Room 1032: A Memoir

Siti Hajar Afriani180410160077

Living in another country, far from home, far from family. It had been hard to live far from the loved ones. That was one of the consequences that I had to take after choosing to do the job training in Malaysia. I decided to undergo my training at one of the hotel in Malaka for six months in order to fulfil my school report. I was scared because I didn’t know what would happen and this is the first time for me to be in another country without my family.

“Do you think we’ll get through this?” I asked to one of my friend, Tasha that also became my roommate.

“Of course, we’re gonna make it together and there are thirteen of us so you don’t have to be worry,” she answered while packing out her things from her bag.

February 14th, 2014, we arrived at the room number 1032. It is one of the apartment rooms of the hotel which had seven towers and we got to live in tower number 1 until we finish our training. The room was on the 3rd floor and had 3 bedrooms with bunks in it. The lights were not so bright with an orange-ish color. It gave the dimly lit atmosphere to the whole room. The living room was big enough for us and I could already imagine how we’re all gonna lay down there watching tv after we finish our job. There was a balcony that face right to the mall and the crossroad in front of the hotel. I guess it would be a perfect place if I want to be alone. “Yeah we’re gonna finish it all together” I said to myself making sure that everything would be alright.

When we tried to adjust ourselves in this new situation, we were ‘welcomed’ by the ‘things’ in that room. On the first night, we hadn’t sleep until midnight because we still wanted to talk. We were laughing out loud until one of the bedroom door slammed really hard. Hard enough that we jumped out of our seat.

“Astaghfirullah!! What was that?” Tasha screamed with a shocking face. We looked at each other, counting ourselves to make sure that everyone was there. We checked all the doors and windows and it were all closed.

“So it wasn’t a wind, was it?” she asked.

“Guys, I don’t know what it was but I guess ‘they’ want us to be quiet” I said to my friends. Then we went to our bedroom and sleep. Removing all the negative thoughts of what it could be.

A week after that day, I was only with Tasha and Adit in our room. The rest of my friends were doing their training while we were having our first day off. I was just scrolling down my phone when I realized the shower in the bathroom was suddenly on.

“Dit, are you in the bathroom?” I asked with a loud voice.

”I’m here,” he answered while coming out from the kitchen with a sandwich on his hands.

“Oh, it must be Tasha, then”

By the time I finished talking, Tasha showed up from the balcony and walked into the living room. I was shocked while Adit was still not realizing what was happening.

“When did you go to the balcony?” I asked her.

“I was there the whole time calling my mom. What’s with that face?” she replied curiously.

“Someone is in the shower. It was suddenly on and I thought it was you.” I explained it to her and Adit stopped chewing his breakfast.

“Who’s there?” Adit asked carefully to someone in the bathroom, knowing that no one was there.

The shower was suddenly off.

“Oh my God” I was completely shocked. We were all just sitting there and we didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t even move and just stared at the bathroom door. Then we gathered our guts and tried to open the bathroom door. No one was there, as expected.

“I guess ‘they’ want us to take a bath and clean the room” said Tasha.

“Hahaha, I thought about that too” said Adit, trying to lessen the intensity of the situation. After that occurrence, we experienced more of those but we put a thought on our mind that ‘they’ didn’t mean any harm as long as we watch our behaviour.

It had been four months since the first time we step our feet in this room. The room that now we called home somehow held tons of memories. Starting from the daily stories to special moments that we spent together. Every morning, we were fighting to wake up first so one can get into the bathroom first. “Can you make it fast please?” I said to whoever it was when I realized I was already late. In the evening, one by one would open the front door, put off their shoes and laid down in front of the television in the living room to catch a breath after a tiring day. The television was on but no one was watching it because we switch the channel to a radio. The radio would play the same songs everyday. Counting Stars by One Republic was played right after All Of Me by John Legend and followed with Ain’t It Fun by Paramore. Yes, we listened to a radio on the television and remember the playlist. Then, someone would make noodles in the middle of the night when everyone was sleeping and the others started to come out of their room because of the smell. We ended up eating it together in the living room while watching movies. The wall that was empty at first, it now filled with our drawings and schedules. The balcony had became a place to stay when we miss our home the most. It was a place where we could call our family back home and cried our eyes, and no one would notice because the noisiness from the outside. We missed our home a lot. That’s enough for us to understand that it was hard to live far from home and that we only had each other to rely on.

There was time when it was really tough and we just wanted to go home. One of the moment was when we spent Ramadhan together. Fasting for a month, in a new environment, being far from home. It was difficult at first. Usually, we had our mom to wake us up to do suhur, but now we had to wake up by ourselves. At 03.30, all the phones were ringing and we had to go from our room which was in the tower number one, to the cafetaria which was near tower number seven and it took 10 minutes to be there. We once didn’t do suhur at all because none of us woke up. Since it was really far to get something to eat, and we felt sleepy enough to walk, we decided to make another schedule to set who’s gonna take the food from cafetaria and bring it to the room.

“Mamad, Chakim! It’s your turn to take the food!” Tasha was trying to wake them up so that we could eat something.

“Hmmmm,” they answered under their blanket but didn’t move at all. The last option that we had if we couldn’t take the food from the cafetaria was cook the noodles in the electric kettle. We couldn’t use the kitchen stove because the hotel management didn’t let us use that for some safety reasons. Then, we still had to wait to take turn because there were only 2 kettles.

The next two months went by so fast. Time passed faster when we already felt comfortable. Once we got used living there, we had to leave. We realized that we didn’t want to separate but our longing for family and home were greater than anything else. We finished our job training on August 15th and went back to Indonesia. There were a lot of moments that I spent with these friends that I called family, in this room that I called home. We cried, we laughed, we scared, we felt exhausted, but most importantly, we went through it all together.

Photo by: Siti Hajar Afriani

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