Saturday, April 25, 2009


i am spellbound by the sunny spring, as if my soul yearns to be free like birds on the wing. there are so much perfect offerings that come to me from morning to evening. yet i must contend with saying no and no again, although deep within my curiousity remains tangling.

i must refuse, because this is but one of the few weeks in my life, when i measure things in terms of how many pages i typed and revised. not kilometers passed, not tunes of songs played, not movies or sports and games watched, not letters and calls received, not photographs of faces made, not sterlings euros or dollars earned. no, no, no.

ahead of me is the month of may. and a new set of weeks of trinity, the last lap towards the end of the race. with exams and deadlines await me at the gate. and then, may i return peacefully to where i came from after the dining tools are cleaned and shelved.

but until then, there is sill a month of may ahead. and one silent but memorable thing a taurean will annually celebrate.

Friday, April 17, 2009

meet the goblins

wednesday is market day in oxford. thursday too, but the items they sell are different in each day. thursday is mainly for second hand stuffs. old books, porcelains, decorations, cds, musical instruments, et cetera. wednesday is the day for fresh vegetable, poultry, meat and cheese. and fruits too. everything is sweet and colourful. and costs less than in the supermarket.

yesterday morning i went to this wednesday market near gloucester green bus station. in my mind was of oranges apples or vegetables to buy. and then, if i found something nice, i might take it with me for my lunch or quick snack. so i came there. i observed the sellers first, with a pocket camera in my hand. and listened to their calls. "come buy! come buy! a pound one bag for these grapes! two bags for the strawberries!"

and after two or three captured photos, somehow my intention was attracted to something else. not those fruit or the vegetables. it was someone's literary work. rossetti's "goblin market". i found it among the the piles of antique merchandise.

"thank you very much darling, it's one pound, love," said the seller. and i took the book home with me. an old fashioned compilation of rosetti's works. i have never heard of christina rossetti before. it was my introduction day. but i was immediately touched by this 'first hello', because later when i read it, i think the narrative of the goblin men, the sellers in the fairytale-like setting, and everything and everything, all fit to the scenery of tim burton's animations and danny elfman's scores and songs! if you wish you can read it too, here, although i thnk it is nicer to read from the book because you can do it on your bed just when you're about to go to sleep.

"... apples and quinces, lemons and oranges, plump unpecked cherries; melons and raspberries; bloom-down-cheeked peaches, swart-headed mulberries; wild free-born cranberries; crab-apples, dewberries; pine-apples, blackberries; apricots, strawberries--all ripe together... come buy, come buy!"

"...we must not look at goblin men, we must not buy their fruits: who knows upon what soil they fed their hungry thirsty roots?"

"come buy," call the goblins hobbling down the glen...

and in my dream last night, indeed i was visiting the goblin market and met those merchant men.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

collegium sanctae crucius oxoniae

when i try to think through about my laptop that doesn't work, i started to figure out that it is perhaps not entirely a bad thing that the graphic card is not functioning.

perhaps i need some rest from it, and it from me too.

like love, it sometimes needs holiday, doesn't it?

after a few days without a working laptop in my room, the rhythm of my life began to change. i feel it now, today. when i walked from my house to this place, a small loft in my college, saint cross, an attic library room with two racks of books and four computers to use. i go out of my room more often. and i meet people more here in this little space, although mostly it is nick a friend from germany, or nicola from korea.

there is no music in my room. no radio, no television. so it is more tranquil now. and i can distance myself from news and from the internet when it is not essential. i just use my room to rest and relax. i can see better of what i really need, what is necessary and what is supplementary. no work until midnight anymore because i use my time differently. only when i really want, i can come downstairs and use the piano in the college's saugman's common room. playing the same chords that i know by heart. or just improvise and pretend that i'm billy joel - when no one is watching, of course.

i also wonder how many extra hours that i have now just from doing something else than randomly clicking here and there. i make use more of my lunch box, because when i work here, i am far from my kitchen. so to safe time and some pounds, i cook more, vegetarian food - strangely, take some with me in the box, and make more coffee or tea and put it in my flusk, and read more here in silence, and all is happening, i think, after my laptop needs some rest.

and today i made phone calls to my friends. one is treated because of his illness, and one is going to get married soon. so happy to hear from them. only about ten minutes each, but it was such a different thing to hear their voices again. not only texts. well, this paraghaph, like the title of this posting, has nothing to do with my laptop story really - i just feel like writing it here...

now, back about my laptop, i really don't know whether or not i should replace or fix it soon.

hmm, above all of those things i mentioned, there is also one story that i can not forget. it was an experience from one of my bus trips in the continental europe two weeks ago. i sat next to this man, a student like me who lost his laptop, money, and all essential documents during his travel. and from his talk on the phone, explaining to his relatives of how difficult it was for him to loose everything important, i know i can not say that my situation here is the end of everything.

i still have my time, and a space to learn from the things i experience and those around me. i will try to think again when something undesireable happened, maybe there's somewhere that it wants to lead me to. so when things go bad, i should not immediately get worried. i will try to stay calm, and carry on.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

a walk in the spring

a geography

birds of the air know
the man with a house everywhere
has no home anywhere.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

fourty five parallel

ah, it's home, home again.

the room is not tidy, but it's my own room now, not a hotel room or someone else's room. it's warm in a special way even when the heater is off. and even if all you have is a bag full of dirty laundries and a fridge without food left. you are back, so it's okay.

well, this is my first full day here. i came back from the eurpean continent yesterday morning. i took a bus from the lowland through belgium and france and a ferry that departed from calais port at two in the morning. cold and rainy it was. plus one hour across the strait, and landed again in dover harbour...

and then victoria station bid me a sleepy welcome as i made it to london at five thirty in the morning. the streets were yet empty. but the coffee shop was fortunately open.

it was a mixed emotion that i felt when i see england again. already i missed the people i met in the continent. something in me feels that the entire trip seems surreal, if you know what i mean. the towns i visited, the transportation methods i chose, the timing of my travel, the fantastic people i met, the activities i did, the stories shared between us... it was all just right.

and today, i feel restored. i am ready to resume my dissertation work although my laptop still has not worked yet. it has been angry at me since we were in paris... makes me "oi oi oi".

well, at least now i am back in the fourty five parallel. oxford.

"welcome back vahd," said john;

"vahd, i used your rice cooker when you were away, it's a good machine," confessed smitha;

"about your laptop problem, don't worry, i can transfer your files from the hard disc to your external one for free," daqi assured me;

"oh, it's very nice to see you again vahd... by the way do you know, i have to see a dentist today," said sandra...

ho ho ho... wonderful friends they are.

after a day of resting, now i think it's time to read, think, and write again, and continue my days as a student.

but before anything else, i sincerely want to thank all my friends and relatives who have been very kind and hospitable during my journey. you made it such a meaningful and unforgetable trip to me... so thank you, thank you very much indeed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


a day spent on a bike. with a borrowed bicycle i came to the coast of a place called 'monster' in the netherlands. from there you could see the sea that separated me from england. it was a terribly windy and cloudy day. with musa and the other bikers from indonesia i left delft at ten and back here at five. i rest in musa's space box immediately as the room was cosy and my legs were exhausted.

hmm... there, and back again. this is my third episode of visiting delft, a dutch town known for its blue ceramics and delicious cheese. my third episode of connecting the dots. the lines on the map are getting thicker. each visit has its own purpose and results. not all of these are known to me, at least in the beginning.

oi oi oi...

Thursday, April 02, 2009


as a small city in north westphalia, germany, lemgo is a quiet place. i arrived here yesterday to meet and stay at my brother will's place. luckily the sun is on our side. although it winds sometimes and temperature drops during the nights, i still feel comfortably fine here.

the journey to get here was exceptionally difficult, i must admit. i took a night bus that departed ten minutes too early, but arrive one our too early too. leaving me alone in a small german town at three in the morning with no shelter. i was feeling terrible cold and lost. i speak no german. even if i did, there was no one to spoke to anyway in that small station near bielefeld.

i struggled with cold, listening to my mp3 and learned how to get the earliest train to a bigger town. after two hours of waiting in minus eight celcius, i made it to bielefeld. at six in the morning...

but now i am restored. although i feel that my mind and my heart are still in the open fields of the farmlands i visited four days ago in antwerp. my curiousity still dwell in the classroom of the second level elementary school i visited last monday.

today i will leave lemgo. detmold is the next stop, before my long journey continue to the lowlands...