Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On (Summer) Holiday

Staycation (\ˈstā-ˈkā-shən\), noun: a vacation spent at home or nearby (

The thing about living in a tropical country is to have summer all year round (hence the dream of experiencing snow and winter, and Frozen is somehow challenging to be relatable, climate-wise). In Jakarta, Indonesia, the middle of the year becomes particularly pleasant not only because it is the holiday season, but also due to the city’s anniversary on June 22nd, that leads to culture festivals and shopping frenzy for two months straight. But I am not going to address more on the festivities, albeit I am delightful to see the discount sign everywhere (Hello, Jakarta Great Sale!).

Since the topic for this month’s prompt include the word ‘home’, it calls for a bit of personal contemplation.

You see, I have been living in the capital city for the past two years, since I graduated from college. I am about to have my first work anniversary in a few days’ time and it gets me a little bit sentimental, because I never thought that Jakarta could ever be my pond.

I grew up in a considerably big city because it is also a capital city of one of the most overpopulated provinces in the country, but the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan was not something I used to experience in a daily basis. However, living and working in Jakarta have its own perks, especially because I live in the heart of the capital city and everything is nearby. Going places (and spending hard-earned cash) is far easier now.

I might have made Jakarta my home, simply because I spend most of my days in a week living here. On the other hand, I am still officially a resident of another town, and it is not one of the satellite cities nearby the capital city. I go to my hometown every a couple of weeks, but these days, the trips are merely weekend visits.

A place I used to call home for years is now where I would spend six nights a month at most. The town I used to live in would now welcome me like another domestic tourist when I come on Saturdays and leave on Mondays. This is not a strange circumstance as it happens to millions of others, but sometimes it can make me feel out of place.

People said things like ‘Home is where the heart is’ and ‘Absence makes the heart grows fonder’. It makes me realise that no matter where one’s home is, they have to know for sure the ways they have to take to get there. In the end, distance is not merely a matter of geography, but also a challenge to meet, so one could keep their loved ones close to their heart.

photo taken from here.

Therefore, summer at home and staycationing are basically what I do on the weekends. It means time-off, making it a perfect time to rekindle. It means the pleasure of taking my family out for lunch or dinner, or catching up with friends in my hometown. Summertime for me is the weekends with the sunshine, because without it I would not get my laundry dry in a day. I would also love to try reading in the park or some afternoon-jogging.

The actual summer holiday in the country, though, if I may say so, is the last week of July, which marks the festivities of Eid al-Fitr that is celebrated by more than 80 percent of the country’s population. It has been regarded as the perfect timing, for many who works places far away from their families, be it their nuclear or extended ones, to ‘come home’.

These days, people would also spend the one-week break for a long-overdue holiday, making it a peak traveling season in the country. And that is what I plan to do this Eid holiday with my family. Details are still brewing, but I cannot be more excited.

Going on a holiday is particularly refreshing, for one, because it brings my family together again after mundane daily activities keep us apart. Also, adhering to the words ‘Home is where is the heart is’, it is like having your home with you in a different setting, absorbing all the fun in foreign places with those who are near and dear.