Bits and pieces

These are the days from my past – the bits and pieces that complete my life puzzle. It’s written, to taste life twice.

photo by Sienny Yoso

I was five, and I was about to sit on a pre-test to enrol in Primary School. I was terrified, sick, and stressed. I saw a friend from my kindergarten who was about to sit down in the same test as me. I think I said hi. I had butterflies in my stomach. I wished I could go home. I sat down for the test. I couldn’t remember anything that I’ve learned, if I did learn something prior to this exam. I just wanted to go home. Finally, I arrived at the last question of the test. It asked: Does cow give birth or lay eggs? I contemplated. My answer: cow lays eggs.

I got in.

***

I was 11 when my first sister went to Singapore to pursue further studies. All of us flew there to give a final farewell, and my Dad and I flew back to Jakarta first due to work and school demand. I hugged my sister goodbye, and I cried. I got into the taxi and kept on crying for the rest of the journey. My Dad started crying too, in a less transparent way. We walked to the boarding gate with swollen and red eyes and gave the lady our boarding passes. Congratulations, she suddenly said, your seats have been promoted to business class. We turned left and laughed throughout the flight back.

***

I was 14 when my second sister went to Australia to pursue further studies. My parents and I flew to Melbourne to give a final farewell, and my Dad and I flew back to Jakarta first due to work and school demand. I hugged my sister goodbye, and I cried like I never cried before. We arrived at the airport with me having very swollen and red eyes. We walked through the screening, and a security officer asked me to go towards the counter. I was given a set of questions, and apparently they thought that I was using drugs, and was in high state. My Dad kindly told them that I had just been separated from my sister who would be going to study here. The security officer let us go, and we laughed throughout the journey back.

***

I was 17 when I finally left my home country. I arrived at the airport at 9am in the morning and had lunch with my Mom and second sister at Pancake Parlour. The restaurant was located in the underground. Right after we finished our meals, the ceiling started dripping. Literally. Soon, the restaurant was half-full of water. It turned out that there was a hailstorm outside. Never in my life before I would imagine Melbourne to have the ability to actually be flooded. I would not even believe it if someone told me. But then I saw people running barefoot with their umbrellas broken, soaked wet from hair to toe. Not the best warm greeting of all, but welcome to Melbourne.

***

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