Meeting some old friends

There is one thing that I always do every holiday, meaning: once every six months, I’ll visit my old high school and greet some old friends.

They have not always been my friends. In fact, they have a very different role back then. If I used to sit down in class and making some mess, they were the ones who stood in front and scolded us for being so noisy. If I used to skip classes and play Nintendo DS during a test, they were the ones who gave detention slips and reminded us that ‘rules are rules’.

They used to be my teachers.

Yet now, you have a different feeling, a feeling when you no longer bounded by the norms of teacher-student relationship, and you started to respect them in a different light.

My two-hour visit plan suddenly morphed into a seven-hour one, with my two friends giving up after the first three. Yet I still haven’t met my ex-Mathematics Extension 2 teacher, for he had too much meetings to handle. But I had a good catch up with the others, for sure. For the old time’s sake.

Entering the teacher’s rooms

My Senior High is a seven-storey building, with four main teacher’s rooms located in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh floor. The teacher’s rooms are divided as per subjects: Science teachers in the third, Mathematics in the fourth, Languages in the fifth, and Economics et al. in the seventh.

My two friends and I started our journey at approximately 9am from the third floor. We would greet some teachers, climb upstairs to meet the others, and be finished in two-hours time. I just realised that nothing can get finished in two hours.

Entering the Science teacher’s room, I immediately spotted my ex-Chemistry teacher, Mr. Aldjento, and my ex-Biology teacher, Mrs. Ireng. Mr. Aldjento is getting thinner, that’s for sure, and I could remember his eyes glowed when he saw me and immediately giving me a big hug. After a few casual chit-chats, we started gossiping, and continued on our usual book talking about Harry Potter and The Inheritance Cycle. Yes, we both know that Voldemort’s and Galbatorix’s deaths are anti-climaxes. Yes, the last book of Harry Potter is a bit unrealistic, Harry Potter should have died – but yeah there’s a prophecy that only one can live, so one of them should live, shouldn’t he? I know, Eragon is too young to be able to defeat Galbatorix in only one encounter! Not even with the help of the Eldunaris…

When suddenly my friends and I switched partners (read: they were talking to Mr. Aldjento and I was talking to Mrs. Ireng), I started exchanging my ideas about Indonesia’s journalism, as well as technology, and the iPad and iPhone generation. Yet saying goodbye to both Chemistry and Biology, especially when I decided to take my majors (which have nothing to do with them), I still got that friendly sarcasm sometimes – but I know deep down they will support whatever decision I make.

After two and a half hour being trapped there, we finally excused ourselves and climbed up. In the fourth floor, I greeted my ex-Mathematics Extension 1 teacher, Miss Eliana, and my ex-Computer teacher who happened to be passing by, Mr. Marcello. Another two and a half hour being trapped there, and our conversations run from technology, public transport, the media in Indonesia, teaching, and the Gen Y-ers. We agreed that Indonesian teenagers’ Blackberry users have been very autistic, walking in malls while holding their BBs and replying messages. We agreed that traffic in Jakarta is inevitable, and that the current children, when they grow up, may have less determination due to the paradigm of easily changing games in iPhone and iPads when they are bored.

In the fifth floor, I had a different kind of talk, from Indonesia’s journalism that is still dominated by those who have power, and how the journalists from different newspapers work in collaboration, sharing their breaking news stories instead of racing to break the news first. Well well well, isn’t it a new concept?

By seventh floor, my energy has been drained to the core, and I ended up going back to do some casual chit-chats. My ex-teacher (for even though she is an Economics teacher, I have never taken Economics), Miss Yulianti, teased me and said that I should have not started my journey at third floor and climbing up, I should have started the journey at seventh floor and going down. It’s kind of a good advice because the last time I visited school, I have never arrived at the seventh floor, for my journey ended on the fourth.

And this is what happens when teachers put down their hats and put on a new one: friends’.

They have taught me well, and apart from my parents, I hope that one day I’ll make them proud.

a Christmas card from my ex-Chemistry teacher, Mr. Aldjento

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