I really needed this trip to Indonesia as a sort of rite-of-passage before my first year in college. I stayed with my family here for a month, right after my high school graduation, traveling without my parents or brother. It was much different than traveling alone to Australia because going to Indonesia meant coming back to my roots, to my base. My grandparents were more than ecstatic to see me after a long hiatus; it’d been five years since my parents, brother, and I last visited.
It was really different, going back as an almost-adult because this time I could see the distinct differences and similarities between the US and Indonesia. In Indonesia, it’s all about family and it was somewhat strange being constantly surrounded by family but at the same time, it was really warm and familiar even if we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Jakarta is ultimately my hometown; though I may not have lived there for prolonged periods of time, I was born there and it was where nearly all of my family lived.
Jakarta is such an interesting city. It’s the capital of the nation and the thirteenth most populated city in the world at 10 million inhabitants. It’s rife with pollution, corruption, poverty, and crime but it also has so much potential especially with Indonesia’s growing economy. Sometimes it’s frustrating – especially with the hundred years traffic jams and rampant garbage and stench – but it’s also home. It’s my home. And though we may have a love/hate relationship, I wish I could come back more often just so I could see my family.