I am local. I am multi-local. Within the emerald of the equator, I entered the world to an Indonesian mother and an Australian father. I have never possessed the similarly coloured passport, though. Dual citizenship after the age of 18 is prohibited in Indonesia so I have only ever carried an Australian passport since birth (it is also easier to travel on). I went to school in Indonesia, Pakistan, Perth and Dubai and as an adult, I’ve lived in Perth and Melbourne, Australia.
I am appreciative that I am somewhat multi-lingual. I understand Bahasa and can speak it conversationally, though I'm a little rusty when out of practice. When speaking with my family, it’s a loving jumble of formal, informal and slang Bahasa peppered with a few English words. To their amusement, I tend to add English suffixes to Indonesian verbs.
I pay attention to the location of my feet in relation to other people, never placing them close to someone's head. It is believed that the head is where a person’s spirit resides and is considered sacred, so, out of habit, touching my head is generally reserved for those closest to me.
I don’t sleep with my feet facing a mirror. There is an Indonesian superstition where figments from your nightmares are brought into the world via the mirror as you sleep. It is also believed to be a place where souls are stolen. As an adult I don't believe the superstitions anymore, but I'm in no hurry to sleep with a mirror opposite my bed either.
I use spoons more creatively that most. Think of all the wonderful sauce you miss out on when you eat pasta with just a fork? I recommend increasing that sauce to pasta ratio with the addition of a spoon (you can thank me later).
I speak with my parents at least once a week. They have recently relocated from Dubai to Perth after my Dad's retirement. Although we are in different cities, after 13 years it's nice to be in the same country. My daily rock is my partner Daniel who keeps me grounded and helps me keep perspective. He is extremely supportive and is also the one to remind me to let my hair down every so often.
I have close friends scattered across the globe and what I cherish the most is our ability to pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. It’s these kinds of bonds that stand the test of time and I am thankful for each and every one of them. It’s even better when a long-distance friendship becomes local again such as my friendship with Ava (editor of TCK TOWN). After 13 years of living in different cities, I love that she is now only 6km away (as opposed to 9,000+ km at our furthest apart). It’s heart-warming to see the amazing person she has grown into and I am so proud of her.
Growing up I have found that identifying with multiple cultures can be tough when those around you have their own expectations of how you are meant to be: sometimes I felt I was not enough of one culture or the other. Although not a hundred percent there, I hope with time, I can be accepted for the various ratios of cultures within me. I want to be better at finding contentment with not meeting other's expectations of me all the time.
Having relocated to Melbourne a year ago, I am in no rush to move elsewhere. If the world wills it, I wouldn’t say no either - I'm always up for an adventure!