In just one semester, I will graduate from Sarah Lawrence. Despite being abnormally excited at the prospect of plunging into the world, head-first, I struggle to wrap my head around the idea of being a twentysomething, an individual who is expected to be responsible for herself, to be a so-called "adult". Living in the U.S. for the past few years have not been the easiest task in the world. I reckon that my life has seen most turbulence during college, than the seventeen years prior to it. Looking back, it's a miracle that a sixteen year old could make such a big leap from her comfortable life in Jakarta to the "mean streets" of New York City.
The next six months will be full of nostalgia and memory. Perhaps, one of the most compelling results of studying in the States is my newfound appreciation and love for my hometown, Jakarta. So here goes...
|A View of Jakarta|
II. Been There, Done That: The traffic. As noted in a previous article, I bask in Jakarta traffic. The honking, lights and the mere sight of a congested road often act as catalysts for brilliant ideas. Yes, Jakarta traffic is infamous for its ability to make Jakarta the Most Twitter City and to increase most people's heart rates. However, it is also the one thing that allows city dwellers, especially those who have the privilege to travel by car, to relax and take a moment to breathe. Moreover, it leads to the next point on my list.
III. The high tolerance level. Jakarta, perhaps, the birthplace of Jam Karet, a term that describes one's chronic tardiness. Jam translates to watch or time, while Karet means rubber. Together, they mean flexible, fluid time that somehow allows us to disregard basic tenants of respect, such as coming to a meeting on time or you know, not standing up a blind date for two hours. Despite having a superfluous hatred for Jam Karet, I have learned to appreciate the surprising tolerance level that surrounds it and even reinforces it. Somehow, the high tolerance level that exists at home effectively helps me avoid constant stress from being on top of my sh*t. It provides a much-needed, illusionary sanctuary where I can take a breathe and slow down.
IV. Admittedly: The freedom. One of the most blameworthy aspect of Jakarta and Indonesia is the system. "Allegedly," fueled by corruption, the government is well-known for multiple loopholes. For instance, I've heard, if you get pulled over by a cop, hide some cash in the palm of your hand and discretely hand it over. Magically, you'll be back on the road in a few minutes. Though, I am not much of a felon, I often find myself appreciating this broken down system. For once, I can casually saunter in to make an ID. For once, I can allow myself room to make tiny mistakes. For once, I am not scared sh*tless of the authority. Though, most of my "adoration" for the Jakarta system comes for personal anxiety, it has definitely given me the opportunity to shake off my demons and take life more casually.
|The Chaos That Is Jakarta|
VI. #IsItEvenWorthMentioning: Family and Friends. Before leaving for the States, I knew how much I love my parents and how much fun my friends were. I also believed that I could live without both of them for long periods of time. After a meltdown on the first week of school, it was cemented that I needed my mommy and daddy more so than I thought. After two and a half years of school, a.k.a. this January, I realized how much I missed my friends, the ones that valued our friendship enough to show their vulnerability and accept mine. At seventeen, I thought that I only needed me, myself and I, and perhaps, a bit of cash and determination, but as I stepped into my twenties, I realized the amount of energy and support that we require and absorb from our loved ones. So, yes, past Robyn, who wrote that title, yes, it is damn worth mentioning.
VII. Unexpectedly: All things Jakarta. Jakarta is a metropolitan iced by smog. The heat and humidity may get to you but there is nothing like sitting in a car in the middle of one of Jakarta's roads. The view of the skyscrapers that I know all too well or the sight of cars that do not exist in the U.S., conjures irreplaceable memories. The constant sun never fails to lift up my mood, while the humor never fails to make me laugh harder than I have in the past few months. Jakarta, a concrete jungle that likens New York City, is home. And, despite prior belief that my home could be a mobile entity, I have learned, a bit too recklessly, that it is set in a suburb of Jakarta that is rapidly growing just like the neighborhood kids that biked through the streets a mere twenty years ago.
Warning: The use of some explicit terms