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The year that we call 2017 will end in a few days. Reflecting the last 365 days, 2017 is the year that I wish was a bad dream. And someday I will wake up and have different 2017. Unfortunately, this is not a dream.

The first blow in 2017 come started at work in January 2017, and culminate on August. A project that we worked on was having so much trouble, because the company that I worked on seems like to make rules that killed itself slowly, and our colleagues like to save their own back by passing hot potato around. We started to get our act together in July, but it was too late. Customer halted the project. Part of us was relieved, but our company was not happy. Although I was involved indirectly in the project, my reputation was hit hard, and I was on the brink of losing my job.

While I was busy recovering the project, come the second blow. On April, Grace was hospitalized after having a symptom of rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and general tiredness. It turns out to be ketoacidosis, a blood poisoning of ketone, due to uncontrolled blood sugar. She was hospitalized for 2 days in high care unit, and another 2 days in general ward. It was the first time she was hospitalized, other than delivering our son. And it was  a life threatening condition. We had a fight, I was disappointed because she has been ignoring her health, and she was angry because according to her I wasn’t providing moral support that she needed.

Then the final blow come just 4 days before Christmas. Grace again hospitalized. Same symptom, same diagnosis. Again, she has been ignoring her health, and this time, it might cost us Christmas. Instead of celebrating Christmas at home, with good food, wine, laugh and chat, we might spend Christmas in hospital.

The year has been a bad dream, but I’m glad that it will end in a good way.

First, I didn’t lose my job. I lose my position, but few friends with influence who has seen how I work vouch for me, and took me under their wing. Those are the same friends who, when I took my position in 2016, questioned me on why I choose that position, that the position didn’t fit my characteristic.

Second, Grace survived both hospitalization. Yesterday, two days before Christmas, the doctor said she can go home on Christmas Eve. We will celebrate Christmas at home, singing Christmas song, with wine and food. I do wish, as my new year wish, that she started to get serious about he health.

Third, all of my parents are healthy and strong. My dad worried me a bit, as I realize how old has he become. I wish he can enjoy his life more, going out with whatever friends he has left, and travel, the things that he don’t have much chance to do in his younger days. My mom in law has also improved a lot from her heart attack, as proven by her ability to climb 100 stairs during her last trip to Hanoi.

Fourth, I started a business, selling coffee. I don’t see it as the first step to finally fulfilled my dream to have a bed and breakfast, and coffee shop. I see it as stepping stone, to get the network, and experience when I eventually open the business.

Fifth, of course, my son. He has grown strong, smart and big, beyond my imagination when he was born in 2011. There are many that I think as parent, he has a lot to catch up, like having more fun with his friends, taking shower by himself, learn to ride a bicycle and swimming. These are still the effort that we need him to do next year.

I wish 2018 will be nice to us. Until then, Merry Christmas……

Note: this year we also regret to see the passing of Bondan Winarno. I didn’t know him that well, but the 3 days we stayed at his home in Bali in May 2017 has exposed many of his experience that I respect. And he was instrumental in setting up Jalansutra community, where I met Grace. He passed away too young, too early.

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So, finally, we come to the last day of 2016. In less than 24 hours, we will start writing 2017 in our letters and documents. New Year always bring new hopes, but also bring out the best memory of the year to pass, and the worst one that we want to forget.

To summarize 2016, it has been a year full of challenges and failure. But through the failure I learned and stand through. Towards the end, the seeds of hopes have been planted for 2017.

The New Year celebration of 2016 was still fresh in mind when I face my first failure. The big opportunity that we have been worked in 2015 had just passed under my nose, without me noticing it. It was days of hell when I got to explain on why we weren’t invited to participate in a big tender for a project, and to create new strategy on how we can participate. The mistake I made was clear: I didn’t put enough focus to win the deal, and was relying too much on the wrong people. Thankfully, even until the end of 2016, no winner being announced. Customer has no budget, and unable to resolve its political situation that the tender is put on hold.

But it was a nice wake up call to put more focus. And there are few things that at that time took my focus away from work.

The main thing that took away my focus was business that I started in November 2015. Entering the second month in January 2016, the business need a lot of effort to stabilize, especially in finding employee. It was stabilized sometime in March 2016, but still struggling for profit. At the end of the day, I decided that the timing of the business is wrong, and decided to close the business in August. It was never easy to close a business that we started. The process itself was tough, but the emotional drain was even more tougher.

I was even thinking to start another one, and was in discussion with a friend. We started to talk to some of our potential clients, did some public talk, but at the end of the day, me and my partner decided that we wasn’t ready for it. We don’t have capital that we can invest, and more important, we don’t have time to start the business. I still think that it is doable, so this is the seed that I might grow in 2017.

Situation thankfully improved in 2nd half of 2016. I signed up for a new role in my company, which will give me more free time. Many says that the role is a career’s dead end, that I will be overhead to the company, excess baggage. But I have a plan. I took the role to have more free time for my business, but at the same time, I would like to transform the role, for the benefit of the company. So far I have done well in the process to transform the role, getting recognition from the company management that it is the right thing to do. This should hopefully propel my career higher, proving the skeptic that they are wrong, that this role won’t kill my career, and at the same time provide more free time in 2017.

And the best part of 2016 was, of course, the Turkey trip that we took in November. I drained my savings, but it was worth it. It was my first taste to Europe, although Turkey is only half Europe. Istanbul itself is an amazing city full of history, and Istanbul Marathon took me to my first intercontinental running from Asia to Europe, while at the same time sightseeing foot tour  through the city. In Goreme all of us had our first hot air balloon tour, and snow experience. My son love it, playing with real snow instead of fake one in the shopping mall.

How do I look forward to 2017? As said, the seeds for 2017 has been planted, and I’m looking forward to whichever that grows.

First at the office. If the transformation that I started grows and recognized by our management, and if the stars align, I might get a promotion. This will hopefully enable me to carry the transformation to the wider organization and give bigger impact to the company.

Second, to start another business. I wrote that I have a business plan that I put on hold. I have another business plan that I and a fried discussed towards the end of 2016, about starting a small coffee shop. We are building our networks, and getting some insight on how a coffee shop should run. Eventually, if it is started, it will be my first step towards running a full bed and breakfast.

And third, it is the bed and breakfast itself. I was impressed with the Bed and Breakfast that we stayed in Goreme, Turkey, and have a good chat with Jay, the owner and reception of the place. I bought a piece of land in Bali in 2015, and we are thinking to sell our house here to build the land into villa, or bed and breakfast. It might be a long term plan, and 2017 might be a start towards longer journey.

So, I hope you all had a good time in 2016. Looking forward to even more good time in 2017 that will started in few hours. Happy New Year!

2015In less than a week, we will officially be in 2015. After the year full of achievement and changes, I’m looking forward to do things that is more personal, and more spiritual in 2015.

I must admit that, as we approach Christmas a few days ago, I don’t have the same attachment and expectation to it. This is quite unusual, as I used to look forward to Christmas months before. Probably I was having easy months, so I don’t really look forward to Him. It is during the hard days that people usually look for divine power, don’t we?

Well, I want to change that in 2015. My first goal for 2015 is to return to Church more regularly. I used to hold something against the Church, which I wrote in this post. Well, I do still really resolve it, but I just want to be closer to Him.

I also want to introduce God and Catholic religion to my son. Before I got married, I signed a paper, promising to teach my son in the way of Catholic. I would like to fulfill my promise in 2015. How we should do it is still being think about, as I need to juggle our weekend between running, church, parent visit and some other personal agenda.

Then, I’m looking forward to do more in charity. Me and my friend started a charity back in 2007, called Ribbon of Love. Seven years later, it is a bit neglected. We owe the charity to our donor, who trust their money to us, and to our benefactor, who depends on us. I would like to improve our communication to our donor, such as regular financial report, as well as communication to our recipient.

In the former year, I resolute to run at least one marathon a year, to remind me never to stop moving forward. I think I got enough marathon, and wouldn’t need to be reminded again in 2015. I want to do something else in the field of running, and in general, in the field of health and fitness. So, I promise myself not to run a marathon in 2015.

Instead, I want to run for charity. I want to run for Ribbon of Love, to spread the message of what we are doing, gain more exposure, with hope that we can recruit more donor, and volunteer to keep our program running. At the moment, I plan to write ribbonoflove.org, our website, at the back of my running shirt.

I also want to run to compete. This might be a gar fetched goal that. Ight extend to 2016, when I plan do do ultramarathon. So, for 2015, I aimed to run 10k under 60 minutes. I think the commitment required will me more manageable compared to marathon training.

On a broader view, I want to improve my general and fitness in 2015. I want to lose weight, but more importantly, I want to lose weight while lowering my cholesterol and blood sugar level to a healthier level, and having more stable energy level throughout the day. It will took more than running and weight training. It will also include paying attention to what you eat. I’ve done it before during my Penang Bridge Marathon training, and have feel the benefit. I’ll do it again in 2015.

So, am I going to forget what I wrote in my bucket list? Hell, no! Among my bucket list, the one that I want to focus is to buy a property in Bali. We took the first step in September 2014, when we started to contact property agent and scout some land. I really look forward to complete the purchase in 2015.

There it is, I already have so much on my plate for 365 days in 2015. Lets get to work to make it done, and make it great!

This is it, the time of the year again. Today is Christmas, and as years before, the day has been the happiest day of the year. And with New Year 7 days away, it is time to look back and see how 2014 has been so far.

I’m going to say that, the first half of 2014 is the moment of great achievement. In the first 6 months, we manage to launch a big system, for a big client. It was achieved with a lot of sacrifice. Never before I put so much time in such prolonged period, like 60 hours average per week, weekend included. Sometimes, I would arrive home at 9pm, sparring some time to play with Ethan until we put him to sleep. Then, I would slip away, back in front of my laptop, crunching slides for 9am presentation. Nights will be filled with Coffee, Pizzas and other fast food. And days will be filled with high tension meetings that drain your energy. And in between meetings, phone calls was coming from people asking for updates, or ask for things to be done at that moment.

Eventually come the migration day. I skipped the first migration due to family reason. In the second migration, I spent 27 hours at office, from 8:30am on 28 May to 11:30am on 29 May 2014. The satisfaction and pride of the success is much more than winning a $2 million project. I think, it is because winning a project is like having a job half-done. Launching the system will complete the other half of the job.

Things changes on second half of 2014. In fact, a lot of thing changes.

In May 2014, Grace has finally open her own business. She has been working as food curator for a food court in Pacific Place Jakarta, as well as planning to open her own food stall in the same food court. An in May, they finally open for public. I’m happy for her. It has always been our dream to have our own business, and in May, Grace made the dream come true. She is now a businesswoman.

Then, in August 2, 2014, Ethan started his first day at school. We finally pick Cikal Serpong for Ethan’s pre-school for 2 reason: Cikal have a big outdoor playground, and they have 3 days per week class. The first day went well than what we expected. And after we drop him at school, it was a strange feeling to sit in the car, two of us once again, with our kid with someone else.

Grace getting busy with her business means less time to take care of Ethan, while at the same time, Ethan need greater commitment from us, as now he is going to school. We need to be strict on time, to put him to sleep, to wake him up in the morning, preparing breakfast and other thing for him to be ready for school. And soon, he will start going to school 5 days a week. To fill the gap between Grace’s less free time and Ethan’s higher commitment needs, I decided to leave my current employer.

On October 29, 2014, I tendered my resignation. My friend at my former employer offered me a position. My former employer’s office is much closer to my home, so it is possible for me to drive. If necessary, I can also pick Ethan home from our family’s home, where he usually spend time if Grace need to go out, and put him to sleep before 10. Plus, historically speaking, my former employer has less working hour expectation than my current employer. At least, you are not expected to work on weekends, so I can take care of Ethan if Grace need to work over the weekend.

So, I’m going to 2015 with a new job, and new hope. There are many personal things that I have put on hold in order to grow my professional career. All was culminated in the big system launch. Now, it is time to recover the lost moment, to pursue my personal aspiration. There are many that I expect to achieve in 2015, which will be in my next post for 2015’s resolution.

Merry Christmas…….

We know right from the start, when the firecracker still popping in the early moment of 1 January 2012, that the year will be filled with 3 things: baby, baby and baby. It will be fun, though it means putting other things in life on hold. As 2012 unfolds, life also unfolds its plan, which is far from what we expect. Here is some of it:

  1. Personal best of 5k run 28:44, much faster than my goals of 29:59. Especially, this is as a result of 2 months training after 3 month pause.
  2. A new job at a new level, which come at a sweet time when my promotion was rejected at the former office in May 2012
  3. Trip of the Earth’s Equator in Pontianak, November 2012. After trip km 0 in Sabang in 2008, this left us the easternmost tip of Indonesia in Merauke
  4. Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, Half-Marathon, my first international race, and my final race in 2012

And at this time this year, we are thinking of what is next for us in 2013? Certainly our (no more) baby will be on the top list. But if we have the chance, here what we would like to tick off by the same time in 2013:

  1. Finish the Marathon Race. Yes, it is 42.195 kilometers
  2. More trips. We have several air tickets to various destination, which we hope to be able to use
  3. Move to our new house. No more excuse this year!

Wish you all a rocking 2013!

“Stay hungry, stay foolish”. The words written at the back cover of the whole earth catalog made an impression on me from Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. It reminds me to keep hungry to try new thing, to be foolish enough to make mistake and learn from it.

Giving it a further thought brings me back to the time during college and early career. As a college student, I must admit that I don’t really thought about the future. Having fun, and skipping class was what I did together with friends. It was only luck that brings me an opportunity to become lab assistant. I was thinking “why not? I can do this”. It is through this channel that brought my first job, from which I grow my career today.

During my early career, the thought of having my own income allow me to try new things that I always want to do. I took scuba diving course, went diving as far as my income allows. From fellow scuba diver that I was introduced to the biggest food and travel community in Jakarta. This allows me to try another thing, to go to the most secret dining place in Jakarta, and expose me to the world of independent travelling. And fate introduce me to a woman, which now become my wife.

My college time and early career has a similarity: it was done with a young mind. It is pure, not yet contaminated by office politic nor makind ends meet. It is hungry for experience, and foolish enough not to afraid making mistake, and learn from it.

I wish myself these thing in 2012: stay young, stay hungry, stay foolish. Happy new year 2012

Looking back to as far as I can remember, 2011 probably the year when I feel BLESSED and FULL. As if, moving into 2012, I couldn’t ask for more. If given the chance, I don’t know what to ask for more in 2011.

The highlight of 2011 is definitely our son, Ethan Samuel Chandra. Around same time last year, 1 January 2011, I and Grace was sitting on our bed, writing our wishes for 2011. Then sometime in April, Grace came to me with a piece of paper: “I’m going to have a new job”. I took the paper, hoping to see an offering letter, only to find a word “POSITIVE”. After a bumpy ride in Grace’s tummy, our son was born on 26 November 2011, as our early Christmas Present.

The pregnancy, and ultimate delivery of our son has made us travelling less in 2011 compared to 2010. Before Grace was pregnant, we traveled to Singapore in March. In May, 3 month pregnant, we traveled to Bali although we have to change the plan for Grace to take her Scuba Diving Lesson. Instead, we traveled down inside Bali to Lake Batur, and spend a great night there.

On the 2nd half of 2011, we practically stay in Jakarta, except for a short trip to Bandung to attend a wedding. Despite of less travel completed this year, we have manage to earn more on our travel blog, dawnabroad.com. We accepted 2 sponsored post, and plus increased hit on our ads has made 2011 as exceptional year in our travel blogging.

Being pregnant doesn’t stop Grace from being active in her culinary world. Through our blog jivekitchen.blogspot.com, Grace was invited to some product launch, the most notable one is Starbucks VIA. Nearing the end of the year, Grace was invited an contributed to annual edition of Femina Magazine. Together with 3 other food blogger, Grace write about her favorite food across the nation.

  

Almost one month before the born of our son, I overshoot my original goals in 2011 about running. What I wrote in January 2011 is to finish a 10 k race, and in 30 October 2011, I finished my first half marathon. That is, 21 km in one single run. Looking back in 2010, 20 km is my mileage in one month!

The year 2011 close swiftly when, just few days before year ends, we receive winning announcement of a bid that we have worked since end of 2010.

Less than one left before 2011 become yesterday, and 2012 become today. We are looking forward to 2012, and wishing it to be another successful year. HAPPY NEW YEAR