A day to treasure

photo courtesy by TEDxUbud Facebook

If I would have not gone to Ubud last weekend, I believe my life would be the same. But I know, at first, in my life, I am going there. Towards whatever direction I believe would make a difference and change. I am getting there, but only not that fast and the road was filled with anxiety, unconfidence and self-struggle. I had been creating my own demon inside of me. 

Last weekend, TEDxUbud is accelerating me to achieve what I have been wanting to do.

wonderful crowd and talks at TEDxUbud 2013

There were many times that I think that the event was not for me. Because I know how intelligent the event is and I am just a small bunk child, unsure of what she's doing in life, shy and etcetera. I thought that I should cancel my plan to attend. But thinking about the money that I have spent for air ticket and the ticket itself, I say "Okay, que sera sera." or in Malaysian way I say, "Okay, LAH."

A friend of mine, Lisa, encouraged me to attend the event no matter what. I kept throwing in reasons to stop myself to go. First, because I will be alone in a city I barely even know. I have been to Bali before but even so, I have just acquainted with Ubud once or twice. I was travelling with incomplete itinerary. I do not where will I stay, where to eat, what to do after I get there, who will pick me from the venue... bla bla bla... Secondly, I was hesitated because my workload was getting more and more overwhelming. It got me nervous on how to tell my boss and colleagues that I will take a leave (it was half-day only). But eventually, my boss knew my true plan was, and thankfully she did not look upset. (Yea, because I attended TEDx!)

eating lunch on the lawn, I am in the photo!
photo courtesy by TEDxUbud Facebook

So I go anyway.

When the plan landed in Bali, I just could not believe it. Within past 12 hours I was still inside the office, catering client's amendments that were endless. But when our plane was approaching the airport runway which is stunningly surrounded by the open sea, I felt like laughing, like having the last laugh... it was like, "Holly shit, am I in Bali now? What the F--- am I doing here?"

Yeah, and I saw those domestic airlines on taxi, Garuda, Lion, some international wings like Virgin Australia--yup, Ayu you are now landed safely in Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali, Denpasar, Indonesia. Welcome home!

I stayed for one night in Denpasar and then I moved to Ubud for the event. I was like extremely nervous and blurry at the same time. What am I going to do there? When I saw foreigners lined up at the registration counter then I am convinced like hundred percent convinced, that this is one hell of an event.

I had been preparing myself. Three days before the event kicked, I received an email from TEDx. I followed their instruction to prepare and bring this and that.  So I brought things I never thought I would bring along during travelling, such as water bottle. Normally, I just buy from the convenience store. But in the end, they provided all attendees with a environmentally-friendly bamboo cup to fill drinking water.

I had my name cards prepared. It is so silly because I wrote my profession as "freelance translator and writer", which is not my actual profession, it is only a start-up, probably or I just did not have any idea what to write. So in order to be truthful, and not to mislead people, I explain to those who receive my name card that I work as an account executive in BTL ad agency, writing is my hobby and I would like to pursue it as a side career as well.

And note to all especially, conference rookie like me, prepare your namecards, because it will come in handy to introduce yourself. Like my colleague said when I went into my first marketing task, "What the hell are you doing showing up in an event without a name card?" So, I took his advice until now and then.

The most interesting part was the crowd of course, I gained many friends and unbelievable connections. Before I arrived in Bali, I studied each of the attendees from the public list that TEDxUbud team announced days before the event started. I made few interactions with some people, mostly Indonesians, to ask if they have a ride to the venue. Just to test the water and thankfully, they are all very welcoming. Unfortunately, we did not meet in the venue because it was very crowded. It is a lousy reason I know, but I hope that they enjoyed their time in TEDxUbud and we'll meet someday in person.

Within those crews and attendees, I am very thrilled yet nervous to meet particular people. Out of them, I follow some in twitter because they have great personalities and turns out that they are now attending/organizing the event.

I first saw Daniel Ziv (@DanielZiv) in the reception counter when I waited for my pre-ordered namecard to be delivered. I was thinking whether to greet him or not, but he looked so busy, so might as well next time I thought. The next time I met him was in the breakfast table, he was checking all attendees in the breakfast hall, making sure we were all fed well. I had already been making friends with some Indonesians kids of my age, and then he looked to us and greet, "Hi."

We answer, "Hi!"

I kept my cool eventhough my inner-self was like, "Ohmygod, Daniel just greeted us!" Okay I was happy enough, then I looked to the far left, I was like. "That girl looked familiar, is she Putri  (@PoetryReading) the one that I follow on twitter?"

So, I was hesitating as well at first, and then my friend told me that if I wanna greet a person the go for it. So I go for it!

She was with two other dudes, and she was like all chatting and I approached her and say, "Putri ya? Hey I am a fan. I follow you on twitter."

And then she examined me, very nicely and friendly, not the kind of threatening, like "who's this  fat bitch" or what... her reaction was so humble when I admitted that I am a fan of her. She shook my hand, laughed and asked me to sit on their table, and I was like, "Holy shit, she asks me to sit around. What am I going to do?"

It was a very nice experience to meet a person that you really want to meet. She introduced me to two of her friends, Daniel from Kansas and Jeremy from London. It was really flattering to meet people, and they were very welcoming of me. Although, there were times when I feel like I shouldn't be too involved because you, know, I am just a new girl, a nobody and they are settled adults in the industry. They have their names, while I have not. So, I began to make some friends with other people too. Local and international peeps. I met people who works in Nike, The Jakarta Globe, a filmmaker and some students who are very awesome. People that I thought that I cannot be acquainted with.

Before the event started, Putri introduced me to Daniel (Ziv) who was acting as a co-curator of TEDxUbud. I said to him that I am a fan and also follow his tweets. He jokingly answered, "Oh, you do. I am so sorry." And I answered him back, "hey, I am delighted to read it."

Later on the day, I met Daniel again in person. It is hard to meet him because I am wandering with other friends and he is with the crew. So, finally, I decided, "the day is not over unless I go and talk to Daniel." so I went...

He was chatting with some other participants, and when I greeted him he looked a bit confused or startled. Imagine someone out of the blue greeting you and second time, saying that she is a fan (I am so sorry Daniel) But he was again warm and friendly. I asked him about his movie Jalanan. He said it'll be out soon. Funny thing is, he answered me in Bahasa Indonesia eventhough I have asked him in English. Maybe it is normal you know, I have always want to talk with a native speaker with native language, maybe he feels that way too. But nevertheless, he speaks very good Indonesian. No wonder because he has been living so many years in the country. But it is not Daniel alone, many foreign visitors speaks very well Indonesian. I remembered, there was one woman who asked to the food server, "Ini apa?" she pointed, means that "What is this?"

It is true that the native Indonesians sometimes feels not aggressive enough of its culture, think it is "OK" or not competitive enough to be compared with other Asian cultures, namely like Korean, Japan and etcetera. Yes, it is not subjective to say that one culture is better than another, but that is the assumption that Indonesian needs to dismiss. I am amazed to see how far these travelers go to experience Ubud, Indonesia and mingle with the locals. They make me fall in love with my country after all this time.

The speakers are good. Amongst the speakers, I loved talks by Erin Michelle Thefall in her "Hapiness 101" and I believe it is the talk that drive me so positive until now and Delphine Robbe on her touching environmental story. I loved the way she close her talks by saying, "Enjoy whatever left in our nature" (or, something like that, it was so touching)

There was Ernest Prakasa who was very entertaining, Black with his crazy talent with Yoyo and Sri Lestari a true survivor. Every talk is interesting!

I long to wait for another TEDxUbud. I cannot imagine if there is any better TEDx in the world. I just came across the first and the best TEDx I have ever attended, and I just feel like brand new. I plan to come to TEDxKL in August.

So Thank you amazing people. Thank you. I owe you all credits of my lifetime,


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