Things I Just Noticed At Home During Quarantine
It has been one month already since I am #DiRumahAja. It is actually a rare experience for me. I have used to be far away from home since I was in senior high school. I live in a small town in Central Java named Sragen. My first experience living independently was when I enrolled in one of the senior high schools in a famous city, Solo. It took one hour from my home to arrive at the school so living in a boarding house is the most convenient way for me. I was 14 at that time. It continued later when I started my bachelor’s study. It happened to be in Yogyakarta, which is three hours from home if I took the bus. The farthest would be in Bangkok, which I stayed for four months, and required me to take two international flights just to be home. The most recent experience is when I joined an internship program in Jakarta for three months earlier this year. All of those experiences made me realize that I have been far away for long and it is quite difficult to find time to settle at home. During this pandemic situation, I could finally stay home and have the chance to spend more time with my family.
Here are some of the things I noticed recently during my quarantine.
There are traits my mother has that I just discovered
Most of the time, my communication with my mother is held through messages, telephone, and video calls. I just realized that this kind of communication has some limitations. Well of course, but I think I became much more aware of it right now. Now I know that actually, my mother has a low level of jokes which we usually called it receh. Just like I am. How did I discover this? There was one time when I ate my dinner with her and she just threw her receh jokes to the table. I did not realize this thing at first. But later when I was in my room, sitting alone by myself, I just knew that I have been missing a lot of time with her.
Later at the other moment, I just noticed that she is so caring, much more than I knew until this time. I always took this thing for granted as I considered her as my mom, but I think that is one of her traits I should be more grateful for.
The layout of the dining table is the root problem
This might sound weird but my family and I did not usually eat together in the dining table even when we have one. This table was placed right next to the wall and stick to it, so the half side of it was actually not accessible. We usually ate in the TV room, where the dining table was placed, but we barely had the proper conversation during the eating moment as we did not do it face to face. It took me weeks to finally noticed this kind of situation.
The fact that we never ate in the same table might not be caused by some serious issues, but just as simple as the layout of the table itself.
Later when we agreed to change the layout, I could see that this affected many things that happened onwards. We have more chit-chat before, during, and after eating. We throw jokes more often. We laugh. We sometimes make comments about the television show we watch together. We become more aware of others’ eating behavior. Things that might seem unimportant but actually increase the quality of our relationship.
Investing in home improvement is satisfying
I rarely noticed any utensils that we have at home.
Now that I spent my time just to be home all the time, I started to pay attention to every detail of my home including the furniture, utensils, and items placed.
After I changed the layout of the dining table, I became aware that the tablecloth used is already old and needed to be replaced. I started to look for it at one of the online platforms and found out that there are so many available tablecloths sold at a cheap price. As a person who rarely buys any home furniture, I became confused about the available options that they offered. But it was really fun. I even made a considerate talk with my sister as well to discuss which item to buy without telling my parents that we were going to buy it. Later when the package arrived, it was such as surprise in the middle of the day. It was weekend so my dad got his day off. We were really excited about opening the package and immediately placed the tablecloth together.
I still remember that moment precisely. That was one of the good times.
Dishwashing is not that bad after all
One thing I always wanted to avoid is washing the dishes after eating. It has always been a problem since I was a child. Who wants to do this either? But realizing that I have a partner in crime to do this more efficiently, which is my sister, this dishwashing thingy has successfully made me aware that it is not that bad. It became a new routine for me now. Besides, knowing that my mother had already been tired of cooking meals for us, doing this thing seemed not difficult at all. Now I become used to it.
My parents only spent a little on themselves
This fact actually made me sad at some points. My parents often asked me to buy many nice things for myself, but rarely they did it for themselves.
I noticed this recently when I was doing laundry. I just knew that my mother should have bought a nicer house dress. Or when my family and I prayed maghrib together, I was kind of realized that my mother should have worn better mukena. Or they should be using a new towel. And the list goes on. I started to make a conversation related to these things with them, showing them that they actually could get those things at a very affordable price, and try to convince them to buy it. Since I have earned some money during my internship, I offered to buy them. I think it was at least the thing I could do for them. And I think it will not happen if I was not home. How can I know this very detail when I do not witness it by myself?
My mother’s hair is turning gray
I became so emotional when I saw by myself that my mother’s hair color is becoming gray, much more than I saw at the last time. I always thought that it was not long since I became aware that I have grown up so much. Or maybe I knew and I was aware of it, but I just denied that fact every time it popped up in my mind. There is one quote I found on the internet and I think it is always relatable from time to time:
I was busy growing up until I realized that my parents are also growing old.
This sentence hits me hard, really hard. I was always checking up on how my friends doing when I was away from home, but I should admit that I did not do that much to my parents. Sometimes I did not answer their calls. I often replied to their messages late. I ever decided not to come home just to spend my time on vacation with my friends. I could list all the things I regretted, but it would not change a thing. Not to mention the fact that I might be leaving home soon after I started to work. Perhaps the only thing I can do right now is just being present while I can.
There is no such thing as perfect parents
This one is kind of hard to tell, actually. My family has not always been in good condition. Sometimes we argue, sometimes they argue. I guess it is normal in any marriage, isn’t it? I often complained about those things for a long time. I am the kind of person who is always demanding that my parents should know everything they did, be aware of every decision they took, and be responsible for their kids as well. Just like a kid that expected adults could do anything. But it is just not that easy and it is not that they did not try at all.
Being here, I also witnessed their exciting conversations. It was simple, but somehow I found it very relieving every time I had the chance to hear that. It just made me think that it would be really important to find someone who I can talk about everything with later when I grew old.
And there is no such thing as perfect parents or a perfect marriage. It just about how we compromise with each other. Am I right?
Deciding what to cook or eat in the next day is not that easy
Back then when I was a child, I often got my meals served by my mother without even talking about it before. But now my mom often involved me to discuss what I want to eat later or tomorrow so that she could buy the right cooking ingredients. It was fun. Sometimes we stuck. I used an application I installed from Playstore named Cookingpad just to get inspiration on what to cook. My mom is not really good at using the technology, so showing many recipe inspirations to her is quite a moment for me. I enjoyed these moments a lot.
My sister is such a blessing for me
One thing that always made me thankful for is having my sister in this world. I could not imagine if I am facing this whole quarantine without her. Having someone to talk to at any time. Someone I can always annoy whenever I feel bored. Someone to help me when I need to do the chores. Someone to give me advice when I am confused. Someone I watched Youtube videos with. Someone I argue with. Someone I always have a fight with every single day.
Beyond that, I feel like I should thank my parents for deciding to have their second child when I absolutely have no idea about it at that time. I feel less lonely. Much lesser.
While writing this article, I feel like I was counting my blessings in each sentence I wrote. This situation might not be favorable for all of us. Being stressful is sometimes unavoidable. But let’s take a look at the bright side, little things we might not notice before. Let’s share, what have you noticed while being home?