Today is my graduation.
Let’s backtrack a little.
A year ago, this time was blissful, spent with the epitome of summer cliches. Picnics, Pimms, shorts, t-shirts, and summer dresses. There was this little thing called dissertation that loomed in my conscience whenever I wasn’t working on it, but I usually shook it off. Hours in the library every single day was enough for me to justify some little fun here and there. After all, who wanted to spend a glorious summer just in the library?
And also, there were little things which made that summer unforgettable. Going to Leeds (not my favorite place, but I had a fab time in there, thanks to my friend), seeing Wicked and being left in awe as the curtains closed, and going to Stags in the evenings to watch the World Cup with friends made it all the more incredible. Unreal, but in a good way.
Back to present time, I’m here in Jakarta, working.
I love my job, really, but Jakarta drains me. Many people expressed their utter bewilderment when I told them I was getting my own place. “But… why?” they would ask. “It’s not that far from your place.”
The ‘not that far’ requires me to leave early (6 am at the latest) to drive to the office so I could get a parking space, which is harder and harder to find as the closer it gets to the start of working time, because, oh yeah, all people in Jakarta drive. I could use public transport, but that would require me to be willing to take a detour and/or squished between people (and by squished, I’m telling you, the tube in the rush hour is nothing). Neither is convenient, as I still have to face the traffic jam. Not just traffic jam, it’s Jakarta traffic jam. Same thing for going back home.
So not that far means less than an hour journey here. But with all those things? Thanks but no thanks.
I got my own place so I could have more freedom and avoid all those things about commuting, and the main reason, to minimize the feeling of being in Jakarta. As soon as I’m inside my home and office it doesn’t feel like it, so cutting the journey short between those places helps a lot. I could save a lot if I stayed with my parents, but the exhaustion from commuting would make me hate Jakarta even more, and eventually, my job. I once did an internship for a month and honestly it was all the commuting that made me loathe it so much. I left the house in such a bad mood every morning, and got home exhausted and cranky.
I now live in a place within 5 minutes walk to the office, but even in that 400 meters between my place and the office, the Jakarta-ness depresses me.
If I were to paint last summer in colors, I would use bright colors. Yellow, lime green, sky blue. For today? That would be grey and black that manifest this grim, dirty, uninhabitable city, in which million of people still reside just because they have no better choice.