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TRIP FOR LIFE (ONLY IN INDONESIA)

As soon as my lecturer said the class is over, I run and leaved my cozy classroom. I said cozy for four reasons. First, my classroom is equipped with air-conditioner (AC).  Whereas, I cannot afford to equip my house with AC as my salary goes to fulfill my basic daily needs (food and drink, no movie, no shopping, and no picnic). Enjoying a room with AC is a luxurious thing for me. I can feel my body shiver as the AC is set to 160C, but I do not complain that the room is too cold. I do not want people to know that I am a villager who cannot adjust herself with AC’s classroom. Besides, I always imagine that the have always equip their house with AC. In other words, AC is symbol of wealthy.

Second, my classroom has a glass board. This glass board is new  classroom equipment for me and I almost do not believe my eye that a board can be made of glass. So far, I always see that the board is black or white, and both are made of wood. On the glass board, the lecturers will write elegantly. They lecture things beyond my reach called knowledge (something that I often cannot understand). But I pretend to understand what they lectured in order to safe my face. I do not want my friends think that I am a villager who does not understand scientific thing and academic matter.

Third, my classmates are cool people. They come from all over Indonesia. They appear like future sophisticated scientists. They come to the class with a bag full of books; they equip themselves with laptop; they spoil their communication with android gadget; they distract their tired eyes from small screen of mobile phone with iPad, Tablet, Nook, Kindle, and many other electronic gadgets that I cannot afford to buy them. They are smart and at the same time financially stable, so it is a perfect mixture of being cool. The classroom suits their cool appearance. Further, my classroom will not let the poor taste its comfort as money regulates the poor to be stepped aside.

And fourth, in my classroom there are many expensive foods that I cannot find in my house. My friends brought foods and drinks to the class for a supply, as we study from 7 in the morning till 6 in the afternoon. I, as the president of the class, get the opportunity to taste those fancy foods as my friends think it is not right not to offer the president of the class to taste that food. Many foods that are new to may tongue. Bu again, I pretend that I am not surprised with that new taste. I do not want my friend think that I am a villager.

I leave my campus and cross the busy road. I said busy as IT IS BUSY, indeed. Cars, trucks, motorcycle, trailer, and many other vehicles bump to bump in the small road but their speed over 60km/hour. A new comer like me, many time spend minutes and minutes to see if there is a chance for me to cross the road and at the same time I can safe my life too from being hit by the vehicles. As soon as I cross the road safely, I take the public transportation head to a place called Pasteur. My reason for taking the public transportation is that I do not have a car, but, my friends do, they often offer me a lift, but I feel too ashamed to accept their offer. I know they can drop me in any place I am headed to. But the traffic in this town will not let me to make my friend escort me. I have no heart to let my friend loose one or two hours of their precious time. The traffic in this town causes short distance becomes long trip.

I stop at Pasteur, and take another car to take me to a place named Padalarang. From this spot, I must take a bus so that I can go home.

This time, I take the bus in a hurry. The rain had already fallen. It becomes a threat for my bag that carries books. I do not care about my body, wet is okay for me, but not for my book. My books hate the rain and also wet. Then, I dream of having a Kindle than books. Kindle will not make my bag heavy and it is easy to protect. I need only a plastic and that’s it.  Yet, to have a Kindle or Nook, I must do fasting (not eat and drink) maybe for three months. Pity me. I do not know the name of the bus, and I do have time to carefully read its name. I usually read the name and the plate. In case unwelcome thing occurs, I can ask for help easily. If any accident happens, I will not call the police of course. It is because I do not have their number, second, they will not come to help ordinary people like me. So, for help, call the family. My family, no matter how distance is, they will come and give their hand to save me.

I get on the bus from the back door. This means that the bus is full and again I must enjoy the trip standing. I do not complain for there are no more seats,  as long as my books are safe, standing is no problem. The bag is quite heavy. A laptop plus books is perfect to make my shoulder painful. Unluckily, the bus does not have a place to store the passengers’ belongings. I stand by the door. My hand tries to grab any strong thing to support my body. The conductor yells, he orders to move to make me have a place to stand on the aisle not on the doorstep of the bus. Sometimes, I thank God created me as woman. In the bus, sometimes, the conductor has a little pity on women. He thinks that women are weak so that they should have at least a descent place to stand in the bus.

Other standing passengers in front of me move. This makes me stand in the aisle, two rows from the back. I stand and stand and stand. I learn the situation inside the bus. There are many children even there is a red-baby. I talk to myself; the children are on their holiday trip as June is school holiday time in Indonesia. Children are children, they sing, talk, eat, and do many unnecessary moves. I just observe them. The rain does not stop, it is getting bigger instead. I change my standing position; my body is supported with my right leg now. As it is raining, the bus runs slowly. I look around; I am the only woman who stands. I thank God for this. In a low voice I said,’ if I sit, I guarantee I will vomit. The ignorant male passengers enjoy their cigarette. The smoke flies and mixes with the thin air inside the bus. It causes me suffocate and hard to breath. Then, the conductor closes the back door. A problem arises. The bus is full with people. No ventilation. The window glass has dew. The children grow happier, they shout ‘flood’. I am surprised why the children consider flood as a happy occurrence.

I look outside the dewy window glass. The water covers the road. I cannot understand where the water from, it suddenly swallow the road. I make a guess, the hill is bald, when the rain falls, and it carries the dirt with it. As the road in lower than the hills so the water flow to the road. The water is brown. When a bus run on it, it makes a wing form, and the children clap their hands when seeing the wings of water. The water rises. The bus runs slower. The water makes me scared.

The road is not equipped with the ditch to make the water make its way. I feel pity on the people whose houses lower than the main road. The water flows to the houses and no one can stop it. Why the government does not build a ditch for the water, I think I cannot find the answer for that. (to be continued)


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