It’s been almost three years since I came back to Jakarta, for good. For someone who is obsessed with cities, with how deeply melancholic Orhan Pamuk writes about Istanbul that he never wants to depart from, it’s kind of odd that I haven’t even once stopped, looked back to those almost three years, and wrote about it.
Now I know why. And it took me quite a while to realise it.
It’s just too scary.
At first I was too scared to admit that this is all real, that here is where I end up in. Back then, thinking of going back and leaving all the people I care about in Berlin used to give me night sweats and anxiety. Thinking about going back was not pleasant, for it was full of uncertainties, doubts and one thing I hate the most, changes. But I had to do it anyway. However, once I landed here on 3 May 2013, I knew that I was not meant to get bored (I was informed that my luggage was still in Abu Dhabi while I had to attend a job interview in 1 hour, at rush hour).
I didn’t even have the time to reflect and evaluate how I’ve lived here. I no longer write. No melancholy. No effort of romanticising nature. No nature in sight to admire. No park bench to sit on to write poems. No ducks swimming in a pond. There are only cars, people, motorbikes, and lots of Alfamart. Before I make it sound so terrible, let me tell you that it’s actually not.
And here I am now, thinking. Hey, this isn’t bad at all. I have, in fact, survived my fears, my what’s-it-gonna-be-like-in-Jakarta. Just last Sunday a friend who is in Berlin asked the most FAQ, “Do you miss Germany?”. In less than three seconds I replied, “Sometimes I do, but not often.”
I even found my next sentence surprising, “It’s more lively here.”