Waiting for today feels like forever since last June. Looking back to all things happened in the last four months make the heart almost explodes of mixed emotions felt.
Let’s go through the past tunnel first, shall we?
Right after the first umra when I was 19, three goals were set to be accomplished before married :
1. Master degree abroad
2. Going Hajj
3. Going to this city
The first two were checked in the same year of the marriage, but not the third one.
This city has been My constant stomachache. Having the language teacher at home made me really familiar about this city. The books were everywhere. The language was also daily spoken. One or two or three words were often used whenever we discussed something.
First time learned the language at 11. Then, it was on and off. During high school, this was one of an elective subjects for two years. Maybe, other than me, no one enjoyed this subject at all.
It has been come closer for several chances. When we visited Manchester in 1994, we had BeNeLux and this country visa with us. Sadly, chicken pox stopped us from going. In 1996, the teacher was sent for a month summer course, but again, joined her was out of option.
The dream was off for quite some times.
Then, I started working on it seriously in 2008. It was a thought of accomplishing number one and three in one shot. Master degree in this country or other countries nearby. Wherever it would be, as long as it was getting closer to number three would be fine.
Had been applying lots of universities in The Netherlands and England and received quite offering letters. Sadly, the scholarship wasn’t available. Back then, scholarships were not widely available. Not to say I would surely get it, but at least could give it a try.
Since Europe was quite hard, then the plan was revised. Instead of doing number one and three, the focus and resources were all used on number one first. It worked better than having two things at the hands. Number one was checked in 2011, after almost two years of searching.
In 2011, life happened a lot. The wedding planning had started rolling. The chance of having number three done before the wedding day was getting thinner. While number two was confirmed, number three was too far to be seen.
In 2011 also, the news of the teacher sent to one of the city in that country broke my heart a lot. She actually supposed to go the previous year, but she had to unveil herself. She refused and declined the offer. Unbelievably, the chance came once more on the following year. This time, she was told that she could keep her veil. So, she did go. As if this opportunity was chasing her until she said yes.
What made it was pretty heart-breaking, it was me who had been trying hard for almost two years, but why it seemed the teacher, who didn’t do anything to go, was the one who could go. It wasn’t fair at all.
Right after Hajj, a month after, it was the wedding day. The hope of accomplishing all three had totally gone. The chance of going within visible time was pretty zero, with le husband’s residency on the running. Until the wedding day, when the teacher was no longer here, number three was still left untouched.
Two years after marriage, the baby came. The hope was even more fading. Let alone that far, going somewhere near for couple of hours now is even not easy knowing this little baby is waiting at home. In the wildest and worse thought, number three was halfly given up. Although, the thought of dying without going there gave me a broken heart.
God has always had a funny, unexpectable, and mysterious way in fulfilling our wish. This year fasting month brought a greater blessing than we expected.
It started when the idea of homecoming to Solo was popped. Since le husband is already in his last year of residency, the schedule has been quite loose. For the first time in four years, we went for a trip by plane. Although the cost made our saving screamed a lot.
Right after bought the homecoming tickets, an idea to check the cost of number three ticket came into mind. Did it as a guilty pleasure, like I have always been doing whenever remembering number three.
Checking several airlines, it turned out one of them currently had some promos. As the curiousity was getting higher, destination and some dates were typed. Nothing serious, just wanted to check how much it would cost.
When the monitor displayed the price for two adults and an infant, the first reaction was…numb.
Such price, return, for three person? Seriously?
It might be not that cheap, but calculating quickly on my head, it was doable. At least, affordable for us. The dates input had been chosen, according to my schedule.
Couldn’t help staring at the monitor for some time. The tab had been opened for a whole day. Went to bed sighing and thinking, it would be still impossible.
The day after had never been the same. It made me checking the website every single day. Reading a lot of reviews. Comparing to almost every airlines possible. Discussing things with le husband, my father, and also my saving account.
For at least 12 days ahead, I had numerous disturbed sleeps. While le husband kept telling me just clicked and bought the tickets, while the courage was there. Telling me that I had been longing for this too long. Maybe it is really the time.
The courage came after sahoor in Ramadhan. The tickets were bought. Never in my life I spent money that much on something. For a stingy person like me, the amount spent was too scary.
Strangely, this time, instead of guilt, it felt good.
Those tickets bought were the first real thing I have done about number three. Although few months later I am still paying the debt for it, it is worth all the pain of having debt for.
The next morning, passports were being registered online and after two weeks, the new passports were ready. Passport done, the next step was one of the most important things about number three. One process which sucked almost your energy, time, and money : Visa application.
Preparing for visa was one of the most exhausting yet enriching steps about number three. It made me do lots of reading, if not to say too much reading. Almost all available articles, with any possible keywords were being read. Made sure I didn’t miss anything for my visa documents so it would be approved or before that, at least no document missing when we came to submit it.
One week after documents submission, the passports were returned. Opened the sealed envelope in front of the locket, opened the passport and… the stamp was there.
It was really there until I really wanted to cry.
The visa was there.
My permission entry to enter this country was granted.
Then, (Maybe), it is really the time.
For me, it’s not a simply mere vacation. Nor an ordinary family trip.
It feels like going for another smaller Hajj. Going to the place which make your heart beating fast and has been giving you a constant stomach ache for almost three fourth of your life.
The place where you almost read everything about that, speaking the language (trying hard) like its people, knowing something about this place more than any common knowledge.
When usually people are having at least two or three countries to visit with their visa during their travel time, I (we) decide only to visit this one country, in this one city. I won’t be a hopping tourist. (Well, it’s actually a soft translation of the money is limited;))).
This one might sound too mainstream for many people, but not to me. It’s the place where some parts of the teacher’s soul lived. By the teacher, I have been talking about my mother.
The teacher who had been teaching me not only about the country and its language, but the more importantly, she taught us about having dreams and working on it until we make it.
Half of this journey, maybe about showing her up there, this time, I finally make it for my third biggest dream. She knew for sure I have been longing number three since a very young age. Sadly, she is not here to cheer with me like the previous two. But, I hope she would be proud to see everything that I have done to make this one real.
The initial plan was going alone, strolling here and there, taking pictures, resting for coffee and cake near the river, shopping till the wallet drop, visiting places on the list every single day all day long, having a day trip to the nearest cities, and many more of self-pleasing things. An ultimate self trip to end my 20s.
It turns out I am going with another two people. One of them is a baby, which gives me a lot of concern. Double and triple preparations, while having less and lower expectation. Instead of the strong 20s, it’s the less agile 30. God truly gives all my dreams checked, according to His will, not mine.
Dream then work on it to the fullest, I am the one who will decide the result, He said.
Then, let’s accept the result.
To the city where my heart has been constantly wrenching for after Mecca and Medina, here I come. I’ll see you there, Mom.
October 25, 2003 : the departure day of the journey when the three dreams were set.
October 25, 2016 : the departure day of the third and longest dream.
Bismillah, off we go.