Maybe What Makes Us Sad Also Makes Who We Are

In the course of three months of not writing here, many have happened. The highlight would be the fact that I settled down—in every possible sense.

Physically, I moved into a new place, this time around way more permanent than ever (a big leap of faith for a nomad like yours truly). Knowing we’ll stay there at least for 1.5 years, my partner and I handcrafted the space ourselves, making sure it looks exactly the way we want it to. We painted the walls, chose the furnitures, made sure everything come together perfectly. We were quite happy to see what we came up with:

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Emotionally, I have transformed from the girl who never would’ve put all her eggs in a basket into one who pretty much did. I stopped holding back on an invisible rope for safety and instead, jumped on a free fall into these wide shoulders, where I found home—a different kind from the room you just saw. We are barely at 135+ days (still counting) but I know I couldn’t ask for more.

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He and I agreed to allow strangers like yourself to judge us from any visible angle, because what we share—what connects us—might not be as easy to fathom from the outside. We forgive you for not understanding that. But in case you wish to try, let me give you this: if society get me for the efficient and smart public persona that I am, he gets both that and the scared, romantic, little child I also am. In his arms, I could cry for hours and he would tell me I am beautiful afterwards. He writes me words that melt me to the ground while building me into a stronger woman at the same time.

Professionally, I have resorted to the conclusion that I will make my way to be both: a policy practitioner and a writer. I would not allow our current limited system to halt me from achieving one of them, because as my best friend said, one shouldn’t discount him/herself just because his/her counterpart isn’t capable of handling him/her. That said, since last month, I had come back to the workplace that nourished me from the very beginning—one that allowed me to go to my dream school next year. Under the same light, I have shifted focus to my true calling, i.e. energy and climate change (as opposed to the land and forestry sector I was once dwelling with).

Settling down business aside, I have also been a little blue—particularly for finally winning the scholarship I needed to leave. I mean, receiving letters of acceptance in your inbox is a humongous blessing, but the realization that you are going to be away from your significant other, friends, and family for two good years would still hit you like a truck. Had this happen three months ago, I would probably be closer to fine—but now that I’ve settled down (at home, love, and work), having to pull myself off from these freshly-grown roots hurt. Deeply.

Not sure how I am going to handle it, but experience taught me not to undermine what you can and cannot do. So here’s to hoping things get sorted out okay in the end.

Oh and I’ve also learned that you and your partner won’t always want the same thing—but when you do, it’ll give you one of the nicest feelings. Almost as nice as waking up next to him and being able to have breakfast together in the morning.

Cheers to possibilities.



  1. Such a personal and beautiful piece, Afu! Believing in something is always hard at first, especially in new things. Congrats for falling in love and for settling down. I wish you good luck!


  2. You make me want to cry hugging my husband (missing him because after a year, I think those mornings we had breakfast together are countable), and apply for school somewhere far with major I’ve been wanting all my life (because my latest and my only one wasn’t), both at the same time.

    Good luck for everything :)


  3. I think this is one of few post about yourself you wrote. really beautiful and enjoy to read. Good luck Afu for everything. We all know that we always want everything at once and that what makes us human :)


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