I met my girlfriends 18 years ago in Jakarta. All of us were single at that time and we were all looking for the loves of our lives. We were young, energetic, career-driven and full of lives. We spent a lot of diners after work and weekend lunches until each of us got married and lived in different countries.
The past 15 years of our lives were filled with travelling with spouses, changing diapers, looking for the perfect kindergartens, sending kids to schools, going to pediatricians, going to school concerts and everything around kids.
We didn't really have time for ourselves. We didn't have a chance to meet each other. We kept in touch occasionally using emails, sending pictures of our newborns, children birthdays and Christmas greetings. Then Facebook saved us... We updated each other using posts and pictures in Facebook until one day some of us decided to make their Facebook account idle.
During those years each of us changed... both physically (I am wider and heavier) and spiritually. I converted to Islam when I got married to a "foreigner", a Malay guy from Malaysia. It changed my lifestyle dramatically. I omitted pork and alcohol from my diet (replacing them with lamb and coffee instead). I don't drink margaritas or tequilas when I go to clubs anymore, opting for a simple Coke or OJ instead.
While I am still enjoying Christmas lights, songs and atmosphere, I no longer put up Christmas tree in the house. I absorbed different culture and tradition in my new life as a Muslim in Malaysia.
All the changes in the past 15 years have changed the way I think, the way I live and the way I behave. It has shaped me to be who I am today. I feel that I am a different person from the person my friends used to know 15 years ago.
When all of us met in Hongkong, we spent hours of talking and giggling. We slept around 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning. We only managed to have 4 hours sleep everyday. We talked about anything and nothing. If you ask me what we talked about, honestly I don't remember. All I remember is that we talked non-stop..!!
Four days passed and it was time for us to go home, to go back to our families and resume our responsibilities as mothers, wives, daughters and daughter-in-laws. It was a sad moment, thinking that we wouldn't be seeing each other again for a long time. We made a pact to meet at least once a year now, travelling together again, leaving behind our roles at home and just be "girls" again.
After the travel, I realize that no matter how much each of us changed, real friends understand and adapt to each other. Real friends don't feel awkward after being devoid of personal conversation for 15 years. Real friends can still find a million things to talk about as if our world is still the same as before. Real friends don't judge. Real friends don't pretend. Real friends see us for who we are. For them, I didn't change that much and for me, they don't change either. We are still the same crazy loud girls who think that George Clooney is the hottest doctor in the world..!! We still think that mie ayam (chicken noodle) is the best remedy for stress and nothing can beat ice-cold Teh Botol during a hot sunny day.
This holiday is totally different from the normal holiday I take with my families. Although I had only 4 hours of sleep a day, I felt very refreshed after the holiday. When I have family holidays, usually I need a separate holiday after that, just to be alone and relax. Although it is called holiday, family holidays mean I am still on duty to make sure my kids are well fed and taken care of. I have to pack and unpack their clothes. I have to entertain the kids (and their father) and follow schedules that involve theme parks, malls and kid-friendly restaurants. Those holidays are all about the kids.
This "girls trip" holiday is all about me. I felt free like a bird. I felt young again. I felt like I was transported back to the past where I had no worry and no responsibility (and no cellulite..).
I believe all mothers need this break. A break from duties. A break from being mommies. A break from being someone's wive. A break from changing diapers. A break from baby talk.
I am really looking forward to our next trip.
In the meantime I need to behave nicely and score A+ as a wife and a mother... I need to earn my next "exit permit" from the three creatures at home who work me non-stop, make me sweat in the kitchen, drive me nuts and spoil me with hugs and kisses.
Have a Happy New Year 2014...!!!