Weekend Trip Back Home

Today I realized I haven't been going to the movies. Yes I have been watching stuff, but I haven't done the action of going to the movies much. I think it's because I didn't have the time and also there haven't been many good movies around. The last movie I watched in the cinema was Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation which I didn't enjoy much. Today I actually was planning to watch Fantastic Four, but the reviews are really really bad. I wanted to watch it because Miles Teller is in it and I was so impressed with him in Whiplash. Not wanting to waste my free Saturday (Japanese class takes a break for 2 weeks), I went to watch Pixels whose reviews are better than Fantastic Four. In the first half I thought it went really well but in the second half, I started to kinda get bored. It's also perhaps because I was getting annoyed with the noisy girl sitting at my back. Seriously, I hate loud and noisy kids in cinema. When I went to watch Jurassic World, there was a boy who was talking from beginning to end (I don't understand how he managed to do that) and he annoyed me greatly. Even more so, I was so annoyed by his mother who didn't try to stop him. Today the girl's mother hushed her a lot which pretty much added noise to the whole commotion. Seriously, I hope my kids wouldn't be like that. I hope I won't be the parent who let their kids be noisy in a cinema. Watching something in a cinema is kinda a sacred thing for me, it's something to be taken seriously, and I really hope I'll manage to get my kids to behave, if not they may never visit a cinema in their childhood.

Writing all that made me think of the comment my mom made that I have so many rules. I was pretty annoyed when I heard her say that, but I can't deny that I am very particular with things. I went home last long weekend. It was great. It was short, but I got to eat a good variety of things and that was great. I had my dad buy martabak bangka as soon as I reached home which was later than I had wanted because of the deadly Jakarta's traffic. By the way, that wiki page said it's also sold in Malaysia and Brunei, but I wonder if it's as glorious as the one in Indonesia. Singapore also has a similar looking pancake, but the Singapore's ones are always too dry and make me disappointed when I have them. The one that my dad bought wasn't that amazing too actually and I was perplexed by it until I found out that because of health reason mom asked for less filling. I was like, "you ruin my satisfaction!". I need to remember to tell dad to ignore mom's instruction the next time I get him to buy me this. Mom actually made me a treat too because she made ketupat! I was like seriously happy when I found out she did that. Apparently she found out how to use the pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process and it makes the whole thing so much easier.

Since I had only a few days at home, I didn't get to do many things. I did get a haircut which is too short I think that it's not looking really well right now, so I tie it whenever I have to be out in public. The one big thing I did was going to church with mom in Puncak. It's a really strange thing since we can't say we're Christian. My mom has taken this trip a few times to my confusion. She just likes taking the tour and spending time with people. Yes, it's a tour with a bus and all whose whole purpose is just to go all the way to Puncak (mountainous area outside Jakarta) and to this catholic church. I think this tour is only available on the weeks where there's healing prayer after the mass. We were joined by my aunt (mom's older sister), her granddaughter, and my cousin and also the girlfriend of my cousin's brother. I'm pretty sure me and mom are the only non-catholic in the bus. Being the Indonesian Chinese us, I was amused when I suddenly realized that my aunt had to listen to 3 different ways of being called. I called her one way, her granddaughter called her one way, and then my cousin called her another way because my aunt is the older sister of her father. It's also weird having to hear my aunt's granddaughter (my other cousin's daughter) called me with a designation that made me feel old. Well she has to. I think when you speak in English, all those designation disappear, you can call people by their name, but in Indonesian and perhaps in Chinese, the designation is important. People need to be in their places.

Anyway, back to the trip to the church. My annoying cousin and the girlfriend of her brother came late. It annoyed all of us because we were already waiting before sunrise (I had to get up early!!!) and when they arrived the sky was already quite bright. Then we had to face a traffic jam in Puncak on the way to the church. Who knew Sunday morning could be a busy time. I don't know if my cousin caused us to be caught in the jam. We arrived anyway and was late. I asked my mom and it turned out they were never on time. This makes me wonder what's the point of making this trip if they couldn't be on time. When we're there, the Father was delivering his sermon and so aptly he was talking about how people behave in mass, how some don't make the point to come on time, how some only come to take communion and leave, etc. He was in a reprimanding tone. The church compound is very big and the church itself is a walk uphill from the entrance. It was quite a walk that there's buggy for the elderly and the infirm. The church is like half of an amphitheater. What's interesting is that everyone must take off their shoes and put them in plastic bag before entering the church. First all have to fill the inner amphitheater (bottom area) where there's no seat, everyone sit on the floor where some cushions are provided. If there are more people, then people can start filling the steps of the amphitheater. The day I came there were less people than usual (as I was told) and so only some parts of the sections were opened. That was my first time being in a church where people sit on the floor. It was a bit Islamic in a way. Then during the prayer, I also saw some people did their hand gestures the same way as what Balinese would do during their prayer. That made think of how Indonesian this whole thing is. Whatever Indonesian-ness means, it does permeate into our lives regardless of our ethnicity and religion. After the mass, there was the healing prayers in which some of the priests ended up speaking in tongue. I think I didn't freak out because the whole thing was pretty calm, there were just the 2 of them, and there were no one in sobbing tears. My previous experiences being in a church setting where so many people speak in tongue always made me uncomfortable and want to leave, but this time it was pretty okay. Then the priests took turn to bring the Monstrance (I had to google this to know what this is) out and walked among the people. We all had to kneel and at this time some of the people bowed really deeply, making it more Islamic with their head touching the ground. I had a Christian education back in school and I can't help thinking how wrong this is for my Protestant teachers. We were always taught that we couldn't worship thing and at that moment I saw the big divide of Catholic and Protestant, at least in Indonesia. I had to confess, I spent the whole mass not really praying and clearing my heart for God, I spent most of the time observing everything, people, things, the nuns, choir, the priests (I think there were 6 of them at the mass). I was distracted by everything. After mass, the priest made announcement which included reminder to dress properly during mass. I think he was really in the mood of getting people to behave that day. I did see some ladies having to use a scarf to cover their bottom because their pants were too tight. The priest was right of course. Mom was also ensuring I was properly dressed, she pretty much wanted to make sure I wasn't going to wear shorts and by short I mean knee length, which is short for modesty, you can't enter the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica if your short or skirt is above the knee.

Anyway, after mass it was the walk back to the bus with stop at the glorious snack vendors, seriously things about Indonesia that can make you happy. I was most tempted by the green grass jelly which I have only ever seen in Indonesia so far. The seller's young daughter was helping her dad selling the grass jelly, I thought that was sweet. There were so many things to eat and of course we couldn't buy all. We had free lunch because it's the guide's wife's birthday that day. Indonesian rice box is also another thing which could make one happy in Indonesia. I was so excited seeing it then I realized I like my meal warm and of course the rice box wasn't warm anymore, but it was still great, very good food. There was fried noodle, shredded Indonesian fried chicken (because eating chicken with the bone is troublesome so I thought that was smart), half a chili egg, and 2 other things whose name I cannot explain in English. It was all great. We made 3 more stops before heading back to Jakarta, to buy vegetables (because Puncak produces great produce), to buy snack, and to have another meal. We ended up having to deal with another traffic jam going back and it was seriously painful being stuck. We ended up reaching home pretty late. I was just glad when we're off. Overall it's very nice to be spending time with the family. I seriously rarely see them and so I really do treasure little time like this.

The next day I was to go back to Singapore :( On the taxi ride to the airport, I saw some new things popping up in my area and how they're going to build a new mall (seriously do we really need one) next to Central Park. That whole strip with Taman Anggrek Mall, whose longest LED display at its facade is truly impressive, is going to be 1 big stretch of malls. Will it be awesome? I don't know. I hope they do more for the cleanliness of the river in front of it though. It's really a sign of how much spending power middle class Indonesians have. When I see things like this, I can't deny how the economy has grown from decades ago. We're so far from perfect, but in Indonesia as usual, inside its imperfection there's so many creativity and so many rooms to grow. Monday is our 70th birthday, of course as always I wish for great things for my country. Somehow this year I have this pessimistic outlook, but perhaps I should again see that despite our imperfection, we're always surviving and we're surviving in a happy way.

One last thing before I end this. I finished reading The Martian by Andy Weir. Looking forward for the movie, though I cannot imagine Matt Damon playing the astronaut, Mark Watney, who in my head feels so optimistic and fun. Already I feel kinda disappointed finding out that Chiwetel Ejiofor is playing the Indian character. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a good actor, but can't they find a real Indian for God sake? In my head I imagined Irrfan Khan (the boss in Jurassic World) playing that character. I gotta admit I don't know any other Indian actor, aside for him and Dev Patel. In my head he was great and perfect for the role. Now, I am reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It's sad when you finish a book because you are leaving a world which in my case was kinda the safe place I went into every day. It was comfort. Then you start another book and you miss the old place and you're trying to find the same comfort in this new book and yet because you're starting, the comfort and familiarity is not there yet. The Ocean at the End of the Lane has really good reviews, so I guess I may come to love it, but right now I kinda miss being in Mars. Seriously if I get stranded in Mars alone, I think I wouldn't be sad and afraid because I'm alone. I think the survival part would be more challenging mentally that being alone. The being alone one would be just fine for me because it wouldn't be much different from what I experience on Earth.

:) eKa @ 5:59:00 PM •

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