(Reverse) Homesick and a guide to find home

Jakarta, Indonesia
Sunday, 30 December 2018

This post is truly inspired by CultureShockPanda's post in here

This month marks almost one and a half year since I left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for good. Do I miss KL? Absolutely. And it goes beyond what I have explained in here. I actually miss every bit of it, everything about KL, whether it be good and bad.

A young inspirational YouTuber, Gitasav, said in one of her videos (here), the dilemma of 'perantau' (people going overseas whether it for studying or working) is their confusion of home. Gita, as a perantau herself from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Germany, one time found that she couldn't define whether her home in Jakarta is her actual hometown, or Germany, the current country she resides.

As a perantau myself (which I don't really prefer to be called since Padang-Kuala Lumpur only an hour flight away--not that far in compared to Germany), I have been in that situation before. Like Gita, the first semesters I was still hating the facts that I got to go miles away from my friends and family. I hated that everything was so different, very new and I thought Malaysia was not home, really far from what I thought was home.

But now, after I left Malaysia for good and my student visa expired, I realized KL was the city of my first times where I spent my early-adulthood stage there. I was 17 years old the first time I stepped into the university there and I left the city when I was 23 years old. Can you see the transition there? From a young, foolish and innocent high school graduate to a young lady who got bachelor after her name and ready to embrace the adulthood life.

KL witnessed the very first time I went around alone using public transportation like the taxi, RapidKL, LRT, and KTM until Uber and Grab comes available. I remember one time I went adventurous with Suraya finding ways to go to the National Library with public transport while it's raining heavily outside or when I went to KLCC alone just to grab some fresh air out of the university and enjoying the view from LRT on the way. That was an experience.

KL witnessed the first time I took every decision by myself and take full responsibility for it. Like which classes should I enroll, which club or program that would really benefit me or if I join this event, would that affect my studies? I took them as my responsibilities for my parents who have flown me to another country and I had to prove them that I could live on my own responsibly.

KL witnessed the first time I really appreciate money. From a spoiled girl who did not even care on how much a novel in Kinokuniya costs, to a young adult who calculates how many books can she gets monthly to maintain the money till the end of the month so she could still have some spare. I knew that studying abroad is not cheap so I tried so many ways, from selling snacks at the dorm's stairs, selling hijabs, helping my aunty selling her products, to sell planners that I bought from Indonesia. I got the opportunity to fly to Semporna, Sabah, free too because it was a club program :p

KL witnessed the first time I stood up for myself, hold my chin up and ignore all the negativity. Days are never always a sunshine, and there also my university life. To held my chin up back at home were easy because I have my family near me. but there, I had to stand by myself and made myself stronger. Looking back at those days, I'm grateful that Allah has made me stronger.

KL witnessed me finding people who really supports me and understands me very well.Studying abroad alone (I didn't have any friends from high school with me entered the same university), would cost me to find new friends, which I'm lacking at! Finding true friends might be hard, even keeping them. Alhamdulillah Allah has set me to meet my IIUM Bretties, IntelligencePandawa UNESCO Club, PPI IIUM, PPI Malaysia, and my classmates. They brought colors to my days in university and I can't thank Allah enough to give me a chance to meet them.

Yes, KL, you are full of memories. And you have watched me grow.

The confusion goes when what I thought was home is no longer picture how a home was like. There were times when I go back to Padang, I didn't think it was home anymore. Not because of my family and home is still the best place to spend hours, but the city... it's changing. It's small but I could notice. I'm quite proud to see how much the city is developing but on the other hand, it slowly changing how I used to picture it. The fact that most of my friends are no longer there but went merantau to another city and building their own life, makes everything seems... incomplete? different?

As you already know, I'm currently recides in Jakarta, Indonesia. Yes, another city.

I'd never imagined I'd come back to this city - which actually where I was born till my family moved back to Padang- and to build a career here, until I seated an internship here back then in 2017 for 3 months, and another internship in 2018 for another three, and to finally settle for a management trainee program.

Was it hard to blending in and start it all over again?

It might be hard for people who aren't used to a new place. In my case, this wasn't my first time and I actually love new experiences. I think it takes a lot of experiences to realize that in the end, home is not where you're from. It could be anywhere if you find a home somewhere in there. 

Here's my little guide to find home for you who are settling in a new city (or maybe anywhere new):

1. Stop thinking that it's not home.

The very first thing I told myself when I arrived in KL was "Alright, this city is going to be my new home now." so I acted like it's really my home. I decorated my university hostel room the way I wanted it to be - I bought some knick-knacks, printed out some family and friends photos, brought some teddy bears from home, and I even once changed the room's floor mat because I hated the color - Anything to make me comfortable.

2. Explore, explore, explore.

I actually hate it when the locals talk about something that I don't know. So what I usually do is find out what's happening in the city, explore their food, follow some Instagram famous to know what's currently in-trend and at least know the country/area map - so that I understand what they're talking about. Well, I think it's quite working because most of the time people thought I'm the local. *grin*

3. Have yourself friends.

If you already have friends before you're moving in, good for you. He/She could help you adjusting to your new home. What would happen if you don't? Worry not, cos there must be some way out. It might take a longer time for some people because it will cost you to be open to a new friend. I'm grateful enough that whenever I am, although it was hard at first, I'm always surrounded by good people. All you need is to give them permission to enter your life.

And that wraps this post. I'm hoping this might help everyone who's adjusting to a new home, or whoever struggling to find a bit of home in where they are now. :)

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