stories & pictures by ella irdis
If there is anything that tells us we are more alike as humans than we think we are, it’s our homes. Ella Irdam gives us a look into her home in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, which she shares with her family. While there are things in her home that are uniquely part of Indonesian culture, it’s evident Ella has brought her travels around the world home.
Coucou Home founder, Mary Warner, first met Ella a decade ago when both women lived abroad in Europe. Today, Ella is a law consultant, who irreverently posts on social media about her home life with her family. Let’s see how she makes her home in the world. (All pictures by Ella Irdam.)
Hi, my name is Kuntum Apriella Irdam, Ella for short. I am a 38 year-old Indonesian woman and my occupation is a business legal consultant. It is really a privilege to be invited by Coucou Home to share our daily life in an Indonesian home.
People say, “Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong and laughter never ends,” and we totally agree!
OUR HOME IN JAKARTA
Our home is located in the eastern part of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital city, a city of 11 million people. (Yes, it is one of the most populated cities in the world!), and it actually represents only a small part of the total Indonesian people, which is approximately 250 million people, the fourth largest nation in the world!
I live with my husband, Asep Rahmat Fajar, and our two amazing children, Kencana (10) and Garda (8). We give our home a name, Puri Jati, which means a castle of Jati wood. Whilst it is actually not made of wood, but with white-painted bricks, there are several ornaments inside our house—such as our dining table, living room set, tv table and bed—that are made from Jati wood (a well known Indonesian tropical wood).
WHERE WE PRAY
Like approximately 90 percent of other Indonesians, I am a practising muslim. Our faith told us to perform sholat (prayer with specific motion and prayer) 5 times a day, i.e., prior to sunrise, by midday, in the afternoon, after sunset and in the evening. This kind of prayer is practised by every practising muslim in the world for the purpose that amidst our busy daily life, we always remember and are thankful to Allah SWT, our almighty God, and surrender ourselves to Allah SWT at least 5 times a day. The sholat can be performed individually or jamaah (together), and it is encouraged to do it together as much as possible. As such, our home has a special prayer room. (You can still of course do the sholat anywhere in the house so long as the floor is clean).
We usually put Islamic ornaments on the wall. In our home, we hang the calligraphy of Allah SWT’s name and Prophet Muhammad SAW’s name and also several surrah verses in Al-Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. No muslim really knows the face of our Prophet, however, we love him dearly, and even though we are only able to hang his name on the wall, it is sufficient enough for us to cherish and love him. May peace be upon him. The reason of us not knowing his face is that to make sure that we only worship Allah SWT as our one and only God and we do not worship him, because he is simply God’s messenger and a human being, just like us.
For praying, we use prayer rugs as shown on the floor. Muslim women cover all of their body, excluding her face and palm, as shown by my daughter’s prayer outfit. Unlike Saudi women, who usually wear black prayer clothing, Indonesian women and girls tend to wear colourful prayer outfits as well as colourful daily wear.
DECORATING OUR HOME
I like to hang pictures or quotes on the wall. Those ornaments make our house feel “homey” and reflect our memories together as a family. I also have a routine to arrange family travelling pictures in one picture frame as shown in the picture below. One frame for one place. I hope that when I am old I will have a room with walls covered with these pictures frames! It is much better than putting the pictures in family albums as the albums are usually stored under the table or in a bookshelf.
We love the quotes as shown in the pictures below! It is our sincerest hope that our children will grow up remembering these quotes and apply the quotes in their daily life. The quotes are universal, but also are the very basic norms taught by our religion, Islam, and also lessons that are passed through generations in our country. We are required by our religion to respect, help and care for people, whatever their faith, gender and nation.
We also love to hang our children’s art and drawings on the wall. As my husband and I are working parents, sometimes we find their drawing especially created for us on the dining table when we arrive home. The drawing pieces are just so heartwarming and full of love. The reason we hang their drawings is to ensure that the love radiates through our home all day and night long!
WHAT WE DO AT HOME
Our family is crazy about books! We can go to the bookstore twice or trice a month! We have our own family library, comprising of different kind of books: novels, politics, law, economy, religion, children’s storybooks, parenting, and many others! Our children are already 10 and 8 years old, but we still read them bedtime stories. Moments spent together under the blanket with a good storybook is just priceless!
We try our best to do sports in our spare time. Sometimes we go cycling with our children or we just exercise on a treadmill. We even have a tennis table and also sets of badminton.
WHERE WE COOK
Indonesia is famous for its food. Our rendang (beef with coconut sauce) was declared as the best food in the world by CNN! Indonesia comprises of hundreds of tribes and each tribe has its own food specialty. My husband came from West Java and I came from West Sumatra. Therefore we usually cook dishes coming from both regions. Oh, of course no pork at all as we are prohibited by our religion to eat pork. But we eat everything else: beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruits. As for the place where we prepare food, we have dry kitchen and wet kitchen.
Editor: Thanks for sharing your home with Coucou Home Ella! Check out a recipe from Ella’s kitchen for Gulai Ayam or Chicken with Coconut Milk.