Moving from one place to another has never been my favorite thing to do. As much as I’d like to think of myself as an adventurer, I can’t lie that I have no trouble leaving the places and memories that I’m attached to. When I was 10, I moved from a little town in Celebes to a coastal town in Sumbawa, and it took me 3 months before I finally felt at home in the new place. By the time I left it 5 years later to move to Bandung, I was heartbroken, and it took me 3 (three!) years to fully adjust living in Bandung.
By comparison, Southampton is the place I lived for the shortest period of time — only a little over a year — and yet, it felt just as hard when I left it. I cried when I bought my ticket (after stalling it for weeks), and there was a lump in my throat when I gave my key to my housemate, as it felt more real and definite that I was leaving. Oddly enough, the time between I saw London lights below for the last time as the plane took off and the first glimpse of Jakarta lights a few minutes before landing, was nothing but surreal. It wasn’t until I stepped off the plane and felt the hot and humid air on my face that I realized, I’m home.
Only it doesn’t feel like home.
To be fair, Jakarta has never been a home to me. I’ve never really lived here. I lived here for a month for my internship in 2012, then 2 months before I left for the UK, and that’s it. But I expected I could feel more at home at my house, and it turned out that I was wrong. I forgot where the light switches and cutlery were, and even now I’m still struggling to find my way from one place to another. The only good thing about coming home is meeting old friends, and the excitement is enough to make up for all the downsides of going back here.
There are things that still annoy me — things that are perceived as normal here (like waiting for an hour and giving a stiff smile to someone who’s late, or putting up with the irrelevant things people tend to discuss). There are little things in here that are incredibly ridiculous as well that still leave me dumbfounded. The other day I was waiting for my mom in the car when I saw a man took a pee so casually on the pavement, with people passing by and cars parked along the street, and I thought, if there was any doubt before, rest assured, I am in Indonesia.
It’s funny how after living here for so long, I still find surprises in my everyday life, and that makes me half-halfheartedly looking forward to incredulous things I have yet to experience here, a place I should call home for now.