Last year today, 20 May 2017, I was lying in Frankfurt Klinikum and had 6 hours biopsy, which then confirmed Brainstem Midline Pontine Glioblastoma/ DIPG Grade IV.
It’s been 1 year post biopsy. This past one year I experienced a lot! Physically and emotionally, and how I see through things in life, peoples and God.
Today is to remember that I have got the chance to live, and since then every day matters. To celebrate this I would like to share with you about who I am, for you to know more about Titien.
::: 0-16 year old
My name is Titien Wijaya Huray. My Grandpa gave me a chinese name Li Tinghua, means splendid and graceful. I was born in a humble and simple family in a big city Jakarta, Indonesia.
When I was a kid, as the eldest (with a younger brother) and the only granddaughter, I spent most weekends with my grandparents. I was spoiled with new clothes and new toys.
I played the piano since I was 4 years old. I had concerts, I got prizes, and my performance at school was also good. I became my family’s pride.
But, in my teenage years I was also rebellious and very stubborn. I yelled at my parents, I manipulated my brother.
One late evening, I was 15, and drove to a park not far from home just so I could smoke cigarettes with my friend. Then a police car came and searched my car, suspected us with drugs. Knowing that we were just some stupid teenagers, the officer said “It’s late, go home!”
I was not popular at school, always with tomboy-bob hairstyle.
Then after the 1998 crisis in Indonesia, I moved to China.
::: 16-24 year old
Me and my brother came to Shenzhen a city with 10 million inhabitants without any clue about China. We couldn’t speak the language. So we started with language classes.
After 1.5 years of learning Chinese, in year 2000, we enrolled in the University. My major was Economics and International Business, and of course I failed the placement test. So I met the director and negotiated, “Sir, I can’t tell my dad about this, I came from far away to study here, tests in Chinese for me are not easy. Please give me a chance, if I can pass the first semester then I stay, if I fail again, I leave” I said. He agreed. I did well in my first semester with good marks. In 2004, I graduated, and immediately started working in a trading company.
During my 4 years at Uni, my friend Zhangkan took me to a Chinese Christian Fellowship Group, this is the first time I was interested in Christianity, then I was baptized.
Since then, I was actively involved in the community. I was very much moved by the poor, I visited them often.
One Sunday, an old lady who looked like a beggar came to the restaurant to join the church service that was held there. She was harshly rejected by the waiter, and she was afraid and looked very sad. I came to her and hugged her, she smelled bad, but then I took her inside and tell the waiter that she’s my friend.
Meanwhile, I had beautiful long hair, and I dyed it with bright red color, or blue or purple, or highlighted with gold. I climbed the dormitory wall after me and friends came back from a party after midnight.
One day police came and asked all non-chinese to not be involved in religious affairs. Then I spent most of my weekend in Hongkong. I started voluntarily teaching piano to Indonesian workers (housemaids).
That time my relationship with my family was not great. We didn’t talk much.
I ate Mcdonalds 3-4 times a week. I drank sweetened tea all the time. Yep, I like fries, spicy chicken wings and burger.
In 2006, I moved to Beijing and worked for the Indonesian Embassy.
::: 24-34 year old
I learned a lot from my workplace, I had many great experiences. But like in any other workplaces, there’re nice and not nice bosses and colleagues, brilliant ideas and stupid ideas. I was treated with respect and disrespect, appreciated and under appreciated, etc. I survived though.
In Beijing, I met many international friends. This forced me to communicate in English.
I visited my friend’s small local church and found out their keyboard was so outdated, and they need help with playing piano. So I taught piano for free for them, and I gave them an electric piano as a gift.
I had a platonic long-distance relationship since 2003. It was on and off. He’s a good man. I broke his heart many times. In 2016 he cut me off forever.
I lost weight 6 kgs to 54 Kg in 6 months from following my flatmate’s diet, that’s less carbs and walk a lot. Since then, my weight is stable until now: 51 kg.
I never really had a close-distance relationship, until in Beijing. In 2011, I fell in love with someone from the church, but he broke my heart, and church leaders even assumed and accused me of wrongdoing. I didn’t do anything and I can’t speak my voice. The door was slammed closed and I felt kicked out, alone, judged unfairly by church leaders.
Hurt and disappointed, my life was changed. I became numb and lost.
I was then in relationships again, very unhealthy and unhappy. (I would love to share more with you —relationships and a women’s worth— in a different post: A reflection of my past.)
One evening to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hosted a “Nutella Party” at my flat, with a waffle making competition by boys, girls the judges. It was attended by more than 20 peoples and super fun. I often hosted open house parties.
Together with 2 other business ladies, we opened a fashion shop in Sanlitun, the most commercial place in Beijing, while I was still working for the Embassy.
I supported the project that helping and restoring hope to exploited women and girls, by selling the jewelry they create in my shop.
I’ve met many friends in Beijing, some became my best friends. I put others first. I barely said no.
But also some took me for granted, and I was betrayed by friends.
I thought status, figure and possession are my pride. Conditions that were hurting me cornered me becoming a very unhappy person with negative aura.
I had bulimia, and my depression was getting worse. I quit my job and my business. I left Beijing in 2015.
I came to Germany for the first time in summer 2015, I was learning the German language in Stuttgart where I met for the first time Tobias (now my husband) online. But that time I was in relationship with an alcoholic boyfriend, so nothing was going on between me and Tobi.
3 months later, still unhappy and unsecured, I decided to go back to Jakarta. My broad business network in China and Indonesia made it very easy for me to enter the market.
But, I was stressed out in the city I had left so many years ago. I couldn’t handle Jakarta’s lifestyle. I left home from 8am to 8pm, spent weekend partying or going to shopping malls. I felt lonely. After 8 months, I felt it was enough.
Like a dead woman walking, I left Jakarta, and ran away back to Germany. I traveled a bit in Europe. I missed this quietness, fresh air, walks in nature.
Soon, I became aware I was lost, I have no vision, everything was chasing wind. I was severely damaged inside, I was hurt and disappointed with myself and God. I hurt those who’re concern and love me. My world was a chaos. I felt empty.
I gave up, happiness seems like an impossible thing.
Just after 3 months back in Germany, in Autumn 2016, I decided to leave Germany and go back home to Indonesia. Run away, that’s me when I was cornered.
I remembered Tobias, whom we kept in touch since we met in 2015. I wanted to see him and say good bye again. He invited me with friends to Oktoberfest. On 6 October 2016 we met and the story ended differently. After long time, I felt happy again. In December he asked me if I want to spend another 50 years with him and I said “Yes”.
::: 35-36 years old
On 5th April 2017, I married the love of my life. I took his name. Now I am Mrs. Titien Maier.
Ever since I met Tobias, my life was changed. My soul was healed. In the beginning of our relationship, he saw my trauma and fears, and he gently showed me that with him is a safe environment. I could trust again.
He nurtured me blooming again. He relived my innermost, a happy person with a good heart. I finally know what is love and loved unconditionally. I learned to accept love. I understand a women’s worth.
Now, every night I can confidently feel free to snuck in the duvet with my icy-cold hands and feet, and warm them up by pressing them against his warm body. Like a cat kneading, but without sharp nails.
I like to greet people. I started a conversation with strangers I met in the train. Some became friends.
20 May 2016, I woke up from biopsy and got disappointing news of having dipg grade 4.
2 months in the hospital, I made friends with my roomies. An old lady happily wanted me to call her “grandma”. I listened to the nurses sharing about their life’s stories including problems, and I silently prayed for them. I accepted much love and supports beyond I can imagine.
I started talking again with my family. Now, we have a strong bond. Reconciliation happens in my family.
One afternoon I was hungry and went to a Thai Restaurant, I was waiting to order the food, but the waiter didn’t even come. Then I came to him to order. His attitude wasn’t friendly. Funny is that it doesn’t matter for me. I enjoyed the meal. I won’t go there again, because the food was so-so. But what I’m trying to say that his attitude didn’t affect me of being happy.
On Sunday 2 weeks ago, I was crying at church thinking of bombing in Surabaya’s churches that were just happened hours ago, I wrote a message about it to the pastor to pray for the victim. Unfortunately, he didn’t even share about this news to the congregation and not mentioned this in closing prayer. Well, I was a bit disappointed but his action did not affect my view about church or God. I didn’t see that he’s less righteous than me or me better than him. Human makes mistakes.
I like animals but not insects. I love birds. I like going to petting zoos.
I love cooking, meeting friends, spending time with old people and hearing their stories, being outdoor sitting under the sun, I feel meaningful when helping others.
I hate lies and betrayal. I dislike messy and dirty. I am against arrogance and bullies.
Well that’s a bit about myself. My personality, my weaknesses, my habit.
(To be continued…)