A Conversation with a Stranger

Impulsive behavior is a part of me which existence I’m not aware of most of the time. In fact, that impulsive side of me only shows up once in a while and is usually hidden away again quite quickly when logic and common sense takes over. However, when you’re traveling with Bali with (at the time) eight of your single girl friends, it is impossible not to be the least bit impulsive at some point – especially when encountering the marvel known as “cute guys”

This is the story of how impulsive Mary managed to totally show up the evening we landed in Bali.

It all started with a plan of one of my boy friends to ask a girl in our group to be his girlfriend that evening. I was part of the “proposal success team” as we dubbed ourselves to be and after weeks of planning, the decision was made to surprise her at one of the cafes along the back of Discovery Plaza at sunset. I know, we pride ourselves in being romantic.

At 5 PM, we entered the parking lot of Discovery Plaza. Mr. Made, our patient guide throughout the trip, opened the window, reached out to grab a ticket and that was when Clarissa spotted him: a young man with curly blonde hair wearing a T-shirt and black shorts. In a matter of seconds, we spotted the person of interest and started screaming like we just saw One Direction or something. All this time, Mr. Made still had his windows down.

We gushed over him in extremely loud voices and then suddenly, he turned, spotted the source of noise and smiled. He freakin’ smiled at us. Naturally, as Newton’s Law states it: where there is action, there will be an equal amount of reaction that follows. His smile cued for more screaming to ensue. Mr. Made, seizing the moment, cheekily smiled at him and said “they think you’re handsome” to him. I honestly don’t think he needed that statement to know what was happening.

As we leaped off the car and headed towards the beach, we honestly didn’t think we would see him again. But then from a distance, we spotted him walking by himself along the shore. We descended the staircase nearby and hopped on some slippery rocks in pursuit of this blonde stranger. Clarissa was ahead of me and when the instant her feet touched the sand, she zoomed off towards the guy’s direction. I was half-running, half-fidgeting with my camera settings when she said the guy had agreed to a photo with her which I took.

After the photo was taken, the rest of the girls were playing at the waves and this guy was still standing there, smiling. I kind of felt sorry for the guy because he was alone on a beautiful evening and felt daring at the same time, so I did something I would never have done before. I said hi to him.

Yes, Mary said hi to a complete, older, topless stranger that evening.

The conversation basically went like this (I recall every word to this day)

Him: “Hi”
Me: “So where are you from?”
Him: “Finland. Do you know where that is?”
Me: “Oh yeah, that’s where the Santa Claus Village is located right?” (That was all I could remember about Finland. Stupid and probably makes me sound childish, I know)
Him: “Yeah, but I actually live in the central area, the city, you know.”
Me: “Oh yeah, cool. How long have you been in Bali?”
Him: “Five months.”
Me: “How are you enjoying Bali so far?”
Him: “I love it actually”
Grace/Tania/Clarissa: “Hey, don’t you want a picture with him?”
Me: “Oh yeah, I do. Do you mind if we take a picture together?”
Him: “No, not a problem at all.”


It was only after the picture had been taken that I asked him his name. It took me four tries to be able to pronounce it, but I’m not even sure what his name was. It sounded like Viljam or Villiam. And when he asked my name, I was like “oh, it’s Mary, just a simple name, you know” as if I needed to remind him that I couldn’t even get his name right. (Viljam or whoever you are, if you’re reading this, please let me know what your name really is)

It turned out that Viljam (let’s just go with Viljam because that’s what it sounded like) just graduated college in fall 2014 and decided to go to Bali to surf. He loves hockey and said that his family had taken him to see hockey matches, even the international-scale ones because it is the most popular sport in Finland. I said that I didn’t know much about hockey because the one sport I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid was F1 and my favorite driver is from Finland. He immediately guessed Kimi Raikkonen. I was ecstatic that I finally found someone who knows Kimi Raikkonen (especially when he had done incredibly well in the previous night’s race) and I think that enthusiasm showed because he was definitely smiling. He asked me how I got so into F1 as not many girls follow the sport as avidly as I do and I replied by saying that my dad introduced me to the sport when I was a kid the same way his family introduced him to hockey. Eventually, like any other conversation I’ve ever had with people who don’t come from Jakarta, I asked him if he had been there and if he would like to visit this city someday. He said he had thought about it, but he had never been there. I broke down all the reasons why he ought to visit Jakarta and some highlights of this city and he replied with a “maybe I really should visit Jakarta someday.”

Suddenly, my friend’s “proposal” plan came to mind. I looked at my watch and realized that it was almost time for us to be at one of the cafes/bars nearby for it. I told him that I had to go and I was going to “hit the bar with some of my guy friends” – which makes me sound cooler than I actually am. We said goodbye to each other and he carried on walking along Kuta’s shoreline. Not too long after that, the guys showed up at the beach. It turned out that there was a change of plan and the whole “proposal” thing was going to be done at the beach.

Had I known that this change of plan was going to take place, I probably would have kept talking with Viljam.

My friends were cheering and all and saying “you’re like in a different separate world with him” or something like that. And then it finally hit me that I hadn’t given him any of my contact information nor had he asked for any of it. What we shared was a conversation between two human beings, two travelers without any intention of flirting or whatever.

That encounter with Viljam actually reaffirmed a lot of things for me. It reaffirmed my love for traveling for how I define it to be: going to places different from home and meeting new people along the way. It reaffirmed my intention to someday travel on my own and seek out more conversations with strangers – with common sense and care, of course. The conversation with Viljam reminded me that moments like this are what I live for. Impulsive Mary didn’t back down for once and it felt good.

That evening, as we were headed back to the parking lot, our paths crossed with Viljam once again. He smiled at me and I exclaimed “hey! It’s good to see you again!” as several heads turned. His smile grew even wider and he went off a different path than the one we took.

Viljam, if you’re reading this, I just want you to know that it was truly good to see you. Should you ever find yourself in Jakarta, I hope we’ll get to stumble upon each other again the way we did in Bali.


(Yes, I’ll end this post with a photo of me looking stupid in front of Viljam because why not?)


5 thoughts on “A Conversation with a Stranger

  1. Nah, sekarang udah ada fotonya hehe..
    Melting liat si Viljam tinggi banget yaa.. 5 bulan di Bali sudah membuatnya lebih coklat dari pada org Indo sendiri hahahahha
    Your welcome 😉


  2. Hi Mary.. Biasa jadi silent reader kamu tentang jalan jalan km di Bali..
    Btw, fotoo nyaaa manaa, kok ga ada 😀 pajang dong.. supaya Villiam atau siapa kalau liat bisa sadar.. 😉 penasaran juga hihihihi


    1. Hi there Breldine! Pertama, thank you banget udah jadi silent reader di sini. Lain kali comment aja, mungkin ada yg kurang pas ato gmn. Let me know what you think, I don’t bite kok 🙂 Fotonya ada kok di post-nya, ga kebuka ya waktu kamu liat? Muncul ga ya fotonya? Takutnya ada setting yg salah jadi fotonya malah ga keliatan, hehe. Again, thanks for dropping by and commenting!


      1. Hai Belin!
        Ternyata kemaren beneran ada masalah di postnya jadi yg muncul kemaren itu versi kasar bangetnya malah. Terribly sorry for letting that happen! Tadi pagi udh aku beresin + reupload. Klo kamu ga comment kayaknya aku ga sadar ada masalah di postnya. Thanks for letting me know and commenting!


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