photo credit: basibanget
What is it about this city that makes me have such a love and hate relationship? The pollution? The traffic? The fact that it is now home to about 27.9 million people?
The very first time I came to live in this city was in mid 1994. That’s some 17 years ago.
Freshly out of junior high, my parents decided to ship me here for high school.
Awkward kid, I was thrown into a pretty fancy catholic high school. It wasn’t easy to fit in or mingle with the city kids. To them I was that kid from small town that they never even know exist in Indonesia. An outsider for awhile.
My whole life changed drastically when I moved to Jakarta.
Too young to be on my own I was placed under the wings of an aunt and her husband. She lived in a town on the outskirt of Jakarta.
Welcome commuting from hell…
With my high school somewhere in the southern part of Jakarta, I was introduced to the art of commuting from early on.
As school started at 7am, I’d be up by 4:30. My late Grandfather would cook me breakfast then religiously walked me down to the bus station around 5. For months I had to take 3 buses to and from school. I dislike this part…the commuting, when all of my schooling life before I’ve always lived very close to school and walking was my commute.
Then much to my delighted my aunt moved, much closer to school this time. Commuting was much much shorter, just one ride away.
I wasn’t a spoiled brat, but living with my aunt gave me enough skills to be independent. There were times where I cried myself to sleep wanting to go home to the comfort of my parents’ home. Tough love was her ways and now, looking back I couldn’t thank her enough! She kept me in line.
During my last year of high school, again my aunt moved and I had to follow suit. The house was in the eastern part of Jakarta. So long commute and dealing with sickos was once again the norm.
Graduated high school I went to college and was deemed mature enough to start living on my own.
College here is different. There’s no dorm or fraternity or sorority house. There are plenty of boarding houses though. And that’s where I stayed not far from campus.
Or so I thought! At first glance living on my own was fun but it turned out not that glamorous in reality. From balancing the monthly allowance so it would stretch long enough to lasted until the next month, to crying alone because you’re sick with no one to take care of you, down to the homesickness.
I wasn’t all saints during that early ‘independent’ era. Got mixed up with the wrong crowds, partied too hard, dated a jerk of a boyfriend, ended up with my good grades sank.
Luckily, I straighten up with the help of some tough love from family.
photo credit: Stenly Lam
Has been home for years. Got my real heartbreaks in this city. Got engaged and now a single mom.
When I was away from this city I missed it terribly, I miss the easy delivery system of just about anything you need to your door steps. Miss the vast assorted of foods from all over Indonesia.
Might never like the traffic here but the memories seamed into this heart of mine will make me love it like a step sister.
And now with a boy who’s been making Jakarta his home for the past 3 years, I wish he’d somehow find his roots here too, to be able to call this eclectic crazy congested city his home.
But I still have a little dream tuck inside me that I will move out of Jakarta to somewhere quieter where life is much simpler.
Do you love where you’re living now?