It has been two years since I first stepped foot in this city. Very much like Manila, sans MRT, Jakarta is probably one of the cities in Asia that I truly look up to, with so much respect, for inspiration on all things wedding and design. My trip prior to this was short-lived as it was work-related but it was one when I was able to meet wonderful and kind-hearted souls and seeing them again with the addition of their little ones, was a joy to see. I felt like there were major changes and growth in the past 600+ days that I wasn't aware of and the reality that people around me are either getting married or having babies is creeping fast up on me. I try to remind myself that I am different, as I have known so long ago, and that my path in life will somehow (hopefully so, in a positive way) be different from the direction everyone else is going. We all choose our own paths in life and though I am still figuring mine out, by God's grace, it will all be well in the end.
This again is a work-related trip but less of body and muscle wasting and more of, on the task of filling my eyes and heart out with as much inspiration as I can find, to help me in my new role.
After having been immersed in all the beauty, it felt rewarding and I felt like I have so much freedom and creativity just waiting to be lain out onto the world.
I spent 3 days visiting cafes, interior shops, exhibitions and creative spaces around Jakarta. They all made my heart swell with happiness.
Though the visits were fleeting, the stories I will be able to tell of it will be eternal. I posted some photos of those places on my Instagram.
I got myself a room in Ibis Slipi and scored myself a lovely view beside the bed. It was overlooking a highway and despite the rather tall buildings surrounding it, it still felt foreign. Perhaps it was because of one building with Indonesian flags lining in front or the billboards that have Bahasa written all over it. It's nice to see a bit of culture in thriving cities where everything seem to look the same.
At night, when I'm all bundled up after a day of exhaustion, I turn on my music and stare out onto the city in front of me– engulfed in darkness, illuminated only by street lights and LEDs. As I stare rather deeply onto the sky, I felt it embracing me like an old friend, leaving me feeling like I have stayed in the city far longer than I've had. I love that familiar feeling. It's as if I wasn't in another country with a culture far different from what I'm used to but as if I am just back in my own room staring out of my window, sharing my thoughts out to the stars.
On my last full day in Indonesia, I went on a spontaneous roadtrip up Kawah Putih (White Crater) In Bandung, West Java. It was a Saturday and my friend picked me up from my hotel around 6 in the morning to avoid traffic. We headed up and around 30 minutes off the main road, I could see from my side of the car, fog slowly covering parts of the mountains beside the highway. I didn't realize we were already up in the mountains until I saw rice terraces majestically bathing in the morning sun beside me, forming dreamy gradiations in the loveliest hues. There were farmers harvesting rice wearing the traditional Indonesian rice farming clothes that made the scene even more cinematic. It took almost all of my breath away, literally and figuratively.
The car sped by like a hurricane, I hadn't had the time to pick up my camera and take a shot. But just like most of the things that inspire me, I could only tell and write stories and mentally reference my work out of those moments.
Sometimes, I think, though not too often, words paint more beautifully than grains and pixels do.
The beautiful, sulfuric mess of Kawah Putih intrigued me less than the journey all the way there. It was perhaps due to the fact that it was crowded with tourists and the highly acidic state of the lake that had me tearing up like a baby. My friend had to suddenly buy me a mask to stop me from bawling without reason.
The rainforest and the view from the road on the way to the crater was one I was so enticed by. There was a drastic change of scenery in a span of 45 minutes. One moment we were in a busy town with Saturday markets all up in bloom and school kids walking or pedaling pass us, then suddenly changing into mountains towering each other and tea plantations cascading in between.
A little over a few minutes, we were then drowned in the vastness of the forest beside the road and coffee plantations springing everywhere in between. The cool breeze felt welcoming, we had to open all our windows because it would be a tragedy not to. I stuck out my head a bit and let my hair fall and fly in all directions whilst smelling the fresh scent of the earth.
It was invigorating– both to the lungs and to the soul.
There is still so much to see and discover in Indonesia, as with all other countries I have been to and that it aches to know that I will not have a lifetime to experience them all. But in all this, I am truly grateful that in a short amount of time, I was blessed enough to see this much beauty I wouldn't have seen otherwise had I hardened my heart and taken a different direction in life.