Oh Allaaaaah!!

“Oh Allah!!” A phrase commonly used by Indonesians using their God’s name. Literal translation in English “Eureka!”

Okay. So I know my maid and I have had our differences. But today, I had an “Ohhhh Allaaaah” moment. Tonight, I ran into Reina while she was making dinner. However, I was getting ready to prepare my dinner as well.

Now, our kitchen is quite small. Not many utensils to use; only one stove-you get the picture.

So, I started off by chopping  my veggies in preparation for grilling, hoping that she would be done cooking by then. I chopped extra slow….I don’t think I have minced garlic so finely in my life- I usually don’t have the patience.

Normally, I would have waited until she had finished cooking, but it was 6 pm and I had not eaten all day, and was consequently starving. So I entered the kitchen. She immediately looked at me and exclaimed “Maaf Miss, Maaf” while bowing her head (Maaf is sorry in Indonesia). Obviously, she was apologizing for taking up the kitchen when I needed to use it. But I simply replied “Tidak apa apa” (No worries). I looked at her and smiled. She smiled back, and started to relax…her posture began to ease as well. I love smiles, because even with the language barrier, smiles are useful because they are the universal language of peace and love.

As we were both cooking on the same stove I realized something. Here we are: two women, who encounter the same struggles-heartbreak, suppression, depression, etc… We really are not that different after all.

After a couple  minutes of silence, she handed me a bit of the Nasi Goreng she was cooking. I took it and smiled. I offered her a bit of the stir- fry I was preparing. She took it and smiled. I asked her to please pass the salt. She taught me how to say salt in Indonesian ( Sadly,I have already forgotten it).But there we stood- Two women, two cultures, but one world. One love. And as for my earlier entry about her “extra-curricular” activities…I realize now, after my “Ohhh Allaaaah” moment that I shouldn’t be upset or mad, but thankful. Thankful because I was born into a life that doesn’t require me to do certain things for food. It was by chance that  I was born into the western world by a mom and dad who were able to provide me with an education in order for me to  have the world at my fingertips. But for my maid, this is all she knows. And unfortunately, there is not much more out there for her.

But at the end of the day, we are just two women who like to use salt in our dishes.


  1. Don’t forget God, who gave you so much talent and so many blessings.

  2. Hey Jenna, how’s it going? Just having a bit of peruse of your blog! When Indos say “Oh Aaah Laah”, they’re actually saying “Oh Allah!” Allah being the Muslim name for God!

    Sad to see that you’ve left Indo, but I hope you have a good time back home in the States! xxx

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