109 hours

[Jakarta, February 2013]

It's been two months since I last visited Jakarta during Christmas/New Years break at the end of my first semester. I wanted to be home for my best friend's birthday, so I packed only a hand-carry with me and ended up bunking over at a friend's place the entire weekend. It was a 'dead during the days, alive during the nights' kind of sweet escape. Nights here were like standing comedies on festivals, where late night glances could turn to laughter, and pretty night lights dance in the youth of the world on night rides. It felt good to live young once a while.

I arrived in the afternoon on a Friday, picked up at the airport by a friend named Benny and was taken straight to his where I'd be staying. When we arrived, I was greeted by a very adorable fat white dog named Coca. My first day was spent mostly in bed, ironically, catching up with some sleep. I flew right after two major assignments were due, which always meant sleep deprived. It was a long and good nap.

I woke up energized in the morning, and I went to a traditional market not far from Benny's to shop for my best friend's birthday party that's going to take place at a coffee shop called Coffee War where he works at, which also happens to be the place I spend most of my time at whenever I'm in Jakarta. I took so many amazing scenes in the market, everyone was so friendly it's almost like the best way to feel like home. Unfortunately time was running out and we had only about 6 hours until the birthday party so we didn't stay long at the market.

I formed a kitchen team that consisted of four people and after about 5 exhausting satisfying hours everything's looking delicious and ready, we showered and got ready quickly and left for Coffee War with all the food we've prepared. There were musician friends jamming their songs all night long, endless booze and laughter and good conversations. My best friend loved it and I was glad he enjoyed his night as much as everyone else. People liked our cooking and seeing everyone unstoppably nibbling until they realized there's nothing left on the plates felt so rewarding. Everyone went home with a happy stomach and big drunken smile on their faces. It was my last night and I spent it with just the right amount of people, having one of the best of times.

I flew home the next evening, our goodbye was short yet sweet and always as hard as any other time. I can't thank everyone enough for everything they've done to light up my short visit. I will come home and do this all over again, with the same faces, sharing the same love and just being together basically.

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• Breakfast everyday •
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• Writing to my loved one •
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• First afternoon at Cililitan stay •
• Shopping for a birthday party at a local wet market •
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• The market scenes I adore so much •
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• Massaging chicken •
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• Marinating chicken •
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• My kitchen troopers •
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• Birthday party food served •
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• Coca •
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• Home cooked lunch •
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• The night before my flight back to Singapore •
• People dozing off at Changi airport •
• Staying at the airport until the MRT runs again in the morning •