Monday, December 7, 2009

Nomadic vs Settled


When I signed this 10 years employment contract, I felt like being in an arranged marriage. As a bit short-sighted person, I could not tell my plan further than three days. Planning for ten years is slightly too ambitious for me, if not suicidal. But I look at the bright side: I'm not going to be unemployed in at least another ten years time.

To settle down is indeed quite daunting. I can't, for example, wear the same clothes for work three days in a row because people will notice that I don't change my outfit. Although it's possible and in fact entirely normal when I am on the go. Because then I met different, new people every day that it didn't matter what I wore on the other day. My travel buddies might pay attention, but they would think I was just waiting for a perfect timing to visit the laundry. It becomes a problem only when I have a job for ten years. All of a sudden, what I look like is significant because I will meet the same person for at least three hundred days per year, times ten. I don't want these people think I am an unfashionable sloven who pretend to work at hospital. I might endanger physicians' reputation in general. When we start living permanently, rapport is utterly important. It wasn't like when I was busy wandering around. I could be my alter ego and act like a teenage cheerleader anytime.

I sense the distinction the most at church. I used to visit foreign church just to hear how 'The Lord's Prayer' were spoken in their language. And enjoyed saying "Amen!" loudly to a prayer I had no idea about. I knew I definitely settled down when I was in a church where I recognised all congregations as my neighbours. I saw my primary school teacher sat next to my pew, and gosh, he looked...aged. He wasn't that old when he taught me at primary school. I couldn't help myself imagining that those little girls will think the same as me at that moment when they see me again in the next ten years.

My close friend told me that settling down won't be too scary if I never travel. Moreover, most of us have never been anywhere since the very beginning, which means in general we are always settled (thanks to immigration office and border agency who always assume that the most common occupations in Indonesia are terrorist and suicidal bomber). It's perhaps true (that we're always settled, not that we're mostly terrorists). But I never regret spending a few years traveling. I have a friend who never go further than a couple miles from where he lives (and was born). But he lives in the centre of universe. And I live at the edge. If I never travel, how would I know that some people can defecate without wetting their bums? How would I know that not everybody eats rice every day? (I still believe that rice is the real staple food, by the way). How would I know there are good devices such like tea cosy or electric blanket that can help us to survive cruel winter? How would I know that not all indigenous tribal people are naked? No travel is a problem when your country only got things brought by colonizer.

If we used to be nomadic there is also one little problem when we start to settle down. It's easy to catch up with latest gossips and popular TV shows, but it's difficult to mingle or to think alike. Traveling somehow make us different person. We suddenly forget how to argue with local policeman over a ticket, how to take advantage of person-to-person information that spread more quickly than google, how to be overfamiliar (like I used to be). It's a bit like becoming a foreigner to our own homeland. I also find it hard to keep my imagination going when I go to the same local restaurant to have dinner, same supermarket to shop, same parking lot to put my motorbike, same people to judge what clothes I wear everyday. I don't complain. It is always good to know where to sleep tonight or tomorrow or ten years from now. It is called guarantee.

4 comments:

sibaho way said...

lha, kerja di RS luar tuh langsung ikat kontrak yak? :P

Sri Riyati Sugiarto & Kristina Melani Budiman said...

Gak bang. Aku jadi CPNS...

kristina said...

menurutku selama masih muda gpp lah nomadic terus....tapi ntar kalo dah punya anak ya terpaksa harus settle di suatu tempat...
selamat yo...dapet kontrak 10 taun...jadi kan terjamin buat waktu yang lama...malah iso nyicil kpr omah.,.kan biasane kpr 10 taun yo minimal

Sri Riyati Sugiarto & Kristina Melani Budiman said...

wong edan! hehe xx

Jam

Sejujurnya, inilah Ria dan Kristina...

Ria dan Kristina, sama-sama punya ide-ide yang nggak masuk akal saking nggak bangetnya pikiran kami berdua. Obrolan kami ini, berkat kemajuan jaman dan menjamurnya aplikasi internet (hiduplah Indonesia Raya!), kami sekarang bisa tuangkan di blog. Dulu kami suka ngetik-ngetik pake mesin ketik manual di belakang kertas HVS A4 bekas fotokopian. Tapi tetep aja kami tidak berhenti menulis. Kata pepatah: setipis-tipisnya tinta masih lebih tajam dari ingatan manusia. Kata Pramoedya: menulis berarti memetakan sejarah. Halah, kalo tulisan kita mah sebenernya gak ada hubungannya ama sejarah. Cuma mengukirkan betapa masa muda kami ini sangat indah. Dan jelas nggak mutu isinya. Jadi, mending kalo sisa-sisa waktu dan pengen baca yang tidak terlalu berguna sajalah baru buka blog kami... Tapi apapun komentar, masukan dan pendapat teman-teman, semuanya adalah cendera mata yang indah buat kami...

Ria dan Kristina (hualah, koyok undangan penganten. Amit2 deh. Lesbong juga pilih-pilih ah...)

About Us

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pindah2..tergantung mood, Indonesia
Sri Riyati Sugiarto (aka Ria) adalah cewek kelahiran limpung..(pinggiran kota Pekalongan)..habis sekolah di SMU St. Bernardus Pekalongan trus kuliah kedokteran di Undip Semarang..sementara Kristina Melani Budiman (aka Kristina) juga lahir di Pekalongan trus satu SMU ama Ria dan kuliah di Atma Jaya Jogjakarta. kami kenal di kelas 3 SMU tapi mo duduk bareng selalu ga bisa gara2 terlalu cerewet dan kalo duduk sebangku selalu bikin keributan karena hobinya menggosip jadi terpaksa sampai sekarang tidak pernah duduk bareng..untungnya kita ga satu kampus :p