A farewell always leads to a hello

[Singapore, July 14th 2012]

Here I am blogging from a bunk bed somewhere in Novena, with typing hands smell of dishwashing soap and tired legs rested up. I'm here, at last.

These are stories from my last weeks in Jakarta before Singapore.
By the time I went back to Jakarta from a week of loft hunting in Singapore, it was the first day of fasting month. There were times when I couldn't handle the sadness I can't even speak nor write about it. My world was flooding with unpleasant loneliness. I was sick as well throughout the whole week I have left in Indonesia before my departure, I became selective on who to see before I left on my limited time in between bed rests. And those were the times I really realize how home feels like. Sometimes the people who support you like your backbones are surprisingly the people you never expected.

I spared a night in Bandung with the people who always welcome me with friendly chatters and family smiles, and it was about the only happy time I had before leaving hometown. I found myself running out of excuses not to love that sparkly city even more. We drove more uphill this time past midnight and I spent hours spacing out stargazing and making wishes that may not even come true. I was still very sick yet I stayed up all night, all sleepless and happy.

I went to Cibubur, an area so far from Jakarta town where I grew up in. I roamed around with a high school friend and everything had changed around here. I no longer found my favourite food stalls that used to be around, I drove through areas where I used to bike around in the afternoon when I was 7. I parked in front of my old house, which now belongs to another family I don't know. The house was no longer painted maroon, and I can still see the balcony where my old room used to be. I imagined playing detective, scanning a stranger's house. Everything was bizarre, Cibubur was bittersweet and full of memories.

Often I think good farewells are not meant for me. I've never had any proper goodbyes whenever I'm leaving a place but somehow I'd like to keep it that way. That way I know I have something to drive me back to where I started, that nothing really ends, that nothing is really over, because I don't want them to be.

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• The view to Stamford pool on a late lunch at Bistro, Cibubur •
• Strolling around my old neighbourhood •
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• Where I used to bike around and bump into snakes in my early years •
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• Bandung. Always the best getaway •
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• Midnight street food munchies •
• A quick stop in the hills •
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• Making bonfire •
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• I saw a shooting star again •

A special June

[Jakarta, June 10th 2012]

Every June is special to me. Not only because it's a reminder of getting a year older, also because it always gives me these 'time flies' shivers when it reminds me that I'm halfway through the year already, seems like it's only yesterday I was stargazing in Gili while counting down to 2012. But June 2012, in particular, is a little more special than the usual.

May was coming to its end, and honestly life at the time was a little wavy and grey. At first I was really expecting June to be perfect, I had wonderful plans aligned yet everything and everyone were starting to turn my mood upside down and unsupportive at the beginning of the month. I was let down, and it went on for quite some time. The only thing that took my mind away from pressure was art exhibitions in between the first two weeks. And friends who kept me companied and laughing of course.

Then it was Sunday on the 3rd of June, when Michael picked me up to go to my best friend Andra's Bridal Shower (siraman in Javanese tradition). The very same best friend who me and several friends pulled a Bachelor party for on exactly the previous Sunday. I was utterly excited for her just as everyone else was too, and I got to spend time with all the friendly faces. Tears of joy and many blessings were all around and though it's not my own wedding, if you were there, I'm sure you can't help but feeling loved as I was. Happiness really is contagious. Despite the bitterness of life at the time, being around people in love made up with it all, their joy was boundless and it humbled me. There's a bittersweet irony in having everyone around me all coupled up and sharing affections while I was sided and solo but it turned to nothing once I saw the glow on my best friend's face when she walked down the isle for sungkeman. Something about it made me selfless, it's like everything that's meant for you won't go anywhere so you've nothing to worry about. Days afterwards were filled with mostly bridesmaid's uniform fitting and some quiet time. I took a break from my freelance job for a week because the stress from here and there were overflowing.

Things eventually loosened up after days of arguments and patience, and it was 5 minutes to June 10th on a Saturday night, I gathered with friends at a bar in the city, laughing out all the burden on my shoulders, everything got lighter. I turned 22 at midnight, and a group of came out with a pretty rose-shaped birthday cake and gave me a big wrapped present. Celebrating with friends never fails to ruin my plan to go home early. I went home pretty late anyway however I had mad fun. Lots of people sent me birthday greetings in every way possible and it was festive.

Fortunately I didn't wake up late in the morning, though a little banging hangover lingered. I had my hair done at a saloon in the afternoon. It's a pretty big day for me too, there's no harm in doing something a little more special, I had my hair done at a saloon and I put some makeup on. My friend Tara, who's also one of the bridesmaids (who also, by the way, owns a very pretty blog) arrived at my house to get ready together and after hours of putting make up on and bridesmaid's uniform, we went to Triss Living where the rest of the bridesmaids and the bride and groom awaited. The wedding ceremony went perfectly. Everyone cried a little happy tears when they heard the two lovebirds said 'I do'. Overwhelmed and cheerful faces kept a smile on my face throughout the day. It was perfect, not only because it's my best friend's wedding, because it was literally perfect. The atmosphere, the food, the people, the chatters, everything. It wasn't a big wedding, it's simple yet tasteful and classy, very intimate and pure. Before I left the party, the bride and the groom necklaced white jasmine flowers on me and wished me a happy birthday and all the wonderful things and the happiness such as theirs, and I hope one day I'll be just as happy as they are now.

Still several hours left of my birthday, I went home to change to my usual short and shirt and went for a little birthday cocktails at a bar nearby before midnight. My boyfriend took in a rose that a flower seller offered on the road on our way home and gave it to me. Although it took some time for love to wake up again, in the end I celebrated my 22nd birthday as a happy bridesmaid, as a happy daughter of loving parents, still as a girlfriend of a wonderful boy on a wonderful Sunday, and I chose to feel only thankful and blessed.

And happy birthday to all other geminis around, may your wishes come true this year.

• LubberLand Art Exhibition a friend of mine Anis participated in •
• The gelatine cake I wanted to have a bite of •
• "Tenggelam" by Ivan Reyhan. My most favorite installation •
• Some other installations that I can't remember the titles of but surely can't forget the amount of awesomeness they were •
• A dear friend of mine Anis on her installation, and the adorable kids who helped her in completing her art work •
• Healthy brunch on a Sunday afternoon •
• It's Ba-che-lo-di-ta's Day! •
• At Lucy In The Sky •
• Bunny •
• Boys and girls •
• Date •
• The bride to be •
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• Hamptons' tartlets on a brunch date with Hana •
• One of Andra and Abenk's pre-wedding photographs by Stanley Allan, and bits of Triss Living, Kemang •
• Flowers and more pre-wedding photographs •
• Bridesmaids and men escorting the groom in •
• In between my dates •
• Live music and food •
• My best friend got married on my birthday. How can it not be a very special day for me •
• The beautiful bride (at last) •
• A piece of song for a piece of loving •
• A lot like how they first met •
• Birthday cake from Dad •
• Birthday dinner •
• Birthday present from boyfriend •
• Brunch at mine with friends •
• Still with friends, nearing dinner time (taken by Michelle) •
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• Home made spinach turkey quiche for my sick boyfriend (and me) •

April leftovers and a long weekend in Medistra

[Jakarta, May 2012]

Some say it's summer breezy. Some on the other side of the world say it's winter crazy. I, over here, am still stuck with the never ending dusty air and the everlasting traffic everyday. Being in Jakarta is tiring sometimes.

April went speedy as I filled my days preparing everything for Uni and getting documents and application over with. I can't stop thinking of how life would be like in two months time. My excitement needs to learn how to not fly too high sometimes, without wings. I went to Bandung to visit my grannies one weekend. Grandma's younger brother was in Bandung for several days to attend a wedding and so was I. Everyone I met kept telling me how grown up and how me and Mom are very much alike now. Something about meeting long lost family and asking granddaughters about marriage though, I hate it.

Most of the time I was mostly struggling with the stormy weather outside, although my new babies on the big terrarium never failed to keep me companied. And whenever the weather got cold and we're out we'd have nice warm noodle dinner. And before I knew it, we're half way through May. Morrissey concert I went to on the 10th was no doubt one of May's highlights. Tennis Indoor Senayan was packed that night, the whole crowd was crazy, I ignored the rest of VIP's boring people and stood up the whole show and screamed lyrics endlessly.

Something's not right with my tummy when I woke up that morning on the 16th, I was dolling up myself for an anniversary dinner in the afternoon and I thought it's probably just gastric acid, I realized I've been drinking too much coffee since the other day. It got worse as the night grew older. Dinner was a fail and I had to be taken to a clinic a little further from my house. The pain was extraordinary. On the way home from the clinic I had to pull over to hurl more, I heard some kids passing by saying 'Dude look, she's drunk'. But I couldn't care less in fact it was kind of funny, I couldn't laugh so my middle finger covered up for me. I ended up in bed after hurling over and over. No food nor medicines could go through my system. It's getting late and my boyfriend went home after taking me up to my room, it was nearly 3 AM. I kept mumbling sorry to him, I felt bad his dinner date had to turn to a vegetable.

I woke up the next morning and my tummy still didn't make any progress. Dad took me to the nearest doctor right away and I went straight to the Emergency room. I think the doctor did enzyme replacement through infusion, and to put vitamins on my body since I haven't gotten any food in. I passed out for hours and after several blood test and antibiotics, I finally woke up to the doctor who was telling my Dad that it's a positive appendicitis. Dad drove me to the hospital that very evening, I think we all just afraid the appendix would burst. I remembered passing a beautiful sunset on the way but I couldn't enjoy anything at all, I couldn't even say a word at that time. I was holding the great pain for hours I thought I'd pass out again anytime soon.

The next thing I knew was another infusion was being processed on me in the ICU room and we're waiting until 9:30 PM for a surgery. Everything happened so fast I thought the surgery wouldn't be until next week. Dad tried to remain calm though I knew he panicked just as much. When I got to the hospital I didn't panic at all, all I cared about was just to get the appendix out real quick because the pain was hell. My boyfriend was even more nervous about the surgery than I was. He and Dad waited until 2 AM, until I came out of the surgery room. Mom was out of town so I could only imagine how even more crazily panicked she got through a phone call with Dad. Many well wishes was sent to me afterwards, they made me feel better. But still, a long weekend is a rare treasure and being at the hospital wasn't a pleasant way to spend it by.

• When there's a blackout, set up a candlelite dinner •
• The front yard of my cousin's house in Bandung •
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 Where I spent hours collecting fresh wounds from playing with the boys, riding roller blades and mini go-karting in my early 90s •
• Raw treasures outside, what I'm guessing are construction leftovers •
• The green back garden •
• Old family portrait and a ripped open wallpaper •
• Comfortable couch and pandan syrups which I finished more than two glasses •
•Favorite bits of the house •
Good-luck soft baked cookies for boyfriend •
• My pavlova dough •
• Welcoming Gonzo and Angel to the family, our baby Crocodile Skinks •
• Dinner at Crystal Jade, my system was craving for chinese chilly oil and broth •
• The legendary Moz. I was in absolute awe. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo.com) •
• The moon several nights before Supermoon •
• Hershey's HUGS kisses my boyfriend gave me •
• Nights alone at the hospital, eating crappy food while Junior Masterchef was on was pretty ironic. I wanted out so badly and eat Mexican •
• X-ray before the 3 hours surgery •
• Boyfriend's Mom came to visit on my third day, she bought me a baby pillow with a letter 'C' knitted on it, made my (painful) day •
• My morning view, before checking out on the last day •
• Home at last, still unseparable with my (now) favorite cuddle •
• Recovering at home for days •