I have to admit that not being able to have your own kitchen to cook your own food make me sad. Oh and I miss my groceries shopping routine to Trader Joe’s!!

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Lovely roommate, Kuniiii!
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and this kitchen!

#4 – I miss being active in outdoor that much! I miss my bike, being able to walk a lot in a decent street and nice temperature, running along Charles River or Chesnut Hill Reservoir, hiking in the weekend, camping, roadtrip, yoga & meditation, oh how I miss that a lot! How I miss the fresh air and being able to see clear sky and fresh water.

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In our hiking & camping trip to Grand Canyon – Sedona – Antelope – Bryce – Zion

#5 – Surprisingly, I miss being a student! I love University, being in the classroom, having a discussion with friends & professor, doing some paper & presentation, being in the library, call me nerdy or what, but I really love being a student in Boston! Btw I will update you later about a profile video that my Department created to feature myself as one of the International student in Boston University (BU), it was so much fun! In the end of my study in BU, Professor Barry and Professor Samuel Mendlinger also nominate me to receive a Graduate Excellent Award from our Department and I am so humbled to receive this award.

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From left to right: Prof. Greiman a.k.a Ginny, Prof. Steve, Prof. Barry
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With Melani, my best friend from Puerto Rico & her family
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With Prof. Samuel Mendlinger, our guru ini Tourism!
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Do I look happy? ^_^
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Our field trip to Tanzania!

#6 – I miss the freedom and doing whatever you want without someone judging you or asking about your life, where are you from, what is your job or occasion, and dress casually. In Boston, I can even wear running gear to go everywhere or a sandal inside the classroom in the summer or hot weather! I remember every time I take Go-Jek or Uber in Indonesia, most of the driver always so curious about your life and asking questions such as: “where are you from”, “are you not working”, “are you a student”, “what are you doing here”, “are you married”, and other questions. I guess our society culture is just so curious to know about other people life and people do love to talk and making conversation.

#7 – Last but not least, I miss my companion in Boston! Group of Indonesian students & professional in Boston that turn into a family, group of classmates, oh how I miss them after spending 2 years with them! Hope everyone is doing good & we stay in touch!

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Best friends!!!
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Jepeee, I know Fall classroom will be difficult without me around you, right? :p

I guess that’s so far the list of what did I miss already from my Boston life and now, I have to come back to my other “home”, I don’t know for how long, and where life will bring me next. For now until the end of this year, I want to enjoy my time before starting something new next year, I was thinking also to write a book of my travel journey (any idea/comment? :D).

What I always believe until now is that happiness is a state of mind. It does not mean that after I leave Boston which make me so happy, I will lost my happiness. Happiness is inside ourself and hopefully I can take it wherever I move.

Thank you LPDP for the scholarship that make me able to stay for 2 years in Boston, and for everyone who is helping me in finishing my Master Degree in Boston University, you know who you are and your support means a lot to me! Love you all!

Welcome back to Indonesia, Dini! 

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In a boat journey around Ujung Kulon National Park. August 2017
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Gobind, Ikhlas, dan Sederhana

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Saya selalu suka perjalanan, baik itu di kereta, mobil, jalan kaki, sepeda, atau seperti saat ini di pesawat. Banyak kontemplasi atau proses pemikiran yang terjadi ketika saya di dalam perjalanan. Terlebih ketika kita di dalam pesawat tanpa koneksi internet, saya selalu bisa menghabiskan buku-buku yang selalu ingin saya baca atau menonton film yang selalu ingin saya tonton.

Kali ini, buku pertama dalam perjalanan 12 jam pertama ini adalah 99 Wisdom oleh Gobind Vasdev. Lucunya, saya dulu pernah ngefans banget sama Gobind waktu dia menjadi peserta di reality show di TV berjudul “Penghuni Terakhir”. Bahkan saya sampai sedih waktu Gobind kalah. Menurut saya waktu itu Gobind itu unik sekali, sederhana, idealis, baik hati, tidak terlalu ambisius dan apa adanya, dan sepertinya menurut pengalaman yang sudah terjadi, kaya gitu lah tipe laki-laki yang selalu bisa menarik hati saya.

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Buku ini tidak saya temukan tapi menemukan saya, melalui adik saya yang memberikan buku ini sebagai hadiah ulang tahun saya yang ke-27 kemarin, dititipkan lewat teman di Boston yang sedang pulang ke Indonesia. Dia pun menemukannya melalui temannya yang memberinya buku ini. Kebetulan kah? Sepertinya tidak. Sepertinya semuanya ada benang merahnya. Kenapa dulu saya bisa suka sekali dengan Gobind, dan setelah bertahun-tahun akhirnya dia datang kembali hari ini ketika saya menuntaskan buku yang menyentuh hati saya ini.

Buku ini rasanya menemukan diri saya di saat yang sangat tepat dan saya baca di saat yang tepat juga. Hampir 90% dari buku ini bercerita tentang menjadi ikhlas, berserah diri, mengalir saja, percaya pada-Nya, dan tidak mengejar sesuatu untuk mendapatkan kebahagiaan. Buku ini mengajarkan hal-hal sederhana yang susah untuk dipraktekkan melalui kejadian-kejadian kecil dalam hidup. Bahwa lawannya cinta adalah takut, bahwa untuk bisa bahagia kita harus bisa merelakan, menanggalkan keakuan, ingat bahwa kita tidak pernah kehilangan apa-apa karena kita tidak merasa memiliki apa-apa.

Buku ini mencoba berpikir kebalikan dari orang-orang kebanyakan yang ingin sukses dengan terus mengejar dan meraih ambisi yang diinginkan. Buku ini mengajak kita untuk menerapkan BERAS MERAH = BERserah, ikhlAS, MErelakan, dan pasRAH. Satu hal yang masih terus aku latih untuk bisa mencapai kesana.

Terimakasih, Gobind..

Emirates flight, May 2nd 2017

Loving and Hiking

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Loving you is like hiking the mountain
A lot of excitement, even before I start packing
Sometime stopping for a little break
But many times, I just wanna keep climbing
Unpredictable, unexpected, full of surprise

I learn a lot of things on the trek
I see so many things I never imagine before

I hear a lot of unspoken words, the sounds of Universe
The silence that teach me to be patience
I smell originality, like an honest smell of the ground to the Earth
I feel there is a brave in a fear, blessed and happy just living a simple life in the nature

Climbing a mountain is interesting experience
On how to keep being “mindful” in the “mind full” of thoughts
On how to keep the faith and follow your guts, even though so many times your body, mind, and soul always in a contrary
Until finally, walking down the mountain and going back home

It made me found myself better
Help me to think clearly about my life
Because loving you is a journey
That make me keep learning about life
And why we are here

Boston, 2016-2017

Afar and Time Travel

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I find the beauty in the word “afar”, especially after I listen to Vance Joy song, “From Afar”. There is few word in this world that I think it just sounds great and reflect the meaning at it best. There is a beauty in reality of afar too, the distance.. to be far away from home, from the people that you love, from the people you familiar with, surely its difficult and hard. The moment when you hope they will be around but then you are all alone and you can only send “space-travel words” or “space-travel audio or video”.

But you will learn the most at the end of your comfort zone, and being afar from what you call it home or pieces of your heart also mean that you will commit yourself to learn a lot from it.

There are so many times that I always imagine if I could time travel myself and not only the words, audio, and video. It will be cool to master an ‘astral projection’ make my astral body travel to other part of the world, other timezone.

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But if finally I could time travel easily, will I appreciate being afar and my time more than before? When life gives you lemon, make a lemonade.. when life drag you being afar, make it fun!

 

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Robson Square, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Pay It Forward

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Before sunset at English Bay, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 

A strange non-fiction happen again in my travel journey, usually I call it ‘serendipity on the road’. This time happen in Toronto Pearson International Airport when me and JP, my classmate at Boston University, transit for our flight back from Vancouver to Boston.

We were so starving since we left Vancouver super early at 6.45am flight which make us have to be in the airport since 5am, no chance for breakfast. Not to mention, we were not sleeping that night since I have my friends from Vancouver coming over to our airbnb and talk the whole night.

First thing we look at whe we land in Toronto airport after all the immigration check: FOOOOD! We grab two largest pack of sushi in that restaurant in the airport and sit in the table. 5 minutes later, The waitress come to us and said, “There is one customer that want to pay for your meals. He said its from the fellow hiker to another fellow hiker.”

Us: “Hah? Who? Why? You kidding us!” The waitress left us super confuse but she is no joke. Why he think we are a hiker? Well, I am wearing my backpack with the MEC raincover in it but still, why? One more time she came to us after we request to know who is paying for us.

“So.. the gentleman said that he don’t want to mention his name or show you who he is but he just want to pay for your meals.” That left us still confuse and we ignore the waitress and keep continue eating our sushi and getting some snack and drinks.

In the end, the waitress only charge us for the drink and snack because the mysterious gentleman pay for our meals and I said to her, “Please say thank you to him and good luck for his entire life.” and then the waitress whispered to us, “Actually, its that gentleman behind you who paid for that.” and it left ask in this awkward moment. Should we come to see him, say thank you? or just pretend we don’t know him since we already say thank you through the waitress? Maybe he just prefer us to not knowing him but the waitress kind of reveal himself. We are too confuse and shy to come to this 60-ish man who I actually already assumed that its him since the waitress keep coming back to him. We left for toilet and when we were back, he’s gone already.

This make us reflect on how kindness has no name, you can pass it to anyone that you don’t even know. What we can conclude after what just happened to us is that we need to pay this forward, to whoever, kindness is a kindness. With or without name.

Thank you fellow hiker for giving such an interesting moment of our life.

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The infamous “City of Rain” in Canada: Raincouver a.k.a Vancouverrr. This photo taken in East Van neighborhood inside JJ Bean coffeeshop

Coffee, Kopi, Kahawa

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Some of the interesting book about coffee, tourism, for my thesis reference

I remember I wrote my bachelor degree thesis about Starbucks Coffee, and how the American Pop Culture image perceived by the consumers in the new opening Starbucks Paragon Mall Semarang that become a phenomenon at that time in 2010-2011. I love coffee since I was in school and my love for coffee has been transform into a new journey since this past 1.5 years, I have to thank Didi who contribute to this journey a lot, make me curious to keep learning about coffee and until I decided to write my thesis for my Master Degree, again, about coffee. When I share that I would like to do a research on developing “coffee tourism” in Flores, he mention about a rare coffee called “yellow caturra” somewhere in rural Flores and in the next hour I found out that its located in Bajawa. The locals used to call it “Kopi Kolombia”.

 

We can only connect the dot backwards, and its interesting to see how I coming back again to the world of coffee after my Starbucks research 6 years ago. I am so excited to start doing my research on the potential of developing Coffee Tourism in Bajawa, Flores that will also allow me to do a field research directly to Bajawa sometime this year before I finish school on August.

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“Gara-gara kopi” — a serendipitous coffee journey bring us meet Pak Wathan, a coffee farmer in Sembalun, Lombok, Indonesia

 

As coffee become my interest lately, last week when we visited Tanzania, East Africa with a group of 36 Boston University students under the department course “Economic Development via Tourism in Developing World: Tanzania”, I sign up myself for a coffee tour or they called it “Kahawa Shamba” which in Swahili means coffee farm. I went to the two communities. The first one called Machame, the village near Mt. Kilimanjaro and the secondn one called Nkoaranga village near Mr. Meru. We learn about the local coffee making in Machame where they use traditional method to roast the coffee, grind the coffee, boiled in the hot water, and put it into the cup. In other hand, we visit the organic farms who manage by local farmer in Nkoaranga and drink the coffee from plunger, see the roasting process and their small little factory. The company who run this called “Wild Tracks” who own by Tanzanian-Norwegian couple. They also sell the beans directly and export it outside Tanzania.

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Mr. Gideon, a humble local Tanzanian organic coffee farmer who cooperate with Wild Tracks
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Mama Stella, coordinator for our Machame Cultural Trip, trying to make the coffee with my Aeropress coffee maker that I bring to Tanzania

 

Meeting coffee farmers, visiting coffee farms, coffee roasters, or even coffeeshops has been my interest lately and I love learning from them. I would love to visit South America / Latin America specifically in Colombia, Guatemala, to learn about the coffee and coffee tourism that has been doing pretty good, and I hope one day, we can realize our dream to create one in Indonesia since we have so much potential on it.

 

 

 

With Hans (left) and Clyde (right) from “Happy Goat Coffee Co” in Ottawa who introduce me to George Howell coffee in Boston

Meeting George Howell in person and join his cupping session on Guatemala coffee

If any of you have a reference that I can use for my thesis or just in general about coffee and coffee tourism or coffee trail.. I will be more than happy to talk with you 🙂