Almost Three Years


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“I deliberately picked a seat on the aisle because I wasn’t patient enough to jump out of the plane. And Surabaya was gray, cloudy. The rain became such a gloomy welcome, after almost three years.”


If you ask me if I was really keen to fly home after two years plus which was the longest I had ever been away, the answer is no. I was feeling like “it’s not a big deal” even if I have to wait till the end of this year but I was thrilled I did it.

The pandemic was something else. It has changed few things in life we have never thought before. I remember, on Sunday afternoon in my room, I had a courage to sit and concentrated thinking about my itinerary. That time I was started feeling excited to think about the best flight to choose, how long my transit time would be, how about things to prepare when I landed in Jakarta as you know there are so many updates on the health protocols at the airport, and my wish to see Mbak Ririn when I was still in Jakarta (which we met!). 

I knew I would feel maudlin when I landed in Surabaya. The first person who always came to the airport every time I fly back home was Ruli, a best friend of mine who passed away because of Covid last year. It still feels hard for me not to find him not only at the airport, but during my stay in Indonesia, and the worst is forever. But I had made a promise to myself when I landed in Indonesia this time around, I want to live to the fullest. 

I loved how Surabaya was chill when I came out of the airport. “Let’s live to the fullest” echoed in my head so I took my AirPods and listened to August. I just wanted to create the most enjoyable and comfortable vibe possible while looking at the drizzles outside. It was the simplest thing that made me excited on my way to my mom’s house. I finally gave her an answer to be here and I couldn’t be more grateful.

From the day I landed, I tried to rush to do those important things way ahead so at least, I won’t be lazy to postpone things till the last minute. I was glad I did a small renovation for a small room in my mom’s house. A room I always stay in every time I’m back. So, “How far with your house?” question that has no answer yet.

I have prepared my mind before I travelled that my time in Indonesia would be 50% of “go outside and find coffees” and another 50% would be “chilling in the house with Korean dramas on Netflix is the best”. It is because I only had like one and a half weeks before Ramadan so I had quite limited time to hang out over coffees.

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This time around I had to postpone on vacation-thing. This year marks the second time I have an opportunity to do fasting with my family in Indonesia after 10 years of working outside the country (please don’t tell me it’s a long time!) so I think it’s a wise decision not to travel during Ramadan (hey I won’t be ably sipping a coffee or dark mocha during the day! and document it). The fact that I only have half of Ramadan in Indonesia, I decided to take my time during the fasting period with my family in the house. Gosh I know it’s going to be a bit hard when the time to fly back is finally here but again, I want to cherish my time here and try to live to the fullest.

One of the funny things I experienced lately is that I prefer to stay in the house after 3 pm. It might sound weird because I used to like to hang out till late back then. I suspect because of age (I know right!) but truly, I feel more relaxed and comfortable being at home after 3 pm. Also, Surabaya starts its rain mostly in the late afternoon so imagine being in the room with TwentyFiveTwentyOne or folklore when the weather is chill.

Do you know the funny part about being away for three years? So many things have changed since I was here before the world pandemic.

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Surabaya looks prettier and tidier. I love the fact that along Tunjungan street, there are so many cute little coffee shops and eateries which in the evening the vibe is inviting.

A best friend of mine Fahmi, has rebuilt his house and I was shocked because it is so much bigger (with a high ceiling!). Before we went for an early breakfast he took me to his newly-renovated house which made me want to slap my own face (I guess I should!). I neglected my house because I am not financially ready yet but again, I won’t let myself look for an excuse not to visit mine just to see how the condition is. Man, Fahmi was invisibly slapped me with “When will you do yours!!” and I always say the same thing to myself, “We have different directions so I am okay.” But till when will I be okay with this? :)

I got a piece of good news from Winda and Ayos that they are expecting their second child days after I landed here! I was so thrilled for them :)

We finally met again after three years over some sushi two days before Ramadan started. I really had a good time with them and Mas Raka until evening with scoops of ice cream. I won’t ask for more when we both had our time and tried as much to meet, sit and share quality time but be grateful.

I also made such a surprising welcome by showing up in front of Mas Andhi’s house as planned. I believe he was flabbergasted :). The day before I, we texted over Instagram DM and he didn’t have an idea we were in the same town. It was all fun keeping my arrival for twelve days in secret and then showing up in the morning when he half awoke :) and spent a whole day in his little cute coffee shop called Tropikal Coffee.

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I am ending this post by counting my days, hiks. Instead of growing the maudlin feeling, I perhaps should look for more food to taste when my fasting ends in the evening and document it :) oh, I managed time to have dinner at the same restaurant where Ruli and I always sat with tenderloin steaks every time I am here :) I felt you were there, Rul.

From My Window


“The day I confirmed my date to travel back to Indonesia, I did manage time to set my flight as comfortable as possible. The window seat for a long haul might be the best choice. At least, to capture some moments above the clouds.

Oh, I played folklore from the on-board entertainment.”

shot on iPhone 12 pro max 


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Happy & Sad (At The Same Time)

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“It was 10 PM when I landed in Jakarta after almost three years. The longest I have ever waited to go back home.”


You know that excitement when you had waited for so long for a thing you wanted to do, you thought your heart would be over the moon but you didn’t. That was exactly how I felt when I reached Dubai for six hours of transit.

I wondered why. I loved being at the massive airport again, I loved to stand in front of the destination board wondering if I someday could fly to those cities I’ve been dreaming for. I loved entering Boeing, I loved the vibe. I did feel that from my first flight, it was just like a dream I could be on the big aeroplane again looking for my seat, since the pandemic, travelling seemed like a diamond.

This time around I had that idea to record my journey through my iPhone. I wanted to have a livelier recorded journey than just some pictures. I was just trying to become a bit selfless by ignoring people around me. You won’t find me being busy with an iPhone recording things on daily basis, I might prefer to live the moment. But since the pandemic, my thought of that was slightly shifted. So from the moment I waited at the passenger lounge in Lagos, till I landed in Jakarta, I recorded some.

During my flight from Lagos to Dubai, I felt a bit excited knowing that I would eat my favourite authentic Indonesian food in the next few days. I felt a bit excited that my mom’s question every time she called me in the past few months would have an answer. I felt a bit excited that I would see my close friends. I felt a bit of these and those, but a thousand bits would be incomplete. I wondered. I wondered why I didn’t feel that “a complete, bold happiness.”

Perhaps before I even flew I already knew my plans in Indonesia would have to be shifted because I mostly would still be working from home during my leave (you might wonder how I feel about this). Perhaps because the plan of two months has to be shared into two, which on one side I felt like “it’s okay.” but on another side, it was a bit hard. I had imagined I wanted to feel the end of Ramadan in Indonesia with my mom and my family, I had imagined even though we do not have that kind of special celebration for a whole day. I even told my mom before I left and before I had a conversation with my employer that I would be home for a short time. She was a bit disappointed and reminded me how long I had been away. Sometimes I feel like, choosing my job over my family isn’t always right. I love what I am doing but since the pandemic, I am trying really hard to keep myself stable, to keep thinking positively about my mom’s health, to keep remembering that time is essential. Or perhaps, my feeling seemed to be down in the dumps knowing that Ruli had gone. I won’t see him picking me up from the airport as he always did. The last one might be the worst I ever felt, mostly when I stared at the clouds and wondered if he was even on the highest cloud smiling.

The fact that Ruli had gone was really hard for me. Even to date, I have no courage to tell you on writing here, to cement my feeling to my best friend for life, how much sudden I have been keeping since the day he passed.

Before I had my plan set last year, when I saw how travelling bit by bit became easier after the vaccine was invented, I told Ruli that I would be going soon. Then, when he was still alive, he told me that he missed me, asking me when would I fly home. We had this place in Surabaya where we always had steak every time I go home. We sat at the same restaurant and talked about our dads, about when would I resign from the job I am currently having and pursue my Master, about where would I be if I could travel again. After we had our meal, I always asked him to wait for a minute. I always stood at the end of the porch looking at the seat where my dad used to enjoy his meal. Little did I know, the way he left so swiftly with no signs, still, giving me that mournful feeling. So deeply.

I completely understand that we can’t force the universe for giving us enough time for everything. When I landed, I tried to leave some of those mournful feelings behind, but instead, I will try to cherish each day I have in Indonesia.

I followed the procedure at the airport on how to get tested after they collected data for my vaccine, PCR test result, and where would I be quarantined. I thought it was going to be a long process that would add to my cracking bones from how many hours I had gone through in the air. Everything was going smoothly till I entered in a hotel room that I picked the day before I flew from Lagos (this was not “me” at all for a last-minute reservation). I did miss that feeling of serenity when you can pause a bit from everything in life and take care of yourself. Having your body on top of a thick clean white blanket, bathing under a warm shower at night, sleep tight, knowing that you have passed so many things you thought were scary and difficult. I felt that when I let myself fall on the bed. I wasn’t sleepy yet even though my body was screaming inside. I thought about what my next journey would be. The pandemic must have taught me to be more present on how to prepare things when I travel. But at the same time, it scares me if something unexpected happens in between. I sat looking through the glass window, thinking I would extend one more night after if I received the result from the Covid test I did at the airport. The good thing about it was that I only needed to be quarantined for one day when I rang the reception the next morning and got a negative result. My mind was rested a bit. The night I sat in the hotel room, my mind was straightly thought to reach Mbak Ririn. She is the one who’s like my older sister from another mother every time I have time in Jakarta, one of the kindest persons I have ever met. I couldn’t help sending her an iPhone picture when the reflection of skyscrapers fell on my window. I kept my journey in secret to my close friends but not to Mbak Ririn. My time is limited in Jakarta and knowing on time if I could or couldn’t meet her again was better. I did expect so much I could see her but I didn’t it was all right. I felt like I should have told her I would be in Jakarta the day I flew from Lagos when I didn’t see any response from the message I sent after midnight.

When she replied we should meet up my heart was full of blossoms. I did realise that if her time and my time didn’t match, we wouldn’t meet yesterday evening.

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I couldn’t help feeling so excited when I came out from the lift and saw her standing in the lobby. We hugged so tight, feeling so grateful we could see each other again after the last time she dropped me at the airport thirty-four months ago. I felt so much joy when we finally sat in the car heading for a dinner. I was grateful knowing that she is healthy. I felt grateful I could pause a bit from those things I had in mind about my job, deadlines, and sitting over dinner with Mbak Ririn at a little and cute eatery somewhere at Cikini. We laughed, we shared each other’s stories. Listening to her stories when she travelled to Japan when the pandemic started, how much she loved the food in Kyoto, talking about how her colleague spent only three nights in New York for a conference because of pandemic, about how I felt about losing my best friend Ruli, those warm stories that again, I would store in my memory. I made a promise to cherish as many as I can all the moments I had and will have when I am here. I expected a longer time with Mbak Ririn than talking for an hour plus by the window but I won’t complain at the end. Because I completely understand how life works. When you have that will to see a person, a good friend or a best friend, after a long time, you must understand that it is not that easy for our “time” to work if it is not at the right time. So when you do have the opportunity, cherish it. Try not to expect too much but enjoy every second till the time to say goodbye is in front of you. By then, you will learn that really, something good happens for a reason, at the right time, and you will feel peaceful and sincerely enough.

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I never thought I would write a long post like this but perhaps, this is a good sign that I will be freely throwing my feeling again here, on this blog. Let’s see how my short time in Indonesia would be.

A Little Oasis

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“How do I start? Blaming myself for being so, so lackadaisical?”

Perhaps, I really should. It is awful neglecting this page for almost a year. I’m writing this apology from myself to Goofydreamer, a room of everything I share to the world, from a simple story of how I prepare my breakfast till “very-personal” life stories.

Eine Unvergesslische Reise (teil eins) was originally written last year but I re-published on the month of May when I did correct some grammatical errors and adjusted few photographs. So truly, I neglected this blog from October last year, the longest time I did write nothing here.

2020 was definitely an unforgettably awful and unexpected year for everyone. As I thought 2021 was going to be better yet some moments terribly hit me till I almost lost myself for sometime. Never had I imagined one the worst life destinies happened to me too soon. Never ever had I imagine it left me nothing but memories with one of the most important people in my life. Nothing I could change but keep going even to crawl for days till I had enough braveness to stand still again. I may share on writing what happened when myself is ready.

I once stood in front of a mirror in the restroom when I thought that one of the things we all need to do during these hard times is to stay happy. So many ways to achieve that, different ways for different people. I have been trying hard to keep myself stable during this “pandemic” era from last year, listening to a record that helps me to stay happy every time I listen to the whole body of work (folklore, what else :) let me remind you that today last year ago folklore was released and boom! it won Album of The Year Grammy 2021), investing more on my time to be closer to my mom even though it is only by phone, keeping my saving on track but I still let myself go for an eat-out ordering the same Tom Yam at the Chinatown restaurant, buying one or two new mugs (you’ll see the latest one is FOR FOX SAKE below – I guess it’s my new addiction), watching Lee Je-Hoon‘s dramas, etcetera, etcetera. I am taking it slowly on the fact that I never travel back home for more than two years due to some issues on this and that yet I am still looking on the day I stare to the clouds by the window seat again pretty soon.

Today when I woke up, I whispered to myself that I wanted to try to write something here, some random stuffs, or thoughts, anything, just to keep updating. Because updating contents here used to make me happy: photographing my food, chasing an afternoon light when shadowplay falls nicely, editing travel photographs from the vaults and publish them, or even those personal touchy stories that take one or two months to finish, or some random iPhone pictures. I was worried that I might not keep my words to post but then, I accidentally lifted myself when I found an afternoon light fell on my faux Eames chair. I took some interesting objects near me and well the time I exported all to my MacBook, I finally felt that spark again. I was happy. I named that simply happiness from photographs I took for 15 minutes as “A Little Oasis” – feeling.

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All taken with Sony A6300

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Eine Unvergessliche Reise (Teil Eins)


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One time on Sunday afternoon early March, we had a chat on what we wanted to do.

It was around 2 o’clock and I did say from the beginning:”Anything about best food or sort, I trust you.”.

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I didn’t do any research on things to do, not even must-visit spots or something like that (coffee shops excluded of course). I only had one clear purpose of the trip: nothing less than to enjoy every single moment.

I flew on May 5th. A flight from Cape Town with two hours transit in Dubai was smooth yet exhausting. I didn’t make time to sleep on the plane yet I couldn’t blame myself cause those questions why Hong Kong anxiously came out twice. I had a very good seat and entertainment on board with choices of good movies. I did watch some movies yet I knew, I lied to myself if I wasn’t bored. It was only a hot coffee I requested just before landing time which made me felt better.

I should have felt excited because a pleasant week from South Africa would continue in Asia. But there was a reason why Hong Kong was a bit peculiar: I never thought I would fly all the way for such a busy crowded city for a vacation. I did think Hong Kong was never on my top list.

I never landed but I could feel the heat. I was still on my window seat witnessing a typical iconic Hong Kong skyscrapers tucked with thick clouds. The sun was bright as I was gathering my excitement and pushing one by one questions of why Hong Kong in 2018.

I was inside an airport train to immigration when I finally felt the Asia vibe again. “Damn, I’m close enough to home. Should I pay a visit on my last three days here?”, I never even started my trip but a thought of going home was echoed inside my mind. I knew I was exhausted but somehow, I loved the sensation being on a very tight train among strangers.

I remember, I hugged Andreas twice to ensure he was real. Lé pardon if the sentence before this was too much. I did hug him twice to reassure it wasn’t a dream. When he stood there with my name handwritten on a piece of paper, my mind excitingly remembered to this magical note, “We both do not know where that will be, but we know it will happen.” As much as I remind myself to strongly believe that every dream will find its way to be real, someday, with some shiny glittering magic in between, a beautiful moment at that airport had proved it right. My peculiar feeling of why Hong Kong was evaporated in the air and suddenly showering different kind of excitements.

We took a fast train to the central. The day was sunny as I could see from the window. Andreas sat where my will-always-be-my-spot a.k.a window seat while I asked him twice, “Isn’t this strange? Don’t you think so?.” He answered it was. I felt it was strange in a very good way that hours we spent on Skype for the past two and half years brought us to real a life again. As we were on the train passing some typical Hong Kong residences, my heart was ready for some new surprises. I sat with memories when we had a chat twice in Tokyo which weren’t long. In the morning I repacked my things from Kyoto and a to-midnight short conversation at the lobby that has a wide clear glass somewhere in Akihabara.

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Here how our travel time through four memorable days was documented.

On a sunny afternoon, I finally felt glücklich to be in Hong Kong and let Andreas showed the best Hong Kong has to offer.

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Off from the airport, we went straight to my hostel (yes with S, you didn’t read wrong). I didn’t rent a portable pocket Wi-Fi since I found it was expensive, so on the first day Andreas was my live-Google-Map. Well, I had some screenshots on my iPhone to where I should have headed but I trusted him to lead the way. I remember we were off from the train and stopped at one train station heading to where we stood for a bus. When we realized the bus was heading to the opposite destination, we changed to the right one by burning calories under the sun until we finally arrived at Shek Pai Wan Road, Aberdeen.

I was managing myself to sort everything out rapidly while Andreas was waiting. I even forgot to enjoy my bath under the shower (best part: there are two with clear glass to enjoy the view outside, oh ofc not from floor to ceiling). I felt better and fresher after changing that faded green Zara tee with more comfortable one in black.

When I stepped out of the hostel, I looked up. It was after 5 pm and the sky turned to grey.

I was a little worried if it started raining. In front of where we stood for a bus, Andreas was checking the route on the information board. I thought that time, he wanted to reassure we won’t just get in to a wrong bus again. I was admiring the environment around us, the Cantonese in the air, and typical Hong Kong tight crowded flats with ACs placed outside the building. The first thing Andreas did and I loved it so much: he took me to the upper deck of the bus that has a wide clear glass (and it was empty!) where we could actually see different scenes on the road. The time we sat, I started believing that evening would be a great start of a wonderful travel experience.

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Off from the bus, he brought me to another simply exciting experience: we took a Hong Kong open tram and we again sat on the upper deck. “Azis, come with me, I’ll show the best spot to be on this tram. You’ll love it.”

And for God-sake, it was beautiful. I sat with a California Dream in the air. By writing this, I still remember the sensation sitting behind him gazing out to the people on busy roads, different shops with neon signage lights, the breeze, the rush. My travel bugs were flying high and dancing gleefully until I didn’t think it was necessary to capture the moment with my camera but my own brain. And keeping it somewhere safe.

Andreas brought me to a place where we had dinner. It was such a food court kind of that was crowded and sonorous but somehow, it was epic. The sensation was distinct where I could feel the strong Hong Kong vibe surrounded. I had delicious Vietnamese Pho while Andreas had curry noodle. That evening was a bit cloudy but warm. We took a walk for a ferry ride to peninsula afterwards.

It was a great experience on the ferry but more than that, I did enjoy all the simple things that evening. It was a kind of travel style I love the most: no plans, just surprises. Going to places with no expectations but ended with some memorable memories. I remember crystal clear, a young lady was singing a Cantonese song with guitar behind us, I joked I could take her mic and sang better. I crossed my legs on the hard cement floor when we had a slow time for friendship talk.

He got a cold canned beer which I opened and had a ship. My first beer in my life at the Hong Kong harbor I said, proudly. It tasted so weird but the view in front of my eyes was picturesque. I captured and remembered it.

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I sat on the second floor at Kowloon mosque, it was around 4 pm-ish.

I never sent a text asking if Andreas had time to accompany me again on the second day until I later got one; “I just finished my research at uni. Any idea of what we should do?.” I had waited for a while for something stated in my reply; “Something to eat.” He later answered with an idea of where to go.

I remember the mosque was near the Tsim Sha Tsui station. Andreas was standing near exit C and I came to him with an empty tummy. I had no idea what he had in mind but I trusted every decision he made. We later found ourselves at Tim Ho Wan Olympian City 2 in West Kowloon. As we entered, I only had one request to him: a seat by the window for good lighting, what else?

The best part of our lunch was the restaurant wasn’t crowded then so it gave us a good time to talk in between pleasantly. The meal was great, not to mention he was the only one who had schweinefleisch in warm buns. He joked I should have tried a little taste of heaven.

We spent an hour plus then we were heading to Ladies Market, a bet of eating durian (which he didn’t try! he should have tried it when in Asia even though I can’t eat raw durian too), passing some interesting stalls with Cantonese everywhere.

Everything was really enthralling.

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Andreas used to spend eight months in Hong Kong years ago as an exchange student so trusting him to show all best sites was the best decision (if I shouldn’t mention it was such an excuse for being lackadaisical). When the day got dark, we sat at one of the famous traditional Hong Kong restaurants in Jordan called Australia Diary Company. He told me to taste the popular meal: scrambled egg served on toast and I must say the scrambled egg tasted so good but sadly I couldn’t finish eating it. I was full from Tim Ho Wan but the best part was the milk tea.

Oh God, it was heaven. The best I ever tasted.

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As a milk tea lover, he was blithe having a full glass with generous ice. I remember he was laughing when looking on how I looked after he told me not to expect a polite service and eating slowly because the waiter could forcibly get you to stand out from your chair. It was a typical Hong Kong restaurant service when they could roughly drop a food you order on the table. But that wasn’t a big deal for me because the way I enjoyed the most that evening apart of the milk tea was the vibe, the strangers chats, and some unique details my mind had captured: pen scribble on a waiter’s pocket that clearly showed on his white shirt, six vertical stacks of white coffee cups behind where Andreas sat, the grumpy face of the man behind the bar brewing Vietnamese coffee, and of course, the yellow menu card.

We ended the day by sitting near TST promenade for a random friendship talk with a view of Hong Kong skylines. Andreas told me we could get in The Peak Tram if the weather was friendly. Thought I won’t mind to experience the famous view of Hong Kong with her skyscrapers, there was no necessary apologetic “why” from the nature.

Staring to the clouds up there, deep down in my heart, I sent my gratitude to the universe for giving me a privilege such travel.

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~ to be continued to part ii ~

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Reminiscing Old Phones & Random Moments Via iPhone

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I remember how it felt when I received a gift from my sister which was the first mobile phone I ever had, Nokia 2112.

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Few months before I handed mine, I always imagined how cool it was if I was walking, passing the crowd and the mobile phone was ringing. It was tardy in my third year at high school when I first got mine while most of my friends had those fancy ones. Back then, Nokia was ahead of time. I remember various “out-of-the-box” designs applied on the mobile phone yet I was enough with a very handy one in lilac. The way I imagined I was so cool for sending a text with my Nokia to my friends just to ask if the next day at school we would have an exam came to real.

Then the trend for changeable phone cases was in as well as various designs and phone accessories. From 2112 I got upgraded to 3220, my world, that phone was so cool back then, launched with a fun feature, LED light on the body. It wasn’t that long until I changed to another “quite-quirky” phone called Nokia 7610 (whatsss!! I remember the unusual looking phone in red, white and black!! – trust me, I had to Google the series). It was crystal clear in mind I had 7610 when I started college. Photographing via mobile phone was an epic experience even the pixel was so limited :)

From Nokia, my mobile phone adventure flew to Samsung. I do not remember what series my first Android phone was but I remember it was white with a better quality camera. When I left Indonesia for the first time and started working overseas, I got an upgraded Android as a reward for myself, from myself. Until later the phone was lost when I left from a meeting in the evening. I recalled it was gone when I had to return to check the screening system twice and found nothing. Few days later I closed my eyes by spending my saving and got a Blackberry (who remember BBM, and the pop-up sound, and the emoticons, and BBM status?!).

Blackberry Bold 9900 to Sony Xperia Acro S then I finally landed on iPhone 5 (my first iPhone was iPhone 5! :)).

iPhone 5 accidentally fell and got broken –> iPhone 5 again, just because I had thought twice on getting an upgraded iPhone 5S (but no! I was diligent enough on saving money, lol) –> iPhone 7 –> and the current one, iPhone X –> iPhone 12 (blue one bitte, who knows! LOL, I’m still okay with iPhone X).

Some random iPhone photos from an iPhone X to end this random post :)

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Rhapsodizing Coffee Prince & An Ode To Gong Yoo


Okay, I’m going to divulge one thing before rhapsodizing a Korean drama that made me such an infatuated teenager lately: I am a fan of Gong Yoo.

If saying I’m a newbie die-hard fan is too much, I am unperturbed.

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This post might be a bit “too-long” but this is written with so much feeling deep of admiration. To Gong Yoo, and to one drama I had a crush with. Should I open a bottle of red wine for us, too, before we start?

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I crossed my legs on the floor when I was about to end my day by sleeping early. It was after 9 PM, my MacBook was still on, I was in front of a free-streaming website trying to remember one particular movie I never watched. I had watched Love, Simon the day before on the same website so I typed Parasite. The two were not on Netflix here, so I said woah! when I found them. Unfortunately, there was no English subtitle for Parasite. Postponed, later ~ it was just I became lackadaisical finding English subtitle and adding it in the web. I was about to lay on the bed but my mind was holding on one particular title: Train To Busan.

I knew I was waaay behind since the movie itself was booming in 2016 when people online talked how epic the movie was. I am not worried if you say I am dated by divulging “Hey, I just watched Train To Busan in 2020”. I was under the blanket back then until I later understood why the score is 94% in Rotten Tomatoes. If Lucy was the first movie ever (I mean it, ever) that made me awoke in the over-chilled cinema for the whole ninety minutes (as I could easily fall to sleep in the cinema, most of the times), Train To Busan was the one that made my heart jumped and my eyes roused. It is such a movie I won’t mind watching it for the seventh time.

I wrote the sentence above with pride and also homework. I have to look more from Gong Yoo’s catalogues after A Man And A Woman, Silenced, Kim Ji-young: Born 1982, Goblin (I’m still on episode 2). I have no doubts praising his talent, so I would just take more of his movies for reference purpose. Yes, Train To Busan is an impressive movie, but the one that turned me as a fan of Gong Yoo, in particular, was his role in what I could call as my favourite Korean drama till my dying day: Coffee Prince.

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Till my dying day sounds exaggerated, but again, let me be endlessly exaggerated if I talk about Coffee Prince. This sounds so miffed, no offence. Oh, I’m a Taurus. If Taurus loves something, he’ll show his love all out. Sometimes it’s too much, off one’s nut. For instance, the way I printed some favourite scenes of Coffee Prince and pasted on my wall ~ oh why, why am I so obsessed, my world. Trust me, I was laughing inside when I was standing at the printing shop. By the time I saw Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-Hye’s faces printed so many, I felt like I was 11 years old collecting his favourite celebrity posters, an euphoric happiness.

 



I was once on Netflix after watching Train To Busan and found some KDramas starring Gong Yoo after typing his name. I did try one titled “Big”. I cursed. How cheesy, nope, skipped, never. Hush, it perhaps was an untimely judgement when I just watched Gong Yoo’s acting as a doctor in flash and suddenly gave a solid conclusion that the first fifteen minutes of episode 1 was so cheesy. Not him, the whole impression of the drama was not just for me, so “I would give a try for Coffee Prince, let see how this drama goes.”.

Since I came back to be a little more active on Instagram, IG Stories to be exact, there was one time I shared some thoughts on the day I started Coffee Prince. One of my good friends, Dwi Putri, replied that Coffee Prince is such a legendary Korean drama. Hold on, how could she think that way? Not ruining my expectation as I had none, also she was kind enough by not telling what the drama was all about but to left me enjoying the ride instead. She holds a Master Degree in Contemporary Korean Literature and Drama from Seoul National University*, trusting Putri as she said Coffee Prince is one of monumental Korean dramas is a hundred percent yes.

I started the premiere episode with nothing but a guess where the storyline would lead to. I did wonder why I felt like watching an old series as I laid eyes on the angles, cinematography, lighting, costumes and settings and felt like oldies. Little did I know Coffee Prince was released in 2007. Well I see. I was mesmerized on Chocolate‘s cinematography, my first Korean drama I have ever watched. Comparing the two isn’t Apple to Apple so I left my thought behind and enjoyed the whole first episode. I stayed for sixty-two minutes with joy in the air, “This is sweet. Hold on, she is Eun-chan, Go Eun-chan and his name? Oh okay, Han-kyul, Choi Han-kyul.”

The two names marked in my brain from day one.

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“Rhapsodizing Coffee Prince for me comes from three things: one, the love story. Two, Gong Yoo. Three, the overload winsomeness of Han-kyul and Eun-chan.“

Number three is the one I love the most. I mean, the idea of their love story? I might want to give a warm tight hug to the writers to congratulate how clever the love story was written.

Gong Yoo in 2007? kein Zweifel, natürlich. If in his portfolio mentioning his role in Coffee Prince as the breakthrough to stardom, that is not because he is an incredible actor, it is just because he is Gong Ji-Cheol. A charismatic and indeed one of the best Korean actors of all time but Han-kyul is what we have to agree as one of his unforgettable roles, fo e fah. What I mean as “we”, is all of you even though you never watch, or about to, or have watched Gong Yoo in Coffee Prince. Just agree with me and we could become friends. A cheesy exertion but trust me, you would love him both as Han-kyul and Gong Yoo himself.

I once threw a joke to one of my friends who also loves watching Korean Dramas, why when we find Korean drama that matches with our particular interests, related to the story, from the charming actors until how sweet the story is, we could be stuck from episode one till the end. When people I followed on Twitter were talking about Itaewon Class or It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, I used to think why they were crazy about Korean drama? Like, what made them following the series which mostly takes an hour for one episode, isn’t that quite inane? If I am not mistaken, the two dramas were updated weekly. Then I remembered, I shouldn’t have thought that shallow because my heart jumped when there was a notification on my iPhone every time the new episode of Sex Education was available. I went crazy whilst I kept wondering what would the next story be?

When people went nuts for Korean drama on Twitter I stayed away until I later sank.

I wondered, perhaps, Coffee Prince was a curse for me. It must be a sweet curse.

“I made a promise to myself that the last two episodes had to be celebrated in a proper way possible.“

I ended Chocolate on Sunday morning, with two forms of chocolate, coffee, popcorn, potato chips, plus candle after a “seven-days” gap. But Coffee Prince took longer for my heart to be actually ready witnessing the end of the story. From the day I started episode one and dived so swiftly until I reached episode fifteen, I gave myself fourteen days to be ready for the last two episodes. Was it enough? of course not. Too much? see, I do not care what people would think how this drama had turned me upside down, I mean it. I sometimes felt I was not OK diving into Coffee Prince deep and deeper from one episode to another. During two weeks time I fled from Coffee Prince by watching another Korean drama titled Fight For My Way and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? whilst I did guess every single day on how Eun-chan and Han-kyul’s love story leading to. Also, what were surprises I would find at the end.

“Should I, tonight?.”, opened Netflix, the closed. Another day, “Tonight? No, I am not in such a scurry.”, nope.

Another day, “I have to celebrate more than what I did for Chocolate, so let me think what to do.”, another day, until twenty four days passed. It’s crazy, isn’t it? My only justification was: “I am not ready to end Han-kyul and Eun-chan’s cuteness. I just definitely can’t.”.

A day before August 9th I had prepared few things for the finale as I imagined: red wine, cherries, chicken barbeque, salty biscuits and blackberries. Just in case on Sunday I woke up with an ardent heart to end it. I thought two hours before the sunset was the perfect time to experiencing the end of Coffee Prince. Everything was set. I took some photographs before I opened my MacBook and went straight to click episode sixteen. Then I stopped, ‘”No, not today. My heart’s frail”.

I drank the red wine while I enjoyed the sunset from my window.

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August 16 // 8:55 AM // Episode 16. The last episode before the finale.

A week after what I then called a rehearsal, I finally saw the light. When I thought two last episodes could be celebrated with one proper celebration, I did tweak the idea and broke it into two.

“Why don’t you welcome episode sixteen in the perfect morning, have a proper breakfast, brew delicious coffee with Moka pot, biscuits, also some cupcakes.”

Eun-chan’s depiction as a hardworking lady whose work spirit is genuine and diligently sacrificing for the sake of her family stole my heart from the very beginning. And I know myself so well, any story of “dream & determination” or “reach-your-dream” per se, I’ll buy it. There is a particular scene in episode 5 when the coffee shop just operated and they take a trip to the countryside. Han-kyul casually asks what is Eun-chan’s dream and she replies to live happily with her mom and sister, that is so simple yet meaningful. Later in episode 15, she opens to Han-kyul that her dream is to become a world-class barista. That teaches me that everyone deserves to dream big and has to fight for it no matter what.

Although generally, her life story has a bit “Cinderella-ish” spice, the way I love it is the fact that there is no such a shortcut for her which makes the whole story seems so real. I do love that she stands on her feet and using all support systems around her cleverly. And Han-kyul on this part? He has so many perfect boyfriend materials indeed. I love the way he supports her dream to study to Milan and leaves his ego of marriage aside, that shows he grows as a matured man. Oh shit I think there is no need to express how adorable their steamy kiss in Eun-chan’s room leads to cranky-too-cute Han-kyul in writing, and ew also the last scene in episode 16 :).

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August 16th // 16:37 PM // The Finale

My heart was a bit fickle as if I was in between of excitement and desolation leading to the finale.

It was a perfect afternoon with rosé, spicy pizza, rosemary potato chips, grapes, and natural light. I guess that day the universe supported my imagination on how to honour the end of Coffee Prince. Everything went smoothly although my heart was jumping like “Woah, this is it! Would I love or hate the ending woah, it’s here!”. When the opening of episode 17 started, I was trying not to let my what-ifs sank. I knew I wasn’t just being an infatuated kid for Coffee Prince.

 



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Frankly speaking, the only expectation I had for Coffee Prince was the finale. I won’t say I was disappointed that much witnessing their love story came to end but there was something that didn’t hit the “it-should-be-more-memorable” ending imho. Covering stories of each character in one episode seems baggy although it doesn’t do justice as the core of the whole story that matters. I won’t chide more but sharing my favourite scenes from the finale; the rooftop scene at the beginning is cute, super cute. When Eun-chan falls asleep while she is still on call with Han-kyul is adorable.

I love the scene when Han-kyul guides Eun-chan on the phone when she is packing all her needs in a suitcase, also to mention that the emotion of her mom and her little sister is subtle but feels so real. “WHY HAN-KYUL does not want to accompany Eun-chan before she departs to Italy, why??…” but Gong Yoo’s acting in his car crying after Eun-chan said saranghae is a BIG YES. I love the way their long-distance relationship is being framed with Eun-chan’s polaroids, I also love the scene showing that the friendship among Min-yeop, Ha-rim, Sun-ki along with Gae-shik has grown in the Coffee Prince shop. The way Eun-chan casually comes to surprise Han-kyul and he doesn’t seem “so-surprised” is a bit disappointing for me although I know the devil is in the detail. But their dialogue saves that (remembering the way he asked Eun-chan’s ID in the early episode), also thanks to Gong Yoo’s flawless acting skill.

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Summing up, the finale still evokes the same emotion as there are many simply amusing scenes in which I have to agree with my friend, Putri, Coffee Prince is still one of the memorable legendary Korean Dramas till date.


“Natural, remarkable and whimsically adorable, are three words I’ll use to picture Eun-chan and Han-kyul’s love story.”

In my humble opinion, the round applause for Coffee Prince goes to the fact that Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-Hye’s role as a couple was unfeigned in a real life. It was a bit hard to believe all those fights and tears were not real, all those cute moments were not scripted, literally everything.

It is implausible not to mention which and which scenes of Coffee Prince are “worth-to-be-watched” for hundred times. I may lost count but I do have some remarkable ones in heart and mind. When Eun-chan hilariously meets shirtless Han-kyul for the first time. The iconic beach scene when Han-kyul is hardly holding his feeling. All those fights happen at the back of the refurbished coffee shop. That midnight scene when he drives back to Coffee Prince to admit his feeling to her (in which he still believes Eun-chan was a guy) and lands passionate kiss to her, Meine Güte, his words after that kiss are so powerful. When Eun-chan cries her eyes out in front of Han-sung telling how much she loves Han-kyul, omo. All those ‘super-duper-cute’ scenes when he shows his signs of love to her, his smiles, her clumsy ‘omg-he-loves-me’ acts, so many, so many without one single trite scene.

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For me personally, the core of Coffee Prince exists in episode 12. The opening scene is unforgettable, the way Han-kyul gives Eun-chan only three minutes to clarify whatsoever she wants to say while she keeps sobbing for forgiveness on the second floor is something else (IT IS SOMETHING ELSEin capital and bold, bitte). Han-kyul’s cry when he expects her as someone who’ll trust even the whole world goes against him is heartbreaking, it almost SWOONED me. His emotion is so damn raw, oh Gong Yoo. Excuse me, who had an idea of the chestnut scene? A scene when Eun-chan goes to his apartment while Han-kyul himself is staring at Eun-chan’s bedroom from his mini-cooper, holy moly, and the smile of Han-kyul after making up to Eun-chan? I died, yikes. The day after the chestnut scene, when he arrives at the coffee shop and smiles at Eun-chan’s scooter, the way Eun-chan blushing when she gives her cellphone to send a heart emoji to Han-kyul, and he smiles ear to ear when he receives it. It is definitely one of my favourite scenes ever (EVER and EVER in the history of Korean Drama, bold in capitals please).

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My Dear Youth.


I may say one of the felicities during the cruellest summer in this unbelievably year along with folklore is the fact that the cast reunion of Coffee Prince exists in 2020. I could imagine how much the euphoria bursts from Coffee Prince fans around the globe witnessing Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-Hye sit together at the same memorable place where all those wholesomeness happened thirteen years ago. Thirteen? omo. I became a fan ~ “die-hard” fan as I claimed from the very beginning of this post ~ right after I watched the drama early this year and the excitement I felt in my heart when I first watched Gong Yoo in coffee brown shirt (how clever his stylists picked close to “coffee” theme, I guessed) entering the Coffee Prince shop and touching Eun-chan’s life-size photograph (and says “Eun-chan”) by the entrance paralyzed me; it is so warm and CHARMING I kennot.

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I can’t tell how much My Dear Youth completed the whole experience of mine among Gong Yoo in black shirt himself, episode twelve, the beach and the chestnut scenes, but waking up from a dream that Mas Gong Yoo reunited with Mbak Yoon reminiscing Coffee Prince made me fly peacefully and stayed on cloud nine.


And my last sentence to end this post would sound a little gauche, but I had warned you from the beginning that being exaggerated for Coffee Prince is always allowed:

My unconditional love for Han-kyul and Eun-chan stays to the moon, and the Saturn.

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side note

Oh, if I am still being crazy for Coffee Prince sometimes in the future, and rewatching it over and over again on Netflix, and I will pretend I miss Han-kyul and Eun-chan’s smiles, then staying late for My Dear Youth for hundred times, look for Dwi Putri (look what you made me do, Put), she is involved for my craziness :).


P.S. All photographs of Coffee Prince’s scenes were taken by screen-shooting from Netflix, My Dear Youth taken from MBCLife official page on YouTube, edited and arranged by me. (*) it is just a joke, anyway :).

Folklore

I am not gonna spin a yarn this time but writing my sincere upstanding to folklore. I’ll try to make it short.

I wrote my appraisal to the genius Taylor Swift here, giving my honest opinions on what is the best among all records she had ever released and best songs from each record. Last week, the whole world was shaken by her again when she suddenly dropped her newest record called folklore ~ yes, it’s stylized in lowercase. You might remember reputation, she never jokes if the album title is written in lowercase. This time around, there was no Easter eggs, not even one, crazy.

I remember I was about to watch another episode of Korean Drama series in the evening when I accidentally opened Twitter and I was bug-eyed when I read,

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“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise. Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into.”

July, 23rd, 2020.

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The day I woke up on Friday, I could not find the album in iTunes and went straight to YouTube when again, I was a bit shocked that she had released all tracks through visually appealing videos complete with the lyrics.

My impressions when I listened to the first track was

fresh and brilliant, distinct.

In iTunes folklore describes as an alternative album, which is another genre she dug in after the success of country and pop. I was flabbergasted with the storytelling as her power as always, the instrumental details, how smooth and calming the entire sound in the record, the mesmerizing aesthetic, everything about this album is genius. I deeply apologize Red, I used to tell the world that you are her best craft ever, but this time around, folklore stole my entire heart.

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It has been a week I’ve been listening to all songs every single day, delicately sweet through my earpieces, dramatically harmonious in the air through my Allure. Truly, I couldn’t describe in words about August, the sweetest track in the record. I fell in love with Exile (Bon Iver is such a rad. After I listened to Exile, my love to Ed Sheeran when he did sing with Taylor in Everything Has Changed gone. The one with Bon is a killer, man, his voice!), Betty, Seven, Cardigan and all tracks. Yes, all tracks. Oh the bonus track, The Lakes, monumental, poetic. This is a record in my humble opinion, is her irreproachable masterpiece. That is the simplest admiration and respect I could describe.

I almost forgot she wrote Afterglow, Begin Again, and the one and only, All Too Well for a whole week.

P.S. The aesthetic above is gathered from different sources in Pinterest.

Oreos In My Pancakes

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“I might not feel guilty because there is oatmeal inside…”

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I once woke up by 3 AM out of the blue, starved, and grabbed whatever was onside (read: my working table). I took one Oreo without feeling guilty that I started the day (literally, it was a new day) with sugar. Sleepy eyes but my palate was happy, “Shit, so good.” I won’t lie, I took three more.

When I’m not that lazy on the weekend, I do prefer to have warm pancakes for breakfast than heavy Indonesian food, for instance. There is a ready-to-cook pancake flour but I always love to make it from scratch just because I love the process. I sometimes get what I call failed-pancakes when the batter is not right, I sometimes master it. It is a waste when I do not get it right, but it is fun when I get the fluffy pancakes – I use my feeling when I add baking soda and powder, perhaps that’s why. If I have ripe bananas, I always love adding it to the batter. No sugar added. Change white flour with oats, it is better. At least, you won’t feel much guilt for calories-reason. Just like others, I cheat to myself sometimes. Once in a while. Adding crushed Oreos along with oats for pancakes is what I’m talking about.

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ingredients:

1 cup of oats flour (it’s oats, just blend in the blender) ~ 1 teaspoon baking soda ~ 1 teaspoon baking powder ~ a pinch of salt ~ 1 cup of buttermilk (if you have it’s better than you add lemon or vinegar in to full-cream milk) ~ 1 egg ~ 2 ripe bananas, mashed ~ 4 to 4 Oreos without the cream, crushed ~ 2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter

Steps:

  • Mix oats flour + baking soda + baking powder + mashed bananas + salt + crushed Oreos in a bowl
  • In another bowl mix egg + buttermilk + melted butter
  • Stir dry mixture into wet mixture, the batter will be slightly lumpy
  • Heat your pan and add a little butter, medium heat. Scoop the batter onto the pan and cook until pancakes are golden, both sides.
  • Serve with berries, coconut flakes, hard-crushed Oreo, and honey

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You are ready to make your weekend morning brighter, enjoy along with your favourite coffee or tea!

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An Ode To Miss Swift’s Songcraft

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Talking about music, it has been a part of my morning rituals listening to some favourites beside a cup of coffee. I’m easy, I listen to any genres as long as its sweet and easy listening (mostly pop, of course, heavy metal? perhaps the only genre I won’t bother to listen to). According to my true self ~ this may sound overrated ~ I’m more into Ed Sheeran’s music. I just love how he creates songs that could touch any souls (Divide is my fav album of him, so far). I’m not going to write about Sheeran on this post but praising Miss Swift. If you read the reason behind all my online accounts named Ayiswift here, Swift isn’t really for Taylor Swift yet perhaps this time around, I won’t bother if it does just to show how much I adore her talent on songwriting. I don’t read celebrity news anymore (I did, ages ago) but from Twitter, I do read some flash news about popular human beings sometimes. Miss Swift, from the snake emoji from wellknown worldwide feud until giant snakes appeared everywhere on her Reputation tour, she shows us how to cleverly build a castle from the bricks they threw at you.

I have a playlist in my iPhone called “Taylor’s Masterpieces” where I gather 5 top songs from her each album and some released singles. I have no idea how often I play them in the air because truly, she is an amazing singer and songwriter. I have all her albums in my iPhone excluding her first debut, well I actually can put more than 5 songs from each album right?

Before I share which album is the best, in my opinion, I’d love to start with thirteen top songs she has ever released till date (why thirteen? isn’t her lucky number is 13? That’s what I know from social media. This list is inspired by an article by Rob Sheffield on Rolling Stone)

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Lasst uns beginnen!

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13  //  I’m a Nightmare Dressed Like a Daydream

We could count that particular lyric as a triumph of songwriting as most of the credible music critics praised Blank Space. Well, you must agree that nothing beats Miss Swift for her creativity on this song even though Thinking Out Loud took the trophy as Song Of The Year at Grammy, the same night when she became the first woman won Album Of The Year twice. That was a crazy night. She won the highest trophy when she was in country music and got one again when she created a pop album.


12  //  We Never Go Out of Style

Without mentioning how artistic the clip is, Style never fails to lift my mood up in the morning. It is such a perfect sophisticated song dedicated to imagining a dream of passing the California endless coast in an open vintage car in summer with a style when the sun disappears below the horizon.


11  //  No, There is Nothing Good Starts in a Getaway Car

All of her fans were wondering why she didn’t release Getaway Car as a single in reputation, most of them have been asking for a music video too, to complete the epic story behind one of the best tracks in the record. She built a cheating love story in a very smart and classy way along with Jack Antonoff. As I admire how both of them came out with the damn-I-love bridge on a creative writing session, I also admire how dark Getaway Car sounds from the intro.


10  //  Remember When We Couldn’t Take The Heat?

It’s weird but genius. I also love the idea behind the music video directed by Joseph Khan. I must admit the first time I listened to Out Of The Woods I didn’t really like the song, I was still trying to figure out how clever the idea behind the songwriting, how the chaotic love story was. But in the end, I must admit this particular song ages like wine. The best live version? when she performed with piano at Grammy Museum, it was deep, it was fragile. It was a magical version indeed which made me realised how her genius brain could turn the same song into a deeper love song.


9  //  I Love The Riddles that You Speak

Ours is a kind of simple romantic song yet cleverly done. The strength is on the lyrics, only an acoustic guitar is enough to let it resonance beautifully in the air. Ours teaches you that people throw rocks on the thing that shines which makes love looks hard but in the end, they can’t judge just because they have no clue how beautiful your love actually is.


8  //  My Thoughts Will Echo Your Name, Until I See You Again

Enchanted is definitely my favourite track in her self-written album, Speak Now. It’s romantic, charming, and sweet. I fall in love with the bridge as she never fails writing beautiful song bridges indeed.


7  //  They Took The Crown but It’s Alright

I’ve read what the co-writer behind Call It What You Want, Jack Antonoff, wrote when the song was just released, “Use your earpieces on midnight walk when listening to this song”. I tried once when I was walking back to my hostel in Hong Kong at 2 am. He was damn right, the song turned to be more magical.


6  //  I Don’t Wanna Miss You Like This

If you never know this song, it’s also written by Dan Wilson, the same magic hand behind Someone Like You performed by Adele. I find this song is vulnerable but in a very artsy way. It catches my attention first time the rhythm and the lines “Taxi cabs and busy streets, that never bring you back to me”, and “But you’re in London, and I break down, cause it is not fair that you are not around”. Although it’s never been released as a single from Red, it’s one of the best tracks from the deluxe version which she performed live for the very first time during the reputation world tour in Toronto, Canada, 2018.


5  //  Isn’t It? Isn’t It? Isn’t It?

Delicate’s one of the top tracks from reputation (I’ll be confused if you ask me which will I pick for the best between Delicate or Getaway Car). The music video is gorgeously executed even there was a rumour it looks similar to Kenzo ads. She’s well known for Easter eggs in every clip but the message behind Delicate is just stunning even without those eggs you need to find. My favourite part is the bridge, “Sometimes I wonder when you sleep, are you ever dreaming of me” , oh wait, this one too: “Sometimes when I look into your eyes, I pretend you’re mine all the damn time” I have one more: a whole song.


4  //  Everyday is Like A Battle, but Every Night with Us is Like A Dream

This one is also in my “Morning Booster” playlist. One of the best from 1989, I’ll repeat ONE OF THE BEST SONGS IN 1989, PERIODAAAAH. It’s the single and the way I love the music video which shows how magical attending her live stadium tour. You’d agree with me after looking at the endless ocean of crowds with those light sticks glittering. It must be an experience for everyone who has attended the tour, I hope I’ll get to attend at least once someday.


3  //  I Don’t Want Keep Secrets Just To Keep You, And I

I remember I once woke up in the sunny morning when Lover was officially released. I was still laying on the bed and my iPhone was automatically downloading the entire album as I did the pre-order. When it had finished, I reached my earphones and suddenly like, “THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE BEST!”, right after I listened to the first chorus. It’s an excellent bop from Taylor, Jack and St. Vincent which in my opinion I do not really need everyone’s approval to claim as the best song in her seventh album.


2  //  But On a Wednesday, in a Cafe I Watched it Begin Again

Okay, I admit it’s quite hard selecting her songs by how beautiful the lyrics are but my number two from her best would always be Begin Again. I mean, let me make it clearer. Paris, cafe, Leica, subtle morning sun, pastry and coffee in the music video, how could I love the whole scenes? How could you not love this timeless country song?


1  //  Cause I Remember it All, All, All

There is only one word to describe All Too Well: masterpiece. Everything about the song is perfect. The songcraft is something else, the details on the lyrics are brilliant. I didn’t know before that refrigerator light in the dark could be so romantic until I heard the line of “We’re dancing around the kitchen in a refrigerator light.” Only a genius could create that out-of-the-box lyric kind of. Every line shows the fragility of brokenhearted of losing someone in a very, really, I lost word to describe it any more.

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To understand Taylor Swift’s stardom, you have to start from a beautiful country track titled Tim McGraw from her first debut. I admit I started from Fearless, that was like ten years ago in a small office I worked as jewellery conceptor. There was one colleague of mine who loved to play You Belong With Me from a speaker placed at the corner of the room. I had no clue who Taylor Swift was until I copied a whole mp3 songs in Fearless from another colleague whose sister had a deluxe CD. Well, I wasn’t into country music then. It was just because I loved to have it for my music collection.

As of today, I praise Fearless as one of the best country albums of all time. I love to see how her transformation grows in each era which is impressively conceptualised. After watching some of her world tour videos and interviews on YouTube, I came to realize that Miss Swift is such a hard-working artist, out of the box thinking person, always craves for something best, and she’s (this is just an honest opinion, you can’t trust what media said right?) such a super kind. I adore how she controls her creative license on music, her ideas on how people said bad things about her and turned to be something could slap them back with Grammys. Isn’t that cool?

Before I end this post, I’ll rank all of the released albums excluding her debut based on my preferred taste from 1 to 6. Also, seven top tracks in each album including the ones mentioned above.

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#1 Red

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1989 is no doubt an outstanding record, but my highest appraisal is dedicated to Red: stunning, monumental, a timeless record. I fell in love on how wide the love spectrum was captured in the album through different romantic states. And in my humble opinion, her best songwriting so far was in Red.

Best tracks from deluxe version: Come Back Be Here, Red, All Too Well, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Begin Again, The Moment I Knew, State Of Grace (Acoustic).

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#2 1989

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If everyone has the most favourite record of hers so far, mine is 1989 Deluxe. For me, the album is genius, classic, and chic. I love the fact that the world success of this album also made her as the first woman to receive Album of The Year twice at Grammy 2016. She definitely nailed everything in 1989 from the aesthetic till “Trust me, mine is better”.

Best tracks: Style, Blank Space, Clean, Out Of The Woods, New Romantics, Shake It Off, Wildest Dream.

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#3 reputation

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She showed us a bold statement, “Sit down and watch me” vibe, badass-side and the dark version of used-to-be-a-sweet-American-dream-girl in reputation. The world was shocked when she erased all her online platform and came back with Look What You Made Me Do. Most of the music critics didn’t really praise her songwriting in LWYMMD, but for me, it is a powerful come-back track which the longer you listen to it, the more you’ll understand she is not an average artist. She is big. She is powerful. She is unstoppable.

Best tracks: Delicate, Dancing With Our Hands Tied, Dress, I Did Something Bad, Getaway Car, Call It What You Want, End Game.

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#4 Fearless

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Her stardom raised in fame from Fearless, an important record in the country music history. Her success in this album with no doubt was because of her songcraft, her honest fairy love stories, and the fact that she successfully brought country music to the younger audience. A record with bunch of no-skip gems from the fragile Come In With The Rain until her sweetest lyrics in The Best Day, I put Fearless as one of my favorite country albums ever along with Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves.

Best tracks (platinum edition): Fearless, The Best Day, You Belong With Me, Love Story, Come In With The Rain, Untouchable, Forever & Always (piano version).

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#5 Lover

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People had different opinions when she dropped Me! as the lead single of Lover which most of them thought why in capital letters where there is Cruel Summer in it. You might think Me! sounds so childish and garish, don’t count Hey Kids! perhaps it makes it worse, but for me, it is a fun song. Lover is a romantic record where you could listen to her most-honest side, it’s raw in a certain point, plus one of the most beautiful bridges she has ever written in a song titled the same with the album– in my honest opinion –, Lover is a love celebration in every angle, from her shiny love story, her voice for the LGBT community, to a hint of Saint Tropez, it is her most mature record till date.

Best tracks: Cruel Summer, False God, Afterglow, Lover, The Man, Cornelia Street (the live version in Paris is something else!), London Boy.

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#6 Speak Now

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I had a fickle heart to choose Lover or Speak Now for the last one because there are bunch of favorite songs in an album where she wrote every single track by her own. I repeat, by her own a.k.a. Taylor Swift only. She is a genius human being who could turn mean critics to Grammy in which she has taught all of us that the best revenge to people who look down at us is our success. Period.

Best tracks: Sparks Fly, Enchanted, Back To December, Ours, Long Live, Mean, Mine.

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P.S. All Swift’s photographs were taken from different sources on Pinterest. Edited by me. Originally written and published on January 11, 2019. Being updated on June 19, 2020, as an addition to complete her latest album, Lover.