Emily Was Never Being Boring


I’ve been in a Pet Shop Boys’s mood lately and with that came a flurry of thoughts I thought long forgotten. A kind of musical pensive so to speak. Now, because PSB are British and I started listening to them during my years in a British based school, I started to remember all things associated with my ‘Brit years’ so to speak which is really the Jeddah and the Uni years.

There I was happily remembering things from way past when cue in Being Boring. For some reason this really resonate with those wonderful 3 undergraduate years spent in that bastion of higher education in the North aka the University of Leeds. Then came that ubiquitous verse:

” all the people I was kissing, some are here and some are missing…
but I thought in spite of dreams you’d be sitting somewhere here with me…”

And immediately, without warning nor fanfare, Emily flashed into my mind…

In my third and final year, no longer wanting to share house with squabbling roommates – I’ve enough of the drama, but not really looking forward to live alone, I opt to move back to the comforts of the hall where the rent includes; food (not great but at least I don’t have to cook everyday), utilities (North of England is COLD for my tropical sensibilities) and laundry (it gets expensive and annoyingly boring to have to wait for one’s clothing lest it be stolen by those ruthless fellow students!). However, not wishing to live in the main building with rowdy, rambunctious freshers, I requested to live in the annex, a smaller 3 story building in the next street or road as it was small.

I caught a rather nasty cold just as the term about to start. Not wishing to fly when my sinuses are congested, I decided to wait and recuperate in the comfort of my parents’. Thus I was a couple of days late getting into the annex. After settling my stuff in my single room (blessedly I got the smallest one in the whole house. Great) I venture into the common lounge. I met Becky first, with her distinctive twang she said, “So you’re Sita! Your friends been looking for you! Hey Em, come here!”
Seconds later, a chocolate-brown eyes got into my view, smiled broadly and said, “Oh good, you’re here, now you can answer your door miss Popular!”

Apparently my friends been calling ever since the first day of term. Since we had to fix our final year lodging by the end of our second year, we pretty much know where everyone is going to live so no surprise that they knew where I live. Becky and Emily, while having the good fortune of getting the largest room in the house, it is also situated up front where, like it or not, they would hear every single coming and goings of the annex inhabitant, thus became the unofficial door person of the annex.

They thought I was popular, I quickly corrected, I’m merely a final year student hence the (not so rowdy) people at knocking at the door. Becky and Emily are quickly known as the Americans duo that lived in our hall. Like any good university, Leeds has exchange programs with universities around the world including Vanderbilt University. There’ll be a group of them and they’d be scattered among the various halls and student residences including the one I was in, Ellerslie Hall. Usually they would be paired with a Brit kid like Maura (the American) and Caroline (the English) and placed in the main hall. Becky and Emily are different in that they’re already BFF, shared a room, and lived in the annex.

The annex is basically a small house, so all the inhabitants pretty much see one another nearly everyday and got to know each other pretty quickly too. Since my room is the smallest and their’s the biggest, it wasn’t long before I start popping down there to chill out on their floor. We talked about nothing and everything. I’m curious about America and they would answer all my questions while I tried my best to answer theirs. I love to hear their accents, so different from the Brits. Their commentaries are amusing too; “I opened this magazine, lords and ladies start tumbling out of the pages!” was one that stuck to my head 😀

We talked, we laughed, we go out, I even helped Emily packed once. She had to go on this trip somewhere and was confused as to how to bring all the stuff she wanted to bring. With all my years of packing and unpacking I got curious and opened her suitcase. Well, no wonder. It was packed rather haphazardly. So I simply repacked it to fit everything in. Then, when summer rolled in, they decided to throw a traditional American BBQ. Or was it a picnic? I can’t remember. What they did was somehow they convinced the ruler or the annex to open the back door so we can have it in the yard. I have no idea how they managed to get a grill out. Or was it fried chicken only? It’s a while ago so details are kinda blurry. In any case, the American duo got a bucket of KFC, I made potato salad, and there were burgers, sodas, and rather stronger drinks later on. It was one of those blissful moment where everything is cool, everything is dandy, we’re all full and happy.

With summer came the end of the academic year. We had our teary goodbyes in front of the annex. The American duo returned home. I graduated, went back to my parents and potter about wondering what to do next. That wasn’t the last I saw of them actually. At some point the following year I got a chance to visit the States for the first time! And I got to see them again! This time in their home turf. So different from Leeds.


Only Southern style cooking would do!

It is now Becky and Emily’s final year at school. They were freaking out about grades. I was freaking out about live in general. They rent an apartment off campus and I marvelled at how they simply drive everywhere. Back in Leeds I only know one or two people who brought a car. Most just use public transportation. I got to eat Southern food, visit Grand Ole Opry, and had a fabulous time with the gals. The next year I was enrolled in grad school in Boston and lost touch with all my American connection. Great. My fault really. I’m pretty bad at correspondence.

Fast forward to 2008, Facebook is now available to everyone so of course I started searching these long-lost friends. Becky! Hi! Where’s Emily?

Sadly Emily is no longer with us…

For someone I haven’t seen in years this news knocked me in the solar plexus. I can’t believe Emily is gone. So soon. I’m sad for Becky too. It’s terrible to lost a friend, a best one at that. Especially since they’ve sometimes talked about the future, how fun would it be to take walk in the park as mothers pushing their babies strollers, how they’d plan to live close to one another so their kids can be best friends too. It’s not like I plan to pack my bags and move to Nashville either, but somehow I fully expect to also see their kids via social media, to wish them happy birthdays from afar.

“And we were never holding back or worried that time would come to an end”

But time does come to an end…

I cried then. I cried again now.

I won’t ever see Emily again. Those chocolate-brown hair and beautiful smile… Guess I’ll never found out what happened to that guy who followed her around back in Leeds eh? Not that it mattered anymore.

Becky, I am glad to note, is happily busy with her beautiful family and friends. I love seeing her photos, following the renovation adventure and all the daily family stuff. Forward and onward!

Someday I hope I’ll have the chance to see them again. Until then, good night Emily and good day to you Becky.


The Beautiful American Duo



The One That Got Away?

… and they call it puppy kitty love….

You know those people that manage to be friends with their ex(es)? Some even claimed to be best friends with them. Well, I don’t belong to those people.

I’ve mentioned here how even though I’m no longer in regular contact, I do sort of keep up with them via the grapevine and what not. For the most part, they seem to be doing just fine and I’m happy they are happy. I wish them all the best.

But you know, memory is a curious thing. Like most people, I put music as background sound while working – it helps me concentrate – and sometimes my playlist would choose something that would remind me of them. Like right now.

I guess it’s the combination of the song and the current time that stops me at my tracks. It is the holy month of Ramadhan and suddenly I just remember how he used to remind me to pray on time. I think he was the first friend who ever did that for me and it sticks.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was hanging out with the bad crowd and he was the saviour. Oh no, my youth is not that dramatic. But back then, I wasn’t very conscious about religion. It’s there, it’s part of my make up but I didn’t really think about it that much. He was the first friend who nudged me about that. At school or during our lengthy phone calls, he’d remind me if it was praying time and would stop the call to do so. He’d call me right back and resume the conversation 😉

He was a very kind boy and I heard he grew to be a kind man too. We parted mostly due to distance and age. We were still in our teens, living in different countries, definitely we were not thinking about marriage anytime soon so we didn’t fight for it. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t broken hearted when it happened. We both knew it wasn’t realistic to keep it going but wasn’t quite ready to call it quits either.

It’s not like I had lines of other boys waiting to go out with me. In fact I didn’t really date anyone at all after him. But after we part oceans, it just seems strange to call someone your boyfriend and not there to prove it. We did tried, we send letters and meet up during the holiday. The letters were not frequent to begin with, but I had look forward to it, gladly penned replies. Somehow, “…it just got colder…” as he puts it (don’t ask how I remember that particular line from his final letter. I just did) It just got strange…

Somewhere deep inside I mourned him though it was a mutual decision. Thankfully there was an avalanche of school work, a flurry of activities to keep me going, and of course, new land to explore. Such was the joy of being an expat brat. Eventually the pain ceased. Life continues.

I sometimes wonder what would happen had we stayed in touch. Would we get back together? Was he the one that got away?

As it turned out, he is not. Oh he turned out just fine, he was a good catch, good husband material, just not mine. People change as they grow. That’s what happened to us I think. We change. We didn’t became bad people, we just grew up.

He sorta became the benchmark of the guys that came after him. Guys that are kind, smart,  intelligent, cute, and religious.  So I am glad I met him because I knew for sure that guys with that kind of criteria exist.

So no, he’s not the one that got away. Because the one that is for me? Now him I don’t let go. Nor he me 🙂

Little Lies I Told

I should not be surprised
Cupid never promised
nor did Eros

No promises were broken
when none were made

A flash
a glimpse
ever so brief
ever so fleeting

And here we are

So let’s stop
let us just stop

I need to land
crashing as it may be

I have to land
wrenching as it will be

but I spun a web
To catch my hurt
to heal the ache

and I’ll wait
for Eros and Cupid
to fulfill
their promise

To my girl in need

Dear Girlfriend,

First of all, know that I love you. I love you and I want the best for you. So please don’t take this the wrong way, okay 🙂

Dearest, he is not the answer. Yes, you read that right. He’s not the answer.Let him go.

He’s just a sign that all is not right in your paradise. He’s an escape. He can’t help you, if anything he’ll make it worse. Don’t throw away your paradise. We don’t even know what his feelings are for you. For all we know, he just regards you as a friend. Nothing more.

Your paradise, now him, that’s the one you should be worrying. He loves you. That much we know is true. The thing is dear, relationship is hard. It is difficult and you gotta work at it. How could it be so difficult if your love each other? It’s because we’re human. We grow, we change, we’re dynamic and constantly evolving. Anyone who told you that love is easy is delusional. That, or in denial.

Love is never easy. It’s a constant battle. My parents been married for nearly 50 years and they still fought every now and then. But they also show me the rewards of being in love for that long. They are happy, healthy, busy, with solid working mind. Oh yes there’s sign of aging here and there, they are in their 70’s after all. My Dad is my Mom’s fiercest supporter and vice versa. If you cross one of them, then you’re messing with both of them.

So yes, it is normal to have problems. It is normal to feel that all is not right. What you need to do is talk to him, figure it out. Don’t run away from him. Don’t run to the other guy. He can’t do anything for you. He’ll just creates more problems and you don’t need more problems. If after trying it out you still can’t solve it then we’ll talk again. But for now, try it out. Okay.

with love,

Love is All You Need?

I’ve never subscribe to the notion that love is all you need. Dunno whether that’s because I’m a cynic, pragmatist or realist, but ever since I can remember when the rest of my friends were still busy describing their perfect prince in great physical details I’ve gone past that and gone straight to the personality and character. My thinking is that whoever catch my eyes, he’s gonna be good-looking to me. Who would knowingly be with someone they find ugly and repulsive?  S&M fanatics perhaps? Not me for sure. Of course I had an idea, ideally he would be taller than me, well-built, handsome, etc but again, I just know I must have a complete package or as pageant fan would say, ‘Beauty and Brain.” What use is having a drop dead gorgeous guy who has space for rent between their ears?

So anyway,  I was a little surprised when someone asked me for relationship advice. Not because I can’t dish it out, just ask my mailing list, I love to give a piece of my mind 😉 But because this is someone I usually ask advice from. I must say I’m flattered.  Apparently it is because of my somewhat no-nonsense approach to life that she asked me. Her question is quite simple, at what stage of relationship do you start talking about serious life issues, such as money management, home trips etc? Well, IMO, when you know for sure that this is going to be a serious relationship. If you both see that this is going towards marriage then yes, start asking. But if you’re still not sure then just hang on to those q’s. No point asking if neither is going to be committed to one another.

When do you know that? She asked again. I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a set timeline when you should be asking these things. Some people know on the first date that this is the person they want to marry, others been going out for years and still unsure. It depends.  For me, after a certain birthday I started getting seriously looking for a husband so when I started seeing my then-boyfriend, I think it was after the 3rd date I told him that if this works out I expect a marriage out of it. If not then let’s part ways amicably. Sounds cold? Well, no point spending time with someone who doesn’t want the same thing as you do.

Lucky for me, he wants the same thing too so bit by bit we started having these life conversations. Things like, how many kids do we want, the kind of education they’ll go to, what if we don’t have kids, money and how to manage them, etc. Some friends were quite surprised at how direct we were but I do think it is important we enter into a marriage with our eyes wide open. Love alone is not going to sustain you. One still need to eat, to sleep, work, pray and laugh after one gets married. I’m not the kind of girl who’ll sacrifice everything for love like in romance novels. Yes eating from the same plate is cute in Disney movies, but not in real life. I like my own plate thank you.

Perhaps he really was meant to be, because he was unfazed by my many opinions. Some that would definitely drive away lesser guy. But not him. He just move on forward asking for time with my dad. And the rest is history.

So, going back to my friend, yes I do think you should have these conversations before you marry him. Not during the first date obviously but definitely when you feel that this is going to end at the altar. Better you know and work out these things during courtship rather than at a divorce court. As to ‘when’ that time is, only you and him know when that would be. Listen to your heart, listen to your gut. They’ll tell you when. And of course, pray for God’s guidance. Together Insya Allah you will not be led astray.

Good luck. Don’t forget to send the invites 😉


Tentang Feminisme

Disclaimer: ini adalah hutang tulisan pendapat, bukan dicanangkan sebagai tulisan ilmiah sehingga tidak mencantumkan referensi layaknya sebuah tulisan Opini untuk media.


Sependek yang saya mengerti, gerakan feminisme adalah mencari kesetaraan gender yang intinya adalah persamaan hak untuk perempuan dan laki-laki sementara feminis adalah orang yang menganut pahamnya. Gerakan ini memang dimulai dari Barat dari sekitar abad 18an. Sekarang feminisme seringkali mendapat konotasi buruk, seolah-olah seorang yang mengaku feminis artinya melarikan diri dari kodratnya sebagai perempuan, seolah-olah emansipasi itu menjadi jawaban bagi para pria untuk juga lari dari kodratnya. Padahal bukan itu maksud awalnya.

Membaca ulang beberapa artikel tentang feminisme dan dengan pemahaman saya sekarang ini maka tidak heran kalau gerakan ini adalah dari Barat karena disana tidak ada tokoh/panutan yang secara jelas dan gamblang membela kaum perempuan. Tidak ada definisi yang jelas kalau mengacu pada gereja. Gereja hanya punya 10 Commandments (perintah) yang menjabarkan peraturan hidup secara garis besar (tidak boleh membunuh, mencuri, menyeleweng, dll) namun tidak ada keterangan yang detail tentang hak dan kewajiban ayah, suami, istri, ibu, anak, dll. Gereja tertentu bahkan melarang perceraian apapun alasan dan situasinya. Jadi nggak heran kalau para perempuan Barat itu akhirnya harus berteriak meminta persamaan hak mereka. Hak untuk belajar, untuk memilih, untuk hidup tanpa bergantung pada pria karena pada kenyataannya perempuan kadang harus hidup sendiri. Tidak selamanya ada laki-laki yang bisa menopang dan melindungi mereka. Ini, hemat saya, adalah inti dari gerakan feminisme.

Bandingkan dengan panutan kita, Nabi Muhammad SAW. Dengan minimnya pengetahuan agama saya, yang lebih pandai bisa menjelaskan bahwa sebelum Islam tiba, status perempuan di Jazirah Arab sama atau malah mungkin lebih rendah dari unta. Bayi perempuan dianggap aib, dikubur hidup-hidup. Tidak punya hak waris, bisa dialih tangan sesuka hati, tidak bisa memilih jodohnya, singkat kata tidak ada perlindungan sama sekali terhadap perempuan. Datanglah Nabi Muhammad SAW dan Islam dimana perempuan dan laki-laki mempunyai hak dan kewajiban masing-masing yang apabila dikerjakan dan dilakukan sebagaimana mestinya niscaya perempuan tidak merasakan apa-apa selain kedamaian dan ketentraman. Islam, sebagaimana yang diajarkan kepada saya, sangat memperhatikan dan membela perempuan. Islam tidak misoginis. Dalam hal keimanan, laki-laki dan perempuan adalah setara. Dari ayat pertama yang turun saja, sudah jelas ini agama yang egaliter. “Iqra!” Bacalah! siapa? semua penganut Islam harus membaca. Bukan, bacalah hai laki-laki atau hanya laki-laki yang harus membaca. Hanya satu kata yang berlaku untuk semua, “Iqra!”

Perintah membaca ini bagi saya maknanya sangat luas. Kita, lelaki dan perempuan Muslim, haruslah belajar, harus membaca, harus terus mengasah otak, menimba ilmu sampai ajal menjelang. Belum lagi ajaran, anjuran dan perintah-perintah yang datang belakangan mengenai perempuan a.l. berhak atas hak waris, berhak menolak jodoh, dan berhak menggugat cerai. Memang mereka yang suka mencela sering mencibir dan berkata, lah warisannya kan 2:1, cowok dapat 2, cewek dapat 1. Betul, tapi 1 yang didapat perempuan benar-benar milik dia untuk dipakai sesuka hatinya. Mau dia beli es krim, emas, eye shadow atau mau dia bakar semua kek itu hak dia. Sementara dengan 2 yang didapat laki-laki dia masih harus menghidupi anaknya, istrinya, ibunya dan juga membantu saudara-saudaranya termasuk saudara perempuannya yang dapat 1 itu. Ada hak mereka dalam 2 yang didapat.

Masalah jodoh, adalah hak perempuan untuk menolak seorang pria yang diajukan padanya apabila dirasa pria itu tidak cocok baginya. Perempuan berhak mendapat seorang suami yang menghargai dan menghormati dia apa adanya. Soal cerai, tentu saya tidak menganjurkan perceraian, ini adalah hal yang sangat dibenci Allah, tapi, lagi-lagi Allah membuktikan bahwa dalam perjalanan hidup manusia bisa berubah, yang tadinya baik menjadi jahat. Yang tadinya mimi lan mintuna tiba-tiba merasa sangat asing dan tidak bisa memahami lagi pasangannya. Tentu yang paling baik adalah berusaha memperbaiki, tapi ada kalanya situasi sedemikian rupa sehingga bertahan menikah mungkin lebih banyak mudharatnya ketimbang berpisah. Misalnya, suami menjadi pelaku KDRT. Hidup dalam kecemasan, ketakutan, hari ini digebukin gak ya? tentunya bukan merupakan kehidupan yang sehat nan waras. Belum lagi kalau ada anak dalam pernikahan itu. Ayah yang seharusnya melindungi malah mengajari kekerasan. Bukan itu yang dimaksud dengan kehidupan pernikahan! Lagi-lagi para pencibir dan pencela itu kadang berkata, ah perempuan Islam tidak boleh menikah dengan non-Muslim, menghalangi cinta, atau, cowok Islam mah kerjanya kawin melulu. Tapi ya sudahlah itu kita bahas kapan-kapan saja, nanti melencengnya kejauhan.

Waktu kecil, saya tidak merasakan perlunya punya ‘faham feminisme’ karena Islam yang pada dasarnya sudah feminis ini diterapkan di keluarga saya. Ayah saya bertanggung jawab atas keluarganya, menyekolahkan semua anaknya, menyanyangi kami, tidak melakukan KDRT, meloloskan hampir semua permintaan yang berkaitan dengan pendidikan misalnya sering membelikan buku, membolehkan ikut les ini-itu, dll. Tidak perlu saya sebagai anak perempuan menuntut persamaan hak dengan abang saya karena orangtua saya sudah memperlakukan kami dengan adil. Kami tidak merasa dibedakan, semua diberi kesempatan yang sama, tinggal bagaimana kita menyikapi hal ini. Tidak ada standar ganda. Semua anak tidak boleh merokok. Semua anak tidak boleh naik motor. Semua anak hanya boleh menyetir setelah ada SIM. Semua anak boleh bersekolah dimana saja selama terjangkau. Bahwa kemudian abang saya lebih sering memakai mobil daripada kakak perempuan saya itu hal lain lagi. Itu masalah kecakapan negosiasi dan penjadwalan 😉

Setelah besar dan berjalan-jalan, baru saya ngeh bahwa tidak semua anak perempuan tumbuh besar dengan situasi seperti itu, apapun agamanya. Ada yang orangtuanya suka melarang dengan alasan, “Kamu anak perempuan!” sementara saudara laki-lakinya melenggang santai karena yaa dia kan anak laki-laki. Jujur saya kaget ada yang berpendapat bahwa perempuan tidak boleh sekolah, perempuan tidak boleh bekerja, tidak boleh ini-itu, pokoke harus dirumah! Iya klo ada ayah atau suami. Lha klo janda gimana? Emang segampang itu menikah lagi? Klo janda anak tunggal nggak ada abang, paman, sepupu laki2 trus gimana? Suruh ikutan dikubur bareng suami? Atau yatim-piatu anak tunggal? Ikutan dikubur bareng ortu? Atau ‘favorit’ saya, “Cowok itu ibarat teko, isinya boleh berceceran dimana-mana asal tekonya balik ke rumah. Cewek mah terima ajalah.” Halaah… Jijay bajaj! Ini terjadi dimana-mana, agama apa saja, negara mana saja. Belum lagi distorsi-distorsi yang dilakukan lelaki atas nama agama demi mempertahankan kekuasaan. “Perempuan tidak boleh keliaran diatas jam sekian, yang masih di jalan pasti pelacur!” Dyeileee… gigi lu gendut! Suudzon amat sih!!!

Saya yang tadinya nyaman dan cuek menjadi peduli. Nurani saya terusik sementara saya enak-enak kuliah ada saudara saya yang sedang diperdagangkan untuk menjadi entah apa dimana tanpa tau haknya apa, tanpa tau apakah akan kembali lagi secara utuh atau tinggal nama. Ketika belum semua perempuan disini mendapatkan pendidikan sampai setidaknya SMP seperti yang dicanangkan Diknas? Ketika perempuan bekerja belum mendapat jatah cuti hamil selama 6 bulan atau tempat yang layak untuk menyusui/memompa ASI di tempat kerjanya? Ketika seorang perempuan mengeluh ingin berhenti bekerja tapi tidak ingin dilecehkan suaminya karena hanya ‘diam di rumah’? Ingat, tidak semua perempuan bekerja karena lari dari kodrat. Banyak yang harus dan banyak pula profesi yang membutukan perempuan sebagai profesional. Atau di ranah pribadi, ketika perempuan yang menjadi korban KDRT belum mendapat perlindungan dan dilindungi sebagaimana mestinya tanpa harus takut dikucilkan atau malah dicemooh oleh polisi dan masyarakat, bagaimana saya bisa nyaman mengatakan saya bukan feminis? Butuh lebih dari 1 dekade untuk korps kepolisian Amerika untuk merubah sikap dan pendekatan mereka terhadap KDRT, bahwa ini adalah tindakan kriminal.

Apakah hal-hal diatas bertentangan dengan agama? Bertentangan dengan contoh Nabi? Bagaimana kita bisa bilang bahwa feminisme bertentangan dengan Islam ketika jelas-jelas Islam mempromosikan kesetaraan gender dengan jelas dan tegas? Bahwa pelaku-pelakunya kemudian memelintirkan ayat untuk kepentingan mereka, yah itulah kehidupan. Orangnya yang gendheng agamanya yang kena. Dus, tabayyun. Cari guru lebih dari satu. Baca tafsir lebih dari satu. Iqra.

Selama perempuan masih merasakan ketimpangan dan ketidakadilan, sebetulnya justru mendorong perempuan menjadi radikal. Apalagi kalau pelintiran-pelintiran itu dilestarikan, tidak usah heran. Siapa yang nyaman hidup dalam ketidak-adilan? Selama ketimpangan itu masih terjadi, bagaimana saya bisa tidak merangkul paham feminisme dan mendeklarasi diri seorang feminis?

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), my room in Amsterdam is still the best bed room I ever had and the public transport. 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 rime 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 and make them use the other room but somehow it was easier just for me to change rooms.

Then I got married and moved to our apartment. I miss my parent’s 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’s 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.

Wonder if I’d feel the same ‘bond’ with the local supermarket people where I live now.

Soal Ibu Depresi

Hari ini Ibuku datang ke rumah menjenguk cucunya yang agak sakit plus ngobrol-ngobrol sama anaknya. Ngobrol kiri-kanan akhirnya sampai juga kita ke masalah ibu yang di Bandung itu. Saya tanya, kenapa ya padahal ibu itu berpendidikan kok dia nggak bisa mengutarakan problem yang dia hadapi?
Menurut Ibuku, kalau terkena depresi itu bukan masalah apakah kita berpendidikan atau tidak, melainkan karakter kita. Setinggi atau serendah apapun pendidikan kita, kalau karakter kita adalah orang yang terbuka maka kita akan bisa sharing masalah yang kita hadapi. Sementara kalau kita tertutup, akan susah untuk menceritakan problema kita apalagi kalau misalnya kita punya image tentang diri kita yang ingin kita pertahankan alias Jaim. Jaim bagaimana? Ya mungkin mereka merasa mereka adalah ibu yang cekatan dalam mengurus keluarganya sehingga ketika pada kenyataannya mereka tidak mampu/tidak kuat, mereka tidak bisa/mau mengakui hal tersebut.
Trus saya tanya lagi, kenapa para suami mereka tidak menyadari kalau istrinya depresi? Yah, kata Ibu saya lagi, kalau kita tidak cerita, bagaimana dia bisa tau? Yang para suami rasakan, mereka sudah kerja keras untuk mencukupi kebutuhan keluarganya, trus mungkin dia lihat anak2nya tumbuh baik, istrinya nggak ngeluh, ya sudah dia pikir nggak ada masalah.
Saya jadi teringat salah satu episode Desperate Housewife, ketika Lynette, ibu dengan 3 putra yang bandel-bandel itu minum obat ADHD anaknya supaya dia bisa jadi “Super Mom” sehingga ketika obat anaknya habis dia ‘terpaksa’ mencuri obat dari teman-teman anaknya. Sampai akhirnya dia putus asa dan kabur ke taman. Untung Lynette punya sahabat-sahabat baik yang mencari dia dan menceritakan bahwa mereka pun pernah frustrasi ketika anak-anak mereka masih kecil. Bree yang tampaknya a “perfect mom” mengaku bahwa dulu ketika anak-anaknya tidur siang dia sering menangis karena merasa nggak kuat mengurus 2 anak kecil sendirian. Yang saya ingat adalah komentar Lynette ketika mendengar pengakuan sobat-sobatnya, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Kenapa kamu nggak bilang?
Saya pikir memang nggak sehat ya memendam masalah sendirian. Meski bukan berarti kita harus sharing semua masalah kita, tapi saya pikir kita harus bisa memilah masalah apa yang harus dibagi dan kepada siapa kita berbagi. Apalagi di jaman internet seperti sekarang, paling enggak buat kita yang punya akses internet sebetulnya makin mudah mencari outlet curhat. Ada aneka milis yang bisa kita ikuti, aneka blog-blog pribadi dan situs-situs tentang masalah Setidaknya kita bisa membaca curhatan orang lain dan mengetahui kalau kita nggak sendirian dalam menghadapi masalah baik tentang anak, suami, kerjaan, keluarga besar, tetangga, dsb dll…
Akhirnya saya pikir, saya harus lebih banyak lagi bersyukur kepada Allah bahwa saya punya tempat berbagi di dunia nyata dan maya. Saya harap saya juga bisa menjadi teman yang baik sehingga kalau ada teman yang kesulitan mereka tidak segan-segan untuk berbagi.