From 13 years old, I had my main voyage from a little town in Celebes (Sulawesi) island called Makassar to Jakarta and London within a month. Yes, I have been to Surabaya, a town in East side of Java and Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, in West Java. Suddenly, the decision of my brother who was to be assigned in London, as a representative for Bank Indonesia there and with his family, he could bring a nanny and that nanny, he chose me, his youngest sister and not the real nanny to the constraint of his late wife but I was not aware of the fact. Mom just agreed to his decision and I just followed and obeyed nonchalantly and effortlessly. I was a total clueless young girl probably that I had trust being as the youngest in the family, everything will be taken care.
And so began the long and highly and intensively interesting life of mine without planning nor goals from yours truly.
First step I took was a layover in Singapore. Although we also stopped in Kualalumpur Malaysia, Bangkok Thailand, Bombay (New Delhi) India, Karachi (Islamabad) Pakistan, Cairo Egypt, Rome Italy and final destination Amsterdam Holland… the most image that remains shocking to me was in Pakistan’s Karachi Airport where at the ladies room, as I entered, all my eyes caught of was this largely built dark looking woman laying on the floor half sleeping. She woke up and sit up. She was the janitor dressed in a big loose light fabric white cloth just wrapping around her strong, dark and large body to my perceptive eyes.
Then came Cairo, Egypt, as we were preparing to landing, it was the first time I ever saw a man and a woman kissed who happened to be sitting right in front of my seat and which gap of the two seats I could see the couple was loving each other. That’s where I started to get a glimpse of the world, of how it is outside of my country, Indonesia.
Walking toward our layover in its Airport, my first time of that dry heat against the asphalt of the runways suffocated me a bit until we reached the lounge of the Airport so we could wait to board again for our flight to Rome. That was the first time I ever saw the orange coloured liquid in a big transparent jar that spin circularly and learned that it was the juice of orange fruit. Everything was just strange for me, yet, I was alone without mom, dad, but strangely absent of missing anyone but just following my brother and his family to our destination.
Arriving in Rome, my first impression and vivid recollection was a sense of beauty of colourful flowers especially dark yellow (I could have seen somewhere out of a window in the lounge perhaps outside towards the city ) and the impressive size of the Airport to the little eyes of a girl who just came out of a small town in Indonesia. Everything was beautiful, so grand and majestic was how it made me feel. I even remember a beautiful Indonesian girl came to greet some Indonesian travellers to the city wearing a stunning yellow dress with a hair bouffant that suited her perfectly. Little did i know that one day in the many years to come later fast forward of my life, I would be married to an Italian Engineer one day with whom I would visit this Eternal City as one of his courting ways to introduce and impress his country to me and where he also took me to the best shopping street, Via Condotti, so very close by to the Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, and purchased a beautiful tri-coloured gold bracelet in its jewellery shop there.
We arrived in Amsterdam, Holland. A place where I came to know the french fries with mayonnaise for the fist time and the canals, mascara, supermarket and elevator in the apartment building. However, on arrival to our Hotel, I felt a sense of nausea when the waft of frying butter coming from the diner of the Hotel a foreign scent that was too strong to my liking but not knowing what it was as we didn’t have butter in Makassar, the town I was born and grew up in.
Two weeks later, London town, here we come, and came we did, stayed at a Hotel where I learned that toast with marmalade appealed to my palette and loved London instantly. Yet, I could remember it is not a compact a city as Amsterdam, rather seamless in its variety of locations with many Indians already living there.
Somehow, London just blended in my little personality that was budding gently but with drastic total changes that were going on in this protected youngest child of mom and dad. The role of my eldest brother who was much older than I, it was a natural transition for me to consider him as my guide.
What a selfless brother! He could have easily brought with him a nanny or a maid. Instead, he chose me, his sister as to give me education so my world could open up and be away from the little town I was born in and grew up till that day he heroically and courageously asked mother to allow me to go with him. What a brother!
Thank you, Nico. And thank you, Lord.
PS. Photos will follow.