Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mudik - Pulang Kampung - Going Back Home

After living in Saigon for one month and five days, I got the first chance to "mudik" or "pulang kampung" or "going back home" to my home town in Jakarta-the capital city of Indonesia.

"Monas" - Monument National, Jakarta
Reasons of going back home are to see my apartment after the renovation, and of course meet my family and friends.  Two special things happen during this visit are the fasting month (Ramadhan) and the Indonesian Independence Day of 17th August (17an).  Plans for breakfasting (buka puasa) with family and friends have been set! About the "17an", let’s check how my national sentiment is after living abroad for a short period.

Fatahillah Museum, Jakarta
I decided to take a direct flight to save time and to see how this airline is. It is a 3 hour 10 minute journey.  At the moment there is only one airline has such schedule.  Plus this airline flies in the evening from Ho Chi Minh City, so I still could attend my French and Vietnamese classes during the day.

Plane departed on time as per schedule.  So it was a good start.  Up in the air, I forced myself to listen to my ipod, instead of music, I had to listen to my Vietnamese language program!  Otherwise I’d had been clueless when I returned to class after being absent for four days.  Meanwhile, I have no worries about my French class, I knew I would be able to deal with it.  Thanks to CCF (Centre Culturel Fran├žais) Jakarta!

When I was closer to destination, I recalled a very old song by Koes Jakarta aku 'kan kembali....walaupun apa yang 'kan terjadi.... (to Jakarta I'll return, no matter of what'll happen). 
Koes Plus is an Indonesian musical group that enjoyed success in the 1970s:

Plane arrived on time. Jakarta..., as if I had never leave you. Things are still the same... The 'aura' of home could be felt... I am a bit too shy to admit that I almost cried alone in the plane.

Stasiun Kota - Train Station Kota - Jakarta
Siapa bilang Jakarta macet?  Who complains about the traffic in Jakarta?  It took me only one hour from when I landed in Soekarto-Hatta airport, passed immigration, got my luggage and took a taxi home.  No traffic.  It was midnight - by the way! LOL.

Day 1

How to overcome my guilty feeling for being away?  Spending quality time with the loved ones!

"Buka Puasa" with family was my priority.  I had to say that I enjoyed my mom driving me around!  The two year old nephew was already hungry before we arrived at the restaurant, but no way to speed up because traffic was not smooth so he was moody.  Then I stayed at home and watched CBeebies channel with a nephew and a niece until late at night.

Not only that I was happy to meet my family, I was also happy to see Mya again!  Please read it as Maya, it was my Yaris car!  Her new owner who is my sister allowed me to drive her around.  Was I lucky or what?  Thanks sis!

Mya is in the shower
Satisfying myself with Indonesian food?  Yes!  Thank God, I had chances to eat Sop Buntut (oxtail soup), Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Pisang Goreng Pasir (banana fritter), Sayur Daun Singkong (cassava leaves cooked with coconut milk), Ikan Teri Cabe Ijo (Teri fish cooked with green chili), Tahu Goreng Seafood (fried tofu with seafood) and Es Kelapa Muda (coconut ice).

Watching and listening to Indonesian TV channels were so enjoyable.  Because I understand what it is all about.  Opera Van Java is so funny.  News on SCTV was good.  By the way, when I found out that Vietnam also has SCTV, I thought it is the same one like Indonesia.  But it is not.

About the serious subject I had to do during this visit: my apartment has been renovated well. It is now available for rent.

Day 2

Dirgahayu Indonesia.  Happy Independence Day Indonesia…!  It is the 66th Anniversary of Indonesian Independence.

I watched my nephew and his two friends doing the Upacara Bendera (Flag Ceremony) on the Independence Day around the neighborhood.  When I was at the elementary school, also I had to do the flag ceremony every Monday at 7am.

When I was in Elementary School....
I listened to "Indonesia Raya" the national anthem.  Part of the refrain says “Indonesia Raya, Merdeka, Merdeka. Tanahku, negeriku, yang kucinta....”  - Great Indonesia, independent and sovereign.  My land, my country which I love….. #my tears almost dropped…
More info about Indonesia Raya the National Anthem of Republic Indonesia is in this link:

Years ago when I had to do flag ceremony at school, I did not feel as touched as that day I heard the national anthem while watching my nephew and his friends.  That is how I can say about my national sentiment.

I am proud to be Indonesian.  Even though in Ho Chi Minh City, some people - sometimes - somewhere - think I am Vietnamese and they talk to me in Vietnamese... After having attended French class for a month, some of my classmates were not aware that I am Indonesian.  During my trip to Singapore, sometimes - some people talks Chinese/Mandarin to me.  In Bali, some Balinese thinks I am Japanese.

Day 3

So many things to do in so little time.  I had to squeeze two "Buka Puasa" on the same day.  There are some friends I have not gotten a chance to meet when I moved to Saigon, I wish to meet them during this trip.  Still I could not accommodate them all.

Elementary School friends... some of them is even friends since Kindergarten!!!

It was a good coincidence that my elementary school friends were coming from UK and Thailand.  It was unfortunate that one of them was sick but the rest still come.  The show went on.  Ayam Goreng @ Blok M was waiting for everyone.  We did not want to leave soon and moved to a coffee place @ Anomali.
We have been friends since High School, soooo long time ago we graduated...!
Coincidentally, my high school friends also organized another "Buka Puasa" @ Plaza Senayan.  First, I went there because location wise it was better for me.  Also I had to do my last minute shopping for my stock in Saigon: teh Tong Tji (Tong Tji tea), bumbu nasi goring (fried rice seasoning), bumbu rendang (rendang seasoning), bumbu gado-gado (peanut sauce for gado-gado seasoning), kecap manis/asin (soy sauce: sweet/salty), not to mention Panadol, Norit, Mylanta, Salonpas, LOL.

Shopping list
Day 4

Meeting friends is always good.  Even though, it was for a short time.  No worries at all as I will go back again once in a while.  Sampai ketemu lagi….

I was too tired the next day and almost could not wake up to catch up my morning flight from Jakarta - transit in Singapore - Ho Chi Minh City.  However, I came back to Saigon with full battery recharged!

PS: After being away for four days:
  • My French teacher was happy to see me again.
  • My Vietnamese teacher thought I gave up the class and did not want to come back! LOL, no way...

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