that jakarta life.


Oh, surely time flies so fast. It was just two months ago when I step on the grounds of Jakarta, and now, I am 37,000 feet above the ground flying back to Vancouver. I’ve been spending the last two months in my hometown and it definitely was a much-needed energizer for the new academic year this coming fall. I guess spending time with family and friends is not enough to sweeten up my trip home. Of course, I also had to indulge on all the Indonesian goodness before I start craving for more. And know, 3 kilograms later, I started to regret it. But trust me, it is all worth the calories.

Jakarta is a unique city. It is much different from Vancouver in so many different ways – its culture, skyline, people, infrastructure, and just about many other things. Vancouver has gotten a part of my heart because of its outdoorsy being, traffic-free streets and the friendliness of the people. And not to forget about its mouthwatering selection of fresh seafood and everything else. Amidst all of that, there is something about Jakarta that keeps me coming back. There’s this inexpressible feeling of love for this city (or Indonesia as a country) that allows me to freely and proudly call Indonesia home.

On the first few days of my vacation, Jakarta really got on my nerves. And by this, I meant Jakarta’s TRAFFIC. It is just inevitable. It is so hard to be punctual when the roads keep you in place for a long period of time. What gets me is knowing the fact that most of the time, the traffic is caused by drivers not letting other drivers to pass – everyone just wants to win the head-to-head battle. So yes, it is rather challenging to go around places in Jakarta. That said, I’ve never realized how I value time that much. I get a bit pissed off when people start making excuses as to why they are late, but even more so, when I am late myself. It’s just that I don’t like to keep people waiting while they can be doing something more productive. Well, I guess living in Jakarta gives us the permission to blame it all on the traffic. NOT. Hahaha. A lot of my friends told me to just get used to it because it is the way it is. I still cannot get my head around it because I am not settling for that. I don’t want to get used to it because for sure there is a better way to go. We can either blame it on the traffic or many other things, or we can do something about it to change how things work.

“So, Kim, why a whole blog post to just ramble about this?” You see, it is more than just about me complaining about Jakarta’s traffic or people’s tardiness. It is a whole lot more. I’m calling you to not settle with the things you are not okay about, of course with a certain extent of wisdom to this. Don’t be okay about it if you are really not okay about it. There’s a lot you can do. And if you fail? That’s okay, you tried. What I am trying to say is that, I love Jakarta (and Indonesia as a whole) so much that I don’t want to settle with what’s holding us back from growing.

If you are not okay with the air pollution, cut back on the fuel consumption yourself and advocate some practical steps, such as carpooling.
If you are not okay with little kids not having proper education, sponsor a kid and encourage your friends to do it too. If you are not okay with people disobeying the traffic regulations, obey them and be an example.
If you are not okay with racism, open yourself up with people of different ethnicities and be cool about it.
If you are not okay with corruption, don’t start that yourself even in the simpler things, such as cheating on a test, or getting out of a police.
And the list goes on and on and on.

I’m starting to love Indonesia more and more each day, and I see so many opportunities for growth in this country that I am not settling for less. No, the least thing I want to do is to be ungrateful for all there is to this country. Truly, I am blessed to have been born here. But I am intrigued to see Indonesia’s potential being fulfilled. Home for over 255 million people spread across 17,504 islands, Indonesia is bound for so much more. We’ve gone through a lot as a country in the past, and I am excited for what’s ahead.

Today, as I gaze upon the red and white flag fluttering in the blue sky, I am reminded of such a lovely home Indonesia has been and will always be. Just like how our courageous leaders are not okay with being colonized 70 years ago, let us be ONE and not cease to strive for a better nation, a better home, a better Indonesia.

Dirgahayu Republik Indonesia. My prayers go out to you especially on this day.

Kimberly Subianto
Vancouver, 17 August 2015


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