Daniel Martua Matthew Simatupang (INA YES to USA YP 16–17)

And so it continues, the long adventure that I’m in. I’ve added two months from my last writing and boy the excitement never stops. And by excitement, I didn’t mean that I’m still going around different families, because so far it has been incredibly stable and calm. What I meant by excitement was the school, the Christmas, the New Year, the birthday, and everything else.

With the end of January, comes the end of the semester. It has been an amazing experience in art class and also in speech and debate. Those two classes are the best. They have shocked me in ways that I — for some reason — could not see before. I like drawing and it’s awesome that some people think that my drawings are good, but all I’m capable of is just some abstract lines, shapes and shading because I was never brave enough to draw objects. I tried to draw my friend’s face before and it didn’t end well. In art class, the amazing Ms. Beck was able to guide me away from my fear and gave me patience. In the end I was able to draw two complete faces, which I think ended up tremendously well. Speech and debate was also an amazing class. When I first looked at the schedule I was prepared to go to the counselor’s office and change the class, but then I decided to give it a shot. I ended up meeting one of the best people I’ve ever met in my entire life. Mr. Buchan is an amazing person. He’s strict but not boring, relaxed but not reckless, and inspiring but not shabby. Unfortunately, my semester break was not as long as I use to have in Indonesia, which is only around 4 days, but it was a nice closing to the semester.

The Christmas experience was both pleasant and dismal. It was new for me to see so many bright lights and, in some days snow, on Christmas time. In Indonesia there weren’t that many people celebrating Christmas around my neighborhood, moreover with lights all-over their house. It might not seem like much but for me, it was a memory to be retained. It was also my first Christmas far away from home and family. That time could be said as my first experience of being truly homesick. But it was good to know that back home, my mom was having fun and not sorrowing my disappearance. One funny thing that I should note is that a few weeks before Christmas, I was watching TV with my host mom and a wild commercial appeared showing this stuffed animal that could be flipped around to show two different animals. So, I sarcastically asked her with a fake kid’s voice, “ Wow, that’s awesome, can I get one?” She replied that question by looking at me with that mom face and started giggling. Little did I know that she actually bought me that as my Christmas present. It was not some fancy shoes, nor a new jacket, but the thought of finding it under the giftwraps made me happier than ever.

My New Year’s Eve was magical. And I meant every word. My host father brought me to Seattle to see the fireworks in the Space Needle. The fireworks were awesome but what comes after was even better. Seattle and it’s surrounding areas don’t get a lot of snow as other places in the States and even when it said snow on the forecast, what came down was just a thin white flakes that melted as soon as it hits the ground. So that night when the fireworks were flaming, I closed my eyes and prayed for my wishes, to which I added, “Let there be snow” at the end. About twenty seconds after the show, I felt something hit my head, when I took a look at what hit me, it came down again in large numbers. I realized that I was stuck in a middle of a snow hail. All of a sudden, it just seems like there’s this huge window on the sky holding all the ice and someone just decided to open it. If I were to put a list of all the magical experiences I’ve been in, that would be on top of it.

My birthday was nothing less than a sublime day. My host parents surprised me by taking me to an Indonesian restaurant several minutes north of Seattle. I got weak on my knees when I opened the door and started to smell the dishes and hearing all the Indonesian conversations. I cannot describe how awesome my tummy felt when I put that Ayam Cabe Ijo in my mouth and just uncontrollably peeled away the layer of that spicy meat. I’m getting hungry just writing about it. But it did felt weird because, my plan was to go there to cure the homesickness but when I left the restaurant I missed home even more. Nevertheless, my host parents loved their food so there might be a second time to go there.

The worst part of all this is knowing that I only have about five months left on this adventure, but a wise man once said, “don’t count the days, make the days count”. So I’m just going to look ahead and do what I can do for the rest of the experience.

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