Letter From Uti

Dear Tiwi,

Thank you for being my best friend since couple years ago.

I wrote this letter with my broken English, so I can avoid “menye-menye” feeling when you read some sentimental sentences. You know, Indonesian languages have the power to make me (and you) feel more emotional, and I know you don’t like that. So, pardon me since the very beginning.

Do you remember the first time we met? I just one little tiny creature, trapped in a small brown box labeled WWF. They sent me from Jakarta to your office in Makassar. You weren’t very excited at that time, for you I was just a little tiny doll, an Orang Utan doll. They sent me to you because you were kind enough to make the monthly donation to WWF Indonesia.

I just sat there, in the corner of the room at the beginning. Then, I heard your plan trip to South Korea. I didn’t know why, but then you said you would like to take me with you. I even didn’t have any idea where it was. That was my very first trip, overseas even. Waw !

Then you gave me a name, Uti. You said it an abbreviation of “Oe(u)rang Utan Tiwi”. I was so happy with that name. Your sisters, your brother even your parents call me with that name since that.

South Korea was our first trip together, then we went to China and Mongolia for two months, slept in train for three days when we went to the very west territory of China, near Kazakhstan, and we never stop roaming the world together. I feel so blessed and lucky.

I was with you when you decided to move to Australia. Started everything from the bottom. Though your parents, especially Bapak (your dad) didn’t allow you at the beginning, Mamak (your Mom) cried a lot. But, you said you need to learn how life works from other perspectives. You said God have been so kind to you. All your plans worked well. All your hard work were paid. You started your first serious company since you were in the 2nd semester in university. That yearbook company that open loads of opportunities for you. You travel more with the money that you earned by yourself. You bought things you desired as well. You brought your whole family trip together. You gave your parents a gift, a second honeymoon to Bali. From all those, I knew family always and always be your priority. Your love towards them is such an incredible thing I ever saw. But, you was just you. Staying in one place and doing the same thing over and over again wouldn’t fit you well.

After 5 years you running your business, you just decided to take some break. For you money is important, but experiences are way above that. No matter what your parent said about not going to Australia, you insisted and you just you, the one who will fight for whatever you think you should do or get. So. together we flew to Perth, the first city where you started the whole new experiences, only with 300 AUD. I remembered you said you sold your iPhone, and just went with a small non-smart-phone kind of mobile, not even capable of taking a photo because that phone doesn’t have a camera. With your red backpack and a carton of Indomie Goreng, we started our life in Australia.

I knew what you have been through in your life. I was there when you woke up in the early morning, went to the city to drop your resume, find a job on the internet. I was there when you left the house on 9 AM in the morning and back after 1 AM, because you worked in 2 or even 3 different places in one day. I was there when you cried in silence because you couldn’t bear the pain that you got in your arm that turned out as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You worked too hard, Tiw. But, it wasn’t you if you didn’t.

I was there when you cried over the phone, talked to your Mom. I knew it was your first time away from home for so that long. But you cried not because you miss home or your family, you cried just because you need to, and I knew that. Life is tough, but you survived and became stronger. You learned a lot. From a very clumsy girl who didn’t know how to peel veggies or cut onion to a young mature woman who knew how to make a bread dough. From an indolent girl who never cleans her room to a professional lady who wasn’t afraid to clean the most disgusting toilet or bed. You changed, a lot.

I witnessed you cried for days because life asked you to choose, between a very well paid job in Darwin or back home and doing volunteering in a rural area in your country. But, you made a right decision. You left Australia and the opportunity you had there to came back and invested your time as an elementary teacher in West Papua. I thought you wouldn’t survive. You, the girl who couldn’t live without the Internet had to live on one small island with no proper network. But again, you showed me that you survived. You even did great things, not only for yourself but others. You introduced me to your new family in Arguni, to your students, your new friends. I was so happy to met and knew them. You did the right thing, Tiw.

But Tiwi,

Among all the things you did in the past, let me say couple things, some truth that maybe not sounds so sweet for you. Because today is a new day of 2017. I just want you to be happier than before. I knew you are exquisite at planning your future, and that was why you here, studying through scholarship that you fight for since you were in West Papua. I knew how hard you fight for this. I knew how much money you invested for this since it wasn’t cheap to do anything in West Papua including the flight you purchased when you attended the interview. But, let me be honest.


I knew you are strong, but sometimes it is okay to be weak, that what makes you human. It’s okay to cry in front of your friends, or your loved ones. It is okay not to know all the answers to the uncertain things in your life. It is okay, Tiw.

I believe 2017 will be more amazing than previous years. Life will be tougher than before, so it’s okay not to stay strong all the time.

Dear Tiwi,

I knew that you just always try being honest. You say whatever you feel or want to say straightforwardly. But, remember sometimes people easily get hurt not by what you do to them, but by what you say. Being honest is good, but please do filter first, especially for those who barely know you.

Anyway, I love the way you are doing your healthy lifestyle for the last couple weeks. You are on diet not because people told you to, but because you thought you need to. Keep doing that, and please during this still-holiday-moment, keep control yourself. You are doing this for you own sake. So, don’t forget that.

Dear Tiwi,

There will be 365 days ahead in 2017. I knew there are a lot of priorities in your life. Your family, your study, your business and more others things but not love life. Let me say this, not because you are not capable of finding the one, just because I do care for you and it doesn’t mean you have to find it as soon as possible. But, please do aware and more open of your surrounding, you never know where God will dispatch this particular guy 😉

Last but not least, Tiw…

In the next couple months, you will be 25 years old, so before you say welcome to your quarter life (crisis), let me give you some pieces of advice that I got from some random articles:

  • Please be less worrying, especially for your future. I know I can’t ask you to stop worrying, so make it less at least. No one knows their future, so embrace what you have today and let me tell you a secret, 70% of things you worry about won’t happen, believe me.
  • Every person has their own time, so please stop comparing yourself to others and stop undervalue yourself. The right thing will come in the right timing for you, as long as you keep improving yourself.
  • There will be a lot of pressure from your surrounding, even from your closest one, your Bapak or even your Mamak, they just want the best for you. The best way to make them proud is not by showing your achievement or how much you earn, but how happy you are with your life. Trust me, and it will more than enough for them
  • Please please keep doing what the best for your body, feed them with healthy meals, exercise more, I do really hope when you are 25 years old, you will be healthier than ever. And remember, just do that because you think that’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your body.
  • You don’t need to impress anyone, people who love you enough won’t care about that, just because they love you no matter what
  • People are selfish, and you have to know that, like or not, so before blaming someone, please consider some possible reason why they act like that.
  • The older you become, the more you can’t keep up with lot of people, so choose your circle wisely
  • Spend less time on social media and read more real books or write more (you know why!)
  • Life won’t gets easier and unfair, but you know it is beautiful as well. Remember this and try to live with it!
  • Last but not least advice from me, when someone falls into you or vice versa, make sure both of you are fighting together for that, if not then better you walk away.


Wow, such a long letter ya, Tiw. Sorry for my broken English but I hope you will understand, and I do really wish you and all your loved ones greater year ahead. I do wish 2017 will be more amazing and more blesses than last year.


p.s. : I know you will keep traveling, no matter what, so where is next? With me of course? 😉


Edinburgh, 1st January 2017



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