314 LESSONS TO LIVE

Alya Diva (INA AFS to Finland YP 16–17)

I expect, I jump, then I know I have to learn how to fly.

Being 9,983 km from home is not that hard for me yet not very easy either. it’s all about adjustment, and its the matter of… time. but how if I said I only have 314 days? is it enough?

Now it’s been nearly 6 months that I have actually been away from my comfort zone.

Time flies…

From the first blink of my eyes when I step out from the plane, I know I will fall with this country, so hard. So hard till I can never imagine how short this would last. 100% different kind of language and culture of Suomi is the main reason why I came here. Foreigners that only have 5 days or a week holiday in here might say that Suomi people are super cold, insensitive, ignorant. and honestly, my 3-weeks-me-in-Suomi also said so. and after I traveled person to person, chat to chat, all I know now that they are super loyal.

I don’t really have anything to tell specifically in this newsletter. But there are some habits of the culture that I still find odd. But the only thing I can explain is about how they eat in a day. A lot of people in here has this routine of eating 5 times a day, not as a meal, but as a snack. What I mean by a snack here is… bread. I have never been a fan of bread. I mean.. I am Indonesian, but that doesn’t mean all Indonesian doesn’t eat bread. We do eat bread. But for most of the Indonesian that I know, bread is a once in a week thing. It’s not because it’s expensive or luxury, it’s just because we have rice.. Instead of having 3 normal big meals as I usually have in Indonesia, Finnish will have a ‘snack’ in the morning, once or twice ‘snack’ in the middle of the day, a meal.. which is not a big one mostly, and once or twice ‘snack’ in the evening. But yeah, from billions of differences between Indonesia and Finland, the only thing that still disturbed me the most is this one.

But anyway….

This far, life has been such a journey.

So many things happened with no warning. Well, that’s what makes it a journey. Being thousand miles away also help me developed as a person. Even though I’m here with a family and friends, at the end of the day, we are all by ourselves, we are alone, I am alone. And it makes me more sensitive to people around me and even myself. I have never been actually listen to myself. I have always ask for advice, for help, for a favor to other people back then. Now I have to decide things on my own. Which is good or bad it’s up to me for the next 5 months.

There are many differences between Finland and Indonesia that if I think more about it, the more I know why I have to be thankful for being an exchange student and not to be too excessive, to be an Indonesian. I will keep the detail reasons to myself. But as general, all I can say is I am thankful to have the chance to be an exchange student, to get the chance to actually see hows life out there, and to get more reasons to love what I have right now back home.

Now that I’m half way of the journey, for me, everything seems so familiar already. But that doesn’t mean that I stop learning. I’m still learning in every second of my life here, there’ll always new things, there’ll always something that I have never seen before.

But I know that in the end, these are all would be my 314 lessons for me to live the rest of my life. Kiitos paljon, AFS. Kiitos paljon, Suomi.