To my best friend that I have just found, thank you for being such a great inspiration and supporter.
I was 16 when I was first met her. We went to the same high school and got stuck in the same class in the 11th grade. Like all typical Chinese Indonesians, she has black hair and small eyes, and she was genius, still is.
Her sweet seventeenth birthday was the grandest of us all, and until today I still can remember her in her magnificent purple dress. She was stunning.
During high school we were quite good friends. We were in the same drama group. We served in the school’s chapel together, and we were both the pianists. We took Mathematics Extension 2. And she aced the subject.
She always has a brilliant brain for Maths, and today, she got in.
She got into Dean’s list.
She’s one of the top 3 percent.
Coming to the same university as her has taken me by surprise, because clearly, Melbourne was not her first choice.
But she ended up being here, and I’m really grateful that she did.
To some extent, her story is a lot like mine. Well, for romantic stories anyway. Over the years of friendship we have found striking similarities we often joked about, making her one person that knows exactly how I feel and what I’m going through.
But before that, let me tell you what I know about Livia Benedict.
Livia is an Indonesian-born-Chinese who grew up in the busy metropolitan city, Jakarta. She has two older brothers, one of which will soon tie the knot. She came from an upper class family.
Even though she is one of the Eve’s descendant, to me she always is the more rationalist compared to all of us.
But before uni, I never really get to know her that well.
What I adore about Livia is her values. We share a lot in common, in terms on how we think and see life.
And unlike most of Indonesian international students, she has a part time job even though she never needs it, and keeps on striving for work experience.
My editor in Meld once told me that I have become Westernised in my idealism, which makes me unable to connect fully with my typical Indonesian peers. But I am happy to say that Livia understands me. She really does.
The first time I got an interview for an internship in the Royal Children’s Hospital, she gave me words of encouragement and asked me how it was right after the interview ended.
We traveled to places, mostly venturing new cafes, and we talked, a lot.
Odd enough, we both are not the type that crave for each other constantly. I think it’s fair enough to say that we are both individualists; we don’t mind not talking to each other everyday but having a good quality catchup once in a month.
And she is such a great listener, and supporter.
A couple of times she reads my writing, even though I know that she doesn’t really like to read. She told me once that the only novel she reads is chick flick, and resents the others.
Two years ago, we were both enrolled in the best university in Australia. She is a Commerce student, majoring in economics and finance, while I’m taking arts.
She teaches the little children. That’s no easy task.
She is fond of denim and shoes, and always dresses nicely.
Over the past two years, I have seen her grow, and become even more mature. She has flourished in her Christianity, and I can see that portrayed on her words.
She has become a fine young lady.
And today, as I sit on one of those benches, seeing you receiving the honour of the prestigious dean’s list, I have nothing more to say than I am proud of you. As a friend, I’m so, immensely proud.
I know that your name will be forever listed in the university’s history, and this is just another babbling on a mere blog post of mine, but I hope one day when life gets tough, you’ll remember how awesome you are today, combating those ‘kiasu’ Asian students for a place in the award.
You’re a fine young lady, and I know you will always be no less than being great.