Yesterday sunday afternoon, I unintentionally opened my food photos reminds me how hard life was in Paris. The daily needs were too expensive and the most important was how I lived without rice and Indonesia’s spice. And u know what make I looked veryyy foolish was when my first flight across continents I’ve kept my Rice Cooker on my cabin (sure on my handbag), from Indonesia to France!!!! MDRRRRRRR!!! It surely reduced my capacity to bring other stuff, like clothes. I’d rather bring rice cooker than any clothes! I couldn’t live without eating rice. I couldn’t imagine there was no rice on my breakfast, lunch and dinner?? I'm really really addicted to eating rice because of my digestion problem. And I knew that everything was expensive there so it was impossible to buy rice cooker with limited budget of my scholarship then I’ve kept my money just for important things.

I’ve arrived safely with some jetlag I thought. I’ve got headache. It was a long-haul trip (15hours by bus from Solo to Jakarta then continued by plane about 18 hours from Jakarta to Paris). I could hardly feel how Paris was in first time I’ve set my foot there. It was autumn at 8 or 15° C I guess. I could barely remember my first lunch because of my headache and jetlag. But when I saw these photos, I remember my menus in first weeks. I took my breakfast/lunch happily because of rice!!! The next day I ate egg, vegetables and Serondeng thanks to my friend bringing its Indonesian speciality. How I said many many thanks to God just because of this.

A few days later, I’ve tried to buy Nasi Goreng, rice cooked in oil and some spices, but Nasi Goreng I bought was totally different. OK. But at least I ate RICE however different the taste.

This was a breakfast when I stayed for few days in Ibis Paris (free from Campus France). I was speechless of this menu. NO RICE! But yeah this menu surprisingly made my stomach survive until at noon.
When I got settled enough in Paris and got some stuffs from my seniors, my sisters, all Indonesian people that gave me many many ‘precious stuff’, like a spoon, fork, plate, glass, or other stuffs. It was so useful. Que Dieu vos benisse tous. Amin.

I used to cooking most of my breakfast and dinner. How lucky I was, there was a free market near my apartment in where the vendors were most Arabians. There was luckily also a shop ‘Alimentation générale’ that sells rice, couscous, some spices, oil, and others.

Place d’Aligre, the cheapest free market in Paris

Potato, paprika, bean, avocado, carrots, garlic, onions were the most important vegetables I had to buy. This was very simply Indonesian menu, except paprika. I’ve cooked soup and Nasi Goreng for many times, because I had no idea about what I wanna cook. Don’t ask how the taste! Soup was not really Indonesian taste, because of not having enough spices. Hahahaaa.

For the first month, I didn’t buy meat or chicken but sardine. Poor me! But I enjoyed it.
Thanks to my ex-roommate, Bulan, a creative woman I’d ever know about her ideas for cooking everything being possible to combine, for another time in your support, strength, and optimism. And I’m happy for you that you are working in ministry now. You deserve to get all of this because of your efforts and patience when you were in Paris. Thanks to be my partner. I miss all the crazy moments we did together. Haha. I knew when u came into my Rue de Cîteaux’s room; it would become “inoubliable moments”. Ihiyyy..
Well, we go back. Because of her, I had more ideas to cook any menus. Then I’ve cooked a combined soup with paprika, broccoli, chou fleur (cabbage), etc.

When my expenses were not too over, I bought a meat and chicken. Thanks God. When I missed my mother food, I’ve cooked Oseng-Oseng with oil, meat and bean. If I have no idea, I just combined all of vegetables I had in my frigo.

I’ve saved my money then I could cook many special Indonesian foods, like Gongso (similar to oseng-oseng but different spice and vegetables), Perkedel kentang, sop ayam (indonesian chicken soup), keripik kentang pedas (spicy potato), lalapan (fried chicken and salade) and others (fu yung hai, salad, omelette, etc)

Because of reconstruction of my apartment, then I had to move to other Résidence Universitaire in Ourcq. As a request from Bulan to cook Nasi Kuning after moving to new room and for my birthday in March, then I’ve cooked the most special food, Nasi Kuning (yellow rice made by tumeric/ saffron) and other foods (sambel kentang, mie goreng, sayur oseng, bakwan, ayam dan telur).  Voilà!!!

As the day passed, the scholarship was too late; CAF was too difficult to get immediately. I’ve applied some jobs, but I’ve forgotten I lived in secular country; it was difficult to get job with hijab.  I’ve got financial problem. It was lately two months of paying the apartment. My parents had no idea how to fix it. Then I tried to go to Social Service in my university. With all of my efforts to explain to them in French (absolutely difficult) that I got financial problem, they didn’t want to help.  But I tried to explain unceasingly. And I did it. They would help me. They explained that I had to wait a confirmation. Ok. C’est la vie difficile à ce moment là.

Two weeks later, I’ve got a call from Social Service that I got a commission. Thanks Allah. When I was there, they gave me like voucher to eat in restaurant universitaire , free of charge of 60 Euros and also cash commission in few days later.

Ok, I think we should forget how finally I’ve payed the apartment. but I never forget all of your gentillesse and kindness my friends, I thanks you all guys. Que Dieu vos benisse tous. Amin.

La vie était très dure quand même.

We back!! Just focused on this alimentation :D

This was menus in restaurant universitaire. I loved Ratatouille (eggplant, tomato, paprika mixed with sauce) and pastry so delicious. I’ve never eat ratatouille in French restaurant.

For us, Indonesian, we have no appétit to taste such menus. But if you try to eat them, you may love them. And I’m guarantee if you have lunch with these menus, you won’t be hungry until dinner time especially in winter.

I’ve tried to eat rice on winter, you know I ate four times a day and bread/sandwich. When I had lunch with this menu, I just ate three times a day without bread/sandwich. That’s why I’ve gained my weight 3 kilos on winter.

In French style, we could eat salad, entrée, plat, dessert, so we couldn’t be hungry until dinner :D


The beautiful views of university restaurants I love are in my university with modern view (left bottom) and Sorbonne area with old buildings view (right).

you may also wonder why I was so obsessed capturing these foods always. Some researches showed that there may be a mental illness of the people taking photograph the foods before eating. I didn't find the relation of it. This was just to reminds me how difficult to cook my daily foods in different country.
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