I never imagined before that I will stay and work in Aceh for more than one year since I landed here on 16th November 2008. I went here once on August 2007, it was a nice trip tough to Banda Aceh, Meulaboh and Takengon, but I couldn’t see if I could fit in myself working and living in Aceh. Then one time I said, “I will never ever work in Aceh for whatever reason, I could die there.”

Et voilà, here I am in Banda Aceh for some reasons, having a new job and trying to shift my personal thoughts of something to unpredictable new things in the new environment. The first one and a half month was the most suffering moments without having really good friends around. I did everything pretty much alone, always complaining about things to my best friends in Jakarta and Bali, and spending too much time in my small room watching DVDs. Living alone is not as good as being home with your beloved family and being spoiled. One thing I always miss the most was the Javanese dance until I went back to Jakarta for Christmas and New Year vacation.

Going back to Jakarta for the first time, meeting friends and family I left for the last one and a half month made me over-excited. I was overwhelmed by their attentions which made me so happy. It was really good when I went in to the dancing class, danced again and listened to the traditional music, I felt like I found my passion back after a long break. It was like a dream and I had to go back to Banda Aceh with heavy heart afraid of loneliness.

In a matter of fact, I was not that lonely because the day after I arrived in Banda Aceh, I finally met Qadri and he kept his promise to introduce me to his friends, Iros, Piva and Aline; and Mas Supri, my ex-colleague was there too for a new assignment in Aceh. From that day, I realized that my social life in Banda Aceh has totally changed; I have found my best friends. It’s good to have someone look for you and text you to hang out. I even have more friends while I joined biking trip to Pucuk Krueng and Lampu’uk Beach. Since then, everyday is an exciting day and gives me strength to enjoy my stay in Aceh.

My friends and I, are a bunch of people who are mostly living separately from our family because of our works. We have slightly the same interest and curiosity about things, and exploring Aceh together is one of the most exciting parts. We jump from one coffee shop to other coffee shop, from one restaurant to other restaurant and visiting each other’s houses. Aceh is not only about coffee, the best part of it is the nature. We visited beaches, water falls, reservoir and touring around mostly with motor bikes.

One of the most unforgettable moment I’ve spent in Banda Aceh was during the fasting month. It was not easy because it was my first time fasting without my family. No-one cooked for me, no one woke me up in the morning and served decent food for early breakfast. Thanks to Iros who always let the door open to all of us for the fast-breaking. And it was a really great experience to do “Tarling”, Tarawih from one mosque to other mosque around Banda Aceh.

Iros, Aline, Piva, Genta, Dinil, Yuyun, Andi, Qadri, Bayu Senior, Bayu Junior, Budi, Sendhi, Helen, Annie, Dylan, Yvonne and Jessica, you are my family in Aceh. We are doing things together, hanging out at the coffee shop, sleep over, singing, dancing, partying, doing sport, exploring Aceh, celebrating birthday, and taking care of each other. It ‘s not just about having fun, we through a lot of things, the ups and downs, bad times and good times, tears and laughters. We share stories, we share knowledge and experience. From you guys I learned what I called friendship and I won’t be this far without you. Even some of you are not in Banda Aceh anymore, I’m sure we’ll meet again someday.

One and a half year has passed, a lot of things happened, a lot of memories have been written. I’ve made my stories, I’ve got my experience, I’ve been taught about life and the meaning of friendship. It is definitely one interesting chapter of my life.

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