I flew to Yogyakarta on the first day of 2019 to fulfill an unfulfilled promise – to say a proper farewell to the city that has taught me countless things, the city that I always long to call home. The weather that day has been gloomy, an overcast of cloud hanging over Jakarta’s sky and the rain has been drizzling ceaselessly. I was quite worried having to fly that day, I’ve been getting more paranoid about plane ride since a tragic accident happened to Lion Air a few months ago. My worry has been worsened by my habit to read about plane accidents when I was unable to go to sleep back in Boston. Nonetheless, the ride went smoothly, I even arrived fifteen minutes earlier than the schedule. I was immediately welcomed by the fresh air of Yogyakarta, and, despite the cool air, I felt a warm feeling pervading my whole body, a feeling that I have finally come home.

My cousin picked me up with my old, rusty car whom I named Ichueltron. Ichueltron is my best friend throughout my college years; he must’ve missed the small roads and alley of Jogja we used to explore years ago. My first plan after I arrived was to hang out and had dinner at Legit Dapur dan Kebun, my sister’s restaurant in Condong Catur. My sister moved to Jogja around two years ago, at first she was only planning to stay for a while as a consultant for a newly opened restaurant in Jogja, but I guess, you can’t escape from the charm of Jogja and she decided to stay and opened up a restaurant. Before I came to Legit, I checked in at the hotel I booked for one night – Student Park Apartment in Seturan area. I only checked in for one night because I’m going to stay at my sister’s house, a small homey house she built next to Legit, for the rest of my stay. I chose Student Park Apartment because I’ve wanted to swim and this accommodation has one of the best pool – the pool is an infinity pool overlooking the two mountains hovering above Yogyakarta, Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu. From the pool, I can also see the vast paddy fields in Yogyakarta, a sight that always made me smile because it reminds me on how the rest of the world can go crazy with development, but Yogyakarta will always remain the way it is – humble and unpretentious.

The view from Student Park Apartments Hotel pool. I used Booking.com so much that I often get a very good deal when booking a hotel, and I got a good deal when I booked this hotel.

Since it’s a holiday season, some of my cousins also spent their holiday in Yogyakarta and we had dinner together along with my sister’s group of friends. She cooked some new foods, a tester for her new menu for Legit Dapur & Kebun. Like most middle child, my sister is an oddball in the family, unlike my oldest sister and I who chose a more conventional career path, she decided to fulfill her passion as a chef and I have to admit that she does have plenty talent in this area. Any foods cooked by her, even indomie, always tastes incredible. I ordered Martabak because I haven’t had any Martabak since I came back to Indonesia and I ordered a banana nugget from Sang Pisang, a business owned by the current president’s son. As expected the foods were incredible, it’s simple home-cooked food, most of Legit’s foods are simple home-cooked food, but I think that’s why a lot of people like it. I can’t help to feel grateful and thought how funny it was that as I grew older, the more I spend a supposedly boisterous celebration like New Year with my family instead of getting hammered with my friends. I also spent last year’s New Year with my family in Balikpapan, and I woke up fresh, ready for the new year, an entirely different feeling from many years ago where I used to be hammered and hung over in the first day of the year. I want to recreate that feeling, and in fact, I’ve been drinking less because I become less and less happy with the after taste of being drunk.

Some foods cooked by my sister in Legit Dapur & Kebun. She was trying oÅut new menu for the restaurant.

On the second day of 2019, I checked out from the hotel and moved to my sister’s place. At first, I planned to go with my cousin to Umbul Ponggok, (insert definition here), but she had to meet her friends first, and I decided to order a GoMassage because I’ve been feeling really sore from all the traveling and lack of sleep. When she finished her meeting, I wasn’t done yet with my massage session, and I was getting really sleepy, so I decided to just chill at Legit. My sister has designed her home really nicely, it’s small but really comfortable. Apparently, she has a penchant for gardening just like our mother and our late grandmother (Our grandma, Oma, was especially crazy about orchids), and her little home and Legit has such beautiful gardens filled with many plants. Sometimes she didn’t even buy the seeds, she just asked from the owner of the plants, and she nurtured the plants until it grows nicely. I chilled at Legit until after sunset and asked my other cousins, Yubi & Yufi if they want to explore some coffee shops in Jogja. These two has been really enthusiastic about coffee and planning to open up a coffee shop in Surabaya, so they welcomed my idea, and we went to Space Coffee Roastery and Pitutur Kopi.

Back in my days from 2010 to 2014, there are not many coffee shops in Jogja. My ultimate choice has always been Peacock Coffee, a 24 hours coffee shop only less than five minutes drive from my place back then. Their coffee isn’t spectacular or anything, but it’s cheap, only Rp 10,000, and most importantly, they open 24 hours so I can do my late-night, near deadline college essays and tasks. I heard that the Peacock Coffee near my house has closed down and moved to Palagan now, I didn’t have time to pay a visit, but I definitely would come to visit next time I’m in Jogja. Anyway, I visited Space Coffee Roaster based on a recommendation from my friend, it’s located in Jalan Magelang, in a small alley across the TVRI building. In addition to selling the latest trend of hip kopi susu, they also sell coffee beans from their roaster. I bought a coffee bean from Mount Halu which has a hint of banana. Later in Jakarta, I brewed it using an espresso machine, but I don’t think it’s the best way to brew it because the pressure from the machine erased the strong flavor of the banana. My next destination for the coffee shop adventure was Pitutur Kopi, south of Lempuyangan Train Station. Apparently, this coffee shop is quite famous for book lovers among my fellow HI UGM-ers. I can see the appeal though, the coffee shop has an impressive book collection from Yusi Avianto Pareanom’s books to Seno Gumira Ajidarma’s, and it seems that the owner, who’s also the barista, is also a book lover. He was quite busy when I visit so I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. We ended the day by going out for dinner in Angkringan Kedaulatan Rakyat (KR) where I almost cried upon hearing the busker played Yogyakarta by Kla Project and I reminisced on the days when I was nearly always happy and without a care in the world.

Angkringan Kedaulatan Rakyat. Angkringan stemmed from the word ‘Angkring’, a Javanese word which means a tool or a medium to sell foods and drinks that can be moved from places to places. I love how in Wikipedia they defined Angkringan as an egalitarian place where everyone regardless their social classes and status can enjoy foods.

Another coffee shop that I visited, Tekoff Coffee Shop in Sagan. I love the greeneries surrounding the outdoor area of the coffee shop, it’s a great place to hide from the scorching sun of Yogyakarta.

I didn’t travel much during my latest visit to Yogyakarta, but that’s the thing about Yogyakarta, though I came back as a tourist, the memory I had while I lived here always makes me feel as if I belong to this city, as their permanent resident though I come and go. I had a lot of thoughts when I came here though. I thought about the ‘old’ Yogyakarta I used to know, where the coffee shops are scarce and where the only options to watch the latest movies are the cinema in Jalan Adi Sucipto or Ambarukmo Plaza. Now Yogyakarta has an abundance of coffee shops, the sign that the economy is growing and that more people want to spend their money on trivial things like coffee. Now Yogyakarta also has a big mall, Hartono Mall, in Condong Catur, back then my options are limited to Ambarukmo or Malioboro. I remembered that I used to complain about how ridiculous it is to queue just to watch movies because Jogja only has limited cinema options, I used to complain as well about the lack of coffee shops because I’ve tried all the coffee shops there is in Jogja. But then, come to think of it, that condition taught me that hanging out really isn’t about the place. Because of the limited options, my college friends and I had to be creative. We then had the chance to explore the pure beaches in Jogja, we went to see the sunrise in Punthuk Setumbu, we drove to Dieng and saw the Candi complexes, we drove to Karanganyar and Solo, we spent the night in a dodgy motel nears the Glagah Beach in Kulon Progo, we had late night eating session in Tora Tora or Angkringan KR, we stayed up to download movies from Luxury and copied it to each other hard disks or we would just stay under the shade of the big trees in San Siro, and we had the most fun of our life. Jogja taught me, taught us, that happiness is really simple and don’t require that much money either. So here’s my ode to Yogyakarta, the city I love and will continue to love, the city that has taught me how to survive and how to be grateful. Thank you for always allowing us who’ve resided there to come back and call it home.

Sansiro is a field located in the middle of Universitas Gadjah Mada’s Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Politik. This place is a special place for many people who studied at FISIPOL UGM, including me. This was the place where I could spend hours just talking to my friends or even take a nap while people-watching. There used to be huge trees but they cut the trees down now

And here’s a song to end this post. A song that I love for its’ meaning and how it really represents Yogyakarta’s character.

“Rungokna iki gatra saka ngayogyakarta
Nagari paling penak rasane koyo swarga
Ora peduli donya dadi neraka
Neng kene tansah edi peni lan merdika”

“Dengarlah ini untaian kata dari Yogyakarta, Negeri paling nyaman seperti surga, tidak peduli dunia sudah jadi neraka, di sini kami selalu nyaman dan merdeka”

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