Friday, February 20, 2009

{memories of style: a javanese life}

Have I ever told you I used to be a little javanese girl? Well, I'm still a javanese girl, it's in the blood. But I've left my hometown since 1992 to study in the capital city of Jakarta, and found a life there (oh, I mean "here") and I'm glad that from time to time, my current job gives me a project that allows me to travel and spend some days in my hometown, Yogyakarta.

And there I was, in the midst of work, glad to be home. Just like in the old days. It is nowadays a challenge to maintain a javanese house. 'Expensive' is the most common excuse that many owners of javanese houses preferred to rebuilt their once traditional to a more 'modern', simplified, minimalist houses. Somehow my parents managed to keep the javanese decor intact. The main room still has the wooden divider, painted in the same kind of green as one used to paint the decorative details at the Royal Palace of Yogyakarta. Ceilings from woven bamboo. But since I've been in Sweden several times and brought back some souvenirs, the house's now got some Swedish influence :o) Can you see it? On the table are swedish christmast goats made of straw, and hanging on the door is a Dala horse welcome sign.

Life's still more or less the same in our house, which means as interesting as those times when I was a kid. For breakfast mom bought "pecel", a mix of steamed vegetables with spicy peanut sauce. Anticipating impromptu visits by our neighbours or friends or relatives, this time I was there an array of snacks were served for tea time: banana wrapped in sweet crepes, traditional pancakes, and rice crackers. The tea is also normally sweet. I had to remind mom that I would have tea without sugar. She used to protest my 'new habit', but now it's quite okay with her :o)

It made me happy to see that the table was dressed in batik table cloth, my mom's own creation.

That day we had a visit by a 'street singer'. Mom told me the boy had been a street singer since he was a kid. My late father, during his last years until he passed away in 2004, loved the boy's performance and was very fond of him. Since then, he became a regular visitor of our house.

In the evening my little sister and I took a becak (three wheeled pedicab) ride to a traditional snack shop and we passed by the streets in the area around the royal palace. I saw again the legendary banyan trees located on the palace's south square. Went in and out the palace's area through the once upon a time 'city gates'.

Back at home. I found it interesting to spot a Swedish vintage print in a javanese setting.

Or a blanket with Swedish Dala horse prints over a set of batik bedding. A mix of two traditions :o)

That was a day in my javanese life. Now it's time to say good night...


  1. Hi Amreta, I'm sure you were glad to be home again :) I like the mix of cultures - we have got some decorations here in our home which I had received from Japanese friends and they look so nice! HUGS

  2. Hi Amreta, I'm going to visit Jarkata tomorrow(22 feb)..just know that and try to find a ticket. I really want to meet you or just make a call. Please email me your phone number tonight. ; ) hugsss

  3. kapan balik ke Kauman Toet ? aku jg baru balik lho tgl 4 smp 8 trus tgl 13 smp 15 Maret kemarin, kok nggak ketemu ya hehehe. Aku usaha jg nyempetin ke Kauman walaupun sebenarnya tugasnya cuma symposium di bandung seminggu.

    Sempat lihat sekaten nggak ? pengen motret2 hari terakhir sekaten eh malah sakit....

    salam ..

  4. Wonderful notes about your cultural heritage, Ret. Preserve...



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