Dira Faydra Nada Miranda

Love, Always  is a collection of stories about how time and distance significantly alters the terrain of family and belonging. In this series, we explore the lives of three individuals on the verge of adulthood, who offer us a deeper glimpse into their struggles and desires.

Dira is a second year Early Childhood international student in her early 20s. She came to Perth for exchange and studied at Curtin for a semester. Dira is currently based in the U.K. at the University of Hertfordshire. She grew up in Indonesia, and shares a very strong bond with her parents, despite being thousands of miles apart from them. In this interview, she expresses the ways in which distance has altered her relationship with her parents, bringing them closer together, rather than farther apart.

Click play to listen to Dira’s story or read the story below.

Dira standing with a microphone telling her story before a crowd.

My name is Dira, I am a second year early childhood education student, currently now studying at Curtin University, but I’m on exchange from University of Hertfordshire in England. I came to Australia, because me and my mum thought it would be such a good experience to come to Australia and learn a new culture, learn a different education curriculum, and also, just gain more experience from different sides of the world. I said yes to writing a letter because I feel that sometimes we don’t really say what we want to say to our parents, and that we kind of assume that they already know, but they probably don’t. So maybe, by writing this letter, I can tell them how much they mean to me, and have a medium, an opportunity, to express my love and care for them.

Missing Home

Yes, it was so hard. What I miss most about my parents, would be, I guess, just not having them around. Because you know, living together, you’re just in your room alone and I have three other siblings, so it’s always such a big group of family in my house—always so loud—and so that’s one of the biggest things that you know, suddenly you’re just home, alone, without them kind of physically being there. But yeah, I would talk to my mum on things, to my dad as well, joke a lot of things, and then you know, they’re suddenly just so far away. And I guess, just the communication, the relationships, and the occasional banters here and there is what I miss most about them.

I would say I have grown closer, because now that I know what its like to not have them around.

When I do come back home, I’m closer to them, so I feel like I need to spend loads more time with them. I’m sorry, I just miss them. Yeah, so whenever I’m home, I always try my best to spend time with them, and make them happy, and always help them out in everything because yeah, I know what it’s like to not have them around.

The Letter

Dear Ibu and Ayah (that’s what I call them), thank you so much for everything that you’ve done for me. I’ve realized that sending your smallest child overseas is not easy, and of course, its not easy for me too. I’ve learnt so much being here and I really thank you for the opportunity and the hard work that you needed to do for me to be here. Of course, all of this would not be possible if it weren’t for your love and support which is so important and makes such a big difference in my heart. I can see my ambition as something that I got from you, and I cannot be so much prouder of who I have become.  Being on my own has also made me realise how hard it is to live on my own and all this time I mostly have taken you for granted. I really want my brothers and sister to have this feeling as well just to know how lucky we are. As they say it, the enemy of a great life, is a good life.

A handwritten letter addressed to the writer's Ibu and Ayah

It’s 28 of May now, and only 6 days to go till my flight back. I miss you so, so, so much. When I come back, I promise to do my best in doing house chores without being told to, I’ll drive you wherever you want, and just help you out on anything and everything. Especially having grandma and cousins over, I know we will have such a good time, and I cannot wait! Not to mention all the food.

I really don’t know what else to say, you already know how much I love you and care about you. You are always going to be in my prayer, and I wish you all the health and happiness in the world. As long as I’m alive, I will always try to make you proud and be the best daughter that I can be. I promise you that one day I’ll pay you back for what you’ve given me in forms that you’ve not even thought about. Everything is going to be great, and I cannot wait for my future with you two by my side.

All my love to you,

Dira

Reflections

Writing the letter wasn’t as emotional as talking about it. Yeah, when I wrote the letter, I didn’t really know what to say because I feel that they already know—but then I don’t know if they actually do. You know, sometimes we just assume that they know, but we’ve never actually talked about it before. But yeah, it just made me miss them more and I just can’t wait to go back. I’m going back on 3 June, and my dad, whenever I call him, he keeps counting down the days, which is really cute, and yeah, sad at the same time.

I would give them the letter, but I don’t know whether I’d have to translate it for them or not. I wrote the letter in English, but my parents’, well our first language is Indonesian, and my dad is better at English, but my mum isn’t as good, I mean, she would understand, but I wouldn’t think that she’d understand it that much—or understand the emotions behind it. So, if I were to translate it in Indonesian, there would be more personal things as well, because also, I feel like there’s some things that I can’t express in English. So yeah, that would be the difference.

Something that I wanted to write down, but I didn’t, because I didn’t know how to translate it, was some of the things that I usually pray for them. Like in my prayer, I usually pray that they can get—I wouldn’t say fortune—but kind of fortune from God. I wanna pray for them that they’re always gonna have like easy ways, and they won’t get into troubles. Raziki is one of the words, its not fortune, but it is; but like so much different—like fortune kind of means, you know, fortune cookies or something, but yeah, it could either be, you know, in forms of money, or it could be forms of health, or basically anything that is beneficial for them. And one of the other things is Kemudahan, which is something like an easier way, like they wouldn’t get a hard time basically, and get lots of opportunities, or something like that.

If it was my last day on earth, I would say that I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done wrong to them, and yeah, I know I’m not a perfect daughter, and I can make some mistakes. So that’s something I would say to them, that I’m sorry for anything and everything, basically.

Copyright © 2019 Dira Faydra Nada Miranda

This story and corresponding images have been licensed to the Centre for Stories by the Storyteller. For reproduction and distribution of this story/image please contact the Centre for Stories.


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