Journal & Travels

How I Remember Paris

It started with a broken heart. My feeble young fragile heart.

It was my last year in college at FSRD – ITB. My class was competitive bunch with bright ideas and a whole wide world amount of energy in their hands. I was one of them, a student with big dreams and a big heart. While being a student I also fell in love (albeit very naively). We were together for quite some months until one day, he left to Germany, just like that. No notes. No airport goodbyes. Just an email saying that he is already in Germany. I was torn in pieces.

After several days of mourning, like any other normal human being, I distract myself from the gruesome pain of a heartache to working my arse off at school. So much so that I literally get straight A’s. How quaint, a true story of turning tears into glory. For my final work exhibit, I created and explore many works from leftover silk materials into not too bad of an outcome. I graduated with flying colours. Many applaud the result of my work.

The energy was fresh and fruitful when there was an announcement of a fashion and jewellery design competition for young designer. Dewi Magazine hosted the national selection. Should I be selected as national finalist, the works will be brought and compete at international level in Paris.

Paris. I never really thought of Paris until then.

Everything went very fast. Fitting with model, preparing for runway look, the make-up, the hair. That one night of jury selection, everything smells like lilies and light shines bright on the stage. To my surprise, my work along with other 19 of other young designers was selected to go to Paris. The very same work I made for my final thesis. From tears to glory. I walked on that runway with huge bouquet of flowers on my hand. Lilies, smiles and a bunch of goodie bags filled with nice things.

I had to work on a project first for me to be able to buy myself a return ticket to Paris though, because the magazine wouldn’t pay for some fresh graduate student who may or may not make Indonesia proud. Lucky the project was big enough for me to fund an entire trip plus a whole month being in Europe. I was lucky. And young. And thirsty for adventure.

Paris. (Cue French cafe accordion traditional music, image flashes of Tour Eiffel)

After 18 hours of flight, I was greeted in Charles de Gaulle by an announcement that the RER line to city center, where I was supposed to meet a friend whom I will be staying with, is on a strike. A strike for a raise in salary. Good God. I remember thinking, can’t pick another day to practice democracy, France?

(Accordion music falters, real city sounds of cars, honking, buses and people chattering about)

Pfft. Buses it is then. Then I continue to share taxi with a family from Australia who left me paying for their luggage fare. Because neither of us was aware didn’t know that people and luggage have different charge. The family with two young children ran off to their hotel. Haha. Oh Paris. I missed my appointment with my friend who will host me for a week, and I lost extra bit of my money paying for other people’s luggage. Great.

I remember waiting in front of Cindy’s studio apartement in Odeon for hours. She finally came along with some other friends, Indonesian students. It was suddenly warm and accordion is playing in my head again. I settled in, had some food, wine and nice chit chat about a little bit of everything.

You see, I have a confession to make. I did not have a plan on this trip. There were no lists of what to see or do. Nothing. All I know was I had a design competition to attend at Carrousel, The Louvre, some visits and dinners I had to attend. The rest, I leave it to Paris to surprise me.

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..to be continued

 

 

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