This week I saw my timeline on FB full of condolences for the famous Iraq-British architect, Zaha Hadid. This woman had made many remarkable achievements and masterpieces in Architectures. Behind her success, she must have been through many hard phases in her life in achieving her dream. This reminds me with one part of my life stories.
Architecture. This word still makes me envy until now. Why?! Because it was, and I’d safely say it still is, my passion. Yet, I wasn’t able to decide my own interest since I didn’t have much power to pursue it at that time. Until I graduated from my major in Microbiology field, I still made an attempt for my dream on being an architect/ a designer.
In 2010 after I graduated from my Bachelor, I made a crazy idea to apply into several Master Programmes which also offered the scholarship in the fields of art & design which had nothing to do with my Bachelor study.
Most of them, of course, rejected my applications, but one program gave me the opportunity for studying without scholarship. Then I found another funding resource, even though it was not fully covered. With my foolish mind, I dared myself to go far away from my country. I knew my father half-heartedly gave me permission. He allowed me going abroad alone after I immensely convinced him that I would be okay there.
At first, I believed that my dream came true. I went to Europe for my first time in 2011, which was a really big euphoria. I could finally study with other students from the fields of architecture, design, and even social science. I thought Europe was an utopian world, but I totally made a big mistake. I saw a totally different world—a place which located in the South of Italy. It was a big mess.
That nightmare came not only to my life, but also to my other friends who came from different countries—from US ’till South Africa—without expecting that thing could happen to us. We thought it only happens on the action movie, but we met the real bad people organising our (fraud!) Master Program in the south of Italy. Even EU committee in Education was also surprised with our condition when we reached them to help us. Nevertheless, that problem have made us stronger and our friendship become more solid. My friend and I learnt many things, especially about life.
I ever wondered, why should I get such really bad experience? I was almost depressed and lose my self-confidence. I was, even, afraid of talking my problems with my family. The only one who can listen my heart crying at that time is my husband now. He was always supporting me all the time.
I don’t say I got nothing good from my bad experience taking this Master Program for one year. My Master Program became more organised in UPV, Spain. I got fresher air after having the 5 month nightmare in the South of Italy. When I moved to Valencia for 5 months, I learnt many things related to the basic of design & communication. From that point, I am keen to improve my weaknesses on public speaking and presentation.
I also met many good people there and was given a chance by Eva Alvarez (my teacher in UPV) to involve in her workshop project, theme “Women in Architecture”. At least, I got experience on pretending to be an Architect for a while. 😀
Meanwhile, I still had financial trouble with my funding in Europe. Thus, I had to give up my study. I stopped pursuing my dream on art & design field. I came back to Indonesia in the middle of year 2012 with my promise to go back to Europe for another good chance.
In 2014, I got accepted to another scholarship in Water Science Master Program in Germany. Yet, I haven’t discovered my real passion—what kind of goals I would like to achieve in this Master study—until I met a Professor who taught a class of Membrane Technology. I emailed him explaining my interest and lucky me, he gave me a chance to work in his lab. I chose this membrane field because I believe this will be a good chance to further apply this knowledge to my country. We do have limitation in hi-tech equipments, but we have abundant natural resources in Indonesia; hence, this knowledge can meet the basic right for human by improving our industrial water sectors.
Now I know that we couldn’t perfectly design our future, but we should make trial & error. That’s the process of learning. In the end, when you feel exhausted to find your own way, the door is suddenly opened for you. Another lesson which I also unveiled is that there will be many good people who are willing to support you, even when you meet bad people in your life. What we need is to keep our mind positive.
Kelly Clarkson in her song stated that “what doesn’t kill you make you stronger”. Indeed, those experiences have shaped my character in becoming much better person than before. Steve Job even said about connecting the dots. Problems in our life always come with a purpose.
In my conclusion, every experience we have—whether it’s bad or good—is like our ammunition to encounter harder things in our next future. So, never regret it. I wouldn’t know how I live my life now in Germany, if this is my first time in Europe. My experience dealing with the worst situation living in the South of Italy had given me many valuable things. Every country, in particular, every city has its own uniqueness. We will never find a perfect (red: utopian) place in this world. What we have to do is to appreciate the good things and take the bad ones as lesson learning wherever we go.
Despite many social & economic problems my country faced today, it’s still the best home ever where I need to come back in the end of my journey.