How I Met Your Father

I was randomly browsing my feedly, and found this one article from BuzzFeed (love that website, always give me something good/interesting to read).

Then I try to reminiscing how did I meet my husband, fell in love with him, and how did we end up being a couple. Twelve years ago.

(this post is going to be freaking long, I’ve warned you :x)

Early 2001

When I first knew about him, he was just a Math geek in my eyes. And a weird senior. A very obedient senior. Usually it’s my kind of guy, but at that time, I was like, “Oh OK”. Even when one of my teachers casually mentioned that he got perfect score for Math in National Exam, all I got was “Hmmm.”

It was awesome, absolutely. Back in my days (darn I feel so old), getting perfect score means you’re sort of genius. And that’s how my husband was/is. Still a genius I admire until now.

But did I have sort of special feeling for him at that time?

There was this kind of a barrier between juniors and seniors in my secondary school. Besides, even if I had feelings for him, there’s no way I would have bravery to pursue him.

So, long story short.

He graduated that year. While I continued my colourful (pfftt) teenage life.

I do remember though, one day, one of my classmates in senior year brought her older sister’s year book (her sister graduated on the same year with my husband, so yeah that made the book his year book as well). And I was randomly browsing the book. I remember we were looking for some sort of idea for our year book as well.

I must say, Husband’s year book is pretty ugly and standard :p. It’s also… in black and white (oh the horror!). I couldn’t remember exactly how did I manage to find his info on that book. But I do remember some little details in it.

That he wants to be a programmer.

Mid 2002

I graduated from my secondary school and got accepted to my first choice of high school. A funny story: I actually didn’t really want to go to my first choice. Why?

Well, cause I was just a teenager wanting to be with her friends.

Let me explain first. My first choice of high school was/is one of the best high schools in the country. A lot of its alumni are accepted to best public universities abroad. I had been wanting to enter, and luckily my national exam result was good enough. But nearing the admission deadline, I kinda had a change of heart.

See, the thing is, only few people from my secondary school got accepted to that high school. Most of my friends went to my 2nd choice of high school. Of course, I was a bit torn. Like I said, I was just a teenager. What I wanted the most at that time was not nice university (although still a priority), but chance to be with my friends. That’s why on the last day of the admission, I kinda hoped that my number got pushed down so I would be kicked out from that high school.

Yeah, call me stupid :’D

But anyway, that didn’t happen, phew. My number was still pretty up there and yeah I got accepted.

On my first day of school, I made an appointment with two of my friends, S and P to meet at the gate of the school. Three of us were pretty nervous, cause hellow~ best high school in the country? We were like chickens in a wolf’s nest. (ok, bad analogy, but you get the idea, right?)

After I met two of them, we went into the school and started searching for our classes. S and P were both in different classes with mine, but theirs are easier to find while mine was nowhere to be found. Cause of the school’s layout that made it hard to navigate around, we ended up searching until accidentally we came to senior’s class rooms area.

That’s when someone called my first name from inside a class room, “Fajri!”

I froze on the spot. I think everyone who knew me at that time pretty much aware that I never like my first name. I know it has a good meaning and all, but the name is so tomboyish that I can’t ever bring myself to like it.

And that’s why I knew whoever called me that clearly didn’t know me at all.

That guy jogged outside, and when I saw his face, I barely recognised him at all. I could only ask, “Who are you?”

Then the guy answered lightly, “You forgot about me? I am Nelman!”

Don’t ask me why I suddenly remembered who he was. And the fact that I remember his full name, cause I spontaneously replied, “Ahh, Ibrahim!”

(which is his first name, btw)

And that’s how I met (again) my husband.


As silly as it sounds now, actually we started our friendship through…


Yes, we were (are!) geek that way :p But in our defence, we didn’t meet a lot at school, and we are both not really phone people. Texting can be quite expensive, and believe it or not… he didn’t own any mobile phone!

Yeah, I was pretty shocked as well. I mean.. he was a high schooler!

(I asked him about this and he said he was the one who didn’t want to own a phone cause he didn’t see a point of owning one. IMAGINE MY SHOCK)

So anyway.

Email it is. Considering at that time, internet was kinda an expensive thing as well, I could only use one when it’s way past midnight while everyone was asleep and no one was using our phone :p

Actually our emails were pretty.. ordinary. Nothing so special. And it was always me who wrote such long sentences while his responses were one or two lines. LOL. Man, I was such a blabber back then.

We were pretty much in the friend-zone area around this time. But yeah, I learned a lot about him (generally).

That he’s one of the top students in Math (still a Math genius, I see)
That he always brought lunch to school
That he always did his morning prayer together with his close friend V
That he always wears his blue bag to school cause blue is ‘the colour of the leader’
That his house is actually quite near to my house (oh well… don’t ask how I knew about it :p),

To be honest, we didn’t have anything in common, except that we’re both coming from same secondary school. My life was so different than his. I was quite active with my ECAs, while he didn’t have one. I was happily engrossing myself with lots of activities, while he was one of those who goes straight back home after school ends. I was an average student while he was one of teacher’s favorite.

Long story short, it’s hard to talk about something that really interest both of us.

Honestly, if someone asked me why did I fall for him despite so many things pointed to saying no, I would answer… I don’t know either. Yes, he was definitely my type at the very beginning: tall, fair, and smart. But many things happened after that first impression; why did I still pursue that way?

Yeah, I have no idea why.

There’s also another setback. The fact that he said to my face that he didn’t want to have any girlfriend until he’s in college. Man, that really broke my heart. And also, the fact that he already had a girl best friend.

This may sound cliche and cheesy (ugh!), but I was a drama queen back then so yeah, adding all of those factors above and considering that he was one of those good students and I was practically nothing (I was struggling with a lot of study issues), I felt even more inferior. Which made me think that no way he would have feelings for me.

Feeling defeated, I decided to just let myself forget about him.

Mid 2003

I was already in accelerated class at this time and I was busy adjusting my life with the super packed schedule my class has. And although it started rough, I managed to get myself together and slowly but sure, my result was getting better and better.

As a result, I was becoming more focused on my studies and kinda forgot about him. Sure we still email-ed back and forth (hah!) but the frequency was lesser and I thought I was doing ok in forgetting about him.

Never knew that he would finally asked me why I became slower in answering his emails. But of course, I didn’t really question why did he ask me that. I figured maybe he was just lonely. #naiveorstupid?

At that time, I was really engrossed with Chemistry. In fact, I excelled so much in that subject that my Chemistry teacher proposed me to take a selection test for National Science Olympic in Chemistry. I was thrilled cause my Chemistry teacher believed in me, and I was damn excited to participate. Of course I didn’t think I would pass. But I was already happy to be given a chance.

I didn’t study much for the test, to be honest. I just reviewed what my teacher had taught me; I only used my notebook to study lol.

Meanwhile, cause he was one of the top students in Math, of course he was enrolled in a selection as well. Expect nothing less from him.

We met on the day of the selection and I remembered he was wearing wrong uniform hahaha. #random

Days after the selection, I didn’t hear back from my teacher at all, so I thought perhaps I didn’t pass the test at all. Well, I was a bit disappointed, but I did think that considering I was competing with top students in Chemistry, I should had not hoped that much.

Until one day, a student entered my class and asked me to come to teacher’s room. Apparently, one of the teachers called me. And that teacher was the one who organised students who go to science olympic.

I was suddenly so nervous. I kinda knew and hoped, but I was also afraid that I might be wrong. I went there anyway… and found out that I passed the selection!

In fact, I was the only one passing the selection from my high school in Chemistry field.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel proud of myself. I never thought that I could beat top students in Chemistry from my high school, considering they trained longer than I was. And the fact that I only relied on my notebook, I didn’t even do any practices from any book.

I was so over the moon when I finally noticed that there are other 3 students who also passed the selection. Two from Physics, and one from Math.

Guess who passed in Math?


I was like… “SERIOUSLY???”

I wasn’t surprised that he passed, but I was surprised that we BOTH passed. What is this? Was fate playing some kind of trick at me?? Why now when I finally started to get over him??

Yeah, I told you I was a drama queen.

When the reality finally sank in, I decided to just “whatever, it’s not like something is going to happen anyway”.

Which I was so wrong.

To prepare for the Olympic, as one of the representatives of the capital, I was trained at the national university who is famous of respectable Chemistry program. I went for the training with other 9 kids, which I was the only Muslim there – no surprise. But I grew close to them and I would even meet them later in the future.

September 2003

This is the month of the Olympic. Guess where it was held??

Balikpapan, a city of nowhere (at that time).

I was really surprised when I learned about it. I thought it would be somewhere in Java – if not the capital, but it was at Borneo instead. Again, I was excited as well. Cause it meant that we are going to take plane to go there!

Oh yeah, forgot to mention. I NEVER took a plane before in my life at that time.

Being a n00b that I was, I asked several times to my teacher when and how to board a plane.

When the departure date came, I was super nervous. I never took a plane ride before, what if I looked stupid on board, and more importantly.. I didn’t want to look stupid in front of him.

Silly silly thoughts. It didn’t help that we were sitting in the same row. Whoever made the seating arrangement must had secretly hated me. (lol, drama queen again)

So ahem, anyway, we reached Balikpapan safe and sound. Oh and one big surprise: he finally got his own mobile phone!

At Balikpapan, we were being placed into different dorms based on our field. Of course I stayed in Chemistry female dorm. A bit of side story : at first I couldn’t find my names in the list placed in front of female dorm. Sensing that something was off, I went to check the Chemistry male dorm. Lo and behold, my name was there!

Oh my, once again my name had proven to be a source of blunder. I still remember how my male friends from the Capital’s team teased me to no end. They said I was like a flower (really?) in a wolf’s nest. Ok, my argument was: wolf doesn’t eat flower guys.

After some cross check with the committee, luckily there were still some places available in the female dorm so I can still get a bed. Phew. And apparently I wasn’t the only one. There was another girl from different province that got his room arrangement messed up as well. It was just because of some typo in her name, so the committee thought she was a boy and placed her in the male dorm.

Gosh, I could only think how unprofessional the committee was -_-

I digress a lot, haha.

After my room arrangement was settled, I spent most of my time preparing for the olympic. I didn’t feel that I was well prepared, but I also thought that there was no use cramping my brain with more stuffs. So I just took it easy, re-reading my notes and reviewing some basic formulas – so at least I won’t leave my answer sheet blank.

The main event of the olympic was only two days, while we were there for about 5 days. We arrived at the 14th, then we had the opening ceremony on th 16th, before the olympic started on 17th, continued on the 18th followed with the closing ceremony. Such a tight schedule right? :/

Chemistry, Physics, and Computers all required lab test, so we spent two days on the 17th and 18th. While Math only has theory test so the Math students only had one day and that’s it.

Olympic was no joke. When I did the theory test, I almost completely went blank 😐 Luckily there were still some questions I can answer. Although I wasn’t sure whether I answered them correctly or not. Ah whatever, I did my best.

The lab test was not easy either. I was struggling to get the correct solution, and by the end of the test, I was completely drained. Pretty sure I won’t get in the top 30. Again, I thought, I did my best.

Soon after everyone was finished with the lab test, we were gathered at the field near the dorm where the opening ceremony (and closing ceremony) was held. They counted the score so fast, I thought. Cause the winners were going to be announced before the closing ceremony.

I wasn’t surprised when I heard the two Physics guys from our school got Silver. I wasn’t surprised either when I found out that I didn’t win anything. But what broke my heart was when it was time for Math, and he got Bronze.

I was happy for him, but at the same time, I felt like a loser.


When the ceremony ended, there was a gathering and lunch for the Capital’s contingent to celebrate winning the most medals. I wasn’t feeling like going; I didn’t win anything for the Capital. So when everyone was preparing to go out for that lunch, I went to the beach near the dorm (yes, the dorm is located near a beach, that’s why when I came back to Jakarta, my skin was really tanned!). I was initially alone, but then came some other men who were busy taking pictures at the beach. At some point, two of them chatted with me and took my picture!

That was unexpected 🙂

For about an hour, I thought everyone was already leaving. I was back all alone. Then suddenly I noticed someone was coming to the beach, and it was him.

Drama queen here started to feel sad again. What is he doing, is he here to brag about the medal?

He didn’t brag about the medal though. He only asked what I was doing there, and why I didn’t join the rest. I asked him the same thing, and he said he noticed that I wasn’t in and knowing that I am such a drama queen (-_-) he guessed that I was somewhere where I could be alone.

Man, what kind of logic is that?!

Then our conversation went like this. (These are not exactly accurate though. This happened about 12 years ago!)

“So, where do you want to go now?”
“We’re not getting any free lunch. And I am hungry.”
“So… should we getting any lunch?”
“Let’s go to the mall. I heard there is one at the city.”

Then off we went, exploring the city to find the mall, just the two of us.

I was trying so hard to not getting my hopes up, but it was so difficult. Sure that was not the first time we rode a public transport together, but that was the first time that its purpose was for fun. Kinda like a date…?

But obviously it wasn’t. He just pitied me cause I didn’t get any medal for our school. That’s what I thought. And to be honest, I was ok with that. It’s nice for him to console me. After all, he’s my friend.

We had fun exploring Balikpapan, although it’s only around the mall. I remember we ate fastfood for our lunch, and we visited bookstore as well. I bought some comics to read.

When we came back to the dorm, everyone was already back from the lunch. The other two guys asked where have we been, and luckily they didn’t ask further than that x) I kinda wanted to keep it for my own memories.

The next day we went back to Jakarta. I was content with what I got from the trip. No medal; but it brought me closer to someone special.

Which made my resolution to forget about him a complete failure.

October 2003

A month passed before I knew it. I missed a lot classes and examinations due to intensive training and the olympic. I tried to catch up as many as I can, because being in accelerated class means you have to learn twice as fast as your other peers, and with me being absent for almost two weeks, it meant I had to struggle and gulp everything worth 4 weeks of usual study.

Help me.

As with him, to be honest, we were kinda in a push and pull era. We both knew there was something but no one wanted to take the first step. I was too scared cause I really had no idea what was that something, and he on the other hand was not really sure what to do cause it was the first time he likes a girl (what is this man, he was not only timid, but also ancient!).

But something happened in October. Something so drama that I didn’t really want to write down cause it was too embarrassing for both of us.

Long story short, one day in October, we both finally told each other what we really thought.

All I could think at that time was, “WHAT IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING???”

I am not sure what did he think.

When we told our friends about this, a lot of them said, “That is so expected.” Or, “What is so new about it?”. And, “Eh. What took you guys so long?”

I couldn’t believe they had those thoughts since long time ago 😮 Either I was too obvious or it was so weird for him to have a close girl friend.

OK, again, to cut the story short.

We were officially a couple on 17-10-13. Not a nice date eh? But whatever. It’s been almost 12 years since then. And I keep falling in love with him everyday 🙂

With our little prince now, I can’t help but thinking how blessed I am that he decided to just call my name out of the blue back then.

I love you, Sayang. Hopefully until Jannah 😡

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