6 Months with my Wanderkid

Its been very challenging to find time to write again in this blog. I really want to find that spark again to be able to write and read more like before, so I start it again. Since 2 weeks ago, I also start journaling on my book, handwritten. Hopefully I can beat Netflix, Instagram and prioritize time to read book and write more. Here we go!

So yeah, I finally deliver my baby boy 6 days after I wrote my last post before this. We name him “Khalid Aldrich Battuta”. We have been calling him CIKAL since he was inside my womb, me and my husband found it over our bedtime conversation. Thus, we would like to keep calling him with that nickname or shortened by KAL. So we look for name that has Kal in it and we got KALDI / KHALEED / KHALID which means eternal and also inspired by Khalid Bin Walid, one of Muslim leader and a close friend of Nabi Muhammad SAW who famous with his brave to stand and fight for the right thing. We also admire the spirit of Ibn Battuta, A muslim scholar that has been discovering the world, one of the great traveler in that era.. Thats why we agree to put Battuta as his last name so that he can have the spirit of discovering the world like Ibn Battuta 🙂


Kal and his dad. We did a bit of tea walking in Ciwidey, Bandung – drove our car in one of a spontaneous morning 🙂


The middle name is quite hard to decide, haha! I try to google and read any kind to search inspiration. I somehow would like to give a bit of classic Indonesian/Java name in the middle so I search for name like Aksara, Kelana, Sandyakala, Sembagi, Anantala, Sembrani, Kalandra ….. But then I also kind of want to put a bit out of Indonesia word in it so that he has option in the future if he would like to be called with any names haha I dont even know if he ever think to do that. So I also think of names like Aldrich, Aidan, Kenzo, Kenzie, …. Then we I give my list to my husband, he said he like Aldrich which means a wise & thoughtful leader. I even share my options to ky close friend and family and they also like Aldrich. OK, Aldrich it is. We confirm his full name in his 7 days old haha it takes time really to pick the name for your kid BUT its so much fun in the process of researching it, I love it!

What is funny is that we still calling him CIKAL and not KHALID (or Aldrich or Battuta) haha. People always ask where cikal comes from? Haha. But we always said to people to call him Kal to make it easy but my close friends call him Cikal 🙂 It will make Cikal nickname become special because only his parent, his closest aunty, uncle, friends will call him that.


Kal play at his play area, most of his toy and shelves are DIY by me and my husband haha, we started to love doing DIY Montessori inspired toys


Can you believe he is six months and almost 7 months in 19 June? Oh my god, time really flies when you have a baby. Feel like yesterday I deliver him in a small clinic run by an experienced midwive in Kudus, my hometown that now become his hometown too 🙂 I still remember exactly the situation, what clothes me and my husband wore, and his first rockstar crying that morning at 05.06 AM. It was a very smooth delivery and I have to thank bidankita.com as my main resources to learn about pregnancy and delivering baby that mean to be natural and we as a woman gifted with this amazing human body to be able to deliver baby. I will share my pregnancy until delivering baby journey later in different post (hopefully I got chance ti write it! Its a very amazing journey for me that I never experience before AND I really feel like I reborn again like a superhero in the movie after I succesfully take Cikal out of my womb, haha. But seriously, I enjoy the process, nothing like feeling pain constraction, no screaming, no hitting/biting my husband haha, I even smile when he almost out from my womb.

And look at now, he is already eating, crawling all over the corner, singing his own melody, laughing ‘cekakak cekikik’, but what is stay the same is his wanting for breastfeed, his soft skin, his curly lip (haha this is so unique), his right feet that always go up to my stomach/breast everytime he breastfeeding, his crying, and his attachment to me 🙂 I am now believe that some of our character / typical is already in our soul even before we born. Your kid can have your character / your husband’s / even your parent or grand grand parents. There is indeed a research about it and maybe we need another post on that hehe.


I was gardening and he crawl from his play area inside into this!!! 😁


I am so proud of him and I have been telling phim that so many times every time he do something good I say it in detail his progress such as, “Oh, you are now able to crawl and move from your play area to our office! ” Or “Oh you are able to grab your own food in the plate with your finger” , “Hey look at you, take your book from your bookshelves and look like you read it aloud”. I try so hard not to say ” good job! Great job!” And any kind of it as what I learn in Montessori way of parenting is that you dont praise your kid that way so that he will not grow searching for that praise as their motivation to do something BUT an encouragement by saying his making a great progress / work is what Montessori recommend. Ahh so so so many new things to learn when you become a mom and everyday is always new learning. And I love the way Dr. Maria Montessori use to grow our kid so I follow his lessons from books, some Montessori mom practitioner, etc. Its really make parenting much more fun when we learn about the knowledge behind it. Like this month for instance, when I learn about how baby can eat by themselves through Baby-led weaning method and how Montessori approach of eating for baby to include him in every meals time as we eat together in one table

IMG_20200614_082754_1 in one of our morning walk, I babywear him with Baby carrier and walk up the hill to Bukit Awiligar, found this beautiful park and decided to eat our Sourdough here. He loveeee being in nature, he can sit alllll day!


Of course there are a lot of downs beside all, the ups. The wake up night baby cry, the early morning wake up, the tired of accompany him everyday, the first 1 month after he born that looks like the worst month ever haha with sleepless night, clueless new parent, baby figure out how to breastfeed, parent figure out what this crying means and how to handle it, and many many other hard days to face. BUT my mantra from a good friend is always in my head: THIS TOO SHALL PASS! 🙂 and trust me, if you decide to be with your baby 24/7 and taking care of the baby, learning together with the baby, its all worth it 🙂

Wow its been a very long post and I feel so happy to be able to write this beside Kal that already sleep after having his bedtime story with his dad & breastfeed time with his mom. Please sleep through the night, Cikaaal :))))

Bandung, 17 June 2020 | 20.01


This morning when he look his dad roasting coffee, he always fascinated with any machine including coffee roasting machine



Gradschool Life #5 (End) – Leaving Boston, What Did I Miss The Most?

Running, Sunset, and Charles River

I can’t believe that I finally finish my graduate school at Boston University! Can you believe its been 2 years since I am leaving home in Indonesia to move to Boston? Time really flies when we have so much fun. Its a mix feeling when I have to leave the city in August 6th, 2017. I am so sad leaving the city that has been greatly influence my life in this past 2 years with all the memories, my apartment, great friends that become family, and a lot of fun things that I did in the city. I remember I spent my last week in Boston by exploring the city by walking from Cambridge to Boston, from home to downtown, from home to campus, Trader Joe’s, Brookline, Charles River, Yusuf Mosque, Chesnut Hill Reservoir, and many other favorite place in Boston.

However, I am also happy to finally going home and end a very long distance relationship with my boyfriend, getting closer (in terms of distance) with my best friend and family in Indonesia, and start doing something that I left in Indonesia.

To stay or leave Boston, has been my biggest question since the end of 2016. There are so many freedom and opportunity that I can pursue while I am in Boston yet there are people I love that I can see if I stay in Boston. There are also several best friend in Boston that I am so sad to leave them 😦 It’s been a very difficult decision until finally I decided to go home for a while.

But the next question is.. where is home? A definition of home become a wider perspective to me after I left my heart in so many places. During my stay in Boston, I have been able to visit my lovely people across Canada, my best friend in Puerto Rico and Peru, get an unforgettable experience in Tanzania, traveling across the U.S., even going back to Indonesia twice for conference and thesis research, and visiting my sister in Japan. These experience teach me to travel light and being a nomad if needed with my backpack. I have a 4 hours long conversation with Professor Barry two days before I left and he said, “I am pretty sure even though you are going back to Indonesia, you will be everywhere, Dini. Who knows you will be back in Boston again, doing some businesses or collaboration.”, and Fiona, my favorite staff in my Department hug me when I say goodbye and said, “You will be everywhere, I am sure you will not stay in one place forever.” .. that statement really make me think about myself. Am I a nomad? Maybe for now? Maybe I will settle later in the future when I find a place to settle? Again, the same question, where is home to me?

Me and Didi with the Coffee Farmers in Bajawa, Flores for our research in May 2017
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He did not attend my graduation in Boston but we have our early ceremony at Kelimutu National Park, Flores!

When I finally land in Indonesia and meet Didi and JP, I feel so happy. Nothing make me happier to be able to see lovely faces for the first time I go home to Indonesia. Then, we have lunch and I see Adrian, his present with JP make me miss Boston a lot — yes in my first day in Indonesia. But surely, to see Didi and then see my sister in that night, I feel home. From that day, I never really stop moving, being a nomad on the road by accompany JP to do his research in Lombok, going to Yogyakarta for another research and academic purpose, got an invitation from Kick Andy to represent Wanderlust Indonesia, went to Ujung Kulon for Wanderlust with Kick Andy team, accompany friends from Seattle who visit Indonesia for 2 weeks, and spent quality time with my lovely people in between.

Shooting for Kick Andy at Ujung Kulon
After Kick Andy show with Friends & Family of Wanderlust Indonesia

After 2 months leaving Boston, sometime I really miss some of things that I can get in Boston. One of the #1 thing I miss about Boston is my room in Boston! I miss the not-so-hot temperature in my room where I can relax and being alone, playing my record player / spotify, reading my book and drinking my coffee or tea. Being a nomad for 2 months make me miss that space a lot. I never really know that I will miss my room that much.

Hello 1472A! I miss you!

#2 – I miss my morning coffee routine! :(( Did you know that I broke my coffee grinder after I use it in Indonesia because it has a different voltage between US & Indonesia? I am so sad that I only have my manual grinder (which has a really bad grinding quality) and it will take longer to make a cup of coffee. Being a nomad and not having a portable coffeemaker such as cafflano make me really miss my morning routine in brewing my own coffee. Oh plus making a breakfast!

Missing this routine a lot 😦

#3 – Which related to breakfast, I miss cooking a lot. Not to mention, cooking with Kuniii, my lovely roommate in Boston. We have such a good time cooking together in our kitchen in Boston and I have to admit that not being able to have your own kitchen to cook your own food make me sad. Oh and I miss my groceries shopping routine to Trader Joe’s!!

Lovely roommate, Kuniiii!
and this kitchen!

#4 – I miss being active in outdoor that much! I miss my bike, being able to walk a lot in a decent street and nice temperature, running along Charles River or Chesnut Hill Reservoir, hiking in the weekend, camping, roadtrip, yoga & meditation, oh how I miss that a lot! How I miss the fresh air and being able to see clear sky and fresh water.

In our hiking & camping trip to Grand Canyon – Sedona – Antelope – Bryce – Zion

#5 – Surprisingly, I miss being a student! I love University, being in the classroom, having a discussion with friends & professor, doing some paper & presentation, being in the library, call me nerdy or what, but I really love being a student in Boston! Btw I will update you later about a profile video that my Department created to feature myself as one of the International student in Boston University (BU), it was so much fun! In the end of my study in BU, Professor Barry and Professor Samuel Mendlinger also nominate me to receive a Graduate Excellent Award from our Department and I am so humbled to receive this award.

From left to right: Prof. Greiman a.k.a Ginny, Prof. Steve, Prof. Barry
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With Melani, my best friend from Puerto Rico & her family
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With Prof. Samuel Mendlinger, our guru ini Tourism!
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Do I look happy? ^_^
Our field trip to Tanzania!

#6 – I miss the freedom and doing whatever you want without someone judging you or asking about your life, where are you from, what is your job or occasion, and dress casually. In Boston, I can even wear running gear to go everywhere or a sandal inside the classroom in the summer or hot weather! I remember every time I take Go-Jek or Uber in Indonesia, most of the driver always so curious about your life and asking questions such as: “where are you from”, “are you not working”, “are you a student”, “what are you doing here”, “are you married”, and other questions. I guess our society culture is just so curious to know about other people life and people do love to talk and making conversation.

#7 – Last but not least, I miss my companion in Boston! Group of Indonesian students & professional in Boston that turn into a family, group of classmates, oh how I miss them after spending 2 years with them! Hope everyone is doing good & we stay in touch!

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Best friends!!!
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Jepeee, I know Fall classroom will be difficult without me around you, right? :p

I guess that’s so far the list of what did I miss already from my Boston life and now, I have to come back to my other “home”, I don’t know for how long, and where life will bring me next. For now until the end of this year, I want to enjoy my time before starting something new next year, I was thinking also to write a book of my travel journey (any idea/comment? :D).

What I always believe until now is that happiness is a state of mind. It does not mean that after I leave Boston which make me so happy, I will lost my happiness. Happiness is inside ourself and hopefully I can take it wherever I move.

Thank you LPDP for the scholarship that make me able to stay for 2 years in Boston, and for everyone who is helping me in finishing my Master Degree in Boston University, you know who you are and your support means a lot to me! Love you all!

Welcome back to Indonesia, Dini! 

In a boat journey around Ujung Kulon National Park. August 2017

Perjalanan Antah Berantah

Packing pada malam itu juga, aku masukkan barang-barang yang bisa dibawa kesana dalam tas backpack andalanku, lebih banyak barang yang nantinya akan ditinggal daripada barangku sendiri yang akan dibawa pulang lagi. Kaos panjang, celana cargo atau bahan, botol air minum, dan sepatu sandal. Dimulailah perjalanan sepanjang malam, gelap dan jalanan yang tidak bagus dan rata. Biasanya aku selalu memilih kursi paling depan di dekat supir, merasa lebih aman dan nyaman, bisa berbincang juga dengan si bapak supir. Mereka pun biasanya semangat ngajak ngobrol, karena seringkali aku satu-satunya penumpang yang bukan berasal dari daerah ini, kebanyakan mereka sudah saling kenal dan hendak pulang ke rumahnya. Biasanya angkutan ini akan berhenti di tengah malam untuk istirahat, makan, atau sholat, atau jika kurang beruntung, karena mogok.

Begitu subuh tiba, sampailah aku di tempat yang jauh dari perkotaan ini. Tidak ada lampu jalanan di kala malam, nama jalan atau nomer rumah pun tidak ada, tapi aku tahu dimana harus berhenti. Terkadang bapak supir pun langsung bertanya, kemana tujuanku, tinggal menyebut nama, biasanya mereka sudah tahu dimana rumahnya. Belum juga aku turun dari kendaraan itu, sudah ada yang menyambut dengan wajah yang sumringah, berjalan sedikit berlari menghampiriku dan memeluk erat, terkadang sambil berteriak, membangunkan tetangga sebelah. Menyampaikan rasa rindu dan bahagia.

Malam ini sebuah pesan dari salah seorang di antah berantah itu menyapaku, menyampaikan kerinduan mereka dan seperti biasa menanyakan, kapan aku kesana lagi. Pesan ini membuatku rindu melakukan perjalanan-perjalanan yang sering aku lakukan ini semenjak 8 tahun yang lalu. Ke antah berantah yang telah menjadi rumah-rumah yang lain untukku, menemui orang-orang yang telah memiliki tempat di hatiku, yang mengajarkan akan ketulusan dan kesederhanaan hidup. Bahwa kebahagiaan itu tidak perlu dicari kemana-mana, dia ada dalam diri kita, di sekitar kita, sangat dekat dan sederhana. Mereka yang tidak pernah lelah menyapaku, pengingat terbaik yang menjadi salah satu alasan untuk pulang.

Satu hal yang ingin aku lakukan ketika suatu saat aku pulang nanti, mengunjungi mereka-mereka satu per satu dan melakukan perjalanan-perjalanan serupa ke antah berantah yang lain, mencari dan menemukan bentuk-bentuk kebahagiaan dan kesederhaan yang lain.


Photo by: Didi Guci. Location: Pos Plawangan, Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani


Tentang Berlari

Hari ini pertama kalinya aku berlari dengan Nike+ Running Club (NRC) Boston bersama beberapa kawan di Boston yang memang suka lari. Akhirnya bertemu dengan Coach Ally yang sebelumnya ketemu dan ngobrol tidak sengaja di Instagram. Kami berlari dari jam 6.34 PM hingga sekitar satu jam kemudian dan karena di jam pulang kantor, kita jadi perhatian banyak orang yang kita lewati. “Runners is in da house!!!” teriak salah seorang fans Celtics di depan TD Garden yang sangat penuh fans Celtics karena sedang ada game.

Rute 6 miles sore ini

Rute 6 miles dimulai dari Nike store di Newburry Street lalu stretching di taman dekat Newburry dan mulai berlari menembus Boston Public Garden – Boston Common – melewati beberapa area Freedom Trail hingga akhirnya menuju daerah TD Garden dan Bunker Hill – kemudian kembali melewati Charles River, Beacon Street dan akhirnya sampai juga di Nike store.

Stretching before the run. Photo by Andrea

Ada sesuatu di dalam berlari yang membuatku sangat bahagia ketika melakukannya. Ketika berlari dengan lebih banyak orang, sejauh ini membuatku lebih bahagia. Berlari dengan musik, membuatku lebih bahagia lagi. Berhenti di tengah berlari dan diam sejenak melakukan meditasi 5-10 menit di tengah pepohonan Chesnut Hill Reservoir atau Dock Charles River, membuat damai itu terasa semakin ada.

Tidak bisa aku jelaskan dengan baik apa sesuatu yang membuatku bahagia, seperti apa yang aku pelajari dari kelas Zen Meditation pagi ini, tentang berlari, tidak bisa kamu jelaskan dengan orang lain. Tentang berlari, harus kamu rasakan sendiri lalu kamu akan mengerti apa itu.

Semoga aku tidak akan pernah kehilangan perasaan sesuatu tentang berlari ini. Merasa bahagia dengan hanya berlari, dimanapun kaki ini akan berpijak.

Some of running buddies tonight inside Nike Store as the start & finish. Taken by Lucy

Allowing Questions

Today is my last Zen Meditation class with Mark Houghton. In my opinion, the last 2 class (last week and today) is the best class. Last week, we were partnering with one of our friend and we have to take turn being the guide & person who close the eyes. I start to close my eyes and my guide will walk me to wherever he/she want to go, I cannot open my eyes. Just following and feel it. So my guide bring me across the street from our gym where the zen meditation located and walk to Amory Park. I can smell the freshness of the nature, dogs barking, people chatting, laughing and walking. Maybe they feel that we are so weird. Why there is one people closing the eye and the other guiding it. Or maybe they feel that one of us blind and one of us guiding. We don’t care what other think about us, we just enjoying the moment, being in the present.

I dip my feet into Charles River water with the glowing sunset around!

Today, we are doing the regular practice starting at noon (12.00) to do breathing continue with relaxation (and Mark read the story about life wisdom) then sitting meditation. After that, we do the activity in a group as usual. But this time, we do it together with the whole class. Mark ask us several question that we need to answer and instead of explaining the answer, we found out that its more important to attain it – experience it – and feel it together so that we are all to be in the same page and in the same feeling. I also learn this from the Cambridge Zen Center where they have Dharma Talk and when someone ask complicated questions, the Zen master just hit the floor with the one hand, “Katzz!” and we are all in the same room can feel and being in the same moment together. Mark did this practice today. He also bring cup of tea and ask question, “Is it a cup of tea or what?” and how do we answer that? We found out that to answer that is simply attain the cup of tea, drink it and feel it. That is the practice about zen and “before thinking”. Allowing our mind to attain the experience instead of trying to explain it with thinking or understanding.

In the end of the class, Mark give his last sentence, and to me, this is really true:

Naturally, as a human being, we tend to life narrower. As we grow older, we push out things that we do not like and narrow our life to only things that we like. If you ask an old man 70, 80, 90 years old.. their life become narrower. It does not matter what practice or religion that you have, whether you are christian – practicing yoga – practicing meditation – muslim – and other, but you have to hold into something that can help you to pull out things that make you overwhelmed and narrow it down.

So, it also not about answering the questions you have but allowing that questions to come into your mind and attain it, experience it.

The take out from my Zen meditation class this Spring semester is short:
I want to live simpler. Narrower. As I grow older.

Capture by Andrea (Fujifilm X-T10), Sunset talk at Charles River



Mahmoud & His “Backbay Fens Garden”

Today I join Michaela, a friend from Boston University (BU) who are doing reporting on “The Fens” or “Backbay Fens Garden”. She will do a photo reporting to support her friend article for campus magazine. Then, we turn this session into our first photo hunting session! Mick (her nickname) is using her Canon 70D and I am using my Fujifilm X-T10. I ask my friend Arlin (Indonesian studied at Berklee) who use Sony Alpha 7 II and Ann (classmate from Taiwan) who use her Canon EOS M3.





Its funny our BU campus is close to this Fens but I never come down and explore it. The Fens is part of “The Emerald Necklace” which is the green belt around Boston consist of Backbay Fens, Jamaica Ponds, The riverway, Olmsted Park,  Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park, Parkways. You can find more about this cool program here: http://www.emeraldnecklace.org

Starting in 1878, Olmsted’s challenge in the Back Bay was to restore a stagnant saltwater marsh that flooded and threatened public health. Combining landscape architecture with sanitary engineering, Olmsted’s efforts transformed a foul-smelling tidal creek and swamp into a scenic pool within wooded banks; gaining interest from the meandering course of the water. Olmsted renamed the area the Back Bay Fens.

In 1910, the damming of the Charles River turned the Fens into a freshwater marsh. Over time, noted landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff added new features such as ball fields and the Kelleher Rose Garden employing the more formal landscape style popular in the 1920s and 1930s.

Within the Fens, The Shattuck Visitor Center, originally designed by H. H. Richardson as a pump station to control water flow in the Back Bay Fens, now serves as the headquarters of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. You will also find the oldest remaining wartime “Victory Garden” planted by citizens in 1941 during World War II to provide much needed fruits and vegetables. Today it is a well-loved community garden. The World War II, Vietnam and Korean War Memorial, behind the Kelleher Rose Garden, is a favorite picnic site for area residents while the playground at Mother’s Rest attracts children from the neighborhood and beyond.






It turns out to be a very great photo hunting and walk to the Fens Gardens with the warm and lovely weather from 4-6pm. I love the changing of the season from winter to spring where we can witness flowers blooming, smell of the crisp of the wood chip along the side road, slowly the leafs are coming out with the different colors, and the day getting longer as the sunset will go down around 7.30 pm. Walking around The Fens give me a very simple happiness to spoiled my eyes with the beautiful flowers, plantations, rabbit around – my ears with the sound of the birds singing above us – my nose with the fresh smell from the garden – and my skin with the warm sun.

Then four of us wandering around taking photographs around the gardens. Good to know that four of us not a selfie kind of person, so we are busy capturing the nature around us, not ourself and the scenery lol.




“Assalamau’alaikum!” suddenly a man with his hat call me and with the his hand waving ask me to come to his garden. No, he did not sell anything in the garden, none of the people here sell things. I answer his greeting but still continue taking photo of cute rabbit in front of me. Mick is coming to see him and greet him.

“Dini, come here!” Mick ask me to come with her as this man started to say another greeting in Arabic

“Hey, nice garden. How long you work here?” I come to see him

“Well, I did not work here.  This is my garden.”


That was my first encounter with Mahmoud. He come from Egypt and been in Boston quite sometime. He used to teach Rowing at BU Boathouse along the Charles River 7 years ago and he is so welcoming. We spend the next 15 – 20 minutes talk with him and he bring us come in to his garden, very cute one and ask us to come again when the flowers already all blooming.

“Come here again because now it still not all blooming and I don’t have my soda or snack with me.” Mahmoud said with his smiling face, inviting us to hanging out in his garden again later.

“Yeah, I would love too! Im gonna be here in the summer. I will definitely come back and bring chips so we can enjoy the beautiful garden.” I said to him and the other girls are also agreeing to do the same. Before we left, Mahmoud said that he is a photographer as well (after notice that we are doing photo hunting here) and he want to have our photo in front of his garden and as a turn, we want to have his portrait photo in front of his garden 🙂

Mahmoud and his garden. Isn’t that cool how you can see Prudential Tower from here, its like this Fens Garden being the green belt for the Boston modern buildings

I love how people can be so nice to you even though you just met. Stranger that suddenly become your friend. Not everyone in Boston is like Mahmoud but I still feel like Boston has a lot of people that is so friendly and welcoming like him. Today, there is a spark in my heart, I am in love with this city when it gets warmer like this and there are a lot of people going out to appreciate the sun, and the nature is just starting showing its beauty again. This is my first Spring in Boston and I have a feeling that I am gonna love it and miss it 🙂

Mick – Me – Ann – Arlin in front of his garden. Photography by Mahmoud with Fuji X-T10
On our way from The Fens to “Neighborhoods Crepery” at Fenway, strolling around the blooming neighborhood.