Brighton,  England,  Moms on the Road,  United Kingdom

A Day in the Life of Bunda in Brighton

Bunda, means Mother in the Indonesian language, is what my daughter calls me, at least until two months ago, before she starts calling me Mommie or Mama (with that British accent), following what her friends at school call their Mom. Children are indeed resembling a sponge, they are very quick in adapting to the surrounding environment. Nevertheless, I am still a Bunda, perhaps the only Bunda in Brighton. My daily life in Brighton, in general, is filled with studying, seeing beautiful places (even only the autumn/winter trees and Victorian-styled houses) and doing mom’s duty. It is not exactly the same, some days feel longer and some days feel easier. This routine I am about to tell is probably the normal one.

It starts in the morning with preparing for my kid’s and my own breakfast, and sometimes my packed lunch if I have no chance to go home for lunch on that day (even though my house is inside the campus!). Usually, I just reheat the foods I have cooked the night before. After we both take a shower (where it’s difficult to drag her to bath, and once she’s in the bath it’s hard to pull her out) and have breakfast, I send my child off to her school then arrive back in the campus around 9.30am.

Just a usual misty morning on our journey to school

If I don’t have a class or appointment straightaway (at least 1 hour), I always go back home. However, if I have a class, I will visit first the nearest place on the campus that has a hot water to make a coffee. A cup of coffee on the campus cafes costs around £2.2 with deduction £0.3 if we bring our own cup (any cup). It is fine to buy it from the cafe once in a while, but not every day (while I need it every single day). Therefore I bring my own sachet coffee and brew it in my tumbler. There are four places on the campus that I often go to make a coffee or reheat my lunch box.

The first one is the common room of students union, which reminds me of the common room of each house in Hogwarts, except that this one is open for everyone. I love how this wide room with a high ceiling generating natural lights. Not only chairs and desks (to sit, study and socialize), we can find microwave, dispenser with hot water and some games, but no sink to wash the dishes. The second place I often come for hot water and microwave is the Musala, especially during a praying time. Before I moved to housing on campus, Musala (other than the library, of course) is my place to take a rest or study while waiting for the next class. But now I can rest at home and only visit Musala for a quick pray if I have not enough time to go back home. The next place I go for hot water is the Meeting House, the home for Christianity in the campus, but it also opens for any religions. The pantry has a hot water dispenser, washing sink, two microwaves and some free foods (like bread) on the table. The last one is the pantry on my school office, Jubilee building. I think every school office has a pantry with microwave and water dispenser, but it is not too convenient to enter other school offices, it’s like barging into someone else’s house without being invited.

Musala on the campus, very comfortable to rest from the cold weather outside

Around 2pm, I will get ready to pick up my kid at school who finishes at 3pm. If I still have a class after 2pm, I have signed up for my kid to attend After School Club that charges hourly after 3pm. Thus it really depends on my timetable. On Tuesday and Friday, I get to my kid’s school on time 3pm. While for the other days, I can only come at 4pm on Thursday, 5pm on Monday and 6pm on Wednesday. Yes, Wednesday is our really looooong day. Sometimes I feel pity taking her from school when the sky already turns dark. But the After School Club is basically just playing around, and the children may even take a nap if they want (of course no children want to nap).

Arriving at home, I wish it’s already time for resting or reading a novel or playing and jumping up and down in the muddy puddle… but no, the day is still long. I clean up the house a little, cook for our dinner, tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch. Mentioning about dinner and lunch, I just remember that in the first week of my kid’s school, I was confused to hear the teacher said “dinner” for lunch. “Come on children, let’s go to the hall to have dinner” (when it’s 12pm at noon). Apparently some British culture consider “dinner” as the largest main meal of the day (with appetizer, main and dessert) whether it is eaten at noon or in the evening, while lunch is a lighter meal taken in midday (i.e. sandwich) and supper is a lighter meal having in the evening (i.e. soup).

After my kid goes to bed around 7 or 8 (sometimes 9, ugh!), then I can have my peaceful night for studying on my own. One thing I am truly grateful on my decision to bring my kid along to the UK is, when I am studying and getting stuck, I can walk to the bedroom and kiss her several time while she is sleeping, then I will be able to concentrate again. I heard some people have a challenging time to focus on studying at home, and often opt to sit in the library or cafe instead (the latter might easily result in spending some money out), but by being a student parent (I wrote about it in Sussex Business School blog), I learn how to study anywhere anytime, whether during commuting in the bus, or when waiting at my kid’s school, or in the playground while the kid is playing… because I realize if I don’t train myself to do that, I will never have a time to study. I am doing things at my own space, and that’s okay.

Studying while the kid is playing in the playground (when the weather allowed us to play outside)

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