How London Has Changed Me

I remember that time when I told one of my friend at class, that this summer I will be going back to England, she went all excited because she knew how much England meant to me, but then she asked again, "But, London again? Why?"
Confused, I asked back, "Why why?"
"No, I mean, this is going to be your third time, right? Like, instead of a place you've been before, why don't you pick a new one?"

Most of the times, I got quiet for a second after being asked with that kind of question. But then, all I can give for the answer is only, "I don't know, London feels like home. A home far away from home."

The more I think about it, the simpler it gets.
I don't know if you knew, four years ago when I was only 17, my parents impulsively sent me there for almost half a year. I had zero expectation. I even had no idea what London would look like beside Big Ben, Harry Potter and Royal Wedding. But I was extremely excited about it, two months of preparation felt like forever because I couldn't wait for all the adventure ahead of me. Was I scared, if you ask me? Not at all.
I was only excited. This is London, after all.

But because it happened after graduating high school, where I supposed to continue my education to university, so there were actually people who went, "Are you sure? You're going to waste your time." or like, "Is that necessary?" and honestly I got so annoyed that time. Will I waste my time? I'm still 17, it's a young age, and I finished one of my responsibilities which is finishing school. Does it mean if I'm taking a gap year I'm going to waste my time?
Then, one night I talked to Mum and there she said, "Do you know if the time wasted for new experiences and leaving your comfort zone is not wasting time?"
and that hit me hard enough until I can remember that I smiled so wide I almost exploded with excitement. My mum is right, completely right.
So, off I went to London. And the rest is history.

Well, not really.

The thing is, the reason why I'm so obsessed with London, not because any reason such as Union Jack flying high is cool and fancy, or any English football clubs, or The Beatles, or anything related to Double Decker, Red Phone Box etc are cool (though THEY ARE); but it's simply because I truly had the best time of my life there.
Out of expectation.
Beyond my imagination.
They just happened.

I met so many amazing people, that forever will be friends of life. I experienced things on my own, which I think I was young enough to live alone without my parents or any Indonesian relatives/friends. I witnessed differences, and I learned how beautiful differences are. And I couldn't thank my 17-years-old-self enough for making the right decision.

For the first two weeks at my new school, I completely felt out of box. It wasn't easy when those cool new friends won't be friend with you just because what you wear. Believe me when I say I felt so inferior, it was only two of thousand students who wear Hijab and one of them was me. But, then I moved to a new class and met Daniel my coolest teacher ever, Yusuke, Petra, Kim, Yvette, Angelica, Mari, Richard, Tiago and the list goes on and on who kept saying that I'm the cutest girl they've ever seen (yes, they really said that to everyone, even to my crush omg). 

Or that one night once I got off my train, I heard a woman screaming infront of me and later on I realized that there was a man, lying at the opposite, empty rail road, crying helplessly, then soon I realized that he was going to commit suicide. I stopped dead, completely shock. I heard another woman screamed, "Help him!" and there were a few men running and finally took him back to the platform. 
It wasn't a nice memory, I know, but when I called Mum and told her about it, she said, "It is one of the moment when you may reflect on what you have in your life, DekKamu bersyukur, kamu punya Tuhan, tempat untuk pulang dan bercerita. That He keeps you safe, stay in faith, everywhere."
I don't think I can ever forget that day, but I hope wherever you are, Mr. Man, you're living your life full of love and happiness right now.

Or, another one, when my aunt, Ellen, invited me to spend a weekend break at her house in British countryside, Bourton-on-the-Water and she and her family took me everywhere, like literally everywhere, from the cutest countrysides like Stratford-upon-Avon, Stow, to Bath until taking me to a birthday lunch of one of their friends. Yes, a real British family and the whole day I spent there was super fun and I didn't feel like I was a stranger they just met. It felt like they've known me well for a long time and it just made me feel so welcomed... and loved.

And finally, it's the little thing that makes everything so special. Getting on and off the buses or tube, grocery shopping at Tesco/Sainsburrys, walking around the park, cycling with the friends, ordering a cup of hot choco in cold winter nights, bookshopping at Waterstones or even just sitting at the corner of a coffe shop and watching people walk-by. Those little things. Most of the days I feel like missing it so much it physically hurts. I often wonder why too, there are those people who went for a longer time, but not as pathetic as me. Is it because I was young back then? Or is it because I'm completely tired of my homecountry? Or what?

Again, it alwaaays feels like home once I step back onto London's ground. It feels so good when I look around and see red double deckers over here, red phone boxes over there and british accent everywhere around me. 

So, after such a long post, I want to say that it's simply because London has helped me becoming the way I am today. If you're looking at me now, those experiences which had completely shaped the girl infront of you. I'm not saying I've became the best person once I got back, no. But, the girl that is curious, fearless enough toward new things and experiences, spontaneous and got so many dreams to chase; she met herself when she lived on her own in London.
She didn't waste her time, you see. It was still the best time of her life and have you known that it's been only good things happened after she got back from London three years ago. 

London has been the best thing that ever happened to me so far and most probably it will never change.