[Book Review] Two Sisters As ONE

Growing up, sibling often have love-hate relationship. You know you’ll always love them no matter what, but sometimes you hate them and can’t stand being around them. Things are a little different with Grace and Tippi. They have to be together at all times, even when they want to be alone from each other. Because Grace and Tippi are two different person, but they share one body.

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Grace and Tippi. Tippi and Grace. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two dreams. Two lives. But one body.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy.

But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

How long can they hide from the truth—how long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives?

The book itself…

This book is about two girls, sisters, Grace and Tippi. They are just two ordinary teenagers, or at least that’s what they wished for. Because they live in an extraordinary circumstances.

Joined at the waist, Grace and Tippi had to deal with being different all their lives. When others go to school everyday, they study at home. When others can run freely here and there, they had to walk slowly and even had to use crutches.

But the hardest part of being different came when they are forced to enter the world, a place full of ‘normal’ people. That place is called a private school. They had to live in the middle of watchful, curious glare of other teenagers. They’re lucky enough to find a friend in Yasmeen and Jon who treated them like they’re ordinary.

Then a huge storm of life hit them hard. Grace and Tippi had to face the reality that they thought they’ve escaped from at birth. With the family’s financial condition deteriorating and the strained relationship between their parents on top of everything, how will they cope with everything? What will happened to them?

What I think of it…

I read this book months ago. At first I was intrigued by the writing style. Sarah Crossan wrote it as a poem. Each and every chapter was told in short sentences, short paragraphs, but surprisingly spot on.

As I read further into the story, I realized that One is a deeper story than I thought it was. There are plenty heartfelt lines that really touched me. Grace and Tippi love each other fiercely. The fact that they are conjoined twins make their bond even stronger.

I like the detail about conjoined twins and the circumstances they have to face, both socially and medically. The writer really put a lot of effort into researching about conjoined twins.

If you are a girl, a woman, and you have a sister, you need to read this. In my opinion, this book showed us a thing or two about relationship between sisters. How sometimes you hate them, but you’ll never stop loving them.

At the last few pages, I literally cried! That’s how amazing this book is. Because I never cried reading a book before. This book makes me ride the emotional roller coaster. Grabbed me by the collar and threw me to the middle of the story. It’s as if I was a witness of Grace and Tippi’s lives, standing right there in every page.

I give this book five stars! Yes, five stars. I highly recommend it. Read it for yourself and ride your own emotional roller coaster.

[Football Talk] 2014 FA Cup: Finally!

Finally! That must’ve been what was on every Gooners mind on Saturday (or early Sunday if you’re in my timezone.) After nine painfull trophyless years, Arsenal won their 11th FA Cup title.

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I was restless during the few days before the final. I have lots of faith on the team, but, with our track records in the past few years, I knew that it won’t be easy. And that was what happened. During the first 13 minutes of the game, when we were 2-0 down, my heart sunk. I started to imagine the worst case scenario. Arsenal seemed to always get caught in a tangled web of misfortune on important games.
A tiny bit of hope emerged after Santi Cazorla’s amazing free kick. But it stil wasn’t enough to calm my nerves. The lads were amazingly patient in building their attacks. But Hull City was also smart enough to know how to block them.
When Laurent Koscielny somehow managed to turn around and get the ball in around the 70th minutes mark, the hope grew. “We can make it,” I said to myself.
Yaya Sanogo made me nervous again. My personal opinion of him is that he needs more experience. He  To me, he looked a bit awkward on the pitch and couldn’t really control the ball (It’s only my personal opinion.) Until Aaron came along with that beautiful winning goal. I felt assured that we could do it, although I knew that the danger isn’t over yet. That moment when Per fell and Fabianski moved forward? It almost got my heart leaped out of my throat!
When the final whistle was heard, I’m sure all Gooners felt the same, a wave of relieve and happiness washed over me. I was almost brought to tears to see the Boss smilling. It’s been a while since the last time he smiles so brightly.

To me, this victory is the beginning of something bigger, the beginning of a comeback. It made me believe even more that Arsenal still got what it takes to be a big team that competes for big titles. It put an end to our nine years of agony. Plus it’s an amazing birthday present 😀

Will it put to rest all of that bad and hideous headlines that the press often targeted Arsenal with? Maybe, but maybe not. The boss said that with this victory, we forced them to be more creative and that he’s sure they will be. Nicely said, Boss!
Well, I hope that this FA Cup title will mark the comeback of a stronger and better Arsenal. May this be only the beginning.
Cheers to all Gooners!

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Arsenal: This Season So Far

Let’s talk about football!

It’s been quite a while since the last time I talk about football. Half of the season already gone, and Arsenal is… to me they’re still quite frustrating. It’s love and hate about their performances so far this season.

First, let’s talk about Arsenal’s newest ammo additions: Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud. I think they are the dynamic or fantastic trio. So far they have been the soul of Arsenal in every performance.

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The Dynamic Trio: Giroud – Podolski – Cazorla
Picture copied from Lukas Podolski Facebook Page

Lukas Podolski is a strong player who is highly skillful both in offense and defense. If I’m not mistaken, he has saved two goal scoring opportunities when Szczesny’s already in a helpless position. Remember the last match against Liverpool at the Emirates? Arsenal could’ve lost big time! He’s also a strong player with deadly strikes. Several of his goals this season came from powerful strikes and free kicks.

Olivier Giroud… What can I say about him? He’s a late bloomer, I guess. He started the season not so good, but he’s been awesome this past few weeks. 5 goals in 3 games isn’t something you can ignore about him. Indeed, he’s good in winning balls in the air. Most of his goals came from a header. But sometimes he’s a bit passive. In several games, I think he’s not active enough in creating chances or breaking through the opponents defense. He just wait upfront for someone to pass him the ball. When he did play a more active roll, man, he is a serious threat. I guess he still needs to be a little bit more consistent in his performance. So far so good, though.

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Olivier Giroud’s Deadly Header
Picture copied from Arsenal Official Facebook Page

Now, talking about Santi Cazorla. As what I’ve heard from one of the commentators tonight, he’s been magical. I totally agree with that. Ever since day one, on his debut against Southampton at the opening game, he has shown everyone that he’s a fantastic player. He has the ability to create chances, to provide great passing and strike some beautiful goals. Although he hasn’t score that much this season, but to me he’s the only player who never lets me down. He’s a keeper! (I don’t mean goal keeper, obviously)

Oh, there’s one new addition in the left back, Nacho Monreal. At his debut tonight he’s pretty good, I would say. But need more time to see the best or worst in him. On season’s end, maybe?

Next, let’s talk about the table so far. We’re in 6, which is not so good, although the point difference between the 3rd to the 7th isn’t that much. Being in 6 is enough to make all Gooners restless. “Can we make it to the Champions League next season?” is in every Gooners’ mind right now. Nerve wrecking, totally nerve wrecking. Seeing how inconsistent Arsenal has been this season (every season, actually) is pretty much planting a bit of fear in my heart. Last season, Arsenal played well in every first half but crumbles in the 2nd half. This season, they’re so frustrating in the first half, but glorious and amazing in the 2nd half. The problem is, giving awesome 2nd half performance is not enough to secure 3 points, not always enough. In every game, I’m like holding on to dear life. When Arsenal score, I desperately hoping they won’t conceive any. When the opponent scores, I desperately hoping for Arsenal to bounce back. When the game ended up with a draw, I feel disappointed that Arsenal could’ve done better.

There were times when I feel a bit of… I don’t know… maybe anger towards the boss. At times I feel he could’ve chosen other players to start or could’ve substitute someone with another but he didn’t. That’s frustrating too. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I feel. However, I do still believe that he’s an amazing manager and wouldn’t trade him with anyone in the world… just yet.

Ah, it’s never easy to be a Gooner.

What about some new bright star this season?

I would say that the first one is Kieran Gibb. He’s young, he’s talented, got pace, good defending skill etc..etc.. He totally deserves his spot in the main team. And then, of course there’s the return of Jack Wilshere. Dear Jackie has been awesome ever since his comeback a couple of months ago. He can opened up the opponent’s tight defensive play and create lots of chances. He’s always so active and aggressive and livens up the game.

Theo..Theo..Theo Walcott. He has gone from good to great to amazing! It’s not been a pleasant several months with his contract extension postponement and stuff, because Gooners are of course traumatized from loosing important star players 2 seasons in a row. But during those suffocating times, he has given Arsenal the prove that he can be a player worth keeping and worth a raise for. 100,000 a week is the highest paycheck ever to be given to an Arsenal player. Theo wants it, Theo gets it. But everyone’s happy, that’s for sure.

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Theo Walcott – TH14
Picture copied from Arsenal Official Facebook Page

One player who I think deserves more chance is Carl Jenkinson. When Baccary Sagna was absent because of his injury last season, Carl has been an amazing replacement. He’s strong and work hard in the defense area. Too bad that the boss been constantly putting him on the bench this season. I’ve only seen him once at the FA Cup match against Brighton Hove Albion a couple of weeks ago. Would really love to see more of Carl.

Then, there’s a couple of players who’s not really a comfortable sight to see, in terms of their performance.

There’s Sagna. Yes, Sagna. He’s a superb player when he moves forward and giving passes and crosses to Theo and Santi, but back in the defense area he’s just not as superb. It’s my personal opinion, though.

And then, there’s someone Gooners been ranting about. Yes, it’s Santos. I have no idea what happened to him in recent games. Is it because of his last injury? Or is it because he hasn’t played much since his comeback from injury? Sorry to say, I think he has gone from average to worst. He did things he wasn’t supposed to do, but didn’t do things he really should do, I’ll just put it that way. He’s received plenty of harsh criticism from Gooners in his instagram account, which I happened to follow, especially due to his frequent post of food pictures and self pictures in restaurants. Hm… I have no say about that. I still believe that he could be a much better player, but only time will tell.

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Picture copied from Andre Santos Instagram account

The last thing I want to talk about is Arsenal after RvP era.

Why would I wanna talk about that? Well, just to make a point of something. In terms of Arsenal’s position in the table, yes, it’s no better than last season. But in terms of goal, we’re doing a lot better, I’d have to say. People said that Arsenal will lose their goal machine after last season’s top scorer left for Manchester. They were questioning the goal scoring ability of the Gunners post RvP. People, you are wrong… dang wrong. This season, there are several games where Arsenal win big. The 5-3 against Newcastle Utd, 7-5 against Reading, 5-1 against West Ham Utd (was it? I think so) has proven that Arsenal is actually doing so much better in terms of goal scoring productivity. And in addition to that, the goals Arsenal have scored didn’t only come from one name. Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla, Gibb, Wilshere, Walcott all have their name on the score board. That’s a relieve to me. Arsenal have overcome RvP’s departure with grace so far.

It will be one heck of a season if Arsenal manages to finish in top 3 just like last season. With a tight race to the very last second of the season, Arsenal had pull through in 2012. Can they do it again this season? Creating miracles for us, Gooners? Hell yeah, I sure hope so! Cos it would be a great feeling when I meet them in July at their Summer Tour to Indonesia (fingers crossed, I hope I can really go and meet them!) XD

Me as a Freelance Book Translator: 7 Days a Week with Plenty of Overtime

While researching for something, I found this blog about freelance book translating. The author writes about what the job is really like, the do’s and don’t of translating, the risk of being a translator and many more. Suddenly, I feel that the author is actually writing about my life. Especially when she wrote “masih mikir kalo penerjemah freelance itu pekerjaan leyeh-leyeh?” (do you still think that freelance translating is an easy job?)

I’ve been a freelance book translator for almost two years now, and I’ve translated 8 books so far (not a lot of books, not yet, hopefully). In these past two years, I’ve had people telling me how lucky I am to be able to work from the comfort of my own home. They said that I have loads of free times to do stuff, unlike people who are trapped in their office all day. They also said that I’m lucky to be able to take it easy when I’m doing my job, and don’t have to deal with demanding superior or work partner from hell. I just smile in response to all that and said to myself, “boy, they have absolutely no idea what it’s like.”

I think the misconception of a freelance book translator’s job happens due to the idea of working at home. Not having to rush in the wee hours to the office, not having fixed working hours, all that seemed to put a thought in their mind that it’s a light job that I can do whenever and however I like it. And it’s a book that I’m working on, how can it be much harder than simply reading one?

Putting things straight, translating a book is way harder than that.

Yes, I am working in my own home office, away from the hustle of office workers. It’s nice and comfortable, that’s a definite plus.

Yes, I don’t have a fixed working hours. I can start as early or as late as my heart desired and I can take as many short breaks as I have to.

Yes, books (novels, in my case) is what I work on. Interesting storyline, great author (I’ve translated two Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books so far, and both are amazing!) and being able to read the book before it’s published are a few perks of being a translator.

But, there’s more than meets the eyes.

Working at home is nice and comfortable, I admit that. But nice and comfortable isn’t so cool when you’re trying to do some serious work. My home office is in front of the computer in my bedroom. When I’m sleepy, the bed is highly tempting. When I’m hungry, the heavenly aroma of my mother’s cooking from downstairs is totally distracting. The freedom of using my mobile phone and chat with my friends or checking my Facebook, Twitter, blogs can be too much to resist.

The fact that I have no fixed working hours isn’t such a joy either. I have deadlines, and the deadlines can be so suffocating. I once have to translate a 300 pages novel in just one month. I have to work way into the night, up to 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning, almost everyday. In order to meet the deadline, I even work on weekends, whilst office workers have their day off. If I want a day off, even for just one day, I have to adjust my working schedule or make up for it by working twice as hard the next day so that I can finish the book in time.

Yeah, sometimes I need a long break that I ended up taking a full day off and go out with my friends. But the deadline’s date is in the back of my head every second of the day so that once I start working again I pushed myself even harder. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to hold off work and later try to finish it like crazy when the deadline approaches. No, I always try to finish translating 2 to 3 days before deadline so that I have time to proofread all of my hard work. I always submit my work in time. I need to maintain that or I won’t get any more jobs from my publisher.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t write this to complain.

I love love LOVE my job. Why? I love reading novels. I read my first novel way back in junior high. It was an Agatha Christy mystery. I enjoy reading it so much that I’ve dive in to reading ever since. Working as a translator allows me to read and work at the same time. Fortunately, so far, the books I’ve translated are interesting books, mainly detective and mysteries which are my favorite genre. I enjoy translating so much that sometimes I got too caught up with work until way after midnight without even realizing. Whenever I got to interesting chapters, I feel so bad having to turn off  the computer and call it a day. When I get up in the morning, I can’t wait to go back to work and find out what happens next in the book.

It’s so cliche, people often said that when you love your job nothing is too hard or nothing is too much. I sincerely believe that’s how it is. I don’t mind working 7 days a week and having overtime almost everyday, as long as I can finish translating my book and happy with the result.

Being a freelance book translator isn’t easy, but it’s the most enjoyable and fun job I’ve had so far. I love it and I want to keep doing it! 😉

Vaarwel, Captain!

Once again, Gooners all over the world must face a bitter news. After our failure in earning trophies again, for seven consecutive seasons, last season, Gooner must now accept the fact that they might, or rather will, loose their captain.

Yes, a couple of hours ago, Robin van Persie ended speculations about his existence in Arsenal by announcing in his website (www.robinvanpersie.com) that he will not extend his contract with the club. Shocking? not really. It goes to show that what I have mentioned in my previous post about him is true, that aside from his loyalty with the club, he will sure want to know how it feels like to be on the other side, winning titles and lifting trophies.

“I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.”

Robin will throw away his Arsenal shirt for good

As a Gooner, of course, I am disappointed with his decision. But who am I to complain? If I put myself in his shoes, I’m sure that I would have the same feeling. However, I can’t help but feel that he has let me down, let the fan down, with his decision. We’ve got high hopes with him as the captain, but he chose to backed out instead.

One thing, though, that made me feel an equal disappointment towards the club is Robin’s statement below:

“As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all… but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.”

Yes, I am nothing but an everyday football supporter, but that statement has somehow bothered me. If it’s not about money nor contract agreement, then what in the world could not be agreed about? Was the club’s strategy and policy that bad that has taken the Captain to make such decision? Meanwhile, just yesterday, I read the boss’ (Arsene Wenger) statement that the club will do everything to keep him and that the club would want him to end his career at Arsenal. Curious….

Although Robin did wrote that in two weeks time he will have another meeting with the club, but I’m afraid that there’s a really, really slim chance of him changing his mind. I love and respect such talented and amazing player, therefore I want the best for him. If it’s best for him to leave the club, then, although with tears pouring down and heart crushing beyond belief, I wish you good luck.

Read Robin’s complete statement here.

Freelance Job Makes Me a Social Retard?

QUESTION!
Does a freelance job turns people into a social retard[*]?
Seriously….

Why am I asking you this? Because there have been several people this past few months who told me to get a ‘real’ job and leave my freelance translating days behind.They said that I need to go out, see the world, meet people and, it always… ALWAYS comes to this, get a boyfriend and eventually get married.

Hm… I’ve been trying to tell them this:

1. I love my job so much that I don’t think I want to give it up for anything in the whole wide world.
2. I do go out and see the world plus meeting people. I still have lots of friends and lots of things I want to do other than sit in front of my computer and do some work.
3. Having the honor of previously working in three different companies in three totally different field and three totally different environment, I must say that having a regular office job does not guarantee that I will find someone so soon and so easily. (Stress and fatigue are the only thing that’s easy to find in such career option).

Been going back and forth with this kind of conversation, but no party seems to have the will to give up on their opinion.

I strongly oppose their opinion. Yes, I do. Because for me, I have never been happier with my job until I land on these freelance translating gig. It’s not because I am too lazy to work in an office. I mean, look at me, 2 a.m. and still working! (not because I fear that I couldn’t manage to finish it on the settled date, but because I love it too much that I can’t stop working). I’ve had enough of the office jobs that I’m not passionate about. With the never-ending stress creeping on my spine and coming uninvited to my dreams, struggling to finish some work because I have to and not because I want to, complaining about this and that but couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything about it. NO! Those days are gone and I don’t want it back!

Being a freelance translator, I couldn’t wait to start working everyday. I dream of doing my work and wakes up feeling so in the mood to actually getting some work done. I stay up late not because I have to do it, but because time flies so fast when I sit and type the words to my computer.

So, yes, I’m a bit offended when people assume that being a freelance translator makes me a social retard. True, I have Facebook and Twitter and my blogs, but I do not rely on those social media to socialize. I go out for some gastronomic adventure, clothes and grocery shopping, karaoke, or simply just hang out with my friends. Have you ever seen a social retard do those things? No, of course you haven’t. Therefore, please… stop ordering me to convert to the dark side!

[*]Please excuse the rude language…

Lovelorn

love·lorn/ˈlʌvˌloɚn/ adjective
: unhappy because of love : feeling love for someone who does not feel the same way
the lovelorn : people who are unhappy because of love
On my days as a radio announcer, I once found something interesting about love. It was at a program called “Love Melulu” or “All About Love”. It was my first time ever in hosting a program solo, but since the original announcer couldn’t make it, somehow I was chosen. The program encouraged listeners to text about their love life or love problems. There was this guy who send me a text about how he fell in love with this girl but he didn’t have any confidence to tell her about it. He said that he was embarrassed because the girl was very pretty, everyone loves her, and that he’s a nobody. He was mad at himself for falling in love with her in the first place. He wanted to let go of the love but somehow he couldn’t and he was angry at himself because of that. Therefore, he was seeking advice from the program about what he should do about it.
I was feeling a little bit sorry for this guy. He seemed pretty beat up by his own prejudice. However, he poured his heart out with more than eight text messages to me, so I felt that I was obliged to help him in some way.
So I said:
” Dear ____, why are you angry at yourself just because you feel love in your heart towards someone? Why do you want to get rid of the feeling? You should know, that love is a gift, a special gift. Not everyone is given the chance to love someone, to feel happy whenever you see her or hear her voice. How you can feel as if you own the world just because she smiled back at you. It’s a blessing. Just because you think that she’s out of your league doesn’t mean that you have to give up without even trying. Be brave and tell her how you feel about her. If she feels the same way, then you can both be happy. If not, then she’s not for you and at least that way you can move on without regretting your lack of courage, without having to wonder about anything. Only then you can really let go of the love and move on with your life, knowing for sure that that chapter in your life is considered over. So, you’re a guy, be brave and take a chance. Who knows where life leads you?”
Pretty neat, huh? I was a little surprised myself at how well I said it. But a couple of weeks later, I got a much bigger surprise. A friend told me, that same guy went on national TV, on a reality-show where you can express your feeling towards someone you love on camera! And he said that he got the courage to do that thanks to me, moi, yours truly! Although in the end the girl rejected him, but he said that he feels much better afterwards. I felt guilty about it, but I’m glad he took the chance.
That was almost seven years ago.
Now, after having my own experience of a similar case, I would say that he’s one brave courageous guy. Why? Because it sucks to be in that position. Back then, I could easily say that he should take a chance and move on. No, it’s not that easy, missy! Having feelings for someone without knowing how to show it, sucks. Having feelings for someone without being able to decide whether it’s better to tell him that or just love in silence, sucks. Having feelings for someone when you know for sure that he doesn’t feel the same way and that he will never return the feeling, sucks! Yes, I’m being bitter, but everyone who’ve been through it knows what I’m talking about.
When you have feelings for someone, at first, the world will be a much brighter place, every little thing can make you smile, every little thing can make you happy. BUT, later on, when you learn that the feeling isn’t mutual, when you learn that you+him=NOT GONNA HAPPEN, you could fall into a bottomless pitch black pit of despair. Everything scares you from this point on.
I guess no one really knows what to do in such situation. People around you can easily give you advice, tell you what to do, tell you what’s best for you, but once they got tangled up in the same situation, they will feel like they’re facing a dead end. Even when you’ve successfully move on from it, when it hits you again, you’ll dive head first, right back in to that pit of despair.
To me,  lovelorn is some kind of disease, a dangerous disease. Until this very moment, in this ultra modern world, no one  succeed in finding the cure.