Peri Will…the story continues After my divorce I found myself alone and single in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I looked forward to the new adventures I would have being single in a foreign country. I had many good experiences which I would like to share during this period of my life from 2008-2012.Some people might be scared and fearful of being divorced and on their own in a strange country but because of the hardships I have already endured in my life I have become a strong and confident young lady fully capable of taking care of myself. I now have the ability to look at what some people might see as challenges, not as challenges but as opportunities. I am anxious to begin this next phase of my life’s journey. I worked in a 5-star hotel in Hospitality. The system I worked in allowed me the opportunity to save a little money and begin what I really looked forward to…travel to new places. There were basically 3-shifts at the hotel and often I was required to work double shifts. While this certainly put a strain on me I was able to accrue time for future days off rather than being paid overtime. My pay was a combination of salary, tips and service charge sharing. The service charges paid by guests went into a pool which was evenly distributed among all hotel employees. The tips I received I was able to keep for myself in addition to my salary. To gain additional time off I worked on many public holidays and those days I could use later for my travel. The hotel experience was good as I received accommodations, so I had a place to live and a food allowance also transportation allowance. I lived with other young ladies which helped me to make friends very quickly. The money I received monthly was sufficient and allowed me enough funds to send money home to my village every month as I had an obligation to help them, do the fun thing all young ladies like…shopping and to support my desire to travel and see new and exciting places. This was a very good time in my life although I worked hard for everything I received. If you have never been to Kuala Lumpur or as they say…KL it is a shopper’s paradise. Many places to browse and shop. From street vendors to world class stores like Gucci or Prada. A girl could go crazy shopping here and I did haha. KL also offers many great restaurants for dining and an excellent nightlife. I took advantage of it all while I was there. I also met many wonderful friends and we had much in common. It is great to share your experiences with friends who enjoy the same things. We shopped, we dined, we danced at the clubs and we travelled together. A wonderful scenario for a young lady enjoying the single life. I met many young men during this time and I enjoyed that very much. The single life is not bad at all if you are in KL and looking to have fun. I also was able to take advantage of my desire for travel. Asia offers some wonderful countries to visit and I made the most of this time and the savings I was able to obtain. I have many great memories of this time in my life.I traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Philippines. I want to share some of my stories about my travels and my experiences. Bangkok,Phuket,Pattaya ThailandEverything you’ve ever heard about Bangkok is true. What an amazing city. The Thai people are some of the nicest in the world. The food is fabulous especially if you like it spicy. It is hard to get anywhere as the traffic is terrible. I guess that is to be expected in a city of 8 million people. However, Tuk Tuks are plentiful and are able to swerve through the congestion fairly easily. Many things in Bangkok are inexpensive including doctors and dentists. Street vendors are everywhere and if you are a single man looking for a certain kind of fun you will enjoy the adult nightlife. What amazed me was how beautiful some of the Lady boys were. They look exactly like beautiful women and there are so many of them. My friends and I shopped, went sightseeing and ate wonderful Thai food. If you ever plan a trip there be sure to go during Songkran, the Thailand New Year’s festival. Everyone gets sprayed with water and I mean drenched. The Thai people love this event as to all the foreigners that participate. SingaporeWhat a truly beautiful city. Singapore has to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. They pride themselves on this and it shows everywhere. It starts when you arrive. The Singapore airport is consistently rated as one of the best in the world. When you leave the airport and drive towards the city the landscaping is awesome, and the Singapore skyline is stunning. Amazing architecture can be seen everywhere. My friends and I stayed in an area referred to as Clark Quay and it is a waterway that winds through part of the city. It is a beautiful walk to stroll along Clark Quay in the evening and seeing all the people and the pubs and restaurants along the water way. A spot no group of young females would want to miss is the shopping on Orchard Road and we certainly didn’t during our visits. Every shop you could imagine is on Orchard Road but be sure to bring money as many are your high-end shops with price tags to match. The food in Singapore is terrific and you have so many culinary influences in the city from Malaysian, Chinese to Indian to Western. Just about any type of food you might like can be found in this wonderful city. Hong Kong & MacauHong Kong is another city I fell in love with and returned many times. While Singapore might remind you of Disneyland because it is so clean and tidy, Hong Kong is a huge bustling, somewhat dirty city of almost 8 million people and there is not much land, so it is shoulder to shoulder people in most places. It is said that the Mon Kok area of Hong Kong has more people per square inch than anywhere in the world and I believe it after shopping there. Times Square is another place in Hong Kong where the density of people would amaze you. There are skyscrapers all over the city but there are also many parks and hiking trails. Hong Kong has something for everyone including a wild nightlife scene. Lan Kwai Fong is an upscale area with many pubs and night clubs. A lot of business people go there after work or some people just toparty. There is also, Wan Chai which is the seedy area of pubs where you can see just about anything and everyone. On Saturday nights and Sundays many of the foreign domestic workers go there to party and there is a large element of, how do I say this, working girls that hang out there looking for guys. It was troubling to me and my friends that when we went there because we are Asian that the people that worked at the bars and clubs thought we might be working girls, so they gave us watered down drinks. We were offended but that is just how things are for young Asian girls when they go to these places in a city like Hong Kong. Shopping and food is also wonderful in Hong Kong and if you go to The Peak on a clear day the sites of the city are absolutely amazing. Macau was a nice 2-day trip for us on one of our visits. The high-speed boat from Hong Kong only takes one hour and then you enter what seems like another world. You think you are in Las Vegas in the US with all the big casinos. Some are old built years ago and some are brand new, huge and gorgeous. If gambling is your thing then Macau is the place to go. The other part of Macau which is very interesting is the old Portuguese portion of the city. It is very interesting to walk around this old part of Macau which is much different than the areas where the casinos are located. PhilippinesI had the pleasure of visiting and staying with my friend in the Philippines for over a month. A beautiful country with so much to see with over 7,000 islands. We stayed in Cebu which was very nice and wonderful food and people. I also had the great opportunity to go to one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Palawan. The beaches there are stunning and the island is a relaxing hideaway for anyone looking to relax and enjoy nature.As you can see, travel affords a great opportunity to see the world, the different cultures and help you understand how people are different but also very similar. Once my contract expired in 2012 I went back to Indonesia but with a thirst to continue my desire to travel and see new and exciting places.My Learnings from My Time in Malaysia Life teaches us many things if we take the time to reflect and learn from our past. What life taught me was that although I had a very difficult early childhood it provided me strength in many ways. It taught me to be self-sufficient. It taught me that although you might be down and depressed you have the ability to pick yourself up and keep moving. You don’t need to rely on someone else to make your life better (although I was fortunate enough to have people that helped me out). You have the ability to build inner strength and to challenge yourself to make the best of any situation. Also, I learned that what initially is perceived to be bad (my divorce) can, in fact, be a blessing in disguise as my time in Malaysia was wonderful. My single years in Malaysia taught me how important friends can be in your life and these friendships I made are still very strong today as we stay in touch after all these years. So, the major learning is that YOU and you alone are responsible for creating your happiness. Don’t depend on someone else. Look hard and you will find the blessing in any situation.
The Story of my Childhood #books #longreads #truestory #childhood #motivation #life I was born in a small village called Sengon Kerep. I was born without a father as my mother and father married with ‘Kawin Lari’ which means married without an agreement. My mother is Javanese while my father is Padang (Sumatra Barat). Every man who is Padang should marry only Padang woman. No other ethnicity. However, because they love each other they married in secret. They lived in Jakarta, the capitol of Indonesia and planned on having a wonderful life. Unfortunately, tragedy struck, when my mother was four months pregnant with me. My father was killed in a terrible motorbike accident.My mother was all alone in Jakarta with no one to help her. Word got back to my village about what had happened, and my grandparents were very angry as my mother had no job and no way to take care of a baby. My grandparents could not help as they had no money. They only grew rice and vegetables for their food. My grandparents borrowed jewelry from a neighbor to sell in order to buy tickets to Jakarta to go get my mother and bring her home to the village. A neighbor and my grandparents went to Jakarta to get my mother and brought her back. It is very hard to get my village. It was a one-hour motorbike ride from the train station to Sengon Kerep. My mother and the family were so very sad what had happened and the difficult situation for my mother and everyone. Finally, I was born and everyone in the family was very happy. Unfortunately, in the small village most people were speaking negatively about my mother having a baby but no husband. It was a very difficult time for her and my family. When I was 5 months old my mother decided to go back to Jakarta to find work. She asked my grandparents to raise me and she would send money back to the village for my expenses.It was a confusing time for me as a little girl. My mother not with me and my grandparents taking care of me. I became a naughty little girl when I was around 4 or 5 years old. Always climbing the mango and guava trees. I also was rude and talk bad to people. I had a bad temper and cry when I don’t like something. When I was 6 years old my grandmother registered me in pre-school and paid my tuition. The problem I experienced was that the other children did not like me and teased me because I had no father. Their parents said I was ‘Anak Haram’ which, in Muslim, means born without father. After school I would always cry and be angry with my mother for having a child without a husband. I asked my family why my mother just not kill me, so all these bad things would not happen to me. To make matters worse, my grandparents tell me I have no father and even no mother as she left me and went away. This made me so angry and resentful to my mother. No one in the village really likes me and this makes my life so bad when I am young.When I am 9 years old I have to wake up at 4am and walk 2km to a small creek with a 15-liter bottle. I have to brush my teeth and bath in the creek. Then fill the large water bottle and carry back home on my back for the family to have water for the day. It was a very difficult time to be a child in a small village with little water and electricity and little food. The villagers just grow rice and maybe have a couple of cows or goats for their investment. No one makes any money, just cut trees or try to sell what they grow to make a little money.So, when I am old enough my grandparents and auntie teach me how to fetch water from the creek and also how to cut the grass for the cows and the goats. Also, they teach me how to plant the rice paddy and how to take care of it. The garden is very far from the house, so it takes time to go there and the road is bad. I also have to take care of things at home while doing my other chores. I began working hard helping my family when I am just 6 years old. I was also physically abused by my grandparents and auntie when I made mistakes or didn’t listen.Here is a list of my chores every day when I am little and lived in the village:
- Wake up and bring 15-liter water from the creek
- Boil water and help prepare breakfast
- Wash dishes
- Go to school
- Back from school and help prepare lunch
- Fill the water tank from the creek (could be 10 x 15-liter bottles). Back and forth from the creek with the water on my back… or…
- Cut the grass in the garden which is 2km from the house to feed the cows …or…
- Separate the padi to become white rice… or…
- Cut the trees to sell as fire wood and put on my back and walk 3km’s to the village to sell…or…
- Packing up the banana leaf or spinach and take 3km’s to the store to trade for money
- Cook dinner and wash the dishes
- Then sleep and start over next day
This was my daily activity when I was young. Not the way you would like your life to start. My next disappointment was when I was ready to go to Junior High School. My grandparents had no money to send me and even though my mother promised, she never sent money back to the village for my expenses. During this time my grandparents became very angry with me and would hit me with the small branches from the tree. My auntie would also hit me when she was angry. I was just 10 years old when I thought, ‘I want to be grown up now and get a job and make money and move to the USA. That was my dream from an early age. Although my family treated me badly, they are basically good people. They are very religious and good to their neighbors. We always go to the Catholic church and never miss going. I always pray to the Lord to hear my prayers and help me with my life and my dream for the future.After Primary school my grandparents decide I should not go back to school and should get a job as a maid. I was fine to do that if there was an opportunity. Shortly after that I was offered a job to be a nanny for the school teacher’s children. Right before starting my Auntie in Jakarta disagreed with me working and wanted me to continue my education. She offered to pay my expenses for Junior High School. A week later my grandparents registered me for school and I was accepted. I was very thankful to my auntie and Jesus for helping me with my education.I am happy to be in school, but my school is Muslim, not Catholic. I must follow their rules and become Muslim during my study. I have to wear Hijab uniform and follow their teachings for my 3 years there. I learned how to read in Arabic/Quran language. I memorize some of the Quran content and I know how to pray/shalat. I am happy that I graduated Junior High School in SMP Muhammadiyah Sampang Gedangsari Gunungkidul. This was in 2002 but I am still struggling to continue my education as my Grandparents have no money and there is no one to take me to the school.In August 2002 when I finish my Junior High School my Auntie in Jakarta ask me to come to Jakarta to help her with her family and taking care of my niece. She sent me the money and I went to Jakarta. My Auntie is living with her In-Laws and she told me she cannot take me to a school as she is busy being a housewife and taking care of her Mother-in-Law who had a stroke. I am ok to not attend High School as I want to work but my Auntie does not approve as she thinks I am too young. I attend church every Sunday with my Auntie’s family and I pray every day for help in going to school or finding a job. During this time, I am helping the family and taking care of my niece.In 2003 I met a friend through church and she asked why I am not going to school. She explained I could go to the private packet C which is the same as High School but not expensive and the classes are in the evening. Finally, after one year I told my Auntie I wanted to go to school and again she told me she had no money or any way to take me to school. I told her my friend would help me to register and she would help me find donations from other people to pay my tuition.Now I have managed to go back to school and my classes are from 6-9pm. This is good as it allows me to help my family during the day. I make many friends at the school and most are working and going to school at the same time. Every week I meet with my friend from the church who is studying at the Catholic University of Jakarta. She tells me that her university has a program to partner with companies in Indonesia where they seek their financial support to assist low income children who are trying to get an education.In 2004 there is an insurance company that is interested in helping with a donation. My friend spoke with the leader of the company and he is very generous and would like to help financially but he wants to meet the person and their family. My friend introduced me to the insurance company executive and he also flew to meet my family in the village. Bapak Joe met with my family and my grandparents in my small village (unfortunately I have no photos to share as I didn’t expect to be sharing my story). Bapak joe was such a kind man and he helped my family with money during his visit. They were so thankful.After the visit he was very happy to help me with my expenses and even moved me to a regular school and I didn’t have to worry about the payments. He paid all my expenses. I was so thankful to Jesus that he sent my friend and Bapak Joe to my life to help me. In 2006 I graduated from High School in Jakarta.In 2006 I applied for work with a Travel Agent in Jakarta. I worked for 3 months in the Hotel Bintang Raden Shaleh. After that I said I was very interested in work in Batam Island. And I flew to Batam and I work in the Hotel in housekeeping Department. I was in training for a month and then I worked there until 2007.At this point my life was good as I was able to send money to my village to help my family. I still do not speak with my mother though. When I was in Jakarta we met but we would fight and argue as I was still very angry that she never took care of me or supported me financially. Bapak Joe still stayed in contact with me to see how I am doing through email and he would help me financially at times if I needed help. This was in 2007.At the end of 2007 I went to Bintan Island and was looking for work and found it and I was trained and worked in a 5-star hotel in Bintan from 2007-2008. In 2008 I had a boyfriend that worked in the hotel as well. Although I was just 22 years old we decided to get married. After just a few months of marriage my company sent me to work overseas. We were working in different countries and were not able to see each other. Unfortunately, my husband cheated on me during this period as I was able to see his emails and Facebook messages. This was very painful, and we separated and divorced shortly after I found out. So, in 2009 I am free and single again, so I extend my contract to continue working in another country till 2012.
Learnings from my Childhood as I reflect on my early years I faced many challenges and difficulties. It would be easy to blame my circumstances on just being born to the wrong person at the wrong time and in the wrong place. But what do you learn from that…nothing. These were things I had no control over. I struggled as a child with the life that God gave me, and I resented who I was, but I truly believe that God will never give you a challenge that you cannot handle. Especially if you keep your faith and focus on making tomorrow better than yesterday. In many ways I was lucky that good people came into my life, but I am proud that I took advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves. What I would say to anyone facing challenges in their life is NEVER give up! Don’t worry about the things you have no control over and focus on the things you can influence. Have a dream and every day think about your dream and things you can do to make your dream happen. I still face many challenges in my life as it is not perfect, but I have confidence that with a strong faith in the Lord, praying daily for guidance and having a plan to achieve my dream anything and everything is possible. I will focus on what things I control and not worry about the things that I don’t.
I will share more about Peri Will in my next blog…