“Why do we choose partners so different from ourselves? It’s not chance or cliches like ‘the heart wants what it wants’. We choose our partners because they are the unfinished business from our childhood. And we choose them because they manifest the qualities we wish we had. In doing so, in choosing such a challenging partner, and working to give them what they need, we chart a course for our own growth.”

—Jay Pritchett, Modern Family


On Losing Someone You Love The Most


June 25, 2017

I lost someone who I dearly love–my dad. As I write this post, I still am trying to recover from the loss. It has been such a rough time for me to accept the truth that my dad, whom I spent my 21 years with, has gone. It still feels like a dream, so surreal. Sometimes I find myself asking the same question over and over again…

Has he really gone?

Everything happens so fast that I could not seem to digest everything that is going on at the moment. Losing someone has always been so tough for me. I have lost my grandparents when I was a kid, and my aunt and Neni (grand ma’s sister). I had a hard time dealing with the loss. Losing the loved ones have always been my worst nightmare and a week ago, I had to experience that. Losing a parent is extremely, unbearably, utterly painful. I could not find words to describe what I’m feeling but the pain I had to endure was just too much. But thank God I have friends and family who are there to open their arms, hug me and console me, support me and give me words of encouragement. I have no idea what I would do without them.

Papa always taught me to not be selfish, to share what I have with my sister, to care and respect one another, to always be kind and generous. Papa once told me that he got offered a high position job but he refused, and when I asked why, his answer astonished me. He simply said that

I am happy with I have now. If I accepted that offer, I would have to spend less time with you all. I would have missed the chances to drop my daughters off at school, have dinner together, going out, and do things together as a family. Those are just little things but those are what I appreciate the most.
You can always earn money, everything will be sufficient for us, but only time cannot be bought. It is enough for me. I can still drop you off to school, get home early for dinner.”

Papa had long been sick. He had suffered for a long time and it was painful to see him in so much pain. But now he is in a much better place where he is in peace, and doesn’t have to feel the pain anymore.

Pa, it is hard to move on with my life without you around. We fought, argued and disagreed a lot but at the end of the day, you would always be a father who’s so forgiven. I am sorry for the wrong I have done to you, and hope you know that I have forgiven you too. I know for a fact that you don’t want me to live in regrets but I wish I were there to tell you how much I love you, Pa. I hope you knew that I love you and I care about you even though I rarely said it to you.

I will always remember when you drop me off at school and sat there with me till the bell rang because you didn’t want me to be alone
I will always remember the times when you jokingly told me to cut your ears cos I asked for too much and I ended up crying and you and mom laughed so hard
I will always remember that time when you first heard me sing and you told me that I sing pretty well
I will always remember that time when we had tickle war. You knew I was so ticklish, you could win so easily.


The pain is unbearable and I still don’t know how and when I’ll come to terms with the loss. Your absence is just painful. But I know for a fact this is just temporary separation for one day I will see you again. I know you are happy up there where you no longer worry about the future, and pain no longer kills. I know you are singing over me.

Until I see you again, Pa

I miss you so much

To the lot of you who are lucky enough to still have both parents with you. You hold one gift some of us no longer have, and I hope you realize that we are not promised tomorrow so don’t take this life for granted, don’t take your parents’ love and care for granted for one day it will be taken away from you. Say I love You when you really do, that’s what your parents want to hear. My dad didn’t get to hear that coming from me for the very last time, and I hope you don’t make the same mistake that I did. Live fully.

Refugee School in Indonesia Sparks Hope

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“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”


I have been living in Cisarua, West Java for the last two months and volunteered at Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre as teaching assistant. I had such an amazing time there and the experience I had was tremendous and it truly is unforgettable.

Indonesian people are not really familiar with the refugee issue. There are even some misconceptions about refugees. One of my friends did not even know that there are International refugees living in Indonesia. A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.

Indonesia has not ratified the Convention relating to the Status of Refugee, therefore Indonesia is not responsible for providing the basic needs of Refugees living here. Refugees in Indonesia are not entitled to social security, access to education, and employment. That is why it makes it so hard for them living here. The protracted waiting time also makes it even harder. Because one usually needs to wait for 3 years or so to finally be resettled to the third country. There are an estimated 14.000 refugees living in Indonesia and some of them are children. In their growing age, this situation does affect their development. Can you imagine if you are stuck in Limbo and have to wait for years without education? That is one of the problems that these refugee family face. They are worried about their children education.

“On 2014, a small group decided to start a school, The Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre. Unbelievably, through the school, the refugees found they were having the best days of their lives. Instead of sleeping all day, they got up early to go to class and to prepare lessons. Parents made lunches and delivered their kids to school, proud that they were able to provide an education for their children. They even started a school football tournament, and the female teachers played football for the first time in their lives.”

CRLC is the first school that is established and managed by refugees and now there are 100 refugee children enrolled there. This school has lifted the burden of the parents who were worried about their children education. This school is a symbol of hope, trust, and resilience. It gives these children a sense of hope. I first found out about this school on Facebook and I did some research about it and I was amazed by what the power of community can accomplish, and in this case, it has accomplished something great.

March 27

It was my first day in Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre and I could not be happier to start my day.  I was welcomed by heartwarming smile upon these children’s faces. They greeted me and asked my name, where I’m from and such things. One of them can even speak Bahasa and Sundanese very well, which is pretty impressive knowing that she’s only been here for a while and I can’t even speak Sundanese. She said that she’s learned that from her neighbors. They always start the day with morning exercise and every Monday there is a ‘Question of the Day’ where one of the Prefects asked a question and then she or he will pick some students to answer the question, and every Thursday, one of the students will stand in front of everyone to deliver a speech. Every morning, the female teachers would kiss me on the cheeks three times and hug me tightly.


On my first day, I was just there to observe. I was observing the interaction between the teacher and children, how they behave with their friends, and the activities they do at school.

Day by day, I have seen a great amount of respect these children have for their teachers and their eagerness to learn and the positive attitude they’ve shown. I have no words to describe this environment, it is just so positive. They appreciate each other, give words of encouragement to one another, behave well with everyone. They are just a bundle of joy. They are also very critical as in they are not afraid to question what they know. One time, the students asked me why is the sky blue? For most of you, it might seem a very simple question but it shows me how curious they are about the things around them. They begin to question small things. They are so eager to know and learn more. One of the students once came up to me and asked me what’s the meaning behind my name. Thank God, I have made a small research about my name in the past so I could easily answer her question haha! I told her that the name Erika is originally from Scandinavia and it means “Always Ruler”. It also is a name of a flower.


I talked with some of the students and I also observed and I can tell that they are very curious and eager to learn something. They told me that they love going to school and study and play with friends. In this school, they do not only learn about subtraction or how the plants grow, or how many continents are there but they learn so much more than any books could teach. They learn about how to respect people, how to shape their future, to value friendship, and to believe in the beauty of their dreams. They have such great sense of higher purpose. One of the students told me that she wants to become a policewoman because she wants to save her home country, Afghanistan. She wants to find all the terrorists so everyone will live in peace without fear.

Not only the children but the teachers here are also wonderful. I am truly inspired by the great work that the teachers put in giving the best education for the children. They truly are heroes with no capes. They work tirelessly and voluntarily. They do not receive any payment yet they give the best they have for the children.

I also had the experience to visit the families and I got to talk with them. They welcomed me in their houses, hugged me and made me feel like home. They taught me how to speak Farsi, they showed me something they have been doing these days, for example, one of the mothers I met, she has been pretty busy making clothes. They also cooked some Afghani foods for me. Let me tell you, Afghani dishes are delicious. If you like Indian dishes, I’m pretty sure you’ll like Afghani dishes as well. These families also shared their stories to me; why they fled their home country, the problems they are facing right now. I am not gonna lie, I shed tears when they told me that. I just could not imagine myself to be in their position, to have one of my family members being killed, or to live my life in danger and terror. From these stories, I have learned about their bravery, struggle, and resilience.

Dear CRLC family, thank you so much for these past two months. I am eternally grateful for this experience and I really hope to see you really soon.


If you are inspired by the work they are doing, you can donate and support their work. Visit Cisarualearning.com for more.



2017: Lessons I Have Learnt 

It has been five months already since we counted down to new year. So far, this year has been a rollercoaster to me. It has surprised me with a lot of things I have never expected. With all the twist, and the bittersweet journey this life has taken me,

these are the lessons that I have learned so far this year:

• I have learnt that jealousy will not solve the problem. It will worsen pretty much everything. Jealousy will take you to a much darker place than you already are. You will begin to compare yourself to the others and make you lose your focus. You will get too caught up trying to impress someone and end up forgetting who you really are, and little do you know you have lost yourself in the process. You will always try to seek validation in others, and your happiness relies on the compliments you get, the likes you get on instagram or the followers you have. Dealing with this type of feeling has been a hell for me as jealousy is my hamartia. I hate myself when I look back to those days in the past when I was so busy trying to be someone I was not, trying to impress people merely because I wanted to fit in. I was not feeling happy at all because the only question I asked myself was “am i enough?”. If I had to give advice to my 16-year-old self, I would tell her not to worry about yourself because you are more than enough.

Now I have grown up, I have learnt from the past, from my mistakes, and I determine to make myself much better than I was.

• I have learnt that we cannot force something to happen no matter how hard we have tried.  You cannot force someone to give you the same amount of attention as you do to him/her. You cannot force someone to care about you. There are some things that beyond our control.

• I have learnt that sometimes it is needed for you to cut off connections from toxic people.
• I have learnt that connection is hard to find; it is rare. And you cannot force a connection, for it should come naturally.

• I have learnt that I will not waste my time and energy for something that is not worth fighting for.
• I have learnt that honesty is the best virtue. Therefore, I value honesty the most and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things.

•I have learnt that time waits for no one, and we will get left behind. So I try to seize every moment before it passes by.  Everything has their own timing. Sometimes we tend to force things to happen as soon as possible, we tend to do whatever it takes to make it happen. But it will not happen unless it is time.

• I have learnt that sometimes we measure success by how fast we get something that we want and forget the fact that it is far beyond that. Success is not measured by how fast you get something you’ve always wanted, because success, to me, is how you persevere, how you learn from the process, how you learn from the mistakes.

•I have learnt to say YES to every opportunity. Well…..not every opportunity but yeah lol. One single YES could lead you to endless opportunities ahead. So I always remind myself to always take the opportunity

• I have learnt that I have full control of what is going to happen next. Like what I said, some things are uncontrollable but some things are controllable.

• I have learnt that some people come to my life to either teach me lessons or to be part of something amazing which will shape my life, change the way I see things, and bring much more colours to my monochrome life haha!

• I have learnt that some people are way richer than we thought they were although they might be perceived as the disadvantaged people. They may have lost pretty much everything but they are surrounded by family who love them, friends who are all ears.

•I have learnt that nothing in this world could ever prepare you to lose your loved ones. The pain is unbearable and at times you feel like giving up because it is just too much to bear.

•I lost my dad in the mid of this year, June 25 to be exact and I didn’t get to tell him how much he meant to me. I was too busy with my own world and couldn’t care less about the things going on around me. This universe has sent me clues but I ignored it. I failed to see it. Through this awful experience, I have learnt to be honest about my feelings and everything, to be fully present and to show and say how much someone means to me. Because we never know when we will see them again. Being brutally honest doesn’t kill you, it does you no harm.

•I have learnt that it is okay to cry and to wish that things would go back like it used to be, but I have also learnt that we cannot dwell in the past for too long because it’s just the same as blocking ourselves from being happy.

•Throughout this experience, I have learnt and grown to be much better person than I was before.

And this year…..

I have learnt

to let go.










On Self-Love

” Write down things you love and dislike about yourself”


Loving yourself should be the foundation of all love. It is hard to find love in anyone if you can’t even love yourself. I think many people can relate to this issue. As for me, I have been struggling to love myself lately and maybe that is why I find it hard to love someone and I always get hurt at the end. It is not the first time I’m sharing my very personal experience on this platform and I don’t mind people knowing the ‘secret’ or something that I have been struggling with. I want people to connect and to those who feel the same way like I do will be enlightened and know that they are not alone. 

Talk the Talk. Walk The Walk

It is different to loving yourself for who you really are and someone you are pretending to be. Get to know yourself, get to know your flaws. I have always thought that I have come to an acceptance phase where I acknowledge and embrace all my flaws but apparently, there are still a lot of things to be done. Talking about self-love is easy but when it comes to practicing it, believe me, it is so damn hard.

A Story.

So a few days ago I talked to this stranger, I opened up to him about what I’m going through these days. I don’t know about you but talking to strangers about my personal stuff is exhilarating. We both do not know about each other and that, for me, is perfect because I can share whatever I want without worrying he would spill it out. I told him that I am having a hard time practicing self-love and he told me that that is the root of the problem I am facing right now.

“Loving yourself is the foundation of all love.” 

He told me to write down things I don’t like about myself and what I love about myself and asked me to reflect on them. Those things you love about yourself are the ones you carry with you wherever you go. You also gotta acknowledge your flaws and accept them as part of who you are. When you are happy with yourself, and you acknowledge and accept your flaws and embrace them, you would not let anything in this world get the best of you. Your soul is filled with love and joy and you have built a home within you, the roots that grow within you keep you stand still.

When someone doesn’t reciprocate the love you have given to him/her, you would not be drowning in tears and hurting yourself and feeling worthless, because you know your worth, and hurting yourself for someone who doesn’t appreciate the things that you do is not worth your precious time and you know you gotta move on. If you love yourself for who you really are, you would not be seeking validation from others. Your worth isn’t determined by the likes you get on Instagram, how many followers you have, how many people praise you, and the compliments you get. Because you know YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. You know your self-worth and you wouldn’t let anyone devalue you.

In the end, even if there is no love anymore in this world, all you have is yourself and that’s enough.





Have Courage & Be Kind

What has happened to us?  How could we let hate stronger than love? How could we let fear stronger than hope? The world constantly changes but don’t let it change who you are. Do not let the world change the soul you have built for years. Let the roots within you grow stronger that it helps you stand still during a hard time. Clothe yourself with compassion and dignity and let your mouth speak the truth and your eyes see the beauty in others. Have courage and be kind.


Lantern Festival

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”


It was one spontaneous trip to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I have visited Yogyakarta twice this year and my friends would not stop asking me why I love visiting Yogya so much. This picture was taken during Vesak Day at Borobudur Temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I have always wanted to go to a lantern festival in Yogya. And that night was one of the best nights of my life. It was so magical and I could never stop smiling and my heart was filled with joy and I enjoyed every bit of it. There are five thousand lanterns were being flown to the sky and it looked so beautiful just like a constellation.


Loving You

I have built my walls so high. I do not trust people whose mouth full of poison. I do not trust people easily. I set some rules. I want this I want that. I will never do this and I will never do that. I made promises that I couldn’t keep.

I promised myself that I will not fall for you. We made it clear. We convinced ourselves that we are not in love with each other. Live day by day with the lies we tell to ourselves. I don’t love her. I can’t love her.  I don’t love him. I can’t love him

I set some expectations. I want a guy that do this and that. And the list goes on and on and on. But then he came to ruin my plan.He didn’t mean to do harm.He just wanted to completely break down all the walls I built, all the rules I made, all the expectations I had

Since the very beginning, I convinced myself that I won’t fall for you
I did.

And all I know is
loving you is inevitable


The art of expressing yourself

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A wise friend of mine once said that if someone has a trouble accepting you as who you are, and hinder you from being who you are, and limit you from expressing yourself, let them go. Your feelings are valid. If you cry due to the pain that you can no longer contain, make sure you do not let anyone say that you need to stop crying and being so sentimental about everything. You cry because that might be the only way you cope with it. If you are being told to stop being so awkward and quirky and to start being normal, make sure you do not listen to what they say. If they expect you to be normal just like everybody else, then who the hell is gonna stand out? It could be you, you know.

I don’t know how many times my friends call me a freak, well freak is a strong word, I prefer weird (though I take that as a huge compliment) cos I always do things they consider as weird and not-so-me.

They think I’m weird because

I know how to dance in the rain while others run from it
I know how to laugh so hard that my laugh starts to sound like a dying cat
I know how to seize every moment
I know how to express myself.

Feel free to Express yourself. Live your life. You are beautifully made. You are unique and blessed. Believe me, you can’t afford to lose yourself because you are just that special.

State of mind!