Weekly Blog - September 2017

I accompanied Adhi to the Rendani Airport on last Friday morning. He’s leaving Manokwari for nine days. Adhi rode a motorcycle that he sent from his hometown Sidoarjo. I sat behind him. It rained but not so hard. I put on my waterproof jacket. My helmet was not covered with a glass, so the raindrops could hit me right on my face.

The sun was beginning to shine that morning. And it made the sky orange. And I enjoyed the ride. I liked the wind. I like to raise my left hand into the air and let my hand feels the wind. It’s refreshing. It was cold. I like my day cold. That’s why I miss Bandung. I still remember how I woke up at 3 AM every night when I lived in Bandung. It’s the coldest time of the day.

The sun rise. It competed with the rain clouds. It still rained when we arrived in the airport. And Adhi told me he would like to check-in but I have to wait for him outside. I waited. I sat in a fancy glassy café called Hawaii Bakery. I bought two cans of Nescafé for Rp40.000. I needed to wait for my friend and for the rain to stop. Adhi came back in 15 minutes and left me after 5 minutes. I spared a can of Nescafé but he didn’t want it. At 7 PM, I was sitting in comfort at the café outside. I finished my can, and I left the airport. The rain didn’t stop but I had to go.

Oh - how I like it when it was weekend. I did almost nothing on Saturday. I hanged out with Mas Amin and family & friends on Sunday. I was not really excited to go outside the city. But I left all the comfort my room had to offer and I enjoyed the snacks, the foods, and the villages all the way on our trip. We went to a region called SP or Sarana Pemukiman (Residence Facility). It’s a transmigration region next to Manokwari. Every time I am on my trip to SP, I would pass the wooden signboard of Arfak Mountain. And oh, I really wish to go to Lake Anggi on Arfak Mountain.


Monday came in. I sipped my coffee at the nice spot in my office backyard. I spared my time to teach English to Frans. So did I when it was Tuesday, and Wednesday too. On Thursday night, I met Frans at Calais Café. And we studied until it’s 10.30 PM. I remember the times when I studied French all by myself in that café. And I think Frans is lucky to never have to study alone. Frans brought the book entitled ‘Ohio’ that Brooke sent to me. We studied two pages of it. I am so glad that I can say: I got a student. My English student. And my student wrote a piece of writing about Manokwari. It’s simple but informative. I think his writing is not perfect but acceptable. I am so mad about punctuation marks. I will look carefully how he writes the little sentence marks. I even have taught him what an oxford comma is. Teaching English to my student is a rewarding and fulfilling experience.


And it’s Friday. This week, Pak Vanus is still working on his project in office backyard. He is making a pond, I told you. Mas Fikri has gone to Sorong. My boss, Pak Edi, is in Jakarta. Frans helped me with the work in my department. And I have not given him the English studying session when he left the office in the afternoon. He told me he’s sleepy. I could understand that. But I felt a bit wrong later in the evening. I have tried to prioritize the studying session above other arrangement beside the work. I probably didn’t navigate my work and teaching very well this Friday. I arrived in my boarding house. It was empty. I took the shower with some music playing.

On Saturday. I enjoyed my time in the house. I was alone in the house. Pak Irsan had gone to Jakarta last Thursday. In the evening, having cleaned up my room and the house, I stood in the center of my room. Everything was in its proper place. My desk was clean and neat. Few hours ago it was a mess. I had a nice little study lamp on the corner of my desk. It’s got a bright yellow light that I found beautiful and warm. I could hear the sound of my fan. I looked at the photographs on my cork board. And I just had this pleasing mindfulness. That I rarely had. And I wish I could feel this way more often. I stood and I can feel my existence, my breath, my feet, and sense of belongings to the artifacts I have picked into my room.

Recently I realized something. I like the sound people make when they are eating. I like it when they munch on their meals. It makes the most pleasing sound. I bought a jar of sweet pickles that sold in Hadi Supermarket for Rp10.000. I shared it to Frans and Mas Fikri. I knew they didn’t really like it. They won’t take another bite again. I do enjoy listening to the sound when they munch on the pickles.

Well, that’s for now. 



A Mundane Weekday

On Monday morning, I rushed to my office. Having arrived, I made my coffee. I recently got a nice spot at my office backyard. Mas Uki has set a place to to sit or to lie on using wood wastes. I sat there and tried not to fret about what would happen for the week. I tried to follow or to stop my train of thoughts. I usually have my coffee without sugar.

On Tuesday, the mundane was real. I kept coming back to the spot. The sun is always bright in Manokwari. It delivers the warm, if not the heat, to the livings under the sky. The spot is shaded by a sirsak tree. So, I don’t worry about the sun. Pak Vanus, the security guy who lives in the office, was working on a pond. He digged an 6Mx4M pond that is designed to absorb rainwater. That’s a large pond to make. He’s told to make it. I still make my coffee in the morning. I didn’t finish the coffe at once. I would leave it to return to my desk. And that’s how it got cold.


I am teaching English to an internship student. He got posted in my department. I share this department with another staff. He’s called Mas Fikri. And the student’s called Frans. He brought some apples and oranges from home. The fruits come from Nabire and his father brought them to Manokwari.

Wednesday is for the blues. I always attribute the colour blue to the Wednesday. All the employees would put on a blue shirt for the Wednesday as the uniform. I like it. It’s been my favorite uniform.On Thursday, I still spend time at my nice spot in the office backyard. I am not always alone. Pak Vanus still works on his pond. So everytime I show up, he would climb up his pond and sit next to me. Mas Uki has more free time nowadays since the internship students do his job at the middle office. He would come too. He gave me a coconut. I drink the water and I ate the coconut flesh. Adhi had one his coconut too. He is also a reguler comer to my nice spot.



Il pleut - it rained - 12 hours that Friday. I took Adhi to the airport with a motorcycle that now belonged to Mas Uki. Adhi would go back to his hometown. He is taking a leave, worths 10 days. I do think he needs it. He didn’t forget to give me a list - what I need to do for him and what’s not. On my way back to the office, the motorcycle stopped running. Remember, it rained hard. So I just parked the motorcycle in a nearby random office and took an ojek. I got the motorcycle fixed at noon. Mas Uki helped me to do that.

On Friday aftenoon, I taught Frans the être. I meant the ‘to-be’ forms (is/am to was, are to were, etc). We studied for two hours. Pak Edi or Malik would join us for some minutes and left us on our work. I lent Frans a book on another day. He told me he broke his smart tab which unabled him to use his dictionary app. I ran to the general-affair room and handed him a dictionary. The book is the Ohio book that Brooke has sent me from Ohio. I told Frans to finish the book and to list some new vocabularies he found from the book. We finished the study at 6PM.

I found a solace at my nice spot in the office backyard. It felt so dull and boring which defined a mundane weekday. I tried to be grateful anyway. At the nice spot, I would post an entry to my journal app called DayOne. I would do another sip to my cold coffee. I would listen to Pak Vanus or to the music playing on my phone. I would have Adhi or Mas Uki come and they would sit next to me. Beside those regular stuff, I would just stare to all the trees and plants in my office backyard - daydreaming. And I hoped, any time soon, I would have something to live for, on a mundane weekday.





Prajurit Bertopi Coklat


Suatu malam, aku sedang di atas sebuah kapal yang meninggalkan Teluk Wondama. Kuhabiskan waktuku untuk merenung. Bersama angin laut yang dingin berhembus. Bersama derunya ombak. Hanya ada aku dan pikiranku. Ditelingaku ada alunan lagu dari album dan band kesukaanku. Menyanyikan yang sendu. Dan itu mengantarku lebih dalam pada sunyi dan senyap. Hingga hampir pagi.

Suatu siang, bersama kawan-kawanku. Di bawah sebuah pohon, seorang prajurit bertopi coklat sedang duduk membacakan sesuatu kepada kami. Lepas bercerita, kami diajaknya berjalan ke sebuah tempat. Suatu desa yang tenteram. Melewati semak, sawah, dan kali. Sepatuku becek. Sepatu kawan-kawanku juga. Hari itu indah seperti mimpi. Bersama kawan-kawanku. Bersama prajurit kami. Berjalan, beriringan, bersama. Dan hari indah di Cimahi itu sudah jauh lewat. Kami tidak pernah bertemu lagi.

Ada kenangan yang laun lampau. Ada masa yang jauh kutinggalkan. Namun bekasnya tak pernah pudar.