when families get together


Last month, from 25th to 27th of December to be precise, we had a big family (from my mum’s side) reunion in Central Java. This has been an annual tradition for us and Christmas time is always a special one because not only is it one of the few times we can all get together, but also because my grandma’s birthday is on the 23rd of December. This time, we decided on Salatiga for the place of the reunion. One of my grandma’s sisters went location scouting and found the perfect villa nestled in the mountains of Salatiga. We stayed three days, two nights there and I had the most fun with all my cute little cousins that I hardly ever get to see.

The journey there was far from easy though. On Christmas day our family of five started the journey from Pekalongan, my dad’s hometown, which is around 4-hour drive from Salatiga. We stopped by the city of Solo first to catch the 5 p.m. evening Christmas mass at St. Antonius Church. After the Eucharist finished, we made a quick dinner stop and were on our way to the villa, where the rest of our relatives were already waiting.

In theory, it should have taken us at most an hour to reach Salatiga, but our hired driver had other plans. He took a side road because he was apprehensive of the traffic jam (that may or may not have been existent) on the main road. So, thanks to his little detour, we arrived at the villa almost three hours later. None of us were amused, least of all my uncle who couldn’t comprehend why the driver took the long way round. On top of that, the driver was not a particularly good one, my dad suspected him to be a truck / bus driver judging by the way he roughly swerved our car around – I literally feared for my life the entire way. But when I saw my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins, the arduous journey was totally worth it, even if we did arrive hours later than planned and ended up missing my grandma’s birthday surprise.

One of my little cousins (the cheekiest one) greeted me with a poke to my ribs and ran away with a mischievous grin on her adorable face. Of course, the only thing that can ensue after that is a full-blown chase out that ended with stomach-aching laughter. The following days were spent swimming teaching my cousins how to swim, playing cards and badminton by the pool, taking scenic pictures taking silly selfies with my cousins, eating stuffing our faces with the abundance of delicious food that is my grandma’s cooking, and generally catching up with the rest of the relatives. I won’t show you the selfies here, I won’t put you through that cringe fest (ha.. ha..) Instead, here are some photos I took from the second floor balcony of the villa overlooking a little garden.

I really do love having a big extended family, and I am always eternally grateful whenever I get to spend time with them, no matter how short. This vacation was full of unexpected twists and turns, but at the end of the day I got to create wonderful memories with the ones I cherish the most.


Salatiga: a city in Central Java, Indonesia, located between the cities of Semarang and Surakarta. It sits at the foot of Mount Merbabu and Mount Telomoyo, and has a relatively cool climate due to its elevated position (Source: wikipedia.org).

The villa we stayed at was the Wisma Pengilon Salatiga, and I highly recommend it. It had enough rooms and space for ten small families, a fully functional kitchen, a large open dining and living area, and an outdoor swimming pool – all at a pretty reasonable price.

when families get together

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