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I will be myself

Hello all!

Getting cold now and it’s been raining since yesterday, probably until the end of next week. So, i’ve just spent my super late summer holiday in Indonesia. Coming back to the lab, everything is just pretty much the same. Experiment and writing my manuscript.

Just gonna write a little before sleeping.

My heart is feeling unwell today. (lately).

That’s probably what happen if you try to cut yourself from your comfort zone of 5 years already >.< *geez that’s quite long, uh?* but that’s not the main point!!

 

 

So, lately I have this feeling again of everyone’s moving away so fast. People keep moving forward with their wonderful and full of accomplishment/achievements life (that they show in their social media, i do not know the real struggle, though).

Talking about social media, probably I am always honest at my social media. When I felt sad i will say that I’m sad. I am not really filtering my post so that my life will look perfect or fairy-tale-ish.

And the truth is now like this : people are super fast and shining and sparkling, while I am here with my baby steps and my matte color, lol.

But I guess it’s okay. It’s okay to always be the silent one. Silently works behind everything. Harmless and underdog. Has nothing to be brag about. Not a cool kid? That’s okay, as long as you’re still alive and moving forward, it’s completely okay.

 

 

The most important thing?

I have my goals (and reaching it with my baby steps, lol) and I have to make peace with myself. Probably I have my plus point as well compared to those shining creatures, lol.

But I guess I will just be myself and make peace with myself.

 

There are a lot of wonderful little things in front of me now.

Might not be as shining as what they have but at least I have secured myself a topic for my publication, and… I will talk about DNA to public in November.. and I will play piano in a concert in December, will dance and sing as well… and I will be in charge of my favorite class, International Communication Biology stuffs 🙂

 

Just record this quickly to uplift my mood.

 

 

With a load of love,

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

 

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missbunny’s cooking time 1 : Gyūdon 牛丼

Hello! ♡

Back with me! Right now actually I’m enjoying my (super late) summer holiday here in Indonesia. I guess it’s autumn already actually in Japan, but anyway, this summer holiday is just full of food~

I guess I will write some new restaurant review as well later on.

However, today I will share a recipe in this blog! Well not only the recipe! Actually I am making my first…. COOKING VIDEO! Yay!

 

 

*so, yes, I like cooking and it’s actually really fun to share how to cook delicious food in a simple way*

 

My first time is a very easy and simple Japanese food called… Gyūdon (牛丼), beef over rice bowl. This is a very famous Japanese food, if you are living in Indonesia maybe you can easily find this food in Yoshinoya. But since this food is simple but very fulfilling and delicious, why don’t we try to make it by myself? *wink

 

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SO LET’S GET STARTED!! (thanks Mom for lending the kitchen, lol)

 

This is the video…

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Sliced beef
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • Dashi (fish broth) : you can make it by boiling 120 mL of water with dashi no moto powder
  • Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • Green onion/leek (chopped)

 

METHODS

  • Brings dashi mixture to boil over medium heat and add Kikkoman and sugar
  • Soften the onion by putting it inside the dashi soup mixture, cover the lid while waiting to prevent evaporation of the soup
  • Once it’s soften, put sliced beef one by one
  • Make sure everything is evenly cooked
  • Serve over warm rice with chopped leek and warm miso soup!

 

Simple isn’t it? Anyway, I hope that I can be consistent in making this cooking video!

 

 

With loads of love ♡

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

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この4年間ありがとう

Hello all!

I haven’t written anything in this blog for a month, I guess. The summer holiday was quite busy (doing experiment and doing experiment alone). However today, our laboratory has just finished rearranging the student room for the upcoming new students.

I got a very cool new place where I managed to put all my dolls, photographs, files, datas, and a monitor to assist me doing the protein structure study.

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Now 8 PM, I am sitting here alone looking at this particular room with a lot of memories and I just want to share a little bit about my lab here 🙂

I just changed the attendance list on the door, and realizing that there will be 14 students now, it was 7, back then. So many memories, right?

 

Okay, my laboratory.

2012-2013 ようこそ

I’ve known this place from September 2012, yes, 5 years ago. At that time they just moved in to this place from the previous old building and I was an innocent (lol) exchange student knowing so little thing about Japan.

I was startled at first. I received an e-mail from Sensei saying that the topic of research will be green chemistry. At that point i did not even know what green chemistry is.

I came here and  the first experiment they made me do here is of course, organic chemistry, the thing i used to hate the most. But somehow I survive my exchange year and it became one of the happiest year in my life.

To be honest, I knew nothing about my research back then. I did random mutagenesis and if I saw my bachelor thesis again now I would laugh pretty hard to read my own methodology of library screening. But that year was very fruitful. Despite of knowing very little Japanese word, I managed to develop a deep friendship with everyone here.

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2014-2015 so this is graduate school

Coming back here to start my master program, i was super optimistic for a month, probably. And then my experiment started to fail and fail and fail for months. I was pretty shock, since I used to be the girl who can finish everything  related to academic perfectly. So i guess, welcome to graduate school and real research life! ^^

I was pretty clueless, still, about my research. But i had a very kind senior that taught me everything so meticulously. He was nice but sometimes very strict, but he was nice, the nicest :’)

I will always remember what he said when he finally left the laboratory. I will always remember that he was proud of me that I can finally do the experiment according to his teaching. Really, I would not know how to survive my initial months without him by my side :’) After he left, I started to obtain good datas and I started to love my research so much. I could attend a conference and even applying for grant.

I remember saying to myself, “Let’s get it rolling!!”

Friendship was marvelous at that time, the good old days, with a lot of party and games!

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2015-2016 Establishing myself

I was in full throttle. Not only I had more and more promising results, my Japanese language gets better, and I could start teaching my juniors, and even do administrative things inside the lab. I was like a flowering flower bud, i guess. I would do my research non -stop and feeling happy about it. I would be very active in lab discussion. Even more, I got the grant that i applied for. I was also sent to represent my laboratory in more conferences, even 2 international ones. That was my very first solo trip to Europe :’)

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But of course, along with the joy, there were some drawbacks.

At that time it was still bearable, I guess. Work place rivalry and misunderstanding that turned into working place b*l*y*ng? I guess that was the right word to sum it up for short. That was hard. I did not remember how many times I would also sit on the laboratory’s floor crying by myself. Or to think how worthless I am for not being able to publish paper, yet, despite the promising result that I got.

But then, my mood was lifted up again by more good results, or more trust from Sensei or being able to teach my junior more. At that time, probably i thought things will get better from now on, but…..

2016-2017 To the hell of Ph.D Program, and life.

Welcome to hell, i mean, Ph.D program. It started with a month of uncanny behavior of my bacterias and maybe a month of uncanny behavior of myself. My reasons to cry bounced from research to a guy to research to a guy, everyday. It was tiring because at the same time, i had to put a brave and proper face as a Ph.D students. I would stay until late to finish my thing and try to fix my bacteria, and I would pretend nothing happen in front of my juniors in the other day.

It was also difficult to divide thoughts. I would stay in the morning and afternoon not doing my things fully but also assisting many people. At night I will have time for myself. I started thinking that maybe I did everything wrong,  I focused too much on other people and the laboratory well-being. But I also did not want to be that kind of unapproachable and ignorant senpai (senior).

To make things worse, a mega problem and misunderstanding happened in the lab. It was tiring and scary and stuffs. But I guess all of us learned something from that 🙂 It did not end there, though. Another problem arose from this Spring, a problem that made me question myself, as a human being. A problem that taught me to be independent and be brave enough to forgive and let go of toxic people from my life 🙂

 

But now, here I am. through thick and thin, i am still here 🙂

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I am a second year doctoral student, quite happy and well. I haven’t published anything yet but I’m pursuing for it. I am aiming for two kind of papers with combination of enzymology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, crystallography, and structure analysis.

I love my research so much, I even talk with my enzyme when no one’s around and give them honorifics like alanine-chan or tryptophan-kun, lol. My love of teaching and research grew more and more. It is more like a calling to solve all of this enzyme mechanism mystery (lol).

Am I still childish? Yes I guess. But definitely I am more mature than my 2012-version of me. My lab has a lot of freedom as well, but I guess it shaped me. I had to push myself to be obedient, to do research passionately without anyone telling me or scolding me; to be punctual and responsible for your work, to teach well, to respect other people, to be tough and continue working despite of the acknowledgment, most importantly, to love yourself and your research :’)

 

 

And, yes, uhm. This lab and Matsuda Sensei, thank you very much 🙂

研究室、この4年間ありがとうございました。また大切な思い出を一緒に作りましょう。また2年間よろしくお願いします。

I hope I can make the remaining 2 years here more fruitful and I can contribute more for this lab :’)

 

With loads of love

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema (almost D2)

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LIFE UPDATE (it’s okay to be an underdog, really)

Hello everyone!

It really has been a long time since the last time I post something in this blog. Doctoral degree life, combined with many life twists and conflicts have made me really preoccupied in the past few months!

But now, everything is pretty much okay. I am writing after a long day from Tsukuba attending a crystallographic refinement lecture with my collaborator. Honestly, I am a bit tired because I have just arrived from Hungary.

So what’s actually happening in life recently?

  1. Most simple, age-wise… I have turned 26 several weeks ago 😀 meaning that probably i have passed my quarter-life crisis! LOL. With my new age, I must be more mature and be grateful in living my life!
  1. Academic-wise?

I think I am doing pretty much okay, i guess.

Doctoral degree life is quite tough and I am taking my own pace to do my research. But, I have just passed through my Doctoral Progress Presentation.

 

However, sad to say apart from my high frequency of attending conferences (the last one was Biotrans Budapest last week) I have not published any scientific journal, yet. But I guess it is okay. Although I cannot say that I know 100% of what I’m doing right now, but at least I am in the right direction.

Of course I am an underdog compared to other international students in my lab. One of them has published so many international journals and even book chapter. One of them is really brainy, has perfect English, about to publish his paper, and also one of the most sociable person in this campus. One of them is really brainy and can take this life so patiently. One of them is really good at Japanese, English, art, brainy, and has a really strong personality. Compare all of them with me? >.<

But I have some reasons to be not that upset to myself, probably need to list it down here :

  • My study is multi-disciplinary.

So actually I have a quite good skill-set from microbiology for bachelor (which makes me a little bit stronger in genetic and biology), organic chemistry (weak, though), biochemistry and enzymology (my love!), and right now I am studying crystallography as well. So it’s a complete package from up-stream (enzyme engineering, enzyme production, and enzyme characterization) to down-stream of both application (organic chemistry for enzymatic reaction) and the process of enzyme structure elucidation.

I know I have not published anything yet. But I genuinely think that I have learned so many things.

  • I am quite good at doing things considered unimportant by others

Things considered unimportant include managing the lab condition (read it as cleaning up the mess), organizing things, making English manuals for many things in the lab (how to buy things, how to use Japanese system, etc.), and making laboratory rules. Of course, some people judge me as being not effective and I should have used my time for myself but I believe this kind of skill is important for me since I want to be an academician.

I know I am not smart. but if i can help on something? Definitely i will help 🙂

 

  • I am given the chance to pursue one of my passion, teaching

Honestly I really love all my teaching assistant jobs and the time when new student get inside our laboratory. Because at that time I can teach them and I can prepare teaching material, which is something crucial if you want to pursue your career in academia.

  • I speak decent English and enough Japanese to live and discuss about research

Of course my English is not good compared to my other international lab members. But I am grateful enough that it is decent enough for daily conversation, writing blog, writing assignment, and writing conference abstract, hopefully it will be enough for writing a paper.

My Japanese? It is also not good but it is enough to live my daily life and even to discuss about research. With practice, I can even explain my research poster in Japanese and conduct an academic-related conversation.

  • Being an underdog actually push me to study and work more

Of course the feeling of being the worst in this laboratory drives me crazy, and makes me to be so hard on myself. But I do love my experiment and my topic (I have been with my enzyme from 2012, I am already falling in love with her). Cmiiw, it is better than not having the passion to do the experiment, or doing the experiment only for the fame or money.

  • I am actually mentally strong

I’ve been through quite a lot in the past year, yes, I have been bullied in many ways. From harsh type of bullying until the smooth gaslighting. From personal thing and decision that I made in life until the way I conduct my experiment (common type of work-place bullying).

Although again I have been judged for being too weak, too nice, ineffective, unstable and so on, what I do is just keep moving forward. I will just keep doing experiment and keep learning everyday. Although sometimes I do it with tears literally falling.

The most important thing is not stopping! And keep doing what you love ❤

Perseverance is the key.

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  1. To sum it all up, I am quite happy and I will fight for my life. I will just do what I love although I am not yet good at it J

Do small positive things in my life. Cooking, writing in this blog, playing music, and I’ve even started editing my first vlog, lol.

Be happy, love yourself, and remember to always be grateful. Always keep in mind that your family will always be there for you during difficult times (and in some special case a very few selected friends will be there as well). For me? I don’t mind having few friends since I know that I am very strange and not many people can accept me for who I am 🙂 Happy summer holiday everyone!

This summer holiday I will just do experiment and spring back and forth between Suzukakedai to Tsukuba to learn crystallographic refinement, very necessary for my first publication ^^

 

It’s okay to be an underdog, just be a beautiful one ❤

 

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And you can still be a hero 🙂

 

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With love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Little Fighter With a Big Dream

 

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Hello, back with me here.

So right now I am enjoying a “holiday” period at home. I was diagnosed with Influenza A on Monday and according to the school’s policy I should not go to school for 5 days. According to my academic supervisor i should not think about research this week, lol. So here I am, just lingering with all my thoughts, writing from my bed.

 

 

So, what’s happening lately other than Influenza?

Well, I think something quite やばい is happening to my life right now. Of course, my problem is really tiny compared to some real world problems (like war, world hunger, poverty, drought, or pandemic disease). However, I learned so much from all my experiences, that’s why I think it is good to share it here..

 

 

はい、始めましょう。

I hope no one will get offended with my post. Anyway, if anyone feels offended, please contact me immediately through personal chat, I will discard this post.

But I hope not. This is just a little writing to encourage all people with similar experience as me to move forward 🙂

 

 

I struggle with self-esteem and confidence issues a lot.

I was bullied several times (I will not tell any detail here). Based on my experiences, I exactly know how destructive words can be for someone’s mental health.

Not that I want to underestimate the physical form of bullying, of course it is such a detrimental thing as well, but believe me, words can stab you just like the sharpest knife that cut your throat. I was lucky all the time I always have adequate mental support from my family and religion. Although not much, I also have best friends.

But yes, it left me scar.

I am always overcautious when dealing with new people, I am always afraid that people might not like me for who I am. I never feel good enough, although my GPA was like the best in my batch or I had a very good music career at that time.

 

Moving to Japan. I see Japan as a beautiful country that respect many beautiful values For a split second, I think this is my opportunity to be completely free from my self-esteem issue because no one will ever disturb me. But I was wrong.

It’s not because of the country. Indonesia is also a very beautiful country that respect many dignified values. Bullying attitude is a personal problem from the bullier, you can meet bullier basically anywhere.

Even in Mars, if you can find any intelligent life forms there, lol.

 

 

To make one and a half year of story short, and to avoid going into any detail I will just say that, yes, I experience bullying here.

It’s severe because here I only have my research. I don’t have my music career as my backup because I only play music here for a hobby. I do not have my family here 24/7, of course I have my best friends here 24/7, but sometimes nothing can beat your Mom’s hug, right? I have so many responsibilities in my hand as one of the most senior student in my lab. Most importantly, I haven’t published any international scientific journal yet. And it’s killing me, man~

I learned through some psychological article and discussion with my sisters, that all these times I’ve been a victim of gaslighting. And that’s really true! At times, I really doubt my own sanity, whether or not the mean conversations, the bad words, the hurting words, ever happened in the first place.

 

Yes, maybe I am weak, but at least I am brave enough to say that I crumbled and seek for help! If you’re bullied, it’s okay, even your courage to admit that you are being bullied and hurt is already one step forward!!!

Next step? Seek for help! Don’t be afraid, there must be someone that still wants to listen to you out there! Go to your teacher, go to your counseling department at your school, go everywhere, as long as you can still talk and still continue going to school! :’)

 

 

All praise to Allah. I still have a great support system from my family, Sensei, and best friends. All praise to Allah I still can think clearly and finally being able to speak out and fight back all the injustice even a little. All praise to Allah even know I have influenza so I can rest peacefully and think even clearer ..

 

 

To end this post I just want to say that every people in this world is a fighter. You might not see how people struggle in their life. But I believe, to reach their success, everyone will have their own way, their own time, and ways. Maybe, you might not be able to see how people evolve because you think they are too slow according to your pace. Maybe you might think that you are just so much better than someone else. But please, respect other people’s struggle.

You might not know what they have sacrificed to be here right now.

Just as much as you think you have fought, everyone also fight hard for their life 🙂

 

 

To all my little fighter buddies, I cannot say how much I owe you for all of your kindness, mental support and encouragement.

I pray to God, not only for our success in the future but also for our golden heart to remain unchanged for worldly success. I pray for a kind heart willing to help others and speak the truth gently.

 

 

To be a little fighter with a big dream that will achieve big but never belittle others.

 

 

With loads of love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema