Miss Fifi in Jakarta

Taking a break from my random experimental writing in Malay (because seriously, kepala sakit) and I came across some pictures of me in Jakarta.

I don’t like to sugarcoat things because people seem to think that travel = fun = happiness, but to me it’s travel = work = tired. That’s why I rarely share about where I am; don’t want people to misunderstand anything. I also get messages telling me “You travel so much!” and “You probably spent thousands a year on plane tickets.” and I shake my head.

Let’s clear the misunderstandings, shall we?

1) I only go to Indonesia “a lot” but then again it’s never for a holiday. I long to wake up to an ocean view and room service a masseuse and bathe in flower water too. Also I’ve yet to discover Europe but I think the place I’d like to visit is Jordan.

2) No, my boss paid for my flight.

So, why do I go to Jakarta fairly often?

It’s because I lead a semi-secret life called the Miss Fifi Life. I call it semi-secret because you know I go to Indonesia to do teaching things where I’m called Miss Fifi. And I won’t talk more about it but let’s just conclude that maybe I’m good at what I do, that’s why I get called often I guess.

To give you an understanding of how tired I get at these things, let me show you my face at the end of each day:

Reasons why:

1) I didn’t get enough sleep.
2) I misplaced my water bottle (at home I drink 3liters per day), so I was kinda dehydrated
3) The weather’s cold and wet (18 degrees celcius plus rain)
4) I don’t fancy Indonesian food, so I didn’t eat much for my energy
5) We were outnumbered. 8 of us vs 160 TEENAGERS.

I capitalised teenagers because you know, teenagers are at the peak of their angst and rebellion. If they understood English better and if I were their teacher I would first teach them about respect for everything: all obvious living things, surroundings (no littering), and TIME. Time is a creation that needs to be respected too. I won’t just do the basics of teaching ABC and 123. But this time Miss Fifi wasn’t a teacher. She’s just a…


Eh, I just realised there were 9 of us. Eh no, the mentor in green tudung left early. Then the two on the right left early too for work. Towards the end it was super tiring, left with the six of us only.

Can you tell which one’s me? ha ha ha

Ta-dah! We’re your friendly English Camp mentors.

The guy on the leftmost (Oji), myself, and the girl in the beige tudung (Ina), were somehow the “senior” ones because we’ve been doing this. So that means yes, most responsibilities were on us. Oji, especially. He looked like a walking zombie towards the end of the camp. We were both coordinators and we were BOTH sick. I rely on Ina a lot; she’s our boss’s personal assistant and very proactive, has initiative. Everywhere I go where my boss was, Ina would be there.

What did I have to do? (okay fine let’s talk a bit about my work)

  • Make sure all mentors know what’s GOING ON THE NEXT DAY
  • Tally the attendance of the students (oh my gosh, this was most difficult to do)
  • Look at the schedules and make changes if necessary
  • Timekeeping
  • Keep the students entertained
  • Keep the teachers entertained

Whatever it was, my goal was to not let them see me obviously tired. Or if I was tired, I wanted them to see that I still had the energy to go on. Which was true. It was only on the last day that I finally drained my battery but I didn’t let my sickness get into me. I know that being ill is a sign your body tells you you need a rest, but I felt that there were a lot on my shoulders I couldn’t just leave it. It’d be irresponsible of me.

We spent ONE night at one nice villa and after that every night we had to change rooms. For professionalism sake, let’s not go into details. But I liked how food was delivered to us in the room that night. Here’s me, you can see that my plate was still full while they’re done – yes it’s because I stayed back to see what needed to be done before I joined them for dinner.

Sorry I don’t do pouty lips ha ha ha


And this is our picture from the field trip. I just can’t be bothered to take group pictures anymore. Too tired. As Miss Fifi I am a fun person, but I’m getting old. Sometimes I just want to sit down and not care about taking a picture lol. I’m the one on the left in pink btw.


After the camp I was SICK. The camp ended on a Thursday. Fever. Non-stop cough. It’s like the body’s revenge. Thankfully my other meetings were cancelled because it turned out to be a holiday weekend. I was supposed to give a presentation to teachers on Friday, and I was supposed to meet university students on Sunday. Yay for Good Friday holiday!

On Monday, however, I swallowed one paracetamol to prepare myself for a visit to a school I was invited to. Apparently I spoke to 600 students. Didn’t look like 600, but the teacher in pink said there were 600. So okay. I talked about my book to them for a bit, not sure if they understood, but even if they didn’t it doesn’t matter.

I invited my friend Karin along; we went shopping after this. Probably the only person from my ‘other’ life who’s seen me do my work as Miss Fifi. I don’t really like my worlds to collide, but it was convenient to meet her first. Did I mention she’s a lecturer at one of Indonesia’s top universities?

Wow – this might be the first time I’m sharing so many pictures with you!

But Karin was sick. I was sick. We cut our meeting short to go back home to sleep. I caught a 37.9 degrees fever right after this, which sucked.

What’s worse was on my flight back home, the pressure was too much my ears felt like they were going to burst. I think my mucus gathered somewhere in my cheeks. I woke up the next morning in my own room with a bleeding nose. Only second time in my life experiencing this. Gotta Google what causes a bleeding nose.


One of the things I’m thankful about my life is my opportunity to meet new people all the time. Well, or maybe it’s because I’m an opportunist (whatever that means). I believe that my life will not change unless I stand up. Life is not about waiting for things to happen. It’s making things happen. So instead of waiting to be approached, I will go up to that person to talk to him or her. I believe that there is something I can learn from everyone so in that way even though my formal education has stopped ages ago, my learning hasn’t. That way my life isn’t stagnant or at its plateau. It’s a living heartbeat graph.

But recently though, with this trying to find Melayu words, I do find myself drifting a bit. If I used to go out to talk to people now I’m going out to write, focused on my laptop screen.

Let’s change this, shall we? See who I can meet…umm…tomorrow?

But then when will I be done with my experimental Malay writing?!

(someone please ask me out)

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