London: First Time

I'm right now busy in the middle of exam weeks and writing and complaining how fat I am, then this morning I scrolled through my pictures and felt like I need to do some throwback post on this blog because why not. I will never move on from this city and I don't even think I could do that.

Favorite spot of mine.

 London's skyline from my apartment in Balham

You can say that this trip was my first solo trip ever. I flew to Paris all by myself (wandering around Dubai Airport alone too), strolled through every corner in Paris then took a eurostar from Gare du Nord to St. Pancras bymyself and for the first time ever too took a LONDON CAB, you know the black one, that could ripped your wallet off and knocked the door of my also very first AirBnB apartment.  (there were so many first time ever, I'm so glad)
And I really love AirBnB oh godness! It really gave you the idea of being a local even it was just for a week. My host was a middle-aged British woman who was really lovely and kind.

No proper breakfast at hotel because why not setting off to Old Spitafield Market and had an English scone there while absorbing the beauty of the market and sitting with the freezing weather?

That day in the afternoon I finally met up with my old London friend whom I spent my 18th birthday and new year with: Happy. Yes her name is Happy and we both were so happy for finally seeing each other again after two freaking years!!!
It was so annoying that she grew a lot taller than I do.

Aaaand we went straight for lunch in Nando's! Because why the hell not! I miss Nando's roasted chicken very much I cried.

Quoting Pete Wentz: "In all my London's dreams, it rains Nando's."

We went to St Paul after lunch just because I really needed to go to Millenium Bridge, idk why. It was so fun that we laughed and talked about so many random things together. As we walked across the bridge with so many photosesion, we decided to go to Tate Modern. It was my first time there and I liked it a lot.

I present you to my ol London pal, Happy.

Anyway, there was one funny moment when we walked back toward St Paul Station, we were laughing and talking and gossiping about the strangers around us in our mother language, then we didn't notice the guy who past by us with his bicycle. Then in all of sudden, he stopped by infront of us and greet us, like: "are you guys talking in Bahasa Indonesia?"
and we were like, "yes?" and he responded in Bahasa "aku seperti mendengar kalian berbicara dengan bahasa dan tidak bisa menahan untuk menyapa kalian" and we were so surprised hearing him talking in bahasa and we laughed so hard together. Then yeah, we chat for a while and he told me that he was living in Yogya for three years and he couldn't wait to go back there because he missed every single of Indonesia (ironic isnt it? while I'm dying to move out to England and he just wished he could go back to Indo). After a while, we waved goodbye and exchanged "have fun for the trip" and "thank you for stopping by" we finally left.
It was funny and I felt so glad, everytime I went for a trip there are always so many interesting strangers I met along the journey which made my trips even more unforgetable and precious, and I always count them all as a blessing.

Random People I met

I kinda met a lot of type of people during my trips and sometimes I don't want to take it for granted because most of the time these people left some kind of lesson into my life.

London, on the tube, Northern Line towards Euston Station
There was this guy, black haired with beard got on the tube a few stations after me, he was sitting at my 10. He came up with the backpack, wearing jacket and a book in the pocket. Right after he sat, he took away his jacket and started opening his book and I was curious about what he read because I deadly fancy guys who read and during my time in London I looooove to take a peek what people read on the tube, so yes, I tried to take a peek what he was reading but it was a bit difficult to me to see.

So, I went back to my playlist on my phone. But, hell, he was too goodlooking. In my case. Ehehe. So, you know, this girl couldn't contain herself and keep stealing glances for a few times... until (I think) he realized about it. He caught my glance (!!!) and I was super salting and didn't know how to react properly and you know, you're a girl and you know if somebody stared at you, don't you? Yes, he was staring at me for a few seconds because I think he thought 'what this girl about staring about me' and went back for his book.

It was two stations away until I reached Euston and I FINALLY SAW WHAT THE BOOK HE WAS READING.

It melted my heart.
The first thing I spotted from the cover was, it was written there, and somehow I caught it, "New Edition: Quran, Translations and Arabic Writings for Beginners".

Or something like that.


It was so beautiful it literally melted my heart.
I could see those Arabic writings he was trying to read or understand or anything but I really could see that. The woman sitting next to her was a few times took glances on his book, but I'm pretty sure it didn't matter to her. I swear to the moon and back I'd trade anything to sit next to him, greet him and ask "Are you learning Arabic?". Just to start a conversation.

It was so beautiful, you see? It really warmed my heart because that was the thing you couldn't see everyday on the tube. Or everywhere. It was sweet.

Then, so what have I learned?
I kinda can't get him out of my mind for a few days after (until now, I guess?) and I hope I could turn back the time and just talk to him right away. 
But, let me just make it straight why this man made such an impression for me. For example, you read a very very very good book and found somebody sitting next to you on the train reading the same book, you would feel sort of good connection toward them, right? Because you read the same book and it just felt right. Or when you listen to a very good song that hasn't been played on the radio and people hardly know the song and there's this one person listens to the song as well and you felt like you both are soulmates and you feel like talking to this person because how on earth she or he knows the song while everybody was listening to Blank Space by Taylor Swift???? Yes, you get what I mean.

That's what I mean. 
I'm a muslim and eventho London is a huge city with a good population of muslims, seeing this kind of man is rare. So, I felt sort of connection towards him and it felt so warm seeing him. You know, dark blond bearded man, with book and it was a book about Quran. What else you'll ask for?

London: a Perfect Day

How do you describe your perfect day?
Being with your lover a whole day? Shopping 'till the drop with your girlfriends? Sunbathing by the beach? Or anything else do tell me.

 Well, if you ask mine. It's simple enough.

Well, first of all; waking up in one of the most memorable city in the world and walking to the window and seeing all those pretty houses along Sudbrooke Street that almost made me cry that THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I'm happy, so so so so happy to be back here after two years.

It was such a sunny day, it really was. I decided to walk around my neighborhood instead of taking a bus to the tube station which called Clapham South and my neighborhood here is the cutest one ever. Well, not as cutie as Nothing Hill, but still, I'm so happy to see those houses.

Then I got on the tube and went towards Embankment because I'm such a tourist as hell.
Speaking of that, actually one of my favorite spot here is Embankment Pier and why is that? Because there's this footbridge where you can see that whole view above. IT IS really pretty. You know, if it's not winter, I believe I will spend hours here.

Somewhere around Charing Cross Road

This was just across The London Eye, before I met a creepy guy who wanted to join my solo nostalgic tour BUT HE WAS TOO CREEPY then I left him under the BigBen!

Before I went to Green Park, I walked to Trafalgar Square first and found myself at the Waterstones across it and I forgot if it was already there two years ago??? I didn't remember. Especially when I found out it is HUGE; three floors with Costa at the second floor. And there are such an endless stacks and piles of new books and books and travel books and all. I spent an hour there without ended up buying anything because I remember I still have six days left in this beautiful city. 

Well then, I walked to Green Park, just strolling around with my camera on because yeah I'm that major tourist as hell they didn't know I used to live here two years ago ehehe. Then all of sudden I nearly cried just because I feel so so so happy, eternally grateful and blessed I have no idea this city I've been praying for and dreaming of is finally infront of my eyes and exactly under my nose.

I still remember how this park and Hyde Park were totally white with snow last time I was here. 

The time when a bird didn't even allow me to take a picture with this beautiful lake.

OKAY. Here's the real picture of them.

I walked along the lake and just thinking about everything, like: I don't want to go back to Indo, you see? I don't want to. Never. I want to be here, forever and always. This is home. Well, you know when you feel like home, where your heart actually is. Mine is here. And I don't care about the uni back there, I don't frikkin' care. I'll go to uni here, Imperial or King's College and find myself in my tiny pretty appartment in Hamsptead Heath and all. I just love everything about this city and this country and the lovely people here and even Paris didn't have that charm to replace London as my favorite city.

Somewhere around Holland's Park

That famous red telephone box

 AND this where I realized I was walking toward Chelsea and Kensington and ended up spending hours in Natural History Museum! Yes, the museum Paddington Bear and Night at The Museum 3 took place. I really really really love this neighborhood and every apartment seemed pretty expensive which surely would cost you a fortune to be able to live there.

Museums in London are my favorite places, why? Because it's free. And beautiful. And calm. Well, not that really calm. It was on monday and there were few groups of Elementary students coming as well, and you know WHAT they are the most cutest kids evaaa I ever met *british accent*!!!! 
You see, with those typical English school uniform, blonde little boys and girls, and also I found a few little girls wearing hijab and also the kids from various races and it was indeed so beautiful, you see? They get along together whatever the hell their backgrounds are. Unity in diversity. Oh wait, that's Indonesian motto, but it worked here too.

So yeah, that's how I decribed a perfect day for myself. Just strolling around in my favorite city and spending hours in the museum. So, how do you describe yours?

The Witch in Paris

I found this magical building during my second walk to Notre-Dame and I wonder if a witch lives inside.
A middle-age-look-like witch, with white long hair and wearing beautiful lace dress. She's shy, a little bit moody, but she's really really nice and lovely. 
She would peek out from her window during days and found out that so many annoying tourists like me stealing pictures of her magical palace, but she could do nothing about it because she can not live with sunlight fall upon her. So, she let that happen as long as those people happy. 
Because she loves to see people smile. It makes her smile if she sees somebody else smiles.

After gazing down the people from her window, she usually just spend the day drinking a cup of hot tea and reading books of spells and myths. Oh, how she loves book!

Then later at night, she sneakily walk outside, get her broom with her and fly around Paris to give the city a little bit more magic, happiness and love.
The city should be more grateful to her, she's the reason why Paris has been called The City of Love.

On Paris

I can't explain how my life has been for the last one week, but it's been one of the greatest I could even dream of. Paris is indeed a beautiful, beautiful city.

I just realize that a week could really made me getting used to my surrounding and I let myself acted like a local (which sometimes seem too silly that I don't even speak their language). But, I finally broke that stereotype about how rude Parisians can be to a tourist who doesn't speak French;
For example, there was that day I was wandering all alone looking for my kind of heaven of earth in this planet earth which we all call The Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I didn't know that it is actually just right across the Notre-Dame, but I walked along The Seine and stopped dead around Saint-Martin and didn't know where to go anymore. So, I tried to read the map on the bus stop (Lesson 101: always bring your OWN map!) but I can't read that map, so I spent about 15 minutes thinking should I ask somebody or not.
I looked around and there were so many people walking here and there in a rush (Lesson 102: Parisians are always in a rush. But, Londoners too. Maybe it's just Indo people who walk like turtle. Brace yourself.) So, I was in doubt but I have to find this bookstore, then I spotted a guy. Jelas ganteng banget dan ngayal-ngayal sedikit kali aja nanti dari nanya arah jadi ngobrol terus jalan bareng terus kesengsem terus jatuh cinta terus menyusuri sungai Seine bareng terus yak ngayal aja terus. Anyway, Lesson 103: Lelaki-lelaki French itu different and uniquely super mega good-looking. So, finally, I asked a woman who I thought she would be okay if I ask away and I was totally right.
She smiled and she even took me to the holy bookstore (and we talked quite a lot during the way there) !!! :')

Shakespeare & Co is completely the real definition of heaven on earth. Oh Godness, who doesn't want to work here? With those endless stacks of old books, the piano upstairs, tall bookshelves and the stairs that you'll need to take the book at the uppershelves, not to forget mentioning the beautiful yet gergeous piles of new books and that you'll get that Shakespeare & Co stamps when you make a purchase. I just have to go back this friday.

(Lesson 104this bookstore is just one-stone throw away from Notre-Dame, remember that. All you need is just walk across the bridge after that beautiful church and cross the road and you'll spot this heaven.)

Do believe me when I say Paris is one of the most romantic city on earth, because you see, I've been spending most of the time on my own; getting here and there with no companion whereas everyone around hand-in-hand with their loved ones and..... it made me somehow a bit..... melancholy.
Actually, pertamanya selow-selow, masih senyum-senyum lihat sekitar, semuanya terlihat bahagia dan I'm so happy too to be here and it's just me that I'm so happy to see a couple who asked me to take their picture with the Eiffel background satisfied with the one that I took. It made me smile and perasaan hangat aja gitu lihatnya.

But, you see, sometimes walking alone along The Seine all by yourself isn't a good idea. That place is too beautiful (much much more beautiful than walking along The Thames!) you just can't handle it. Aku juga mau kaliiii jalan menyusuri Seine bareng si dia. Mana dingin, kan mau juga bergandengan tangan. Pokoknya nanti kalo kesini lagi harus sama si dia... Yea cuhhh, senorak itu. But, that was all. The city makes you baper and all.

With love, yang lagi agak baper

Bonjour Paris!

I don't know how to begin this post, but, well... Here I am at one of the most beautiful, gorgeous and romantic city in the world! 

You know, what one the most important thing to note is that Paris is much much much more beautiful than you could possibly seen in the movies, tumblr, pinterest or any other sites you name it. Before I arrive here, I have known that Paris is a super-mega gorgeous city and I have expected that; but when I see the whole city with my own eyes, it's even more than I've ever expected. I was so in an awe and it finally came into my mind that this city is more beautiful than London (though I'm still and always be an angliophile at heart). I don't know how to explain it with some proper adjectives, but it's the building, the blocks, the surrounding, the languages and the weather that makes your heart shivers.

You see? The colour of the city was just as beautiful as that; vintage touch with pastel overlay. Wait, that's the filter. But, really, you have no idea. When I saw La Tour Eiffel in the first blink, I could hardy believe that I finally made it. Never I thought, even in my dream to have any chance coming here, plus living here for two weeks; but, again, I'm always so thankful for my parents who love sending me abroad.

The Eiffel Tower was such a beaut, she stands proud over there and never looks down. The most gorgeous man-made structure. I can't stop looking and taking pictures of her and all the pics turned out like these and it hits me that even an amateur like me could produce such a masterpiece.

 Then we headed to Notre-Dame and this one pretty cathedral was my favorite so far. I didn't get inside because there was already a long queue, so I thought I will come again no later than this week. I need to stop procastinating coming here and there since there'll be a huge regret at the end if I take any single moment for granted like I did when I was in London.

The third stop: Arc de Triomph.
So, I found it to be such a super-loooong walk from the Metro Station to that mega-grand fancy gate and walking along the Champ-Élysées reminded me of Oxford Street but in the bigger scale. I didn't expect it to be so grand it totally gave me such a goosebumps; because those typical Parisian buildings in blocks were something you cant stop looking at. I love London so so so much, but this city steals my heart at once (only for the surrounding, because a few part in the city and metro just smelled like pee! And London Tube wins over every underground in the entire world.) It's still my fourth day here, and I can't wait to find more beaut to treasure.