As I grew up in a suburb area near Jakarta. It is a satellite city, as like many other metropolitan its really expensive to live there, so many workers lived in city like Depok. It was 1980s so the environment was still green. I could tell you how Depok changed from a green lush and quiet city into the current hot and modern-city. But not today, not in this blogpost.
The are where I lived was barracks for policeman. Depok was still green at that time. There were big ponds of fish farm near my house. There were a lot of empty field, filled with fruit trees such as banana tree, cassava, guava, rambutan and many more. Me and my friends always play around the fish farm after we got back from school. We took small shrimps home. We couldn’t eat it but we were just happy to play and catch them. My father made me a small pond to contain my shrimps and fishes. Stupid enough, I mix every fish and shrimps there which of course the bigger fish would ate the smaller ones. I was wondering where my other fishes went when I clean the pond.
We also raise chickens. My grandparents were farmers so my parents were also raised to raise chicken as staple food. We made the chickens some kind of a house but they always prefer to sleep at a guava tree. I wonder why. Their houses were always empty unless the hen needed it for nesting her eggs. My mom kinda have a phobia towards small dead chick. She is okay with the living ones but will scream at the top of her lungs when she see a dead one. There were a lot of rats around the house. Huge ones, the black rat that might grow as big as a cat. So often we found dead chicks around the chicken house. It was either me or my dad’s job to get rid of them, until after we moved and last time I stayed at the house.
I also had a cat. A very friendly cat who ate everything that I ate whether it was tempeh, fish, noodles, even vegetables. Weird but nice cat. She never steals fish and listen to my mom. Weird cat indeed. I had a deep attachment to that cat, and apparently so was she. Like, she gave birth to her kittens……..on my bed. I was shocked when I woke up on one morning and saw blood all over my bed, like, seriously cat? lol. I don’t know why she suddenly disappear from the house.
My grandparents are farmers, as I mentioned before. I often spend my elementary school break on the paddy field. I would woke up early in the morning and bathe the cows. They were so big, and I used a water hose to clean them up. On another school holiday, I spent it on my auntie’s place in Blitar. It was a cold place by Depok-ers standard. The morning temperature would reach about 15-18C in my memory lol I didn’t bring thermometer back then. There were also a rice field near my auntie’s house. Across the river. The bridge itself was made from bamboo. Made only for one person to walk, without any safety measurement I presume. It was shaking as we crossed. The rice field was greener there. Far ahead, there were mountain. My mom told me it was mount Kelud, I don’t know for sure since I haven’t checked it on Google maps yet. The sky was blue with thick white clouds. I played with my cousins and his friends. They speak Javanese, I wasn’t sure if I was communicating well but it doesn’t really matter. Children always can play without any problems. It was around the harvest time so there were fishes in the rice field. They planted the rice field with fish and called it as “mina paddy” farming. I care less about that and just went nuts seeing a lot of fishes in the paddy field. There was a rule in the village, as the owner of the field is harvesting the other villagers were helping to catch the fish and taking out the paddy. The rule was the other villagers could take fishes other than the one that were raised by the owner. Suppose the owner put tilapia, he only could take tilapia and even if there were other more expensive fishes, he could not take them as its for the other villagers. There were also some payment maybe, I don’t know for sure. I only cared to take the fish at that time. I caught some little mujair fishes. I was covered in mud and happy. My auntie cooked the fishes for dinner.
It was fun.
The points were, my life has been surrounded by animals and plants. I grew close to nature.
One thing I realise when I lived in Dallas. I rarely see cats or dogs. I saw cats sometime and extremely thrilled when I saw one. I always tried to take pictures of them and sent it to my friends who loves cats too. I saw dogs, most of the dogs are owned by someone. I saw hell lots of birds which was pleasant. Squirrels around my campus. But that’s about it.
Now as I live in the blue continent. In the very first month of my live, I never see animal here. Well, in the summer I saw cows (laughs) like f- where I live now eh? A suburb, farming place. After around 4 months I lived here, I saw a glimpse of a cat near the bar in my apartment. I called out (read: meowed) to them and they ran away. That, is the only encounter I had with any cat in this country.
What an animal-less life.