Author Archive: ndrewh

Fleeting Little Thing Called Time…

This is August already! This means, more than half of 2017 has passed. And man, does time fly. And here I am, in the second half of the year. Yet another chapter in my life is going to unfold.

So a little update, I am officially Dr. Andru Putra Twinanda now. Yeay! My defense went quite smoothly, everybody was quite happy with how it turned out. My parents were there, my friends came too, and a lot of cool people present at the meeting. Awesome beans.

Post-Defense Picture

Look at my widest smile! It was a great day!

After I was done with the defense, I went to vacation with my parents. We went to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. It was a lot of fun. This was the time when I realized that my parents are getting old. I felt they were so much older than the last time they came to Europe which was 5 years ago. And again, yet another proof that time is such a fleeting little thing. But nevertheless, we made the best of our time there.

And then I went back to the lab, continued working on the projects that I was working on. Jointly with an intern, we got a paper accepted at MICCAI, which made this year even sweeter. My contract as a post-doc terminated some time ago, by the end of July to be exact. Some time in June, I have decided to join a startup company in the Netherlands, I will start working in September.

Oh man, so much has changed in such a short amount of time. At the end of my contract in Strasbourg, I couldn’t help but to reminisce all the time that I had spent with my colleagues in the lab. The endless hangouts and laughter with my friends, the restless nights of writing papers, and the limitless possibilities of experimental setups to do. All those things are now just another chapter in my life. Always held dear, but in the past.

So, here I am now, having a little down time, getting my mind refreshed and ready for my upcoming job. I am currently in Groningen, the objective of my visit is to find myself an apartment, and I DID! Mind you, it is very difficult to find an apartment here, especially on such a high season when the students are coming to start their studies here (and Groningen’s population is mostly students [citation needed]). Actually, I just signed the apartment contract this morning. I am really happy that I managed to get an apartment that I really like and very close to my future office. I wish I had taken pictures of the apartment. Did I tell you already that I really like it?

All is well that ends well. As fleeting as our life can be, and as fast as time flies, I cannot wait for my next adventure in the Netherlands. Somehow, I have an inkling that it will be an exciting one. So, till next time!

PS: Still waiting for my work permit, wish me luck!

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What Has, What Has Not, and What Hopefully Will 2016-2017

Hey y’all! What’s up? Been a long time not writing here. Dear God, I keep losing motivation to post something on this blog. Believe it or not, there are so many blog drafts ready in my account to post. Either they are not finished or I decided not to post them because they are too controversial.

Well, in any case, here I am, writing my annual post which is about my resolution. Here is the list of what I would like to do in 2016 and how I am doing for each point:

  • Defeat the demons inside me. A few months ago, I made public one of the most raw posts (which was password-protected) that I have written about myself in which I talked about my anxiety problems. I think this is a step toward defeating my demons. Trying to acknowledge and own them. Explicitly state what I want to do with them and put them online so that I can be held accountable. In the real, I don’t think I will ever defeat these demons, what I can do is just learn to live and manage them. And I think I am doing better now compared to in 2015. So, to be fair, this is not really a resolution which I can say whether I can tick off of the list. In any case, progress achieved! 😀
  • Get a job in Europe. Well, the plan was to end 2016 with a PhD diploma. However, scheduling was a little bit difficult so I couldn’t defend my thesis at the end of the year. My defense is planned for January 27, 2017 (wish me luck!), which is pretty soon. Afterwards, I already talked with my supervisor that I would like to stay in the lab as an engineer for another 6 months and he agreed to this. So, I guess this can be considered as a check in the list. 🙂
  • Getting healthier. I actually stopped eating chips, but around September or something like that, I broke this good habit. It is a bit upsetting, so I am willing to put it to test again.
  • Fourth language is not happening. However, I DID learn how to read cyrillic! So, that’s interesting right? I think I need to accept that I will not speak more than three languages (and some extra traditional languages. ;)) #humblebrag
  • Read a French book each month and write more in French. This is a fail. I think I kept the reading resolution only until February and just dropped it. As for the writing, well you know how well I keep up with my blog posts. Actually, my reading stats in 2016 is the worst compared to the last couple of years. I think I just read a few books this year. The thing is I have been trying to change what I am reading. À la base, I like reading fantasy books, but I feel like I should read some other genre, more serious ones. But, I do not enjoy the books as much as I enjoy fantasy books, so I have not read a lot. Recently, my friend told me that I should just read the books that I like. It doesn’t matter if they are fantasy books, as long as I enjoy them.

So, there you go. The complete results of my resolutions in 2016. Considering everything, I think it was a great year. Come on! I shaved my head in 2016! Never in a million years I thought I would do that and I like it!

twitter-andru

Andru 4.0. Same ol’ boy, just aerodynamically better.

Well, anyway. I did three major things in terms of work: published an article at TMI, co-organized a workshop at MICCAI in Athens, and finished my manuscript. My social life is not too much sacrificed either. I have great friends with whom I could talk, laugh, and cry with. I am also still healthy (to the best of my knowledge), have roof over my head and food on the table. So, for those, I am grateful.

Now, here are my resolutions for 2017.

In 2016, I have been slacking off in terms of health stuff. I did not go to the pool as often as I did in 2015. My diet was not the best either. Since I will be done with my thesis pretty soon, I think I can go back to healthier life style. I am thinking of getting a gym membership since it costs more or less the same as the pool membership. And for the diet, I will again try stop eating chips and candy bars.

I think I want to get back to reading books. Despite the fact I read a lot of research papers, I feel like I need to keep in touch with my right brain which has been more or less abandoned in 2016. So, I will make the same resolution which is one book a month. But this time, it does not matter whether it is in French or not. Would be great to also go back to writing non-scientific stuff. But, I feel like I am constantly writing about my mental health. I need to find better topics to talk about. XD

I am also setting a certain number to appear in my bank account at the end of the year. I feel like I need to cut back on my spending. I need to start thinking about the future, I am not that young anymore. I am not going announce that number here of course, but I put it here so I have something to hold me accountable. 😀

Lately, I am having some sort of existential crisis as I feel like I am no use for the society. So, I want to dedicate myself for the betterment of something. It could be anything, reducing poverty, helping animal shelters, become a paramedic or a donor advocate, anything at all, as long as it does not solely involve me giving my money. Of course, giving money to charity is grand already, but I feel like I need more hands-on experience so that I could feel that I am doing something for the society.

I think that’s all for this year. I have a feeling 2017 will be a great year. Here is the reason:

twitter-andru

Why 2017 will be a great year! #optimism

LOL! May the best asshole reign! Have a great year, bitches!

That Winter Blues

Winter is the worst season of all for me
It has always been..

It is cold and dark and lonely
It is depressing, especially with the freezing wind
But, it is also a reminder that I lost someone I loved dearly
That’s what’s worst about these negative degrees
Especially, when I am cold in the dark feeling lonely

Every time I see that huge Christmas tree
at the biggest square in the city
I weep, I cry and I plea..
May he be in peace and kept close to Thee
Amen.

31683_398094428846_7592706_n

What Has, What Has Not, What Hopefully Will 2015-2016

Hey again!

This post has been a “ritual” that I usually do at the end of the year for the last few years. There you go, another post looking back at my resolutions and whether I have achieved them or not. So, let’s get to it!

  1. Go back to writing my blog regularly. Well, I definitely wrote a lot more than last year, not as frequent as I hoped I would be. The theme of the posts is also apparently converging to one topic, which I will discuss later. 😛
  2. Reading one book in French every month. Just like most of the resolutions, this one was only alive at the beginning of the year, maybe until February or March. It is a bit unfortunate since I really want to improve my French. XD
  3. Fourth language. Still a no. I have been really thinking about it, but I keep getting too lazy to start learning. I also think that I will need to join a class to learn a completely new language. Or maybe I just say that to myself as an excuse to not do it. Hahaa..
  4. Get healthier. I think I am quite healthy, not a six-pack or anything like that. But I am not fat, and not too skinny either. I still do swimming, not as frequent as I want, but I have some equipment at home, like a pull-up bar, weights, etc. So, I work out at home.
  5. Get over my insecurities. Here is the big problem..

If you pay attention to my blog posts in 2015, mostly they are about my mental health problem. I have been having many problems (as other do too), but this year somehow it was harder than previous years. Most likely, it is all due to the pressure coming from work, family, friends, and especially myself. It has been really difficult, but I am glad that I have people who I can trust and who also can understand my situation.

So, this is my number one resolution for 2016: defeat the demons inside my head. I am sure that this is the key for me to be able to enjoy my life to the fullest. And it is about time I face the problem head-on!

2016 will also be a big year for me. I am scheduled to finish my PhD at the end of the year, so maybe next year I will have gotten my Doctor title when I write this blog post. Amen! And then, another chapter of my life will start. I am hoping that I can get a job in Europe, especially France, because I am already familiar with how things work in France and also able to speak the language. My second choice would be Germany because I know many good labs and places to work there. It could be a nice change of scene too.

The other goals that I haven’t achieved should also become my resolutions now. Getting healthier: I will try to stop eating chips! Brave, I know. But, I eat them too much! Fourth language: Spanish is my first choice. Reading one French book every month: come on Andru, you can do this! Maybe even write blog posts in French every now and then.

2015 was hard, but it was still a great year. I have so many things to be grateful for. I got to go home and see my family during the summer. I went to Barcelona for a conference. Moved out to a bigger apartment. I still have roof over my head, food on my table, clothes to keep me warm, etc. So, here is to hoping that 2016 will be even better!!

Cheers to all of you! And have a great new year!!

No Shame In Being Imperfect

UPDATE: I wrote this post almost one year ago (now October 2016), I kept it private because I was afraid of the consequences of this post. But, not anymore. I know by making this post public is not going to make me feel much better either, but it might help you. Yes, you who are actually having problems or you who know somebody who has problems. More stories need to be shared, more lessons need to be learnt. Now, here is the original post…

Today, a record was made. It was the second time that my supervisor asked me to rewrite a single paper draft, more or less from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with him mostly. My draft was not good at all and there has never been a history of my paper drafts being no-good-at-all. This is my all-time worst, even my supervisor said that it was not like my writing at all. Later, he asked.. “Are you okay?”

Before I tell you what my response to my supervisor was, I just wanna give you a little background. I have been having psychological problems for a long time (as everybody does), but everything became so much more intense when I started my PhD. I have been warned about the PhD problems long before I started mine. I have read about them everywhere too. The amount of stress that PhD might cause, the suicidal thoughts, the catastrophic failure, etc etc. But you know what, I have been an all-star student as I beautifully bragged here (PS: being an all-star student might be the source of my problems too). So, I thought that I could get through it unscathed and surely people were exaggerating. Man, was I wrong..

For me, there is this weird sense of pressure that PhD gives. That ridiculous amount of competition that you bear on your shoulders. That you have to do stuff as quickly as possible, otherwise people will do it faster and better than you. Just in that snap decision when you want to do your PhD, the world suddenly turns against you. Maybe just me, well at least that’s how I feel. Somehow, my mind got out of control. I started having this crippling anxiety eating me up inside, which leads to many things. I started developing an impostor disorder and also (what I feel like) depression. That suicidal tendency that I had had in the closet, started coming out like nobody’s business and getting stronger by the minute.

Last year, I tried to talk to a therapist. It was a bit tricky since she was in Indonesia and I was in France. The scheduling was hard and having therapy sessions via Skype was not the most efficient. Despite all that, I actually felt better discussing my problems with her. However, the scheduling became so annoying that I stopped seeing her. Sure, there was still ups and downs afterwards, but nothing unmanageable. Except for the last few months..

For some unknown reasons, the last few months have been really difficult for me. I have been having panic attacks more frequently. The suicidal thoughts I am having start scaring me. Life has been bleak and dark. But I am trying to get out of this. I am putting all my efforts to keep living, carrying out my daily life as a normal human being, hidden under the bubbles and laughter.

“To tell you the truth, I have been having some problems..” And with that sentence, I told my supervisor about what I have been struggling with. Not in detail, just the big picture. His response was very kind and warm, but too many things are replaying in my head that I couldn’t really focus on what he was saying.

Instantly after telling that to my supervisor, I felt like a little burden on my shoulders has been lifted off. Yet later, I became afraid that he would think I was faking it (negativity is also in the list of my problems). I was also afraid that it would destroy the whole dynamic of our working environment. Honestly, I don’t know what is going to happen now. Oh whatever. I should start accepting that what he (or anybody for that matter) thinks about me is out of my control. And I think this is why people who have similar problems tend to keep it a secret, because they are afraid of what people might think of them. But, they should not feel this way! More stories need to be shared and more lessons need to be learnt.

To be honest, I am not sure why I wrote this. I have been wanting to write this for a long time, but I was afraid that I would be writing it for the wrong reasons. I did not want to write this because I wanted attention, because I knew I wouldn’t get attention anyway, I would just get pity out of this. And I did not want this to be a cry for help either. Now, after telling my supervisor, I found out that it is okay. It is okay to be imperfect, to be broken. I guess I wanted to write this to share with people, to tell them that life is difficult, life is confusing, even for the people you least expect it to be. Some people don’t understand you, and there might be only a few who do. That is normal, but remember you are not alone. Hold on to those few. Also, start letting people in anyway for life is too cold and dark to get through by yourself.

Letting people know about your problems does not make you weak. There should be no shame in admitting your flaws. And there is no humiliation in taking some time to deal with things in your life. 

More importantly, you should take pride in having that sheer willingness to show up and go on another day despite of your debilitating problems. You’ve made it through yesterday, surely you can take another day. After all, tomorrow is just the future’s yesterday!

PS: Watch this beautiful short about suicide. I hope it helps!

Giving Thanks

The things that I am thankful for this year:

  • Moving to a new apartment that can fit all my useless things.
  • Being able to afford living abroad without being a prostitute.
  • Getting rid of bed bugs in just one month or so. Still going strong without bed bugs. 😀
  • Bluetooth speakers.
  • Finding out who my real friends are.
  • Finding out who my fake friends are.
  • Healthy (afaik) digestive system.
  • Other relatively healthy systems.
  • French healthcare system.
  • etc.

In short, happy thanksgiving guys! Now, I am gonna go back being negative.

 

About Trust

I find it really hard to trust people. As loud as I might seem, I am very silent about what I am going through, about my life. Almost nobody knows about my darkest secrets and my deepest fears. Whenever I meet a new friend, I always keep them at an arm’s reach. Close enough to call them my good friends, but enough distance to let them not see the pimple scars on my face (figuratively speaking, although my face does have a bunch of scars. lol). I have been creating a wall my whole life because what is going on inside this head ain’t pretty. If it scares the hell out of me, I don’t think other people can handle it either.

But. At some rare serendipitous moments in this fleeting life, I have met some people that I feel comfortable around. I would make a door for them around my wall, and let them enter. These people, I hold dearly. To put it simply, I would help them hide a body if need be. Every single time I find people that I feel I can trust, I feel like my life is a little easier than before. Just like recently.. Well, long story short, I trusted this guy and thought of him as a brother. I let him see all the devils in my head. Until…

Famous-Trust-Quotes-with-Images-14I found out that he has been lying to my face the whole time. He is not the person that I thought he was. He is not the person anybody thought he really was. I really thought that I knew him. Had I seen his true self, I wouldn’t have trusted him with anything, not even my friendship, let alone my trust. And it hurts.. It really hurts to find out that the person that you have trusted for a long time has been lying to your face the whole time. And to find out about it from another person, not even from the person himself, hurts even more.

This post might be seen as a passive aggressive message to this guy. But really, it’s just a reminder to myself that I should be more careful.

Well, I just hope that all the bodies that we have hidden together will stay hidden. And for now, I will put a police line on the door where the door I built for him used to be. I want to be back inside my wall, back with the people I had already trusted. And to him, I say, best of luck.

People I Want To Throw Cold Spaghetti At

Hi everybody!

Welcome back to yet another entry from my rant collection about things that I feel like talking about. The title is a little shout out to Grace Helbig’s podcast with Miranda Sings and Colleen Ballinger if you are one of her fans. Basically, Grace asked Colleen “Who you wanted to throw cold spaghetti at?” Why cold spaghetti? Because it doesn’t really cause them any harm (because you don’t want to, and as you shouldn’t), but it sends a message regarding how you feel about them. So, I compiled two worst characters in people that make me want to throw cold s’ghetti at them!

Cold spaghetti

Cold spaghetti

Disclaimer: a friend told me that maybe I should rethink about writing this since it can be considered as a passive aggressive messages to some people. Well, if you feel like you match these descriptions, then at some point of our knowing-each-other, I must have had the urge to throw cold s’ghetti at you. This is not some sort of a passive aggression. To be completely honest, these posts mostly serve as a reminder for me. In this case, it’s a reminder that these qualities are the things I hate from people, so I should not have them myself.

Irresponsibility

I tried to search this word. Apparently, this word doesn’t exist. Well in any case, I guess you know what I mean.

Anyway, people keep telling me that I should not be too harsh on people. Not everybody is the same. I am a bit at loss why people say that to me. I just want them to be responsible, not bring me the moon or something. And I am not asking them to be perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, I know that. But they have to own up their mistakes and work their best to work things out. Not just run away and do nothing about it. Also, responsibility is not something that you were born with, it is something that you develop yourself. So when I am harsh to people who are irresponsible, I don’t think I am being unreasonable.

Inefficiency

Being a programmer, I have always been taught, asked and told to make an efficient program, to make complex things less complex while keeping the effectiveness of a solution. This insatiable feeling of efficiency actually started to grow when I was doing my undergrad studies. I was a relatively active student. And now being a 25 year-old, I have learnt it the hard way that the clock ain’t ticking backwards. I really hate it when I involuntarily waste my time. For example, I hate being on a train alone for a long trip because I am the type of person who can’t do much on a train. I can’t read, I can’t work, I am not comfortable watching a movie due to the lack of space (my laptop is huge), I can only stay seated, listening to music. To me, this is a complete waste of time and I hate it!

I think these are the two things that really grind my gears. I really wanna do violent things to these people throw cold spaghetti at them! I am pretty sure I have a lot more qualities that really annoy me. However, I have the feeling that these two keep popping up in my life. Very very recently too. Well, I am not gonna go to the specifics. After all, this is not intended to be a passive aggressive message to the people who should remain nameless. 😛

P.S.: I know the question was asked first to the Gregory Brothers, but the podcast with Colleen was so much better. 😛

Un weekend formidable

Mengutip dari blog ibu Gabriella  yang judulnya sama persis ama blogpost ini. I just had a very great weekend. I went to Paris to see Pentatonix with her. And dayum, Pentatonix really blew all our minds. You can go see Gebi’s post about or watch the brief review here in this video:

And some extra fun stuff from the footage that I have:

As Gebi has elegantly put it, I think there is only one thing to say: thanks Ash Ketchum for letting these two pokemons run wild in Paris. 😀

An Overachiever Who Can’t Deal With Failures

Yep, that’s me.

First thing, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong in being an overachiever. When a person has the talent, they can do whatever stuff they want to do or they feel like doing. However, a talented person is a person nonetheless. In this imperfect world, they are bound to face failures and some people are not ready for failures. Unfortunately, I have to admit I am one of those “some people.”

Growing up, I was always at the top of my class, easily. It felt like I didn’t need to do a lot of effort to be there, or maybe I just didn’t notice that I did. In any case, school was a breeze for me. I participated in competitions that I was good at: science and music. And I won them swimmingly. I got the title of “the exemplary student” of my city when I was 8 (how cute!). I was the marching band conductor and the head of the science club in middle school. I skipped a year in high school. I was a cum laude graduate for my undergrad studies. Well, you got the point, I was in it to win it and I am not used to failures.

At this point, you might be tired of my stupid ranting already. But wait, the point is coming later. I think… 😛

You know how parents always repeat stories from your childhood and you always know what they are about to say after the words “do you remember the story… ?” Yea, my mom really likes this one story about me crying my little heart out when I didn’t win a competition. So long story short, four students were selected to participate while only three were actually needed. Somehow, I ended up being benched. I saw my comrades failing to answer the questions while I knew the answers. Trust me, it was not a “vini vidi vici” moment for me, more like “we came, I watched, you lost.” So, I went home and cried in my mom’s arms. I cried because I knew I could have won it, but I didn’t. Instead, I was just a spectator. My mom loves to tell this story because what happened was so stupid. I kinda like this story as well because like I said it is so stupid. Just bear in mind, I was 10 at the time.

Anyway, it’s not like I had never failed before. One time when I was 8 maybe, I was asked to participate in a drawing competition, which I didn’t know I was good at. I didn’t win, but I didn’t care because it was not my forte. Well in more recent events, I have been applying for grants and other awards for the last few years. I have got none. But, I didn’t care because I knew I wouldn’t get it. The competition has been tight as fuck.

So, I think there are two important lessons that I can make from this rant so far. First, it is about maintaining expectation. Like I said, I have faced failures. However, I expected nothing to come out of it in the first place. If I made it, great! If I didn’t, well tough luck! But of course, sometimes you really expect things to happen. Especially, for things that you know you are actually good at. Things that you have a great chance at. Also for those things, you will inevitably face failures which is the cue for my second point: how to deal with failures. 

It is very difficult to be an overachiever who cannot deal with failures. You want to do a lot of things and yet you are afraid of the outcome. You end up not doing anything at all. Since you are not doing anything, your overachiever self wants to kill you. It’s a very vicious cycle. Trust me, been there done that. For example, as a researcher, I have to think of new exciting ideas to solve problems. When these ideas come (especially the good ones), I got really excited, then after some time I would get really nervous. I would be afraid of the outcome, whether it will work or not. In my mind, of course the worst case scenario is playing. The method wouldn’t work and I would be a worthless human being. Because of this fear, I often procrastinate doing small stuff or doing nothing at all. Seeing that I don’t have any results, I will hate for not having done stuff. Like I said, vicious cycle.

From experience, I think my fears actually come from the fact that I feel so attached to my work. I feel like it defines me or rather I define myself through my work. Why wouldn’t I? I spent more than 35 hours a week for this. So when my idea to solve the problem fails, I feel like I actually fail too as a being. And of course this is not okay. This is not right. However, I feel like some overachievers feel this way. That their achievements are what define them. Thus, their failures too.

A long time ago, I came across a very nice ted-talk presentation.

It is from the author of “eat, pray, love” talking about the fear of failure after the success of her ground-breaking novel. At the end of the talk, she said something that I really took in:

… It doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe that in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. Maybe if you just believe that they were on loan to you, you know from an unimaginable source from some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along, when you finish, to somebody else. …

That’s it! I think this is exactly what I should do. I should not let my previous “relatively full of achievements” life defines me. I should distance myself from it. To be free from expectations. If my idea works, thanks genie, it was a good idea. If it doesn’t, well genie, it’s okay there are million other ideas to explore. Work is just work. I am a PhD candidate most of my time, that much is true. But, just because it occupies most of my time, doesn’t mean that it has to  define most of my being. I don’t want it to.

So, if you are an overachiever who doesn’t deal well with failures, just like me, maybe you can try doing this. Whenever I begin to implement my idea and the fear starts kicking in, I will just say to my fear “Hey, let the genie work. If he doesn’t succeed, let him take the blame. If he succeeds, well we can take some credit for it,” and code away. 😀

me and universe

a life's drama

limaapril

05.04.2014

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