Hey guys! It’s been a helluva ride in the past few days for me. If you follow me on social media, you may already know that I’m recently engaged :) THANK YOU for the prayers and congratulations <3
This post is going to be really long (you’ve been warned), and it’ll partially be about how he did it, partially about the stops we made throughout our 3-day-2-night getaway to Bandung. You may skip right ahead to part deux: the places we went, but you can also read from the beginning till the end. Hopefully between my wordiness you’ll find inspiration from the cusp of our 3-year-7-month journey together. As to why I’m blogging about it, it’s because this is an important chapter of
my our life that I want to keep alive forever :)
Names are changed for privacy reasons.
It all began when I got sick on the first day of the new year. He was having lunch with his team and I couldn’t join. I only told him later in the day that I was very hot.
After taking me to the hospital on January 1st, he fed me with porridge, made sure I took my medicines, and went home when my health’s improved. The next morning, he stopped before work. He woke me up when he checked my forehead to see if I was still hot.
My stomach was still rumbling with air. It was like a whirlwind inside and I just couldn’t get up to see his face. I was exhausted, though my body temp has went down to normal. Since I still couldn’t open my eyes, he talked to me in my ears and asked, “Babe, do you want to come with the team on our office trip to Bandung? They’ll be bringing their partners along, so I want you to come too.”
“Oh okay. Kok tiba2 (Why the sudden trip; what’s with the sudden trip)?” I murmured, clutching my shriveling stomach.
“We’ve just never done it before. And you know what? Eddy’s got a girlfriend!”
“Wow really? With that Betty girl you guys keep teasing him about?”
“Yeap! Only Jason is single now … hahaha. Betty lives in Bandung (and Eddy’s from Bandung too), so it’s going to be a couples retreat plus Jason.”
“Hahaha, okay. Yay!” I could feel he leaned closer as I was giving him a hug.
I thought it’ll be fun to bond with the team for a full weekend, since it’ll strengthen the spirit of the company. They’ll come back more refreshed for the year ahead, and I was just excited to get out of the city this early in the year.
We talked some more about the week’s plans and stuff until he told me to go back to sleep, kissed my forehead, and went off to work.
* * * * * * * * * *
A few nights before we leave, he texted me to suggest I pack a jacket for the cooler weather in Bandung as well as a formal outfit for a nice restaurant we’ll be going. I trust that we’ve got a solid itinerary by then, so I had no questions.
* * * * * * * * * *
The night before we leave, I WAS ATTACKED BY MOSQUITOES AGAIN. I may have dried cloves nearby and massaged a drop of clove oil all over my face and neck, but it doesn’t stop them from whizzing by my ears. They only stopped biting.
By 4am I gave up tossing and turning. It didn’t get any easier. I ended up finishing this novel I was reading. I’m not going to tell you what’s the title until I blog about it, but the ending of the book is relevant here.
It’s about a couple who’ve known each other since forever, but only reconnected recently. In the epilogue, they’ve been together for 4 months, and they were on a plane ride to their buddies’ wedding. “Is it bad form after only 4 months to tell you I think you’re my forever?” the girl asked as she’s about to drift off to sleep. The guy smiled, kissed, and kissed her again.”I would say that’s incredibly good form.”
He pulled back to watch her sleep.
She woke up with a text message from him, who was sitting right next to her: “What are you wearing?”
She was still half-awake when she saw the message. They exchanged a couple of texts then about what they did last night and how she’s wearing no panties and all … before she turned her head and asked him, “You woke me up to ask me what I’m wearing?”
The guy shook his head as he typed another message: “I love you.”
“I love you, too. I’m right here, you nerd. I’m not texting a reply.”
He smiled, but kept typing. “You’re my forever too.”
She felt her heart beating harder.
“And I might propose to you soon.”
She read the text again and again.
“Okay,” she whispered.
“So give me a heads-up if you won’t say yes, because I’m mildly terrified.”
His hands were shaking.
“Don’t be,” the girl said. “We’ve totally got this.”
I let out a huge sigh of satisfaction as I do with every good book I finish, and continued browsing the Internet to find out more about the author, the characters, and what others thought of the book. That’s when I decided to blog about it, because any girl deserves to look into it for reasons I’ll be talking about in another post.
I almost drifted off to sleep with my iPad a couple of times, but each time I’ll hear those whiney mosquitoes pestering me to remain awake.
“Out of all the nights mosquito-free … tonight I had to fight the buzzing in my ears” I texted him out of extreme frustration at 05:09am.
It’s still early in the day and we’re going at 11. I didn’t have enough brainpower to blog, didn’t have enough energy to strike a pose, and really had nothing else to do then.
Eventually I fell asleep after I used an insecticide spray. It was around 6 (more on the spray on another post), and I successfully slept for 3.5 hours.
* * * * * * * * * *
By 1pm, I was super nauseous from the restless night. I sat on the front seat of his car, with Jason and Eddy in the back. Everything was a blur and a pain. So many times I felt like puking. We pulled to a rest area and he bought tons of stuff from the mart – medicated oils, balms, Tolak Angin, even peanuts (’cause I’m nuts about nuts). I felt so much better after massaging the oil across my temples and kept on sniffing on it. But the social jet lag ensued – I was tired, but I wasn’t sleepy.
‘Blank Space’ came on the radio, and he turned the volume up. I giddied up immediately and sang and danced with the medicated oil in one hand.
He then suggested I play 1989 for the rest of the ride. I had every song on my Android, so we listened to them on shuffle all the way.
The eucalyptus and peppermint in the oil had been a huge help, but T-Swift was the one who really got me back up.
* * * * * * * * * *
By 4pm, I was completely drowsy. We’ve all checked in to our hotel, drove around Bandung, and got back to our rooms to rest for a bit. Eddy went home to freshen up and go pick up Betty. We’ll get together again at 7ish for the nice dinner my baby mentioned.
In the hotel room, my eyes have turned pink and was tearing constantly from all the yawns. “Go to sleep, babe,” he said while slurping on Mie Naripan. So I did.
At around 6.30pm, I woke up with him caressing me by my side. “You look beautiful when you’re asleep.” He rested by my side, and I rolled over to embrace him, still with my eyes closed. His arms found a way around me as well.
He said it’s about time we get ready. I said okay, murmuring how the nap was so good, but we both didn’t move a muscle. He was stroking my head as I was talking about the book I finished last night (or that morning?). Because of the story in the book, I owned up as a woman to him that in all romantic relationships I’ve seen, if women don’t create the problems, the relationship will be just fine. And he was like giving off a laugh and said, “Then I’m glad the book made a good illustration about that.”
I was also telling him how the ending went. I couldn’t remember the exact text messages at that time, but I told him the guy was texting her something like “I’m about to propose, and I’m nervous and excited at the same time.”
He told me a representative has just contacted him to feature his company on their outlet. They asked for details and he decided to talk about it with the team later. “Yay! Congratulations, baby,” I said. I also told him about a work-related relationship that has just bloomed earlier during the week when he said, “Yay! Congratulations baby” to me too.
Somewhere in between our pillow talk and the caresses, he looked into my eyes, smiled, and said, “I love you,” to which I smiled back and said, “I love you too,” as we’ve always done.
* * * * * * * * * *
When we met up with everybody at the restaurant, I immediately felt embarrassed because I felt like my baby and I were the only ones overdressed.
It was a French & Italian bistro, and though we’re too dolled up, turns out we fit the ambiance just fine. Babe and I sat across Eddy and Betty, and Jason was constantly teased because he no longer had a “companion”. The pair are basically the laughing stock in the team, but I figured tonight is about everybody meeting Eddy’s girl for the first time.
* * * * * * * * * *
Out of the 9 of us, 4 brought digital cameras, including myself. Amanda and his boyfriend, Dante, are bloggers as well. Stewart brought his macro, and we were all gawking at his results compared to ours. Right after we made our orders, we scouted the area for photo sites, while Stewart took his son’s hand throughout the rooftop, sometimes stopping to take pictures of him.
Our tables were at the outdoor area of Belle Vue. It offers a panoramic view of Bandung. I basked into the breezy moonlit air, while the other 3 camera holders were trying to capture a close-up of a spider web. I was out of the question because my aperture was the smallest of all, plus it’s nighttime. I sweated my way to not move or breathe when taking pictures of the impressive architecture of GH Universal, but to no avail.
Eventually I realized I was the only one still trying to capture the dome and the courtyard area against the night sky. My baby called me from behind to say my duck confit was waiting for me. We camera holders moved on to capture our foods.
* * * * * * * * * *
Amanda ordered a chocolate mousse and I decided to order a dessert too. My baby asked if anybody still wants to continue to get dessert and if so, here or some place else. Stewart was like, “It’s getting late. If you guys want to get a dessert, get it here.” Since BelleVue is open 24 hours, it’s best to stay where we were instead of worrying about the places that are still open in Bandung. So I had my cherry on top, but it turned out too sweet after just a few bites.
After we’re all done with the sweet stuff, I went to the restroom. I got out to find only the women left sitting on the tables. “The guys are having a little meeting for work,” said Amanda. Perhaps it’s about the media feature my baby mentioned earlier, I thought. So she, Betty, and I got down to chatting about blogging stuff and how Eddy and Betty met, when Melissa (Stewart’s wife) appeared to call us out. She said the guys were at the back site of the rooftop and it’s a good place to take a picture of everyone, since it’s a more open space compared to our seating area. So we packed and go.
* * * * * * * * * *
We walked toward the photo site. I had a hard time organizing my stuff so my DSLR would fit the limited space in my small Prada Boston. And so I was the last girl, behind Betty and Amanda.
When I looked up, I saw Eddy hiding behind a tree on the far right, Dante behind another, Jason on the far left and Stewart as well. Amanda, Betty, and Melissa were heading toward a corner on the right for whatever reason. I was still walking behind them while staring at all of them half-staring, half-smiling at me. I was confused. From where I was standing, I guess it’ll be a great shot. I unzipped my bag again to retrieve my camera, when suddenly …
My baby came out of nowhere in front of me.
He got down on one knee … and began telling me beautiful and wonderful things in stutters – things that only we know, spoken in broken chords that only I could understand, and that every word I’ve forgotten 99% about as I’m writing this.
The only thing I remember was how we was making me feel – how my heart stopped, how my tears are slowly trickling down my right cheek, how his kind face spoke truths that I could see glimmering in his eyes, how everything else around us dissolved into the night, how his hands embraced mine tighter as time stopped, and what was actually happening the moment he said, “I’m nervous and excited at the same time.”
Eyes closed, I nodded little by little before my mouth could deliver what my flipping heart have already answered. I opened my eyes slowly. He was still waiting for an audible answer.
“Yes,” I squeaked, and I kept on nodding repeatedly. It came out more like a whisper than it is a proper word … but he heard it. It was a “Yes” that only he could hear, the one that the 7 other people witnessing us did not catch. He got up and tried to put it on my left finger because I handed my right … but he said it’s on the left … everybody said it’s on the left … I have no idea until then!!!
* * * * * * * * * *
It’s about Love
During the 30-minute car ride back to our hotel, we held hands and didn’t let go. I didn’t spoke a word, still trembling in a mixbag of shock and surprise, plus a thousand more emotions crashing through all these thoughts running in my head. Is this real? Am I imagining things? What does his friends really think of me? Does his family really approved of me? What will my family think of this? What will our future be from here? I will be his wife. Will I be a good wife? OMG I’m going to be a wife. I gently gripped his hand tighter with every thought, checking each time to see if all this really just happened, and his fingers reacted firmly at every grip, almost as if helping me to secure my thoughts.
When we got back into our hotel room, we stood there and hugged for what felt like hours.
“Did it all just happened?” I asked
“Yes, babe. They did.”
“How do you feel?”
“Nervous … but excited,” I could feel him grinning as I stroked his back.
“I don’t know how I feel. I have no words for it,” I held on tighter.
“I know. Your hug tells me enough,” he answered.
I pulled him even closer, even tighter. I wished we could feel each other’s hearts like this forever.
“Can we stay like this forever?”
His shoulders, already bigger than mine, now felt as if they were built for my frame, and I fit in there perfectly like a tortoise in its shell. It’s the most comfortable place in the world.
“I’m so lucky, you know?”
“I’m lucky too,” he pulled back to look into my eyes.
“It’s just … I didn’t see this coming. I gave up the idea of marriage, then you came. I didn’t know what I do to deserve this,” I broke down. “What we have is rare, and now I don’t want to lose you.”
I started crying, trembling, yet still digesting that this is reality as I was pulling him back into my embrace. The man whose heartbeat I’m feeling is going to be my husband. What have I ever done, Jesus, to deserve a love like this?!
And so we kept standing there, talking, hugging, stroking each other’s head. He painted a picture of me in his eyes throughout our 3-year 7-month relationship, how he thinks I far underestimate myself, how much of an impact I’ve really made in his life, and just how happy he is whenever he’s with me. He had thought about marriage for the past year … and it took the whole year (and the most tumultuous one yet for us, but also the most determining one) to convince him I’m the one.
“This is real,” I repeated. We pulled back to look at each other and summoned the happiest smile.
“We’re going to build a harmonious family together,” each of his hand holding mine.
“We’re going to build a harmonious family. It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to build a harmonious family together,” I repeated again, him nodding with me.
Hands still held, we walked toward the full-length mirror and reflected upon our image.
“Now it’s no longer about me,” I said. “It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Things I only realized later
It all happened so quickly, and have no idea of any of it – zero suspicion, nada. At many points, the others suspected I suspected, but my baby cupped my face in the end and loved the tiny little “Yes” I mustered :)
- God’s timing. Even after arguing so much about our future together, I didn’t really see it coming any time this soon. In retrospect, I think it’s God doing His part in making me unwell when it’s only been 3 weeks into the new year. If I didn’t get sick, I would probably have joined the team during their lunch in the new year, and they wouldn’t have the extra time outside work to plan out all this.
- We were the highlight of the night, ergo the text message from my baby to bring a nicer outfit plus the sweater. The sweater was only a distraction, since I’ve been to Bandung a couple of times and I know I had to bring something to keep me warm. Stewart was like, “I thought by the time we arrived at GH Universal it was already so obvious. I was afraid you already knew then.” He later mentioned that he didn’t even bring his macro camera on a recent family trip to Sydney. But I just thought his son was so cute … (and therefore camera-worthy).
- He’s very predictable (though many times really surprising). Regarding the office trip, Jason was like, “You are the one who knew him for 3+ years now … do you see your baby as the spontaneous type?” I shook my head, smiling sheepishly. Then again, at times he is spontaneous. I just assumed since his whole team are quite spontaneous, he joined along.
- “Work meeting,” said Amanda. Yeah right ;)
- My mom and dad knew about this over a month before. No wonder my mom didn’t ask any more questions when I said I’ll be going on a trip with my baby to Bandung and a few more friends. Usually she’ll ask the specifics, the duration, the people and all that. But she just said okay and take care. My dad was the surprising one … he just came home one day and wanted to talk to me about what I want, whether or not I’ll be married. Turns out my babe’s gotten in touch with the both of them and asked for their blessings. Not permission – but blessings.
- It was a 3-day trip because he didn’t want me to suspect a thing. In other words, “Office trip” is BS lol. He thought I’ll start suspecting if it’s a one-day trip and I had to wear fancy dress and he wearing fancy shoes and everybody else carrying fancy cameras and all that. We had to stay overnight and enjoy the whole weekend in Bandung. But it did turned out like an office trip though. All of us grew closer and were enjoying ourselves.
- It wasn’t that he had no plans – it was that he had it all planned out and he didn’t want to ruin the big surprise. Weeks before, we had another one of those big fights about our future. Throughout the past year, just as he was seeing whether I’m the one, I’ve been wondering whether he’s serious about us and our future or not. Even though I haven’t had a doubt about his feelings for me, I just don’t see him making anything concrete about all the wonderful things we’ve talked about wanting to have together. I suggested we make plans together so many times, and he agreed to do so on other matters. But this, us, he just wanted me to trust him. I’m glad I did … even though it’s impossible to not wonder, “He loves me and he knows I love him. Why is it so hard for him to share his burden?”
- That said, every hour leading to the moment, he had planned to make sure I feel good. So he panicked a bit when he received my mosquito text message, and suggested he fetch Eddy and Jason first instead of me so I could sleep a bit more. All the medications for my nausea, the nuts, and later a Grande spearmint green tea from Starbucks plush a cheesy quiche. T-Swift was a spur-of-the-moment thing he’s confident about that can make me feel better, while suggesting the team to move all the street food plans for the next day was intentional XD
- God’s hands. But not sleeping much and finishing the novel wasn’t intentional. Neither were the work-related blessings. Since I don’t believe in coincidences, it had to be God. I’ve been wanting to finish it for weeks but just never got around to it. When I told my babe about the story, he said it’s “new material” that he can use lol. He pondered on the idea of texting me that he’s nervous and excited at the same time while I was in the restroom, but then thought again because I’d probably leave my phone in my bag and wouldn’t be checking on it throughout the dinner. Which I did. But still, this is not the first time He’s done something hands-on with our relationship, and we believe He’ll never stop making everything happen for good reason.
Belle Vue @ GH Universal
We all kept talking about the possibility, or rather, the impossibility of an ambiance this good to exist in Jakarta: It’ll be so crowded, and non-smokers won’t enjoy the outdoor area like we did. Even if it’s successfully implemented in the Big Durian, you simply cannot imagine how overpriced it’ll be. The air we breathed was priceless (and believe me – I’m not biased. Out of the 9 of us, 3 are from Bandung).
If you haven’t, you should go see the video tour of the hotel too. It’s priceless.
(Open 24 hours!)
If you’ve been to Bandung, I’m sure you’ve been to Batagor Kingsley as well. As you can see, it’s changed A LOT. Aside from a snack store to your left (from the entrance), they’ve now added space on their storefront for vendors to rent. You can find various juices and iced desserts for a hot day, but yeah, as Kingsley has grown, opening up more space for rent is definitely smart business.
Jl. Veteran No. 25
+62 (0)22 420 7104
Follow @KingsleyBatagor on Twitter
F – W 08:00am – 09:00pm
Dusun Bambu Family Leisure Park
Someone’s really enjoying taking pictures of his
girlfr fiancé ;))
Anyways. The Bandungers among us said that this is a fairly recent establishment that’s increasingly becoming a hot topic. The founders were the same people who brought you Kampung Daun, so even though technically it’s an eco conservatory, expect a lot of Sundanese cultural roots embedded throughout the 15-hectare park.
M – S 10:00am – 10:00pm
Okay. It doesn’t matter whether you’re with your family, your friends, or your partner – you have to visit Atmosphere. Super chill, super relaxing. The food was great and there’s live music. But the best part was its huge garden area on the first floor, which I only found out later after we had our dinner. We were seated at one of the cushioned floor seatings upstairs, and we spent a few good hours finishing our foods and playing another round of BANG (the previous night, also the night of the proposal, we played a 3-hour game). Twice the time I became the sheriff, but twice I completely guessed my deputies wrong!! (This is a good intro of the game, but basically everyone in the game must protect or pretend to protect the sheriff). We kept munching on the nibbles served with the chocolate fondue throughout the game, and it was delicious. Too bad no picture because I couldn’t wait to play another round of BANG, lol.
S – F 11:00am – 12:00am
Sa 11:00am – 01:00am
As I’ve briefly mentioned in Part 1, we got Mie Naripan as a takeaway and eat it in our hotel rooms. I couldn’t remember exactly why, but at that time I just thought Stewart’s son was having his nap, and I was going to sleep as well, so we sleepers would still get a taste of the noodles in spite of our preference for dreams.
It turned out so-so. The noodles tasted bland. Give it a try and let me know what you think, because they have a branch too in Jakarta.
Jl. Naripan No. 108
+62 (0)22 420 5516
Follow @mienaripan on Twitter
M – S 07:30am – 10:00pm
The thing with having meals with normal people is that you have to be considerate when it comes to taking pictures of food – people come in hungry. But whenever I go to foodie meetups and tasting gatherings, we can take all the time in the world to take pictures, even styling the foods and placing them under better lighting.
I don’t feel good if I do that during our visit. So even though I’ve already taken several pictures of our mie merapis under the dim lights, nothing came out good enough for me to post up here :( Sorry guys, but hey, Mie Merapi is definitely a must-try, particularly for spicy-food enthusiasts.
You basically get to choose from many different preps of noodles (anything from mie katsu to mie juara sedunia, or literally meaning the best noodles in the world) and 3 types of broths (merapi, kare, and the clearest kampung). But what’s the point of picking the latter 2 when you ‘re visiting all the way from out of town, right? So after your choice of noodles and merapi, you get to pick your spiciness level from a 0 to 10. 10!!!
I had a level 1 (don’t laugh) and I was already gulping down lava and burping a volcanic breath. But the broth was rich, full of spices and simply divine.
M – S 10:00am – 10:00pm
Mie Rica Kejaksaan
Perhaps it’s because I only tried this as a next-day meal. I had it re-heated for breakfast once we got back to Jakarta, and I thought the spicy sauce was good. The noodles itself are just okay. We’ve got plenty of street-food noodles here in Muara Karang that are worth traveling cross-cities for, but I’d give Mie Rica another try on-location.
Paskal Hyper Square Ruko B-72
Jl. Pasirkaliki Blok B No. 25-27
+62 (0)22 423 1268
M – S 08:00am – 02:00pm (lunch)
M – S 04:30pm – 08:00pm (dinner)
This is the second time I brought multiple boxes of Evieta Klappertaart back home to Jakarta for my family. We found it while we were getting some cash at the BCA across the street.
Evieta had both dry and cold types of klappertaarts. With the cold one, there’s only 1 kind and it can go unspoiled for up to 16 hours before you have to store it in the fridge. The cold one is my favorite, as you can really taste the meat of the coconut and the fragrance of the rum … not to mention the sweet mother of cheese and the sliced almonds topping. Yes, those 4 major ingredients of klappertaart happens to be my favorite foods individually. Who knew together they can taste even better?
This time I also brought home the dry version. It’s a bit different, but also delicious. With the dry one you can choose to have 4 servings of 1 kind per box, or 4 servings of 4 different kinds per box. I choose the latter, and the 4 kinds are just different toppings: The original, raisins, almonds, and cheese. I still prefer the freezed version for reasons I mentioned, but if someone offered me a box of Evieta’s dry klappertaarts as a gift (and only Evieta’s, because I’ve seen those from other places and they’re not as appetizing), I’ll gladly accept it.
Jl. Ir H. Djuanda No. 81
+62 (0)22 9163 5959
Prima Rasa Bakery & Pastry
I’m glad we came here, even though we were in a rush to go back to Jakarta to make it for a wedding that night. It was so crowded as well.
Prima Rasa is basically a homey bakery and snacks shop people go to to get some souvenirs. Picture Eaton of Jakarta, only with a less commercialized feel. They even have a decent cafe on the second floor, Herb & Spice. If we had time I would’ve stayed longer to read all the books on its shelves and order a blueberry ice cream. But hey, their baked goods were great. They’re known for their brownies, and I’ve had them in the past. This time I had some nicely packaged oat bars, some spinach-flavored cheese sticks, and a pandan and sticky rice flavored cake to go, but trust me, they’ve got tons more goodies for you to grab.
Jl. Pasirkaliki No. 163
+62 (0)22 612 0777
M – S 08:00am – 09:00pm
Have you been to any of these places in Bandung? Any favorites, perhaps ones that I haven’t listed here? Feel free to share on the comments section below. And as always, thank you for reading (especially those of you who’ve read the whole darn thing!! lol).