Thanks God I am 25 now. Today I would like to remember how I’ve come this far. What made me 25?
I guess it was made of Papa who worked in shifts and extra hours for us, their daughters. Innocently, we’d love it when he got home later at night so we could ask him to bring home Sate or Martabak, especially on birthdays. We’d call his office – since he got no mobile phone – asked whether we could talk to “Pak Jon”. He later would answer with his special heavy “Assalamu’alaikum” voice. We’d answer and immediately ask for our favourite foods, and he would just laugh which meant “Ok”. If he got home in the morning, it meant my Mom would drop us to school. It meant he would sleep all morning until Dzuhur time. One day, I forgot my homework and had to call home. He was really mad because of course I disturbed his bed time but, well, he made it in time. If he got morning shift, it meant we had to go to school so early in the morning. The sun wasn’t even fully up yet. He would ask me to just wait in the security office until more kids coming but I would just go to classroom instead, cleaning the blackboard as my favourite.
And of course it was made of Mama and her special scent. Others say her outfits smell like medicine (oh yeah she worked as a pharmacist assistant), but for me it is just hers. Mama worked in a wonderful flexible time which meant a lot for us when we were kids. As Papa has strict working hours, Mama would make time to drop and pick us up. She cooks all of our meals (which has made Papa until now does not like having meals outside). Every time Mama got home (we could hear her motorcycle approaching home), Papa would ask us to go out quickly and get “her stuff”, which meant to grab the heavy shopping bags which made home by I-don’t-know-but-they-fit-in-her-motorcycle-anyway. It was made of Mama who would just go through the blizzards to pick us up, even late at night when we have extra class. Mama told us she would pray every time she passed the school which she wished her daughters would made it there. On the other day, when I told her I want to be an exchange student, she was not really impressed and admitted the she didn’t really wish it came true. When the day came for me to go abroad, we cried a lot at the airport (while Papa of course trying to be calm). The next year we reunited on the same airport, she was really skinny which made me feel so selfish… “Of course, I was really worried about you,” she said when I asked her why. In contrast, I gained 9 kg.
It was made of my sophisticated older-sister and shy little-sister. They are so different in many ways but both inspired and motivated me to become who I am now. I look up to Kak Lani and I want Dinda to look up to me in the same way. They taught me how to say sorry. They taught me how to support someone. They taught me how to be a good girl. They taught me to make my parents happy.
It was made of my big family. I was a lucky little girl to have my grandparents at home. They showed me ways to be close to Allah. They accompanied me to go to mosque to study Al-Qur’an. They taught me Iqro too at home. Inyiak also watched for me when learning to ride a bike. Nenek shared bedroom with me. She would wait for me to go to bed as I had to finish my homework. I also have my uncles and aunts who always get my back. They care for me as their own daughter. I am also blessed to have many cousins so I have many to come to, even when I am away from “home”. Last, my American family. I was lucky enough to have a host family for a year when I was only 17, but then it turned out to be my forever family. Mom and Dad never forget to send me birthday presents every year since then.
It was made of my noisy friends. I am not a girl who really knows how to have fun since forever. At the kindergarten, I would play all by myself swinging while watching my friends climbing and running from afar. At elementary school, I would just be sitting at the side of the road where my friends playing jump rope, admiring them since I believed that I would not make it. At middle high school, I have the classmates through those three years which made the noisiest class, I supposed. They would easily made fun of each other which made me think really hard to make a good joke (I could never beat some of them). At high school, I experienced all kinds of emotion in friendship, through thick and thin. By leaving them and believing that we would remain as friends no matter what. At university, I made lots of characters that I didn’t really like but hey, we then made friends! I even found that I enjoyed debating with them. I loved it when I cleared up my random thought after talking to them. As an abstract-minded girl, meeting my friends has been a must just to discover what I truly want to decide.
It was made of the teachers who helped me to find myself. By their encouragement and punishment. By the way they corrected me whenever I did wrong. One day in middle high school, my Math teacher told me that my grade at some point went down extremely in front of the class, blaming I was too busy with extracurricular activities and putting my study aside. I was so embarassed but I’ve come to realize that it was for my own good. Later in high school, I got difficulties in senior year since I had a year-gap to join exchange program. It took awhile for me to catch up with my classmates. A kind teacher often called me up to the front, to solve problems on board. Now I know I could memorize easier that way since it’s not just a regular interaction with teachers from my seat. And indeed, it was also made of their hugs and wishes when we said goodbyes after graduation.
It was made of my beloved ones’ support in my quick (sometimes rash) decisions. I thank them for their continuous trusts. I thank them for giving space and time to become who I want to be. I thank them to always have my back and giving me shoulders to lean on. I thank them to patiently listen to me whenever I feel like I would be a bad story teller. I thank them for sharing their life with me and hopefully they will not decide to stop anytime soon. I need them, to stay alive.
It was made of the patient ones who understand the way I long for them. I want both in the same time, near and far. The ones who accept the way I care for them in a strange way, in a clueless way. The way I want them to stay by my side and set them free.
I could turn 25 because I’ve been loved and cared.