Other than the ridiculously high value that I place on my books, I don’t think I’m a particularly materialistic person. If I was, when my humbling process began, I would have hung on to my stuff too tightly for God to pry them from my fingers. When I was leaving Jamaica, I got rid of just about everything I owned. I was selling stuff, giving away stuff, and tossing stuff. I was ruthless – everything had to go and I didn’t let sentimentality stand in my way. After all, what was the point of leaving things to dry-rot, expire or just go unused when someone else could have them?
Turns out, I miss some stuff.
I was sitting around working a couple of weeks ago, minding my own business, when I smelled a really nice scent. Seeing as that is not a normal occurrence around here, I noticed it immediately. It was so fresh and light! I thought someone had taken a shower in the middle of the day. It turned out to be scented mosquito repellent (someone was reapplying) but it smelled absolutely lovely; it was like I took an unexpected olfactory vacation. In that moment, I realised that I miss perfume.
This is odd for me because I don’t even usually wear perfume. I get a bottle every now and then as a gift or I’ll buy myself a bottle every couple of years but I very rarely wear it. In fact, I’ve been known to forget that I even own perfume. But I smelled that lovely scent that day and I just wanted to smell nice again! Please don’t misunderstand – on any given day, I’m pretty sure I smell fine. But that feeling I get from smelling like a million bucks only compares to the feeling that I get when I’m wearing a killer pair of shoes. It just makes me feel so darn good.
Then I started thinking about it and found a few other things that I miss.
Like cake. I miss cake. I could go for a big, hunking slice of black forest cake right now. Or carrot cake. Or chocolate layer cake. I’ve had the chance to eat Indonesian cake several times now (birthday celebrations, usually) and I’m not a fan. There’s always 1 ingredient too much, like cheese. Why? Why would you put actual shredded cheese on top of cake? It would be perfectly fine without that 1 step too far but it almost always happens; there’s always 1 unnecessary ingredient or the cake is too heavy or something is just off. Sigh. I haven’t had a scrumptious sweet treat since I’ve been here.
I miss clothes and I miss clothes shopping. Except for a couple of pieces that I reserve for my days off, I’ve been wearing basically the same clothes every day for 6 months. I replenished with a few pieces at H&M when I was in Penang back in March but that only means I’ve been wearing those clothes for 4 months non-stop. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a practical person and I still have no interest in weighing down myself with a tonne of things while I’m still homeless and travelling. But I wouldn’t mind having some stylish options (and not just kampung style) from time to time.
I miss books. Specifically, I miss spending hours browsing through a great bookstore and leaving with a book that I know will be great. Besides not wanting to weigh myself down with extra baggage when it’s time to leave here, I detest bookstores in Indonesia. The reason is simple. They seal up the books and I can’t look inside them. They literally seal the books in plastic wrap. I have no idea why they do this – A and I speculate that it might be because people may read the books and then not buy them, but this is pure speculation on our part. Whatever the reason, I refuse to buy a book if I can’t scan the first chapter because how else will I know if it’s any good? So I don’t even bother going into bookstores in Indonesia anymore.
Lastly, I miss seeing men in straight-legged jeans. Seriously, I cannot understand why Indonesian men think that skinny jeans for men are so great. They’re not. In fact, no self-respecting man should ever wear skinny jeans. Ever. I don’t know which is worse – a skinny Indonesian man wearing skinny jeans or a fat Indonesian man wearing them. It doesn’t even matter. It’s unattractive no matter the case; skinny jeans were created for women, not men, people!
The other things that I miss are intangible and are a product of my living situation; they have nothing to do with Indonesia itself.
For example, I miss sitting in a proper, comfy chair since I spend most of my days sitting on the floor, or on uncomfortable, hard plastic chairs. I miss working out at the gym and having a healthy diet, because those things make me feel and look good. And I miss feeling flexible – sitting on the floor for several hours a day when you’re not used to it is hard on the hips, and using squat toilets is hard on the knees. Indonesian sitting really makes me feel like an old woman.
OK, now that I’ve soliloquised over what I miss, let me put this into perspective. Yes, I miss those things but it doesn’t make me sad not having them in my daily life. Instead, it makes me feel grateful when I do get a chance to indulge in them, and it makes me learn to appreciate little, seemingly insignificant things in ways I never would before.
Would you look at that? More growth. Aces.