Letting Go

Hey Mei (the way my high school friend calling me), you’re family freak, you know? If someone hurt your family, you will always stand up at the front line protecting them. Especially your sister.

 

It was said years ago, on my 18th birthday, in the video they taped for my birthday gift. Back then, I already know that I am a little bit (well, most of my friends said it’s not “little bit” but it’s “very much”) protective of my younger sister. Not that, she cannot protect herself, it just… well, we have 4 years age difference; and no matter what, she’ll be the little one, right? Leaving for university 6 years ago wasn’t hard for me, I am always labelled as the most independent among my siblings. Both my parents never have to worry about me as I am doing things on my own. But it turned out, leaving for university was hard because I had to leave my sister. I knew that I would back on holiday, but it was different. Eventually, I could get over it and got used to it.

Until few years ago, she was finally entering the university life. We started to live together again (both of us live apart from our parents, as they are not living at Jakarta/Karawaci here). It is a really nice sisters relationship if I may say. Without me noticing, she has really grown up, and no longer a little girl that we need to protect. Yes, you can guess it, most of the times, I am still treating that I need to be at the front line for her.

I would scream, mad, and punish her friends, if they hurt her. I would come and finish her problem, if I could. I would be her, if she has super big problem, and solve it, so she don’t need to be hurt. But I know, I can’t. She needs to be grow up, and I need to let her lead her own life.

 

Starting this semester, she was appointed as the team leader for some kind of activity for their major. The first response I felt was, I was scared to hell, because I scared that she wouldn’t able to make it. Even though it wasn’t like super big event, it is still an event anyway. I was the one who loved to join this kind of organizations back then, and I knew exactly how tough it is to lead (for the record, I never took the leader position); frankly, she never involved that much as well, therefore I was scared. But what could I say? She know her capability, or at least, she need to test her own capability, right? So, all I could say was, “Are you sure to took that role? Will it disturb your university activity? If no, then you can take it.”

She told me almost everything, and I am keeping track with her as well. So, this event things, had got a lot of barrier since the start. First, postponed because it crossed other events held by their teacher. And then, conflict of interest between her and her friends (who was the vice leader for that event). After that, the fund thing-y, and a lot of stuffs. Well, not that other event doesn’t have these kind of problems, it just, these was happening for your own sister. And I cannot do anything to help. I can advice, of course, but I was really eager to jump in, and help her solving all of that. Even though it didn’t guarantee no problem would occur, but at least she was not hurt. I knew she had cried and tired with all of that things, but she never gave up, she kept trying, never saying bad things about other; listening about what everyone advised to her. In short, she is incredible, she has huge endurance and patience (something that I don’t have).

 

Few days ago, the event was finally held, and the rest is history. She did it! It might be not the best event ever, but she made it, and everyone was happy with her work. Letting go of the super protective side of me for her, I learned that she is no longer that little sister that need my full protection and hiding on my back. I learned that, she is a great girl, with a lot of patience, endurance, and smiles. She knows how to think, how to act, and how to react (she is really SMART!). She is really a different person from who I am, and yet, I am still falling in love with my little sister with all of that. In short, I am proud of you my little sister.

 

Karawaci, November 6th, 2011 – writing with the “song” of my tired sister’s snore πŸ™‚ love you, my dearest sister.

Social Creature

I remembered when I was in primary school where my social’s teacher kept stating ‘human is the most social creature’. We cannot live alone without other; no matter how independent or how we state that we are okay being alone, we are social individual.

Until my high school year, I was living with my parents. Supports and social interactions are always there. But when I move out on during my college time, conditions had changed. I am no longer living with my parents, we are still contacting each other, but it would be a total different compared to living together. In such period of time, unconsciously, I made my own so-called-family: my Friends.

I am the kind of person who says I am okay living alone and I am quite independent myself since I was young. But I’ve to admit, social support and interactions are very needed. I remembered, the first day I entered college days, I said: I didn’t need best friends or friends. Acquitance would be more than enough. The basic human’s social things proved me wrong. In just a week, I realized that my classmates in UPH Industrial Engineering class of 2005 were indeed amazing. In just 2 weeks I got a 2 very nice best friends that have ever since my best friends.

Passing college days without them would be a very terrible experience. Because without me realizing, they’ve also adding the experience and personalities to me. Departing from college wasn’t easy, but life goes on, and friends stayed as friends.

Moving on to working days. Some may say that you’ll never find best friends at workplace, best friends are only at school’s day. Well, for those people, I am truly felt sorry for them. Because I’ve found them.

Parents has built the foundation of me for perhaps about 18 years. 6 latest years I was nourished by junior-high and high school friends. 4 years of college times gave me a second ‘family’. Then since last 2 years, I am supported by the great friends at my office. How social is that?

Well, some might think that I am so dependant to others that I cannot live without the existance of those people. I will challenge to those people, of how independent I am, and how social I am as I believed on ‘yin and yang’.

For that reasons, this writing is dedicated to:
– (of course) my family: dad, mom, bro, and sis.
– hey there my college friends: Michelle Chen, Ellen Teja, and Riyanti Hamdani. You know I miss you a lot.
– and you the colleagues turned to best friends: Elsa Augustina and Sicilia Tjandra.

Written on my way home in some point of ending one chapter on my life and going through the next chapter πŸ™‚

Jakarta, September 7th 2011

Family: Grandfather (Akong)

Who should I start for the series of my family? Of course it must be my Grandfather (in Teochew dialect: Akong)! Like his name which means “Hero” in Chinese; he is our own family hero, and for sure, he is THE number one in our family.

Young Akong

Akong is originally coming from China together with his parents and siblings. As other people, this migrations are meant to get a better life. He was born in 1927 (this year, he is 84!). Together with his parents and siblings, they are crossing seas and oceans, to Indonesia, in Borneo (Kalimantan) islands at cities called Pontianak.

His early life in this country was not easy. Indonesia was colonized by Dutch until 1940s (more than 100 years) until Japan came in 1942 and taking over Indonesia. So basically, he lived in the war-era in 1940s of Indonesia. Then, when Indonesia declared the independence day, his life was not (yet) getting better as well.

We spent our childhood, listening to his stories: from how, he would take his bike and selling ‘rujak air’ at the market; how he would be patient when his dad yelling, or raging on him; and how he struggled to feed his 7 children (he was married at the age of 17, my grandmother is at the same age). When we were young, the stories might sound boring, not important, but now, I can see that those experiences has make the now-Akong that we see everyday, and we kept learning from him.

His life started to change, when his children has grown up. When my dad’s was in high school (my dad is 5th child), he started to build his business. It is the distribution agent in our province (West Borneo). Then, together with his sons, he build the business which has grew my uncles into a successful person.

“Hu Kok Cai”

What make him more special? For me, as I am living with him, I learned a lot from him. We learned about photography (he loves that a lot!), Three Kingdom stories (oh yes, he remembered all the details), Chinese old art (from ceramic to painting), and even food.

At home, when dinning time’s coming, I will be his favorite granddaughter (compared to my sister and my brother), as I eat everything – from vegetables, fish, to every kind of Chinese cooking. There is a particular food called “Hu Kok Cai“. Β It is a soup, with green vegetables getting fermented first before cooked. People said it is old chinese food, and kids are usually hating it. Funny, I found it delicious! My Akong is the one who taught me to try that food, he taught me to add the soup with “Vinegar”, and if I may say, the taste is amazing!

This soup has been my favorite soup my entire life. Every time I go back to my hometown, Akong will get to by the ingredient, and asked my mom to cook it for me (I am now working and living at Jakarta). Until now, this soup will be always cooked by my mom whenever I get back to home.

The Disease

A couple years ago, Akong went to his regular check up, and diagnosed with a symptoms of Dementia. It’s usually happened at the elder. Knowing about this tendencies, doctor has given a lot of neurotic medicine to help improve on his neurotic systems, and postpone the real happening of Dementia.

At first, the medicine seems worked, however we know that this kind of disease has no cure yet. Slowly but sure, he loses his memories. I can tell that for sure. I mentioned about my favorite soup before, and how he taught me to taste that food in a better way. From my mother updates recently, she told me that Akong couldn’t remember that this soup tastes better using the Vinegar. He would ask, why we should add the vinegar into the soup. It’s really heartbreaking to hear that he has forgot some of small things that regularly done in the entire of his life. But this is really unpreventable, we have to deal with it and move on.

2011

This year, he is 84, physically healthy, still smiling to us, and joking with us. Well, he has lost some of his memories, but he never lost his memories of us. That’s what’s the most important thing for me (and for my family). He remembers our names well, he never called us with wrong name. He remember his families well, celebrating birthday with a lot of fun, and caring for my grandmother in a perfect way. What else can we ask from this old man? πŸ™‚ He is still our HERO!

Live long, Akong, there is just a lot for you to see from us, your grandchildren. See you on this July 30th!

Sincerely,

Your Granddaughter πŸ™‚

Family

Everyone has one most important thing in their life. For me, it is YOU, my family.

Without my family, there is no current me; I owe you a lot; therefore, I would like to write a series about you πŸ™‚