my life in newcastle

Graduation, et cetera

Finally I’m done with everything related to my Master’s degree. Last week, December 4th 2012, I officially obtained my degree. So, now I am Gabriella Febriana, BSc, MRes. Hopefully, I will soon find a job or a PhD position. Fingers crossed. I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow or few months from now.

I want to share the story of my graduation day a little bit here. That day was very hectic for me. I went to the bank, late in the morning to close my bank account. Then I rushed to M&S to meet my mom (yes, my parents were coming to attend my graduation). After that, I went to the campus to take my gown. I didn’t expect before that actually we have to carry that long gown (without plastic bag), while after that I had to have my hair done. Whuaa..disaster! However, finally everything was going alright. Thankfully.

finally got my Master

finally got my Master

Well, UK graduation is very different if you want to compare with (for example) ITB graduation. My Master’s graduation, in my opinion, was so elegant. I felt a mixed feeling between happy and sad. Happy because finally I got this degree, after all of those hard works. Sad because, wow one year has passed. I, like it or not, must say goodbye to my friends who come from all part of the world. We used to do our activities together in the campus, and suddenly now all of us must go back to our own countries and continuing our lives in separate ways. My eyes were almost shed into tears when the pro vice-chancellor said this phrases in his speech : “I hope all of the graduates will always keep fond memories about their times spent in Newcastle University”

I’m already going back for good now. I’m in Indonesia, but sometimes my mind is still in Newcastle. Lots of things have happened to me there. And I’m now a different person compared to who I was last year. I’ve changed in a good way. I wasn’t just learn about scientific subjects, but I was also learn about life. And that was really a priceless experience for me!

Newcastle, I’m already missing you now. My last day in Newcastle, it was snowing heavily. I guess it was the way Newcastle said goodbye to me. The sweetest goodbye. And for that someone who once said to me : “I never thought you’ll leave so soon”, here is my answer : “There’s no reason for me to stay any longer in Newcastle. I also never thought you care that much to me. Thanks for everything. Goodbye. I hope you’ll never forget me, this clumsy girl from Indonesia”

Now that I’m already in Indonesia, honestly I have to re-adapt myself with this place. I feel like a stranger in my hometown, now. Have to compromise with everything.

Until We Meet Again

Maybe my life here wouldn’t be as dynamic as this if I didn’t say yes to my friend’s invitation last year to join the choir. During my first weeks in Newcastle, I didn’t know anyone who want to go to church together with me on Sundays. I ended up going to church by myself. Then, finally I met a group of Indonesian friends who share the same faith with me. We started to find some “nice” church in the town. But, again all of us had our own preferences. Some of them preferred to go to the Catholic Chaplaincy owned by the University and some preferred the cathedral, whilst I prefer to go to a little church near the city centre.

First time I attended a Sunday morning mass there with my Indonesian friends. The second time with my Nigerian friend, the one who invited me to join the choir. I still remember what she told me : “I really want my life to be useful while I’m here. I’m gonna serve God with my talent. I’m joining the choir. You wanna join as well, Ella?” I said Yes! Then, we started joining the choir. The first song we rehearsed was Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”.

I sang and met so many new people with various backgrounds and age. Okay, most of them are elder people. πŸ™‚ I found a new family in that choir. And you know what happen when you must leave your family? You’re sad. Yes, I’m sad now, but I try to keep smiling.

Last night I went to the choir practice for the last time. I spotted lots of food on the table. Kinda unusual. “Surprised! We’re celebrating you, Ella”, they said. Awwwwww!!!! How sweet of them! It’s so stunning for me knowing that my existence there in the choir meant something for them. I thank God for giving me a talent to sing. I’ll always use this talent to worship HIM.

St. Andrew’s International choir, I will definitely miss our togetherness. God bless you, and take care!

*photo courtesy : Maria Yoanita

St. Andrew's Choir

British People : Know them, love them. :)

Okay, seems that I can’t deny anymore about this. I just have a week left in the UK, before I’m going back for good. Don’t wanna leave, but I have to accept the reality. Don’t I? So, since the timing is still (kinda) perfect, today I’m gonna make a list of my opinion towards British people. Spending one year of my life in this country, more or less, have opened my eyes about their way of lives. Here it goes……

1. They don’t like spicy foods. I don’t like spicy foods, either. But I don’t mind eating slightly spicy foods. Their foods are tasteless. One day my friend asked me : “Ella, what do you think about foods here?” and I answered :”To be honest…….I don’t like typical British foods. They’re too tasteless for me” haha.

2. They’re very punctual about time. If you set an appointment with British people, don’t be surprised if they will show up exactly on time. I think this is one of the typical characteristics of European people. That’s good, indeed! We, Indonesian people, have to learn from them about this punctuality.

3. Most of them are “family people”. Unlike Americans, who are more “individualist”, British people really appreciate the value of having a big family. I occasionally heard my friends say : “yes, my brother was doing blablabla; my sister-in-law was going somewhere; last week I visited lalala together with my nephew and we had fun” It’s very nice listening to their stories about families.

4. They like to sigh. This is what I hate the most. Why don’t they learn to be grateful for every single achievement (even the little one) in their lives? I mostly hear people sighing in the lab. Just…..try to be grateful, dudes!!

5. Most of them are not that religious. Well, I am, personally, neutral towards this. That’s their choice. But sometimes it’s just awkward for me when someone mentioned : “I’m a Catholic since I was born, I’ve already being baptized. But I’m not a devoted one” Owww…okkkaayy.

6. They love to drink. I don’t know what kind of relationship is there between British people and alcoholic drinks. They always celebrate any kind of occasions with drinking.

7. They’re not usually being “frontal” towards people. This characteristic really resembles Indonesian people. Hahaha. They like to say anything good or bad about other people, behind their backs (in Indonesian : mereka suka ngomong di belakang!)

8. They do afternoon teas. A quality time to chat with each other. I haven’t tried afternoon tea here. Such a shame, I know.

9. British accent is hard to understand. But, after you spend at least one month here, you will understand eventually. No worries. I live in Newcastle and people here (Geordies) have a very different accent compared to people from other UK regions. The accent is weird, to be honest. But now I can understand them. Yeey. I needed 6 months to understand their accent. Mwahaha.

10. When you’re invited to a birthday party of a British friend in a restaurant, don’t ever think that they will pay for the bills. Haha..you have to pay for your own food. They’re not usually treat each others. *gak ada traktir2an boo kayak di negara kita* πŸ˜‰

11. They’re very welcome to international people (foreigners). I feel like at home here. This is an honest statement that comes from the bottom of my heart.

12. They’re sincere. They don’t help you because they hope that you’ll help them in the future. They help you because they wanna help you. As simple as that.

UK, I love you. But I must leave you soon. Argh..this is hard for me!

I Enjoy My Life, Lately

“pak, masa Ella disuruh ngajarin angklung. | sejak kapan kamu bisa main angklung?

-bbm antara saya dan bapak saya tadi siang”

Hidup saya sangat musikal deh akhir-akhir ini. Bayangin aja, seminggu ini isinya latihan choir, latihan kendang buat mengiringi tari Saman dan tari Kipas, latihan nyanyi, latihan angklung. Hehe. Bahkan untuk latihan angklung, saya diminta jadi koordinator dan ngajarin beberapa anak Indonesia di sini. Agak gimana juga sih pertama kali tahu bahwa saya yang disuruh ngajarin. Ehm oke saya ngerti musik, saya juga pernah main angklung sebelumnya. Tapi gak jago-jago amat.

Biasanya orang-orang Indonesia kan terkenal hobi ngaret ya. Tapi, thankfully, tim angklung PPI NCL gak suka ngaret lho. Seneng deh. Well, semoga segala persiapan kita lancar dan nanti pas perform gak malu-maluin amat. Kita bakal perform di acara yang lumayan serius nanti awal November di London.

Ini kayanya bakal jadi acara terakhir saya bareng PPI NCL. Setelah itu, I’ll go back to Indonesia for good. Kemudian, selanjutnya menyusun masa depan saya lagi. Entahlah saya akan berada di mana lagi tahun depan. Pengennya sih merantau lagi. Tapi, terserah Tuhan saja. Dimanapun yang terbaik, pasti saya akan jalani.

Oh iya, saya juga lagi belajar bahasa Jerman nih sekarang. Hihi. Guten tag, wie geht’s? Bisanya baru itu doang :p

this is me..now

I know, I suppose to write about my summer trip, after almost a month abandoning my blog. However, currently I don’t have any idea on how should I start those stories. *halah banyak alasan yaa, ella*

Life was pretty hectic. Not anymore now, though. I’ve shifted to a new house about 3 weeks ago, because my contract in the student accommodation ended in early September. I went to Glasgow few weeks ago, presenting my poster. Yes, I made it! Now I’m free and have lots of time to prepare some PhD applications. Hopefully, I can get one exciting position. Let’s pray. Fingers crossed.

And last but not least, I have this “butterfly flying inside my tummy” feeling again now. With whom? With that annoying man. He turns to be not so annoying anymore now. Okay, he’s still annoying, but (I must say) sweetly annoying. My friends are always teasing and told me : “Ella, just ask him out for a coffee”. No! But who knows someday that “no” will turn into “yes” *blush*

Oh, my. This is weird.

I’m craving to write my summer trip stories here. Hmmm…it’s been too long for me not write anything useful here. Someday, when I have an inspiration, I’ll write about that trip. Haha.

See you again, and sorry if some of my latest postings here look like rubbish. :p

I’m Back!

I’m back from the summer holiday. Well, although there is no summer here in Newcastle. But, never mind, let’s call it “summer holiday”. The saddest thing I got from this holiday is : my skin is getting darker. Western people got tanned after sunbathing. I got BURNT. Imagine, walking around in the city of Rome under 40 degree Celcius temperature! The best thing was I made some new friends from that summer trip. Yes, that was a very memorable trip. Moreover, that was the first time I went for a Eurotrip with my friends. Hopefully, someday we can explore other parts of the world together.

Few days after I’ve done with that Eurotrip, my family came visit me here. And there was another trip, UK Trip. This time, I was the one who “guide” them. Dare to give me a responsibility to be a guide means “let’s get lost together” because, as my friend told me, I am a kind of person who has no sense of direction. lol. My family went back to Jakarta this morning.

And here I am now. Sitting in front of my laptop in this lovely dormitory room, which I’m going to leave soon. I’m back in Newcastle, after a very long journey. I’m exhausted. I’m lonely. My closest friends have gone back for good to Indonesia. I’m still gonna be here until the day after my graduation. That will be on the early December.

Next week, I need to attend a conference in Glasgow. And I’ve just known that my supervisor is currently taking his annual leave. And my co-spv hasn’t yet replied my email. I need to discuss my poster!!!! Ah, I’m confused now. I’m trying to calm myself, that everything’s gonna be alright in the end.

Okay, then. More stories, later. Especially my summer trip stories. Still compiling the pictures currently. Apart from all of those troubles that I’m Β facing currently, I’m back now!!!

Take care πŸ™‚

the end of my research

Hari ini secara resmi penelitian saya di lab selesai. Mulai minggu depan, tidak ada lagi kerja lab, tidak ada lagi eksperimen. Mulai minggu depan, saya pasti akan menghabiskan waktu saya di depan laptop atau komputer di cluster untuk menyelesaikan disertasi saya. Saya tahu pasti akan ada yang terasa janggal. Hidup saya selama 5 bulan terakhir ini seperti sudah “terjadwal”. Saya pasti akan sangat merindukan hari-hari itu. Berangkat pagi, menjalani serangkaian eksperimen, pulang sore kadang malam. Rutinitas yang tanpa sadar membuat berat badan saya turun drastis.

Jujur saja, saya tidak terlalu suka dengan lingkungan riset di tempat saya berada. Saya merasa tidak bisa get along dengan orang-orang di sana. Bukannya saya sok alim, tapi saya memang tidak mau berubah menjadi “orang lain” supaya bisa diterima di lingkungan pergaulan. Beberapa kali saya pernah diajak untuk go for a drink, dan saya tolak dengan halus. Mungkin mereka mikir saya gak cool. Yaudahlahya.

5 bulan ini merupakan 5 bulan penuh pembelajaran buat saya. Bukan hanya belajar mengenai beberapa teknik baru. Saya belajar bahwa karakter orang itu beda-beda dan aneh-aneh.

Selama 5 bulan ini menjalani kehidupan di lab setiap hari, saya semakin mantap untuk berkarir di jalur ini. Dan, percaya atau tidak, saya mulai jatuh cinta dengan imunologi. Iya, imunologi. Mata kuliah yang dulu pas S1 paling ditakuti sama anak-anak mikro karena dosennya strict. Well, dosen strict itu adalah dosen favorit saya. Hehe.

Jadi, sekarang riset sudah selesai. Disertasi in progress. Hari senin saya harus presentasi di depan supervisor. Hari Jumat presentasi di research group meeting. Rabu 2 minggu lagi adalah final presentation saya di depan examiners. Akhir Agustus atau awal September, mudah-mudahan gelar Master sudah bisa saya dapatkan. Satu tahun cepat sekali berlalu ya?

Ini bukan akhir, melainkan awal dari sesuatu yang lebih besar lagi. Saya juga masih belum tahu apa yang akan terjadi setelah lulus Master. Tapi yang pasti saya akan melanjutkan pendidikan saya. Saya masih senang dan ingin belajar. πŸ™‚