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Building castles in the air

I just got back from a football match in Seomantri Stadium, Jakarta. I was playing with my friends against another team, and we won. The final score is 3-2. It was a good match, a competitive and tough match for both team. On each half, the starting line up – all ten of them, excluding the goalie – got substituted by the bench player on the halfway mark. It means, on each half, when it reached the 22nd minute, the substitution took place. While resting on the sideline, I lay down on the ground, looking far up to the sky and I realize something. Something familiar while at the same time irritating.

I was looking up and saw many tall buildings. Buildings with various corporations’ name on top of it, with a reddish horizon extended from east to west. I heard different sounds coming from cars, motorcycles, people yelling, referee’s whistle, and other indescribable creatures. I also saw a light up above the sky. Not coming from the moon, not sure if it was a plane, Iron Man, stars, or a planet. In short, I was experiencing so much. I saw and heard many familiar things, but yet I felt alone. I felt guilty. I feel guilty.

All of sudden, every mistake, negligence, and any deviant act that I’ve ever done flash upon my head. I tried to closed my eyes over and over again, hoping that all of those feelings will go away. But I couldn’t. Those things were just piling up continuously, until the level where I felt like this is some sign from God that I have to face it, grow from it, and learn from it. I don’t know how and why in such a short period of time I got that kind of epiphany. I don’t even know if it’s an epiphany or a curse. All I think about was that I have to find a way to face all of my past mistakes. And the most effective shortcut is to write them down.

One of the mistake that flashed through my exhausted self today was my behaviour when I was in Junior Highschool. As you may know, I was a member of my JHS’ basketball team. There were twelve of us in one team, and we met everyday, we trained, we compete, and we created a strong bonding with each other. We’re not just a team, but we are family. As I looked back to those days, I realized that we were belong to an exclusive group with so tiny access for external actors to blend in. We monopolized a convinience store in front of the school, we monopolized the canteen, and of course we monopolized the court. And I’m just trying to see our act from other student’s perspective. If I wasn’t part of the basketball team, if I was just an ordinary student, I will assure you that I will confront the team just so that I had a similar chance to hang out on places I want to. Therefore, I’m sorry if my or our behavior harm, directly or indirectly, any parties around us. I’m sorry, and I’m sure my team are too.

The next thing that instantly came through my mind was my mistakes as the chief of the student council (OSIS) back in my days in Senior Highschool. My close friend just wrote a blog about us. He describes each one of the student council’s member, including me. In my part, he said that:

Grab The Bull By The Horns

On Imported Blog

“I’m a bull running rockstar!”

These are the words I use to describe myself these days, but on July 11, 2012, the only words I could speak with certainty and sincere humbleness were, “Jesus keep us near the cross.” You see, before my rockstar status kicked in, I was just one person in a group of people from the Nomad.ness Travel Tribe heading to Pamplona, Spain to participate in the annual running with the bulls.

Yes, you read that right.

Led by our friend and leader Evita Robinson, our group prepared to go where very few minorities have gone. To say we were scared out of our minds would be an understatement. We were scared -- not just by the thought of being gored by a bull, terrorized from the knowledge of its own impending death, but by the fear of the unknown. There were no other black people to ask for detailed advice (although we got some help from our friend Oneika, who participated a few days before). Even watching countless videos and maps of the route and previous runs did little to squash our fears.

As we sat in our house in Madrid waiting for our bus and making small talk, you could feel the nervousness of uncertainty in the air. Even I had to admit that I was ready to punk out at the last minute when talk began of writing down everyone’s travel life insurance information “just in case.” The bus arrived and we scurried towards it. We were aware of our fate, but determined to go strong until the end. We tried to ease the thick air on the bus by taking pictures and cracking jokes, but it was clear by the bible nearby and the recently purchased rosary around my neck that our minds were elsewhere. I couldn’t hear the thoughts of my friends, but mine were loud and clear “Should I do this?,” “We are crazy! Black folk DO NOT run with bulls!,” “I can’t believe we’re doing this! I can’t believe I WANT to do this!,” “Jesus, just keep us all near the cross and help us make it out safely.”

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