about Oma

Oma is a name i call my grandmum with.

Oma lived in Bandung, and that had always been our holiday destination from as long as i can remember, whether it be the school holidays (June-July) or the Christmas/New Year’s holidays. she lived alone, since my granddad had long gone, when my mum was still in her twenties. but she didn’t really live alone, because she actually leased some rooms in her house to college girls. i guess i meant that none of our other family members live in Bandung, so she was practically alone.

Oma was a great cook. her specialty was egg salad, but i also loved her pastel tutup (kind of like a pie), hutspot (hotchpot), and pea soup (much better than the canned pea soup, for sure!).

Oma loved monkeys (at least i believe so!). i remember when we were kids, as my sister & i, along with our 2 cousins, arrived at her house for the holidays, my grandmum happily greeted us and exclaimed, “i thought i saw 2 monkeys, but it turned out there’s 4 arriving at the same time!” later on, when she went to the states to go to one of our cousins’ wedding, she came home with a monkey stuffed toy for herself, the kind with a spot on its tummy that you can push, and you can hear the monkey sound. she loved this particular stuffed toy so much, and whenever we went there to her house, she would ask one of us to take it out from her glass shelf and push the tummy. together we would enjoy the monkey sound & laugh.

Oma loved making handcrafts. she started making all sorts of knitted animals (bears, mostly) when i was around 12 or 13. she would make these knitted animals as house or car decorations, and she would also make things like toilet paper holders and attach the knitted bear heads (or whatever else) on them. she sold these things in her own house, to people from her church, friends of the girls who rented her extra rooms, and even family members (like me). πŸ˜€

Oma loved Coca Cola so much, the doctor had to tell her to stop drinking it, otherwise her spine would get too weak from her osteoporosis. she became addicted to teh kotak ever since (a cold tea drink with jasmine flavour). she was also addicted to Pizza Hut, McD’s spaghetti, and all kinds of chocolate. i guess that was her secret recipe for her long life.

as she grew older, it was plain to see that she couldn’t live alone anymore. so we moved her to Jakarta, where she would live with my mum’s sister & her husband. gradually it became harder for her to walk, and her hearing also weakened.

but she still loved sewing. she would make dozens of fabric bags, that she would then sell to people at the hairdresser she always went to, friends and relatives of my mum’s sister. she said she couldn’t stand not doing anything, and sewing was the only thing she could still do & enjoyed doing, too.

Oma inspired most of my works. i was the number one fan of her handmade bags, i kept buying her latest “bag collection” that in the end she would give me the bags for free. πŸ˜€ when i started my own business, Ame No Machi boutique, she supported it by ordering some clothes from us. she gave me her old sewing magazines, the ones she managed to save from her old house in Bandung, even though i couldn’t sew yet that time. when i moved here, and finally learned to sew, she gave me her old sewing machine.

it’s not only my sewing works that she inspired me with. for some reason, whenever i write a story (the longer ones that i hope to one day be published), i would always have a “grandmum” character to accompany the main female character.

Oma had lived a long life of 98 years. this April she was supposed to turn 99. but for the past few months her health dropped down. she no longer sew bags, and earlier this week she was admitted to the hospital. last night she slipped into unconsciousness, but still i called my mum and asked her to put the mobile phone to Oma’s ear, so i could still tell her how much i love her.

today she was finally lost to us. i’d like to think that she lived a happy life, full of contentment & joy. i’d like to think she’s in a much better place now, together again with her beloved husband, my granddad whom i never met.


this picture is special to me, since it was taken by my sister’s late husband, Victor, in 2010. i hadn’t met Oma (or my other relatives, for that matter) for 3,5 years at that time, and this occasion where the picture was taken was the first time i met her again. she was wearing the blouse she ordered from my boutique, and i had chosen that fabric for her myself.

now i’d also like to think that Oma is together with Victor, too.

yes, i can see them all now in my head. maybe even together with Romppu. πŸ™‚ may you rest in peace, Oma. thank you for all the beautiful memories, the laughter that we’ve shared, and for inspiring me. we will meet again one day.

6 thoughts on “about Oma

  1. I remember one time Oma said to me, “I’ve always liked Manadonese men.”, referring to Victor. Hahaha. That made the two of us!

    I whispered to her ear yesterday that it’s ok to rest if she’s tired. There she’ll meet Opa and Victor and don’t worry, we’re all going to be together again soon. I didn’t witness how she went but I prayed to God for it to be a painless one. Mama said she went peacefully, like she just went to sleep. πŸ™‚

  2. Sorry to hear about your grandma passing away. Good thing is you was able to visit her about 3,5 years ago and that you have such a nice picture of you two, her in the very nice blouse and you wearing a very beautiful summer dress.

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  4. I’m so sorry about the loss of your grandmother, sounds like she was a wonderful woman who had a good life and loving family. It’s also so nice that you shared a connection of sewing, I think in a way that keeps her alive through you. πŸ™‚

    • i think all of us (her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren) have a little bit of her in us, in sewing or cooking or whatever it might be. so yes, you’re right, we’re all keeping her alive through ourselves in a way. πŸ™‚

      thanks so much, she did have a good life, and i’m also sure that to the very end, she knew how much her family loved her (and we still do even now).

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