Pearls and Ashes


My life recently is like an epic movie: a combination of drama, fantasy, action, suspense, ups, and downs. I hope it's a Disney's epic~ at the end we're all live happily ever after and things get better with a kiss..

(the road in front of my house)


My dearly beloved hometown, Kaliurang, is located in a valley some 7 km away from the top of Mt.Merapi. A lush village with fresh air and tranquil surrounding. The colonial used to build leisure villas here~ some are abandoned now while some are rebuild as hotels and modern villas.

The daily morning in Kaliurang is glorious with a combination of the bluest sky, chirping birds, gentle sunshine, and a crisp peppermint wind. Sometime, the evening is even more glorious with the sunset that makes everything sparkle with golden edge. At another time, the hazy day will get us all so lazy and the rain will give us all a good reason to stay home and cuddle over a cup of hot ginger milktea. I always adore my hometown!

We, native family of Kaliurang, are indulged by the freshest air, cleaner water, and a very close relationship with nature. In my healthiest day, my father used to take me for a weekly trekking to the forest behind my house since I were three. He allows me to climb through two hills behind my house every three months as soon as I get to the 5th grade. We even own our little forest that I usually refer as my Secret Garden. We are highly indulged by the nature and taught to understand it like a close friend.




On the other side, when my father taught me to touch the nature with all my senses, my mother told me tales. My mother's family is one of the oldest families in Kaliurang. We grew up with family myth of elf ancestors and stories of great great Grandfather who guard Mt.Merapi. Not only as a tale to tell, has my mother used to experience all sorts of enchantment when she was younger.

I grew up amazed by day stories of fishes that blinks, man who got lost in the forest by the enchanting spells of forest fairies, and the white tiger that gives climber warning when the path they're going through is dangerous. At night, I would shiver on stories of will-o-wisp that used to chase my mom and her little friends when she points the torchlight to the treetops or banshee that enjoys kidnapping people and children who still playing outside when the sun is setting down.

It's easier for me and my sisters to believe in Enid Blyton's stories and all the fairytales mother told us, because we know that somewhere deep inside the forest behind our home, magic creeps secretly under the spell of the mighty kingdom of Mt.Merapi~ our nurturing Gramps.




At first, the signs are clear. The air starts to itch and felt too hot for our skin. The wild animals went down too close to our houses. The mount starts to tremble and making stumbling noises. But, it's only normal. We get through a cycle of Mt.Merapi erruption every 2-5 years and we deal with it easily. Even my mom and my grandmother used to experienced yearly split-stone rain and played with the ashes when they were younger. It's only normal. Everyone believe that the eruption will pass through it's road, straight on it's route, and will not disturb us~ the grandchildren.

Then, things get weird. The hot lava start to spill out of the river, the hot ashes and material travels too far~ way out of the right path. Gramps starts to cross the borders, sneaking at night, and we feel like we don't know him anymore with all these changing behavior. It is very painful to see some villages nearby burned and drowned in ashes one by one, hundreds of life lost, and thousands of people become refugee.


(in front of the central park.. in normal days, this place is crowded with food vendors, tourist, and family picnic)


When Mt.Merapi starts to explode and erupt last two weeks, my life stops.

On the 25th of October, my family and I move down to our other house 15 km away from the top of Mt.Merapi. On the 26th, a huge explosion kills more than 30 people including the gatekeeper of Mt.Merapi and destroyed some villages nearby. Gramps crosses the border for the first time.

That day, we moved further to my aunt's house in the city of Jogjakarta some 25km away from the top of the mountain. We have to get together all the time, that's the main rule. But most of the time we life our life as if things are normal~ my mom went to her office, my sister went to her school, and me with my project. But every single day we wish it was the last and biggest explosion so we can go home soon. After that first explosion, I still have time to evacuate some of my book collections and took these photos I posted here.




It was too soon to dream about going home. Mt.Merapi explode again several times after that and even bigger~ stronger power of a magic kingdom we are not familiar with anymore. More people get killed in their sleep, more villages burned, some of my relatives from neighboring village lost their kettles- their only wealth, and my little sister's close friend lost his house and 14 of his family member. Thousands of refugees suffer even more than we do. It's all gets too depressing. Our wish has then changed: we wish we still have a house to come home to.

On November 9th, my uncle and I fought back our fears away and went along the way to Kaliurang and rescue my Shadow. Being able to come back is uplifting. It gives us hope to see our house and business are still standing and all were fine despite the fact that everything turns grey and the village is abandoned.

♪ ♫ ♪ Take Me Home - Club 8 ♪ ♫ ♪

No more sweet smell of the nature: it's all full of stinky sulphur smell. The grass turns grey, the forest behind my house is burned, the trees were mostly broken, and the ashes from the heavy ash-rain were so thick that we have to dig some inches to get inside. Once we're inside the house, we found the ash rain combined with the rain water has turned the house into some kind of swamp. Despite all that fact, we're glad we still have a house to come home to and currently living in a very comfortable house. We were a lot luckier than our other relatives from neighboring villages.

Yet, we still love our Gramps and we believe that there must be a reason of his entire act no matter how painful it was. Yes, we were all angry and sad but we will forgive Gramps eventually and we just can't wait to go back home under his nurturing feet.. soon, hopefully.


(the road to the 'forest and hill behind my house', next to my home and the central park. Taken before the biggest eruption. Now those greenery has mostly broken and the ash are thicker)


*Check out fabulous yet intriguing pictures of Mt.Merapi eruption 2010 by Jogjakarta's photographer in the Boston Globe here and a little story of my neighbor who get killed by starvation here.

*My fellow blogger Claradevi held a charity project with her friends for the victims of Mt.Merapi eruption and less lucky refugees. You can join her noble act by following her action in Twitter with hashtag #PeduliMerapi or else; you can join @jalinmerapi to find out what and how can you help the victims.

*Together, lets we all #PrayforIndonesia that just suffer from earthquakes and tsunami in Mentawai, heavy flood in Wasior, and Mt.Merapi eruption that happens in a row and cause us a huge lost and sadness.

*Aside from the Mt.Merapi eruption, Jogja is still a very peaceful artsy city where the air breathe harmony. Although some of our lives stop, the majority in Jogja are still very well alive and beautiful~ so is Indonesia.







Blue Floral Dress / Obi-Obi
Faux Pearl Sweater / Little Garage
Bow Belt / Day or Night
Pearl Braclets / Forever 21
Teacup Ring / Forever 21
Bag / My Mom's
Espadrille / Friday to Sunday
Socks / My little sister's

Photographed by Dito Yuwono




M.Ersa Adiprasetya said...

haa i miss kaliurang... hope the situation will beb better soon...

love your espradille :)

Pani La Mome said...

Your world is different from mine, but is beautiful:)
Great shoes!

Marla Singer said...

such a beautiful yet sad story ='[ yeah let's hope everything will be better very soon.. and yes, mr. perfect teeth's (hehe) grandparents come from Kaliurang too but his grandma had been moved to bandung after the biggest eruption. too bad, his grandpa insists to stay at the refugee camp =/
anyway, i suddenly fall in love with your sweater. i've been looking for a sweater like that for ages <3

ps. pls let me share this post on my newest post that i'll publish very soon, okay? ;]

Marcella Cornelia said...

all so look different

Amber Blue Bird said...

first off, your dress is lovely as are you. Secondly, I cant imagine what you are going through but at least you have your family. I hope things look up from here on out for you

Ilse said...

cute outfit! I love every single picture of this post. ♥

michelle_ said...

your post is very touching dear.. somehow i feel like shedding tears when i read it (bukan lebay yah..) but i cant imagine myself if i were in your position (and also the people in jogja).. i cant imagine being terrorized by the fact that a volcano can just errupt at any moment..

stay strong girl !
may God be with you at all times :)

glisters and blisters

Tabitha said...

hope everything will gonna be fine..
love your sweater btw :)


lala said...

nice outfit

Dorothy Souhuwat said...

wow,, you still dare to take some photograph although there are a lot of ash..

i like your white ribbon belt..cute

Dorothy Souhuwat said...

oh ya,,i forget to tell you that i've linked u now..keep in touch..

fitri said...

Aha, wewe gombel fairy tale, I hade told that story to my twins also...

Neat written, nice outfit, beautiful picture....

thanks for visiting my blog yaa...

Ayya McFire said...

hopefully by now merapi is getting better.
it's sad to think that life can be threatening in such a beautiful place.
beautifully written story, one of those stories that touches you and make you feel like jumping on a plane and take a break from the city life and enjoy the nature.
i love the outfit as well by the way :)
especially the pearl sweater.
btw i am mirla's friend from smp 4 pakem.

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