California Winter

Isma Novalia Firdha Susanto (INA YES to USA YP 16–17)

Hi there! What’s up with the title? California Winter? If you haven’t heard about it, you should do a research about it. Just joking. It’s basically just because there is no snow in California-oh wait some areas do have snow, but mostly don’t. Americans always love California Winter. Why? It’s way much warmer here in the winter-of course-compared to the other states.

Well, it’s 6 months I have been living here. Time flies so fast, faster than your private jet plane baby. I learned so much things, like so much that I can’t mention them one by one. Like the “hella” word, that’s a California thing, a slang word means “extremely” as an adverb that used for emphasis. Evaluating my first months here that have passed already, I was like “Oh, I want to go home asap. I missed foods, family, friends, school, and stuffs,” and now? “Oh man, I just want to stay. I can’t leave them, it kind of breaks my heart whenever I remember that I will go home soon, 4 months left.

Especially when your friend are begging you to stay, that’s…hard. I know, my fellow exchange students fellas, I feel you, I feel you. I have new favorite foods now! I love fried Calamari so much. I know you can easily get that, you know what? The sauce is hella good. I’m telling you. Especially in Bay Area.

I spent my winter break in Philadelphia, diving deep into the United States historical places. It was super cool. We went to Ben Franklin’s historical places, Betsy Ross’ house, and we spent our new year in a ship museum there. We also went to The Franklin Institute to experience the Jurassic World Exhibition. And guess what, I got my very first snowflakes! That was exciting for a tropical kid like me, getting the beautiful white snowflakes on my hair with that freezing weather, struggling, but that’s a life experience. But unfortunately I couldn’t meet Shanty because it was pretty far from the place she lives. When I went to Los Angeles, I met Hanny, a girl from Bogor. We met at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The next day after me, my host mom, and my host sister were visiting my dreamland, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Studios Hollywood. It was super fun too, and you totally should check Hanny’s vlog on her youtube channel! My vlogs are coming soon. I know, I haven’t edited any vlog yet, my school is a charter school so it’s hella busy. But soon, I’ll post some videos on my channel.

And we flew back to SFO Airport, a day right before my winter break ends. The school? We need to work harder this semester. But there’s always ups and downs, those things that make this journey become way more fun.

We had our AFS midyear orientation on January 27 until January 29 at Bothin Youth Center. It was fun but we got no signal at all-but yes for some people because they are using different provider. And we were divided into 4 groups with a Harry Potter theme. I was in Ravenclaw, wohoo I’m genius baby, haha joking. I wish I was in Gryffindor but our group’s jobs were somehow easier compared to them so I’m happy that I got placed in Ravenclaw, my group mates are fun too, I love them. The place was pretty cool. It was an old building look like an abandoned castle but only with 2 floors. And if you look up the place on Google, it would tell you that that place is one of 10 most haunted campgrounds in Northern California.

Oh! We had a multicultural night at our school on February 2nd. I shared a table with a girl from Palestine, representing Islam and our countries-but she’s not an exchange student, she was born here and lives here. I tried to make Martabak but I ruined this plan because I bought the wrong wrappers. So I immediately changed my plan to make fried rice and fortunately they loved it! My principal, Mr. Lewine wore “udeng”-a traditional Indonesian head accessories from Bali-that I brought from home. And I wore my “kebaya”, it reminds me of my mom in Indonesia because it was from her. It was super fun! Students with different backgrounds gathered together just having fun and introducing our cultures.

Valentine’s Day is Kate’s Day. It’s my host mother’s 36th birthday!! My surprise was success yeay. And she gave her first cake slice to her husband-of course-I gave her a cat beanie and she loves it. I’m so glad she loves it. I might don’t celebrate Valentine in my religion, but I’m just sharing loves to those people that I love and that’s just nice and a good thing to do. Isn’t it just nice that you met some random guys and they say, “Oh you’re so gorgeous and what are those cupcakes for?”, and I told them it’s for my mom and they wished her happy birthday and also wished my happy Valentine’s day. It doesn’t matter where you are from. Sharing happiness is always sweet.

Can’t wait to go Montana with my host family and Grace’s family this weekend!! Going to be my first snow experience. You know how California winter feels like, it’s going to be freezing haha. Happy Valentine’s day everyone! Happy everyday!

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