Friday, October 27, 2006

A Present

Ia menyorongkan sepotong kertas ke hadapanku. Gambarnya tidak besar, dibandingkan ukuran kertas yang A3. Aku menatapnya sambil senyum, seperti selalu. Saat kulihat gambar itu, aku nyaris tidak mengerti. Tampak sebuah kotak hampir bujur sangkar sempurna. Kotak itu dicoret-coret dengan pen hitam hingga hampir tertutup seluruh permukaannya. Lalu seperti ada bow, rangkaian pita di atasnya.

"Ayo buka, Ma. It's a surprise for you."

"Wow, terimakasih sayang. Bagus sekali present-nya?" Wajahku berbinar, sekaligus menahan tawa.
"Ayo buka, c'mon..."
Lalu aku berpura-pura membuka ikatan pita di atas gambar kotak itu, memasang wajah surprise dan gembira, "Hey, I like it a lot. You did a great job.... apa ini..?" Masih berusaha memancing apa isi hadiah darinya.
"It's a heart, Mama. It's for you."

Aku terkejut. Dan terenyuh. Sempat terdiam dan mengamati coretan gambar di kertas itu. Ia benar. Ia menggambar sebentuk hati, membingkainya dengan kotak. Dan mencore-coret kotak itu supaya isinya tidak terlihat. Lalu diberi gumpalan pita di atasnya. Ah ya, aku lihat sebentuk hati itu. Buatku.

"I love you too, Damian...."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rochambeau Rubbles

Why would I concern on Rochambeau apartment being demolished? Maybe I wouldn’t, just like any other foreigner living in foreign country. But I could write something about it, since I had lived there for over a year. You might read all historic backgrounds on this 100 year old building in many sites, which carry nostalgic handsome picture about the past, but living in it is a different delightful story.

We started living there on October 2003 in a one bedroom apartment, simply chosen while we’re still in our home country, with a help from a friend who already lived there. The prime reason was its location, which allowed my husband to spend 10 minutes walk to his office in Wachovia Building. We could save a lot since he would go home for lunch and we did all our activities in downtown Baltimore. Our apartment facing Franklin Street in fifth floor was appropriate; I always tried to make it clean and tidy. Moreover, we hadn’t had a car yet so it was so comfy for us to just walk out the door and roam around the city, the way of life that I love.

Did I actually love living in this building? I didn’t have much complaints other than dog-pee smell –every so often beer spills- in the elevator; a deafening drill sound from the street construction below; a sleepy drunk on front door steps; a banging door in the dark stair. Oh yes, and other creature living with us in winter: itsy bitsy tiny mice. That’s the one thing I love to hate the most.

Otherwise, I love the straight view from living room window: an angel relief on the roof wall of church across the street, watching the ever bustling Charles and Franklin Street junction below. I love to take Damian to Mount Vernon Park; petting some dogs and watching fountains, with bonus once-a-year fireworks from our windows. I love going to Enoch Pratt Library, two times a week for the kid, and being an early bird in its annual book sale. We saw all kinds of parade from the best place; went to Walters Museum exactly in 2-hour free admission; I just walked across the street to Beadazzled and started making jewelries. I love walking to Baltimore Basilica if I needed to whisper a pray; further to Lexington Market for a few piece of doughnuts or fresh veggies; even further to Inner Harbor, and Federal Hill at the furthest. We didn’t miss all kind of restaurants along Charles Street; we merely believe my home-cooked meal still tastes better. I thought it was the healthiest time of my life ever since I finished school.

We seldom met our neighbors, but it’s a good mix of students, single moms, old folks, all kind of workers, and I particularly remember a man who loved to wear his kilt –sometimes along a bagpipe. By October 2004 there was only a couple of tenants lived in the building, I think we moved out at the same week before it would be emptied in November. The front door was already broken, other than tenants used the laundry room as well. Me and my husband felt relieve when we finally moved out though we also miss all the conveniences we had.

A couple of weeks ago, this old building was being demolished by Archdiocese Of Baltimore -the owner of the property. When I saw a great piece of Rochambeau fallen apart, my mind was wandering on those old days we had lived there. A short one year compare to one hundred ages it had. As me and my husband had backgrounds in architecture, we could not avoid talking about preservationist versus religions, maybe politics involved. A few local things we did not comprehend as foreigners. Why not demolish the rigid parking garage right beside it instead. We agree that this prime location in a city was best used as a residential/commercial. Other than its historic value, modestly it’s because we experienced living there. With a way of life that was not only belong to particular people, just for Baltimore City residents.

Further reads: Rochambeau short history (pic taken here), Articles in Baltimore Sun, and Opinion in Urbanite.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Belvedere Farm, dengan corn field maze dan tumpukan jerami dan bunga matahari dan barn berisi anak sapi dan babi, dan kalkun dan kambing, lalu naik truk jerami yang ditarik traktor, dan memetik labu oranye yang mungil lucu, lalu melihat berjenis-jenis pumpkin yang aneh, mendorong Damian dan Dhika di wheel barrel, berlarian dan membawa pulang apel cider. Mengulang dua tahun lalu, dengan rasa senang baru. I can picture myself just sit on the hay waiting for the sunset while writing or reading and my son just playing around 'till he just lays down tiredly on dirt. Nggak harus di sini, or di US, tapi bisa juga di pinggiran sawah kampung halaman....

Hari sebelumnya, dan beberapa jam sesudahnya, aku main tanah liat. Ikut workshop keramik yang -untungnya gratis- diadakan oleh Baltimore Clayworks. Seneng juga main tanah bikin bowl berbentuk ikan, dan ternyata keesokannya bikin hiasan dinding berbentuk ikan juga. Jadi pingin liat hasilnya seperti apa, mesti nunggu november nanti saat karya peserta workshop dipamerkan di galeri Baltimore Clayworks. Niat juga ya yang bikin acara, dan memang kebiasaan di sini kalau ada acara tertentu bikinnya komprehensif, walau ujung-ujungnya promosi, hehehe....

Belakangan juga masih ikut beberapa craft fair (ayo tengok jingga gems), sabtu besok ada lagi. Rencana sih bikin tambahan photo-frame dari recycled-paper, sambutan di acara sebelumnya cukup baik, tapi nggak sempat bo...!
Mari break sejenak, menikmati fall, my favorite season....