a stolen month

for one full month, I stayed in Jakarta and took CELTA course, a course designed to push people to their limits and asked themselves why did they say yes to this torture – and worse, paid for it. There were 8 of us, came from different backgrounds and were strangers on Day Zero (yes, they do have a ‘day zero). Almost everyday you were put in a state that you weren’t comfortable with. A failed paper that drove me to the edge, Teaching Practices that drove almost everybody crazy, Input Sessions where they gave you brain-food even when your brain was full, pulled an all-nighter almost everyday in our last weeks. All that didn’t include the fact how hard it was to work side by side, to be a team, with someone you didn’t know of.

In that month, I learned so many things. Things that went beyond textbooks and classrooms. I met my nightmares and had to sit face to face with it. I was forced to deal with it because there was just no other ways out. It was horrible. I was afraid and I wasn’t that easily scared, academically speaking.

8 of us came from different background, most of us already had our masters, one had a phd, everybody had experience in teaching, there were 3 Indonesians, but I was the only one who had Indonesian as their first language, the other two had Dutch and Singapore-English/Indonesian. Only one person spoke one language, that was Jodie who speaks English, most of us speak 2 to 5 languages. There’s a guy who worked for UN, another who had theology for his master degree, an international piano teacher, and a principal for a language school. They were smart people.

What happened when smart people were put together and were forced to work together and studied a subject that was an alien to them?


Before they could succeeded in this course, their biggest obstacles was their ego, and please count me in. That month was a slap in the face for each of us. The phd guy said it was harder than phd, the international piano teacher said she was never been this tired her whole life, and my friend Jodie considered that  hit by a bus had a better prospect than walked into the center building.

I think at that time, everybody was facing their own enemy. It wasn’t graded nor had a textbook with it.

Stepping out of that course, I was a bit traumatized. It wasn’t a life-changing moment, but more like a slap to wake me up.

There are so many things I have to learn, so many frontiers I have to break, so many nightmares I have to face. It feels that my journey doesn’t end there. It feels that it has just begun.

A month was stolen from my life, in return, I had a lesson I’ll never forget.



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