a beauty worth searching for.

a beauty worth searching for.jpg

Have you ever been in a place where you are on the brink of believing that your current situation is just fully and solely wrecked? That there is absolutely no way for any beauty to emerge from it? Have you ever been in a place where you begin to doubt those who say there are always two sides of a coin? That in fact, both sides are only filled with pain and sorrows?

If you have, I’d ask you to read on and give me the benefit of the doubt that maybe (just maybe) what I am about to say might be true. Or at least, gives you a tad bit of encouragement and strength for you to keep pushing forward in the midst of whatever you are going through. I’d say it was something significant I was reminded of during my trip as we sail through the Flores Sea to the beautiful islands of Indonesia in the East Nusa Tenggara.

Just to bring you guys up to speed, I was on a 3D2N live-on-board sailing trip the past weekend, where we extended a night each before and after the trip at Labuan Bajo. We went as a group of seven and were guided by a tour guide and a boat crew of five. If there is one word to describe the trip, it would be jaw-dropping. I was literally awestruck by the beauty and the grand vastness of the place I can proudly call home, Indonesia. The trip involves some sort of strenuous and demanding activities, such as hiking up the rocky and sometimes slippery mountains, swimming in the open sea against the current for an hour or so, taking shower with a filtered salt water straight from the sea, and of course being sunburnt after hours and hours under the scorching heat. Though I’ve realized this kind of vacation can be draining and absolutely unsustainable, especially for me and those whose pet peeve is wet and dirty toilets, I did not have the slightest regret that I experienced what I experience as it really gives me a whole new perspective of the beauty of Indonesia.

Up to date, it has been just a short of three weeks since I’ve gone back to Indonesia. Aside from the company of friends and family back here, it is quite challenging to boldly say that this place is beautiful (at least physically). Coming from the civil engineering viewpoint (yes, I just graduated! haha), most streets of Indonesia, or Jakarta in particular, bear a level of service grade of D or worse, there are not enough properly-built sidewalks to encourage people to travel on foot and many other things you can grumble about. Pollution. No blue skies in sight. Congestion. Haze. You name it. And so, for now I have reached to a point where I can say that this place ain’t pretty.

This thought was challenged when I was on this sailing trip – that I myself do not have the ability to see the bigger picture. Yes, though I have seen the unpleasing side of Indonesia, it just recently revealed to me its magnificent beauty too lost for words as I spent three days out in the ocean. I realized that this world was made by a great God who sees the bigger picture, and too many times when we are placed in a corner of what we call ‘the ugly’, we tend to dwell in what’s broken and what’s not working. I realized that it takes hard work to actually get to an elevation high enough up on the mountains that allow us to have a better view of the horizon. Of course, I can instead just stay on the boat, miss the opportunity to peek at ‘the beautiful’ corner of Indonesia and keep on grumbling about how aesthetically unappealing my country is. But which of the two options are you going to choose?

Are you facing the dark corner of your life right now? Are you in a place of hopelessness as you go through the season of ‘ugliness’ in your life? Are you feeling helpless as you are struck by ash after ash? Are you starting to doubt the saying suggesting that there will always be beauty that comes out of ashes? Friends, let us mourn for the brokenness in our lives, and yet not dwell in them for too long. Let us put on our gears and explore God’s goodness and the beauty He has already prepared for us. It takes effort and perseverance to reach such place where we can get a clear vision of His sovereignty. The beauty is already there – He has made it all – we just have to open our eyes and search for them. It won’t be an easy-peasy journey, in fact, it will be a tough one. But trust me, it is a beauty worth striving for. A beauty worth searching for.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
Psalms 37:3

Tons of love,
Kimberly Subianto

PS. Let me show you the beauty of my home country, Indonesia! Here are some snapshots from my trip to Labuan Bajo. Hope you loved them as much as I do!
(Photo credits to Arley, Cavin and the crew)

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that jakarta life.

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Oh, surely time flies so fast. It was just two months ago when I step on the grounds of Jakarta, and now, I am 37,000 feet above the ground flying back to Vancouver. I’ve been spending the last two months in my hometown and it definitely was a much-needed energizer for the new academic year this coming fall. I guess spending time with family and friends is not enough to sweeten up my trip home. Of course, I also had to indulge on all the Indonesian goodness before I start craving for more. And know, 3 kilograms later, I started to regret it. But trust me, it is all worth the calories.

Jakarta is a unique city. It is much different from Vancouver in so many different ways – its culture, skyline, people, infrastructure, and just about many other things. Vancouver has gotten a part of my heart because of its outdoorsy being, traffic-free streets and the friendliness of the people. And not to forget about its mouthwatering selection of fresh seafood and everything else. Amidst all of that, there is something about Jakarta that keeps me coming back. There’s this inexpressible feeling of love for this city (or Indonesia as a country) that allows me to freely and proudly call Indonesia home.

On the first few days of my vacation, Jakarta really got on my nerves. And by this, I meant Jakarta’s TRAFFIC. It is just inevitable. It is so hard to be punctual when the roads keep you in place for a long period of time. What gets me is knowing the fact that most of the time, the traffic is caused by drivers not letting other drivers to pass – everyone just wants to win the head-to-head battle. So yes, it is rather challenging to go around places in Jakarta. That said, I’ve never realized how I value time that much. I get a bit pissed off when people start making excuses as to why they are late, but even more so, when I am late myself. It’s just that I don’t like to keep people waiting while they can be doing something more productive. Well, I guess living in Jakarta gives us the permission to blame it all on the traffic. NOT. Hahaha. A lot of my friends told me to just get used to it because it is the way it is. I still cannot get my head around it because I am not settling for that. I don’t want to get used to it because for sure there is a better way to go. We can either blame it on the traffic or many other things, or we can do something about it to change how things work.

“So, Kim, why a whole blog post to just ramble about this?” You see, it is more than just about me complaining about Jakarta’s traffic or people’s tardiness. It is a whole lot more. I’m calling you to not settle with the things you are not okay about, of course with a certain extent of wisdom to this. Don’t be okay about it if you are really not okay about it. There’s a lot you can do. And if you fail? That’s okay, you tried. What I am trying to say is that, I love Jakarta (and Indonesia as a whole) so much that I don’t want to settle with what’s holding us back from growing.

If you are not okay with the air pollution, cut back on the fuel consumption yourself and advocate some practical steps, such as carpooling.
If you are not okay with little kids not having proper education, sponsor a kid and encourage your friends to do it too. If you are not okay with people disobeying the traffic regulations, obey them and be an example.
If you are not okay with racism, open yourself up with people of different ethnicities and be cool about it.
If you are not okay with corruption, don’t start that yourself even in the simpler things, such as cheating on a test, or getting out of a police.
And the list goes on and on and on.

I’m starting to love Indonesia more and more each day, and I see so many opportunities for growth in this country that I am not settling for less. No, the least thing I want to do is to be ungrateful for all there is to this country. Truly, I am blessed to have been born here. But I am intrigued to see Indonesia’s potential being fulfilled. Home for over 255 million people spread across 17,504 islands, Indonesia is bound for so much more. We’ve gone through a lot as a country in the past, and I am excited for what’s ahead.

Today, as I gaze upon the red and white flag fluttering in the blue sky, I am reminded of such a lovely home Indonesia has been and will always be. Just like how our courageous leaders are not okay with being colonized 70 years ago, let us be ONE and not cease to strive for a better nation, a better home, a better Indonesia.

Dirgahayu Republik Indonesia. My prayers go out to you especially on this day.

Merdeka,
Kimberly Subianto
Vancouver, 17 August 2015