Like the last time I went home, I didn’t bother creating an itinerary this time. I have come to accept that Indonesia is synonymous with home and at home, you are not obligated to plan anything. You just need to be. And that’s exactly what I did.
The itinerary: Toronto – Surabaya – Jakarta – Singapore – Toronto
Number of traveler: 1. Just me. Although I hosted a couple very special guests and my family hosted my aunts, uncle, and my grandmother, all of whom decided to visit Indonesia and stay in our humble house.
Favourite food: Nasi Empal Pengampon. Mostly because my mom used to eat there as a lite girl and she told us stories while we ate our lunch.
Favourite moments – there are so many, but here are several top ones.
1. Lisa and Alex came to visit. I met up with them for Ella’s wedding in Jakarta, they came to Surabaya with me, and continued to Bali afterwards. We spent several days going for Fika, visiting a few malls and 1 very well thought-out museum (House of Sampoern, that’s you!), and catching up on life in general. We visited my dad’s chicken farm and fruit farm and we included him in all our outings. This has to be my favourite part. I love that my dad enthusiastically tagged along even though he doesn’t really understand English.
2. Ella’s wedding in Jakarta. Ella left to Indo in April and I have been sorely missing my fika buddy since. It’s true – I am much less likely to go out for a mid-afternoon coffee now. It was really good to see her again, this time in her beautiful wedding dress. It was also a highlight to FINALLY meet Zhikao, after 4+ years hearing about him.
3. Full house in Surabaya. As I mentioned above, my 3 aunts, 1 uncle, and my grandmother were all in Indonesia around the same time I was there. Our house is usually very quiet when I go home but it was very different this time. There were always food on the table, plans to go out, and stories to tell. It was crazy for a few weeks and it was so so nice.
4. Singapore with my parents. We went away from all the craziness for a weekend. It was nice to have my parents to myself. This trip left me wanting to know more about Singapore. I will come back next time I come home.
5. Catch up sesh with elementary school friends. I usually tell people I barely have any friends left in Indonesia because I moved at such an awkward time – one year after middle school began. It wasn’t enough time to forge a strong enough friendships with my classmates, except for 2 people – Jimmy and Stephanie. I have known these guys since I don’t remember when and everytime we meet, we pick up right where we left off and carry on our conversation as if no time has passed at all. I also met with Vella, my middle-school friend, and Bunga, my play time buddy in elementary school, both of whom I have not seen since I left the country. It was so nice to catch up with everyone and to rekindle old friendships. For this I am truly grateful.
6. Koci-Koci. It’s very common in Indonesian household to have hired-help to clean, prepare food, and to do all other necessary household chores. My parents, like the rest of the country, have one who has been with us for years now. She is a great help and lives near my dad’s farm in the countryside. Her entire family has worked at the farm, so my parents are pretty close to them. She had to go and see her family when I was home but before she left she promised to make me koci-koci when I come up to the farm. Koci-koci is a traditional village snack made from rice flour, stuffed with shredded coconut and palm sugar, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed to perfection. True to her promise, she made a huge bowl of these guys and delivered it to the farm when she found out I was there. It was a very sweet gesture, literally and figuratively.
I spent close to 3 weeks in Indonesia and barely did anything noteworthy for blogging. I didn’t go to Bali, Raja Ampat, or Komodo National Park like I wanted to. I realized while those are exciting, it’s way more important to spend time and create memories with the ones I love most, even if those memories are of mundane, everyday situation.