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2019 Kaleidoscope and Highlights

2019 Kaleidoscope and Highlights

It feels like yesterday I just wrote the 2018 Kaleidoscope, and yet, here we go again. It’s time to look back to everything that happened in 2019, the ups and downs, the tears, the laughs, and everything in-between.

2019 was a year of self-development and I mostly spent it chasing scholarships for my Master Degree. At least, that’s how I’m gonna remember it anyway. But that’s not all. Of course, there were many roads traveled, many books read, many lessons learnt along the way. So without further ado, welcome to my year of 2019:

  1. Got featured in Traveloka advertisement videoMarch 2019
    I am a huge fan of Traveloka. I truly believe in its products, business model, and also because it keeps innovating by garnering insights from the users. Hence, it was a pleasant surprise when my story actually got selected to be featured in their advertisement campaign: untold stories behind the camera.

    I don’t know how it started. I just got an email and phone call asking me if I ever have interesting stories of using Traveloka. Then I told them that I’ve been using the price alerts feature to determine my annual vacation destination. Fast forward, the ad is now published in cinema, billboard, to Youtube ads. HAHA! Crazy way to start the year, indeed.
Traveloka Ad
Traveloka Ad

2. UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour presented by Heineken – March 2019
Remember last year I was given the chance to represent Liverpool? Well, as it turned out, in 2019 within the same dates like last year, I also handled the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour by Heineken. We got into three cities: Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali, for the whole week, and it was SO AMAZING!!

Carles Puyol and Del Piero visited Indonesia for the tour. I was so mesmerized by the enthusiasm, the passion and the soul of football fans who came a long way for their idols. Granted, it was also an enriching experience for me because FH had to coordinate with everyone. We had to invite the football fans clubs, coordinate with the legends & MC, invite local media. Everything! At the end of the tour, though, it felt truly worth it! Psst.. It’s also the biggest event coverage I’ve ever had during my career 🙂

3. Applied to 5 ScholarshipsJan to Apr 2019
Since 2018, I have actually marked all scholarship that I targeted for my Master Degree. Therefore, the period of Nov 2018 to Apr 2019 was actually the busiest and the most hectic time for preparation and application submission. There were A LOT of documents required just to make it to the initial screening. I made a to-do-list to make sure I could comply in timely manner.

The scholarships that I applied to were: 1) Chevening Scholarship, 2) Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals (SISGP), 3) New Zealand Scholarship, 4) LPDP, and 5) VLIR-ICP Master’s Scholarships at KU Leuven. Long story short, I would be getting Chevening, New Zealand Scholarship, and being waitlisted for VLIR-ICP. But, regretfully, I didn’t get the LPDP and SISGP scholarship.

In the process of applying for scholarships, I came to realize that the scheme of most scholarships favor applicants who are able to talk and write English properly. Because most of the time, your CV and experiences can be excellent. However, if you do not know how to convey your messages, how to make your interviewers interested, how to convince them that you’re the best; then it won’t matter much. The interview stage is often the determinant phase on whether or not you’re gonna make it.

To do list and some motivating quotes to get through the day

4. Got accepted into Chevening Scholarship, yet turned it down – June 2019
Oh my God. I can’t believe it. My whole life I have been dreaming to study in the United Kingdom. The flag has been hanging in my room since 2012. It was a dream come true when I got accepted into the Chevening Scholarship for a Master Degree in Public Policy.

Letter from Chevening Secretariat

But, you have to know, at that time, I was really really keen to study Sustainable Tourism. I felt like it was my calling, rather than Public Policy. And I knew, if I didn’t give it a shot, I would be wondering for the rest of my future. Yes, I got into debate with everyone, my boss, my friends, they all thought I’m crazy to turn down such an opportunity. But being an asshole that I am, I thought that LPDP is worth-to-try.

So I let go. I turn down the scholarship and tried LPDP instead for a Master in Sustainable Tourism Management in the UK. This girl was cocky and she didn’t know what’s coming.

5. Promoted to Account Manager – July 2019
There are two consecutive amazing moments in July 2019. First, Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League Trophy. YES, the one that I became the PR for earlier on March. Immediately after that, I got promoted into an Account Manager in FleishmanHillard Indonesia. It was such a blast!!

I remember wearing a celebratory T-shirt of Liverpool’s title, when the whole office sprayed me with foam to mark the promotion. Hahaha!

6. Got rejected from LPDP – August 2019
It hurt so much when I didn’t make it to LPDP scholarship because I got 740 score, yet the passing grade is 750. I cried for days, this time because I really prepared myself and gave my best. I’m really passionate about the issue of sustainable tourism. I thought it’s an underrated issue in the country and I wanna do something about it in the future.

I beat myself up a lot this month. I kept repeating the LPDP interview in my mind and thought about what I should’ve answered differently. But, after a week, I decided to re-route my life plan and accept that it’s not going as ideal as I plan to be. At the very least, I can always try again next year.

7. Officially became a stock investor – August 2019
On another note, I officially opened an account and got into stock trading in August 2019. It was exciting! I pay more attention to stock performances of many Indonesian companies. Although, to be honest, I only dare to invest in one company stock. Hahahaha. Fingers crossed, it’s gonna pay off in many years to come!

8. Going to Kuala Lumpur – August 2019
Lost and heartbroken because of the LPDP’s rejection, I took off and spent a weekend in Kuala Lumpur. I just wanna escape for a while and forget about everything. I just wanna see things in the bigger picture.

I can’t say it was perfect. During my time there, I got a pretty severe flu, so I couldn’t really enjoy the vacation. I had runny nose non-stop. But I still managed to sight-see some tourist attractions there. Not ideal, but it could divert my mind from my failure, after all.

9. Thinking about moving to another company – Aug 2019
As if the universe saw my pain, I received some offers to move jobs to another company. I was seriously considering to move, especially because it would have allowed me to work in-house (in a company, instead of an agency). One of the companies actually was one of the largest (and my personal favorite) global travel app. But, I remembered a saying, “Don’t make important decision when you’re angry, sad, or upset.”

So I took a step back and rethink.

10. Accepted to New Zealand Scholarship – Aug 2019
Oh well, August has been the peak and the rock bottom, huh? So many things happened in August 2019. But finally, a good news. I got accepted for the New Zealand Scholarship!! Yeeeyyy!

The more I think about it, the more I feel like it’s meant to be. I was meant to be rejected, I was meant to decline the Chevening. All because I would be studying in New Zealand instead. It makes sense, because the study period is longer, NZ happens to be my bucket list, and it’s winter all year long there!

I am suppa-excited! Wait, scratch that, I am exhilarated to begin my study in the heavenly land on earth. Led by Jacinda Adern, the woman that I adore so much, in a society that is so open, tolerant, friendly. I couldn’t be more grateful. Of course, I would be studying Public Policy instead of Tourism. But I pledge to myself that I will love it as much and will do good about it.

Letter of Offer from New Zealand Scholarship
Letter of Offer from New Zealand Scholarship

11. Went to Hangzhou for Alibaba trip – Sept & Nov 2019
On Sept 2019, I had the chance to accompany several media for a trip to Alibaba’s headquarter office at Hangzhou, China. T’was my first time stepping into the Land of the Dragon and I had the best time! I got to meet with a lot of fun and inspiring journalists & KOLs. Moment like this is the reason why I love my job so much. It enables me to meet with a lot of different new people every single day.

On another note, it was also a huge blast to finally visit my client’s headquarter office – to see the mighty Alibaba at its hometown. I admired their working culture so much. Jack Ma is clearly visionary and I do believe that Alibaba is just getting started. It would take over the world, bit by bit.

12. Going back to Bangkok – Nov 2019
My visit to Bangkok was extraordinary, but kind of boring. Maybe because I’m not a fan of seafood, so not a lot of Thai food I could try. I like the street food, definitely. But I think it has become quite similar with Jakarta, with a lot of shopping centers, pretty coffee shops, etc. My only regret was because I didn’t go to Open House at Central Embassy. It was this beautiful huge bookstore that I’ve been eyeing to get to.

Oh well.., now I got a reason to go back another time.

Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand
Wat Arun is such a beauty

12. Outing to Bandung – Nov 2019
After several postponement, my office did an annual outing to Bandung. It was nice and all, but the greatest thing about the outing is the villa that we stayed on. It’s called Cempaka Dago Villa, with 6 bedrooms, a private pool, and a killer view of Bandung! Couldn’t paint the beauty with words, so just take a look at these pictures.

13. Year-end Party – Dec 2019
To end it in a high note, as usual we also got a year-end party in our office. My colleagues and I spent several late nights to decorate our office, brainstorm some crazy games ideas, etc. It’s true what people say: sometimes it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters. Our preparation was a lot of fun, it always reminds me why I love being the organizing committee.

That being said, it was my last year-end party with the FleishmanHillard folks. I even wrote some reflections after the party. You can read it here.

Aaaannd… that’s a wrap, ladies and gentlemen! What a year, huh?

Listen, with all these kaleidoscope and highlights, I am still a human being after all. I know I only listed a majority of great things that happened in my life, but do note that I felt crappy so many times, too. Sometimes I cry, I get nightmares, I hate the way I look in the mirror, I envy other people, I compare myself with people in social media. Sometimes life beat me down with rejections, disappointments, and pain.

But… I would do it all over again 🙂

Cheers for 2020!!

Jakarta, 13 January 2019

Falencia Naoenz
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