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Real life begins.

Everything went by so fast. I was constantly on the move for the past 3 days, and it’s all for a life-changing 18-hour flight from SFO to CGK, the flight I’ve taken so many times, but this last one marks a new chapter of my life.

It’s the wee hours right now where I’m at, specifically 3:41am, and this is officially the first time I experience a jet lag from all my flights back to Jakarta. (On the flip side, it normally takes up to a week of adjustment until I go back to the normal routines according to the local time in San Francisco). I rarely, or never, have a jet lag whenever I come back. The usual always goes like this: I landed, I activate my phone, I got in touch, and immediately makes plans right on that day and the days after. However, this time, my whole body hurts from everything that happened while I was still in San Francisco.

On Wednesday, which was my last day of school, my boyfriend reminded me that it’s a midnight flight. That means, even though my flight is on August 10, I have to go to the airport on August 9. Therefore, all my plans have to shift a day early because I was so careless. I’ve been on this midnight flight countless times, how could I forget?

From Cute Overload.

I was so tired from a whole week of less-to-no-sleep from finishing all my final projects and assignments in school, and I haven’t really packed my luggages, not even cleaning the apartment at all. I got off from my last class at about 3:00pm. I was beyond lethargic. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and lose myself, yet I know I shouldn’t be doing that. I forced my bloodshot eyes to stay open, and I hastily started throwing out trash, vacuuming the carpet, mopping the kitchen floor, wiping the tables, glasses, windows, et cetera, until late at night.

August 9th. Early in the morning I got my apartment manager to look around so that I got my deposit check back. Then I went off to cut my bangs. After that I went to buy another huge cardboard box to repack my art and all my art supplies. Apparently there’s a minimum cardboard size to send to Indonesia. In the end there was no way to send my heaviest 18×24″ art pieces by air mail like I planned, since I couldn’t pack them unless I fold them all, which would ruin all the drawings and paintings. So I packed these things on the bottom of my biggest luggage. After I finished packing that one last box I immediately went to the nearest post office to send it. That would be my last package out of a total of 5 packages I air mailed. Phew, and that was just the air mail done.

Before that, I went to Office Depot to purchase heavy duty tapes as I ran out of it, and on my way I stopped by ComCast to discontinue my service. Apparently everything in the States is done on the phone, so in the end, I’ve wasted my time going there in the first place. I remembered that was around 4:00pm already, and my shuttle will be arriving at my doorstep at 7:00pm. Every time I got the urge to panic, I restrained myself and continued doing whatever I was doing.

I called every service provider at once and cancel them right away, except my phone service. I still need it to wait for a phone call from my shuttle when it arrives later at 7. But I did called T-Mobile and, as always, different customer service said different things. I don’t even want to discuss any of that. So after all that phone call I just resumed cleaning and packing. I rushed through everything. I had an extra large luggage, another large one, and a slightly smaller one. All 3 of them are obviously overweight, but there was no more time. I locked my last baggage and promptly the shuttle service called. Everything fell into place at the right time. But wait… there’s more.

I’m practically holding my breath the whole time. I thought if I went to the airport early I’ll have lots of time to kill (a.k.a. sleep). Yet my large baggage broke once I reached the airport. It’s too heavy. So I panicked for a while, then bought a new baggage that’s slightly smaller than the one that was broken, and had to repack my stuff from there again. In the end, I added 1 more carry-on into the collection of 2 hand-carries I was holding. What’s more – the airport trolley was so small that I could only fit the extra-large luggage and the slightly small luggage on it, and everywhere in the airport I go I had to push the trolley toward the direction I wanted to go, and then walked back my previous steps to pull the broken luggage along to my trolley. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I didn’t even care anymore when everybody was looking at me. I was too exhausted to care. So yes, I repacked, and I had a total of 3 luggages and 3 carry-ons then.

The last trouble came around during check-in. My extra-large baggage was severely overweight (practically as heavy as I am), and there was no way I’m cashing out US$2,000 just to pay every kilogram my baggage was overweight. So I bought another baggage and repacked, again. Now, I have 4 baggages to check-in and 3 carry-ons. I think the person behind the counter pitied me and just let me go away with 3 carry-ons, because the maximum was supposed to be 2. I thank God that I’m an Elite Silver Krisflyer (meaning I’ve travelled over 25,000 miles in the past year with Singapore Airlines). I’m guessing that membership status was the one thing that got me a ticket to these service benefits above everyone else in the Economy class.

Wait, we’re still not done with all the heavy-lifting. Like I said, dragging my 3 carry-ons with me everywhere I go. My shoulders started to hurt already even before I fly. The pain really kills me most during airport security checks, when I had to take off everything and repack everything back to its places. The last thing I had to do was call my phone service to finally discontinue my prepaid account. As it turned out, all my troubles of waiting till the last minute (because when I called in a day ago I was instructed to call at the moment I want to discontinue. No, it doesn’t go the way that you and the customer service plan a specific time to discontinue the service like the person at the store said a few days ago when I stopped by; you have to call only when you want to discontinue). This person on the line told me: “Your service will automatically discontinue on the 27th of August, because you still balance in your account.” Ohmigosh, that just means I didn’t have to wait all the way till half an hour before I fly to call them in the first place, right? Seriously 

So, as expected, I slept all the 4,000 miles away from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Really, really dozed off. And slept some more through from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Oh, did I mention I was wearing heels all along?

Anyway… Fast forward to the present. Right now. Let’s focus on the now. I’ve left all those unpleasant thoughts behind. It was all a really heavy trip for me, none of that pain (which still lingers on my back, shoulders, hips and thighs) compares to the destination I’m headed towards… My home.

During my last flight (Singapore to Jakarta), just before touchdown, I sneakily took pictures from my window seat (with my iPad).

Oh, the paddies! The polluted air! The dirt! I smiled. How I’ve missed them …

And not just that … Once I’ve crossed over the immigration check, I immediately collected all 4 of my luggages from the belt, because they all came first! I was afraid I had to wait for a long time while carrying all my heavy carry-ons. Thankfully, the trolley here is free of charge, and it’s huge. Just one trolley fits everything I had – all 3 carry-ons and all 4 baggages.

It wasn’t long before I spotted my tall boyfriend grinning at me from afar.

And …

I kept pushing the trolley forward …

And …

We came in face-to-face …

And …

His hands appeared from his back, and came out a bouquet of pink roses.

This is after my maid has placed it in a clean, watered vase.

We hugged for a little bit then.

I miss you, you miss me, bla bla bla. You know how it goes; it almost went exactly like in the movies. Only better.

We went straight to my home. We unpacked a little, I showered a little, and we went out again (I really wasn’t sleepy, just severely tired and a very disturbing back pain).

We were just driving around my neighborhood at North Jakarta. Glad to see plenty of changes again in so little time. There are plenty of developments every time I come back home. My country is really growing, I thought. We have plenty of young, hopeful leaders in our country, opening up their own businesses on anything from fro-yos to cement, cakes to clothing, karaokes to oil.

We stopped by a bubble tea shop and caught up with everything that’s new. I’ve been searching for jobs for a couple of years in the States. It was hopeless. And now that news among my social circle say that I’m back, job offers continue to come along my way. My dearest boyfriend, which has now earned the title of my favorite person in the world, acknowledged my potential among everyone else. He makes me feel hopeful. Even I am excited about what I’m about to do, what the future holds for us, and everything I’m about to establish in my career.

And now, I’m making good use of my jet lag time to freely plan the dream I have in mind. Nothing to commit yet, but I feel safe within my thoughts of the fact that I belong to such a nation with such informed citizens so well-connected to one another, that it’s easy to network and build a much better, much promising future together. (Do you know that Indonesia is the largest market on Facebook after the United States? (TechCrunch) Do you also happen to know that Indonesians are the largest Twitter users in Asia? (CNN)).

I’m sure we’ll thrive. We already are.


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