Back From Home - Chinese New Year Trip 2009

I am back again in Singapore. If you do not know, all this while I was away. I was at home for the Chinese New Year holiday. Left on January 22nd and came back Monday morning at 1 am. It's the earliest I've been upon reaching Singapore. Anyway, here are some stories and photos about my trip home.

For the first time, I took Qatar airline to go home. It's actually the cheapest (non budget airline) ticket available. I was quite surprised to find out that I was departing from Changi Terminal 3 because I haven't experienced this terminal before. It was really nice but I found myself not familiar with where the shops are :P It made me kinda miss the other two terminals but overall it was quite a nice experience.

There were many maids on the plane. They were going back to Indonesia from their work in the Middle East. Such a long journey for them, even longer because when they reached Jakarta they had to continue their journey on buses or trains to wherever they came from. I seriously think these foreign workers ladies are awesome. I got nervous when I was going to Singapore for the first time and these women with all courage decided to go to a foreign place where they don't really speak the language, they don't even speak English much, and they have most probably never left their village. So the courage and strength that they have is amazing for me.

Sitting next to me was this Indonesian engineer who's going back to Indonesia after a stint in an oil company in Saudi Arabia (I think). He didn't have a good experience there so he decided to go back for good. Apparently there were quite a number of Indonesian engineers there. I found it to be very interesting. He said the pay was really really good, so much better than his previous pay when he was working for a foreign company in Indonesia. I guess it's just wasn't his luck that he didn't have a good time there.

My dad and cousins picked me up from the airport and the traffic jam was rather unbearable. My cousin said when they were leaving their house to pick me up the sky was still bright but when we reached our homes, it was dark!

The next day, I went to the mall alone and had a hair cut. Eka is now in a short hair, peeps. Some people here had said it's nice though my mom had difficulty getting it. Anyways ... during my stay at home, I didn't really go anywhere outside Jakarta. In fact, I stayed home most of time. I guess it's because I was lazy to go out, I wanted to spend more time at home (since I don't experience what home is here) and I also wanted to spend as much time as I can with mom. I miss mommy so.

At home, I did House season 3 marathon. Love that so much that I feel like doing a marathon from the first season, since I haven't watched all the episodes. I really love Dr. Chase, simply because he's so handsome. I really like House too. Man if only I'm a brilliant smart person like him, then I can get by with all the sarcasms. I totally like how he can just say nasty things. How I really wish I can do the same. I also try to be in front of the telly at 5 pm for 2 episodes of Spongebob Squarepants Monday to Friday, though my mom was shaking her head. I hate it that they were dubbed in Indonesian but I began to accept it and run the English lines in my head. Spongebob in Indonesian can be extra funny because of the stupid translation that they used. Indonesian TVs still pretty much show a lot of junk but I do watch them, including the "sinetron" with mom. At the very least, I got to know more Indonesian musicians and there are really many talented acts in Indonesia. So cool!

Did go out with the girls, Marlisa, Dewi, and Emilia and oh I should add the boy also, Idrus. He has somewhat joined the monthly meet-up that the girls have. The girls and him always try to meet up at least once a month. I know it's my cousin, Marlisa, who's really "on" about it. I guess it's really good to do so. This time around I got to meet other friends too, my primary and junior high school friends, Shervin, Dian and Inneke. It's so nice to meet them and we really had a good time talking. Darn, we were loud and with so many things to catch up, there were much laughter, teasing and all in a volume which perhaps can be quite annoying and frightening to the people in the same restaurant as us. It's really something meeting these people and talking about those days when we were 10 - 12 years younger. Gosh! Oh yeah, I also got the chance to meet Dewi's boyfriend, Sofyan. Man! Those two were so chummy together that I was feeling quite uneasy! Apparently Eka showed her bitchy side to Sofyan. Not a good first impression, I guess. But oh well ... I do get cranky a lot and often.

Oh yeah, I got to watch Bride Wars with my cousin, Marlisa. I thought the movie was nice and I love it. There are many Indonesian movies right now. I actually wanted to watch Asmara 2 Diana because I wanted to see Jamie Aditya who was acting in it but I didn't get the chance to do it :( All and all, I only managed to watch that one movie there. Hmm, the next parts will be with pictures.

Let's start with a picture of the table where my family prepared offering for our grandparents / ancestors. I have to say the praying is perhaps the highlight in our family Chinese New Year tradition. Here you see a table for my father's side. There's another table for my mother's side which contained similar things and there's also another altar with similar things at the kitchen for the God which was supposed to be my brother's God protector. Something like that.

After the praying was done, we did the burning of the hell notes and the paper clothes. I actually really like this burning part a lot. But these few years, mom decided to pack the paper clothes in bundles so this burning session lasted so much shorter :( Behind you can see a pot which we used to burn the things for the Kitchen God. So that's pretty much our Chinese New Year custom. In Indonesia there's only 1 day holiday for Chinese New Year and as usual we were visited by relatives and we went to my mother's older brother house. Pretty much the same old stuff.

So what else do I do on my days at home? I took pictures. This is a close up of the gladiolus that mom bought. The flash made the colour to be orange-y :( the colour was actually more softer and a bit pinkish.

One of the evening I was there, there was actually no electricity! Me and my mom was watching tv and just like that it turned pitch black. I was really really amused and was actually laughing because I haven't experienced this for a long long time. Things like this are really common in Indonesia. It's annoying but for someone like me who hasn't experienced it for a long time, I actually enjoyed it, getting candles and all. It was really pitched black and so there's nothing that we could do but to go to bed early.

It rained a lot in Jakarta. In fact mom was sending me an sms some minutes ago telling me that it rained right now. The rain at times were quite heavy with strong wind and at times was a little shower that lasted for some minutes, then stopped, then rained again. Singapore on the contrary is so freaking hot! When I was out and about on Monday afternoon, the heat was totally killing me. It's rather funny that when I was flying back here, it was raining in Jakarta with a wet runway and yet when I arrived in Singapore, it was so dry. Anyways, so here you are a peek of the wet Jakarta.

Today I was listening this song, When Will I See Your Face Again from Jamie Scott & The Town and a part of the lyric reminded me of these flowers.
I'm a flower, soaking in the rain ...

The last 2 pictures are from a small aquarium in Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. I arrived early because the flight was very late and I don't want my mom and my cousins to go home late if they drove me later. So I had much time to kill. One was spent taking of pictures from the aquarium.

Then after I took much pictures, I decided to just sit down and listen to my iPod. I have to say that I did get quite moody because I dreaded coming back to Singapore. Then this old man asked if he could sit next to me. I said yes. He offered me boiled eggs. Those of you who know me know that I love eggs but I had to say no because I was full. We talked and all the while he finished 3 boiled eggs. He's a Kuwaiti and he was going back home after a holiday in Indonesia. He must be quite rich because he bought a villa in Puncak! Puncak literally means "peak" which is the nearest mountainous area in Jakarta (I think). Anyway it's one of those places where the Jakartans go for a short time away from the city. He said he loved it so much there though he did say that he didn't see much sun when he was there since it was raining all the time. He said Puncak still has cool weather. His flight was at midnight and he was already in the airport at 8 pm because he was afraid of the traffic jam between Puncak and Jakarta (which is quite common) but there was no jam so he arrived so much earlier.

We talked about stuff like how he found out about Indonesia and Puncak nonetheless. It's hardly a place that people will know about Indonesia. He said for a Muslim like him, Indonesia being a country with a lot of Muslims is perfect for him. He doesn't like Bali because it's culturally and religiously different for him. Being the straightforward me, I asked if Kuwait is a safe country. He said it used to be before Iraq invaded them. He asked me if I know about it. I said no. I'm so sorry about it actually, but he did say it happened in around 1991 when I was only 9 years old and perhaps more interested in barbie dolls then world politics. Anyway he said Kuwait is not so safe now. Upon knowing the Iraq invasion I actually wanted to ask if the Kuwaiti are happy that Bush invaded Iraq and I want to know his opinion as a Muslim from the Middle East about Israel's attack to Palestine (an issue which the Indonesians feel so strongly against!). Unfortunately I didn't the time. I had to go. Before I left, he gave me a chewing gum which I almost threw away because I felt accepting food from a total stranger can be dangerous but in the end I decided to put it in my mouth anyway and I am still here. Thinking about it, I feel it's one of those stranger that sometime God send my way so that I don't get too lonely. I kinda regret that I didn't talk to him more.

:) eKa @ 8:58:00 PM •


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