Home Sweet Home

Going Home Together

If you ask a traveler what a home would be, he might answer an unforgettable adventure. If you ask an environmentalist what a home would be, he might answer this sole earth. If you ask a gold digger what a home would be, she might likely answer a big fancy house with swimming pool in the backyard and lavish cars parked in the garage. If you ask a teacher what home would be, he might answer the classroom where he teaches. If you ask a sailor what home would be, he might answer what lies beneath the sky and above the ocean.

See, everybody has different definition of what a home would be.

But if you ask me what home would be, i might not answer.

Those who answer, they've found out what their home is. Or at least they have imagined what their home would be. Apparently I haven't. I'm myself still finding out one. Even so i have a vague picture of what a home would be.

But everybody bearing a different concept of what his home might be is making this even more complicated and solipsistic. Because by then, we have many different insights of what a home would be. Well, based on what people say, it could be a physical construction, mental image, memories, job, sense of belonging, a person. Whatever the answer is, it is always true and each of us has different ways to justify what a home would be.

My first thought about home is a place where we are born. A place that ties memories of us growing up which is internalized into our subconscious. So one day our skin becomes soggy and our sight becomes foggy, we can quite easily recall our childhood memories. However it depends on memories we have had as a child. If the moments are happy, we might be happy to cherish it over and over. But if it's painful and somber, don't bother to think about it even once. Your subconsciousness will defy to recall. We don't want to remember bad things, do we? But then, that childhood memories is not a home. Home should be a place that makes us happy, isn't it?

Yes, i'm being self-conscious about defining home and sometimes it's quite revolting to see myself not to get over it. Maybe i'm just being clueless. I don't know why it is a big deal for me. Maybe because it is important for me or it's just my insecurity to haven't found one yet. While time is pushing us to the edge. But to understand a place you belong indeed needs effort and takes time. Finding home is not as instant and easy as making a cup of coffee. Put it in (my) mind long time ago.

We surely have been through a lot to find our home. Times, energy, and money. We move in, move out from one place to another. Having new friends, leaving old friends. Fall in love and get married. Or get break ups and divorces. Some found their home, but some are still struggling to find one. We are like a happy and free bird fleeing from twig to twig no one noticing that it is actually seeking for a right place to make nest. After all, all we need is an anchor to pull us back from moving.

But how do we decide to drop our anchor and not to sail again? Sometimes we get our intuition misleading. How do we settle for things we are unsure of? What if it is slandering? How do we know it is the right thing at the right time?

I don't know if everybody is pondering that far but i am. I have an inner turmoil of what if i'm wrong and no chance to make it right. What if i'm lost in the middle of this huge labyrinth of life, trapped in this unnamed reality forever, unable to be at the other side of this complicated maze with home as its finish line. I don't wanna keep flying like a bird who seems lost unable to find his home.

I'm petrified.

Don't get me wrong. I'm neither a perfectionist freak who is looking a perfect home nor sentimental lonesome dude who is blabbering too much. Well, the latter is debatable but i perceive that home shouldn't be perfect. If we talk physical, a home could be messy and have spider web on its every corner like a cave, however if that soothes you, then it is your home. Not a castle-like house you can brag about if you still want to get out. So to me, physical construction is not really important. As long as it makes me stay, then it's good.

So is it all about where it is located?

A couple weeks ago, my friend offered me a good job in which i'm passionate about, based in Jakarta. I had to refuse because I've still got thesis to be done. Actually, it's not really mattered, according to my friend's reply. He said that the company can make some adjustments toward my situation. They need me only to come for work a day per week during my thesis completion. It's a good deal for someone in my position. Not to mention the salary i can earn while completing thesis. But i still refused. I sincerely thanked him for offering me such a good job at the very first place, but i let it slip out of my hand. He asked me the big question,


Why i don't know.

I've been thinking about it again, about the thesis thing, actually it was me trying to find some excuses not to accept the job.

I just don't like being in Jakarta. Having a job there, occupied with more working hours, peer pressure, obligation to start family, and you know the rest well enough. I'm just thinking that Jakarta has the least possibility to be a home for me.

So i think it's settled not to settle in Jakarta. And yes, it is about location.

Until a few days ago, universe infiltrated this thought.

The sun was covered with fast moving clouds. Winds were blowing the scattered dried autumn leaves away to unseen horizon. Rain was pouring quite heavily. Cold winter breath become visible as people were rushing to find shelters from the street. 

I was pushing the pedals of my bike slowly, letting the cold tears from the sky linger on my skin. Everything seemed in the perfect place to make the whole day gloomy for me. A particular feeling was leaking.

A familiar emotion:

Three years ago, i had to move to suburb. I once lived in a nice house in the city center. I hated the suburban area. I didn't feel comfortable to stay long in the house i moved into. So, i kept myself occupied to spend less time at that house.

Five years ago, i had to go to commute one hour just to go to university. The university was outside the town, a suburb. So my old friends rarely hung out with me. Not to mention the intercity public transportation wasn't available all the time. I couldn't stay long in university. It repelled me. My first two years were a mess. I hated it. That was the first time i was having a nightmare coming true in life. I needed to wake up from that nightmare by graduating very soon, I had thought. I also avoided mingling with people. So, every time class was over, i left earlier.



The truth is I'm grateful those things have happened to me. Moving out to suburb got me to know a local government and communities and to involve with them. It enhances my sense of belonging, community development skills, and other self-improvement process. I become more sensitive. Not that sensitive in that way, but in a way i am able to find my interest and actualize it within the society.

University life turned out to be the best period in my life. I met a lot of people, experienced many great things, fell in love, broke up, got so tensed, felt academic anxiety, and the best of the best is i found new friends which some of them are the best ones.

It sounds cliché but you hate too much then you love that much seems true to some extent.

To think about it, being petrified is commonly happened to encountering new things. Sometimes, we are fed up of socializing the new environment, but if it is a journey we should take to our home, should we keep avoiding it? I realized not moving out that i found scary. Not also the new things. But being outside of my comfort zone makes me scary. I thought once i step outside, i find myself alone again.

But i'm mistaken. We're actually expanding our comfort zone. We will meet strangers who as the time goes by will be filtered as new friends. And everybody has been through this. Let's deal with it.

Of course expanding our comfort zone will be scary as it seems contradictory to settling down. To be honest, I'm also scared of settling down. I'm terrified that once i think i'm allowed to feel relieved being at home, the reality fools me and turns me down so i have to painfully start finding a new home again. But life itself is not a comfortable zone. We are our comfortable zone. So no matter where we are, as long as we feel comfortable with ourselves, we are always at home.

To look at another story, a very good co-worker/friend of mine who recently moved out to Jakarta to grab more challenging job opportunities has declared his determination to live there for the next couples year. Me and him are not city boys, and we are alike in that way. I kept asking why he would go to Jakarta when everything here (Bandung) is enough. He simply replied that he wanted to settle down like anybody else did. The money is more plentiful, people are more open minded, you know, big city, he replied.

It got me thinking.

Surely everyone wants to settle down after awhile: doing a good job, getting married, staying together, having children, and growing old together thingy. That is a commonly good plan and often described in movies and fairy tales. By words of mouth, it has become everybody's standardization for living. But have you ever felt that we do that because we only want to be socially accepted? Not that i don't wanna do those things, but should settle down be defined like that? like what most people want? Then we just tag ourselves along?

The effort we put and the strength we pour into the process of moving out and establishing our home, our fortress, our nest, is what makes our home has firm grip and foundation at heart. It can be in a blink of an eye and as easy as flipping hands but it also can takes forever and as difficult as moving a mountain. Thing to note is settling down is creating home we are comfortable at, so don't compare.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

For instance, while friends finish degrees and get themselves accepted in reputable companies in big cities, i'm still afraid applying to some companies based in big cities. When they've got accepted, they move to big cities, let say Jakarta.

While i'm still reassuring myself here that Jakarta could be a second home I've been looking for.
Looking at them, they start establishing a promising carrier and are drawn into daily hustles and bustles. I am still here being schooled. Comparing ourselves to another person is so obsolete. We will end up feeling weary and worry.

If they find Jakarta their home home, they surely will be able to stay longer. But if they don't, there's a chance they will move. They who have found themselves comfortable must have ability to adapt with new environments. Most of them have an ability to form a new bond with new things quite faster than some other people. Other people are just not familiar with new things, with changes, like me.

Obviously I don't quite easily build chemistry with something or someone.

You can guess I have bad first impression about Jakarta. I won't tell you now otherwise it will be a very long story going. In short, over years and every visit, a psychological tress with branches of sentiments and hateful fruits has grown within me . I'm not sure I want to cut it down. Seems I am keeping a grudge to Jakarta.

But who doesn't hate typically big cities?

Let me pamper. Daily hustles and bustles that draw everybody waking up early in the morning so they can come punctual, that just make me dizzy. You probably say that it is common in life. It actually is. But my friends told me they have to go work before six in the morning, otherwise they would be trapped in a heavy traffic congestion herded with drivers that drive crazily. They finish working around five in the evening and need to wait the traffic to cool down. So everyday they almost come home around 8 at night. Also here and there are gigantic skyscrapers that seem ready to munch everything nearby, visual intrusion caused by heavily polluted air, noise disturbances like unfunny talkative comedian talking for 24 hour non stop, railways and streets are crossing each other like a complicated ball of yarn you can't find the edge. Not to mention criminality, political instability, complicated typically western romance and love affairs, ads, flood, social gaps, and any other itches. Those are things that keep bugging on my mind. They do their routines because they have to, not because they love to. Imagining those things is scary enough for me. Okay, it might be personal, but you have to admit you feel the same at least a little.

Hectic daily routines like that is good because life is made easier and everything seem in a grasp but it also can hatch an unaware individual distance. The stress from work drowns us into the desperation of something fresh and refreshing. We want to reward ourselves from our hard working, we go for vacation. Back, we need to work so we can reward ourselves again. I probably become one of this evilish cycle too one soon day. Money is good, isn't it?

Then again, i remember (remembering is surely a good thing to do for me) last time i went to Jakarta was before i came to the Netherlands. I needed to pick up my visa and attended pre-departure thingy. A surprise was my friends allocated their time to accompany me. We hung out until late, laughed, talked about things that mattered and not mattered. I slept over for a few nights at my friend's crib. At that time, Jakarta wasn't as scary as i always imagined before. They had eased my anxiety.

Then, the picture I've been starring at has become less vague now.

Finding a home is never easy. But to eventually find one, all we have to do is keep searching until we feel we are at home.

So, if you ask me once again, what a home would be to me, my answer will be:

a place where i enjoy myself the most with people i love the most.


  1. Tak ada yg kebetulan di dunia ini
    Karena takdir selalu menunjukan jalannya

    Begitu sepi kah dalam keramaian, atau begitu ramai kah dlam sunyian
    Bagai ruang tak bertepi.
    Bersulam mimpi semu yg terpatri
    Di dinding imaji,ilusi duniawi
    Lengah melekat berapi-api

    Sebatas tahu langit itu biru
    berawan kelabu
    Lelah meniti jalanan berliku

    Hingga terdampar diketerasingan waktu
    Kosong menggelayut di dahan-dahan tak menentu
    Musnahkan damai yg terkunci di kotak kayu

    Di ujung jalan penghabisan
    Bertabur kata,tanya dan makna yg tak terselesaikan
    Hiasi ufuk barat yg berjelagah
    Isyaratkan tanda untuk menjelajah
    Berdiri bertepian yg melemah

  2. Kota atau tempat yg kamu pilih untuk beristirahat di akhir hayat (bukan harfiah kuburan tapi). Ada yg mengartikan rumah seperti itu

  3. Finding home for yourself is up to you. It's your life. If you don't want to go Jakarta, it's okay. You can find any place to called home.
    You're very complex and philosopher.
    But you think very much about life itself.
    In the past, I didn't like Jakarta. Now I still didn't like Jakarta but it is only a little.
    Surely, there is time to make decision about life. Nothing wrong if you have already taken a decision. It's the better option at that time.
    Now it's to make another decision that it's the better option for this time.


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