My 2017 Flashback – A Link to the Future

2018 is coming, resolution and hope begin to be prepared, and also a chance for us to reflect about the past year. In 2017, using Australian Work And Holiday visa, I’m exploring Australia for one year, away from family in Indonesia, learn and trying to survive in a country where I have no working experience at all. This blog post is also become my end of the year reflection, pause my busy life for a moment to look back what I do in 2017, and i hope it can become “a link to the future”.

Global Game Jam NSI Sydney 2017 | Jan 20-22, 2017

Global Game Jam (abbreviated as “GGJ”), is an annual event among gaming developers globally, we develop a prototype game in 3 days 2 nights. Uniquely, there is no win or lose here, because basically this is not a competition, but an event for networking and also hone the gamedev skill by trying something new. The prizes we will get are not cash or luxury cars, but games that we produce and also togetherness for 3 days 2 nights.

After work on Friday around 3pm in Pyrmont, I headed straight for the Northern Sydney Institute (NSI), one of Sydney’s GGJ venues. Upon arriving here, I hardly know anyone, unlike the GGJ in Jakarta in previous years. However, because of the strong gamedev atmosphere I feel, it did not take long for me to adapt to the environment and the new friends here.

I am joined with Plus Pingya, a professional Game Programmer from Thailand and Matthew Dewar from Australia. The game project that we’ve completed are named Flex for Mac and Android platforms developed with Unity. You can also see other works of GGJ NSI Sydney 2017 results here.

Plus, me, and Matthew in Flex team
All participant and volunteers of GGJ NSI Sydney 2017

Lunar New Year Festival in Hurstville | Feb 10, 2017

This is the first time I became a volunteer in Australia. Starting from a poster on display at Hurstville Library, I immediately signed up via email to become a volunteer at the Lunar New Year event in Hurstville. Saturday, I had to get up early in the morning, to be ready for briefing at 7 am on Forest Road, Hurstville, where the event took place. After the briefing, we were divided into several teams, and each team was given their respective posts.

Is it fun to work but not paid? This is volunteering, one of Australia’s most respected cultures. Despite all the expensive things in Australia, they do not forget to dedicate their time to help each other, aka volunteering. The experience of trying something new and making new friends through volunteering activities is something priceless, because life is not always about money.

Henry, Ying, and myself as a volunteer team
Crowd in Lunar New Year Festival

President Jokowi in Australia | Feb 26, 2017

Mr. President Joko Widodo, is one of my inspiring public figure since he still serves as Mayor of Surakarta (Solo, Central Java, Indonesia). His famous act of ‘blusukan‘ (means Hands-on Operation in English), and have great vision with action, raises my hope for the Revival of Indonesia. Coming to Sydney with a diplomatic purpose with PM Turnbull as well as greeting the Indonesian Diaspora in Australia, became a relief remedy especially for those who have not returned to Indonesia for decades. No wonder, many are scrambling to ask for selfie photos with Him.

You can still watch live recording via facebook page Australia Plus Indonesia

Mr. President Joko Widodo on stage
Me, ko Anton, and ce Dwi, with enthusiasm to see Mr. President in ICC Sydney. Wearing “Batik” to symbolize our love for Indonesia

Reko16 KPA Sydney – REVIVAL | May 12-15, 2017

KPA Sydney is an Indonesian Catholic Church Community based in Sydney that made me grow and develop in my spiritual life, for about 7.5 months I live in Sydney. The recollection theme this year is “REVIVAL”, a word that means returning something that began to disappear within us, to be revived. Located in Youthworks Shoalhaven Centre, Watersleigh, NSW, about 2.5 hours drive from Sydney city. It was very great place for retreat, no phone reception (means less distraction from outside world), and a very beautiful nature surrounding the place.

A few weeks before the Recollection, the registered participants are informed via email to perform the fast on the appointed day and hour every 1x a week. Group sharing groups are also prepared before Recollection, with each group name based on real-world job names, such as Pilot, Engineer, Chef, Actor, Reporter, Dancer, Sailor, and so on.

“Revival will not happen if we ourselves do not want it to happen”, the speaker explained. Revival is when the human spirit unites with the Holy Spirit, a “Spiritual Breakthrough”. And to experience a Revival, we must “Broken First”, because God is close to a brokenhearted person.

When is Revival needed?

  1. When we are satisfied with our circumstances (comfort zone)
  2. When our love for God begins to stay away
  3. When we have no more sensitivity to the events around us
  4. When we hide or justify all of our  sins
  5. When we have difficulty forgiving or releasing things that bind us
  6. When we are filled with vanity


This recollection is focusing on one of Bible figures, the Prophet Nehemiah. He is a poor man blessed by God because of his tenacity in prayer and fasting. Nehemiah succeeded in building the wall of Israel in 52 days and making enemies were afraid because God was with Him.

“After finished this 16th Recollection, there will always be a disappointment, but believe, God never leave us,” Roy said as the founder of KPA Sydney. The message hit me very much, who was about to start a new adventure in Darwin next month. I feel many disappointments in Darwin, but I can pass through it all with a happiness, because i’m believing that “God never leave us”. Thank you Reko16 KPA Sydney!

The most memorable song in my heart from this Recollection is “Dengan Apa Kan Kubalas” (means With What I Can Answer Your Goodness, God?) from Symphony Worship. This song reminds me of the many goodness of God in my life, which I have to share with others as well. The full playlist of Reko16 Revival song tracks can be accessed via Spotify.

My Reko16 Group Mates – Cecillia, Resky, Arya, myself, Mrs. Mimi, and Handy
All participants and organizers of Reko16 KPA Sydney

Farewell with Google Sydney | May 19, 2017

Working in a big tech-company like Google is always something special. But unlike most other happy stories about working at Google, I am not working in Google office, but in their internal kitchen, *yes the real kitchen or restaurant for all Googlers. This is my first job in Australia, with no previous kitchen experience, I’m so happy to work here which in same time I struggled to survive in the early days of my life in this kangaroo nation.

Farewell after 6 months working here became the happiest moment for me personally. It feels like i’m going to leave my beloved family in Indonesia one year ago. Read my full story in My Google Story.

My last time visiting Google Sydney on June 2017

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley | Jun 5-14, 2017

On June 5-14, 2017, I enjoyed my time at Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley, a luxury 6 star resort in the Blue Mountain region of New South Wales, Australia. I got a casual job as Kitchen Steward here through the Alseasons Hospitality Staff Sydney agency. A full of gratitude experience, how it’s become real work and holiday in Australia.

WOW! This is my first impression when opening the door of the staff room where I will stay. Starting from the living room with a comfortable sofa, there is a TV along with the Xbox One S game console that I can try, a clean bathroom, and of course private bedroom for one person. We also get free food and drinks, as well as a bonus of incredible natural scenery over here.

One of the Staff Room Building

The first day of work, myself and Narash (my first Pakistan friend), got a shift from 4 pm to midnight. Waiting until approximately 3:50 pm, no one came to pick up us, so we decided to walk to restaurant area. This requires us to walk for 15-20 minutes between Staff Area and Main Restaurant. Don’t worry be happy, this is part of a healthy lifestyle, accompanied with fresh air in this region.

Main Restaurant in Emirates Wolgan Valley

With work shifts from 4 pm to midnight, I have enough free time in the morning until afternoon, which I then use for my secret hobby, “bushwalking”. Beyond my expectation, it turns out that this resort also provides tracks and trails very well. Two until three hours doing bushwalking, see kangaroos in natural wildlife along the journey, become a special moment for me to enjoy the beauty of wild nature in Wolgan Valley. Friday, June 9, 2017, became my first buswalking here, using the Southern Track route. You can see panoramic panoramic views of Panorama Deck in here.

Although there are not many quality time outside the work area, I can get to know their own characters while working. I have 6 new friends from Alseasons agency, Narash from Pakistan, Newton from Nepal, Alex from Australia, Luwen from Australia, Faris from UAE, and Aki from Hong Kong. Plus some permanent employees here like Riki, Josh, Cody, and Daniel from South Korea. Meeting new friends always expand my experience and insight into diversity.

Kangaroo buddies in front of resort villas, how cute they are?

One Piece 20th Anniversary | July 22, 2017

Twenty years have passed since Eiichiro Oda’s manga was released. I know One Piece for first time through an anime on TV every Sunday morning, with advertise tagline that I still remember until now, “hari Minggu bangun pagi.. Kenapaa??” (means “Why we need to wake up early in Sunday Morning?”). Soon I started to buy the comic books with my own savings from my parents allowance money for school. For saving money purpose, i also rented some early editions of One Piece through a comic book rental near my house.

Adventure, Friendship, Sacrifice, and Human Dream become the core power of this story. Even though it’s just a fiction story, reading One Piece changed my life for the better purpose. Here is some quote from the characters in One Piece universe that became my inspiration.

“When do you think people die? When they are shot through the heart by the bullet of a pistol? No. When they are ravaged by an incurable disease? No. When they drink a soup made from a poisonous mushroom!? No! It’s when… they are forgotten.” – Dr. Hiluluk

“If you’re too afraid of making mistakes, you won’t be able to do anything.” – Sanji

“Maybe nothing in this world happens by accident. As everything happens for a reason, our destiny slowly takes form.” – Silvers Rayleigh

“Don’t forget to smile in any situation. As long as you are alive, there will be better things later, and there will be many.”― Eiichirō Oda

HensenFM, my beloved brother, drawing fan art for One Piece 20th Anniversary.

Happy 20th Anniversary One Piece!

Outback Australia | June – October, 2017

Darwin became my new journey in Australia. From June to October 2017 I’m living here. If “Winter is Coming” in Sydney, and then in Darwin is Dry Season which very good time to enjoy this city and get a job here. What a good timing!

In opposite of Sydney, 4 months i’m being here I can work in 4 different places. A sense of disappointment as well as happiness mixed during my time in Darwin. Disappointed because several times I was rejected at work and also extreme work in the kitchen. But I can also be happy in the same time, because I’m find a new family here. Read the full story in My Darwin Story.

Melbourne International Games Week | 22-29 Oct, 2017

Departing to Melbourne at the same time as Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW), what a good timing again! My passion for video games made me instantly falling in love with this second largest city in Australia. So many Australian game studios based in this Most Livable City int the world.

Unite Melbourne 2017 became the first event that I participated in MIGW. The conference is aimed to game developers, introducing the latest features of popular Unity game engine, tips and tricks from the industry experts, and networking with colleagues in the game industry. It’s really fun, even for me it’s just ‘refreshing’ time because i’ve left this game industry for almost a year.
PAX Australia became the closing event of MIGW. Australia’s largest game exhibition lasts for 3 days, on the last weekend in October 2017. If Unite was aimed to game developers, then PAX was aimed to the game consumer. I can see how big of Australian game industry and also overseas through this world-class event.

ACYF 2017 Sydney | Dec 7-9, 2017

I’ve already signed up for the biggest Catholic Youth event in Australia, 6 months before the event will be held. In June 2017, I registered online and immediately paid a full registration fee for the event, which is certainly not a cheap one, and with the condition at that time my visa will be expired in November 2017. Maybe it was reckless act, because I am not sure i’ll be able to get an extension for my Work and Holiday Visa. However, God’s plan is awesome, one month before expired, my visa gets an additional one year extension (thank you Darwin city!), which means I can keep exploring Australia until November 2018, all is well!
Front Gate of ACYF 2017
Melbourne Team Uniform
Australia Catholic Youth Festival (abbreviated as “ACYF”), help me getting to know new friends from all over the states of Australia. ACYF 2017 is the third event, which was previously held in Melbourne (2013) and Adelaide (2015). The format is similar to World Youth Day with various workshops and sessions plus daily mass, adoration room, as well as reconcilliation time. Here also we can talk directly with the Bishop or Priest like our close friend. I also get to know more closely  with the inspiring figures like Fr. Rob Galea, Matt Maher, Bishop Eugene, Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
Plenery session in Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park
Bishop Mark Edwards writing in Melbourne Booth in ACYF
Enjoying the Sydney harbour view when doing “Pilgrimage Walk” from North Sydney to Domain, Royal Botanical Garden.


Thank you 2017, and welcome for upcoming 2018. My personal resolution for 2018 is to have a chance to get back to IT industry which already become part of my life during my college and professional work in Jakarta, Indonesia.  You and me will start to write first blank page of a 365 page book, so write a good one. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Enjoy everything, every moments in your life with gratitude.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from New Donk City

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