Written by Dara Ayu Ariane, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia
Chasing our dreams often requires making some hard sacrifices. One of them may be to migrate to a different city or country, and missing home is a normal feeling to have. But when it comes to the month of Ramadan that feeling intensifies and suddenly the urge to go back home is just much more apparent. To be able to engage in various communal traditions, like breaking the fast together over a big family meal, is something most families in Indonesia look forward to and cherish every year. But no one would expect a one year long pandemic to be part of the agenda. Muhammad Diva Permadi, Project Child Indonesia’s Media & IT Manager, is no stranger to the difficulties of being away from home. Keep reading to know more about his journey and find out how he has managed to overcome the challenges!
Becoming a “solo-player”
In 2016, Muhammad Diva Permadi decided to move to Yogyakarta in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. With home at Batam 1,700 kilometers away, it was the start of a new chapter in his life. When your families are that far from you, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was quite shocking at first. Permadi, as his co-workers like to call him, shared that everything seemed so foreign to him when he first arrived in Yogyakarta. Not just in terms of language, since many people in Yogyakarta often use Javanese, but also with people’s behavior. It was quite difficult for him to get used to how people refer to the direction of the wind (points of the compass) when giving out directions.
Aside from getting used to the culture, Permadi had to cope with becoming a ‘solo-player’. “It can get pretty lonely because usually there are family members with me at home in Batam, but here in Yogyakarta I live alone. So, it’s usually the unexpected things that can be quite a challenge. For example, if I get sick in Batam there is my family who can help out with assisting me to the doctor and my medication, but because I live alone, I have to adapt and learn how to take care of myself properly. I learn how to be a ‘solo-player’,” said Permadi.
His Choice, His Responsibility
Facing other challenges of living alone and away from home can take a while of getting used to, and some people may call it quits and prefer to move back home instead. For Permadi, it’s all a matter of responsibility. “This is the decision I have made, so I must take responsibility for it. Even though I do make mistakes from time to time, it’s all part of the process and the least I can do is to learn from the experiences,” shared Permadi.
1,700 kilometers can seem really far away, but with a simple click of a button, Permadi has managed to stay in touch and connected with his family and friends back home thanks to Whatsapp and other communication applications.
Harder During Ramadan
If in Batam he would have bazaars as well as iftar together with family and close friends, Ramadan in Yogyakarta was very much different for Permadi. In the beginning, he felt really empty because doing the same festivities with the same people was pretty much impossible. “There was this sense of loss, especially during fasting period when I couldn’t enjoy the simple things, like a family member waking me up for suhoor or cooking family meals for iftar. The feeling of euphoria is different when I am celebrating Ramadan in Yogyakarta. I often found myself thinking, ‘why does this year’s fasting seem harder?’”.
In total Permadi has celebrated 6 Ramadans away from home. He shared that as time goes on, he’s become more used to it almost to the point where he’s become neutral about the feeling. But with time, Permadi has been able to bond closer with more people making Yogyakarta not as lonely as before.
“Even though I am used to being away from home, that feeling of homesickness does not fade one bit.”
Being away from home and family can be a huge learning experience. Permadi shared that his situation has made him learn how to be more adaptable to unexpected and unfamiliar circumstances. When we migrate to different cities or countries, we naturally become exposed to various cultures that may have fused, making it such an interesting way to learn and get to know new people and their cultural backgrounds.
“No matter how long or far away we are, there will always be this feeling of wanting to go back home. So, for those of you who are also living kilometers away from home, hopefully you will soon get that chance to finally go home.” – Muhammad Diva Permadi