Nadiah Wiharnis (INA YES to USA YP 16–17)

3 months ago, I was able to simply walk and buy ‘nasi uduk’ or ‘lontong sayur’ for my breakfast.

3 months ago, I could still buy things at the hawker stall stall next to the house or stop the man with the meatball cart that routinely passed every afternoon in the subdivision.

3 months ago, I still feel how busy and crowded Jakarta was, capital city of my beloved homeland that I will not forget.

Yes, what a shame it’s been 3 months ago.

Now, I have to accept the fact that I will miss my favorite breakfast because I have to replace my beloved ‘nasi uduk’ with: pancakes, waffles, sandwiches or cereal. To me, honestly the portion is not as filling aas ‘nasi uduk’ or ‘lontong sayur’. Also, I have to take a personal ride (because there is no public transportation in my town here except the train to the city) if I want to buy necessities in supermarket. And of course, I will miss the bustle of Jakarta that cannot be found here.

Oh yes, one thing unique that I only found in Jakarta are: motorcycles.

Because to be honest, since the first time I came here, I very rarely to see motorcycle pass on the street. I ever thought that I always passed a highway, because I didn’t see any motorcycle. But now I knew, that people here prefer to driving with a car than a motorcycle. Lol.

In 3 months, these things are very different here. There are many different facets, starting from things as simple as:

- When usually I just need to take a few minutes to get to school (because I live in dormitory), now I’m able to go to school by yellow bus like in the Hollywood movie!

- When I used to wear a uniform almost every day but here I can dress however I wish. Actually, there was one day where my school held a ‘pajama day’. And people look like very cute with their pajamas.

- When me and my friends usually need to bring a hand fan because it’s hot in school, and now I even need to double or triple my shirt and pants because it’s incredibly cool. Also,there are some of my friends here who bring blanket during school! Hahaha.

- When normally I just gathered in the school hall on the cold floor, and now my school here has the auditorium which is very cool like a cinema!

- When usually I have to wait for my teacher at the turn of the class, now I must to hurry when changing classes because I only have 5 minutes to move to another class. Also, I don’t have time to joke with friends (or sleep) and read to myself if I’m bored in class.

And lastly,

- When finally I able to visit famous places that usually I could only see through Celebrity on Vacation Series or explore via Instagram.

Well, an awful lot of things that maybe other people say ‘are common’ but to me it is not. Because most of them became my first thing I do in here.

3 months I’ve been stayed became an exchange student isn’t as easy as I thought. A lot of downs, unique and valuable experiences, as well as the occasional ordeal to come.

But, I always remember the adage said:

“Life is like a bouncy ball, the harder you throw it down the more it will soar.”

Yes, I want myself become a bouncy ball that never give up when get a trials; because it will make me learn and grow better.

Also, I’m so grateful to have been born in a country that has a motto “Bhineka Tunggal Ika”, which means “Unity in Diversity”, that taught me how to appreciate and tolerate differences, whatever they are.

Even though I went alone without my family and relatives accompanying from the motherland, I never felt alone. Because actually, there are a lot of people around me that are really care and always be there for me. As my host family and my sisters became one thing that I really love and important after my natural family in Indonesia. Honestly I already take them as my own family. They are treat me really kind as their own family. Also led me and always support me in favor of my future. I learned many things from them, ranging from the most simple thing such as difference and tolerance. Because after all, we have a difference in terms of religion, language, and culture. Then we respect each other, mutually.

And America, has been my second home that taught me a wide range of valuable life lessons. Slowly but sure, this country began to change me. Where I have to look at the thing not only from one side. I felt myself already made some changes that I hope always grow up better everyday. Such as the beautiful leaves fell in the fall when I wrote this letter. And I’m so thankful to this country that has received me nicely, and help realized the dream of a little girl who may sound great too.

But now I realized, any dreams will be able to catch when there is a will and effort.

Anyway, like the famous adage said:

“There are 1000 ways to Rome, right?”

I know it’s not easy to get out of my comfort zone, but this is the world. There are many things that we have to dig up and know. Moreover, we are the youth that will continue the services of the heroes and warriors for 20 years to come.

So, fight your dream and welcome to the real world!