Circled on my calendar for some time was Rudhi’s brother’s wedding, which I was so honored to be invited to. To my surprise, I found out that the wedding actually happened last Sunday, which Rudhi had missed in Jakarta. So this wedding, really wasn’t a wedding. It was more of a reception. None-the-less it was exciting to see the wedding celebration, which was at Rudhi’s childhood home. Being that we had another 8 hour drive for which we were to return to Jakarta, Sarah had informed us that we must leave by 10am. Inside the wedding reception, there was a large tent and intricate flowers assembled throughout the red and yellow linens. We were early, but there was no official start time as people were expected to arrive and leave when they wanted. There were several people part of the wedding dressed up in traditional wedding attire. Taking several pictures with the wedding party, it wasn’t too long before Dewi got in touch and confirmed that we had to leave by 10am. As much as I loved Purwokerto, I was super excited to reach Jakarta and the Le Meridien hotel. Here I’d be able to once again be with the people who now seemed like close friends, even though I’ve only known them for a short couple of days. The ride back was uneventful, as I required no stopping since I was focused to get back to the big group. Exhausted from the experience, it was refreshing seeing familiar faces when I entered the lobby of the hotel. Kate and Niki having been in the lobby when I arrived, warmly greeted me to find out how everything went. Once I caught them up to speed, they could tell how tired I was. It was one of the most memorable and charitable moments of the entire trip when the two girls offered to help me with my numerous luggage bags to my room. Normally I’d decline the offer, but this thoughtful gesture was so appreciated and needed. Their friendliness upon arriving back was the much needed energy boost that I needed to finish this trip strong. Originally I didn’t plan on making it back as quick as we did, i.e. I didn’t plan on joining the big group to dinner this night. Knowing little about the dinner arrangements, I was surprised by their rushing for me to get ready, as I assumed the dinner was going to be at the hotel. To my surprise, it was actually held at a nice restaurant downtown Jakarta. Zoning out on the bus, staring off into the distance in silence, I felt a sense of home being back with the main group. Finally arriving at the grandiose hotel, which housed our dinner, I sat by Christy at the large table where we were the only attendees in the restaurant. There was a great sense of optimism and exuberance as people were excited to mingle with others in the group. As much as I tried my best to partake, I’m sure I couldn’t hide the look of exhaustion. Sitting by Christy was wonderful as her cheerful optimism was wonderful. I enjoyed hearing about her, Wendy, and Anu’s trips. Settling in with a wonderful meal of mashed potatoes and steak, I was caught off guard as the lights dimmed and unsettlingly loud music blared overhead. A somewhat faithful take on Happy Birthday blared overhead. Unbeknownst to me, it was a belated birthday celebration, with cake, black and white balloons, and the wait service and group singing to me. The excitement shared by the group was infectious. Sharing my bumpy Oreo like cake with the rest of the group, this further helped wake and lift my spirits up. Once back at the hotel, it felt like home checking in to my room, settling in after contacting my wife and baby, and finding a sense of calm in Jakarta. Seeing the endless traffic jam in Jakarta from my window brought an surprisingly sense of comfort for me.
About Matthew Cottone
Experience the World! This is my creed I bring to my classroom and my life. I'm a World Studies teacher at Van Hoosen Middle School and I have a passion for learning and experiencing the world.