My first impression on Bandung wasn’t that good. I was coming from sunny Sumbawa, with clear blue sky and fresh air. It took some time for me to get used with the grey sky and polluted air, and a few weeks to learn how to cross the road with cars passing by (and I’m proud to say that I have mastered that now).
My first year in Bandung was rough. I had so many things to experience for the first time. Crossing the street, walking on the street with cars only inches from me, being in a crowded place, and on top of that, living alone. I was so scared, confused, and overwhelmed at that time. Bandung seemed like a gigantic scary city for me.
Fast forward to eight years later, and here I am, desperately in love with Bandung and find it SO hard to move on. Eight years is a long time to make memories, and I feel every corner of this city has a piece of my heart. Pick a place to go and my mind will automatically remember things that happened there. McD Simpang: the long hours studying for exams for almost everyday, it took me months to step foot in there again because just the thought of it made me stressed. Dwilingga: long talk with LFM mates, sometimes until past midnight, and the struggle to find space to sleep afterward. Because when you were too late, all the best spots, pillows, and blankets were taken. PVJ: too many, but among those are movie marathons, karaoke frenzy, long chat until midnight, and one blissful night in Starbucks when I got a great news and shared it with someone I loved. I would love to list all the places but that would take ages, so I’m gonna cut it here.
Come to think of it, there are a lot of things that makes me fall in love with this city. The delicious food you can find at every corner, the cool air, the benign atmosphere, and many more. Compared to Sumbawa, this place is heaven for a shopping spree, but unlike Jakarta, Bandung still has this warm and friendly charm that I find really comforting.
The hardest thing to do was packing. It’s not easy to pack eight years of my life into some tobacco-smelled boxes. It’s ironic how closing a chapter of life can open so many memories. As I packed, my mind went back to the past eight years. My oil-stained lab coat and mud-stained module reminded me of the hours I spent in the lab, sometimes past midnight (the record was 2 am in the morning). There was one night when I sorted stacks of papers and found out a paper with drilling schemes and equations, and almost instantly, I remembered the three-hours exams that always got me helpless and frustrated. There were also lots of photos that reminded me of how much fun I had with LFM, how crazy those time were, and how much I miss it.
It’s funny how I thought I would never fit in this city, but it turned out that I fit in a little bit too well it’s so hard to go. It’s like having to break up with a long time boyfriend you’re comfortable with because you know that your future is not with him. You don’t want to go, but you know you have to.
For the past eight years, Bandung has served as a warm, comfortable, friendly, and cozy home for me. It’s never easy to leave a home, but to leave a home that you love with all your heart, it’s tear-jerking. But as people say, life starts at the end of your comfort zone.
So here’s to a new life and new things ahead.
Goodbye, Bandung. Thank you for the wonderful eight years. You’ll always have a place in my heart. And I’ll be back to visit, I promise.