Memory Lane

Foggy Morning

One of the chal­lenges on the Amaz­ing Race tonight took me on a trip down the mem­o­ry lane. When I was 4 or 5 years old, we used to live in a house with no elec­tric­i­ty for a cou­ple of years. My par­ents must have decid­ed to move there because the rent was cheap and that way they could save up to buy a house. Any­way, since we had no elec­tric­i­ty, we had to use a char­coal-pow­ered iron to iron our clothes. Well, I nev­er used it since I was just a kid but my mum and who­ev­er was look­ing after me and my broth­ers while my par­ents were at work used it and some­times I helped fan­ning the fire in the char­coals until they turned into embers, which means the iron is ready for hard­core iron­ing.

I had a lot of fond mem­o­ries of that house. I got my first bike when we were liv­ing there. It was a red bike with train­ing wheels. My old­er broth­er, who is only a year old­er than me, had a blue one. I also went to school for the first time in that peri­od. Kinder­garten. I remem­ber that my broth­er and I used to hate going to school on Sat­ur­days because the school had some­thing called “Mung Bean Por­ridge Sat­ur­days” when all the kids had to eat a bowl of mung bean por­ridge and we hat­ed mung bean por­ridge with a pas­sion. We love it now that we’re old­er. Of course I haven’t had it in ages. I learned to write when we were liv­ing there. I could almost hear my mother’s voice every time I think about it. “Go up, and down, and give it a curl!” I must’ve learned how to read dur­ing the same time peri­od but for some rea­sons, I don’t remem­ber any­thing about it.

And then kinder­garten was over and my broth­er and I had to go to ele­men­tary school. We had some mem­o­rable class­mates, con­sid­er­ing we only went there for less than a year. We had these two broth­ers who hat­ed each oth­er so much they went into a fist fight at recess every day. And a pret­ty girl whose first name was Sampi which we thought was real­ly weird. And anoth­er girl with a med­ical con­di­tion that made her eyes looked as if they were about to pop out. We learned years lat­er from a mag­a­zine that she had had a suc­cess­ful surgery in Japan and that she now looked nor­mal.

My favourite thing ever was the ride home from school. We would take a [pedi­cab and we would ride through a field with a lot of water buf­fa­lo poop cakes that we’d call land­mines. It was espe­cial­ly fun on rainy days because the whole field would turn all mud­dy and the ride would be longer. I’m sure it wasn’t much much fun for the pedi­cab dri­ver, but for the 6 year-old me, it was more fun than a roller­coast­er ride. 

My dad at the time drove an old, rat­ty jeep with a can­vas roof that would leak all over the place when it was rain­ing. Just anoth­er thing that fit my idea of fun only too per­fect­ly.

We had so much fun in that house with no elec­tric­i­ty. So many firsts. So many hap­py mem­o­ries. Almost made me wish we had nev­er moved. The next house we lived in, the house where we grew up, I think of it now as the House of Pain. But that’s anoth­er sto­ry for anoth­er day.

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It’s amaz­ing how child­hood mem­o­ries come back to us with such vivid­ness. I recall that, years ago, before elec­tric iron­ing was in fash­ion, our house­help would use char­coals to iron our clothes. I held it once, and it felt heavy. But the burn­ing char­coal inside was fun to look at.
    Have you ever gone back to your old home?

  2. My broth­er and I did try to find that house 10 years ago or so but we couldn’t find it. It might have been replaced by a high­way. Things change real­ly quick­ly in Jakar­ta. Some­times not for the bet­ter.

  3. I’m try­ing to teach my 3 year old how to rec­og­nize her let­ters. We’ve been work­ing on the let­ters of her name, which include a small “E” and small “A”. I tell her to tell the dif­fer­ence, remem­ber that an “A” has a lit­tle tail and an “E” has a big mouth. I won­der if she’ll remem­ber that when she grows up…

Leave a Reply