NEW GLASGOW – The food and the marketplace are two aspects of the annual Fusion Festival in Pictou County Irna Irawati wishes she didn’t have to miss.
Irna Irawati is appreciative of everything the multicultural association has done for her since she moved to Pictou County in June 2012. She lives in New Glasgow with her three-month-old son Rayhan and her husband, Shane Fraser. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS
She volunteered at the festival last year, but has to miss it this time around due to work.
The 35-year-old woman from Indonesia likes New Glasgow, but her taste buds crave the spices of curry.
“When my Facebook friend uploads (pictures of) food, it makes me (feel) starving,” she says of her contacts in Indonesia.
Curry and soup are some of her favourites. Adjusting to the differences in cuisine and price has been difficult for her.
A lot of the spices and roots used in the food she used to eat all the time aren’t available here.
She also misses the convenience and cost of street food. Irawati says restaurants are quite expensive for her.
One thing she appreciates in New Glasgow is the people.
“Especially here in Pictou County, the people here are so friendly.”
She says her neighbours in the city of Malang were very nosy. She doesn’t experience that here.
Having neighbours is a change in pace for Irawati from her last home.
Before moving to her apartment on the west side of the river, she lived in Eureka, where she moved in June 2012. She came to New Glasgow in August and is much happier.
She likes being close to town and the people. Another huge source of her happiness is her three-month-old son, Rayhan.
“He’s my best friend now.”
She and her husband, Shane Fraser, are now selling their house in Eureka. She says it was isolated, especially with Fraser working long hours and no vehicle for Irawati to go into town.
Irawati met Fraser online through Tagged, a social networking and dating website.
She dated people locally, but nothing ever worked out.
She is the oldest of four sisters. As they began to get married, she started to feel some pressure.
“I felt so old.”
She encountered a lot of unsavory characters on Tagged, but eventually she found a winner.
“I think this guy is honest,” she said about her husband.
They kept a long-distance relationship for several months before Fraser came to visit her. They got married in February 2011.
Despite having a lovely family in Nova Scotia, she misses the one she left behind.
Irawati has a six-year-old boy back in Indonesia whom she watched grow up. She didn’t officially adopt him, but Irawati had been with him since he was two weeks old.
His mother had no money to look after him and placed him in the care of Irawati and her parents.
“It makes me cry a lot.”
She calls Rado Savhero every week. He’s still with her parents.
The multicultural association has played a huge part in making her more comfortable.
She has gotten lessons in English as a second language from them.
They’ve also helped her out with transportation around the county. As well as services, they offer companionship through potlucks and cooking classes.
She met another woman from Indonesia through them, and they had planned to make food from their country at the Fusion Festival.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but Irawati is hopeful for the next one.
This year’s festival is part of Culture Days, an annual event offering free activities across the country. Fusion Festival will be held at Glasgow Square on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda