A Journey to Home : Hello, Semarang – Part 1


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After spending 6 hours in Cirebon, I finally took a bus from Harjamukti terminal at 5.00 p.m. Actually I had got plan to stop in Tega (72 km east of Cirebon) for trying its endemic culinary, Sate blengong (duck satay). But at last, I cancelled it due to my spare time and I had to come to Malang on 22nd December. Well, at the time, my pocket was very slim, only several hundred thousand rupiahs left. Heheheheh….I got an executive class bus for heading Semarang and left Cirebon earlier.
“Good bye Cirebon, See you later.” I said it loudly, but inside my heart, then. If I shouted, the passengers would kick me out.
The bus ran so fast, and as it had got air suspension, whatever the condition, we still could sleep well. I sat near the window and gradually fell asleep, I didn’t know what I dreamt about when the bus had already been at Pemalang, Central Java. It was 11 p.m, and it’s still far from Semarang. What I was thinking about was nostalgia moment when I worked in Semarang for more than four years with all its bitter sweet moments till now I am here, in Tangerang. Well, the bus driver was very clever, he chose for passing southern part of Pemalang, avoiding the jammed northern coast road (Pantura-Pantai Utara) which always ‘scared’ every vehicles as its traffic jam nature. It passed through a quiet alternative road
In short, the bus arrived to Semarang at 1.30 a.m on 21st December 2014. I was touched when I put my feet on Semarang again, after one and half year the bitterest moment. This is capital of Central Java, and lies directly in the middle of Java Island, a half way for me from Jakarta to Malang, my lovely hometown. Afterwards, I took a taxi to my former boarding house, but as it’s already dawn, I decided to go to an internet café where I used to browse overnight. I booked one booth for overnight package and I waited while browsing till the sun rose.

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A Gloomy Moment
At 5.30 am I stopped browsing. I wanted to walk around the neighbourhood and visited Tugu Muda as it was nearby. Tugu Muda was exactly same as I left it for the last time, and Lawang Sewu (the legendary haunted building and it is also Semarang’s landmark) was getting more beautiful and no longer scary as several years ago. The day was so lovely with some cloudy golden sunrise. Many people were walking around as it was Sunday and Car Free Day.
I didn’t stay there for a long time and finally continued my feet’s swing to my former boarding house. Generally speaking, I still knew where I should go and remembered all parts of the neighbourhood. But the gloomiest part was, when I visited a laundry where I used to wash my dirty clothes. It was just located behind my ex boarding house. It was still 6.30 a.m and I hadn’t had taken a bath since I left Tangerang (but don’t worry, I don’t have industrious body odour then). The owner was washing the customers’ clothes, while her maid dried up the others. I came in and greeted her.
“Assalamualaikum.” I greeted her.
She replied but I saw a gloom over her eyes, while she tried to smile.
“Wa alaikumsalam. Please come in.”
Then, I sat next to her. She asked many questions about my sudden disappearance more than  a year ago.
“Where have you been, Mas Nono? I haven’t seen you for a long time.” She asked but, ah…she looked very sad.(Mas is a title which used for calling a man, especially among most Javanese)
“I am in Tangerang now, as an elementary school teacher.” I replied while asking about what happened on her in heart.
Finally, I asked about her husband. I used to have chit chat with her husband after taking my laundry from them and sometimes, as I am a very talkative person, the topic becomes wider and wider till obscure.
She kept silent for a while. There’s a cloud on her face and she said sadly.
“He’s passed away.”
“What!??” I didn’t believe it. “When? And How?” I asked her while trying to be calm.
Both of us were quiet for a while. I still remembered the way he laugh, his friendly face when I came there and yah, many more memories I’ve gotten during living there and used their service.
“Three months ago and it’s been his 100 days.” She answered.
“Where is he buried?” I asked.
“Kudus” She replied. Kudus is a small city east of Semarang, where the famous historical Kudus Tower located (derived from Arabic word “Al-Quds”).
“He died of heart attack and…..” She looked around, and still in gloomy situation. I just kept silent, surely, shocked, sad and so many emotions appeared. After more than a year, there’re so many changes. “Innalillahi wa innailaihi rojiun” (Everything will be returned to Allah).
After a while, I asked her again, “How’s your business?”
She said , “Thanks God, all are okay. But as the students are on holiday, it’s less than before.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, and I hope Allah will always bless you.”. She just smiled. After half an hour, I continued my visitation to my ex landlady. At the moment, I remembered my parents and myself. We must do something useful and advantageous, either for ourselves or others. I hope she will be fine and blessed for all her business after her husband’s death.

To be continued…

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All photos are taken by phone. Not really good but okay, then.

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