Missing Here and There

I read one of my friends’ status on facebook today, and it brought back memories of my own. My friend lost her Oma (grandmother) in Indonesia and she will not be able to go to the funeral because of the far distance. My friend described it as the price of living so far away from home. Phew, I know exactly what she meant.

My own Oma passed away about 12 or 13 years ago when I was here in the U.S. I couldn’t go to her funeral too. It was worse in my case, my parents didn’t tell me about her passing until about a week or two later because they were worried about how I would receive the news. I don’t remember anymore why my parents decided to wait a few weeks to tell me. Maybe I was going through something at that time, and they wanted me to finish it first. Who cares about the details now. After many years, you tend to remember the feelings only. Well, hearing the news crashed me.

I have been told by many relatives that I look like Oma. Perhaps it was because I was her only granddaughter (duh!), so it doesn’t take a genius to notice the similarity in gender. But I guess, looking back at old pictures, maybe I did share many facial features with her. Regardless, she was the only grandparent I ever knew closely. I was so attached to her at some point in my childhood. Several of my early memories took place in many family gatherings at our house or relatives’ houses where I knew she would be somewhere in the kitchen or near the kitchen helping other ladies preparing the food. Knowing this, I would always look for her to see if she could sneak some food or treats for me, and most of the times, I succeeded in my effort (yes!). Oma, Oma, I still miss her, even until now. I never did get a chance to say good bye to her. Last time I saw her was when I last visited my home town, which was in 1994.

My friend’s status on facebook also brought me to another point. It is regarding the many occasions when we missed family events or family traditions at home. I know exactly what she meant. It is true that there is a price or sacrifice for choosing to live so far away. This is not regret, mind you. It’s more like… an acceptance.

Facebook or other internet social networks works almost as both a blessing and a…curse. It’s a blessing because it’s easier to share moments by looking at pictures, chatting, or posting something. It’s a curse because it reminds me what I miss. *sigh* Humans, we are never satisfied, aren’t we? Always want for more, and facebook can be a tool to feed that need. Well, what can I say? I’M A SUCKER FOR FACEBOOK. I finally surrender to the fact that I rather fall into that category rather than not being able to connect with family, relatives, and friends thousands of miles away. I rather feeling the aching pain of missing home than feeling disconnected or lost.

I post this writing as a tribute to my Oma, to the value of human connection, and to the pain of “missing”.

In the picture below, she is in the far left. In the opposite far right is her “look-alike” (proudly). This picture was taken at my first home, the home I came home to from the hospital, before it was later rebuilt and then eventually sold 😦  It was taken during the time when as a young child I could actually see what’s on top of the refrigerator (see the white object in the background there) without needing to use a chair.


A Strange Encounter

Perkedel Jagung.

Image via Wikipedia

Spring weather is here.

It was warmer than usual on my way home today from work. I was driving when I decided to roll down the window a bit to let the fresh air in. Suddenly I smelled a whiff of a nice smell, food. Figure, I was hungry. But this is not just a smell of any food, it is a familiar smell. I honestly don’t know what type of food it was because I was driving pass small-size restaurants on the side of the street, so it was almost impossible to know from which restaurant the smell was coming from. It was familiar because within that moment, those few (miserable) seconds, I was brought back in time and thousands of kilometers away into my past, into my hometown, and into my HOME. I realized then that it was the smell of….perkedel.  

What? Perkedel? Does any one even know what perkedel is? Please tell me that I’m not crazy?

Yes, it was the smell of perkedel that I smelled. With all of these famous Indonesian food and dishes, why in the world would I (consciously or unconsciously) choose to remember perkedel? Was my mind playing trick on me, I asked. No, it was the exact smell of perkedel that I smelled.

See, my mom used to make perkedel often back then. On average, I would say there was at least one time a week when we had perkedel as part of our meal. It was actually easy to make, I don’t know why I haven’t tried to make it even once ever since I came to the U.S. The funny thing is, it was not like I miss eating perkedel either. Ha ha ha… This is just too funny. Trust me, I have long time ago made a long list of Indonesian dishes that I will HAVE TO eat the next time I travel home, and surprise surprise, perkedel is not on the list.

So why perkedel? Oh well, I think I will need to seek therapy in order to get the answer to this, because it is a subconscious way of my mind to tell me perhaps that I’m HOMESICK. Helloou?