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My dearest darling, treasured, cherished Alassiel whom I worship. 

I arrived as the first light of pale sun washed upon Yogyakarta’s cold morning. Yogyakarta has been utterly cold ever since I was here with you just weeks ago and it hasn’t change even a bit, dear Alassiel. As a matter of fact, it was even colder. I checked out my phone and the weather applications showed a 18’C cloudy weather so I pulled my pitch-black overcoat tighter and I inwardly smiled at myself as I took a leisurely steps towards the closing gate of Stasiun Tugu. I guess it was a good idea after all that Mother persuaded me to wear an overcoat. Funny when you think how a Mother’s advice, no matter how inane it may sounds, will actually benefit you in the future. At least that’s how it always went with my Mother’s advice.

When I reached the closing gate, I noticed that Yogyakarta is swarmed by a crowd of backpackers, I wonder whether they headed towards the same festival that I was going to attend in Dieng or Yogyakarta is just that famous of a destination for backpackers. Then again, Alassiel, I suppose it wasn’t surprising that this laid-back town is the dearest option for backpackers. I came across the answer of my introspection on why Yogyakarta is the dearest option for backpackers when I visited the nearest angkringan just in the hook of Stasiun Tugu’s closing gate. I positioned myself at the end of the wooden chair, immediately a heartening middle-aged woman greeted me with a cordial smile and asked me what did I want to drink. The thing is Alassiel, smile is the simplest form of kindness but I hardly encounter any smile whenever I’m back in Jakarta. I often questioned why was it so hard just to smile ? Was the urban jungle too harsh of a place that even a smile is costly ?

I told the middle-aged woman that I would like a glass of a hot tea. You sure remember that I have a certain amount of fondness with Yogyakarta’s tea, don’t you ? Back then my aunt who used to studied in Yogyakarta came to have a reunion with her college friends. She asked me to accompany her to a well-known gudeg place which happen to be my favorite and naturally I ordered tea for a drink. I told her that the tea in Yogyakarta is different from the one we have in Balikpapan, Surabaya or Jakarta and it is my favorite kind of tea in which she then told me that this kind of tea is spesifically produced for Yogyakarta’s area and its’ called a Pandawa tea. The tea is distinct in flavour and smell because it contained a jasmine leaves on it and Yogyakartans usually roasted their tea using a charcoal.

I took a relaxing sip of the hot tea and I felt so blessed by the fact that Yogyakarta would never stop being comfortable even after I was no longer a permanent resident. And it didn’t stop there. A guy in his 50s took a seat right besides me, he also ordered a glass of hot tea and he immediately strikes up a conversation. We conversed like we’re and old buddy when in fact we barely know each other not more than an hour. He gave me a piece of thoughtful life advice in which he told me that I was blessed for being able to study in Yogyakarta because Yogyakarta teaches people to be humble and modest. In Yogyakarta, you will find all kind of people who are struggling as much as people in other part of Indonesia but these people’s heart are not hardened by their struggles, it softened them. In Yogyakarta, people treasure things other than material values and that would remind those who’ve lived there to always remember that happiness are not only measured by how much money you have but on how you perceived life in a grateful way even in limitation. He also told me not to worry too much about finding jobs because if I have I faith and sticks to my values, I will undoubtedly find a jobs and establish a career that would not only benefit me but my surroundings as well. My dear Alassiel, sticking to our values and idealism comes with a price, but it’s a price that I’m willing to pay so I hope you will continue to support me.

You see dear Alassiel, it’s hard not to fall in love with Yogyakarta. People arrived, go to the nearest angkringan, ordered a drink and foods which only cost not more than IDR 10.000 (1USD) and you just mingled with the strangers there. The fellow travelers, the locals. You engrossed yourself with the local surroundings and embraced the essence of the place you travelled to and no matter how far you travel, you will always feel like home. 

With respect, adoration, admiration, kisses, gratitude, best wishes, and love. 

Yogyakarta, August 29th 2014.

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