When My Life Is About to Begin Again

Ayundya Putri Pujanti (INA YES to USA YP 15–16)

Bismillahirrahmaanirrahiim, Assalamu’alaykum Indonesia!

I can’t believe this is my last newsletter during my exchange year in United States of America. It’s been more than half year for me to live and learn about life here in America. Did the time go by that fast? Yes, it did. As the time went by, a lot of stuff happened. I learned a lot about life. I learned about other people’s culture, I learned about how to respect others, how to communicate, how to manage my own self, how to get my life together, and learned about other things that I can’t get by just reading books at school.

Before I came to America, I thought that there would be a lot of obstacles, and there was! I felt home sick, culture shock, difficulties in communication, and others. It was hard at the beginning, but guess what? My host family, friends, and my coordinator help me a lot to get through this!

Today, I remember my first day of school. My first school bus, my first lunch, and my first conversation with some people that today I call them friends. I remember the hot summer day on the day when I arrived in Missouri. Then I remember the color of leaves on fall that was so pretty. It was followed by the snow for the very first time in my life, until today I see the flowers start to bloom again and I find myself enjoying the warm spring day.

I remember watching my sister played softball last summer, then I became basketball manager on winter, until right now I am one of the player in girls soccer team. This is my first time playing soccer with the “real team”. I know it won’t be easy, but my host mom always says “Don’t quit, you got it!”, and I never expected that I will enjoy playing soccer. It helps me to communicate with other people. It makes me have more friends, and it also teaches me to work together as a team.

I remember experiencing American culture and tradition, from PowWow Indian celebration in Oklahoma last fall, the great Thanksgiving in November, Christmas, and Light in the City at the end of the year, New Year, Homecoming during basketball season, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter last March, and Prom that just happened recently. It was awesome! I enjoy experiencing a lot of new things that I never expected before. I would like to explore more about America, so that way by the time I go back home; there will be a lot of stories about my exchange year experience to be shared.

My best exchange year moment was every time I gathered with my host family. By this letter, I would like to thank them for their kindness and everything they had given to me all this time. Honestly, in the beginning of the year, it was weird to live with someone we never knew before, but now, I feel like I’m part of this family too. For OJ and Edith, you guys are the best American parents I’ve ever known. For Keyanna, Kamry, and my baby sister Karisa, thank you for being such a good siblings and shared a lot of things with me. For Sanzhar, thank you for being the best double-placement I’ve ever had. Thank you guys, for make me feel having home that far away from home. I am really thankful to be part of this family. I’m happy to be around you guys, and I know I will not be able to thank you enough. Hopefully, I will see you guys again in 10 years in Orlando, Florida, as we hoped the other day during our conversation.

Today, I remember when I was questioning myself last summer, “Why am I here?”. I remember feeling homesick. I remember I was counting the days, until right now I feel sad because I am about to go home. Yes, the time went really fast, and now I feel like one year is not long enough to explore this big country. Don’t give me wrong, I’m excited to go home, but at the same time, I feel sad because I never know when I will be able to come back in this 4 season country. So now, I hope I can get another year. I hope I can get another chance to explore places and learn something new about other people’s culture. It might be in America, or it might be in another place of the world!

Today, I walked in the school’s hall way, and suddenly I stopped and I looked back, and there, I found myself remember all the things I’ve been through this whole year. I remember my journey from the very beginning until today. I remember how hard it was at the beginning, but now, I feel like I’m home. I looked back and I can’t believe, my time is almost done. My journey as an exchange student is almost finished. But then I realized, that my life journey is about to begin again. I realized that every single thing I got during this exchange year is really meaningful and important to help me get through life. Yes, the real life.

It has been a great year for me, and I understand that it will not be this great without the help from a lot of people around me. Thank you to Allah, Bina Antarbudaya, YES Program, PAX placement organization, Langkah Anak Bangsa, my parents, my friends, my community in America, and thank you the most to kakak-kakak panitia AFS/YES for your help and advice. Every single thing that you guys did is really meaningful for me. I am thankful for this chance. This year had affected my life. It really does. This is not a year in life, but life in a year! And I know that there will be another upcoming year to live my life!

This year also had made me understand the concept of different, that this is not about right or wrong, but it’s just different. Now, I feel like I am part of America, I’m part of the world! Now I know for sure, that I am one of the world’s citizens!

Right now, I’m hoping for the best for the rest of my exchange year. I would like to enjoy my time and make every single second count as a good time with something new and memorable.

See you in about a month, Indonesia!

Wassalamu’alaykum!

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