Hey, Patricia

I always have the same answer for everyone, another autoplay on repeat: “I think they are things that you just have to face. A consequence for your action. They all come in a package. They’re small if you know where you’re going and why you’re doing what you do”.

The low hum from a vibrating machinery nearby emitted a low F tone. Another two steps forward and there came a C tone from another resonance. I couldn’t resist a smile on my face. ‘Huh, who knows that a construction site can create such a beautiful harmony’, I thought to myself, continuing my pace as I was already late to a morning appointment.

Strolling around the city again after being away for almost ten months, a pang of nostalgia hit me. This used to be home. Or, at least, I was very determined to call it home once upon a time. A lot of people asked me if I missed this city. My answer sounded like a records on repeat in my head, ‘Didn’t occur to me until now that I am here’. Just like a lot asked me if I was sure about my big move when I just arrived in Indonesia, and why the move after such a long nine years in Australia. The commentaries never stray too far away from this: “It’s very different here, you know, you won’t be able to stand the traffic. And the people. And the bureaucracy”.

I always have the same answer for everyone, another autoplay on repeat: “I think they are things that you just have to face. A consequence for your action. They all come in a package. But, they’re small if you know where you’re going and why you’re doing what you do”.

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Patricia

Noticing the road got busier as the morning went by, I made my last crossing up Little Bourke Street and finally found the tiny gem hidden behind tall skyscrapers next to a public parking space. I was not late for my appointment at all, after all.

Patricia Coffee Brewers is what the mini coffee oasis is called. When I got there, a long queue already formed outside of the cafe. ‘Looks promising‘, I thought. I have to say that I’m a shame to the Melbourne coffee snobs society (if there was any!); nine long years in Melbourne and never, not even once, have I been to this coffee shop. Tucked behind office spaces and positioned on hidden laneways – just what Melbourne darlings do best – Patricia Coffee Brewer is a spot that coffee lovers should not miss. Adopting the Italian-style coffee shop experience, where drinkers would have their coffee standing up at a counter or bar, the shop is swarmed with office goers hanging out to catch up on the latest news (I love their news stand concept!) and/or taking a little time down before their day started.

Despite their busyness, their customer service level was not even close to being jeopardized. All the baristas were very attentive and friendly. If anything, I got not only one, but two free cups of their single origins (OK, I may be biased, but hey, I got two free tastings!). Those, plus a strong cappuccino that I ordered myself, cue a very chirpy, caffeinated (dehydrated) woman walking around your town.

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The smart news stand
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Speedy & friendly baristas
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Aussie sunshine
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Colombia

I would’ve stayed all day in the shop if I didn’t have another item listed on my schedule. Unwillingly I dragged myself out of the establishment to the cool breeze of a Melbourne summer day, of course not without a warm farewell from the baristas.

Did I miss this city? Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

I think that was the first time I fell in love with vivid, purple skies. Chasing sunsets have been a never ending pursuit ever since.

I was re-visiting my old New York photo album on my hard drive and stumbled upon this photo that I took of the city’s skyline. I was reminded of the time when I deliberately wander without any set plans or directions in the Big Apple. It was a cold December day, only a few days shy of new year’s eve. I traversed from the Upper East Side down to Chelsea, in hopes of finding something different from the sophisticated facade of the city. I guess I don’t deal well with too much prim and properness, even if I thought I could. After a while, I noted that I’m intrigued by something more organic and raw yet balanced.

I was all excitement when the cab driver dropped me off in front of an art gallery, which name has, unfortunately, left me yonks ago. I was a gallery virgin at that time, so it took me a few head tilts and awkward smiles before I finally was at ease with my surroundings. Thank God the gallery staff were not at all judgemental*.

A few galleries later, I finally arrived at the Chelsea Market. I was instantly in love with the place. From homemade aprons to purposeful art installations, mocha nougats to freshly caught seafood sandwiches, trinkets and gizmos; the place spells warmth all over it. I waited and waited, trying to store everything that I saw into my brain and just immerse in the ambiance. A guy came and set up what looked like a small set of cymbals, followed by a snare drum and a mini bass drum. Dressed in a pair blue jeans, a camel-coloured suit, and a fedora hat, he didn’t look at all like a musician, let alone a drummer. I was skeptical. Or maybe I was THAT clueless. But then he started to croon some jazz tunes while hitting the drums. ‘That makes more sense‘, I thought to myself. He asked me if I had any song requests. I shook my head, saying, “Just not any more Christmas songs**”. He laughed. I moved on.

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I decided to go back to the hotel since I was due for dinner soon after. When I got out of the market, I was gobsmacked by this view of the sunset. It was by far the most memorable sunset that I have ever had instilled in my mind. My camera died literally just after I took a picture of it. The photo that I took really didn’t do the scene any justice. I stopped walking, wishing that I could somewhat freeze time, and just enjoy the beautiful view in front of me. I think that was the first time I fell in love with vivid, purple skies. Chasing sunsets have been a never ending pursuit ever since.

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Five years have now passed since then. I miss that feeling, that sense of wonder and excitement that you get when you trail onto the unknown field. All the jitters when you could not find an empty cab to get to your next destination, the happiness when you were served a warm delicious Middle Eastern grub from a street stall on a very very cold winter night, that connection with people that you chat with at random.

I think a solo travel is way overdue.

 

*P.S. Or maybe they were, but they were just that polite.

**P.P.S. I have no hatred towards Christmas songs. In fact, I love it. But at that time, I felt that listening to any more Christmas songs was too overwhelming since that was literally everyone’s play list, everywhere. Like, literally.