La bella esperienza

Haritz Lawana Prakasa (INA AFS to Italy YP 16–17)

Italy, a country with a lot of beautiful things that maybe can’t be described by words. Foods, architectures, art, and football are some famous things from Italy that has been known all over the world. I think that i’m falling in love with this country, not only with the cultures and foods, but also with the people. I have met a lot of Italian people and in my opinion they are very nice, helpful, and friendly. I also have travelled to some parts of Italy such as Roma and Firenze in the center, Napoli in southern, and i am currently living in Milan which is in northern part of Italy. Although, they all have many different cultures but it is very interesting to know and learn all of them. For me, this country is completely beautiful and amazing, and that is why i never regret my choice to choose this country for my exchange program.

Talking about big celebration that happened recently, in December i and my family celebrated christmas together. It was my first time to celebrate christmas. From the beginning of the month we have started to decorate our house with a lot of christmas accessories. I did my first christmas tree in life with my brother and it was very exciting. There is also a culture in my family for the celebration of christmas which we have to collect some money from all family members and we will divide it into two parts. The first part is going to be used for buying other family members some gifts and the second part is used for a social project. My mother told me the idea why our family are doing this is because we are thinking that christmas isn’t only for us who have a family. There are a lot of people all around the world who are living alone and have no one to live or even talk with, but they also deserve happiness and joyness of christmas. In the morning of christmas day, we all opened our gifts that had been put before. All of us were very happy, but there was a moment that touched my heart a lot. So, currently i’m living with a refugee from Africa. He had to leave his country in order to be safe from war and to find a better life. My family decided to help him and made a surprise for him on Christmas. First, We collected some money together then we gave him a chance to join the course for finding jobs and also we sent some money to his family in Africa. He was so happy and so were we. It was amazing as always when you can share happiness with the others.

I also got a chance to celebrate christmas with my AFS friends in Lombardia region. We celebrated it in a city called Brescia. We were there also for celebrating Saint Lucy’s day. I was surprised when i was asked to wear santa claus costume, and afterwards we were asked to go around the city, wearing the christmas character costumes, and singing christmas songs. We also brought a poster to greet and tell the people that christmas was coming and we wrote it in our own language based on our country. While we were walking around the city, we also gave candies to the children that we met and sometime we stopped for a while to take photo together. The response from the citizens was positive and it was really fun. Another big celebration in this month was new year’s eve, i chose to do something different for this celebration. Instead of partying or going outside with friend, i preferred to do volunteering work for an organization that takes care of disability people. At that time, they were organizing a new year trip to a beautiful place nearby the sea and so i was offered to help the organization by cooking the foods in the kitchen. At first, i was doubtful about my decision and i was thinking that i couldn’t do it properly. But then, i feel like i don’t have nothing to regret. Everyday i had to serve about 60 people, it wasn’t easy but it is always good when you know that you are the reason of other people’s happiness. It was such a fantastic experience. Especially, when we had a party for new year’s eve. We sang and danced all night long, we did the countdown and watched the fireworks in the night sky together. I just felt different because usually i celebrate it with my friends, but somehow these people have taught me how to be grateful in life. Eventhough, maybe they have deficiencies but instead of complaining, they always feel blessed in life. That night, i could see the purest smiles, laughs, and happy faces of them and i will just remember this as one of the most precious night in my life,

As we all can see the title of this newsletter is ‘La bella esperienza’ which means the beautiful experience and it refers to my life in Italy. I just can’t stop being thankful for this wonderful experience. Everyday, i always learn something, meet new people, try new things. Although, it’s not always happy but there will always be a reason to smile and enjoy my life here. For me, this journey isn’t a vaction, it’s a second life. I have new family who treat me just like their son, i make friends with italian teenagers, it is just something that i had never expected before. Right now, i’m looking forward to make my exchange year more amazing than before, try to do many good things, share happiness with more people, and always be thankful for what i already have.

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