Ever since I took my first office gig in Jakarta last year, I’ve been moving across a couple of temporary housings in the city. “Kostan” is what we call those accommodations here in Indonesia, which is basically almost like a mix of a dormitory (but not only for students) and shared house (although some of them don’t quite look like a house, especially since some of them are not equipped with parking lot, living room, laundry facilities, or even a kitchen).
Funnily enough, none of them ever felt quite as “comfortable” as an actual place to relax and unwind by the end of the day for me. Although in the context of proper beddings, furniture, and facilities which help me to fulfil my basic needs of a shelter, they are indeed physically comfortable. It’s just that none of them ever feels like a “safe haven” that I would gladly spend a whole week inside, unlike some of my previous temporary bedrooms. (I was even almost gone mad the first two weeks of WFH and quarantine, before I decided to stay with my family in Bandung instead.)
I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s partially owing to the fact that I never really considered the city of Jakarta a meaningful and remarkable place, other than someplace where I earn my living. Sure, I had some really good memories in the city, like when I went hanging out with my friends or exploring the city’s hidden gems with A. It was just never really a place where I had allowed myself to be emotionally open or vulnerable about anything.
I know there’s a fair chance that I will eventually settle in the vicinity of this city, because this is where I earn my paycheck (at least for now). But until then, I guess my opinions towards this metropolitan area would remain unchanged, and I don’t know if I will ever consider any of my “kostan” as an intimate, personal spot that would make me feel at home.
It’s also, perhaps, to some extent due to the fact that even though I’m not from Jakarta, I never feel like it’s a completely unfamiliar territory for me. Therefore, I never really think that at the end of the day, I need a place where I’m able to be myself without the fear of rejection of some sort. Unlike some of the days circa 2016 to 2018, where I always felt like I needed that kind of sanctuary where I could just be with myself without the interference of the outside world. Hence maybe the feeling of better appreciation towards my temporary home at that time.
Those two years were indeed the last time that I was ever really in love with my bedrooms. One thing led to another, eventually I had to find another new place around every two school terms. In total, I had stayed in three places while I was there. And today I feel like reminiscing and sharing some of the snippets of those places I once considered my sanctuary in that foreign city.
My favourite of all and the last one I’ve ever lived in: a shared two-bedroom apartment at 108 St and 81 Ave NW.
A shared house in 109 St and 77 Ave NW. I had to walk for about 10 minutes in the neighbourhood to get to the bus stop, which – depending on the weather and temperature – could either be my favourite time of the day or the least to look forward to.
My first ever bedroom in Edmonton, at the UofA’s International House.
P.s.: The post looks better on my webpage if you open this post through your browser, since the captions on each image apparently won’t show up (except for the last image) if you’re reading this through your WordPress Reader. 🙂