A Lucky Man

I wonder if you know

that you are a lucky man?

To savour her in her most vulnerable state;

asleep and naked, in your bed.

 

I wonder if you realise your own good fortune,

to be able to watch her brush her damp hair,

that sticks to her moist skin.

Fresh from the shower!

Your towel is all that she has

wrapped around her.

 

It kills me inside, just a little bit and sadly not enough,

to know the sounds that she makes,

are all for you to hear.

From the noisy sips of her coffee,

to her laughter,

her burps,

her muffled sobbing behind cupped palms,

her exasperated moans when she scrunches her face tightly, oh

and her explosions…

Yes, you get to hear them all.

 

I wonder if you have come to realised yet,

what a lucky man you are.

 

-Tiffany Teoh

 

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Journey to France: Day 36

I remember those late nights when I used to cuddle into my doona (Australian term for a comforter/continental quilt if you must) and stay up late chatting to my friends on WhatsApp or Facebook chat. I used to wake up drowsy the next morning, and rush myself to work, smiling to myself thinking it was well worth the late night chat as I reply to messages I’ve missed because I had fallen asleep.

When we were in Bali, a friend of mine who is originally from Indonesia but now lives in Rwanda said she was coming to Indonesia for a short trip. She invited us to a wedding.

Hence since our arrival in Java, we were to cover 1040kms to get from Banyuwangi (East java) to Bandung (West Java) that’s about a 20 hour drive in Indonesian traffic. We had 4 days.

To summarise we made it earlier than expected in technically two days. We spent 2 nights in the Yogyokarta region.

Next we have to cover double the kms. About 2000kms of it and a 42 hour drive + ferry from Bandung. Clément was researching hitchhiking in Sumatra and read a post about a backpacker motorbiking in one part and village children threw rocks at him. Back in Mt Merapi near Yogyakarta, our CS (couch surfing) host warned us that the area of Lampung and Palembang were “dangerous”. There had the heaviest crime rates reported in all of Indonesia. We will just have to see how we go on this leg of the journey. We still have hopefully two more nights in Bandung.

Today, after a comfortable sleep in probably the only hotel bed we would ever experience on our trip, (Ncep paid for our night here), we attended her best friend’s cultured and humble wedding. It was a small Muslim wedding with the ceremony held in a Mosque ( Masjid Agung Al-Ukhuwwah). There were not more than 300 people who attended and the bride was gracious enough to allow her to bring Clem and I who have never met her before. The older ladies were fascinated to see Clément (a tall, Caucasian Male) at this event. They started taking pictures of and/or with him.

Indonesians never cease to amaze me with their generous hearts and sweet nature. To think countries such as Malaysia and Brunei treat them as
second class world citizens is heartbreaking but thats the truth of it all and living in Malaysia for the first 17 years of my life, I’ve heard and seen such treatments.

This evening we await our CS host for tonight. We’ve sent him messages but so far no response..

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Journey to France: Day 34

A brief summary of the day before we arrived in Bandung. We were in Yogyakarta and started to find a car to hitchhike to Bandung. This was probably the first difficulty we had experienced yet. No one would stop for us, we were in a the middle of a city, it was 10kms to walk out of the city centre and 30kms to get out to the main road that would lead to Bandung. Either way it was nearly unwalkable with our backpacks and the heat. We moved from one Street to another, holding our sign the whole time and still no one stopped for us.

It was about to start raining and Clem and I were getting agitated with each other. It didn’t seem like the day was going to go well at all. It didn’t seem like we would get to Bandung.

Just as we were about to put our sign down and try to walk further out of the city, when a man in a red shirt approached us. His English wasn’t very solid so I translated. He said he saw us nearly 20 minutes or so a go on a different Street. He saw we didn’t get far and he happened to pass us again after he picked his daughters up from school.

“I want to help you”, he said. He offered to buy us train tickets to Bandung. At first we politely declined. We couldn’t accept it. And then he said we had two choices, either he takes us to a train station and buys us tickets, or he gives us money and leaves us where we were.

Neither was an option we wanted to take from a stranger. It was much too kind! It was unbelievable! Not too long ago, a lady picked us up just outside Solo. She bought us coconuts and coffee. She was meant to drop us off as far as her journey allowed, so we could continue hitchhiking to Yogyakarta. Suddenly she turned around and said she wanted to take us to a bus station instead, and to pay for our bus tickets too which she did.

In this scenario we didn’t want to take money from this really kind hearted man. So we agreed to be taken to a station. We took photos with his really sweet daughters, both gave us keychains that they had for a long time. It wasn’t a special present of any sort but just like their father’s example they wanted to give us something too. They even wrote us a little note to carry with us on our journey.

Henry bought us our tickets and took us to the train station. When he dropped us off he had some notes in his hand. He took Clément’s hand and pushed the notes into his hand. Clem said we couldn’t accept this, I mean he paid for our train tickets already. But Henry would not take no for an answer and pushed the notes into Clément hand again.

We got out of the car and kissed them goodbye. We looked at the notes he gave us. It was 100,000IDR. It made Clem feel guilty for taking that money. But that’s what kindness is isn’t it? It doesn’t stop with just one person, it is to be paid forward without the expectation of paying it forward. It must have made Henry and his family feel good to have helped us.

We would have done the same for someone else in our situation if we had the leverage to.

Today as we were lying on the floor of a Mosque in between the wedding, Clément turned to me and said the way we travelled was much better than how he previously had travelled. I asked him why he said that? We couldn’t afford accommodation and we had to also count our micro-cents each time we had to buy food, we didn’t even buy the train tickets initially as we didn’t want to spend the money in case we needed it for our travels.

He pressed his forehead close to mine and said it was because this way we met people. This way we saw more places that we wouldn’t have heard of. This way we didn’t just experience places, we really experienced human kindness.

And he was 100% right.

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War of his heart

Walk with me
Through the winter trees
They are bare as you can see
For they have to let go of what they had to carry on

Come with me
Along the cruel salty sea
Where Edgar wept for his beloved Annabel Lee
For he collected his sadness to bring them to life

Hold my hand
Please understand
Though I may appear as a man
I’m fragile like a butterfly because of you, only around you

If I were to cry
Please ask me “why”
So I can say that all that was exchanged was not a lie
For I cannot carry on with you, nor without you.

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Beautiful photo From Instagram @shaunzsee

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