Written a week after my Oma died.
I just came back from my dad’s side family gathering to commemorate Oma’s passing. We usually do this when someone died. I wasn’t exactly enthused to come along. It’s not because I don’t wanna honor her memory, it’s just I try to stay away from the things these people are capable of. My Oma isn’t your typical run of the mill grandmotherly type of Oma. She was a force to be reckon with. She was an acquired taste; she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. She would speak her mind that didn’t go well with people. そう言うおばあちゃんでした. I think it would be fairly normal if a lot of people didn’t like her.
As for me, she’d say that I dressed ‘slordeh’ and weird (which came from her as she too stood out from the crowd), she’d tell me what to do, and tell me that my boyfriend was cute but looked like a cicak (house lizard) because he’s skinny. Most of the times I find it endearing and amusing, rather than annoying. Sometimes, I tell stories about her to my friends while mimicking the way she speaks as she is so quirky. She’d say things like, ugly looking thousand rupiah bills as ‘uang busuk’ and ‘jalan tikus’ as the road for ‘orang-orang rakyat’. She had Dutch background, so that was why she could come off as being high and mighty for us ‘inlander’.
Earlier we had this talk in the family gathering about her. People are remembering her in their own way. Nice words are being thrown around as tears would come rolling down their faces. But there I was, couldn’t help but thinking that the tears will pass and our family condition would be back to were it once was again -pithy and problematic- as soon as this little soiree is over. I do hope I’m wrong but the events that took place afterwards proved to be otherwise. It was like business as usual in our clan. But I guess it’s okay. That’s just how people are. No one can change that. It’s just made me wonder why this kind of soiree is necessary in the first place.
To be honest, I’m still distraught because of her passing. I haven’t let the reality of it all struck me just yet. I need to sort things out. Last night I had a dream of her, hugging me and thanking me. I was somewhat relieved. I feel like a bit of burden has been taken from me. For a Taurus that I am, any dramatic changes takes time to get used to. I’m doing my best and I’m praying the best for Oma.
It’s been along time since I wrote in this blog and since then a lot of things happened. The good, the bad, this last year has been full of it. Recently, I just resigned from JICA after working for 4 years because I got a job offer at Aoi Advertising Promotion Inc., which is a Japanese production house that focuses on making commercials. I am thrilled about this job! I’ve always wanted to work in the creative field. My friend, Emi san, made the interview happened so I owed it to her. The job doesn’t start until May this year since they were having some setbacks on their schedules to the disaster in Japan. I decided that I should take a one month sabbatical before the new job starts. Hey, it’s been a long time since I’ve been bumming around in my parents’ house.
That was the good. On the other end of the spectrum, my Oma just died on April 1st. I haven’t seen her since last year and didn’t get to see her before she was buried. Honestly, I still don’t know to react to this. At one part, I can just consider that she is still okay and I just hadn’t gotten the chance to see her yet. This, I think would be easier, than accepting the fact that I wasn’t there to see her for be last time. I can’t say that we were particularly close but it sorta felt like it. I really can’t explain. You can say that I have a love-meh relationship with her. Old people are sorta my soft spots, so my Oma does make me go squee but she, being the Batak she is, has an attitude.
When I was little I use to sleep over at her house. At the time I thought that she was really nice. Those sleepovers were the highlight of my school holidays. She lived in a nice housing complex with a basketball court in front of her house. For a kid that and the freedom to ride bikes on paved streets were enough for a good time. I don’t quite remember but on Sundays she usually take me jogging with her. She’d wake up early on the morning, gear up -which includes putting her Walkman- and jog around her block. I remember she listened to a French kid name Jordy (look it up on YouTube). So yeah, after that she moved to Jakarta and there went my Sunday jogging with her.
After that things were kinda messy with the death of my Opa. It was then I realized that words can hurt and she was somewhat malicious. I should note that she and Opa were divorced. Since then I try to get close enough with giving her the opportunity to snap at me.
Oma’s death was kinda complicated. I mean, when my Opa died, I was nine and things were simpler. Opa was nice, he came by to meet me and my brother almost everyday just to give us our favorite pastry from a particular bakery. He took me to my piano and ballet lessons. He was a nice grandparent to look up to. I remember whining and crying in a record shop, pleading him to buy me the newest Michael Jackson album, Dangerous (mind you that I was obsessed with Michael Jackson as a kid). He couldn’t buy it, because his pension money hadn’t come through. Finally he called my dad at work, and somehow I got the cassette later that night. I must be such a handful back then. When he died, all there was was this big hole in me, to see someone whose existence was a constant as the sun to be taken away from me. I loved him, I still do. There was nothing but love for my Opa.
Now, I’m still sorting out my feelings toward her. I try to let go all of the negativity, be it from her or from me. It is very difficult. I don’t wannabe a hypocrite by saying that I will let the bygones be bygones when I still can’t. I’m still sorting everything out. All that I can say that I am trying really hard to forgive myself, and her. When I do, I can finally say, “Goodbye, Oma, rest in peace, I love you.”
It’s 9pm on a working day at the end of the month, I haven’t received my salary yet (as per usual) and I’m horribly low on cash. But, here I am in a mall, sitting where ever as long as it’s not compulsory for me to buy anything. My choice of hide-out is here near the elevator comfortably tucked in behind a couple of pillars and a coffee place. I just finished the bread that I just bought for dinner, am typing away on my iPod and am not planning on doing anything else and going back to my 3 by 2 rented room in the other part of town just yet.
‘Why?’ you may (or may not) silently ask. Aside from the obvious traffic in the bustling yet organized metropolis that is Jakarta (pfffftt), I simply like it here. It’s not that I don’t like my rented room, —although it could use an air conditioner, cable tv with a DVD player, an internet connection, and things that makes me go ‘whee~’ and ‘squee~’ and less of the brusque landlady— but it hasn’t got enough room for my to let my mind wander and people watching. That’s why I like big fuck off malls, other than the wide space there are also dozens of people running about. If I’m lucky I could sometimes spot deranged old ladies with dried-bush-like bouffants carrying their Birkins or Prada or whatever and wearing platform sandals. Bouffants are the middle-aged mall-bound housewives equivalent of a military rank or office hierarchy. The taller the bouffant, the higher the husbands position. A messy and tall bouffant is like post power syndrome, it reached tall and glorified places but it’s collapsing like a failed soufflé. Umm, that’s about enough of the bouffant. Didn’t spot any today. Wasn’t my lucky day.
Back to the mall thingy. I’ve been doing this since when I was in college. No money, posh malls. I haven’t been able to put it in simple words before, but now, ah, now I have come up with a name for it. Simply put it’s the Breakfast in Tiffany’s Syndrome. I like it here because people are seemingly happy and have charmed lives like nothing went wrong in life and in the world. It’s the kind of world I wanna live in. That’s why I like it here.
On the dawn of a new era, that is to say that I’ll turn 25 in exactly 30 minutes, I am now left wondering what I have accomplished during my 25 years of living on this world. I can safely say that I got pretty much what I wanted. Seeing L’Arc after a couple of life changing disappointments, going to Japan for the first time in my life, which was a dream of mine since I was 6 years old, having a good day job and a pretty exciting side job, having someone on that I really care about and other things.
I admit that at times I do feel that I haven’t had enough, that’s just me being a brat and. of course being human, because that’s just the thing that drives us to do better, to reach higher and be a better human being. I think that in this moment of my youth, though at times I do feel old, it is, in fact my time to achieve more. I have ambitions and I plan to reach them in my own way, which in many times is unstructured, random and unplanned since I understand now that I see only things that are right in front of me. But I’m certain that I can accomplish them.
So about my birthday wish this year… I really can’t say, not because of that birthday wish tradition but because I don’t know what to wish for, at least not yet. Maybe success in career, especially in my side job rather than my day job, maybe an easier way to see L’Arc in 2011, maybe luck in love, maybe the basic things like health and maybe wealth.
The thing is, whatever the condition maybe I hope I can find happiness even if it is in the little things without losing the will to achieve more, without getting jaded and losing that zest that makes life colorful, without losing that energy and spontaneity and randomness and love for live.
Lastly, to mom and dad, thank you for raising me to be the person I am, no matter how painfully irritating it was, for your side and/or mine.
My name is Rinintha, aged 24, 25 this year. Born in the great capital city of Indonesia, that being Jakarta for those of you who are a bit poor on world geography. I enjoy music a lot but I tend to be band oriented thus becoming a self-proclaimed band geek. Since I had no clue on what social life was all about in my adolescent years, ever
since the beginning of my adult life, that being the life after I turned 17, I never partied or go clubbing, which to me is a total waste of time. I had more fun in front of my computer, preferably if it’s accompanied with a notoriously high speed internet. I do enjoy a few rare drinks. But since I do not get inebriated that easily, well, in this case never, drinking serve me no purpose of escapism. Assuming that is what most people are after when they drink. Since alcohol is not my kind of poison, I opted for sugar, which in some cases has done much latent damage to my physical well being, although it has done tremendous good in the case of my emotional well being. On the topic of emotional well being, I dare say that I’m not a moody person even though I experience periodical ups and downs that are completely unrelated to my monthly cycles. I admit that there were times when I feel completely frustrated when there weren’t anything to be frustrated about.
On with the things that I do enjoy, I find long walks alone are simply meditative and yet very contemplative at the same time. When I walk I think about many things but not really thinking about them at all. So things just go through and out of my head. It’s a sort of self purification for me. I like to walk under a light rain, but never had the chance to actually do it, because people might think I’m mad… No, not think, people here tend to shout out or worse when they see something odd, the worst being the imminent fact they will stop me and ask me what’s wrong, when nothing is really wrong to begin with. I think it’s best not to do it when there are people around as to avoid communicating with those who don’t understand what long walks in the rain are all about.