My little secret of Yogykarta

Lock in Yogykarta

As I walked trough the Sultan Palace in Yogykarta I suddenly realised that my Star of David is no longer around my neck. I lost my necklace that I carried everyday because it reminded me of my father. The first one that I received from my dad, got stolen while I was on a shoot for a Film. Now the second one that I specifically bought to remember him is gone as well. I didn’t even flip out or got really sad or mad. I only said to Emily, with whom I made the trip that I could use a drink now. As we were walking through the market, the sun was burning down and I felt like I was about to melt, I thought about my necklace and what it represented for me.

Did my necklace represent another box, a box that I have to leave as well? Was this meant to happen because I am on this journey? I never wore it because I felt that I was very religious not at all, but it was always very important to me to connect it to my father. Since my father was an orphan from the Second World War and he never really knew where exactly he was from, this was what was left in terms of roots. He wasn’t religious ether but the only thing he would say was: “I am Jewish”. I always wanted to know where I was from and it is still a desire I carry around with me. So in a way I continued what my father did.

I had a big sip from my beer and I could feel that through the heat it went faster in my bloodstream than usually.

Who am I without my necklace, my father, my job, the theatre and my comfort zone?
It made me think of the Sultan Palace I just saw. All these pictures of the whole monarchy, that went back over generations. The whole palace and even the water palace, which was the Sultans bath, made him in a way immortal.
Did I really need a necklace to make my father immortal for myself? No, I don’t even need him to be immortal. I loved my father more than anything and no matter if I carry a necklace to remember him or not, I will never forget him and nether my roots. In a way I felt lighter. Unusual and constantly with the feeling of that my neck felt very naked, I decided to embrace this new opportunity.

And then something interesting happened. Since my dad was a big fan of culture, travel and art and as a child we would always have to go see every temple, monument and museum etc. as soon as we were on a trip, I started to look out for things he would have liked or we would have talked about. I suddenly started to look at everything with him in my mind and I saw things that I would have like better and things that he would have found more interesting. Ever since he passed that was the moment I felt my roots the most. My father thought me so much through his work, his interests, and his travels that “this” was in a way him. I carry on what he thought me, how much more can you ask for when it comes to roots. Yes, I might not know exactly which country and what cultural influence I carry in me but I know where I am from. From my father!

In a way Yogykarta showed me a hidden secret about my self almost like it’s hidden street art, which is also my favourite thing of Yogykarta. If you look for it you can build your own city map just with the street art and you will know where to go. On my way back from Pacitan to Yogy I found myself being pretty secure with directions due to my own “city map”.

Another very impressive moment was when Emily and I went to go see how they built the Shadow puppets. It is fascinating how delicate this work is. To finish one of the puppets it takes one week and that is without colouring it. The artist who explained to us where the puppets come from and what their meaning is had a so much passion whilst talking about it, that I was totally captured by him and the whole art. I wanted to know everything. Every figure has its own story and in the whole design you can find their power and purpose. Very Impressive! One of them stuck to me, it was the one with a big bum. And if you looked closely you saw three major circles in the figure. One was the bum, one the stomach area and one the head. The three represent the three centers in the body:
Mind – feeling – instinct.
He explained to us that there must be a balance between all three of them otherwise it wouldn’t be healthy. I had to smile a bit, then he was so right. How often do we not succeed in finding the balance between all three of them! Often in the Western civilisation we are more mind oriented. We believe we can control everything with our thoughts and it will all work out. We have fix plans on how things have to turn out and by what time we have to have accomplished certain things. It made a lot of sense to me what he said, but I also thought it is easier said than done.

He saw my temporary tattoo on my wrist, which represented for me the waves, life, vitality and creativity. He looked at my tattoo and said: “This is very you. You are a very passionate woman and you care more for others than your self. You have a very deep character and you take a long time to decide. You think about it for a while and once you know you want it, you go for it. You connect quickly to people and you give them your trust. But often you don’t stay true to your self. You let other people influence you. You have to trust more your heart!”

I stared at him and at first I couldn’t say anything. How right the man was! One of the reasons I left was exactly that I wanted to learn to listen to my heart and not be influenced by others. And still on my journey when I spend a few days with someone, I always want to make sure they are happy. Day by day I am learning more to do what I want to do, regardless of what others think or want to do. And it gives an inner peace to your heart, because you can feel that the decision was the right one.

The next day Emily and I took a trip to Borobodur. It is Javas biggest Buddhist Temple. We rented a motorbike and I enjoyed that part very much. Driving in the city with the locals, surrounded by thousands of motorbikes, I was finally part of the “honey bees”. I was happy to see that Emily trusted my driving style and I trusted her with finding the way to the temple. We made a pretty good team. Once we arrived at Borobodur, we had to see that this place is a massive tourist attraction. Nevertheless I wanted to see it. We put on our sarong’s and made our way to the top. Pretty quickly we had to realize that not the temple was the main attraction, we were. All the Indonesian tourists asked all the Western tourists if they can take a picture with them. We were literally followed around the whole temple. I didn’t like this at all. I wanted to get a feeling of the temple and its history. Emily and I started to hide in places where they wouldn’t go. Once there, we realised what an incredible place this actually is. The enormity of the whole temple is incredible and beautiful.

On our way back we not only had to get the tire fixed but almost back in Yogykarta we ran out of gas in the middle of the highway. So I started to pull to the side and saw across the street a little place who would sell gas. I started to talk to them and they were laughing so much, but a split second later the older man ran across the street and filled our bike back up with gas. I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t a problem for anyone. No one honked the horn no one screamed: “Get out-of-the-way”.

I learned in this country that the people here always see a solution when there seems to be a little problem. For them it is more about finding another way to solve the situation. They don’t seem to get stressed out that quickly at all. I am so grateful I get to experience this culture and I have learned so much from them already.

street art in Yogykarta

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About sarahschaefer

Pancakes and Panthers is a blog about the philosophical aspects of self discovery of a young actress from London. Life is too short to wait! View all posts by sarahschaefer

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