The Day We Got Married in the Middle of Pandemic

Three months ago, I married my best friend. You probably have read his name written here and there, in the span of my 10 years of blogging hahahah. I refer to him as K, or Wiramihardja most of the time.

Looking back, there’s no way I could’ve seen this coming. Part of it is because I was (am) such a hopeless romantic and K has always been the logical level-headed one (and so doesn’t do illogical stuff like dating your best friend or marrying her).

But my, oh my, here we are promising to brave the storm together and cherish life for what it can be. I feel like we have been doing that for so long – being best friends for fourteen years and all. But last August, it feels like we are starting a new journey altogether.



Basically headache. Preparing the wedding was heavy. Not sure if it’s unique to Indonesia’s culture, but weddings here are celebrations that not necessarily only celebrating the couple. There are families involved, so there are more customs, styles, habits, and different needs to be satisfied. Covid-19 also happened, so plans changed A LOT. The prep was the most challenging part of the wedding, yet it also revealed important things such as differences, conflict management style, expectation setting, the meaning of true love, companionship, and what matters to us as partners. I will cherish these moments forever, as part of the relationship’s growth, as part of life’s lesson.

After months of preparations, these were the keywords to having a wedding during a pandemic: intimate, physical distancing, creative. The holy matrimony was only for 30 people, dinner celebration was limited to 60 guests, tables were arranged following the regulations, it had to be outdoor (yay!), and the party couldn’t go more than 3 hours long.


Holy Matrimony

I was nervous, but extremely happy too. When I saw K on the other end of the aisle there was a rush of gentle happiness. The kind that I felt when for the first time, I realized that I love him.
The funny parts were in the details: our rings (or fingers??) somewhat shrank, it was difficult to put the rings on each other. K said it was measured on the wrong side, we did not realize Indonesians wear they rings on their right hand. My veil was not properly set, there was a gap that showed my bun, and K and I had a good laugh over it when we looked at the wedding pictures.



With Covid-19, it had to be an intimate wedding. As happy as we were about it, we knew our parents had wanted to invite more people. K proposed to have a drive-thru wedding style, so we can see more friends and family, and celebrate the special day with the I resorted to Canva and created an e-invitation. Almost everyone asked me what in the world a drive-thru wedding is. I eventually came up with an answer template: “it’s like going to McDonald’s or Starbucks drive-thru, but instead of getting coffee or burgers, you got to see us.” My mom was the one who laughed the hardest at this answer.

I was serious though. It’s pretty much the same and it follwed the regular wedding flow in Indonesia. But even better, because you don’t have to step out of your vehicle.

Step 1, you enter the venue. There’s a check-in point where you’re greeted by the wedding organizer team and surrounded by our huge-sized pre-wedding pictures HAHA.
Step 2, you collect the food package and wedding souvenirs. Crystal designed the pretty logo on the souvenirs (thank you, nek!). I ended up putting the logos everywhere: the church book, the name card on the tables, the invitations and the souvenirs!

Step 3, you see us and wave and laugh at this new and unusual set-up.
Step 4, we take pictures and videos, of course!
Step 5, you go home and we see the next guests.

Check out the drive-thru wedding video here. It was a brilliant idea! It ensures everyone’s safety during this pandemic time, parents are very happy they got to see most of their friends, and we got to see more of our friends and family too!


Sunset Dinner

I absolutely loved the dinner! I was a tad more relaxed too after the matrimony, it feels like, “yay now it’s party time!” Our friends and family gathered. There was music and Batavia Marina’s food was delicious! K surprised me with a video from Crystal, too. I was happy to see her and laughing listening to her “speech”.

My two other best friends gave their speeches, K delivered an emotional speech and I read the “Meant for You” poem for him. The poem was a close one to my heart. I wrote it right after my second visit to California years back.

I think my favorite part of the night was the dancing! It was a bit different, since we actually planned for Indonesian’s famous line dances for the wedding. Covid-19 safety precautions forced us to cancel it. I told K he should dance with his mom, since I don’t have my dad to dance with me. They agreed but then, K’s mom told me LITERALLY minutes before the supposedly mother-son dance, that I should dance with K’s dad. Me, the awkward with my feet me, should dance with my father in law.

I mean, I get along well with K’s dad and I think he is a loving, caring and protective dad. But the man is also the quietest person alive and barely say words to me, excuse moi, what do you mean I should dance with him instead?

He turned out to be quite a dancer. I was bloody nervous! The band played the intro for what seems like forever and as K’s dad took my hand, I was on my feet wanted to move already. But my father in law’s grip was firm on mine and he calmly said, “wait.” Months after, in a chat with K’s mom, she described how her husband’s calmness has kept her centered and grounded during the most difficult time in her life. Sitting today writing this and reflect back, I think I caught a glimpse of what she meant.

For the next 5 minutes or so, I grew steadily calmer and calmer and just followed my father in law’s lead. He is a rather reserved man, but through our dance and basically the whole day, I hope he got to know me a little bit better, as I did him.

Alas, the night was ended with K and me dancing! We wanted to do a silly dance for 2 minutes first, before slow dancing to Lion king’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. I think the band might have enjoyed our silly dance too much, to the point that they forgot to play our slow dance song altogether! There are lots of pictures of us laughing as we danced, people just didn’t know what we were laughing at back then.


3 a.m Thoughts

The wedding itself was not exactly how I imagined it would be; in fact, it was better and it was what I needed. In my mind I imagined it would be an intimate wedding under the stars in a forest somewhere.

I am in awe with how the Lord gave me all that through very curious means. Had it not been for Covid-19, I seriously doubt we could have an intimate wedding without fighting our families. It was not in the forest, but the dinner was enveloped in sunset and later, stars, by the ocean.

And we were surrounded by people who matter the most to us. People who have been there with us since the beginning, people who have witnessed our journey and sincerely prayed for our happiness.

I thought of my dad the whole day.

I wonder if he would’ve liked it, to be there and to witness the whole event folding out. I wonder what he would’ve said and my heart aches for that opportunity to see him golfing with K and his dad, or to discuss places to eat and to see them bond as in-laws.

My heart aches for the possibility of narratives that would never come. At the same time though, I took comfort in knowing that I was surrounded by the best people on earth. I took comfort in knowing that I am surrounded by love, completely and undeniably.

All is well.

the year of 2019

It’s pretty much 3 months late (haha) but hey, who says reflection only takes place at the end of the year (or beginning of one?). 2020 is a new decade and to think that I’ve survived the 2nd decade of my life, this time with better memory and appreciation of what has happened, I’d say it has been quite amazing.

There’s always a first for everything. I have never had an IV drip, ever. I opened 2019 with, well, being sick. I didn’t like it at all and have been doing my very best no to get in the same situation.

I also had a chance to see Beijing on a business trip. Somewhat conquered the Great Wall of China with friends and colleagues. I learned that I was a true Komodo dragon – couldn’t stand the cold haha.


I started a US visa application, this time without a sponsor and/or petition. I wrote everything about it here, in the hope that it’ll help anyone’s applying for a B1/B2 visa.

Well, well. Yours truly made a new friend at work this month. It’s refreshing to connect with someone else without having to worry about backstabbing and office politics, despite the fact that we worked under the same organization. It’s a big milestone because this year, I got to learn firsthand there’s a huge difference between friends and colleagues.

Celebrated Christmas in March with that one person who walks in starlight in a different world. Made lovely memories and understand that the best part of memories is making them. Boston was still enveloped in snow and the city looked like something out of a postcard. I loved every second of my trip.


Guess what? I also skied for the first time! Here’s a picture of K patiently waiting for me to remove my goggles in the far front of a diamond slope to get a better picture.


K and I visited California again for a beautiful wedding (the bride walked the aisle with Spirited Away’s Itsumo Nando Demo on the background!). K got to reconnect with some of his community college and university buddies and we had a fun week. Northern California and Bay Area are places both K and I hold dear in our hearts, it was lovely to be back.



Back in the East Coast, I took K to meet my cousins in New York. We had brunch at Sarabeth’s and you know among all the things I love, brunch is one I love the hardest hahah. We visited Ground Zero and I stood there in a sunny New York, thinking about 9/11 and the impact it brought to the world – I can’t even imagine how the victims and their families are handling it to this day.

But New York was also about other things. A stroll at Brooklyn Bridge, dragging K for a cronut at Dominique Ansel’s, and saying hi to lady Liberty. In the end, it was too soon and I had to say goodbye, again. Believe it or not, it doesn’t get any easier.


Boat ride. Jellyfish. Beach faraway from home. Sunkissed skin. Orangutans.
I travelled with rare, precious friends who fiercely stayed by my side. It was too easy to be myself with these ladies and they brought out only the very best in me.


My boss left for good – not sure what that meant for me. Though I knew it was a start to an even longer and draining journey. For everyone’s sake, I hope it was worth it.

Wondering if I was quite where I wanted to be, but literally had no time to ponder — which was probably a telltale sign to pause for a bit. But who am I kidding? I work at a startup, “pausing” is a concept unheard of.

Every year. Every single freakin’ year, there’s got to be a month FULL of rollercoaster rides in this theme park of life. This year, it’s July. One of my favorite girl, Karina, got married. I contemplated about marriage and commitment a lot as I assisted her with wedding prep. Mom went in for a huge surgery and the amount of energy and emotional toll it took on me was unbelievable. You know, sometimes I wonder how my soul is still intact. K was so adamant to fly me back to Boston. I’m flattered by this need but questioned it since I was just in Boston practically 3 months ago. I went to Boston because visiting K is pretty much my favorite thing to do and my mom was stable. In Boston, K proposed.


Excuse me, did you hear? K proposed. Mom got slightly better and emotional weight toned down a bit.

I turned a year older and hopefully a bit wiser. I kind of know what I want to do with life…. I guess. Well, probably not 100% sure, but I’ve got dreams and I am nervous but I also am very excited about it.

chloe_cafe_by_yuchunho_da55sm5-fullviewart by yuchunho

K came home for our “official” engagement party.  We are engaged in the eyes of society. The best part was that K was here with me. I am always in awe every time he’ s physically here, like he’s real and all. I am blissfully happy that I got to show him around Ambon, my dear, dear, beautiful hometown. We took our pre-wedding pictures there, met my family and I am thankful God protected us from the constant earthquakes that hit Ambon that time.


I have no memory of this month. Probably was getting ready for Christmas, looking for wedding dress and bake yummy cookies. I didn’t know how much butter can affect cookies’ flavors.

I got hurt. I understand better what a toxic friendship is and finally convinced myself to be brave to cut it out of my life. This was a huge turning point because for the longest time, I believed that when I removed myself from toxic environment, it means I give up on people. And I feel bad. But sister, it’s not about giving up on people, it’s about respecting yourself. It’s about having the strength to fight for people you care about and be gentle enough to forgive. It’s about doing that to yourself too. It is okay, to let go.

3 months into 2020 and I know it hasn’t been easy for any of us. There was flood, forest fire, Kobe Bryant left us, Reynhard Sinaga happened and Indonesia learned a little bit of good journalism. And then COVID-19 decided to show up and mess with people and the world in general. Maybe 2020 is about taking a step back. People are forced to limit their mobility but hey, probably that means we’re reducing major carbon print. As we struggle to breathe, Earth is allowed to breathe easy for once. I hope you guys stay safe and take care of each other.



Going Home

March 8th 2019
Above Aylmer Lake, 3 hours to New York

This could be easily the strangest and longest day of my life.

I started this journey about 22 hours ago, and so far I’ve read two books (Design of Everyday Things + Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – just because) and watched 2 and a half movies (Ralph Breaks the Internet – only half of it; I’m sorry Disney, but the movie was boring. Crimes of Grindelwald – a rewatch, but it’s Eddie Redmayne, there’s no explanation needed and also The Nutcracker and The Four Realms). I’ve eaten 4 meals that I can’t distinguish which one was breakfast, lunch or dinner anymore and refused 1 meal because it’s 1.30AM and it was not even Indomie.

I’ve slept and woken up countless times, stretched and made acquaintance of the flight attendants. I actually listened to all Vivaldi’s four seasons all the way to the end (usually I just listen to Spring and jumped to Autumn. Verdict: I still love Autumn the best), I suddenly craved for Classified’s Baked S’mores, and managed to contemplate on certain things in life.

I’ve crossed timezones and it was such a strange feeling. Few hours ago, I was wandering at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, where Guangzhou is 1 hour ahead of Jakarta. My flight was at 1.30AM, so I wandered around the quiet airport way past my bedtime. I was a bit sad when the stores and restaurants started to close at around 10.30PM, I thought they made great company and now the airport was even more quiet. Finally boarded the plane by 1AM or so and I managed to stay awake for couple of hours. I woke up at about 7am Jakarta time and it was blazing bright outside, now – 3 hours later it’s pitch black outside. Apparently I was crossing Canada. Okay, cool.

I tried to remember what it was like 4 years ago, when I went to the US and took a trans-atlantic flight for the first time. I think I had pretty much a similar distorted experience. Like I don’t know what time it is, where I am and am I hungry or am I sleepy?

That flight I took 4 years ago, and this particular one, had another thing in common: the person waiting on the other side of the world. Knowing that I’m going to see him at the end of this 25-hours flight, is a happiness out of this world. 4 years ago it was a mixture of anxiety, I was going to leave home a little longer, to start life in a different, foreign, faraway land. This time it’s a bit different. I was leaving home only to go home.

Dear you, who walks in starlight in a different world,

You asked me where I’d like to live. If you asked me this 5 or 7 years ago, I’d blurt out places like South Africa, Italy or maybe even France. Or that town where the inspiration for Kiki Delivery Service came from. But now when you asked, it’s your face that I saw first. I find it hardly a surprise – you are home.

And darling, I’m going home.


Pengalaman Bikin Visa Amerika (3/3)

Langkah 3 – Foto untuk Visa dan Upload Foto

Yang dibutuhkan untuk langkah ini:
Foto persis sesuai ketentuan dari kedutaan besar dalam bentuk soft copy

Seinget gw, gw selalu foto buat visa di Jalan Sabang. Waktu bikin visa schengen karena lagi sibuk-sibuknya, gw nggak sempet ke Sabang dan foto di studio foto deket rumah. Gw udah kasih sedetil mungkin ukuran dan kriteria untuk visa schengen, tapi terus…. fotonya ditolak. Disuruh bikin lagi on the spot di Visa Centre yang di Kuningan (bayar lagi). Yah… moral dari cerita ini adalah: meskipun secara teknis abang foto mana aja harusnya punya kemampuan fotoin kita untuk visa, mereka-mereka yang di Jalan Sabang adalah yang sudah sangat biasa foto untuk visa. Udah pada punya template, foto asli belum di crop, dan foto yang sudah di crop sesuai kriteria masing-masing negara.


Gw langganan di Jakarta Foto, buka dari jam 07.30 pagi. Di sepanjang jalan itu ada beberapa studio foto lainnya, kalau pada mau cobain tempat foto yang lain boleh aja. Foto visa USA harganya Rp60.000 (bisa sih pake kartu bayarnya, tapi biar nggak ribet bawa uang tunai aja), dapat foto 4 lembar + CD (gw minta di email aja soft copy nya, biar gampang upload ke website CEAC). Foto sudah di tangan dan di email, sekarang saatnya lanjutin form DS-160 dan teman-temannya.

Widiih, ayo semua tepuk punggung masing-masing. Udah 70% selesai nih, sabar ya, sedikit lagi. Kalau kalian kayak gw yang abis foto mau langsung lanjut beresin DS-160 plus bayar-bayar dan lain sebagainya, kalian akan butuh… tempat untuk duduk, meresapi semua proses ini dan menuntaskannya. Di Sabang banyak tempat ngopi sih, gw seneng di Another Coffee Shop karena tenang dan cappucino nya enak (plus complimentary butter scone nya yum yumm). Di ujung jalan Sabang ada Toko Oey yang makin lama makin hipster entah kenapa, tapi gw suka kaya toast-nya hiks gimana dong. Dua tempat ini Wi-Fi nya bisa diandalkan jadi cuss meluncur dan duduk manis yuk. Oke kalau sudah, buka lagi website CEAC kalian.

Upload foto kalian dengan klik tombol Upload Your Photo. Tinggal klik tombol Choose File dan masukkan foto kalian. Fotonya maksimal 240kb ya. Website CEAC akan mengecek foto kalian, jadi kalau misalnya ada yang salah (ukuran, warna, kejelasan dan cahaya foto), kita akan diberitahu. Begitu kalian pilih foto, lanjut tekan Next: Upload selected photo. Gw sempet lamaaa ngeliatin halaman ini dan baru sadar setelahnya kalau:
1) Nggak ada preview foto
2) tombol “Next: Upload selected photo” bisa diklik walaupun warnanya rada abu-abu gimana gitu.
Kalau udah selesai, yeeey! Pengisian DS-160 sudah beres! Sekarang cek lagi semua informasinya dan kalau sudah bener, masukkan nomor passport dan kode yang ada di kotak. Setelahnya, kamu akan menerima confirmation letter. Ini harus di print dan dibawa nanti waktu wawancara. Waktu nge-print, pastikan barcodenya terbaca dengan jelas ya.

Langkah 4 –  Buat Akun CGI dan Bayar Visa

Yang dibutuhkan untuk langkah ini:
a. Nomor konfirmasi DS-160 (lihat di confirmation letter)
b. Uang sebesar $160 untuk biaya visa
c. Kertas Cash Deposit & Electronic Funds Transfer

Selanjutnya, buat akun CGI. Fun fact: CGI Federal itu perusahaan IT yang nama lengkapnya adalah “Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique”, kira-kira artinya “Konsultan Manajemen dan IT).

Buat akun CGI-mu di sini. Setelah itu, buka plih New Application / Schedule Appointment  dari deretan menu di sebelah kiri. Ikuti semua langkahnya dan lengkapi datanya. Konsisten ya, samakan dengan yang tadi kalian masukkan di form DS-160. Begitu sampai di bagian pembayaran, pilih deposit slip yang $160. Saran gw setor cash aja di bank CIMB Niaga, karena nggak semua bank bisa memproses transaksi pakai virtual account. Selain itu, kalau bayarnya cash di bank, kalian bisa mulai proses penjadwalan pendaftaran visa setelah jam 12:00 di hari kerja selanjutnya. Kalau pakai virtual account, baru bisa setelah jam 15:00.  Nanti kalian akan menerima kertas Cash Deposit & Electronic Funds Transfer. Ini harus di print, karena bank nggak bisa melayani pembayaran tapa kertas ini. Siapkan salinannya untuk dibawa ke kedutaan besar waktu wawancara nanti. Kalau sudah print, bisa langsung ke bank CIMB Niaga terdekat untuk bayar. Bayarnya $160, kalian nanti dikasih tau kurs terkini dan bisa langsung bayar.

Setelah bayar, tarik nafas dulu dalam-dalam. Tugas hari ini sudah selesai, sekarang tinggal nunggu 1×24 jam sampai bukti pembayarannya “aktif”.

Langkah 5 – Jadwalkan Wawancara

Yang dibutuhkan untuk langkah ini:
a. Nomor paspor
b. 16 digit virtual account number (lihat di kertas bukti pembayaran)
c. Nomor konfirmasi DS-160 (lihat di confirmation letter)

Oke. Setelah bukti pembayaran aktif, masuk lagi ke akun CGI dan sekali lagi klik New Application / Schedule Appointment. Kalian bisa lihat jadwal wawancara terdekat yang tersedia. Masukkan semua data yang diminta dan pilih slot wawancara. Cuma ada dua pilihan untuk jamnya, jam 07:00 dan jam 09:00. Waktu itu gw pilihnya yang jam 07:00, masih harus ngantor lagi soalnya. Kalau sudah, jeng jeng jeng, silakan cek e-mail. Kalian seharusnya dikirimi appointment confirmation letter yang isinya data diri, detail appointment dan detail pengambilan paspor. E-mail ini juga wajib di print dan dibawa waktu wawancara nanti ya.

Langkah 6 – Wawancara Visa

yang dibutuhkan untuk langkah ini:
a. Diri sendiri di kedubes US, nggak pake telat
b. Paspor
c. DS-160 confirmation letter
d. Appointment confirmation letter
e. Print out Cash Deposit & Electronic Funds Transfer
f. Dokumen pendukung visa
g. Meninggalkan barang elektronik yang lebih besar dari HP

Di hari H wawancara, dengan gagah berani berangkatlah wahai pejuang visa ke kedutaan besar USA. Gw bikinnya di Jakarta, jadi pergilah gw naik kereta, turun di Gondangdia dan jalan kaki sampai kedutaan. Gw sampai kira-kira 15 menit sebelum waktu wawancara (harusnya 30 menit sebelum, biar nggak panik). Nggak usah dateng dari subuh, sekarang nggak bisa lagi antri dari pagi-pagi gitu. Beberapa meter sebelum pintu kedutaan ada tenda polisi. Kalau datang lebih dari 30 menit sebelum waktu wawancara, kalian akan disuruh nongkrong dulu di tenda itu. Selagi ngantri, petugas akan mengecek nama dan paspor. Peraturannya sederhana tapi bisa bikin panik:  dilarang bawa barang yang nggak relevan dengan wawancara, terutama barang elektronik. Laptop nggak boleh masuk ke kedutaan dan mereka nggak punya loker untuk barang sebesar laptop. Jadi lebih baik nggak dibawa. Untuk HP ada lokernya. Masuk ke kedutaan boleh bawa tas, tapi ya itu tadi, no laptop, no HP, charger, USB, earphone dan perangkatnya.

Setelah melewati pemeriksaan dan penitipan HP, kalian akan dipersilakan masuk. Di dalam ada 3 loket. Nanti dikasih nomor antrian sama petugas yang ada di ruang tunggu. Petugasnya ramah-ramah dan siap bantuin kalau ada kebingungan. Loket 1 untuk pengecekan kelengkapan dokumen. Di sini paspor gw dibolak-balik, petugasnya orang Indonesia. Terus ditanyain soal visa USA sebelumnya yang ketempel di paspor. Ditanyain pula bagaimana ceritanya dapat visa Q (visa exchange, alias visanya Disney). Yasudah berceritalah gw tentang Disney ngahahaha #anakDisneyforever

Loket 2 untuk pengambilan sidik jari. Petugasnya bukan orang Indonesia, tapi lancar berbahasa Indonesia. Super ramah dan riang. Sidik jari untuk kesepuluh jari tangan diambil di sini. Sambil diajakin ngobrol sedikit tentang “bagaimana perasaan Anda hari ini”, gw bilangnya seneng tapi gugup juga lumayan.

Setelah selesai urusan sidik jari, kalian akan dipersilakan duduk dan menunggu giliran wawancara. Waktu gw buat visa, ada 3 loket yang dibuka untuk keperluan wawancara. Loket A petugasnya misterius, ngomongnya bisik-bisik bikin merinding aja. Loket B petugasnya super bahagia. Taro tumbler kopi di depannya, senyam-senyum sumringah nanyain semua orang mau ngapain ke USA. Loket C petugasnya nampak galak, belom-belom udah ngasih kertas pink (permohonan ditolak) ke tiga orang. Gw nunggu sambil harap-harap cemas gimana gitu. Kepinginnya dapet Mr. B, tapi terus mikir kalau mendadak dia bad mood ngeliat gw terus gimana dong. Ada satu orang di depan gw yang dikasih kertas pink sama Mr. B yang tetep sambil senyam-senyum. Orang ini terus berbalik dan mukanya kecewa banget. Yang lagi duduk nunggu giliran pasang tampang sedih juga, berempati (dan takut juga gw rasa).

Nomor gw dipanggil dan tibalah giliran wawancara. Wawancaranya sama Mr. B.

–wawancara dimulai–
Gw: Good morning, how are you?
Mr. B: Good morning to you too! (gw: jangan-jagan sebentar lagi dia mau quote si Gandalf LOTR……).
Mr. B: What brings you here?
Gw: (responsibilities, law and adult life of having to do this on my own…) applying for a B1/B2 visa, sir
Mr. B: Cool. What do you want to do in the US?
Gw: Spending Christmas probably in Boston. Then, I really want to try that coast-to-coast Amtrak train. I heard it’s pretty amazing.
Mr. B: I’ve never tried that either, sounds fun. What do you for a living?
Gw: Writing (I should say STRATEGIZING arghhh) mobile content for this company. This company is–
Mr. B: I know that company. Very cool.
Gw: Thanks!
Mr. B: Okay, here you go. Have a good trip, have fun!
Gw: I will! Thank you very much, have a good day!
–wawancara berakhir dalam 2 menit–

Gw pasang tampang kalem, padahal dalam hati jejingkrakan. Gw dikasih kertas putih (ayo joget dulu 30 detik), yang artinya permohonan visa diterima. Kertas kuning artinya permohonan ditangguhkan, biasanya perlu beberapa dokumen lagi sebelum keputusan diambil. Kertas pink artinya permohonan ditolak.

Dokumen pendukung gw memang nggak ada yang diminta. Tapi, penting banget untuk memastikan kita punya semuanya, termasuk foto cadangan, slip gaji, rekening koran,  dan surat pernyataan dari kantor. Jadi kita selalu siap kalau diminta untuk menunjukkan dokumen-dokumen ini.

Lalu apa lagi? Lalu ya selesai. Tinggal keluar dan ambil barang-barang yang dititipkan. Paspor kita ditahan dan akan dikembalikan dengan visa USA. Pengambilan paspor sesuai preferensi masing-masing, bisa ambil sendiri di RPX casablanca (pas sebelah Lawson di jalan Dr. Satrio — sisi sampingnya menara Sampoerna. Halte TransJakarta terdekat: Halte Karet) atau bisa minta dianterin kurir. Gw kurang begitu seneng paspor dipegang sama banyak pihak, jadi milih untuk ambil sendiri. Nanti di e-mail atau di-SMS kalau paspornya udah siap diambil.

Terima kasih ya sudah baca sampai sini. Berikut gw sertakan FAQ untuk membantu kalian menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang membara di hati.


Rey, sebelumnya pernah nggak dapat visa US?
Pernah, tahun 2015 lalu waktu diterima kerja di Disney.

Jadi membantu banget dong itu. Gimana nih kita-kita yang belom pernah dapet visa?
Nggak masalah. Selama ceritanya konsisten dan masuk akal, harusnya aman-aman aja.

Rey, pernah ngurus dan dapat visa dari negara lainnya?
Pernah, beberapa negara di Asia dan visa schengen.

Tuh, kan! Visa Amrik-mu dipermudah karena itu kali?
Hmm, gw pernah denger juga kok ada yang udah bolak-balik banyak negara tapi ditolak juga visanya. Jadi sekali lagi menurut gw ini masalah konsistensi dan intensi yang baik.

Aku ditolak visa. Sakit hatiku. Dompetku juga.
Puk puk. Jangan menyerah, direnungkan lagi kenapa kira-kira visanya ditolak, perbaiki, terus coba lagi ya. Petugas konsulat memang diharuskan mencurigai bahwa semua orang berniat jadi imigran gelap di USA (sampai terbukti sebaliknya). Maka tugas kita adalah untuk membantu meyakinkan petugas kalau kita nggak ada niatan seperti itu.

Berapa lama sih visa US jadi?
Sekitar 3-4 hari kerja, maksimal 1 minggu.

Kapan kita dapat keputusan dari kedutaan tentang visa diterima atau ditolak?
Langsung tahu saat itu juga. Petugasnya nanti akan kasih salah satu dari tiga jenis kertas. Kertas putih artinya visanya diterima, kertas kuning artinya belum bisa diputuskan (biasanya kedutaan minta dokumen pendukung tambahan) atau kertas pink yang artinya visa ditolak.

Mesti punya tabungan 100 juta ya? Jumlah minimalnya berapa yang aman?
Nggak juga kok. Yang masuk akal aja. Misalnya nih, untuk liburan 1 minggu ke San Francisco, kira-kira perhitungan kasar pengeluarannya:
-Tiket PP $1300
-Makan 7x3x$7 = $147
-Penginapan di dorm guesthouse 7x$15 = $105
-Muni pass untuk bus, cablecar & trem $29
-Museum ticket (ada beberapa yang free juga sih….) $55
-Day tour ke Muir Forest & Sausalito $30
-Sewa bike Golden Gate $20
-Belanja-belanji $50
Total $1733
Nah selayaknya tabungan harus cukup cover jumlah ini, plus biaya nggak terduga dan sisa tabungan setelah itu juga harus kira-kira cukup untuk kalian di Indonesia sampai nanti gajian lagi.

Katanya karena sekarang presidennya Pak Trump, jadi susah ya visanya?
Ini banyak yang nanya nih, post-Trump sama pre-Trump. Gimana ya, gw ngurus dua jenis visa yang berbeda pre-Trump dan post-Trump, jadi nggak bisa dibandingin. Tapi kayaknya ya nggak juga lah… balik lagi ke kelengkapan persiapan visa kita.

Paspornya harus ambil sendiri ya?
Bisa minta dianter kurir. Kalau nggak salah yang nganterin nanti antara FedEx atau DHL.

Bisa kirim pakai GrabExpress?
😅 nggak bisa kayaknya, ya. Drivernya pusing nanti sama security nya kedutaan.

Ada tips lain nggak untuk pembuatan visa US?
Teliti dan konsisten dalam mengisi formulir, sebisa mungkin jangan membuat kesalahan. Tenang waktu wawancara dan jujur soal niatan kalian mau ke USA.

Nah, sampai sini dulu. Semoga panduannya membantu kalian dalam proses aplikasi visa. Semangat ya!