Zoom Wedding

Season 2 Episode 10 special edition during COVID-19 pandemic

Sejak kecil, saya sudah terbiasa dengan perubahan. Keluarga saya keluarga diplomat. Karena kita sering pindah negara, saya terlatih untuk beradaptasi dengan cepat. 

Perubahaan terbaru yang kami alami, yah saat pandemi ini. Pesta pernikahan kita, kita rayakan dengan keluarga dan teman-teman lewat Zoom video call. Banyak deh adaptasi! Tapi mungkin lebih baik ya berlangsung seperti ini. Bagaimanapun, keluarga saya dan keluarga suami tidak akan bisa hadir dalam acara pernikahan. Sampai kini, Singapur belum memperbolehkan kunjungan wisata. Dari pada resepsinya hanya dengan beberapa teman yang berada di Singapur, kan mendingan kita adakan pernikahan Zoom atau Zoom wedding. Dengan begitu, semua yang ingin hadir bisa berada dalam satu ruangan, walaupun virtual.

Ini pernikahan kedua bagi kami berdua. Yang penting bagi kami bukan detail seperti bunga, menu atau dekorasi – walaupun saya beli bunga dari supermarket untuk latar belakang Zoom call. Kita juga pesan kue pengantin, dan saya pakai wedding gown. Tapi fokus kita lebih ke bagaimana agar teman-teman dan keluarga bisa merasakan kebahagiaan kami. Jadi untuk teman yang berkeluarga, saya pesan dan kirim kue untuk mereka lewat online. 

Misalnya, kue dari Milk Bar untuk teman-teman di (Washington) DC dan New York. Untuk yang di Jakarta, saya pesen kue dari Colette & Lola. Untuk yang di Singapur, saya kirim cupcakes dari Plain Vanilla. Untuk teman lain, kita bagikan resep minuman supaya mereka bisa ikut toast. Tapi saya lihat banyak dari mereka sudah siapkan champagne! Yang penting adalah rasa kebersamaan. 

Selain itu, tidak banyak yang beda. Kita tetap adakan First Dance sebagai suami istri. Tetap ada toast, yang diberikan adik Jim. Ada pidato dari teman-teman – satu dari pihak saya dan satunya lagi dari teman Jim. Dan Ayah saya tetap berikan pidato juga. Bahkan keluarga saya di Jakarta semua pakai batik dan ayah saya pakai peci. Persis seperti pesta biasa.

Menurut teman-teman, pernikahan Zoom itu merasa lebih intim dari pesta biasa. Mungkin dalam resepsi biasa, tamu-tamu bergaul dengan kelompok masing-masing dan tidak interaksi banyak dengan kedua mempelai. Di pernikahan Zoom, tidak ada hiburan lain kecuali kita berdua! Menurut teman-teman, di Jakarta, Eropa bahkan di Amerika, itu yang mereka hargai. 

Pada awalnya, sebenarnya kita masih shock dengan adanya pandemi dan dampaknya pada rencana kita. Tapi situasi dan peraturan mengenai lockdown kan selalu berubah. Akhirnya, kita menjalani apa adanya. Maksud saya, kita kan tidak bisa mengendali hal yang tidak bisa kita kendali. Kita hanya bisa mengendalikan reaksi kita. 

Kita sempat berpikir, tunda saja ya pernikahannya. Tapi kalau ditunda, sampai kapan? Tidak ada kepastian keluarga di Indonesia maupun Australi akan bisa travel sebelum tahun depan. Dan bagaimana kalau ada gelombang kedua dan gelombang ketiga di Singapur. Apakah kita akan batalkan acara lagi? Karena itu, kita mengambil keputusan untuk nikah saja apa adanya, karena itu sesuatu yang dalam kendali. Yang penting bagi kita: makna dari acara pernikahan.

Dan benar juga. Pada akhirnya, acara pernikahan kami penuh dengan makna. 

Sejak bercerai dari pernikahan yang pertama, saya sebetulnya sangat nyaman dengan label ‘single mom’. Saya sangat dekat dengan kedua anak saya. Waktu kita tinggal di Jakarta, kita bertiga tinggal di satu kamar besar. Ada ruang untuk dua meja belajar, satu sofa dan satu TV seperti apartemen kecil. Ada dua tempat tidur tapi berdempetan, seperti satu tempat tidur besar. Kami bertiga hidup seperti itu selama tiga tahun, hampir selalu bersama. 

Terkadang saya merasa capek dengan kesibukan. Tapi mungkin kedekatan dengan anak2 bisa berkurang bila ada pembantu atau nanny. Kita sangat bahagia.

Jadi saya menikah lagi bukan untuk mengubah hidup. Bahkan saya kadang kangen dengan kehidupan dalam satu ruangan itu. Tapi perubahan kan selalu berlangsung. Anak-anak tidak akan selalu mau bersama dengan ibunya. Mereka akan selalu meminta kasih sayang, tapi kan dalam rupa yang beda. Dan pada akhirnya, saya merasa sangat beruntung mempunyai partner saya. Dia lucu, pintar, pintar masak, dan penuh semangat. Saya bilang kepada anak-anak, kalian akan mendapatkan satu orang lagi yang menyayangi kalian. Dan mereka setuju. 

Dari sekian banyak perubahan dalam hidup, mungkin adaptasi yang paling lama bagi saya adalah adaptasi setelah keluar dari World Bank. Saya juga kaget ya bahwa ternyata sulit sekali untuk berhenti dari suatu pekerjaan. Mungkin lingkungan pekerjaan itu sama pentingnya bagi psikologi kita dengan lingkungan keluarga atau pertemanan. Beberapa sahabat saya masih di World Bank dan saya masih kangen ngobrol dengan mereka sehari-hari. Kita masih berteman tapi kan sekarang tidak telponan tiap hari seperti sebelumnya. 

Proses adaptasi sulit dari berbagai sisi. Pola kerja di World Bank itu cukup intens. Kita bekerja hampir 24 jam karena Washington DC mulai kerja ketika kami selesai kerja di Asia. Jadi identitas sebagai World Banker menjadi bagian penting dari identitas saya. Setelah saya keluar, mungkin otak saya berpikir ya, Siapa kamu? Walaupun saya lama berkarya sebagai wartawan, penulis dan pengamat, saya cukup lama berada dalam kebingungan ini. Saya sering bertanya, siapa ya saya sekarang?

Sebetulnya saya masih bertanya hal itu. Saya sudah bekerja di tempat lain selama 1 tahun, dan sekarang saya berupaya mendirikan inisiatif baru. Kesibukan tidak pernah berkurang – ada proyek ini, proyek itu, banyak aja pekerjaan! Dan mungkin dari semua kesibukan itu akan timbul kejelasan. 

Tapi itu lah pelajaran yang tidak tersangka sebelumnya. Bahwa identitas kita bisa menjadi sangat erat dengan pekerjaan. Ternyata proses memisah dari pekerjaan bisa lebih rumit dari proses memisah dari suami!

The next one will be the English version of the story.

Since Dini was a young child, she was used to constant change. She comes from a family of diplomats. Because they frequently moved between different countries, she learned to adapt quickly.

The latest change which she experienced was during this pandemic. Her wedding was celebrated with her friends and family through Zoom video call. They had to make many adjustments! But maybe it was better that way. Both her family and her husband’s family would not have been able to be physically present for the wedding. Until now, Singapore still has not allowed tourist visits. Rather than holding a reception with only a few friends in Singapore, it was better to host a Zoom wedding. That way, everyone who wanted to attend could be at one place, albeit virtually.

This was a second marriage for both Dini and her husband. What was important for both of them was not the flowers, the menu, or the decorations – although Dini did purchase flowers from the supermarket for the background of their Zoom call. They also ordered a wedding cake and Dini wore a wedding gown. But their focus was mainly on how all their friends and families could feel their happiness. 

So, for friends with children, Dini ordered cakes for them via online. For example, cake from Milk Bar for friends in Washington DC and New York. For those in Jakarta, Dini ordered cake from Colette & Lola. For those in Singapore, she sent cupcakes from Plain Vanilla. For other friends, they shared drink recipes so that they could all join in the toast. But she saw that a lot of them already prepared champagne! It was about being together.

Otherwise, not much was different. They had their first dance as husband and wife. Jim’s sister gave the toast. There were speeches from friends, one from Dini’s side and another from Jim’s friend. Dini’s father also gave a speech. Her family in Jakarta all wore batik and her dad wore a peci (a traditional formal cap). Just like they would for a reception.

According to their friends, the Zoom wedding felt more intimate than a regular reception. Maybe in a reception, guests tend to gather with their own crowd and not interact much with the bride and groom. In a Zoom wedding, there was no other entertainment besides the bride and the groom! That’s what was so special for their friends in Jakarta, Europe and even America.

At first, both Dini and Jim were still shocked by the pandemic and its impact on their plans. But the situation and the regulation on lockdown kept changing. In the end, they took things as they were. Meaning, we cannot control things that we cannot control. We can only control our response. 

Dini and Jim consider postponing the wedding. But until when? There was no guarantee their families in Indonesia and Australia could travel before next year. And what happens if there is a second wave or a third wave of the pandemic in Singapore. Will they have to cancel the wedding again? That’s why they decided to just get married, as that was still within their control. What mattered was the meaning of that wedding.

And truth be told, in the end, their wedding felt very meaningful.

After her first marriage ended, Dini had grown comfortable with the “single mom” label. She was very close with both her children. When they lived in Jakarta, they all lived in one big room. There was space for two study desks, one sofa and one TV, just like a small apartment. There were two beds but they were close side by side, so it was like one big bed. All three of them lived like that for three years, almost always together.

Sometimes Dini did get exhausted. But perhaps she would not have been that close with her children if she had a nanny. They were all very happy together.

So Dini remarried not to change her life. Sometimes she misses the days of living in that one room. But change will always happen. The children won’t always want to be with her. They would always want to be loved but in a different way. And Dini felt very lucky to be with her partner. He is funny, smart, a good cook and full of spirit. She told her children that they would have another person who would love them as well. And they agreed.

From all the changes in her life, maybe the longest adaptation she experienced was when she left the World Bank. She was surprised that it was actually very difficult to leave a job. Maybe the work environment can be as important to us psychologically as our family and friends. Some of her best friends are still at the World Bank and she missed talking to them every day. They were still friends but they did not call each other every day as before. 

The adaptation was difficult in many ways. The work culture at the World Bank can be intense. Their day runs almost 24 hours because DC starts work when they finish working in Asia. Her identity as a World banker became an important part of her identity. After she left, it seemed her brain would ask her, “Who are you?” Although Dini had worked as a journalist, a writer, and an analyst, she was in this frame of mind for some time. She asked herself, who am I now?

Sometimes Dini still asks that question. She has been working at another place for one year and now she is working on a new venture. She is still busy, with this project and that project, there is always work. And hopefully from all this activity, she will find clarity.

But that was the unexpected lesson. That our identity can be very closely linked with our work. It turns out that separating from a job can be harder than separating from a husband!

This is a story from Dini Djalal. She is originally from Jakarta and now resides in Singapore. She was previously a Senior Communications Officer for the World Bank and then for APEC. She is now writing a book and developing a start-up.

Congratulations Dini and Jim!

VOCABULARIES:

Terbiasa : Used to

Hadir : Attend

Kebersamaan : Sense of togetherness

Makna : Meaning

Batik : Traditional Indonesian fabric

Peci : Traditional Indonesian cap for men, used in formal occasions

Persis : Exactly like

Anak2 (anak-anak) : kids – number two means to repeat the word and plural.

Berdempetan : Close side by side

Pembantu : Helper, maid

Kangen : Miss

Ngobrol : Talking casually

Erat : Closely tie up

Rumit : Complicated

Wedding gown: baju nikah

Nanny : sometimes we say suster (but it’s different from a medical nurse or a nun whom Indonesians also refer to as Suster). Suster in this context here refers to a a caregiver for toddlers and small children. The nanny/suster is usually wearing a uniform.

Indonesians tend to include everyday English words when they speak. Some English words are adopted to become Indonesian common words. Sometimes it is written the same way as the English word, sometimes the spelling is adapted to align with the Indonesian pronunciation or spelling, for example, lockdown – lokdon, shock-syok, wedding gown, or nanny.

In general, Indonesians do not have First Dance in a wedding and Toast customs; in fact, since the majority of the population is moslem, the definition of a celebration or a party is more to having a lot of food instead of booze. However, gradually these two customs are adapted by the people and we see in wedding receptions the couple having their first dance and the guests toasting (can also use non alcoholic drinks) to their happiness.

The words like Ya, Kan / Khan; Those depend on the context that can only be understood better when we interact with the locals. Those words are often used in daily informal conversations to emphasize (could be to dramatize) the situation that is being talked about. Locals have used those words so many times in daily conversations, thus it has become a habit to always use those words.

Photo credit: Justin Eeles 

Indonesian language used here is in the daily-conversation format, that has influences from the local culture and custom. Should you have questions on the more formal version, please consult with your guru Bahasa Indonesia.

Level of Indonesian and English fluency: Intermediate to Advanced