Monday, August 29, 2011

Eid Mubarak!

Last night, when the imam started to read Surah Al-Falaq on the last raka'ah of tarawih prayer, he began to cry. It hit me, we'll soon say goodbye to the holy month, Ramadhan. For me, this year's Ramadhan was not the best. No.. It was me who wasn't giving my best. Lack of preparation perhaps was the main reason (blame the happyou and ronbun! haha #evil grin. ups, no evil during Ramadhan :p). Huff.. I think I'm going to miss the atmosphere of Ramadhan in Sapporo. Actually doing Ramadhan fasting here is special. Away from your family, you find a new family. Iftar which was held everyday in the mosque gave you the chance to meet your brothers and sisters from many countries, the chance to taste their food (some fit the tongue, some didn't though), the chance to see, experience, and understand differences. Unique. Furthermore, the tarawih prayer was the best of all. One day, one juz, led by two imam, one from Egypt, one from Saudi Arabia. Can't find it back home indeed. Such a luxury. Ya Allah, may You let me meet Ramadhan again next year. Aamiin.

To perform Eid Al-Fitr prayer is another story. In Japan, where muslim is minority, getting permission to hold prayer outside the mosque is not easy for sure. Moreover there will be speaker which might cause disturbance to the neighbourhood. Alhamdulillaah, just like last year, this year Eid Al-Fitr prayer will be held on a park. The feeling of being able to keep your faith in the middle of 'desert' is irreplaceable. 1 Syawal, tanoshimi ni shitemasu :)

However, back home, this Eid Al-Fitr will be the first time to celebrate without my grandma as she passed away few months ago. Even I who can't go home (again) feel very sad :(. Her face, her voice still very clear remain in my memory. May Allah forgive her and accept her good deeds.

Anyway, apart from anything, may Allah accept our fasting and all of our 'ibadah during Ramadhan, also forgive our sins, so that we will be as pure as newborn baby after this month over. Aamiin..

Taqabbalallaahu minnaa wa minkum shiyaamanaa wa shiyaamakum. Please forgive me for all mistakes I did as I've already forgiven yours.

Eid Mubarak everyone!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

pushing the limit

Finally I can encounter my laziness to write :p. 

Studying abroad is not just letting you see other part of the world, but also experience different environment. And most of the times, it can be very different, shocking, so called culture shock. Let's forget those parts of first time tasting bitter green tea or hearing noisy slurping sound from people eating noodles. I've already coped that 2 years ago. This time the shock dealt with something deeper, the working spirit. It's not a strange thing to see hard working students spend more than 12 hours at campus (well, there must be break times though) and still come on weekends. Although I'm not that geek (happy to say that), sometimes I did work weekends and once or twice did spend more than 12 hours at campus (and I hate it). Being influenced, huh? Well, it's more like a you-have-no-choice-other-than-do-the-experiment-unless-you-don't-want-to-graduate thing. Not lazy, but there also time for relaxing, right? (personal excuse :p). During these 2.5 years, I already understand that level of hard work by Japanese. However this time, this time, I experienced way above the what-I-thought the topmost hardworking level.

My experiment wasn't as smooth as it should be. Three months before final presentation, which was at the end of July, I hadn't obtained the expected result. My work was to isolate compound from fungus fermentation culture, but I even still had on-going incubation of culture, still did trial and error experiments. So anxious when my friends said that they already finish their works, also the thesis, and the presentation slide a month before the D-Day. 

Me? Three weeks to D-Day, just start purifying sample with HPLC. Two weeks to D-Day, still analyzing with NMR and MS. My daily supervisor and one Japanese student helped me (I appreciate it..). But, I couldn't show final results in my first slides version, 7 days before D-Day. Once I had the NMR results, my sensei and one post-doc researcher helped me determine the chemical structure. On that same day, they could figured out the compound (thankfully). The next two days were time to search articles regarding that compound. 

I managed to put it in my slides and showed them at the second practice, 4 days before D-Day. But it wasn't enough. I had to explain about NMR results (which I tried to avoid before) and did last practice 2 days afterward. Oh, no.. I didn't know how to interpret the result, what to explain. I even didn't know where to start, although I tried to read the principles and watched videos about it in Youtube. In the middle of panic, I asked my senior's help (it was already 9 pm, night before the last practice day). Kindly he explained the very basic way to interpret an NMR chart (why didn't I do this earlier? aaargh..). Okay, that night I worked on my slides and went home at 11.30 pm. 

Last practice, 2 days before D-Day, finally I had the assignment of NMR data and the bioassay result in the slides! What an achievement for me! So instant learner I was. Still had to do revision here and there, but I already could see the whole picture. That night I went home at 12 am. 

Thought I can take a short breath for a while, a day before D-Day, I found out that the carbon NMR chart taken at Research Center only has 27 peaks, while the one taken at Agriculture Faculty has 28 peaks. One peak was missing. That made me had to take two confirmation analysis that night. One was done overnight. Huh? The presentation would be the next morning! The machine was set so the measurement could be finished at 8 am, while my turn was at 11.10 am. So nerve-testing. I made finishing touch to the slides, wrote guidance for the presentation, and called my parents (needed emotional support the most) that night. Came home at 12.30 am. My body understood me and didn't complain at all, though I was forcing myself (thank you..).

D-Day finally came. I took the results at 8 am, submit the slides to the organizing committee at 8.30 am, and comforting myself. Fyi, the last results looked even worse than the NMR chart. Nothing but line of sharp needles. The post-doc researcher came at around 9 am and helped me interpret the result. As the mystery was solved, nothing needed to be changed in my slides. Fiuh, thanks God. 

My turn, 11.10 am. No nervous feeling at all. But for the first time I did a presentation while reading to a text. Yes, it helped me to manage the time (because we were given 15 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for Q&A session), but it would be better if I can memorize those words, thus being able to interact with audience and looked more confident. Thinking that within limited time of preparation, I could reach this point, no other expression except just to be grateful. Though the Q&A was quite shaggy, I got many applause (why? I think my charm could appeal the audience, haha :D). 

It was over!! I wanted to screamed like that.... but.... my daily supervisor ruined the atmosphere. He (dared to) discuss the questions given at Q&A session! Just wanted to disappear from that room since my head was heavy (as a result of having not enough sleep and forcing brain to the max), but you know, how can I? I answered reluctantly until finally he stopped (thank you..). Closed the day with a hamburger party with lab mates (to celebrate me and my friend's master presentation). At least I had tasty halal chicken burger to pay off the busy days ;). 

As my head was getting heavier, even had to take a pill, I truly learnt the word of HARD WORK, pushing the limit of myself. Precious lesson from Japanese. But.. do it for the second time? Umm.. I will choose to finish my work earlier :p.