Salsabila Putri Aulia Nasution (INA YES to USA YP 16–17)

It is 2017! And it is been a great experience so far. The last time I wrote a newsletter might be a couple months ago. I can’t believe I’m in the middle of the journey already. It is time when everything become comfortable and I might be in the state of unready go return The past months had been such ups and downs for me. But most of them were wonderful. Starting in the middle of November, my first fall performance dance was held. Surprisingly, the school crowned me as the student of the month! I got to stand in front of the audience and it was utterly unforgettable. They all congratulated me. I was also chosen as one the back-stage coordinator and the led captain in my dance team. For an Indonesian student, i was proud of myself. Have you hiked a mountain before? I would answer no until i got a chance to hike the Grand Canyon. Yes, that was my first time hiking! Once again, this girl nailed it! I successfully hiked 3 miles and it took me 6 hours. I went there with my best friend. We also got a chance to visit Flagstaff, a small town far away from phoenix to see snow. Tropical Girl’s dream! But to be honest, i don't like snow. It was freezing and i ended up staying in the car, watching my best friend playing with the snow. Still, i hate coldness. Just a week after that, it was my birthday. I did not expect anyone to notice, but they did. My host mother sent me an email, giving me a free Teaching English Second Language Online Course (which i already completed and received a certificate). They threw me a surprise party when my family and my best friend came and gave me a cake. My host family also served the guest a special dinner. The next day, i had to stay late at school to prepare an assembly. I was trying to set up sound speakers until they came and bring a birthday cake for me. They were singing happy birthday but tears started running down my cheeks. I was so happy. “Happy sweet 17th birthday!” That was one of the happiest birthday I have ever had in my life.

Then time went by so fast. It was already December. It was the time when everyone had been preparing for Christmas. I was invited to 4 Christmas parties! The first one was held special for the seniors and the 3rd graders of elementary school. We got to meet Santa, Decorating cookies, Singing, Dancing, Coloring, and the most interesting part is writing letters to Santa! One of the kid actually wished to see snow. It was really fun to interact with not only the seniors but also the kids. The second Christmas party was held with my Placement Organization which mean i got to see my exchange student friends. We were playing games with the presents, eating Foods from different countries, taking a lot of pictures, and saw fireworks. It was delightful. Then I attended another Christmas party held by Student Government in my school. We held potluck and secret Santa which you gave your presents to someone without telling them. I received a big bag of Snickers (Omg!), a scarf, a shirt, and bunch of Earrings. Thank you Stephanie! Then the last Christmas party was held with my Host Family. We cooked a lot of foods and baked a lot of desserts. We stayed late until midnight to open presents. While waiting, we were solving adult puzzles which took us hours. I got a lot of presents from my host family. I was so happy! It’s close to New Year ’s Eve when I chose to spend my winter break volunteering in a winter camp. I was there with bunch of my exchange student friends for 4 days, helping the adults to play with the Boy Scout kids. They were full of energy. We had a lot of fun! By the end of the year, I completed more than 125 hours of volunteering service. Not bad!

Few days afterward, it was already January. My host family, my best friends and i went to Los Angeles, California. We went to Universal Studios where we tried every ride in there. Oh my god, my favorite part was when we got to try 4D Transformers. It felt so real and i loved it! We also went to see Jurassic Park. We ate lunch in Harry Potter’s village. The next day, we went to Hollywood walk of fame. And Venice beach. It was really cold and certainly not a good time to visit beach, but then we walked around window shopping. We walked so far away until the end of the point, when we found a famous candy store. When i got inside, it was like a heaven. I got to see the biggest Snickers and the longest sour patch ever sold in USA. It was a lot of fun. Then we went back to Phoenix, Arizona. Couple of weeks later, i went to visit a Disney on Ice show where i got to see Cars, Toy Story, Ariel and of course, Frozen! I lost my voice when Anna and Elsa came out on the stage. They were singing and dancing. The whole show was breathtaking. I went home happily. Maybe that's all for this newsletter! See you later with another stories, folks!

Like what you read? Give Bina Antarbudaya a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.