It was Monday, around 11am, I couldn’t remember what date it was, I was lying on the floor right after exercising, I got a text from TLS contact (an agent for assisting France Visa Application) saying that my passport had been back to their office.
Spontaneously, I raised and jumped as I read the text and thought for a while “what would I do?” I talked to myself. They said that I could collect the passport until 4.30pm and I calculated if I could reach them on time if I departed that day. Well, I was living in Bandung and luckily I had a day off and was thinking to go to Jakarta as soon as possible.
I quickly took shower and changed and convinced myself that I would arrive at their office before 4.30pm (Bandung-Jakarta can be reached in 3 hours by bus). I was nervous and imagining what happened to my passport; was it stamped, did they allow me to go, or was it rejected? since I knew that my passport was blank and I never traveled before.
I arrived in Jakarta (UKI) around 4pm and it was extremely congested because it was an office hour where office workers finished their shift and were ready to go home. I got off the bus in hurry and I realised that it would be too late for me to take another bus to Mega Kuningan (where the office is). Then I decided to take an “ojek” (motorbike ride) and told the driver to go as fast as he could. He was an old man, around 50s, and was a nice one. He was talking to me, maybe to soothe my nerve and I was just answering what he said.
4.20pm the driver landed me safely in front of the building and I was in rush taking the elevator and straight ahead to the office. I passed them the invoice and they gave my passport back. I was like chanting to myself and really wondered if my visa was accepted. and Voila! I couldn’t say anything. I was so jubilant.
I found myself getting high knowing that I was about to go to Europe, the place where I had always dreamed of, to Paris, the city which was allegedly the most romantic one in the world.
I called my mom as I got my visa and told her enthusiastically that I was going to go. I bet she was so happy as well.
For your information, before Europe, I had never traveled, even to Singapore or Malaysia, I had never boarded on a plane and flown, and flying was the scariest moment in my life. However, the excitement of going to Europe had defeated all my fears.
so, how could I end up in Paris? it was a long story, but would love to tell you.
July 2014, I decided to resign from the company I worked with. I was planning to get my masters in the UK and had found a university. I was preparing for my IELTS test and collecting information about the scholarships. My ex boyfriend, at that time, was working on his double degree masters to Paris and finding scholarships to fund his studies. He, luckily under his masters program at ITB, was quite easy to find the funders. He was accepted in a university in Paris and had found scholarships both from the Indonesian government and the French. He was positive to go.
I, knowing myself was so desperate because not having any funders for my masters and feeling uneasy because my ex was leaving, had no idea what to do but finding a way to get to Paris. I knew I was insane and it seemed not possible.
Until then I found a TEFL/TESOL training for English teachers to get certified, and I myself is an English teacher and I guessed that that certification was ideal for me. I had always wanted to have my masters in TESOL, and this training was quite affordable compared to the degree one.
I wrote them an application to participate in their program and I chose Paris because yes, I knew my ex was there, so I wouldn’t be worried because I guessed he would assist me in everything. Then a few days after submitting my application, they said that I was eligible to join, but I had to pay everything for myself; course, accommodation, transport, visas and everything.
I discussed every single thing to my ex and my parents. My ex was quite supportive and helpful, my parents, on the other hands, were quite doubtful and worried if I got fraud. Then my ex offered me a help that he would fund one month of my living cost in Paris, and the rest was paid by my parents.
I knew it was too much for my parents, but I convinced them that once I got this experience, I would be more beneficial for others and there would be ways to live overseas. I believed they understood and let me go, eventually.
My ex departed in the middle of September and I left at the end of November. These 2 months, we had an LDR and he showed me things about Paris, I was getting more excited.
After gaining my visa, I packed things to bring. Since it was my first county to arrive and my first flight to board, I was so careful to load my bags.
I deliberately went there in November which was still Autumn and I could see the leaves fell off the trees and it was nearly Winter, the season which I had always wanted to see, particularly the snow.
Then there she went, on November 22, 2014, to Paris and was being waited by her most cherished one.
I went by Lufthansa Airlines from CGK (Jakarta) to CDG (Paris). The plane transit in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Frankfurt (Germany). I traveled alone and inevitably was nervous. No one was beside me when I was traveling from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur, but a nice old man was sitting beside me when I departed from Kuala Lumpur to Frankfurt.
I had a chat with him and he was a good travel companion for me. He was trying to calm me down when I got anxious on the plane. He said “plane is the safest transportation, you shouldn’t be worried”.
I can’t remember his name but I believe he is from Portugal.
It took me about 17 hours to travel to Paris. It felt like my fears had gone away when I finally reached Frankfurt.
I had to pass the immigration in Frankfurt because it was the first European city I landed in. They asked me what I was going to do in Paris and checked all my documents. I assumed that was because I was wearing a headscarf and they were quite secure about who could travel to their borders. Well, I had no suspicious things with me and I passed them.
It was a really long trip to find which gate I should use to travel to Paris, I was almost late to catch the plane.
I was alone and amused by the people around. I heard people talking in different languages, walking in hurry and I also found myself unbelievably standing on the land of Europe. I thought I forgot a bit about catching the plane and took a selfie instead.
It took me an hour from Frankfurt to Paris, and at around 11am Paris time, I reached the city and sat alone waiting my ex to collect me.
Don’t ask me how I felt. My feeling was doubled. First thing first, I was so exhilarated because I finally reached Europe, and second of all, it was because I met my ex and would explore the country with him (my expectation, the reality was not that appealing).
Yeay, I reached Paris, and believe me, many of my friends commented when I posted this photo. They said they were quite jealous and I said I just Thanked everybody who had assisted me so I was finally there.
I was quite jetlagged but I didn’t care. I was fully attracted by the ambiance, the people, the language and the edifice of course.
This was just the beginning of my #70daysinEurope . I still keep bunch of stories to tell during my stay and I would like to write them to you in the other chapters.