What A Friday Morning

 


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Everything went normal like usual, I played my playlist through Allure, left it loudly so I could still listen to it from my room even the door was closed.

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There was something unpleasant happened to me days ago. I woke up from eight hours of sleep, even though I was still feeling so sleepy, I got up and went to the kitchen. I took my cutting board and went straight with an idea that was in my head from the night before. I had seasoned two chicken legs and continued making the sauce from the chicken broth by adding more red onion, chopped tomatoes, basic spices and curry powder. I like to plan what I cook even sometimes an idea pops out during the cooking process. I prefer to spend not more than an hour every morning if I cook the main food plus condiments, okay, if I have to do everything from scratch I will allow myself to spend an hour plus. That counts including packing the food, cleaning my kitchen station and washing utensils.

The curry sauce was done, I only had two chicken legs to be fried but I saw a leftover batter. Fried chicken legs with curry sauce weren’t complete for lunch, my mind said. At the same time, I didn’t want to waste ingredients because hello, I had spent money like crazy on food. It was a wiser version of me when I only took one medium size carrot, dice-cut, added chopped leak and red pepper, red onion and seasoned with basic spice plus crayfish. Everything went to the leftover batter and started frying.

Carrot fritters were done but my brain thought of something when I saw leftover spaghetti I cooked the day before. If I had to blame myself for spending more time at the kitchen, I would blame Masterchef Canada for giving me different kind of ideas, I spend my evening on Youtube watching different ideas on food through the competition these daysThis means I would become weaker in terms of saving cause my ideas are flying as well as my money. I wanted to deep fry the spaghetti and turned it to be something crunchy. I took some with a fork and put it in the same oil I used for the fritters. First one was okay, the third one gave me a surprise when the pan accidentally fell and boom! The hot frying oil kissed my left foot, near my ankle to be exact. I ran to the bathroom and took toothpaste. No no, something wrong, I shouldn’t have spread it on my skin so I put my tap on and let the running water chilled it out. I was worried like crazy because I knew what would my skin be after sometimes. I felt the same peppery feel in my left thumb, on my tight too, and eh some marks on the inner shin. Okay, I was done.

My hand was shaking looking for what was the best first aid to do on Google, options: cold milk, a mixture of honey and cumin, or aloe vera. The last one I didn’t have in the kitchen. I tried washing my leg with very cold milk also spreading honey plus cumin with hopes it won’t make my skin as terrible as I thought it would be, even though I knew it was useless. What a Friday morning. Even though one of my colleagues helped me to burst the blisters with a syringe and a purple liquid – I don’t remember the name –  that Friday at the office, but I still went to the hospital the day after in the afternoon for more professional treatment. Even the swollen part of my foot was reduced but got one injection, blisters were burst, cleaned and wrapped with a bandage, two different pills I must take in the morning and evening, were enough to make myself felt better. When the doctor said it would take six weeks for my skin to be back to normal, I had no choice but wishing it could be faster. Ah, at least I didn’t let myself see how he did burst the blisters because truly, I hate the hospital.

It’s been seven days and my left foot is still “uh” every time I manage walking. It shows progress but the open skin is the one that’s bit painful. I hope it will heal faster than it should be, I want my skin back :). Well, I knew I thought about that carelessness sometimes but lesson learned. Safety first, health is the priority in life, isn’t it? I know I’m managing my feet for now but it won’t stop me cooking. I’ll take sometimes to slow myself down not to cook every morning. I know it gets crazier since I started watching Masterchef. It makes me crave for more and more to cook something different every morning which I could just cook once for two days before that.

I would like to share some photographs of West African dishes I tried lately. Deep frying isn’t my style – which you would find easily in Africa, just like in South East Asia – but it was interesting when I could achieve the food as close as it should be. I need to learn more, I know, but knowing different techniques and tastes like Nigerian Jollof Rice and Coconut Rice, will enrich my cooking skill. Next time, I’ll share the ingredients and the step-by-step when I could achieve creamier taste in the coconut rice because this one below wasn’t close as I wanted even though overall, it tasted so good. The curry sauce was on point and I was proud of it.


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Coconut Rice Served with Curry Fried Chicken and Fried Plantain, and Coconut Brown Plantain with Strawberries.

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Jollof Rice Served with Coriander Infused Beef and Fried Plantain, Minimalist Coleslaw for the Condiment, and Butterscotch Almond Plantain for the Dessert.

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Fallen On Chocolate


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Two things, I hate white chocolate. I prefer the dark one that has a minimum of 65 per cent cocoa. In case you want to send me a gift, you have a clue now :).

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No, I’m not going to tell you what kind of chocolate I enjoy the most.

I once looked at one of my close friends on how she enjoys spending her weekend on movies at the cinema. You know what it means by watching movies at the cinema: stress-releasing, spending some cash (it’s more if you grab cinema’s pop-corn which has nothing more than cheap packed pop-corn outside), and making free time to actually watch a movie that leaves some memorable memories or even lessons. I did think she lives in a balanced life.

I read one of someone’s tweets on Twitter when she shared a comparison of the cinema in Indonesia with the one in Australia. She made some clear points which in this case, Indonesia wins. It has an excellent sound system, comfortable seats, friendly service, and the most important thing’s affordable. That’s not a lie even it’s more relevant to the big cinema in the main city. Comparing with where I could find since I moved to a city I’ve been living in for years, those four points are missing. And that could be the reason why I could count how many times I went to the cinema here. It’s two and a half times more expensive and less quality. So, how about Netflix? I mean, these days there are variations on how you want to spend leisure time with online platforms.

Here’s the thing: I once made a promise not to include Netflix in my monthly bill. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to spend but mostly about insecurity to waste my time by watching movies. Don’t get me wrong cause I do love watching movies (romance and drama are my genres, please note not an only beautiful-touchy story but when I see interesting sets, I’ll love it!). But I finally swallowed my own vow and I didn’t regret anything. One, it has various interesting movies and series to watch. Two, I don’t need to spend extra money on transport to the cinema cause chilling in my room under the blanket watching Sex Education or Eat Pray Love is much more pleasing. Since I found an offer of cheaper internet subscription (ofc, not all day I can watch in HD! but I feel enough), my decision to join Netflix was just right.

Now, straight to what I want to share. I once did a random pick on what series to watch on the weekend. I never interested in Korean drama before but it suddenly changed my opinion when I found Chocolate. I just picked after I read the short description of the series. The first thing that caught my attention was “These series are mostly about food? It must be interesting as I first watched Chef, will it?”. Second, I heard Korean drama is such a heart-warming one with a happy ending story. Ok, done. Two things were enough to finally fallen to Chocolate.

I didn’t only fall on the love story between Cha Young and Lee-Kang (not to mention how many times I gasped when I watched tear-jerking moments), but more than that is an ocean of life-lesson about love, health, forgiveness, self-love was what made me stay till season 15. I even took a week gap when I knew I was about to end it with the last episode. I mean, I didn’t want to end it just like what I did when I stepped on some pages of Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (I never read the book again till today cause it’s too beautiful to end). After most of the whole story could be summed up in episode 15, my mind was trying to guess how the end would be. And I did plan how I wanted to end Chocolate because it had to be at the perfect time and in a proper way.

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Sunday morning. Popcorn. Scented candle. Chocolate in two forms, a cake and chocolate bar.

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The mouth-watering food scenes, some picturesque Greece sceneries, artistic cinematography (this one, I mean it!), overload natural cuteness between Ha Ji Won and Yoon Kye Sang (I mean, look at those screen captures I took from the last episode, I just can’t. One of my fav scenes from the entire is on episode 12 when Lee Kang is waiting patiently on his knees at the beach for Cha Young to wake up), and cheesy humor, could be strong reasons for me to influence you to stay at home on the weekend with Chocolate.

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An Early Self Note

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“You have been treating everyone at the office like a shit.”, somebody said to me one time at the church.

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It was in the evening, and I tried to absorb what was this someone just said with an open heart and big ears.

I thought about it when I was still working on something that evening. My body was a bit exhausted while my brain was a bit full from everything I faced that day. I was glad at the time I listened to what this someone said about me. It was such a reminder on what I perhaps didn’t realise I did. I sent a text to one of my colleagues minutes later just to figure out if she has the same opinion. Although I prefer us to keep texting about characters on Sex Education and when season 3 is going to start, receiving another thought from her in which she agreed at some points was such a good thing. When I looked down at people working under me, how I reacted in a stressful situation which it happens all the time, how perhaps my cheesy jokes won’t land as stupid jokes but hurtful ones, et cetera, et cetera.

On my way home I was still thinking about it. I’m living with a funny season called Harmattan right now when sometimes it gives me a free feverish vibe and the dust I hate. That evening around nine thirty I was in the car with an open window cause the AC is still faulty. Then I remember this sentence on reputation prologue written by Taylor Swift:

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.“We think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them that they have chosen to show us. We know our friend in a certain light, but we don’t know them the way their lover does.

Just the way their lover will never know them the same way that you do as their friend.”


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The prologue is amazing and geniusly written. The fact of what she mentioned in the first sentence was what has been stuck in my head from the first time I read. That is related to what this somebody who said I treated people like shit might have only seen the worst part of me where my best friends have found the best of me. And life will always give you two sides of the coin no matter what. I personally took the thought of hers as a lesson of self-reflection. I keep looking down at what I have ever done to people I knew from the past, people I didn’t really have strong connections in life with, people I met only a few hours and disappeared with a trace of memories, someone I called a stranger who just turned me might be to open to a new friendship after he first sent me “Hello.”, somebody who used to drive me who ended calling me “Fucking Indonesian!.”, somebody who used to drive me too which out of the blue called me on the phone just to greet with how are you in between, and another somebody and another somebody.

After I looked at how I had faced a different kind of human beings in my life through the best and the worst then I found a thought I should be stick to, always.

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“No matter what people think about you, look at you from a different angle they choose to stand from, they will always have their rights to either value or hate you. You will never can pleased everyone cause you were not born with that such of responsibility. You were not.

As for how they have their rights, you also have your own to be used to decide on how you want to value your life. Just remember that in life you will always have good and bad days, you will always meet kind and mean human beings, you will always face sadness and happiness, you will always have choices to be made for your dreams, you will always have choices to be a winner or a loser. Everything depends on you cause you are you.”.


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I took it as a reminder on what I actually see in a real life where I will always have a choice about who I want to be a friend with, a choice of being firm to change something wrong to the right even though people will hate me, to listen or to ignore to someone who talks something hurt yet I do not know her that much. Either to build a castle out of the bricks people throw at me, or crying out loud and ask for sympathy. What I know in life, when you are still having freedom to speak, freedom to react and stand on something right and say it loud without fear, freedom to choose what’s best for you, you are free. You are rich.

I ask myself to be firmer and stronger to life this time.

If I wish you a happy new year, I might be late aber kein Problem, I wish you a more prosperous one!

Allure In The Air

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When I realized, my heart was sparkling. One of my favorite songs sounded so clear, and I was wowed.

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But I sticked on my vow cause I had to.

No, I couldn’t just spend my saving money easily because I’m planning for such a serious future plan. And, I do need a lot of money. I repeat, I do need a lot of money honey. I thought to get mine twice but I postponed and still borrowed my colleague’s.

“No, I can’t keep doing this.”, I whispered to myself.

How could I play it loud without became ashamed with the fact that the device isn’t mine.

I got up, I cleared my mind. The one I got before was definitely far from what I was lurking at for days. “Hey, you love nice things. Don’t you?”, I did whisper again to myself. If I’m not mistaken, that was the third whisper. I got bored listening how my mind echoed on “Remember, save money save money.”.

I knew it, I just had to. I had a clear reason why I wanted to get it. The old one was faulty, well, quality comes with price. And I couldn’t skip one of my morning rituals everyday, how could I?. You should go ahead with something that makes you happy, right?. Also, recording acoustic version from favorite songs (I mean, my voice ladies and gentlemen *grabbing mic*) and play it in the air also makes me happy.

So, I went ahead spending some cash on October and got one. This is why I love nice things.

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If you are curious which and which I’m most happy listening through it, these are some beautiful ones which I mostly play them hundred times and never feel bored:

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Cruel Summer Taylor Swift

All The Good Girls Go To Hell Billie Eilish

Happy And Sad Kacey Musgraves

New Romantics Taylor Swift

Love You Anymore Michael Bublé

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by cover version Joseph Vincent

Need You Now Lady Antebellum

Falling To Pieces Rita Ora

Watermelon Sugar Harry Styles

7 Rings Ariana Grande

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I created some personal playlists in my iPhone based on which mood I am up to.

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Torry And His Story

 


I remember, I read one of Torry’s tweets right after I finished with one of prayer sessions.


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His tweet was up among mutual people I follow. When he shared his feeling after his dad was just passed, my fingers were frozen.

I came to Mecca with a specific purpose months after I lost mine so I knew exactly how he felt. I took a piece of paper and started writing some prayers for his late dad when I was still in front of al-Ka’bah al Musharrafah. People say our prayers would be answered straight away in front of the most sacred site. I didn’t know Torry, I never met him in person but I just wanted to let him know at that moment, prayers even from strangers could make us feel better.

When I looked back at how Torry and I connected after that piece of paper, it reminds me of one thing. When I was a kid, I grew up as an introvert. As you could imagine, being alone was one of the most comfortable circumstances I had all the time. It didn’t bother me that having bunch of friends was actually cool. As life changes today, even from social media, an introvert could learn to open himself to connect with bunch of kind people out there. Ah, I should have told him if he had time for coffee when I managed my last three days in Canggu before flying back to Africa, I should.

Since I have been following Torry on Twitter, I suspected one thing: he must be a graduate either from English Literature or International Relations. The way he addresses his thoughts in English is so tidy. Easy peasy, I knew I was right. When Torry responded my nerve to share some interesting facts and sort of on KitKat (oh my world, when last I posted something on KitKat), I was excited to hear from him through an email. As I couldn’t keep for myself but sharing it for you guys, here is Torry expressing his love for his mum, his unforgettable experience in China and more. Take a cup of hot lemon tea when reading this. Enjoy!

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The first thing to ask näturlich, who’s Torry Jatiprakoso? What do you do and where do you live?

Hi! I was born in Solo on May 6th, 1993. I was raised in Solo and I am pure-blood Solonese! So, if you are looking for a native Solonese, my family is the one you’re looking for.

My family strongly hold Javanese culture, but they also embrace tolerance. For example, they want me to be a Javanese guy who speaks Javanese, understand the culture and manners of Javanese family, but they let their kids to choose their own religion as for them religion should not be given to an individual. So, we can be anything without forgetting where we came from.

I am now working as a manager in one of multinational company and posted in Bali.

When I read one of your tweets written in English, I did suspect your background must be so close with English. Funny enough, I guessed you were graduated from International Relations. So tell us more about your background?

I had decided to take International Relations later in college since I was 12. I joined my school’s debating team and most of the motions were international issues, and that was when I started to dream to be a diplomat.

I was focusing on diplomacy and negotiation, because I am fascinated on how leaders all around the world make agreement and surprised that biggest decision sometimes made in informal approach. This concentration lets me know more on how to behave, how to negotiate better, how to analyze my interlocutor’s body language, table manner, seating arrangement and how a small event can create big impacts. Other than that, I know better that negotiation and diplomacy is an art.

What did you have in mind before decided to learn International Relations at the university? What was the most interesting part from your study?

I have always wanted to have an international exposure and what a 12-year-old boy was that anything labelled with “international” is super cool and will later give me an international access. I was thinking International Relations is about understanding the relations and culture of many countries, apparently it’s more about politics.

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The most interesting part of learning International Relations is that diplomatic relations between one country and another is very unique and complicated. We need to understand that in diplomacy there are protocols which rule the outfit we should wear, which perfume we have to wear, and our body language speaks a thousand words. There’s one subject that was very interesting for me called “Cultural Communication among Nations” where I can understand body language or signs in each country may differ, we need to learn this to avoid misunderstanding.

That sounds interesting, now if you have something to say to young students whose International Relations is their passion, what would you say?

If you have set your mind to learn International Relations and 100% sure to pursue your dream to be a diplomat, you are in the right place. You will never regret to learn this subject and will never find it difficult. Keep going but read more about specific issues in specific fields, as in International Relations you will learn many other sectors other than politics but not in details.

So T, let’s talk about your passion. Anything?

Actually, International Relations is something I am passionate about since I wanted to be a diplomat, but for now I have something else in my head that I want to pursue. Other than that, I think singing is one of my passions. I don’t sing amazingly, but at least I can always get through bad days with music plugged in my ears and sing along!

Should I mention here that your Japan trip was such a blast? Tell us more if you don’t mind!

I have never been interested in Japan before and even I think people who are fanatic about Japanese culture are weird. However, lately I saw that many people are going there and everything looks very pretty. Finally on November 2018 I purchased a return ticket to and from Tokyo.

When I first arrived, I was fascinated by the view along my train trip from Narita airport to Tokyo station as everything looks super clean and well-organized. I went to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, Fuji and those places are very pretty. I tried many kind of food including Ramen and Gyukatsu, they were all finger-licking good!

I finally I understand why those people are very obsessed about Japan. Not only pretty, but their food, people and culture are also amazing.

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So, how many countries you’ve paid a visit so far? Which one has marked your heart?

I have visited 9 countries so far and the most meaningful experience is China.

I went to China on 2012 after being awarded an exchange program from AIESEC. I did a project in Xinchengzhen, an under developed small village which ironically only 3 hours away from the amazing Beijing. I went there to teach English and cultural understanding to children from 6 to 15 years old. The village is very poor, and many children are not confident to talk about their dreams, so we called our project as “Dare to Dream Project”.

I applied for some other programs other than teaching, but the project’s timeline was not suitable with mine. So, the only one left was teaching project which I lied during interview by saying that I love kids because they are cute, playful, and kids love to be around me. In fact, I hate kids!

Everyday, many kids came to my room to wake me up only to hand me a sheet of paper with some questions about my full name, nationality, my zodiac sign, and many more. Maybe you remember biodata paper from Loose Leaf. They woke me up with their big eyes and cute smile. How could I hate that?!

I was frustrated at first the kids were hard to handle, especially I had one big boy who was a rebel. There was a very shy little chubby girl who ran away each time I came to her. In addition, I lived at the school’s dormitory which toilet was a big square room with 14 square holes on the floor. Those holes are squat toilet with no walls to separate one another, and I had to stay there for 3 months.

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Unfortunately, on the last week of the first month of the project, Beijing and its surrounding were hit by flash flood and I still remember the worst flash flood happened only 5 minutes from our place. We had to stop the project that day and we would be relocated back to Beijing on the next day. When I told the students that Dare to Dream Project ended only in the first month, the students cried and hugged me. I was surprised that the rebel boy came to me and would not let me go. He hugged me so tight and he cried loudly, he said, “Teacher, don’t go!”. The next day before leaving for Beijing, the shy little chubby girl came to me just to hand me a small box with a jade necklace inside. I was about to hug her, but she ran and cried.

I was so proud that the first day we came, no one was brave enough to say even only one or two words in English but the day we left, they had started saying words in English. It was very memorable, and I keep wondering how those kids are now. It was life changing and now I really really love kids. They are cute, indeed.

Do you have personal thoughts about life that apply in “this is my rule and it’s written in my life dictionary”? 

Everyone wakes up in the morning and sleep at night. Living life is a routine and it repeats for a lifetime, but the way we live and make each day meaningful is the thing that matters. The first thing I have in mind is to treat people the way we want to be treated and to make them feel appreciated even in the smallest things.

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Second, as a person I believe that we were born with so many talents. Therefore, I always want to push myself in doing new things and open myself for any good opportunity coming to my way.

How do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see myself as someone with master’s degree title after my name, while running my own business.

What are the things that could make you proud to yourself?

I am a happy person and I am able to radiate the whole room with happiness. Other than that, nothing makes me feel prouder than my Mom saying that she’s proud of what I have achieved.

This might be one of compulsory questions on KitKat. Three things you can’t live without?

Phone, money, phone charger.

If you must mention one name whose inspirations have lived in your own life, who would you mention and why?

Endang Listyorini. She is my Mum. She’s the strongest woman ever walked on earth! My Mum is a very independent woman who knows her strengths and puts her family above all. I lost my Dad last March because of lung cancer and only a week after his death, my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.

However, my Mum didn’t lose hope and follow all the treatments with strong desire to recover.

People make some resolutions every new year but let’s talk about this instead: do you have some unforgettable moments until this end of the year that made you feel pain, free, grateful, and stronger than before?

Yes, my Dad’s passing. I was not so close to him as we always had different ideas on things. However, I really love to learn about my own culture and my Dad knew a lot. Maybe, that was the only thing we could always talk about. When he was diagnosed with the last stage of lung cancer, I left my job to take care of him.

I drove him to hospital twice a week from Solo to Sardjito Central Hospital in Jogja, we left at 4AM and arrived at home at 9PM. After everything was settled, I came from Bali to Solo once a month to see him. Unfortunately, after 7 months struggling with cancer, my Dad could not take it anymore and he passed away. Even we were not too close, I am grateful to be by his side during all the struggles and let him know that I loved him so much. It is still painful to remember, but I know I can only be stronger each day.

Mention one song which could describe your life. Anyone inside your life-playlist? Tell us why.

Circle of Life!

This song does not really describe my life in particular, but this song describes life in general. Circle of Life tells us that life is a never-ending journey to discover ourselves. It tells us that there’s much to see than can ever be seen, more to find than can ever be found, and so much more to do than can ever be done.

I sang this song as well on my graduation ceremony, therefore it becomes the song that is very close to my heart. I cried listening to this song when I visited Hong Kong Disneyland where the sang it live on The Festival of Lion King, it was very beautiful.

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Last one. Surprising side of Torry Jatiprakoso?

I can be harsh and do not care about things, but I am actually very soft at heart. I hate to cry in front of someone else just because I do not want to look weak.

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I couldn’t thank enough to Torry for sharing all these and hoping we can actually sit and sharing more life experiences with good cup of coffees, someday T.

You could follow him here and here, he sometimes shares his talent in singing.

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 skyscraper 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 three last days here?”, I never even started my trip but 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 a 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 very quickly 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 5pm 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 brought 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 believed that evening would be a great start of 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 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 danced 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 4pm-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 Tim 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 when in Asia! even though I can’t eat raw durian too), passing some interesting stalls with Cantonese everywhere.

Everything was really interesting.


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He 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 lazy). 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. 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.

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’s 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 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 ~

When Friendship Turns To Blue

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There is one particular thing I learned when I have entered thirty.

If my opinion about this has become sharper than when I was on my twenties, it is just because life is full of lessons.


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I remember a talk with one of my good friends when I couldn’t answer him back a question. This happened when we were at university. We had a casual talk and a question about the way I thought about friendship appeared on the air. He asked, “So you are such a picky, you won’t call these friends as your friends? They must be good for you until you call them “friend”, huh?”

What he meant “these friends” were our friends in class.

In my mind was loudly echoed with an answer, “Of course they must be good that’s why there is the same word attached to it.”. But I couldn’t say anything. I thought twice on what to answer. Was I picky? Was I? I stayed silent. I thought my statement was wrong. Should have I opened a wide door for some people easily to be a friend with and told them “You all are my friends”?

Back then I was quiet. I wasn’t brave enough to say what I had in mind but time has taught me as growing older.

I have some personal thoughts about friendship which it’s been stored in my life dictionary for the last few years. Friendship has stages: a friend, a good friend and a best friend. The last one is formed by three essential things: heart, time and history. The heart gives you signs for good or bad, good and bad. Time is a key to why “just” a friend could be a good friend, and a good one could turn in to a best friend. History formed by times. History is what I value. And these three are flexible.

Looking at my different friendships from the past and present, there are tons of things I’ve learned including how important maintaining it because sometimes it goes low, sometimes is high. Friendship also has its own age, by remembering this we all know time is the essence. Never buy friendship, cause it has to be genuine and pure from both sides.

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Have you ever sat alone staring at the clear blue sky and thought of an old friend just popped up in mind? With some questions like how is he doing right now? Where is she living for all these years?

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Time is changing in flash. There was a time in silence I thought about how blue my friendship with a friend who used to spend hours and hours laughing on the phone when both had problems, something to say, or even for stupid jokes. We live a thousand miles apart yet distance and time zone do not matter. She was one of my best friends and still be, but our friendship has changed drastically. I used to think the way she disappeared was such vexatious reality which made it faded. I was like “I didn’t get it” at the beginning. Questions in mind for some mistakes I did, might be, disappearing in the dark.

I wondered if there were one or two things I did wrong. I wondered if it was just something she wanted by creating distance between us. I wondered and kept wondering until I stopped worrying about it. Our friendship was sweet but it didn’t have a long age as I thought it would be. Our friendship turned to blue and unfortunately, the blue was dark enough. Was I sad? Remembering the first time we met, together we travelled in our twenties, laughter on the mountain and sunshine we shared with fog on the lake, all those moments. I might be wrong expressing my feeling into words but I learned, no matter how much joys and tears we had in the past, nothing lasts forever.

I sometimes think the way it turned blue and later faded with no single trace is such a new lesson I must take. But I won’t let all the worries haunted me if, on the other side of our friendship, she didn’t feel the same. Just like a phone call, it can only last as long as the person on the other end of the line is willing to talk. As I will never buy a new friendship, I won’t begging for such a blue to be bright.

The feeling of loss is still there. One time in a darkened room, a restless thought was jumped in my mind.

 


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How about a dear friend I love right now, when will our healthy and bloomy friendship end? Three years? Five?

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I used to write It Feels Like An Autumn when I felt restless if my friendship with one of the very best friends would change bit by bit. He is one of the most important persons in my life. We have gone through monumental moments in life together. He was there when I was nothing. When I crawled to reach what I’m having this day. My insecurity was increased just because he started his new life chapter.

Let me take you to my mind.

As I am right now who do not think of marriage in the next few years, the feeling of loss is something I must take. As someone whose kindness is real to me decided to take a new life chapter as a family man, I felt insecure if we won’t have much time to talk like before. Or to even have a five minutes phone call. I was worried if someday the way we both walk in a very far distance without some hellos or goodnights. If you are having the same feeling with me, I need to tell you one thing; if the friendship lasts for more than ten years, there is no need to worry too much for such things. I later realized that my friendship with him is still strong no matter how our life has changed. And that’s all because those three essential things: heart, time and history are all still solid. Our hearts are strongly connected. Time makes us closer while we cherish our friendship by creating more memories. People say by growing older your circle will be smaller, and that’s a hundred and ten percent true.

We may not have a weekly phone call or even texting but when both minds are connected through the spirit, the friendship is real. I used to think about him if he was doing good one time in the afternoon. Five minutes later I saw his text of how are you appeared on my iPhone. That was enough to prove how strong the friendship we have until we ended by spending 45 minutes over the phone. Talking about life with laughter in between.

This heart-bounding moment also happened in another scene.

I’m currently having a three good year of friendship with a dear friend whose background and culture are totally different. If you read this blog, you might know how many times I’ve mentioned his name. As a genuine kind-hearted human being who I respect from the day we became friends, he taught me that our friendship must be mutual, it has to be two ways of love, respect, understanding and also, communication.

There were few monumental moments I could count as true-friendship bond. And all of them meant a lot to me. He was there when I failed on something precious which I had waited for so long. The worse part it had happened twice. The first one was deep while the second torn me to pieces. I had fallen for this particular “thing”. He might not realize how much his text at 2am when all my fingers were frozen while writing a text of failure meant to me. He might not realize his voice recording to cheering me up after the second fail was something I keep till date. Even though he always there when I need to talk, I feel something different recently.

The way I look at myself as someone who always asks his time to listen to my problem but never heard any of his, it takes me back to the meaning of mutual friendship. Do we really have this friendship? Or am I become demanding? As I write this sentence I will be honest and raw on this. I just feel that mutual friendship doesn’t really work both ways. If this is a weight scale, the left side is heavier than the right. I might be fallacious.

But it’s bothering me sometimes if it’s not most of the times.

I used to take steps back when I was just about to call him for something just because he was the correct person to talk to. I’m sure if I did, he won’t mind picking my call. As we both are getting busier this day, I could include this as a perfect reason to leave the phone call hanging for months. I am the kind of person who always asks for permission by text if I need to speak to my best friends, except there is something bad happens. Apart from that, it’s rude to make a call directly, this just me. It applies to him as well, particularly he is European. There is such a culture of politeness which is different from how Asian would take. As much as I seriously take this reason of politeness, the phone call never happened. I was wondering perhaps a part of me was trying to test the mutual friendship from his side by not making a call or sending a text.

From the day I had a will to ask a question till a month, he later sent me a text written in German. And this is the funny thing. I thought about him an hour before I saw his text on my iPhone wanted to find out if he was doing great. But my fingers stopped typing so I went back to a thought of “is this mutual?”. Funny enough, I still keep the question behind with a vocabulary of touchy on it.

Till date, I’m still learning the state of this friendship. Perhaps, I should appreciate more to kind gesture as simple as a text of how are you after a while and count it as proof.

I do intensely cherish this precious bond though there are still many insecure feelings like, I never know how long this friendship would last.