I Can’t Be Me Without You

Nelva Kirana (INA YES to USA YP 15–16)

Three, two, one. I like mathematics but currently I hate counting. I don’t want to know how many days left I have AP Test, how many days left I have a reorientation, how many days left I leave this unleavable state and how many days left I say goodbye to my host family and friends here.

Laughter and love that they gave and every sweet single moment that we have is always be on my mind. Starts from how they welcome me to their house, gave me what they can give, talk and understanding each other. Meet a lot of new people from their family, friends, neighbors and many of them. Some little argues and jokes that we had. Make me feel I have more people to love and more place that I can call home.

Maybe my exchange year is not as perfect as another exchange student out there. Like what I thought before, a lot of trips and trips. Expectation, too bad. I have some trips but not as many exchange student do. But I learn something too. Not every exchange student can go out every weekend with family and friends. I feel so grateful I have some amazing friends who always be there with me in here, I also have my American Best Friend who always be there listen to my stories and want to share hers. We tried every cafe and restaurant in each town. Try some foods that we might not have in our country. We argue sometimes, I miss those argues. The one where we try to tell which country is the best, which school is better, feeling about people around us who can’t understand and some drama and you might call us as a drama queen. The one where we didn’t want to tell each other that we hangout by ourselves because we are so tired to hang out together, and then we met in the drink station and talked about a lot of things for five hours and we didn’t realize it.

I know I moved to another family because with my first host family it was not working out so well. But it turns out to be really awesome when I step up and be with another family. I learn a lot from my new host family. Start from gardening, mowing the lawn, live with host sister with the same grade, more adventure and togetherness. I never know before how it feels like to share to my own sister or brother because I don’t have one. But since this program, I know and learn a lot of things about sharing.

Time pass by after adapting to the new family, I start to understand the next chapter of life. By changing family, I know more about American families. I know America not from one sight, but two. And not only two, because I have a lot of friends and I know their families too. And they all lovely.

School in here turns out to be so great. I used to be the one who want everybody knows who I am. The one who always keep reputation in my social life. The one who feel sad when nobody’s around. First day until third day of school is a struggle. I even wrote how I feel in my blog. But I wrote it down like ‘school hack article’. After a while, I learned a lot from that struggles. I learned how to be independent. Do everything by myself. Learned that the world is not surround me. Learned to give more attention to everything around me. Learned that no one cares or even notice what you do in school in here. So the only thing that can help me is do my best and attention is a bonus. Now I don’t care about a lot attentions from strangers. I do matter about me. I do care about what people feeling. I do care what I can do for people and what we can do with people. Being an invisible alien helps me to know who I am. Those struggles help me to be the better person.

Talking about the better person, I hope I’m not changing but I’m growing. I know it’s slightly different but okay go back to the topic. First interview, a long time ago. Around April 2014, the interviewer asked me why I want to be an exchange student. I told them because I want to develop my personality and be a better person, learn culture and make my parents proud of me. In this tick tock, I can say those things that I said in the interview is all happened. I learn some American cultures and especially I live in Texas it’s mixed with Mexican cultures, I make my parents a little bit proud of me and I’m still working on it until I die and the last one I become a better person, okay this one it might not true but I would like to say this to make me happy. I still have some life ahead and for now, my exchange year is my highlight.

Everybody asked me, since I’m here for almost 9th month. When are you going to go home? I said June 14th I’m going to Washington and I will be in Jakarta on June 18th. They asked again, are you excited to go home? I said yes and no. Do you like in here? Honestly first time when I came here I say yes just to be nice or maybe it’s because I miss my lovely home. But now I say yes because I really do. And then some of them asked me again. What do you like being here? I said, I like the people. And now I feel like I really have two places that I can call home.

I would like to thank you so much for my parents back home who always support me in any ways. Their motivations always help me to do things in a better way. Ibu Bapak, thank you for everything that you gave, thank you for being there and have some talks like a friend, give me a lot of opportunities to joy the hard life in the real world. I always proud to talk about our little family, because you are the coolest parents that I ever know! Xoxo ❤

And then also to my host families. Who taught me to be a better person, brought me to some cool places in Texas, drove me to go to school every day, open your heart and house and let me stay, tell me a lot of things and help me to be more independent and open minded person. Thank you! ❤

And also thank you for my best friend, Calista who always support me whenever I’m sad and happy, listen to all of my struggles before and after this exchange year and who always be so sweet by mention my Instagram username in some cute besties pictures. And also thank you for my good friends, Rahmi, Dentang, Hafidh, Yayan, Tia, Sheryll and Gigih who always have a lot of jokes and every stories that you told me, always means a lot for me. I love you guys so much! ❤

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