Back to the island - reminiscence of childhood

February 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

What is your earliest memory?

I can be sure I remember about my childhood memories when I'm four years old. I might have some fragments of recollection when I was younger than that. But four is the time I can pinpoint since my mom gave birth to my sister. We were living in a small town on an island in West Borneo, and there wasn't a hospital nearby. The closest was in the capital city a couples hours away. The only transportation in and out the island was by speedboat. 

When my mom's contraction began, people got busy preparing to bring my mom to the hospital. I remember someone asked me to get a glass of water. To get to the kitchen I have to pass the alley where there are stairs to the attic. That part of the house was always dark, and I would run faster through that section. At the right side before the kitchen we have an open area where my dad kept our pets. To my shock,  I discovered one of our pets was dead. I ran back to my mom's room without the water and reported what had happened. I don't remember how we dealt with the dead pet, but I was upset I can't go with my mom.

I was crying when my mom left me with my grandma. She put me in an "ayunan" some type of baby cradle but made from sarong and attached to the coil hanging from the ceiling that you can manually either bounce or swing gently to put a toddler to sleep. I was crying with a milk bottle in my mouth filled with sugar water, not milk. I don't like milk. My eyes traced on the pale green kilt pattern material on the sarong...as I still kept crying in an act of protest. I couldn't acccept the reality of being left behind. I was quite stubborn and firm with what I want since a very young age. 

I have so many memories from Batu Ampar, ( Indonesia was still developing country where many things is far behind ),  the first town I spent the first decade of my life. My parents built their own house by the creek, and we were the only house to have electric at that time. We have a big yard surroundings our house, my mom planted many types of tropical fruit trees and vegetables. TV still black and white at that time. Toys are from stuff you can find in the backyard. We made play machine guns cutting from the center stalk of banana leaves that can make popping noise when you run your palm on the pop up cutting.  Milking a rubber tree to make a bouncy ball.  Playing hopscotch in the yard. Picking wild passion fruit and wild gooseberries. I had a big area for me to play with my friends.  I learned by myself how to swim from one day watching a bug that had fallen into the water. It was the most adventurous and memorable place of my childhood. But it was where my nightmare started.

At the night I would often have dreams and I always remembered my dream when I woke up in the morning. There was this particular dream, it was a nightmare. A tall man with hair longer than regular man, but it was not too long just touching his shoulder. He has on a long pitch black medieval cape and carrying a long sword. He was chasing me around, I have this feeling he will try to get me and no good intention was expected. With all my strength I try to run but it seems like my feet are being weighted down.  My hands grasp trunks from the small trees along the road pushing as hard as possible to gain speed. He was closing behind me...feeling helpless I couldn't run fast. At one point I'm running toward our backyard but it's a cul-de-sac. Right the under our big jackfruit tree, he held his sword high. I know I'm in trouble but I was cornered with no way out. His sword swings down toward the top of my head. I'm being split in two... At the same time the sword hit my head I was thinking is this what dead feels like...very bizarre and strange I don't feel the pain... just don't believe this is it. Very weird feeling that hard to describe and still unbelievable that this is the end of me. Maybe shock woke me up...I remember I was very relieved that it was just a dream. Since then many dreams come to me at night where I'm chased by a bad guy but no particular face or clothing that I remember like before more vividly. Still...so far I can say these are the best memories of my childhood about this place. 

One day I was so sad that we had to move to a bigger town for the better living. I was leaving behind all my friends and the place I loved so dearly. My dad gave the house to the local preacher to live in. I never see my friends since then but never forgot about them.
I often reminiscence about visiting again, but did not make the trip until last year. In 2016 we managed to travel back to this island with my husband. My big brother came along with his wife. Surprisingly we met some friends that still live in that town, from them I could reconnect with four of my childhood friends.

I now can cross one off my bucket list ^_^

 


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