Monday, July 25, 2011

Aluf Goes to School

I have imagined what it was going to be like at Aluf's first day at school for the longest time. I could still remember vividly my own first day at school. In Kindergarten in 198...ok nevermind, that was a long time ago :D The point is I remember clearly holding my mother's hand at the school yard, watching other kids running around making noises. I also remember feeling rather nervous but excited.

I certainly hope Aluf's first day was just as memorable. I've been putting off getting her into a school because I don't see the benefit of starting too early. I feel like now is the right time. She's getting more and more curious and has been showing interests in a lot of things like language (English specifically), drawing, writing and math. It's clear that now is the right time for me to offer other activities, more structured ones, than what she has been doing at home. As it happens, we found a school that we really like. It's called Bumi Bambini and it's located nearby, about 10 minutes drive from my house. I love the lush, green surrounding of the school, how friendly the teachers are and how independent the children there seem to me. I've written a review on it in Mommies Daily, feel free to check it out if you're keen.

Anyway, Aluf went to school for the first time last Monday, on July 18. I woke up at 6 am to prepare her stuff and made some bread pudding for her snack, with extra raisins that she loves so much. She woke up and had breakfast and seemed so excited to get ready for school. She donned the bright orange t-shirt that the school gave, wore matching hat, a pair of jeans and a new pair of shoes that her Uti bought specially for this day. We asked her to pose for the camera on our front porch and she did so happily while asking repeatedly "Aku keren nggak ma?" :D

Monday, July 11, 2011

Winning IYCE 2011!

I think everyone enters a competition with wining as the ultimate goal. Even if you tell yourself otherwise, even just a little, you want to come out at the end of it as the champion. I was no exception. I entered IYCE 2011 to win. I took my time preparing my application form and my presentation carefully to wow the judges. I wanted to make sure I did my best to ensure my chance of winning, regardless of the outcome.

But as I entered the final judging last week, the 4 days "karantina", I felt that my goal had somehow shifted. Not because I didn't want to win the competition anymore, but more because being a finalist and getting the chance to go through the activities somehow already felt like the prize. Like I said in earlier post, I met so many new people whose creativity and passion amazed me. Being surrounded by them was already an inspiring and humbling experience and I began to think, it didn't matter anymore whether I won or not. I also learned so much from those 4 days, whether from the visits, workshops, talks or just from the interactions I had with other finalists and speakers, I knew that when I came out of the series of activities, I already gained so much more for myself and the company and my newfound drive, even stronger than the one I had before, made me feel impatient to go back to work and started implementing everything I had learned.

Anyways, those 4 days went by very quickly. Everyday, we started our activities at around 7.30 in the morning and it didn't end until 9 or 10 in the evening, with very short breaks in between. And every night, when I returned to my hotel room, I immediately began to work on my presentation, usually lasted till about 2 in the morning.

Day 4, where we had to face the team of jury for our presentation and final judging, was even more grueling, even more so because I had to do it twice, for Fashion sector first, and Interactive the second. Even though I had prepared for it as much as I could, I was still taken aback of how tough the jury were especially for Fashion :D I had the 'honor' to go first and of course the jury were still feeling fresh and more than ready to test how far we know about our business and our vision of it. I really had to squeeze my brain to try to answer all of their questions, while at the same time maintaining my good English grammar and composure :D I didn't blabber nonsensical stuff, I guess you could say I did okay. But I walked out of the judging room feeling almost sure I wouldn't win the Fashion sector :D I also remember thinking "So this is how the MasterChef contestants feel after getting butchered at the judging table." Okay, maybe I was exaggerating a little but honestly, it was that tough.

When I did my presentation for Interactive sector, around 1.30 PM that day, I was calmer and more prepared. I guess the first presentation helped me to anticipate what was coming. And to make things easier, I knew 2 people of the 3 jury and they were all being quite nice to me. They asked some tough questions too of course, but they were questions I expected would be asked, so I was more ready with the answers. I also managed to gain so much valuable input for all 3 of them, which I felt truly thankful of.

I stepped out of the last judging room feeling very relieved and light. Whatever the outcome, I felt good knowing that I gave it my best shot.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

IYCE Day 2

So here I am, day 2 of IYCE 2011 final judging. In just two days, there have been so many experiences, so many people I have met that I don’t quite know what to say yet. It’s overwhelming but also inspiring to be in a setting where you are surrounded by some truly creative minds. I now understand completely what British Council meant when they wrote “Let your mind be like a dry sponge, ready to absorb everything” in the briefing. It’s true. I want to talk to each one of these people and pick their brains, if only I have the chance to do it.