Again, envy strikes me again as I am thinking about top world scientists and researchers who can work near their hometowns, while at the same time, in the workplace they can reach world-class excellency. Marvin Minsky is tenured in the east coast of USA, while Stephen Hawking’s life has been mainly in Oxford and Cambridge. People like Lotfi Zadeh and Abdus Salam have(-d) to move away from their lands of origin in order to contribute more to the world. Japan is different; Shinichiro Tomonaga did not need to move, because at that time they had the potential to become a developed country with advanced science and technology, and it has been proven to be true. As for my case, I am very very doubtful that I can work in my home country, achieving the same career level. Of course, I can make another city abroad as my third settlement after Yogyakarta and Ponorogo, but it will never be my furusato; I didn’t grow up there, and I can’t be as emotional as how I feel towards the former two cities.
I am very envious. I miss the food in my hometown. I miss the nasi padang in Pogung, near the Selokan Mataram; the tripe is nice, and the gravy is also tasty. I miss the nasi goreng at the corner of THR 3-junction; it has the correct level of spiciness. I miss another nasi goreng, this one with pork, behind Pasar Beringharjo. I miss the sengsu (oseng-oseng asu) in Gampingan. I miss the teh poci that I used to drink in Kaliurang. I miss the cap cay sold at Terang Mulyo. Farther to the east, I miss Ponorogo’s ayam goreng Pemuda. I miss the soto Lamongan near my grandparents’ ex-home in Kediri (the surrounding area was demolished several years ago and replaced with…I don’t know, maybe something like a department store; never been there since then). Ah, I wonder if I can meet them regularly again.
There are two ways to overcome this. One, open Indonesian restaurants. Indonesia has a lot of dishes with different savours, yet IMO they are relatively unknown in the world. This way we can introduce them to international community, and you can say that this is how I bring my nationalism to the real life. However, as I mentioned earlier, my foreign residence will never be my hometown, so it is not a perfect solution. A better idea is to bring the research home. Open research labs in Yogyakarta. Done. But the problems are now money and bureaucracy. Sigh. Different solutions have different weaknesses.