And then I hear sirens wailing…

I think I understand
a little bit of my Grandma,
today.

I think I can imagine
a little bit of what went through her head,
today.

You see,
yesterday a bomb went off in our city
shootings occurred
people were hurt
people were killed

I was nowhere close, but,
I heard sirens
I saw police cars
I saw armoured vehicles
I saw armed soldiers
I saw security guards on alert

I was shaken…

What does this has to do with my Grandma?

To understand my Grandma,
you have to go back to history

My Grandmother is from another era,
from a time where
girls from respectable families
were not expected to be anything but a wife and a mom.

But my grandma,
She loves studying
She loves school
She wants to continue her studies
Her family marries her instead
To a good man from another respectable family
And, by all account
She was a good wife
and a wonderful mother
who has the misfortune
to live during turbulent times
in her country.

Starting from the communist uprising
who cheerfully killed her uncle
in front of his family
Her uncle, who was killed due to his position
which was exactly the same position,
that my Grandpa held.
Great.
Of course, the Dutch were still there too
to add to the fun.

Eventually, my Grandpa join the fight against the occupiers
So off they torched their house,
leaving everything behind
As Grandpa goes deep into the jungle
Grandma moved to a safer place,
with several children in tow.

Oh there were other instances
like the part where my Grandma has to feed people in military gear
not knowing whether they were nationalist army
or the commies
Or when they were interrogated for hours by the Dutch,
as they suspected, my Grandpa was a spy
(he was)
Trying times,
to say the least.

Fast forward to the Sixties
They have settled down in Jakarta
with the promise of peace and prosperity
now that we are a free nation

But alas!

The red bunch decided, hell no!

So one night,
multiple gunshots were heard
Grandma thought, Oh no. Not again!

Grandpa, who’s now in the police force,
immediately donned his uniform,
weapons at the ready,
bade my grandma good night
and disappeared into the dark

Grandma quickly put the kids to bed
Lock the house
turn off the light
and goes to bed too.

at some point,
Grandpa returned
safe and sound

Morning came
wakey wakey!
Everyone got up
except one

at some point,
the heart of the house
stops beating

It was too much
for her gentle heart.

So yeah,
yesterday I got a glimpse
of what that night would be like

It was only a few hours, yet..

I can’t imagine
going through it for years
being on constant alert
particularly when you can’t see who are the enemy
and who are the allies

Oh Grandma,
even today
some people are just not happy
seeing peace reigns
The difference is,
yesterday,
people are sick of it.
We are sick of attempted terror.
Live is already hard enough here
we don’t need additional hardship
just because some random people thinks its glorious.

(No, it is not jihad to blow innocent people)

I hope it doesn’t happen again
I’d like to think we’re stronger now
I’d like to think we are badasses

We are coping,
the best way we know how
though jokes, laughter
and by just keep on living
because we have to
and because it does

So good night Grandma
Jakarta is still on high alert
But life goes on

because we’d rather celebrate life
than to cower from life

Give us strength
Give us courage
Give us love

See ya later Nini!

Lebak Bulus, 150116

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Pagi Hari di Jakarta

macet-jakarta

Kamis kremus,
menghadapi perjalanan ke kampus.
Macet bla bla bla,
makanan sehari-hari orang Jakarta.
Jauh beda dengan dulu kala

Ah apa daya, ini rumahku
Rumah ibuku, ayahku, saudaraku

Keluh kesah tetapi cinta
Kesal sebal tetapi ceria

Tak apa bila kau tak suka
“Masalah buat loe?”

Ini kelahiranku
Ini hatiku

*macet pagi 6/12/12*

Image

Drive Bebe, Drive : Parking

Now that I’ve conquered my fear of driving, well at least within the South Jakarta area to run errands and what not, the next thing to re-learn is how to park. It is very tempting to quote Cher from Clueless, “What’s the point, everywhere in LA has valet!” or something to that effect anyway. But see, valet parking here in Jakarta is too expensive and Babeh thinks it’s a total rip-off. Plus not everywhere you go has valet. Obviously.

Back in LA, parking was not a big deal. Well yes, I couldn’t really parallel park but it is rare that I need to do that. My driving instructor back in Visalia taught me how to park and it served me well over there. Her magic mantra: start turning 2 cars before the spot and it should be fine. It really does work in Los Angeles and some parts on New Jersey that I got to drive. But back home is another story.

Parking heaven…

If you think driving here is crazy, try parking. Absolutely insane! I always need direction from the parking attendant to park. I’m so freaking paranoid I’ll graze another car going in and out, makes me wish the car can park on its own. It took me ages to figure out why the hell do I have such a hard time to park when it was relatively easy breezy over there? Granted I was not the best parker, but certainly was not the worst. Don’t need an attendant there. Then it dawned on me, or rather, my wise Mom pointed out the very obvious thing that I missed, California has AMPLE parking land (and in bits of New Jersey that I was lucky enough to park my cousin’s car). They gave such wide spaces that one does not need a parking attendant to point out when to go left or right. Oh bliss. No need to be afraid of bruising anyone’s vehicle. (Well, if you’re not paying attention, you could but don’t tell that car I dinged it 😉

We’re all very good at parking backward… Except moi

Here, land is at premium that they give just the minimally required space to somewhat safely park the cars. To compound the problem, people here like to park backwards and I’ve never been taught to do that. I can only park going forward. I mean, I can sorta attempted to park backwards myself but only and only if there’s enough space in between, like if there’s 3 adjoining empty spots then yeah I’ll do it. Oh and then, to maximise land use, they’ll double park it by allowing other cars parallel park in front. Between the personal drivers and the attendant somehow they’ve got it all down to a T.

It used to annoy me that I need to use the service of the parking attendants. But having had to deal with parking in crowded spaces, well…  I’ve made peace with myself. I acknowledge the fact that I do require their help so there. They would happily help too knowing there’s a tip in the end. Actually at certain places I now look for an attendant to help me. When there’s none, sometimes one of the personal driver would take their place. A bit of diversion while they’re waiting for their masters to finish their shopping, or business, or whatever.

Or I just try to find an emptier space. That works too 😉

Drive Bebe, Drive part 2

Pleasant, is not a word one would use to describe Jakarta‘s traffic. Horrid is more like it. The roads are not exactly wide, there are way too many private vehicles and not enough public transportation to alleviate the traffic. To makes matters worse, there are literally tens of thousands of motorcyclist crowding the streets at every hour of everyday. Not exactly something that would entice anyone to drive and join in the throngs. So I don’t. I was quite content to use taxis and drivers to get me from point A to point B. Until I have children.

One can't take pictures like this if behind the wheel 🙂

Actually I didn’t immediately start driving as soon as I have kids, (for a history of my driving read here) I started driving after we move house and Babeh got a new city car for us. We moved a bit further back to the suburbs, in fact our house is right on the city border between Jakarta and Cirendeu; just cross the bridge and I’m in another province altogether. As such, Babeh thinks it is high time we got another car just to complete the white picket fence type family with 3 cats instead of dogs.

I was still quite reluctant since we have a driver, but the longer distance between our house and Babeh’s office plus his busier schedule, force me to drive myself and the kids around. Since we just love the traffic, we manage to carve our kids lives as close to home as possible so all their schools and extra curricular are still within the 10-15 minutes driving from home. But there is this one place that’s about 45 minutes away. Now, the furthest I drive was to our local mall, about 20-30 minutes away.  This place is a little bit beyond the mall.  On this particular day, Babeh needs the car and it is silly to use taxi when there’s a perfectly good city car sitting on the driveway. So I packed the kids, say a little prayer, and off we go.

To say I was nervous was understatement. White knuckles gripping the steering wheel tight. Then something happened. I passed the mall, wait for the light to turns green, and turns to the adjoining street leaving the Pondok Indah area, entering Radio Dalam. As I was driving the somewhat long stretch of road something clicks. There’s really nothing to driving, just a matter of confidence and familiarity and I was pretty familiar with the area. I spend over half of my live living in South Jakarta in particular the Blok-M – Lebak Bulus area, so it’s not like I’m venturing into a brave new world. It’s an old world I pass everyday just now with me behind the wheels.

Just like that, my fear of driving dissipates. I can not let my fear of Jakarta’s traffic rule over me. My children need me. I need to be able to step up when needed. My parents did not raise me to be a dependent person, they raise me to be independent. Driving is one way to prove it. Interesting how I need my children to points that out to me, around 9 years after I moved back home to Jakarta. It’s amazing how proud my kids can get when I pick them from school myself.

But as they say, better late than never 🙂 Although the furthest I got so far is to my work place – still within South Jakarta – it is good enough for now. So thank you kids, for trusting and believing that your mommy can! Love you lots!!!

Scrumptious Boys, Envious Gal ;)

Of all the injustice in the world, I can think of two things that are supposed to be a female thing but sometimes the boys just got it better, namely hair and make-up. Yep. Perhaps I’ve been watching way too many of Jerseylicious re-run. (Yes, I know Olivia, Tracy, et al are bona-fide girls, but why the drag get-up? Only God knows) But it just strike me as I’m stuck in traffic (well, this is Jakarta, we’re always stuck on traffic) some scenes of the past just suddenly fly by. Here’s 3 of them.

1. Back in the day, I once went to a metal/rock night at my uni with some friends. This being uni, there are plenty boys sporting long hair regardless of music orientation. But on this night all the long-haired boys seems to unite in mass head banging to score some bangin later… or maybe not. I’m just struck by the sight. Reminds me when I went to the zoo and saw the peacocks. Anyhoo, one of them got talking to me. Crisp red shirt, leather or tight dark jeans (it was over 10 years ago ok) and wonderfully luscious wavy honey coloured hair freshly smelled of flowery scented shampoo. Now, this is a boy we’re talking about. Got a sudden hair envy. I never could keep my hair longer past the shoulder. Always sprinted to the hairdresser to chop it off. And this boy got better hair than I do? The world is not fair.

2. Still back in the day, even further back as in high school, I once went out with Jou on a Saturday night outing. It was summer, the weather was warm, we didn’t feel like clubbing. So we just went to one of our favourite place in Regulierdwaarstraat to hang out. Responding to the weather, the cafe/bar/club pulls out some chairs and benches right outside. We sat on one of the benches and pretty soon got talking to friends, new and old. Suddenly we saw a rather familiar face among the crowd. He was kinda shocked to see us too. See, he’s a school friend but we’re on different cliques so it was a bit surprising to see. After the initial shock is over, we call him to sit with us. He graciously obliged. We hug, chat and I was staring at his eyes. No, not in oh-my-you’re-so- gorgeous-let’s-make-out but in bloody-he*l-how-come-your-make-up-is-better-than-me? Seriously. We’re what 17, 18 tops and yet his eye make-up is just sooo gorgeous. It really emphasise his eyes.  And no, it wasn’t thick at all! We’re used to him wearing colourful outfits to school, but this is the first time we saw him with make-up. I don’t think I could ever do my eyes like that. Even now. *sigh* The world IS not fair.

3. Just a few years back, I was minding my business waiting for my turn at the obgyn. I was alone and not feeling pretty. My stomach bulges, my feet were swollen, my clothes look like tents, when in came yet another wonderful head of hair. It was not very long, just about shoulder length, but it was very shiny like he just step out from a shampoo commercial. His wife has good hair too but the husband just got a better hair than all three of us. I’m thinking, daym! Where did he go to get like that? Seriously it was like a shampoo add. All shiny and lustrous. I must have been staring because he then turn around. I got to see his face (all this time I got his back which is how I can see how shiny it was) and then… well, he’s a famous person, a singer. No wonder his appearance is very well-kept. Somehow I then breathe a sigh of relief. He’s a singer, it makes sense. He gotta look good for his fans. Phew.

There is some justice in the world after all.

😉

The Bittersweet Eid

Back in the day, we Indonesians celebrated Eid on the same day, as it should be. It was and still is a joyous occasion where we celebrated the end of Ramadhan. Then, 1998 rolled around. Chaos. Reformation. Democratic resurrection. Weak leaders up till now. Corruption ran unchecked and everywhere. States becoming little kingdoms. Everyone wants to get rich quick , public service means the public service the elected politicians. Well ok, what does all this has to do with Eid? It means, we now celebrate in different ways. And it sucks!

Yes, free from authoritarian shackles, everyone thinks democratic means always having your own say and that your opinion is always right. Nobody cares about uniting the country. The country can go to the dumps. All anyone care is themselves, their family, then their ilks. Again, it sucks!

Now, the way Eid is decided here is by having a big meeting called isbat, where all the Islamic organisation gathers among with astronomers from the military, navy, all legitimate organisation that deals with navigation, astronomy, and the likes. Of all these elements, there’s 2 major religious organisation that likes to differ in opinion, the Muhammadiyah and NU. The former likes to use advancement of technology, the latter likes to use mathematics plus the human eye to determine dates. Nothing wrong with these methods. Each are backed with valid theories and hadith. What is wrong is that they sometimes differ and they can not or would not agree on the same date!

Let me make myself clear, I do not belong to any organisation. I don’t actually care how Eid is determined. I do not have any preference over any method of date calculation. I do not pledge allegiance to any of the religious organisation. My family is a nationalist, my grandparents are not in the history books but they damn well fought for the country against the Dutch and Japanese invasion. Therefore, it’s only natural that I am a card-carrying member of this one great nation called Indonesia. I pledge allegiance to this country – hey I pay tax (or rather, my dad and later, my husband does). I proudly carry the green passport with Garuda Eagle embossed on the cover on my travels abroad. I salute to the red and white flag. I fiercely defend it whenever and wherever. And so, is it any wonder I don’t think it is cool that we celebrate Eid on different days?

Yes, call me undemocratic, call me intolerant, but I say this before and I say it again, I think it sucks (boy, I really need to expand my vocabulary) that the powers that be cannot come into agreement over when we celebrate Eid.
Everyone keep saying, ooh respect differences, difference is beautiful. Well I say, bullsh*t to that. A UNITED country is beautiful. This is one instance where difference is NOT beautiful. Think about it. We’re all muslim. We all believe in the same God, prophets and holy book. We all fast during Ramadhan, we celebrate the same celebration, so how does it make sense to celebrate it on the same day? It is stupid! Ok, so, we’re huge country, some place might celebrate it differently, Australia is also split into two, some states celebrate it on Tuesday and the rest on Wednesday. But those who live on the same town celebrate it on the same day!

Here? Forget the town or cities. Even in the same household some people celebrate it on different days. And they are proud of it. They think it’s so cool, so democratic, so tolerant, so modern. Seriously? What were you smoking? Has the liberals brainwashed the masses into thinking that everything must be different? You’re not cool unless you’re different mate!

Send me back to the stone age, but seriously, the same family, in the same household, celebrating the same celebration on different days and nobody thinks that’s weird? Even Catholics and Protestants celebrated Christmas on the same day. And boy, you just need to google I.R.A. to see how bloody their disagreements get. I don’t think it’s cool. I don’t think it is a ‘rahmat’ that husband and wife, mother and father, siblings, differ in celebrating. A family in the same household should be united. They should be together. Likewise the religious organisations should put the unity of the country ahead of their own ego. By deciding to differ I don’t think they are being wise. I think they are being selfish, proud, and egoist. They think they are right and they don’t care about anyone else. Makes you wonder what’s the point of fasting during Ramadhan then? You’re not wiser. You’re just childish.

Yes yes your method may be right, your method may be the better one BUT, any technology is only as good as the person who made it. Any calculation is only as good as the brain provided. And human are prone to mistakes. Why do you think Allah gave us Ramadhan every single year?

Again, don’t think that I support a particular organisation over the other. I don’t. As I said, I’m a card-carrying member of neither. My blood is neither Muhammadiyah nor NU. My blood is Indonesian through and through. All I want is for all muslims in Indonesia or at the very least, in Jakarta and Jabotabek area to celebrate Eid on the same day. No more, no less.

Unfortunately I see to be the only one that wants that. The rest seems happy to be separated. I want us to be united. Not separated. Not divided. Together. That’s all. Until that happens, Eid would probably continues to be bittersweet for me. Hope that would change.

 

Driving Miss Dessy

Dessy is one of my dearest friend and a big supporter of me driving. She always ‘preached’ the virtue of being able to drive in this city “Think about it, you’ll be independent, not depending on anyone. If there’s emergency you can take the kids to the ER in no time instead of having to wait for the taxi, etc etc… ” Which are all very true and I totally agree with her. But, have you seen the traffic here in Jakarta?  The Santa Monica freeway jam is nothing compare to the daily goings over here. Massive jams, crazy motorist, innocents buses who thinks they’re so small and slight they can just swerve in and out of lanes like an Olympic ice skater.

In theory I really like the idea of driving. In practice… well it depends. Back in LA it was loads of fun. I even get to drive to San Fransisco on my own! I really did! I also went to San Diego and Visalia; I have a cousin in the former and my roommate came from the latter.  Oh and I also drive to Disney and spend a fabulous birthday there too!

So when the registration for the car finally over, got the license plate, etc, Dessy was the first one to show up at my house and demanded to be driven by me. She has lots of guts! Besides my family, everyone else were giving me polite smiles while thinking up excuses how to escape being my tutor. But not ms Dessy, she practice what she preached. Yay for her! And I am very grateful for that.

Ms Dessy wasn’t a native of Jakarta like I am, so this city is new to her too. Yet she managed to ‘conquer’ the streets and happily zipping through it everyday in her nifty little compact. She taught me tricks of driving in little lanes, “Remember, the other car doesn’t want to get hit by you so they will adjust.” Or, “The roads are crap over here so it’s better to go a bit to the right rather than the left. You don’t want to hit the pedestrians.” And finally, “Motorist are annoying. Just get used to it.” But it’s true tho. She told me about her early days of driving, how once she was minding her own business, queueing for the green light when suddenly her car was hit by idiotic motor cyclist and all sorts of tales from the road.

I’m still not as brave as her. I have yet to drive beyond my immediate neighbourhood. Heck I haven’t even been able to go to my second home aka the local mall, on my own. But thanks to her encouragement,  I can go to my weekly Quran study classes on my own. I’m also able to drop and pick my children from school now. Uh, correction, I can go to my daughter’s school. I still need to work up the courage to go to my son’s kindergarten. The streets are narrower there.  But anyway, now that school is out, the streets are somewhat emptier so the next few weeks are good time for me to practice driving some more. My target is to be able to go to the mall, my parents and siblings house, plus the hospital and the Pediatric clinic all on my own. And to ms Dessy’s house too of course. As usual, wish me luck!

Thank you ms Dessy, I hope you’re not afraid to ride with me in the driver’s seat. Here’s to going to your house at some point this July 😉

The View from the 33rd floor

I’m inspired by ms. Carla and her love of New Orleans. As I’m going through my photo file I realised that Babeh (my nickname for my darling husband) took a fair amount of photos about whatever took his fancy really. Upon reading this I thought why not start now? So this morning is my first attempt at photo-blogging his photos. These were all taken using his DSLR camera. I have no idea of the technical details. Hope you like it.

A cloudy morning in the office

Smog creates the grey clouds. On the rare chance of a bright blue sky it is actually very pretty.

A concert hall in a mall near his office

We’ve been to a concert a few times here. The acoustic is good and the location is not too far from our house. The mall is a different story. I wish they didn’t create the mall, just the concert hall and a food court.

The bridge to and from the TransJakarta, a mass public transit bus, connecting from various stops

Haven’t use it myself, have this innate fear of wanting to jump upon crossing bridges. Not cool.

A collection of shiny glossy skyscraper on Sudirman, the premium CBD in Jakarta

I think this one was taken in the afternoon, the sky looks grayer.

Everyday traffic through Sudirman, not at its peak.

The famous Semanggi or Clover bridge. Was build in the 60’s I think.

Joyyo, lounging enjoying life , doing what cat does best 😀

Well, I took this pic on my nifty little Blackberry camera. Can’t really have a photo blog without any of my cats making an appearance now can we?

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

Of Street Lights at Night

The Lovely Monas

Some time ago I had lunch with Dita, one of my dearest friend. We noticed how we have changed. We still feel young as ever and yet there were little things that says, you’re aging babe!

We were reminiscing how in our 20’s, still flush with excitement of that first job we’re able to go out after work to dinner then continue partying till whenever and still be fresh enough to go to brunch the next day. Now, the spirit is there but if push comes to shove, I’d rather go to sleep especially now I have this wonderfully comfy bed to sleep on. I sound like an old fogey don’t I?

But seriously I don’t miss Ebony, Fire, Musro, B.. what was the number? B-something, all that much. Yes sometime I do feel like dancing but the smoke and the drunks I can do without. I really don’t fancy smelling like a walking ashtray anymore. None of my dancing partner live over here anyway, so really no reason to go anymore (I mean the whole point is to dance, on the table preferably, not standing around in heels looking like immobile beings).

Having said all that, there is one thing I quite miss from those dancing days. The drive home.

a rare sight

Jakarta in the wee hours is actually very pretty, certain parts are just downright gorgeous. There is something about the almost empty street with the lights on. The busy capital is taking a break, relaxing for awhile before the hordes of workers come trampling back in the morning. It is a time to appreciate the wonder that is Sudirman, our major CBD. With the large roads, wide sidewalks, plenty of greens and gleaming skyscrapers, Jakarta looks like any major cities in the world. It looks rich, modern, cosmopolitan; power dealers, movers shakers, they’re all here. Resting behind or even on those tall glass buildings.

roti bakar, bubur ayam, internet, teh botol? Semua aya....

The wonderful thing about Jakarta is that it is never completely without people. You just need to know where to look and then you see then. Food stalls selling toast bread, chicken porridge there, the ubiquitous Internet or noodles, egg and corned beef. Sometimes we stop to eat. All those dancing makes one rather hungry. And when we do, nobody bats an eyelid. Fellow revellers. Under the harsh neon the true you emerged. Who are the true beauty, who’s cute, whose phone number worth keeping, etc. Sometimes we just go straight home. The need for pillow over-rides the wants of the tummy.

The drive home. The one thing I truly miss from those days though even then don’t actually go out all that often. So when I do I always make sure I drink up the scene that unfolds before my eyes because I never know when the next time I’ll be able to witness it again.

good night, sleep tight...

Them, I Miss

As an expat child, I know that when I move there will be things I’ll miss. I will miss my friends, I usually miss the house (I’d like to say my house but it was never mine to begin with and that my room in Amsterdam is still the best bed room I ever had) and if it was available, the public transport (oh lijn 5, green line, come home with me!!!) and the public parks. That’s usually the case when I move cities.

Now, I’ve moved back home for good. Obviously I moved back to my parental home, I used to have a room there but because I moved around so much, my room been re-arranged, re-decorated, re-owned by various siblings, nephew, nieces, that by the time I moved back it doesn’t feel like my room anymore. I ended up using my sister’s room since my nephew and nieces claimed it as their weekend room. Yes I know I could kick them out, reclaimed my room and make them use my sister’s but somehow it was easier just for me to change rooms.

Then I got married and moved to our apartment. I miss my parents but I’m there so often anyway I don’t really miss it. I got a child, then another and soon our two-bedroom apt is cramped and full. We need to move.

So, in short we’ve moved from our apt to a somewhat larger, spacious house (it’s still not ours yet, so it’s still a house not a home). And yes, I miss our friends from the apt, we don’t bump into each other in the pool, the market, the lobby or the elevator anymore. Good thing we’re still in the same region so we bump into the local mall aka our local townsquare. But here’s some people that I didn’t think I miss; the people at the local grocery store. The neighbourhood Hero in this case.

Who’d thought they miss their local grocers? I didn’t miss any of the grocers in my previous cities. Ok maybe I miss some stores but I didn’t stay anywhere long enough to truly know the people in my neighbourhood. But I realise that the people that worked in the local Hero, they’ve known me almost as long as my husband. See, that Hero is also my mom’s local store. She goes there to do the weekly shopping and guess who’d accompany her or sent on such errands? Yours truly of course. If I’m not busy I would definitely go with her to the supermarket, its a childhood habit. If she’s busy and I’m not then she’d send me armed with a list and some notes to do her shopping. My apt is practically a stone throw away from her house so it’s really no brainer I’d continue shopping for my weekly groceries there too.

It’s a strange thing, this relationship with your friendly supermarket workers. I realise I may not know their names – but I know who works where. She’s in fruits and vegs, he’s at the meat, he’s a stacker, and then there’s the cashier gang. They see me going as a kid tagging along, as a young homemaker, pregnant with my first child, as a mom with a little baby, with a baby and a toddler in tow and finally with a toddler and very young girl. They’re with me in most stages of adulthood. And not only that, they know my mom too!

My friend once said that if you stay in a place long enough and keep going to the same public place or using the same public transportation you soon ‘know’ the people. I guess in 7+ years, going there once sometimes twice a week, that means I see them at least 60 odd times in a year! Wow.

Now that I moved and start shopping in a new place called Giant Supermarket (what is it with our local supermarkets, they have such funny names, Hero, Giant, Superindo, were the owners aspiring to be a comic book writer but thwarted by their parents? No sonny boy, no more drawing pretty pictures you must run the family company! But but… I wanna be Stan Lee) I started recognising and knowing the people who works there. Given that our house (yes, we finally own a house!) is in close proximity to my current rental, I’m fairly sure I’ll continue shopping at that local Giant for years to come. Maybe now I’ll actually know their names instead of just their faces.

Oh, one last note. I went back to my old haunt as I was in the area and whadaya know, the meat guy and the cashier greeted me like a long lost friend. They actually asked me, where have you been? I guess the feeling is mutual after all.