Jujur

Aku ingin memulainya dengan sederhana.

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Ada satu masa, belakangan ini, ketika aku berpikir tentang diriku 5 tahun yang lalu, dan mengajukan pertanyaan bodoh pada diriku sendiri tentang akankah aku ingin kembali ke masa lima tahun yang lalu. Masa ketika aku masih bermimpi untuk menyentuh salju dan menjadi sutradara film. Saat semua hal hanya tentang hari esok, bukan masa lalu, saat setiap kali aku melangkahkan kaki ke sekolah, hatiku selalu berdebar karena excitement, karena mungkin aku akan terlambat, karena mungkin aku akan menemukan seseorang yang istimewa hari ini–seseorang yang, saat itu tidak pernah kusadari, sulit ditemukan. Saat ketika aku menyimpan harapan bahwa akan ada begitu banyak petualangan dan orang-orang yang punya click denganku hari itu ketika matahari terbit dan terus begitu hingga waktu yang tak bisa kujelaskan. Aku salah, kau tahu?

Seseorang yang click denganku, mereka, hanya sedikit kutemukan dari banyak manusia yang kukenal. Apalagi dari jutaan jiwa itu. Atau hanya karena waktu terlalu terbatas hingga aku tidak bisa mengenal semuanya, mengenal lebih banyak lagi, terhubung dengan lebih banyak lagi orang. Kupikir, masih beberapa masa yang lalu, itu tidak penting. Ha! Aku peduli, nyatanya. Aku takut di antara orang-orang yang berlalu-lalang, yang tak kukenal itu, ada orang-orang yang punya ‘this kind of connection’ denganku. Aku takut mereka juga tak menemukanku. Haha, lucu.

Tapi benarkah aku ingin kembali ke masa itu?

Tidak!

Meski terkadang aku merasakan sesak di dadaku karena merindukan Korea,— angin musim gugur yang berhembus, salju yang lembut dan hangat, Yang Sonsengnim, Mi Yeong Onni, Hyung Jung Oppa, murid-muridku, Kyeong Mi Onni, teman-teman Turki yang mengizinkanku dan Zaza bermalam di apartemen mereka ketika kami berdua bertualang berdua di Busan, jalan-jalan Myeongdong, Namhansanseong Fortress, banyak hal— kenangan indah di Korea University bersama Ha, Henri, Nannie, Jecel, Hazuki,— atau Champs de Elysee Paris yang padat, dingin, dan melelahkan, Eiffel yang sendu, dan Montmartre yang seperti mimpi– aku memilih untuk tidak menukarkannya dengan kembali ke masa lalu. Masa ketika aku masih sangat muda dan bodoh. Lucu, aku yang ini, mengatakan bodoh pada diriku yang dulu, yang masih belum matang. Individu kuat yang melalui semua masa peralihan itu untuk menjadi aku yang sekarang.

Aku tak mau kembali ke masa lalu lalu. Aku tidak pernah suka masa SMA—masa ketika hanya sedikit orang yang percaya dan tidak pernah melepaskan aku, masa ketika aku berada di tengah individu-individu yang tak pernah bisa kumengerti pembicaraannya dan tak mengerti maksud pembicaraanku, masa saat hanya beberapa orang yang menghargai apapun yang kuraih karena aku bukan karena achievement itu—, meski ada momen-momen penting dan bahagia tempat aku bersyukur aku memilikinya. Aku menyukai saat ini.

Kurasa aku juga telah sepenuhnya jatuh cinta dengan diriku yang ini. Yang penuh keyakinan, bahagia, mensyukuri, dan punya mimpi-mimpi yang besar. Seseorang yang merasa begitu bahagia karena telah meraih sebagian mimpi-mimpinya dan merasa yakin bahwa mimpi-mimpinya yang lain akan bisa ia raih. Dan terima kasih, teman-teman dekatku. Kurasa aku telah menemukan satu hal baru tentang diriku yang membuatku bahagia sekali lagi, dan aku menemukannya karena kalian. Kau yang punya cita-cita meraih perjalanan akademis menakjubkan ke Amsterdam, kau yang begitu mencintai Jepang dan menyimpan mimpi untuk ke sana, kau yang punya hati seorang dokter, kau yang terluka tapi bangkit, kau yang ikhlas dan setia, kau yang luar biasa cerdas, kau yang academically incredible and personally reliable, kau yang mengajariku arti persahabatan, individu-individu yang menakjubkan. Aku mencintai diriku karena kalian.

Kalian yang menarikku untuk belajar dari masa lalu, menikmati sepenuh hati masa kini, dan memandang optimis ke masa depan.

Aku ingin jujur,

aku sangat merindukan kalian.

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Left from Team Building, Group SoSix, Total Summer School 2009

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These what left, from a-one-day team building during Total Summer School 2009, Chantilly.

It was the first day of the summer school. They divided us into 10 teams, I was in number 6 team, and Emilien, a French, proposed ‘So Six’ to be the name of the team.

Thanks to this team building I got to know these wonderful individuals, Eftun, Sam, Lilo, Wang Jin (if I’m not mistaken), and others I forgot their names, but not their appearance. And thanks to this team building, I must endure the pain for the next one week due to physical challenges they gave.

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Paris, Paris, I Wish You Happiness, Forever, with the Tour de Eiffel, Forever

Oh Paris.

My Paris without Tour de Eiffel, what would you be?

An endless city of parties, dramas, stories.

I wanna hear a story, Paris.

A love story,

where you and the Tour de Eiffel were the main characters.

I give you my hands, Paris.

So Paris holds me, pushes me to a point where I can see Tour de Eiffel for the first time that very hot afternoon of the 30th of June, 2009. Tour de Eiffel was nothing more than a tower in my eyes. It was tall, cold, looked like an unfinished construction. I looked at it, a while and turn around. Fine, maybe I should come closer to feel your beauty. I need to hit my forehead to your body as I promised Zaza, my friend.

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As I walked closer to it, I saw this kind of modern monument, that looks like pillars, written in many kinds of language characters. I saw one pillar written Hangeul, the Korean character, on it and took its picture. I didn’t read carefully, I didn’t know what’s the meaning. When I’m back to Indonesia, I saw my picture and just shocked for what’s written on them. I’m touched for that moment. It’s 화평, peace.

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When I walked through the green field to take pictures, I saw lots of people and couples taking pictures, or simply sitting on the field covered by trees shadow, holding hands, or… haha, I didn’t know the rest. I didn’t pay that much attention. I walked faster toward Tour de Eiffel to touch it. But the time given by Total Summer School 2009 staffs was not enough. Before I could even get closer to it, I heard Alex blew the red horn, the taboo horn showing that we are late behind schedule. Doubtfully, I turned around and walked toward my bus. Still with curiosity and regret for not introducing my self to Tour de Eiffel and for not shaking hand with it. Tour de Eiffel was just a cold monument.

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Paris dragged me once more.

She said, I need to get to know Tour de Eiffel. So I, Yudi, and Tina, decided to go there once more. This time, night time. We got off in the Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel metro station, and walked to the tower. Dropped by a souvenir shop called souvenirsdeparis.fr for a while to shop where we could get a 10% off from Total and continued walking.

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I was petrified, I must say. For looking at the shiny sparkling golden omnipresence of the peak body of Tour de Eiffel. I even felt annoyed by my friends kept asking me to take their pictures while I still wanted to enjoy the panorama.

There were lots of people around Eiffel. Fast, we walked through the crowd to get closer to the Tour de Eiffel.

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Then there he was, Tour de Eiffel. Standing straight like a knight. Sparkling like thousands of stars covering his body. Knowing that he was the primadona of the night of Paris.

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Okay.

Now I need to hit my forehead to the body. Hahaha. So I tried hard to find his body but could not. I needed to go up to do that. So I decided to do that. So three of us decided to go up to the first and second floor by stairs. The price of the ticket was 4.5 Euros, but I and Tina paid only 3.5 Euros for we are under the age 24. Climbing up was not that much problematic. I enjoyed it, even though my energy left was only about 5 % hahaha, due to the climbing I did this noon in the Dome Crypte of A Notre Dame de Montmartre, a place on the hill where I can see Paris from above. Getting down through the stairs was much more problematic for me since I am afraid of height, as history records and as all of my close friends know.

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When I reached the first floor, my breath was fast and I was so tired, hahaha. But once I touched one part of Tour de Eiffel body, I felt refreshed. I did not only touch it, I hit my forehead to his body and hugged him tight. I was so happy and all excited.

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Picture by Tina

Hi, Eiffel!

We finally know each other.

I could feel that Tour de Eiffel was smiling to me. I know you will call me crazy or whatever, hahaha. I just did. And he was warm and very welcoming. Firm but tender.

Then we walked circling Eiffel and enjoyed the night view of Paris. How incomparable! The city of parties and lights. Paris keeps this kind of unspeakable romanticism, i think. Tour de Eiffel and the Seine River with its reflections of lights complete that romanticism.

We didn’t get to climb up to the second floor because it was the closing time, so we directly went down the stairs. There were lots of people around. It was very crowded, many people from various race, religion, and nationalities were there. Tourists or the key chain selling boys. But I still felt warm. Maybe I was just too tired and sleepy after this all adventure. Hahaha. I turned my head up once more to see Tour de Eiffel from below, enjoyed the sparkling star-like lights that on for 5 minutes,

“It’s nice to meet you”, I said, deep down my heart.

and went to the metro station. I didn’t even look back.

I envy you, Paris. For having Tour de Eiffel.

But for once, for that moment, let me be with Tour de Eiffel. Just the two of us.

Bistro Romain: Our Popular Culture

Funny.

I can’t stop laughing when I mention Bistro Romain.

All of us, participants of Total Summer School 2009, who was willing to stay at Paris for two more extension days, were given this lunch or dinner coupon for two days. And the restaurant written in the coupons was the one and only, Bistro Romain restaurant. Hahaha. So I and my friends spent that one last day of July 4, 2009, eating our lunch and dinner in that restaurant, hahahaha.

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They offered some sets of appetizer, main dishes, and deserts. I always went for the baked tuna and chocolate for desert. And honestly, the salad appetizer wasn’t that much raising your appetite. They offered this one kind of wine which of course I and Tina, my friend, rejected.

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I’m not saying I like Bistro Romain or not. I’m saying that I love the feeling I had when I was sitting there and fancied people from various backgrounds passing through the Champs de Élysée boulevard. There were Indians, Caucasians, Arabians, Chinese, Malays. I and Tina were sitting in the glassless window part of the restaurant. And I enjoyed that very much. Some beggars were asking for some Euros. Seeing that, a lady queuing for seats in front of the restaurant door was smiling at me. Her expression showed as if she was sorry for those beggars disturbed me. I smiled back at her as if saying, it’s okay, I can still enjoy Champs de Élysée.

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I was just eating and sitting there, seeing people passing by, and enjoyed the atmosphere to the fullest.

Montmartre

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Remember Amélie?

A French art movie where Audrey Tatou plays the main character. Her hometown is in Montmartre and the café she works in is also in Montmartre. I think I watched too many movies, hehe. I expected Montmartre to be only a comical fairy tale-like alleys or something. But when I got there with three of my friends, I realized that I got much more than what I expected.

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There are lots of kiosks selling books, souvenirs, restaurants, café, etc along the street. There were lots of street painters, musicians, and entertainers along the Montmartre alleys.

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At the end of the main alley, there was a church, St Pierre de Montmartre. We went there finally, hoping that we could climb up to the dome to see Paris from above.

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It was the wrong church. So we moved to the one right behind the church, then we found the right one.

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In this second church, they didn’t allow us to take any pictures. There was something funny about it though. The actually didn’t allow girls with open clothes to get into the church but allow me and other wearing head scarf Muslim entered it.

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We then went to the entrance to go to the Dome Crypte, a dome where you can see Paris from above. We paid 5 Euros to go there.

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Dear God! There was no elevator or lift. We all must climb the stairs to go to the dome. It wasn’t just stairs though. It was a circle stairs. An endless continuum of closed circle stairs. I imagine what if someone fell. He will never stop rolling through the stairs until he gets to the lowest floor. And what if something , like fire flames, or robbery, or murder, happen? The space of the stairs was too tiny, and I was scared. And the dome was surprisingly very high. I even thought for a while to have a short rest before continuing. Hahaha. But there was no way, the stair wasn’t a comfortable place to take some rest. It was tiring. But it was all worth it.

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On the dome, I saw an indescribable scene of Paris. City that full of buildings but is still beautiful for it having Tour de Eiffel and Tour Montparnasse.

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And the wind blew tenderly.

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La Gioconda, the Symbol of Male and Female, and the Rose Line

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Since I watched The Da Vinci Code the movie, Musee de Louvre has always been my dream place to go to. It’s not the movie actually. I just love museum. A place where they display highly recognized, mostly well crafted art works, the works and footprints of mankind’s cultures and histories. I love the idea that I can see directly those works crafted as a sign that there was such culture existed, long time ago, once only. I am amused by the concept that those art works have this kind of line crossing times and spaces that connects me to that someone creating the works. Like a flash of destiny.

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Musee du Louvre or the Louvre Museum is well-known of its pyramid shaped glass architecture in the middle of the surrounding buildings. I, and other 7 delegates from Indonesia, Indra, Tina, Adistra, Qnonk, Yudi, Dyota, and Asni, went there in an early morning of July 4. It was around 9 a.m. I guess. Our hostel was actually only 10 minutes walking distance from Musee du Louvre. And Paris was still early. It was quite and serene. I like it when I felt the breeze of the dawn city blew on my face and skin, genuinely refreshing. While my eyes never let go of each detail of the European style buildings.

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Musee du Louvre was special.

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It is always special for me. Why?

Because:

  • This is the only tourist destination in Paris in which we, complete, eight persons, delegates from Indonesia went to without any other delegates, without planner. It was just the eight of us. After that, the group split into two, one, which was my group (Me, Tina, Dyota, Asni), went to Montmartre, and two (Indra, Qnonk, Adistra, Yudi), went to a station in Paris.

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Picture by: A Korean Ajossi

  • I always know that I have this kind of destiny that ties me with one and only place, KOREA. Hahaha. Yep. I met some Koreans there and asked one of them to take pictures of me and my friends. I asked him in Korean, yaaay! Hahaha. You can call me crazy or wish me jumping forever for this, but I don’t care. I miss Korea. So much! And I miss the language. I could feel my blood burst with desire and excitement when I was talking to that ajossi (uncle) in Korean. Simply asking him to take our pictures and saying ‘thank you’ while bowing my head. Mwahahahahaha. So HAPPY!
  • I love to paint. And I love paintings. And going to Musee du Louvre was, for sure, the right place for me to enjoy paintings. There are hundreds of rooms in the Musee du Louvre, we got to go only to this one corridor and an exhibition room where they hang La Gioconda’, also well-known by ‘Portrait de Monna Lisa’ or simply called Mona Lisa painting, the most recognized art work of Leonard de Vinci. Some pieces I saw were mentioned in Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. It’s like a dream, painting. And seeing those art works was also bringing me to a world of dream, in which unlimited imaginations and desires exist. I enjoyed it. It was really fun, even if it was only a short time.

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I, my self, and some others did not believe, though, that it was the real Mona Lisa painting that they hang there. I felt that it was impossible because they let people took pictures of the painting. The flash and other form of lights are actually affecting the painting. They could change the color of the painting. And if so, how excruciatingly interesting I imagine, when the France government or whoever knows about it, laughing for seeing us and other visitors amused by this ‘fake Mona Lisa’, taking pictures, so excited because they think they see the real piece. Like a group of idiots. I know, now I must control my self not to imagining more things. We all can get hurt.

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  • The Rose Line. I’ve heard about this one line stretching straight from the North Pole to the South Pole crossing Paris. A legend. A line showing some kind of sign where ‘the Rose’, Maria Magdalena lies. It’s not the Maria Magdalena actually, once more. It’s just me, the one who likes this idea of legend beyond sensible facts and realities. Brings me and us, human, to a realization about how limited our brain is, and how unlimited this one world that exists beyond senses. There are some spots of the Rose Line in France. There are two spots around Musee du Louvre, but I found only one. It is written ARAGO on top of the round gold point on the floor. I was amazed. For seeing and touching it directly.

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  • The Male and Female Symbol. In my last day in Paris, July 5, 2009, I came back to Musee du Louvre in order to find this Male and Female Symbol lying in one spot in the museum, I didn’t know where. I and three other Indonesian delegates decided to spend our last minutes in Paris to find that symbol. The starting point would be the Palais Royal Musee du Louvre metro station, and then, nothing. That was all we got. So we started getting into the metro station, picked randomly any sortie (exit) and walked through it. We found this one underground shopping centre and a very long in queuing line to another entrance door to the Musee du Louvre. I wonder why there were so many people before Dyota told me that it was the first weekend of the month and entering the Musee du Louvre will be free of charge. No wonder. I walked following the line of people in queuing, and in the long distance, at the end of the corridor, I saw this sparkling upside down glass pyramid there. I called Dyota and others and pointed the pyramid. We walked fast toward it. And right in front of the entrance door, there it was, laying there the well-known symbol of male and female. The sun makes it through the glass pyramid. Therefore makes these colorful rainbow reflections on the floor I was standing. Beautiful.

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