Today, I Woke Up Early at 5 am

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Last night, before laying down to sleep, I created a mental alarm in my mind to wake up early at 5 am tomorrow. And this morning, I did woke up at the planned hour with light feeling and I felt so amazing as if I just woke up after a thousand year of sleep .

Since the past months of last year, I have been rarely wake up early in the morning before 6 am and instead I usually woke up at 7 to 8.30 am with a heavy sleepy head and sticky eyes. After waking up from bed with such condition, I would rush my self to do everything as instant as possible. Measure, wash and cook the rice on rice-cooker and while it is plugged on I would made the bedroom, swept the floor, boil water in the electric kettle while thinking about what to wear today to office and whether I should iron the clothes I choose.

I would then continue rush myself into bathing quickly, brush my teeth (and wash my hair if necessary), wash the underwear and drip-drying them onto the clothes line. After that, I would run into the room quickly to dry myself from the remaining bathing water drops with the towel, applied some lotion in body before I could change the clothes and get myself ready as quickly as possible as if I am chasing by somebody in this such a rush. I would style my hair in the most simple hair style, mostly clipped or tied high bun and put some bobby pins in my front head hair to make the calm the flying strands. I had a curly hair with flying strands. After the hair do, the next thing is make up and to minimize time I would only apply moisturizer and a lib gloss and the last touch is to spray a perfume before grabbing my bag and the wet towel when went out from the room and locked it. I would choose my pair shoes-of-day, mostly flat shoes or sandals with low heels and after hang the towel onto the clothes line to let it dry, I would leave the house to office with a sun-glass covering my eyes from the hot weather in Dili, Timor-Leste.

Such a rushing messy morning. After staying in office the whole day and deal with a lot of work stress and life stress, I would go home drained and exhausted. I do drink water to hydrate myself but not as mush as it should be to hydrate a drained person. I would take a bath, change clothes, prepare dinner or do some shopping at the nearby shops before preparing dinner. After dinner is ready, I would eat or drink a light junk-food while trying to have a conversation with my partner which turned to be a very short dialogue with no further interactions. My partner would be busy with his phone in the attempt to avoid the serious conversation that may turn down his mood of discussing and analyzing issues in our relationship. With such response, I would automatically letting him know that dinner is ready and we both would eat in silence sometimes watching some boring TV channels. After dinner, I would expect my partner to wash the dish which sometimes made him gaze me in an unpleasant look. But he did do the dishes afterward.

After watching his favorite channel, he would then lay down in the bed leaving a space for me while I turned off the light. I crawled onto the bed and sleep with my back turned to him who also turned his back to me as if we both are forming letter X with our bodies. While he is snoring in the deep sleep, my eyes are wide open evaluating how I have spent my days in exhaustion. Why I felt as if I am dragged? Why I have to sleep tonight and go to work tomorrow to repeat the routine and many more why come to my mind until I realized it has been 12.00 am and I should force my eyes to shut down for sleep. It continued remain like that for many months and I know for sure that I have been indulging myself into the bad habit of sleep. Tomorrow, I will be wake up in a sleep head again.

Today, as I started my first week of the new year, I realized I have to change the habit chain. As I woke up, I could hear the bird chirping, the local vegetables sellers playing the musing loudly from their sales cart. I woke up, evaluate my feeling and I feel better. Much better though I do not know what will happen today. I went out to catch the veggies salesman to buy some vegetables which cost me only 1 USD. Now, I realized that if continue to wake up at this hour I could catch cheaper vegetables sellers and thus help this local seller to earn income rather that I purchase from big Chinese shop who charged extra costs to the local vegetables the sell. I started cooking rice and prepare my lunch box, I drink a glass of water and repeat other routines. My partner still sleeping for he is taking annual leave. Oh how I wish I could extend my annual leave which I have to end due to some important tasks in this week. I bring an apple with me for breakfast at the office, unfortunately I could not manage to prepare a decent one.

At the office, I felt that I could cope better with the atmosphere. There were less pressures but I know this is because it is the beginning of the year. The real pressures will come along during the whole year and I know I have to be ready to bear it. Perhaps, one way to anticipate is to wake up early in the morning at 5 am like today.

#notetoself #shortstory #dailylife

Dili, January 2019

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Congratulation

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Congratulation is a word we said to please or to support other person or something because of any progress that has been made.

Sometimes that progress can be any small thing or even some big things. Sometimes, the progress can be about something that just started, going on or something that has been done.

Nevertheless, a progress is something relative for which to somebody it is significant but to other may not always the same. This depends on every individual who perceives and feels it.

Sometimes, the word ‘congratulation’ itself has rather became a cliché as we often use it for something insignificant. However, to perceive and to feel that something is truly significant or not is somehow depends on every individual.

To me, the word ‘congratulation’ is a precious gold coin. Thus I would love to reserve well my gold coin and will only give it to somebody or something that deserves it when I could perceived and felt that the thing that was done did have a value or significance for me to give away my precious-gold-coin and that its significant is not only imply to me but also to everyone regardless of how small or how big the impact is.

-Pássabe, Oecusse (Timor-Leste)
June 14, 2018

A Defensive Mouthful One 

There is a person that is mouthful. He or she has a mouth full of everything. Praise and curse, encourage and discourage, wise and unwise words, advise and misadvise, news and gossips, tips and corrections, judgements and comprehension. This person has all of them kept in his/her mouth.

One moment, your path crossed with him/her. Sometimes, you get along well with his/her mouthful outcomes. Sometimes you feel fed up. But this is just his/her being a mouthful.

She/he loves to get your eyes to look at her/his mouth, how that lip moves when he/she talks things out about everything. About anything. She/he doesn’t care whether you like things the lips excreted or not. Even the shitty things that sounds stink to your mind. He/she doesn’t care at all.

One day, you feel that you are tired to listen to all things his/her mouth excrets to you. You just felt bored of all repeated things his/her mouth kepr saying, over and over again. 

Another day, you had a misunderstood with him/her. You came to him/her to sort out things. But he/she rejected to accept that. She then used his/her mouthful being to perform a selfish self-defwnse mechanism against you. In fact, that was you meant to be. You wanted him/her to listen fully with earful ears before giving you some ideas through his/her mouth.

You have a look on him/her looking for those ears. Gosh! In fact, he/she does not have ears at all.

—-@@@——-

VZ

Dili, 6/2018

Tomb Raider and How I See Lara Croft as an Ideal Woman

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I first time watched Tomb Raider when I was in my teenage year and studied in grade 8th of junior high school back in 2002. I watched it in a format of CD that was bought randomly by my father along with other movie CDs from local market in Lospalos, one the post administrative city in Lautem municipality in Timor-Leste. My father does not speak nor understand English at all but he loves to watch Hollywood action movies along with Chinese, Thai, Japanese or Indonesian action movies that he thinks interesting.

As I pick the CD to play, the cover captured me as it displayed how gorgeous Angelina Jolie is as Lara Croft. Growing up as 90s generation, most Hollywood action movies or series I have watched from TVs starred male as hero and I was only familiar with one TV action serial starred women as hero character named Xena.

Then I play the CD and watched the movie of Tomb Raider for the first time in my leisure time as a retreat session. The opening scene going on, I was amazed with how Lara Croft did the fighting exercise with robots and her fighting was as fierce as male hero in any action movie I have watched. As the movie going on, I noticed that she is also a rich daughter of inherited a big mansion from her father Lord Richard Croft, a well known scientist and rich man in England. Then it is revealed that Lara’s father is a member of secret society named Trinity and he has kept all the secrets to her daughter to find out one day. The secret is the heart of pyramid which has been split and hidden in two secretive location and Lara has to find them before the Trinity find them.

Lara Croft depicted by Angelina Jolie featured an elegant, rich, gorgeous and adventurous woman with multi-talent skills on physical and intellectual skills exercise. This appeared to me as a teenage girl that time that an ideal woman should be like Lara Croft having a gorgeous with a perfect body, rich, elegant, intelligent and skillful. I started to dream being an beautiful, skillful and rich woman when I grow up. After watching that movie, I started to check myself in the mirror more often to check if I am beautiful enough. I was disappointed. I don’t have face feature of Lara Croft, her perfectly postured and curvy body, her sensual voice, her elegant style nor her lavish rich as an heiress. I am just a simple teenage girl with brown skin, medium height and a little bit chubby face. I did not realize that having a perfect combination of Lara Croft near to perfection beauty is indeed just an illusion.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholders. I wish I grasp this thought that time. I wish I have many people told me that I am beautiful as I am. Growing in society where one is determined by his/her outer appearance and that a women with fairest skin is more beautiful than brown skin and that tall slender women is more sexy than curvy and short women made me felt awful with how I look at myself. However, I continue to admire Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft but at the same I keep telling myself that wishing to be like Angelina Jolie is delusional.

Then after many years, growing up as adolescent, learning about feminism and self acceptance I started to realize that beauty is indeed a relative concept. Beauty is indeed not depends on how others see you but how you feel that concept on yourself and this is the challenge that many people today are still striving for as the concept of beauty is still dominated by the society’s judgement and only few people who are brave enough to stand against the normative prejudice and shine their beauty according to their beliefs.

Later, this year, after watching the new remake of Tomb Raider movie and the character of Lara Croft portrayed by Alicia Vikander, I was stunned. This time, the new version of Lara Croft is different although she still has that beauty, skills in sport and boxing and being an heiress of the Croft. The new Tomb Raider portrayed Lara Croft in a more realistic way where she is a rebellious girl with loving heart for her father, she is also not that invincible in fighting and easily defeated but she has a big courage for a dangerous adventure that she won at last after facing many evils. This is where I found that a woman’s beauty should be portrayed not only in her physical appearance but to show her intellectual, inner strength and her compassion when facing difficult situation. This is what I would like people to see in me as a woman.

However, once again, it’s OK to dream or not to dream being a Lara Croft however it is important to understand that beauty is something that is not limited to physical appearance but to look to deep to the inner strength being a woman. This is the core message we need to convey to the girls to empower their self esteem and self acceptance.

VZ

I live in Dili (Timor-Leste). I love reading, writing, watching movie, listen to music and do photography for fun.

Someone in my heart

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She is innocent

She sees love as a grace

and peace as a beauty

She sees hatred as a fire

and ignorance as a futile

She stays in my heart

She watches over me

Whatever I do

She quiets when I talk

She talk when I quiet

She is calm when I am angry

and she is angry when I am calm

Sometimes we are one voice, one heart

Sometimes not though

But we are always together…

Dili, March 23, 2018

A Mother and Her Foreign Worker Son

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It has been five years since they parted.

His mother lives with her four small kids in a firm gray brick house with two floors built by his son’s hard work result.

Her son lives in a room of a flat together with his friends as foreign workers in that city with the Big Ben. Every night, he works up all of his sweat as a factory worker for a bunch of pounds sterling for him and for his family who lives in the far eastern edge of the world. When he comes home, he stares at the sky of the night from the window while painting the face of his beloved old woman with prayers.

Meanwhile, at that the old grey brick house, every night his mother continues to set aside the dinner on his son’s favorite plate. If her other children ask her ‘why do you have to always set aside a plate of food on the table mom? Our brother is not here.’

Her mother would reply ‘kids, this is for your brother. Hopefully, in that overseas land, he is also enjoying dinner like us’.

After finish, the dinner, each of her kids begin to fall asleep in the bed. Before she washes all the dishes, she looks again at that one plate of food with a smile and tears in her eyes. She misses her faraway son badly. She does not know when can she hugs him again, just as when her son was two years old, started learning to walk and run to her embrace with a cheerful laughter.

Next day her son called ‘mom, perhaps we have to go back home.’

‘Why? Did you cause some trouble there, son?’ her mother asked in worriment.

‘No mom. This is just a possibility. The native people here may require us to go home’.

Her mother is actually so happy to hear the words ‘go home’ which she has been waiting for so long.

‘Son, if you have to come home. Then let it be. Your homeland and our family have always welcomed you. We can start all over again like before’. Her mom suggested.

‘No mom. I cannot return just like that. There are still a lot of things that I have to do here, mom’. Her son replied.

Later after that, the conversation on the phone was over between them. However, that one concern of the mother and her son is indeed not yet due.

 

Dili, Timor-Leste

June 28th, 2016

There are lots of Timorese work as foreign worker in UK factories. When Brexit issue was happening, there was a concern that foreign worker might be required to go home.

An Office Colleague

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#1

When you are here, it is noisy.

When you are not here, it is tranquil and mute.

When you are not here, there is no trouble.

When you are here, there will be trouble.

Yet from the trouble you brought with you, it had made us find the solution together.

You, noisiness, trouble and solution, we never let go of each other.

#2

It is no use for you to continue to tell everyone a fiery story about the ugliness and bad deeds of someone in order to impress your listeners. Probably it does sound amazing telling those stories. However, one day, neither you shall be infallible of mistakes.

O, my friend, the human being is indeed not perfect at all.

 

VZ, Dili, 2016

Rosary of A Rural Lady

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Photo: A Timorese local woman

You live in a peaceful village

You grow along with the nature, the green mountains

Learn to follow the rules and wisdom of the ancestors.

 

In the morning, the cockcrow of the roosters wake you up

While the sunshine has not risen yet.

You enter the kitchen, lighting up the hearth and it smokes out

Later, a hot pitcher of an aromatic smell of coffee is ready to serve

With some freshly boiled cassava roots

It’s morning already’ So you said to everyone…

 

You live in a hut made of palm leaves and trunk

For your children, it is the most beautiful palace ever

As long as you are always there for them, every day and every night

To shelter your children with love.

 

To the spring fountain, there you go to take the water

Even if it is quite far to walk.

Filling the whole water pot, you carry it on your head

To the farm and rice field you go

To secure the food for your household

With palm leaves, you weave the winnower, mat, and basket

Those items are to contain the goods that belong to your household

 

You live with all your strength to serve

Sometimes you become weak and powerless

Yet still, you rise soon afterward.

 

‘The night is coming…’

So you summon everyone to gather

In a table with an ample of food

You fulfill their hunger, thirst, and fatigue

Then, there you sit still

Listening and seeing them talk

Measuring their mind and soul,

Feeling their burden and relieve.

 

Today has passed away

Yet still you believe that tomorrow is coming

Despite you do know not what it will bring.

You do ask not a lot of things

You do aspire not a high dream

As to you, it is enough

When the future of your children can be bright

Though someday, you might not be there at all to see it….

Dedicated to Timor-Leste rural mothers…
Vitalia Ze, Dili, October 15,  2014