My brother liked playing a trick on me. I wondered why I was always deceived by him. I had to be alert this time.
” RAHMI, THERE IS A CALL FOR YOU,” my brother shouted loudly.
” I KNOW THAT’S NOT FOR ME, YOU CAN ‘T PLAY A TRICK ON ME AGAIN!!” I replied angrily.
I heard my brother talking with the caller.
“Rahmi isn’t in. She has gone to campus.”
“HEY, I AM HERE, DON ‘T HANG UP THE PHONE!” I cried out coming out of my room, then I tried to snatch the receiver from his hand.
“Hahaha, in the end you still trust this handsome brother,” He laughed contently. Then I replied his laughing by staring ridiculously to him.
“Hello, Rahmi? Is your brother still ridiculous?” A girl’s voice with a westerner’s accent said on the other side.
I thought for a while.
“MAJ, YOU ARE MAJ, AREN ‘T YOU?” I cried out surprisingly.
“Thank God, you still remember me,” Maj said.
“Of course, how can I forget the only one blonde friend of mine. Maj, how are you?”
“I’m fine. Mi, I can’t say much on the phone because I know your line is always busy. I just want to ask you to be my good guide. Tomorrow I am going to go to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and you have to accompany me. Please explain to me about your culture. I’m going to write a book about Sundanese culture, Ok? ” Maj said uninterruptedly.
Maj Nygaard Schmidt is my Danish friend. We didn’t get in touch for more than three years. She used to be in my school as an exchange student and we used to be close just for a while.
I remembered when we met at the first time when she was in my class.
“Is your hobby laughing?” Maj stunned seeing me because I often laughed.
“Yes, as long as my laugh’s still healty, it’s my hobby,” I replied ridiculously. Then, because of my laugh, we became friends.
I remembered when I told her that there wasn’t much that I knew about Denmark but Morten Frost Hansen, a Danish badminton player then.
Once, she told me that her parents were never married. They lived together and then she was born. When she was 8 years old, they broke up and moved away from each other. She went on living with her mom. Then several years later, she had step sisters and brothers.
“Families like that are quite normal in Denmark. I wouldn’t want it any other way, because that way I get much bigger family,” she said calmly.
“Be careful of STDs* Maj,” I said in my heart.
I remembered that she really hated Indonesian food. In her country, she eats rice but only once or twice a week not everyday.
I remembered when we were at the post office taking the package from her mom.
“Look Mi, it’s a Danish product. It ’s good, isn’t it?” She proudly showed me a lighter. On it there was a beautiful mermaid and a word “tokai”.
“Oh yeah?! But as far as I know Tokai is located on jalan Raya Bogor – Jakarta, hahahaa.” I laughed. Her white cheeks turned red. She was embarrassed. But later I was just aware that Tokai is one of many Japanese companies located in Indonesia, so that it isn’t Indonesia’s Maj. We are the same, live in developing countries in which many big industrial countries locate their factories because of cheap man power.
It was by 11 am on Sunday morning when the taxi that brought us arrived in front of Keong Mas Theatre.
“Mi, we’d better watch a film first. I think the queue isn’t too long. Are you interested in watching a film?” Maj asked.
“Of course, why not?”
Then we entered the theatre. We sat in the front row because it wasn’t crowded. The film was nice. It was entitled “Indonesia Indah”. It was about the beauty of Indonesian nature and culture. Right after watching the film, we went to the West Java pavilion. I was aware that I had to be her guide. I thought she was serious to write the book because she was bringing her Canon EOS 500 completed with tripod and some filters and a note book with some activities listed on it.
It seemed that the West Java pavilion had been renovated. The building looked modern. It was equipped with a luxurious big lamp hanged on the ceiling. Its floor was covered up with white ceramic. It had a large room where there were several sets of Sundanese musical instruments.
Then we entered the room.
“What are these musical instruments’ names?” Maj pointed at degungan instruments.
“They are degungan instruments. Degungan is a kind of Sundanese music instrument. This is the bonang; this one is the jenglong; those ones are the saron I, saron II, gong and kendang.” I pointed at them one by one.
We were in the pavilion for more than two hours. I was really busy to be her assistant and took a lot of pictures and of course to answer her many questions.
“Rahmi, to tell you the truth, actually I’ve read a lot about Sundanese culture. My questions that I’ve asked you are just to see if you know about your culture or not,” she said on the way home.
“How could you?! So you’ve tested me just now, hah?! I stared at her ridiculously.
“Oh don’t be angry Buddy, the fact that you do, show me that you know your culture. So, you must love your country.”
“Maj, I think the most important thing to love the country where we are born, brought up and make a living is that we give our best, we deal with our professions. All of us don’t have to know our country in details. Those who don’t know their culture doesn’t mean that they don’t love their country, right?” I said surely.
“Do you know Maj, if you didn’t ask me to be your guide, I wouldn’t read the book about my culture at all hehe.” I said in my heart.
“Ah Maj, you are still like you were 3 years ago. I forgot that you like testing other people’s insight!”
*STDs: Sexually Transmitted Diseases