Marhaban ya Ramadan

Ramadan, bulan yang selalu aku tunggu kedatangannya. Bulan yang katanya setiap perbuatan baik akan dihadiahi berlipat ganda, bulan yang dianugrahi untuk meminta ampunan kepada Allah, bulan dimana pintu Surga dibuka, bulan yang paling tepat untuk belajar ikhlas dan menahan diri, bulan terbaik diantara bulan-bulan yang ada di kalender Hijriyah.

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Source: www.freepik.com

Ini kali kedua aku menjalani bulan yang teramat suci ini ditempat yang berjarak belasan ribuan kilometer dari keluarga. Pun kali kedua menjalani puasa selama kurang lebih 19 jam. Banyak yang bertanya “Kenapa?”, Kenapa ini dan itu, kenapa tidak pulang ke Indonesia, Kenapa tetap tinggal di Jerman, kenapa kenapa dan kenapa. Aah, andaikan aku bisa menjawab semua pertanyaan itu, atau andaikan semua bisa mengerti. Tapi, sudahlah…pun jika aku menjelaskan, belum tentu semua akan mengerti keadaanku. Belum tentu mereka yang mendengar kisahku bakal memahami dan memposisikan dirinya dikeadaan aku. Bahkan sebenarnya tidak semua pertanyaan itu mesti dijawab kan? Tidak semua pertanyaan “Kenapa” selalu memiliki jawaban “karena”. Kadang jawaban terbaik itu hanya tersenyum, cuma itu. Dan seharusnya setiap manusia menghormati keputusan seorang individu, karena kita tidak akan pernah tahu apa yang sebenarnya terjadi terhadap orang tersebut. Dan aku, aku masih ingat semua janji dan tanggung jawabku. Cukuplah aku memberitakan, “Hey, Alhamdulillah aku masih bisa bernafas disini dan bersiap diri demi bulan yang luar biasa besok hari.”

Ramadan, bulan yang aku mengerti bukan hanya berpuasa menahan makan dan minum selama seharian penuh, tetapi juga bulan meminta ampunan dan mendekatkan diri kepada Allah. Bulan yang tepat untuk meraih kembali ridho dan cinta-Nya, dan tentunya bulan untuk mensucikan diri, termasuk hati.

Semoga diri ini bisa mengerti lebih dalam hakikat berpuasa di bulan Ramadan, sepenuhnya bertawakal atas segala takdir yang ditetapkan Sang Pencipta, pun juga selalu berusaha menyerahkan hati sepenuhnya kepada Sang Pemilik Cinta.

Semoga diri ini bisa selalu bergerak menjadi muslimah yang lebih baik, dan tentunya lebih kuat menjalani setiap kejadian apapun,
Semoga diri ini bisa percaya jika Ramadan adalah momen terbaik atas segala yang telah terjadi.

Semoga ada cahaya terang diujung sana, ketika Ramadan berganti Syawal.
Semoga Ramadan menjadi obat hati terbaik dikala semuanya terlihat kabur dan tidak sesuai harapan,
Semoga bulan suci ini bisa mengikis segala kerisauan, kesedihan, kekesalan bahkan kebencian yang masih tertinggal.
Semoga bulan ini menjadi pembelajaran akan kata “ikhlas” dan “bahagia”,
semo
Dan semoga diujung Ramadan nanti ada kata “Alhamdulillah, aku menang” terlontar dari hati ini kepada sang otak hingga akhirnya senyum tulus dan merekah bisa dihadiahi kepada siapapun yang ditemui.

Selamat Menunaikan Ibadah Puasa 1437 Hijriyah,
Selamat Berjuang dan semoga menjadi pemenang.

 

Aachen, 5 Juni 2016

My Dearest Nova, I’m So Sorry

Dearest Nova,

How are you doing dear? Is everything okay now? I’m sorry to ask such questions like these, really don’t know how to start talking with you.

Honey, deeply from my heart, I’d like to apologize for every single thing I’ve done to you. I’m really sorry to make you suffer for this long. I’m really sorry to drag you so deeply until you terribly break down just like how you are now. I’m really sorry to cause every single pain you encounter since that time.

If I could blame someone, I would have blamed myself to trigger those pains. I know I’m so selfish, I let you be miserable continuously, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, even years. I let you shed tears for hours without being able to wipe them. I let you be sleepless by pushing your mind to be busy with those thoughts. I restrain you to do everything for your future. I insist you to not eat for whole day, I let you bear the pain alone in your worst condition. What a coward I am.

I proclaim that I love you so badly yet I treated you contrarily. I still let other kill you inch by inch with your caring attitudes. I persist you to follow wrong signs and insist you to believe them. I deceive you with those imaginations which now it’s not gonna happen in the future. I trigger you for ignoring your instinct. I force you to be ultimately optimist to something that looks so impossible. Maybe because long time before, it was always working out. But now, I understand, I realize that somehow no matter how hard you try or even pray, something will not be yours, forever. I never let you know for this one, and seriously I’m really sorry.

I really wish to be able to lift you up a bit by now, but I’m just too weak. I’m too shocked for chained events hit me since these few months, and I know this one is the worst one, something that lead you to bleed so badly. Until I write this, I still figure it out what is happening. But please, please forgive me, please give me a chance to prove that I can make you happy again. Please let me work with my best efforts to heal you, cheer you up and establish the stronger you. Please let me fix every single wound that you have now. I know it’s so many and most of them are the severe ones. I understand it takes time, I don’t know when, but let me help you. Let me collect those pieces again and stitch them in such ways that you will not feel the pain anymore. I know it won’t never be like what it was before, but at least you can smile again.

Last wishes, please hold on, please have faith, please remember that every pain given to you is part of your God’s plans. Please be patient, even though it’s not easy at all. Please stop crying as I see your eyes are swollen. Please eat your foods that at least give you some energy. Please be strong, honey, please…to those who hurt you so badly, to those who betray you, to those who never love you. I still love you, no matter what. And let me prove it, let me show how much I love you. And you have to know that your God is loving you much more than I do. Please live peacefully, please erase those thoughts, please distract yourself with something new…Please be happy again, Sweetheart.

I’m so sorry and I really mean it.

Hopefully I can see you in much better condition very soon.

with love,
Aachen, 1 June 2016

When Allah Said “NO”

Meanwhile still working on the thesis, I tried to gather my thoughts which have been scattered for these few months, the thoughts about analyzing what had happened, happens and even will happen. Some friends asked “Nova, why you write your personal stories on the blog? Don’t you feel ashamed that the whole world know you? And why do you write them in English?” Well, “Why do I have to be ashamed to write my own stories? they’re never being the complete stories, never. Even people will not know the whole scenes, only me and God, only us (well together with angels and evils as well :p). If I write some here, it means that I would like to send some messages for readers. And if these are in english, it simply means I’m still learning to write good english stories. ;)”

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source: Muslim Speaker Facebook

 Today, exactly 2 years ago, I was on my way to reach this dreamland and it’s gonna be exactly 2 years to live here. Every single plan has been packed into one, getting the degree in exactly 2 years after at the moment I touched down this continent. But who knows, now I’m still here struggling to finish it. People may say I’m lazy and do bad things so that’s why it happens to me. Well, as they thought, it’s okay either it’s correct or not. This writing is not justification, not at all. I just wanna drag out these thoughts that has weighed my mind for quite long time.

It’s hardly believed that these things happened now, even more complicated than I thought. I never know such things would happen in my second year, never. I had complained, fighting with the fate that have been written to me, but again I simply fail to fight. Instead, now I give up with it,stop complaining and accept every single thing happened then keep struggling to reach that edge, hopefully it’s near enough to catch it.

I complained, if I could have known it long time before choosing this, then I would choose it as 1st place to live or maybe I would never have lived in this place. But nothing can be changed, I was too excited to taste the way people live here. I was too amazed by the campus of the 3rd President of Indonesia. I was too mesmerized at the first sight without even knowing it deeply. But then, this is the choice that I have made 2 years ago before starting this study, even though I had opportunity to change the campus. Every choice has its risk, right? Now, i know how big the risk is.

Can you imagine you have had graduation ceremony but actually you haven’t graduated yet and in same moment, most of your friends from the same program already finish their study, only us staying here who still struggle with it. I’m pretty sure you feel it, if you are good enough to think this as your situation.

Among 5 campus, this one is exceptional. It starts late, for everything, even with the administration stuffs. Well, I’m not gonna tell how the “administration” destroys my big plan. It’s amazing enough to screw up everything and it really takes huge courage to let it happen.

I have proved that complaining for quite long time is burning energy for nothing. It covers the mind with negative thoughts and bad imaginations. I stop looking at this as disaster, then alter it into bless. Sounds funny, right? That’s the best way to remove those negative thinking. That’s the best way to keep the heart at ease, and that’s the nicest way to preserve the good feeling.

I’m looking back, rewinding every single scene happened before reaching this state, the moments when everything seemed so far. Those rejections, it still hurts a bit actually but in the same time it gives the best blessed feeling. There are still many who always wish to be in this condition but they haven’t reached it meanwhile now i’m here, in this state. For sure it wasn’t smooth path at all, even till now.  Too many hills to climb, too many gravels along the way, too many temptations flying around, too many obstacles accompanying since that time.

How come I will give up for this, how come?? NEVER EVER, those rejections keeps triggering every time feeling down. It wasn’t once, twice, three times or even for times. It took 7 times to have the word “rejection” then the 8th one is “acceptance”, the word that is also given to the one who rejected me before. Kinda funny, right? But thankfully they give that opportunity so I can get the full word “acceptance” 26 months ago. And the most amazing thing was the two who rejected before also give word “acceptance”. Even the funniest thing was accepting the first acceptance and make it as the highest priority, even though actually it wasn’t the one that I always dreamed about. It was really dark long way to go, it’s just kinda walking along the tunnel whose edge can never be seen forever.

Aachen, August 2015

Aku Takut

20160506_194500Aku takut menatap,
Memandang apa yang ada dan mungkin terjadi dimasa depan,
Aku takut akan kata tidak atau iya,
Yang nanti berbuntut kesedihan tak berujung,
Aku takut bertanya,
Akankah angin menyampaikan semuanya,
Atau hanya sekedar membawanya pergi jauh, tanpa bekas, tanpa jawaban
Aku takut bertanya,
Akankah jawaban itu membungkus rapi semuanya,
Atau bahkan menghancurkannya berkeping-keping,
Aku takut bermimpi,
Jika nanti ketika terbangun, semua mimpi itu sirna,
Atau semua angan itu menguap diterpa panasnya matahari,
Aku takut memutuskan,
Memilih untuk tetap bertahan atau melanjutkan perjalanan,
Aku takut membuka mata,
Memandang semua terjadi tanpa bisa berbuat apa-apa,
Aku takut menutup mata,
Membiarkan setiap kejadian menikamku berkali-kali tanpa ampun,
Aku takut berharap,
Membiarkan neuron-neuron ini berpose membentuk gambar-gambar itu,
Aku takut melompat,
Membiarkan tubuh ini terhempas bebas tanpa ada yang menyambutnya
Aku takut mengira,
Membayangkan kejadian-kejadian yang mungkin saja tidak akan terjadi,
Aku takut meminta,
Berharap semuanya berjalan sesuai yang diinginkan
Aku takut untuk tinggal,
Membiarkan semuanya perlahan mengering atau bahkan membusuk,
Membiarkan tubuh ini tetap hidup dalam ruang waktu yang sama,
Aku takut pergi,
Meninggalkan semuanya tanpa jejak,
Melontarkan kata Selamat Tinggal tanpa ada kata Sampai Jumpa Lagi,
Aku takut mengintip,
Mengira-ngira apa yang ada diujung jalan sana,
Menerka jawaban sang waktu,
Mencoba memahami pertemanannya dengan sang jarak,
Akankah mereka berdua berteman baik denganku,
Atau sebaliknya, menguburku dalam-dalam, hingga nanti jejakku hilang sempurna, tanpa ada satupun yang mengingatnya.
Aku takut…

Bonn, 2 Mei 2016

Dear Snow

IMG_2919

I wonder, I wonder what’s going on just now,
I don’t see clear sky, it’s so cloudy and foggy,
My fingers are freezing although I stay inside,
I try standing against the window and inhaling the air,
It’s not such fresh smelling air as I breathed yesterday.
Isn’t this winter breeze?
But why now?

The spring has come, hasn’t it?
It’s April now, the end of April.
I witness flowers elegantly bloom, birds cheerfully sing in the morning.
Doesn’t it mean warm atmosphere has greeted with a “Hello”?

Clouds becomes heavier than before, the wind blows energetically,
Is it rain? But why is it so strong?
What are those sounds?
Tiny ice particles hit my window,
Oh, that is hailstone,
Wait, hailstone in the Spring?

Now it’s gone, but the wind still whiffs powerfully,
Why? what is that?
Soft little white grains are falling down from the sky,
Beautifully bump into my window,
Well, Snow, is that you?
Wasn’t you supposed to come last season?

Hey dear Snow,
Why do you come in this sunny day, now?
Do you intentionally insist to say “Hello” again?
But why now?
You don’t belong to this season, dear.

Dear Snow, please…
Please don’t show up anymore,
It doesn’t mean I hate you,
I love you coming in previous season.
Let’s meet up again next year.

Dear Snow, please…
Let the sun wrap this city with its dazzling warmth,
Allow people enjoy the day without wearing thick jacket,
Let the flowers flourish peacefully,
Let this season turns into Perfect Spring.

Dear Snow,
See you when I see you again.

Snow in April,
Aachen, 24 April 2016.

(Photo was taken on 28 December 2014)

Friday in Prague

Today is Friday, friday evening when the weather here is kinda frustrating, actually a proper time to snuggle yourself with a thick blanket. It’s getting colder here, winter is really coming now. Well, Friday, this reminds me of what special every friday for these past two years, either sad or happy scenes. And today, my brain dragged me to a friday outside Germany, a capital city in central Europe, a beautiful stunning city called Prague.

It was 7 months 18 days ago, the moment when I decided to escape from this city as I couldn’t afford myself for not coming back home at the time my bestie had her wedding. Complicated story though, but let me tell something interesting happened. 😉

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Prague, I had gone there before in April 2014 with a friend from the city I studied in my first year. Then, why should I go there again? I did get invitation from a student travel agency few weeks before departure. Still hardly thinking at that time, I needed refreshing time, I needed fresh air to throw away my worries and guilty feelings. It was the dark time that I ever encounter here. I contacted a friend whom I went with before, asking about the price and everything, then she said “it’s cheap. If you wanna go, just go.” As the time passed by, I contacted the agency either there was a place for me or not. Thankfully, they said “yes Nova. we have a seat for you.” Well done, packing my stuffs right away at the moment my bestie prepare herself for her big day.  I really didn’t care who would be there as well. One thing, I brought myself, with expectation reaching some happiness out there.

Unbelievable, in departure day, while kept contacting the guy from student travel agency that i was still on my way until I reached the venue, my eyes suddenly pointed and stared at three cute guys whom I knew at the moment I arrived there. Hey, how come these three men are here? At first, I thought maybe they only spent some time together there but I was so surprised as I knew they traveled as well, with the same student travel agency. Well then, I decided to be with them. Deep inside my heart, Dear God, please let me be happy and forget things happened, maybe through these guys or new people I would meet.

It was on thursday afternoon, starting the journey around 6pm and reach the next day in Prague around 9am. After having the breakfast at hostel’s restaurant, the group were getting back into the bus and heading to the city. The first stop was the Prague castle from behind. We joined the guided tour until the tour guides brought us to tourist information center where people could buy the ticket for night clubs. I did realize, they did too, that it was FRIDAY. We are muslims, meaning the guys (especially) needed to pray the Friday Prayer. Thanks that I had my “off duty” during this traveling, so no need to worry about my prayers. As far I remember the details, those scenes were too funny, even though it was exhausting. At the moment people from the group tried to buy tickets for night clubs, we (me and these three guys) were ‘busy’ asking the person in that office where the mosque was. Prague’s weather was so nice, but not that friendly for people who had walked for quite long. We were exhausted, hungry and thirsty but the final destination hadn’t been found meanwhile the Friday prayer was coming sooner. Thankfully it was summer, so we had quite longer time rather than usual.

The staff in tourism office seemed trying to help us seriously as she saw us kinda craving to reach the place. She didn’t know, me too. The first time I came here was nothing to do with searching the mosque as it was always easy to find any place for daily prayers, not for Friday one. She gave us a map, with a marked site where the mosque was. At the same time, I contacted a friend who lived there before. He sent two links of mosque in that city but sadly the phone died too fast. Well, “Bismillah”, we could find the mosque only by using this map, i tried to whisper myself.

We kept walking along the city center even though the sun welcomed us “so warmly”. As we thought we had reached the place but there was no sign of mosque, we tried to wander around, looking at people who might know it. Thankfully, there was a guy who knew the mosque. He took us to the venue and finally we found it. It was just normal building, situated between two money changer counters. Nobody would notice it could be a mosque. Some guys were also already standing up in front of this building, made us feeling happy as the prayer hadn’t started yet. Here are the mosque site, really don’t know its name.

mosque

But then, suddenly I felt insecure as there were so many guys. Deep inside my mind, would I be okay? too many guys here. I kept walking behind these guys and looked down. It was so strange for me, especially when I knew there wasn’t any place for women in Friday prayer as normally Aachen has.

They were going inside and I decided to stay outside (no place for women). There was stairs in front of the mosque’s door. I chose to sit against the wall while kept looking at my shoes. Yes, my shoes. My phone was off, and I didn’t have intention to read the map more. Guys kept coming into mosque, I was exhausted enough to go outside. Well done, while waiting for them I kept staring at my shoes and felt asleep. It didn’t take that long for praying though. Roughly 5 minutes, the only thing which was quite long was the speech.

I woke up at the moment hearing steps from inside the mosque and voices when people came out from that room. Then, hey what about these three guys? Will they leave me alone? I’m not brave enough to lift my face up. tens of men kept going out from that room. But well, I knew them, I knew they wouldn’t leave me. But how could I search them? Too many guys. While being so confused and kept asking myself, one of them stepped in front of me. Yeah, thankfully I noticed their pants, so I tried to lift my face up. And ouyeaah, I was correct. They were standing in front of me while holding their shoes. Alhamdulillah, really couldn’t wait to go out and search for the food.

We were seeking for food until getting attracted to an Indian restaurant, such WOW decision to have Indian food in Prague, not even in Delhi or somewhere in India. It’s small restaurant, kinda scary actually but as I had three “bodyguards” then I felt okay. One thing we firstly asked was “is it halal or not?” Surprisingly, it was halal so no need to worry to eat chicken curry. It was so delicious, but unfortunately I forgot the restaurant name.

Well, the rest of the day was awesome. After we came back to hostel and took a long nap, I continued roaming around the city with an Indian woman and her daughter. It was peaceful evening, never imagined to come back to this city so soon. And the second time visit, it had different taste and stories compared to the first one.

 

The “Goodbye” Reminder

Well, i’m scared enough to talk about it, but no matter what, every human being will taste it, sooner or later. Let it be my reminder, your reminder, our reminder.

It was so unusual today as the speech wasn’t as long as weekly one, even the Imam recited some verses about death. I wonder why but I tried to follow it well. Nothing happened during the Friday Prayer until I started to pray Zhuhur one. I was standing in doorway where people need to go out after praying. I was a bit distracted as some women burst into tears but thankfully still managed to concentrate again. It wasn’t that long after praying then the Imam mentioned about Funeral Pray. In my mind, “Oh, now I know the reason”. I tried to remember when and where the last time I did perform this one. Well, my brain dragged me to remember the recital for each takbeer, neither “when” nor “where”. It was extremely hard, I tried to recall my memories back about these recitals. It was 16 years ago, the last time I practiced it at the moment taking part in a competition. Oh God, why am I too haughty to ask somebody about these recitals (maybe just to verify what should I recite)? But, my ego won, even though I could ask in German.

The third and fourth one, thankfully I could recall them as I remember my teacher messages “the third is for the janazah and the fourth is for the his/her family”. Then how about first and second one? I had no idea, but one thing “Al fatihah must be the first one”. It’s so common in any prayer. First takbeer, I recited “Surah Alfatihah”, The second one I was silent for a while, then decided to recite “Salawah”. Deep inside my heart “God, if I’m wrong please keep sending the prayer to this janazah”. And it went quite well for the third and fourth one as I could remember them.

After praying, people started saying their condolence to those women. I saw them crying, I still didn’t know who was passed away. I only could understand somebody talked in German saying “a woman is passed away”. My eyes were teary as I hugged one of them, “Innalillahi wainna ilaihi raji’un”. I didn’t know them, I never met them before too. But looking at them, I could feel their sadness. I stood up for a while, looking around and realizing some people cried too. I tried to calm my self, and thanks to a cute little girl who kept asking me questions as she haven’t met me for several months. She dragged me a bit until I decided to come back home sooner. When reaching the outer part of mosque, I asked again who was passed away. She said “their mother”, oh God now I understand the complete story. It suddenly stabbed me while remembering my mom. I really couldn’t imagine what’s gonna happen if I were in their situation now. I tried to remind myself “Kullu nafsin dzaaiqatul maut – every soul will taste the death.” Nobody owns everything in this world, even the breath, it’s not in our controls. “God, please save all people I love and please let me meet them again.”, I still managed to calm myself down.

Then I recall again those recitals, were they correct? Or did I do mistakes? Isn’t it too pathetic to forget such crucial recitation? What if this happen to me, you or even anybody else (of course the muslim ones)? Will I/you be able to lead the funeral prayer as the last dedication of my/yourselves to my/your beloved ones? Whom should I/you blame at the moment we are not able to recite it? Our parents? or ourselves?

I googled the funeral prayer recitation to make sure what I recited before, and thankfully it was correct. This was my first time ever to perform it, and it was unpredictable (I didn’t know there would be a funeral prayer today). Really need to learn more about it, memorize it in such much better way.

The funeral prayer is a must to be performed by muslim community, and especially if it does happen to our family, we need to be able joining it. Well, we might blame our parents to not teach us about it, but can’t we learn it by ourselves now? So many sources we could ask to learn it, even it’s not difficult at all. If those kids can memorize it within a day, then we can do it too. In the end, well…“Just be ready to take a part in it.” We don’t want to lose the prayer to our beloved ones just because we couldn’t recite/perform it, right?

Aachen, 22 April 2016.

PS: Ignore the English grammar, please.