Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Host Family 41st SSYEAP

I still think that I owe Berry something. I haven’t given anything to him. Even I gave my book, he couldn’t understand, because it's written in Bahasa Indonesia. I wanted to give a shirt for him, I thought he would prefer for t-shirts. So, still have no idea what to give him, until he left. I think I should write this in English, so Berry could also read and (hopefully) would like. I wrote this not just for Berry, but also for us who may have that kind of belonging memory, also for my mind which could forget everything just  in two seconds. Writing for capturing. But, Lois Lowry told me this,
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”  
So, I've better not make this for my own.

"Mama, let's go home. We'll not get anyone to stay with us."

Sometimes we couldn't as that fast  giving up  something. Even it's seems dark and there's no way out. I've learnt. That could be the most stupid thing I did.
Our family had sent an application to be a host family for the PYs (Participant Youths) of 41st SSEAYP (Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program) 2014 since few  months ago. But unfortunately, there's no any feed back from the commitee in Jakarta. Until the hostmatching day came, we still had no idea with the news. But, mama strongly asked me to accompany her to the host matching event. "We have to find out!" she said. Without any argument like usual, I just nodded, and drived her without saying anything. When we came, and saw the announcement, we just knew officially that there's no name of our family there, in the list of the hostparent names.

So many regrets trapped in our hearts at that time. The commitee gave mama advice to just queue in reserve list of hostparents. She wrote her name for the  PYs girls. We sat at the tribune, saw how excited the foster parents ready to welcome their PYs down there. It's the quietest moment of us. Several times we almost left the building. We gave up. “I think it would be hard. We’re still 5th in the reserve list for girls.” But whenever we passed the commitee desk, mama always going back and asked, “Is there any chance for us?” Nobody could promise her. She convinced me to stay. "Just wait. At least we still can see how the foster parents and their PYs meet". We sat in the stairs of tribune, so we could see the PYs who just came in. In my mind I thought, how lucky the other foster parents. Smile, greet, even took selfie with their PYs. And we're really ready to go home. For years, mama always take the chance to be foster parents for youth exchange program if they have homestay in Surabaya from foreign countries. It always succeed throwing back her memories to the past, when she was one of the participant of the Canadian World Youth Exchange Program.  

At last, God opened the way. Several fosterparents didn't come until the last minutes. The commitee called mama, and offered her to be the changing foster parent. But she had to take boys PYs, not girls. "It's okay!" she thankfully answered. She just made a little sign to me, and directly got in to the hall. Those two boys for the first time, met their foster parent in Surabaya. 
When all the people got out, excited, I wondered who will be our foster childrens. In aisle which was full of people, I tried to catch where mama was. Then I saw her with -where’s your foster childrens? You've got separated?- face. A moment after that, mama got out from the line and smiled,  
“This is my daughter.”
It’s the first time I saw those two guys, the tall guy with very straight face but very kind, also the guy who looks very relaxe, little bit a perfunctory in my first impression.  

I wondered what they are like? They aren't like George and Lennie in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, or Franz Wisner and Kurt Wisner in 'Honeymoon with My Brother', or Lawrence and Lorne Blair who did Ring of Fire journey, even the little prince and the pilot in Exupery's Le Pettit Prince. They just not like them. They just like Elvin and Berry. The wise man and the fun guy. Due to the rules of the SSYEAP commitee that host children picked randomly, they just knew each other in Surabaya, even they're in the same deck on board.

Elvin just like my old brother. He's very mature, firm, sincere, approachable, a-leader-born-to-be, full of emphaty, calm, warm, decisive, belongs to his sensitivity, sometimes he could read what the other pepole   think. When we just knew that boarding passes to get into the ship are not enough for the whole family, i just wanted to say to him "Maybe I have to give my boarding pass to my cousin." But he said first before I told what was in my mind. "Bila, you have to come to the ship." And he got another three boarding passes in the last minutes. Elvin also gave me so many advices. We did discussion, sharing about many things. Historical places, book publishing, history, foods, everything. We have the same birth year, the same month. Yet, I just feel like many steps behind along with his maturity. I think he would be still alive even we throw him to the middle of nowhere. :D

By his special interest to history of colonial era, he got worry at Museum Tugu Pahlawan, "What if the PYs from Japan and their foster parents saw the history of Indonesian dark time? That could be not so comfortable for them." I just said to him, it's a history, it's a fact, we always can learn from history. He nodded, and said, yeah, it happened in the past. Besides his maturity, he is always thinking about other people. Elvin is gentle too. He almost never made us to walk behind. He always pleased the way to us first  politely.

Berry, our little brother, is always lovely for us. We're always touched when he called "Mama" to my mom. When he asked help to pick the good stuff for souvenirs. When I just pushed him to buy a Batik for him self. We're suprising to know that he's the college student with two different majors in the same time. Nevertheless, he just could vigorously took his monopod and ask for selfie in the middle of the crowd. Surprisingly, Berry is a care guy too. When we just did shopping, the shopping master got worry about Fira who looks tired. 
"Fira, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm okay."  said Fira
 "Sounds you're not."
In the other time, he's impressing too. When we had to go to wedding, Elvin didn't bring any of formal clothes. Berry just did heroic statement. If Elvin didn't wear any formal clothes, he would do the same thing. So, we made those two guys wear t-shirts for Javanese wedding reception. We just passed some college students who asked for charity at Car Free Day. Berry stopped and asked me, "Do they accept US dollars?" What a generous man. So, there he goes, put dollars on charity box.    

Berry is like a perfect object for fun joke. By his fast and steps for shopping, he always leading us where to go.

“Where to go?”
“You’re the leader. We will follow you!”

I still remember, how funny Berry when he directly went upstairs at the mall by escalator when we were still  downstairs. He even didn’t realize that we three of us did not follow him. Then I said, “Berry, where are you going?” he just looked behind, realized, and surprised. “Okay, bye Berry!” we waved and acted like would leave him. Then he turned like hamster that was running backward the escalator. One of the funniest things that I could not  forget. Those two guys were looking for barber shop. They had not cut their hair during the program. So, we added barber shop to our itinerary. We brought them to our grandma's barbershop. When we came, Elvin's hair directly cut by the capster. Then.. Berry was busy to browse the hair style and began worried. 
"Could the capster do like this picture?" he asked. 
"Aah, don't worry Berry. I'll cut your hair. It's very easy!" of course, I don't have any skill for that. 
He's got more worried. He showed several shakeheads and laughed. Then when he finished with the capster, I asked "Is it similar with the style that you want?" He smiled. "Similar." "Err..a bit." 
"I told you, if I cut your hair, it would be very similar." We laughed.     

By the route of shopping master, we could pass the same spot for several times. It’s my very first time to look for M size of men shorts. No. It’s just not me. All of us. Elvin, Fira and me. We’re all looking M size shorts. I also had to fit like a dozen t-shirts to Berry. Became a secretary of Berry, I did it too. I had to note all of his spend, reminded him that he just passed a nominal of rupiahs, and also transfer it to US dollar by the currency. That’s memorable. Also interesting, indeed. When he always curious of everything : what the traffic light said, what is nastar, how is the interior of ice cream house. When we three of us were busy with fun conversation in the car, then while driving, I called him "Berry, are you there?" there wasn't any answer. Aah, he was asleep with his monopod!

Berry style is always like casual or something. Blur printed t-shirts, another t-shirts, another t-shirts. You mentioned it. So, it's very hard to ask him to buy Batik for him self. Though, he's really good on Bali Batik, when he fitted Batik shirt for his father. He didn't want to take one Batik for himself, even I'd repeated many times "Berry, please buy Batik for your self." Finally he confessed "I don't know where to use it."  

Sometimes God fulfilled our wish in a very strange way. Years ago, I was joking by saying that uuh, I think that it would be great if I could have a brother. Then, he gave me two in the same time. 

There's no part of the world that too far to go. We'll look forward to new destination, Cambodia to visit Berry. Or even ready to welcome Elvin for another trip here in East Java. Let's! 

I just wondering how dramatic the farewell ceremony was. And I should  know who's the creator of that moment. How it feels to be someone that always making hundred, even thousands people crying for the same emotional moment since 1970? Sounds too dramatic? Hey, this world is a big screen of drama, right? :)

When the PYs had to find their host family from the ship, when they threw the ribbons to catch by us, when they presented Brigthman's voice with Time to Say Goodbye and when To Be One played, when we just never feeling tired to wave our hands, when the alumni sang and said goodbye, when finally the ribbon cut by the separated between the ship and the harbour, when we were still trying to looked at each other faces until the ship got far away. We just knew that God gave us so many magical things in our hearts. Feelings about to have each other even with the differences, even without any siblings line, even it happened in very short time. 

We sincerely could call each other as brother, sister, children, even mommy. Family. We made a promise that it won't be the last meeting, we promised another hands, hugs and cheer up, we'll very looking forward when the next meeting will happen, we start to talk about our memories with the PYs everyday until we are getting bored with the same words and keep it in our hearts. It's not only about how soon we'll see each other, but how long our memory could against mortality.

Everything could be fade away or even lost at all. But somebody's said, we live because we have memories. And stories... 

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