Confident Walker

It took me several years to admit that my amputated leg is because of a bone cancer, not an accident.”

VA


New Normal just started at Jakarta, Indonesia. Parks begin to open. I and VA, a 25-year-old multi-talented yet beautiful woman, a used-to-stranger and now-sister made an appointment to leisurely strolling in the morning. 


Firstly we stop to eat instant noodle, then walk for 5 minutes, then sitting and talking for the whole day. So that is our kind of leisurely strolling after being caged in our own house for around 3 months of quarantine. 


“I met a new boy in a dating app. We talk about so many things. I think I like him,” told her to me. 


That’s how we started our love updates this morning. Since then, everything flows naturally. 


“The first man matched with me was a Chinese Indonesian, handsome for me. I am attracted to him. We texted intensely. Then he asked to meet me after the quarantine has been over. I told him that I am someone with disability. It doesn’t take long for him to went ghosting after I told him about my fact. It’s like he couldn’t accept my physical deficiency.


Then I try again. Now I’m texting the second man. He is a Korean. He asked me out too after the quarantine has been over. Do you think I should tell him about my amputated leg or just let him find out by himself later when we meet?”


It took me several seconds to think of the answer. “It’s a difficult question, sister. If I were you, I will… “


Then I stop again, thinking but still couldn’t find the answer. 

Then she interrupted, “It’s hard to think of the answer. What if every one whom I tell suddenly walk back? They even don’t see me personality. But what if I let them find it out when we met, then that person can’t accept it and feel that they have been trapped? It’s so normal, out of so many normal people like you, why should they consider to have a disability person like me?”


Suddenly I feel like I got a whisper from my mind,  “Dear VA, you don’t have the obligation to tell him before you met him, even after you guys met, if you are asked of your condition, you have the right too to refuse to answer.”

“I think there is no such a totally correct answer to answer your question. There are so many factors, every case is different. Different man different result. But if I were you, because I have tried to tell about my condition prior to my condition, then I will do it differently for the second man. I will just let him find out right at the time when we meet and let him value myself based on my personality, not of my physical condition.”

Waitress

I don’t think I’ve ever been dreaming to work as an waitress in a restaurant. Surprisingly, 3 months spend my time at a red brand hotpot restaurant with a long queue worth a life learning experience.

There are days I would have training, even during weekend, just to memorize a bunch of menu name in Mandarin and how long does the customer need to cook to get the vegetables or meats cooked perfectly.

There are days I would go to work before the mall’s escalator has been turned on, it’s still quite dim, get off of work after the mall has been closed, the escalator has been turned off. It’s a wow working hour. Restaurant is my house, I spent more time here rather than at my home. I don’t have that motto “Work Life Balance” because my motto is “Working is my life”

There are days I try to understand how to give the best service for customers, what aspects do I need to put attention to, so many little details. By the time the customer passing in front of our store, to the time they ask the receptionist team, arrange their table number, accompany them to find their seat and get their food, service before during and after the dine in, it is all have its own SOP about what to say and what to do. I have to remember it all, every tiny items. It is all does matter to our restaurant’s grade because a random guest will be assigned to audit our restaurant.

There is even a study-case material. The managementhave plans for handling the complaints or questions if the customers ask how long they need to wait, want to be prioritized in waiting area, have gastric pains while waiting in the waiting area, find a strand of hair on the plate,the color of the meat changed, the stove is broken, kids are running at our restaurant, accidentally leave their stuff in our outlet after they dine in, and so on. They have all the plannings! Even I also learn how to deal with a couple customer, how if I saw them celebrating birthday, anniversary, about to break up, got drunk, have a company meeting, and so on. It was all common to particular things which are very possible to happen.

We also have our own dance. This is one of the things I love the most. This dance unites us. We would gather in the morning or after a lunch break to do this. This signature dance is shown to public too when our customer is having birthday or have any other special occasions that suits this performance. It was so funny and memorable. We are singing and dancing and laughing happily.

There are training about appearance and behavior too. It is a training which is repeated over and over again. I memorized it all. What to wear, how to wear, how to put my hair in a bun properly, how many times do we need to wash our socks, what kind of lipstick color I need to put on, what kind of long trousers which is allowed to wear, what is allowed to be done during working hour, how to deal if we see something falls to the ground whether to wash it or to throw it, what tools to be used to clean or do something and the consequences and the score, work violation which is absolutely prohibited and many other things. I remember it all.

There is even a theory on how to do plating, how to arrange the tables and dish racks neatly and many others. There is tight and symetrical theory which I find still very useful for my daily life up till now after I have resigned. This theory has been successful to guide me to a nice-looking interios.

Working in service industry, I have to get used to of customer’s complaint although it is being the last thing I expect. I am trained on how to manage it. There were moments I got so exasperated but can do nothing except smiling and apologize.

Most of the days I would get back to my apartment feeling that my bones were so shattered inside, but I was so grateful to have some room mates who share the same experience with me, we would talk and laugh until our jaw so numb. It’s a little pleasure which only be able to be felt if I work here, super precious.

Since I work here, the experience of getting into another restaurant has never been the same again. Before I joint, whenever I want to eat, I just come and eat. But now, I become more critical about a restaurant. Automatically I became an auditor. I willcheck whether they have a hygiene restaurant, welcome the customer in a warm way or not, have knowledge about the restaurant, know how to treat the customer, serve the menu in a good way, how they hold and arrange the plate. I just automatically have the sense and try to filter every thing from A to Z.

Really, it is a very precious experience to be part of this family.


Working Mother

“Sleep at 11 pm tonight and have to wake up 4 am in the morning. Happy, tired, and more than grateful!”

A story of MD, a 30 year old mother, having a lovely daughter, working as a Personal Assistant.

“I find it amazing if I look back at my previous days, how I wake up 4.30 am every morning, cooking breakfast and lunch for my family, bring my little daughter to school, then riding motorcycle to office, changing cloths, using heels, and put on my make up. Work until 7 pm.”

Then MD continued, “Sometimes in the middle of making report, I got a phone call from home. My daughter is crying, sometimes because she simply miss me, sometimes because she is sick, sometimes because any other reasons. Then I need to stop for a while and makes everything alright.

It has never been easy. Sometimes I need to choose between work and family. Of course family is forever number 1 in my heart. But, if there is no work, I got no money too for fulfilling her needs. So, time management is a must-have value in my life. I need to know my priority”

“What makes you able to do these things?” I’m questioning her.

“Hmm…” She stopped for a while, then answered, “I’m not sure too. I just keep it up hour by hour, day by day, keep doing it, no matter what happens. Maybe her happy face in my mind made me able to face this. It’s not that difficult after I did it several times. I got used to of it.”

MD also suggested me,”Hey you, young lady, enjoy your youth. You still have many more years to come! Don’t be afraid to be a mother, don’t also be afraid to be a working mother, it’s wonderful. You’ll love it.”