Remembering 1997: The Sweetest Year in My Life (Part 1)


It was the last day of 1996. In line with our family tradition, our extended family from my father’s side would gather in our house to celebrate my father and my (now late) uncle’s birthday. Although their birthday is actually fall on 30th December, to make the party more lively, it would normally deferred by a day so we can also celebrate the New Year eve too.

The birthday and New Year party was rousing one. Everyone enjoy it, we had great dinner, exchanging stories and jokes. It is one of a several family gathering events in our extended family that we would normally take each year, aside of Eid gathering.


Typical of year end family gathering in my house. This one was taken in 2007, or 10 year after the story took place. I can be seen sitting on lower right, in blue shirt.

As the night progresses, some family members were already tired and decided to return back home. Leaving my parents, siblings, my father’s younger brother who worked as doctor, my auntie (his wife), and also my father’s youngest brother who is a very comical and entertaining figure. Since we want to enjoy the night, our discussions were more sedated and serious. Sometime it is accompanied by some bottled sparkling apple juice drink, or even liquor.

As we enjoyed our conversation, the clock is ticking at 12, and the fireworks event in the nearby mall started erupting, marking the beginning of the brand new year. Happy New Year 1997!


Suddenly my auntie and my uncle shook everyone’s hand, congratulating me and also every one for the New Year. This gesture is quite unusual as I never had something like this before or since then. We normally shook hand during Eidul Fitri, but never in New Year Eve.

But whatever that is, this gesture is later seen as an omen, that the year will be a beautiful one. The year turned out to be my coming of age period, and the memorable moment that I consider the best ever in my life. It will always be remembered for the rest of my life.

In this year, I finally graduated from high school and marking the end of my schooling years. And for the first time in my life, I experienced these moments: living in overseas country for the very first time, first time living away from parents, interacting with foreigners (including Europeans), experiencing on how does it felt to be deeply in love with a girl, how I feel broken hearted, and even obsessed with a girl!

My colorful experience throughout this year formed the basis for my coming of age tale, which I will tell you my story. Despite of some inaccuracy or overlooked events (how can I remember exact details that happened 20 years ago anyway?) it will be a great story to read. My emotional tales in the 1997 drive me to write my memoir. It will be a long and enjoyable one. Of course I will focus mostly on my stay in Perth, West Australia.

All of the events, places, and figures mentioned in my story are real life figure. I remember many of them clearly, and amazingly still maintain contact with very few of them.

Unfortunately, not all names I can remember. So that’s why I marked some names with asterisk (*) to denote that the name mentioned is fictitious as a replacement of their actual name that I forgot.

But back in that New Year party, I had no clue what lies ahead and what does the future have for me…..



About bagus70

I'm an adventurous railfans who love to seek out the world of railway, beyond the border of my office.
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