I will leave my hometown in 46 days.

Freya Anjani
3 min readAug 1, 2023


The other day it was 154, and then it became 100, and now London feels closer than Jakarta has ever felt to me.

I breathe its dusty air, but I don’t know its ways. At twenty, I finally learned a tiny part of the train system, but I’m still afraid of the bus. I’m still scared of what the city can do to me; I never felt safe on its roads, and I don’t know why.

Jakarta, in a picture

Maybe it’s how my parents always made sure we had a car to get us from place to place. I memorized the feeling each route gave, but never where the next turn is.

They told me of the horror stories—of women enduring public transport, of stolen wallets, and of sharing air in a metal box with fifty other people.

Transitting in Manggarai

But maybe I just never felt safe enough in my skin, and therefore my city feels like a stranger to me. I haven’t left Jakarta in years; it’s supposed to be home, but I only have keys to a few rooms.

I don’t know whether London will ever feel familiar in the 13 weeks I have to get to know it. After all, I have had twenty-one years in Jakarta, and all I can tell you is yes—everything is overpriced, glorified, commodified, and gentrified. But so is London. I assume. I’ve been told.

In 46 days, I will move from one capital to another. I don’t think I would ever call London home, but I hope it will help me learn to look back in longing.

I will have space in me to miss my friends and the thumping beat of their laughter roaring through cafes, fingers sifting through a deck of playing cards.

We were shooting “Blue Striped Sock” short movie in our campus parking lot

I will have time to miss the house I didn't grow up in and has only two years worth of memories in it.

I will have time to miss the route to my campus, smack dab in Rawa Belong and its non-ending chaotic intersections, and the forty-minute overpriced Gojek ride it would take to get me there because I'm too scared to take the bus.

Campus at night

I will have time to miss the sound of my parents yelling for me to take the cat on a walk, my brother’s game, and my mother’s cooking.

I will have time to miss the roads I never bothered to learn, the nooks and crannies, the bad and the ugly, the luxurious old-money houses in Menteng, and the tight alleys of houses that look like they’re standing shoulder to shoulder in Tebet.


Right now, I'm too close to the picture.

Maybe only in London will I remember that Jakarta is home.

Maybe then I’ll feel a sense of belonging, a crawling feeling in my stomach of wanting to tell my mother in a phone call that i miss her,

and that I’ll be home in 90 days.

— Note from a pandemic-caged girl and the scholarship to London she never thought would be hers



Freya Anjani

21︱Jakarta, Indonesia ︱ here to spill my brain, in the hopes they can move you to tears or prove a point | find me on instagram: @freyanjani