I just wanted to say that I’m flying to Singapore and Indonesia in a couple of hours and I’ll stay there for about a month to visit my family.
My route is the following:
Singapore – Medan – Malang – Bali – Malang – Singapore
As you see I’ll be visiting a couple of places which, I hope, will make interesting blog material. I’d like to write you as soon as I arrive down there but I’m not too sure about having immediate internet access…
Still, you’ll surely hear from me at the latest after my Bali trip!
Until then – an enjoyable summer to you all and lots of love from Switzerland!
Stella (ready to take off)
What is a big sister? These days, I’m asking myself this question quite a lot. You see, I just can’t remember what’s included in being a big sister. What I’m supposed to do, what’ expected of me and so on.
It’s just been today that I had a quarrel with my sister. It was totally stupid and a complete waste of time, yet we were both quite raged. Especially my younger sister. In the end she handed me the thing we were arguing about and throw an insult in my face. Considering the wide range of slang words nowadays, the insult meant nothing as it was common to most young people our age. And I’m sure she didn’t mean it literally and I’m not the person to take insults seriously. I usually just shrug them off.
But from the other side, considering that swearing and insulting each other using those common slang insults are inappropriate in our household (our mum’s absolutely against it) and also us being a traditional Asian family, the insult meant so much more. Not in its actual meaning, but further in the way it was total inappropriate behaviour from my sister’s side.
After dinner I told her that she ought to apologize to me. First she didn’t know what it was about then she began to defend herself by denying it. I told her that respecting the elder ones is a principle wide known in Asia, something everyone does and accepts and follows. I’ve been brought up that way and she should have been too, but with being the baby princess in the family, I don’t think the message got through to her properly. So I really emphasized on that and afterwards she wouldn’t talk to me for some time. Nice.
Just afterwards, as always after scolding her, I got my bad conscience. Maybe I was too harsh? I mean, who am I anyway to scold her? She asked me “Are you my mother?” and I responded saying that I’m not but that I’m her big sister, implying that I was allowed to tell her off too.
Now I’m not so sure anymore. She’s insulted me many times before, always in the manner that wouldn’t please our parents. That’s why I probably never told them about this scenarios. Because I know that they will scold her (or at least my mum) and, you know, she’s my baby sister and I just don’t like the picture of her getting scolded by someone else. I realized at some point that I just can’t do that to her.
And ever since then I took over the job of telling her off whenever she’d insulted me (It may seem to you that she’s a mean girl, but you know how it is with siblings – we needle each other on a daily basis.).
But is this even right?
I mean I don’t have a problem with her yelling at me all sorts of things – I’m quite easy with that – but I just don’t want her to get in trouble or embarrass my parents because of her unique ability to not think before speaking. Seeing that I’m supposed to be her role model, I really try not to swear too much around her (which is of no use, in the end: considering that her friends and their habits are a great influence on her behaviour) and always being nice to my parents (Very hard at this age, but I try.) and other elder people.
But hey, who am I to tell all those things? I’m only her sister after all. I’m not even an adult. I’ve been disrespectful so many times in my life and I still am a few times and I bet I’ll still be a few times in the future. It’s not like I’m the politeness goddess or any of the like. No, I really am not, but I pretend to be one in front of my sister.
Sometimes I just have enough of all this and I know, it’s not something I have to do – being all motherly – but as I said before I don’t want her to get scold by my parents for some bad behaviour. I mean I don’t want to leave this impression on her, that I’m being all over-protective or a moraliser or a politeness guide. I want to be the big sister to her. The one she can go to if she’s got a problem or the one she can laugh with for hours or the one she’s being crazy with on good days. It’s not like I’m not all these things to her right now, but lately I just got the impression as if the other part of our sisterhood is tainted with me telling her off. She’s in the beginning of her teen years right now, I know, and that she doesn’t mean half of the mean things she says but still… I feel as if I have to teach her otherwise, constantly.
I’m so confused right now. Am I right or wrong? What’s a big sister? Is it included that I’m not only there for fun for my younger siblings?
What do you think?
PS: I haven’t been able to comment for about a week now. I don’t know why but my comments on other blogs just wont appear… so forgive me if I always “like” your posts but never write something underneath it!
It’s been exactly a week since I’ve last posted. Since then I’ve got many ideas about what to write, really, but all these topics needed serious thinking before writing them out – and unfortunately, I just haven’t had the time yet this week. I’ve been super busy, having some exams this week and 2 concerts with the school choir; next week 5 exams are coming up and so I spent part of this weekend on studying (tragic, I know). But last week, when my PhotoWeek was still underway, there was this Weekly Photo Challenge with the topic “morning” that just didn’t leave my mind. I didn’t want to post a photo then but now, although too late, it seems to be the appropriate time for me to post the photo I had in mind for the last few days.
The picture above is taken in Bali 2 years ago. We were visiting our relatives in Indonesia, and that summer, my uncle had a seminar there. And so my family, his family and a cousin of ours decided that we’d go there all together and spend a week in Bali.
It was like, one of the best holidays ever. Especially because of my two cousins. In my mother’s family we’re only 4 grandchildren, 4 girls. The gap between my two cousins and me and my sister is big, but nonetheless we’ve always gotten along with them really well. Since I was little I adored them. They were the big sisters I always wished to have and we always had so, so much fun. Spending an entire week with them – that was the best thing for me. Arriving at our residence, it even became better: We four were allowed to share a suite together. A whole suite only for us. Although they were 2 beds we always would end up sleeping in the bigger bed together, sweating each night so much because this bed just wasn’t made for four people and we’d also end up arguing about the blankets as well (someone would always be freezing and the other three sweating).
Nevertheless it was the best week ever. We went quite a lot sightseeing, ate a lot of good food and just had the best of times. And then, of course, our resort had its own short beach section, where we would go to in the evenings after a long day. Once we came home quite late and the moon had already risen and so we decided to run all the way down to this little beach section. It was beautiful. Very dark though, and there were many little crabs around but nonetheless a one-time experience.
Because it was so beautiful, we decided to go there again, preferably early in the morning to watch the sun rise. We never managed though; we’d always get up late. That was until our very last day. We were really eager and determined to see this sunrise that we somehow managed to get up on the right time. We walked down to the beach and shot some photos but at the beginning it was even too dark to see anything on them. So we just waited. There was this pavilion (which you can see in the picture) and we would wait there for the morning sun to come. Meanwhile my father was off to shoot photos of other things and sometimes me or my cousin were taking photos as well. So this shot above could be from any of us (of the others sitting in the pavilion).
Anyway I wanted to say that I really like this picture. It reminds me so much of the amazing time I had there, enjoying the morning, the beginning of a new day and, you know, at that time, watching the rising sun, I had this feeling like I just got a new, fresh portion of hope in my hands. A handful of hope, reserved for the many things in this world that are yet to see. Because every new day, there’s always something new to discover, to experience, to enjoy. Because every new day, there’s always a new handful of hope waiting to be used.
And with this prospects we left Bali; hoping to come back one day. Because we know: there’ll always be many things yet to see.
2 weeks of school and one week being sixteen, I don’t feel any different than before. I want to excuse myself for not being able to post often in foreseeable future – I just got into the dull, boring everyday school life in which the term “free time” is not included. Right now, I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’ve got a music presentation to prepare and several exams in the upcoming weeks; yesterday I finally managed to write a letter to a friend in Australia who’s doing an exchange year over there.
It was actually strange, you know, to write a letter. I mean a full letter, with your own handwriting on it, put in a nice envelope with a nice stamp on it. I remembered the times when I was little and used to write letters on a daily basis to every friend and every teacher I could think of (well, maybe a bit exaggerated, but I really wrote to almost everybody). Remember those times to?
Last saturday I had to clean up my bedroom and I eventually decided to sort out the things in my drawer as well. In it, I stumbled upon a mass of letters, birthday wishes, christmas cards, birthday party invitations and old, crumpled notes passed to each other during boring school lessons. A very nostalgic moment for me. I really couldn’t believe that once there was a world which didn’t depend on mail, text messages, Facebook or twitter. Where we (With we I actually mean girls because somehow boys never wrote any letters except love letters.) actually bought letter paper with the matching envelopes or better – when we even collected them and exchanged them among each other. (Remember the huge Diddl-Mania about 6 years ago? Now it doesn’t seem that long ago…)
All this seem now unbelievable to me and so I was almost moved to tears as I read all those letters again. The cutest was definitely the birthday gift from my sister, in which she invented a point-system. If I gave her a present of her wish list on her birthday, I get 30 points. If I read her a book – 5 points. And so on. You know what the crappy gift coupon I eventually get from her (if I reach 100 points)? That if she was at the computer and surfing in the internet, I’d be allowed to interrupt her and then it’d be my turn on the computer. Haha, definitely stupid – but sweet.
This all ran through my mind while I was writing the letter yesterday. First it was strange to have fountain pen in my hand and the paper beneath it, waiting to be filled. And then I started and wrote the first words down… and almost couldn’t stop anymore. It felt really satisfying to take the time to write a letter with pen and paper, decorating it with colours and putting it in an envelope. The most amazing feeling was when I finally stick the stamp on the envelope and wrote the down the address; while doing it I had a huge smile on my face.
And I think, in the end it’s just nice to be a bit nostalgic and old-fashioned and for once not being glued on an electronic device.
How much love can you receive all at once? That’s the question I’m asking myself for a while now. Just before I’ve been sitting on my bed and reading all the nice SMS, letters, album pages and cards I’ve got today. All containing birthday wishes in their own way: In drawings, photographs, collages, written words… from near and from far, far away.
Apparently you can get a lot of love at once. Or better, on one day. Today’s my birthday and while I’ve never been much of a fan of birthdays, maybe I should – in a few minutes I’m going to be sixteen. In Switzerland becoming sixteen means three things:
- You can drink & buy beer legally.
- You can go to clubs.
- Everything’s a lot more expensive than before.
But somehow even on this birthday I can’t be very happy about my new reached age. I’m no great fan of beer, I don’t like to go to clubs (I’m a rather concert or café type) and – who likes to pay more for public transports?
So sixteen’s really rather inconvenient for me – that’s what I thought this morning. And I’ve got to say, I still think the same way about it.
In the last days there were a lot of whispering going on about presents for me among my friends. I never expect presents; it’s totally ok for me to spend a birthday without presents – even the ones from my family. I just don’t like to be at the center of attention (The Happy-Birthday-singing in my Spanish lesson today was awfully embarrassing… I just wanted to run away, really.) and surrounded by dozens of people, looking over my shoulder and even more curious than me about the gifts I’ve got.
But as usually I was wrong. You know what I didn’t expect? The joy. When I woke up this morning I calculated that a lot of annoyance and patience’s needed to survive the day – but actually it started with my mum coming to wake me up with her traditional “hair-ruffling” (this year she left the throw-all-puppies-at-Stella out) and I felt so happy just because of this natural, common gesture. On the way to school I read the letter of a friend from Australia (she sent me a package – that was awesome enough!) and the amount of love I found between the lines had already touched my heart. In school I was welcomed by so many friends – I can’t remember in which order – it all happened so fast and when I opened my locker I saw that my best friend had already put her present into it (My first thought when I saw this was actually “Oh my gosh – how could someone got to my locker without my permission? Is something missing?” And no, I’m usually not paranoid about my school books.) and this surprised me so much (positively) that I already put my biggest smile on my face.
When I came to my main class they were all singing Happy Birthday. (It wasn’t as embarrassing as with my Spanish class.) It was so cute, really, even the boys sang, and I realized that in that very moment, I just wanted to hug them and never let them go, so grateful to have them as my friends.
And now I’m reflecting my whole day; just a few minutes before I’ve become sixteen (congratulations to myself), and sitting here – I feel that I’m not that grumpy anymore. No, after a whole session (1 hour) of responding to all the Facebook birthday wishes and rereading all paper stuff – I noticed the large amount of love and effort and time they all put in their little or big works of art. I’ve just been so egoistic refusing to accept any birthday presents beforehand; I know now that I can’t stop them from doing what they want – and when they’ve already but so much effort and time in it – I should rather appreciate the great amount of sympathy they’ve given me. And I do. I really, truly do.
Friends, family, acquaintances – thank you all for making this day so totally cute and bearable. For making me laugh and almost cry, for making me burst with happiness and smile like an idiot; it was all worth it. You’re great and I love you!
Also for the ones reading and commenting this blog: thanks to you all for almost 2 months of supporting! You make my day – everyday – just by stopping by shortly. Thank you!
Now a song that somehow follows me through my birthday (but has absolutely nothing to do with “birthday”):
Bah. I hate it. Everyday, and I really mean everyday, I’ve got to edit my posts. It’s so annoying and I’m 100% sure that I have to edit the same ones next week again or so. Do you also have to edit this much?
Anyway as for today, I actually (half-) promised you to write the second part to my “home” post. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write. (So tragic, it always happens to me.) The only things I can add are my two statements to a saying a friend told me (see the comments of home part 1) and to the movie Up in the Air.
1): Home is where you heart is.
Well, actually, it just confirms my definition of home; because my family’s in my heart, and where my heart is, ergo my family, is my home. But then again, I thought, I must have many homes. Because my heart belongs to Berlin for example, a city I’ve only visited once, but has rapidly grown to my favourite city. Or to my bed, because that’s where I feel safe and warm on dark, winter days (like the ones currently). Or home may also be here in front of my computer, blogging, because doing this feels so right for me at the moment. Is it possible to have many homes? I hope so.
2) Is it possible to have no home at all?
I’ve recently seen the movie Up in the Air, the one with George Clooney, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga. In this movie, Ryan Bingham’s (George Clooney) always travelling around the world, first, because he has to (it has to do with his job) and second, because he wants to tie the record of having 10000 frequent flyer miles. During the film, there are of course a few scenes in which he returns “home”. But is it really home? He calls it home. But how can it be home to him, if he’s hardly ever there? He doesn’t know anything about his neighbours, because he has never time to visit them properly. His flat’s always tidy, because he’s rarely at home to use all of his furnitures and belongings. I don’t think, that his family’s home to him either. He has flighty contact with his sisters; he never visits them and so, doesn’t know them anymore. Home to him, or the real, true feeling of being at home, I think, are the few moments he shared with other people (of course all during travelling), when he (probably) forgot what his goals really were when he completely let himself be there, at this place with this person, and just enjoyed the moment and forgot to actually just stay there for a short time. (Now, if I want to continue, I have to spoil, and that’s what I don’t want to do, therefore I’m not going to say anything anymore about the plot.)
But isn’t this sad? Home for me, is a place where you feel warm and safe, a place you like to be (and concerning me, there can be a lot of those places); or the feeling of being safe, loved and relaxed. A feeling you can always recall when you’re having bad times, and a feeling that will comfort you then. And Ryan Bingham, I think, doesn’t have this feeling or this place. He’s homeless. He’s a lonely soul. He has no home at all.
When I was younger, the thought of going alone through the world, having freedom and all the time alone for you, pleased me. I wanted to be one of those heroes, who were strong, because they’re alone and are able to do everything on their own; who are able to do everything they wanted, having no boundaries at all.
But these thoughts didn’t stay for long; I recognized, that it might be nice just to be alone for a while, but it’s also nice to know having someone supporting you, and accepting you, no matter who you are or what you did. This is the thing I wouldn’t have if I were all alone: acceptance. Acceptance from the people you like. As a loner you’ve always have to fight for some acceptance, for some tolerance. And also an important thing: trust. It’s nice to know people trusting you; and vice versa people whom you can trust. And for my little me (I was about eleven or so), this was the most important reason, why I gave up on the idea of being a “cool” loner. Because I’ve always had problems with trust, because I hardly trust someone and I didn’t want to end up all alone without no one to trust and no one trusting me. And as long as I had my family around me, I realized, this was guaranteed, and from then on I knew where I could find my home.
Uh, geez. That was a big family-love-declaration. I’m usually not this (love-) declaring person.
It’s 00:57 am and I’m still up, annoyed that I didn’t write yesterday. But I am pretty tired (I just can’t sleep) and a quote hasn’t left my mind since sunday: It’s a quote I read on Fidel Hart’s Blog:
“…travel can become a compulsion. It keeps us away from friends and loved ones – even when we’re back. When I’m away, I often yearn for home. When I’m home, I’m listless. I seem no longer to fit. History and literature are filled with characters who see Asia, or Venice, and can never go back to the way they were.” -Anthony Bourdain
I commented, that I don’t travel as much as other people do, but because of moving from Indonesia to Switzerland at a very young age, I sometimes doubt my belonging. Or actually, I sometimes don’t know where to belong. I think, if I left Indonesia when I was a baby, I surely think of Switzerland as my homeland. And if I left Switzerland in my teenager years, Indonesia would be my homeland. It’s just too bad that I left at an age somewhere in the middle between the two options above; it has the effect on me that I’ve spent too little time in Indonesia to have the complete feeling of belonging there; but also have not experienced my whole childhood in Switzerland, so that I missed the little, but somehow important things, that you traditionally do in your country during your childhood. I mean kindergarten is in every country different. And these things connect people; in primary school they would once in a while talk about their kindergarten times and share all these memories and traditions they’ve learned together, while I somehow felt a bit left out.
So during the past day I’ve been wondering, once again, where I truly belong too. There are many people asking me whether I like Switzerland or Indonesia more. I’ve got to say, that’s a tricky question and my answer depends on my mood; after visiting my relatives in Indonesia, I’d definitely say Indonesia; but after recently having some amazing experiences with Swiss friends, I surely say Switzerland. Anyway I don’t think that’s the point to really come to an answer about my musings. The belonging to a country, a state, a nation, does it really depend on how much you like it? I guess that now, that Switzerland has a rather conservative attitude obverse (?) (criminal) foreigners, which doesn’t please a few people I know, they still think of themselves belonging to Switzerland: First, because it just the country in which they were born and second there are of course, other, better sides of Switzerland!
And if I’d compared the traits of my two homelands, I don’t think that I’ll know the answer; because everything has its good and its bad sides.
After a long time thinking (I’m so tired, I’ll might write down all my thoughts some time later for you) I came to the conclusion that maybe I belong to neither of these two nations. Why? I think that with me being dragged from my birthplace at a young age, but still not being long enough in another country, I define the word “home” for me not basing on which country I like more to live in,or in which country I’ve got more friends, or on my actual situation (living in Switzerland) in contrary to my birthplace (Indonesia); no, I simply adjusted my heart on where my family momentarily is, I think. (Or, at least that’s what I think at the moment, this may change tomorrow morning.) I think, that home is where I’m surrounded by my family, because that’s when I feel most at ease, and so home to me could also be Germany, French, Italy or Austria; it doesn’t really matter as long as my family’s around me.
What’s home for you?
And you know it’s now 01:32 am and I’m really, really tired and can’t concentrate. I’m sorry that this post didn’t focus so much on the quote at the beginning, if you expected a spectacular analysis or so. And I’d like to write more, but am plainly tired, maybe I’m writing some part 2 tomorrow (I’ve got ideas referring to the movie Up In The Air).
As for now, goodnight world!
Just short for today: I just want to quickly write down my observations at a lunch I had to attend today. It’s actually a launch of my family and some other Indonesian families & friends of us.
Observations on a New Year’s Lunch of Indonesian families
- Most essential point: We like to eat Asian, especially Chinese food. Don’t ask me why, but on every great occasion there would be Chinese food. It’s true many of us have Chinese roots, because many centuries ago, many Chinese people came to Indonesia (and brought their traditions, and that means food too, with them), but still… I mean, I’m bored and annoyed of eating so many times Chinese food. But this whole thing could probably just be, because there are Chinese restaurants everywhere around the world. 😉
- We like to share our food with others. Like every typical Asian (? Or probably just Indonesian?) family we order the main course for everyone. That means that there are several dishes on the table and everybody just takes a bit of what he likes best, which is possible to order in Chinese/Asian restaurants. That’s in fact a really good idea; if I go eat Chinese with my Swiss friends, I always order a menu for myself and afterwards I’m always full up. So, I just eat as much as I can (without having a bad conscience for not finishing my meal) and in the end there’d be always someone eating up the rest. 😉
- There are always photos taken (Eh, actually not only of the people, but of the food as well.). Which can be very annoying, but also somehow funny, because it has somehow developed to an Asian trait (just watch the behaviour of Asian tourist, which is also very cute and funny) over the years.
- Indonesian are known for their love for food; I think that of all nations I’ve got to know, Indonesians really love food most. Whereas European tourist would particularly recommend to each other good hotels, museums and shops, Asian tourists look for the best restaurants! It’s so typical; when my cousin was once visiting us here in Switzerland, we didn’t get to make a full sight-seeing tour because of their importance of having a culinary tour. 😀
- The passion for food is also shown in their conversation topics. When I listened to my mum and her friends, they mostly talk about food! But not only food of all kinds, but also the cooking, and of course, good restaurants you just have to visit once in your life.
Well, that was it for now. Seeing, observing, hearing this has just made me so happy; I think it’s cute (Go ahead. Just think I’m weird.) to see people getting so happy just by enjoying and eating food, talking about food.
And last, I’ve finished reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins today; and I just found the perfect quote of the main character, Katniss Everdeen for this post:
“… All around the dining hall, you can feel the rejuvenating effect that a good meal can bring on. The way it can make people kinder, funnier, more optimistic, and remind them it’s not a mistake to go on living. …”
After catching up on the last 2 episodes of Gossip Girl I feel so satisfied and happy. Especially because of this song:
I’m coming home
I’m coming home
tell the world I’m coming home
let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes
I’m coming home, I’m coming home
tell the world that I’m coming
Normally I’m not into HipHop or Rap songs; but somehow, concerning this song, it doesn’t matter that much.
In the last 2 months I had loads of stress with school; we had so many presentations to prepare and to present besides about 17 exams. I also had troubles with friendships, because I’m an independent soul and felt too bound on all my friends, but never had the time to talk with them or found the time just to be alone for a while. And last but not least I’ve never argued with my parents that much and made so many mistakes everywhere, I think. All in all I’ve been facing lots of trouble lately. And it’s just since this holiday that I’ve begun to feel more at ease; that they’ve forgiven my mistakes.
Now, in consideration of New Year and that I’ve just started this blog (and so also kind of starting over) this song just makes sense to me and right now, sitting at home with my family, doing the things I want to do and having so much time just for myself, I feel like I’m coming home.