By Anissa Ratna Putri - Maret 04, 2014

For most people who ever lived here, Bandung is a memorable city. "It's not about the city, it's about the story", they said. Yet, they moved on from this beautiful city to pursue what they call "dream" and "experience" in Jakarta or anywhere else. They will always miss Bandung, as they will miss their dorm room, their campus, their favourite eating place - they will miss everything. But things have to change, people need to move on to gain a better life, no? At least that's what people said and done.

For me, Bandung is not just a memorable city where I spent my college years - it’s always more than that, and I know it even before I start living here.

I met Bandung as a teenager who fell in love with someone who lives here. Thus, I always love to came and visited this city – as it was a rare opportunity for us, the LDR-couple, to met. At that time I saw Bandung as a perfect living place for study. It’s not only because I had my bf here back then, and it’s not only because I wanted to be ITB’s student so bad. I said studying in this city would be the best since Bandung has it’s ‘different’ atmosphere. A comfortable, warm, relaxing atmosphere which makes me feel like this is where I belong. And that’s what I said to encourage myself while preparing for SNMPTN exam back then on my final year of high school: ITB is the place where you belong.  Bandung is the city where you belong.

For the last four years, God gaves me the opportunity to live in this city. As the result, I fell more, more, and more in love with Bandung. While my friends prefer to went back home on weekend, I prefer to spent my weekend in my dorm room – watched serial comedy or read books. Sometimes I spent my weekend took a walk around – be it joining Car Free Day, having morning walk around Dago, or spending time at my campus’ event. Sometimes I did things with my friends – sleepover at friends’ house or cooking breakfast together with dorm girls. I rarely went home, and it wasn’t because I didn’t miss my family. I missed them. I just think our house should not be in Bekasi, because I never feel comfortable live in there.

I dare say I know Bandung like it’s a heart beat away. I do not know everything about the city, but there is something in my heart that always feel curious to explore it. I never had enough. When I feel bored, I sometimes decided to went  to the park, mall, bookstore, cake shop, cafe, anywhere I could possibly think of.  And I never feel exhausted to reach those place (if you know what I mean). It’s only need ‘Angkot’ to get you from one place to another. You can even take a long trip from Setiabudi (North Bandung) to Margahayu (South East Bandung) by only take one single Angkot where you can sit down and wait for your stop. For being able to remember Bandung’s Angkot routes, my friends in college called me “Angkotpedia”. I feel honoured :)

Of course, there were several times when I feel bored living here. There were time when all of sudden I hate people here, I want to be with anyone else and go to somewhere else. And there was a time when I have this “ilfeel” feeling to Bandung after I went to Surabaya. All this time I think Bandung is the one and only city which has facilities nearly as much as Jakarta does, compared to other cities in Indonesia. But when I visited Surabaya, I realized that this city is so much more than Bandung! And suddenly I feel betrayed. Why Bandung is not a green metropolitan city like Surabaya? Why, Surabaya has much more bigger mall than Bandung but still has nice, beautiful, clean parks and river? Why? Why?

And then as I prepared myself to leave Bandung-which-I-don’t-love-anymore, the new mayor in town, Mr.RK, changed everything. He renovated and cleaned up parks, designed it to be a cool place to hangout, put wi-fi on it, and promote it on his instagram. And I must say, it’s not only his work that makes me rethink about hating Bandung. As I spent my jobless time here last month, I realize Bandung gives me something that Bekasi would never give me: independence and privacy. 

Though I love spending time with my friends and family, as an introvert, I regularly need time alone for myself. And last month in Bandung becomes special because I manage to balance between me-time and friends-time. I spent time reading comics and books without even care about how many hours I spent and what should I do next. I did painting – if  you can call it so – eventhough the result looks like a kindergaten’s doodle. I strolling around city, staring at places I rarely will see for the next two months. Yet I also spent time with friends, talking a lot – from delicious food to quarter life crisis problems.

At the end, Bandung never fails me, and I could never really hate this city. But as I enjoy every moment here, I start questioning – is this really a place where I belong or is it just my comfort-zone?

Because I see so many opportunities out there (which unfortunately mostly in Jakarta) and I feel like something holding me back to grab these opportunities. And yes, it’s Bandung, holding me back.

I do not want to work in a hectic-and-hot Jakarta, I want here in Bandung where I could feel the wind breeze and where  I don’t necessarily need to worry about traffic. I do not want to move to my hometown in Bekasi where I could rarely meet my friends, I want here in Bandung where I could meet my friends anytime anywhere. I do not want to go back living permanently in my parents’ house, I want here in Bandung where I could have some privacy and where I could manage my time without have to be monitored all the time.

As much as I want to make the pros and cons of Bandung and Bekasi to prove that living in Bandung is way much better, I realized that opportunity did not come twice. I also realized that taking risk is necessary because unlike the predictable comfort zone, we never know where it will lead us. I then decided to leave Bandung temporarily, for around 2 months, due to working on extended producer responsibility project with Greeneration Indonesia and Waste4Change in Bekasi. 

I don’t say leaving temporary is easy. It’s nothing like leaving your dorm room for college summer holiday. I never know will I come back and live here again or will I come back only to pick things up. It’s hard, and I am emotionally exhausted. I am not ready and I would never be ready. Yet, I tell myself I leave Bandung for something worth it. For something I passionate about. For something that would help me pursue my goal and live my dream. And by taking this opportunity I would be able to identify what Bandung really means to me.

To know where you actually belong, the only way is to leave, and then come back. (Dee, on Akar)

Till we meet again, B. I will always love you.

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  1. "To know where you actually belong, the only way is to leave, and then come back." (Dee, on Akar)

    Quote nya bagus banget caaa

  2. “It’s not about the city, it’s about the story”, so agree!!
    saya dulu waktu awal-awal kerja hampir setiap minggu selalu balik ke Bandung, walau bukan orang bandung...

    To know where you actually belong, the only way is to leave, and then come back :)