Indonesians get up early. By six in the morning, when I leave my house, the day is in full swing, the streets crowded with families of five commuting on motorbikes and becak drivers desperate for work. Many Muslims, exhorted that “prayer is better than sleep,” get up around four for the morning prayer and never go back to sleep. Most dedicated housewives, even the Christians, get up at four-thirty to begin a busy day of caring for the family. The “early to bed, early to rise” mentality clearly still prevails over this society.
So much so, actually, that Indonesians are shocked and appalled to learn that I sleep in until six-thirty, and sometimes even seven, on my days off. When they call or text message at five-thirty and wake me, which happens oh, just about every week, far from being apologetic, they mock me for still being asleep. Not being fully awake at five-thirty is shameful: that’s definitely sleeping longer than is needful. One of my friends, when she heard about my wasteful sleeping habits, eyed me reproachfully, and said, “Here in Indonesia we have a saying: a girl who sleeps longer than the sun will never find a husband.”
Let that be a lesson to me. So, for now, I wake up at precisely five the mornings I have school, in order to catch the school bus at six-fifteen. It’s relatively easy, because the sun is already up, but it still brings back memories of high school—dragging myself out of bed in the cold and the dark, only to go sit in early morning seminary and mentally chastise myself for mentally cursing my boring, uptight, and rude seminary teacher, all while mentally willing myself to stay awake. It was enough, most mornings, to drive me mental.
Here, once I throw off the covers, it’s a little easier: the marble floors are cool and soothing to the touch, the sunlight streams in through the bathroom window as I shower, and the birds chirp a cheery wake-up call. I don’t exactly like waking up so early, being more a nightingale than a lark, but I’m slowly starting to get used to it.
I will continue to sleep in on my days off, though: there’s no way I’m getting out of bed before six without a pretty darn solid reason, and “the sun is already up” is not--definitely not--that reason. And that’s why no man will ever love me.