A Filthy Soul Tries To Defeat The Inferiority

We create peace among differences.

It’s been three months since my arrival here, in the USA, on September 11, 2016. So many experiences I have gained. Everytime I meet new people, I get to learn something new.

I start everything from zero. It’s almost like the “reborn me”. How to build a chemistry in a family, how to communicate the difficulties with people, how to appropriately introduce myself – pronounce my name, how to approach people to get their attentions, how to question things properly, how to order meals at the restaurant, how to take care of my laundry, how to arrange the schedules for a minute later, and how to satisfy myself between my inconvenience. All is automatically being the liability of mine.

It’s almost unbelievable that what I get today has been this far from the start point I set. I sit on a long coach with a long desk afore. A yellow-standing-flaming light nearby is accompanied by the sound of the crickets outside. I stare at the isle one yard over there between the dining table and the cat playground. The running fan is on the kitchen ceiling to fade the smoke away. How dense it feels to encourage me to adjust myself to feel it like a home. I physically am present among American atmosphere. I still can’t believe it. The rush and hectic in making passport, asking the teachers’ recommendation, crucial ones’ signatures, school stamps, verifications, visa issuance, school academic report books, and other things that may threaten me so much if it is not done well. And those are well-paid and worth it.

One preparation is not enough to encourage us to pursue the right way to exactly get a captivating one exchange year. Chapter orientation, subsequent to national orientation, and ended up in international orientation. Three gateways to pass before facing the really-happy-scary-worry one year without Mama, Bapak, and Adik at home. That afterward, they won’t be there to help me fold my clothes, to face-to-face me when I tell them how my school is going, to say the same greeting based on the day, or to be in the same timezone. There must be a lot of pressure without their obvious presence by my side.

Day by day I go through with host family, school, and American peers. The diverse of culture still limits me to approach them like Indonesian. Talk to them is sometimes bringing me to the situation where I have to be quiet for awhile to translate sentence by sentence in my head into English. It surpasses me sometimes. What’s the best expression for this? What’s the suitable word for this? I have to commit to talk like a robot sometimes due to my stiff English.

Homesick by homesick I have is such a fulfillment among my exchange year. It must be a thing that colorizes this year. Staring at a family photo that I bring from home, on the corner of my white long table in my room is giving me a sense to cry, yet to be well-encouraged human being to finish this one tough year. Being an exchange student is my choice. Once I commit for it, I have to take and finish it until the very end of the journey. Through their (family) support, I believe that there is no doubt in myself to believe in my own self. I already have one check point on my dream list, why shouldn’t I put a whole trust in me? I am able to do it. And I must be.

Bringing open missions within my journey, which are creating peace and bridging understanding between Americans and people from most populous Moslems countries, is the truest goal I have to achieve this year. Breaking down the Western mindset about Islam (Moslem), intolerance, violence, and oppression that they think those are living in us as our culture. Answering questions about what I wear on my head. Opposing the misunderstandings. Defending rights. Introducing cultures. Sharing customs. All is put as one as the term of “exchange”. I am sent as my country’s representative. Be the best of me as a nation ambassador is the only thing I retain whenever I feel bad toward something.

The (hopefully) never ending solidarity between Lentera Kinanti Nusantara wakes me up whenever I feel alone and down toward myself that I cannot be a good adjuster in a place that is far, far away from home. The moment when ‘Sang Saka Merah Putih’ is side by side with ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’, I trust all over myself that everything happens for reasons. Don’t let things remain off-hand. I have to make every single detail thing be meaningful, both for me or other people.

There is no other more thoughtful words than the voice of my willingness to change everything bad on me, turn it into the good ones. My willingness influences the stride of my journey to create things around better – particularly a better me.

It’s a beginning for me, and for people who experience – or have ever experienced – the same thing with me, to assess, warn, and love self during the search of self-spirit, self identity.

By valuing differences, is my way to value my privilege as an exchange student.


I am Mentari, a KL-YES student for year program 2016/2017 to Illinois, United States of America, would like to say: stand up for yourself first, for others next, and in the end, we stand up together, we embrace one another to create a solid link between million differences we have.

Thank you to people who have sincerely supported me this far, helped me build trust to myself, and convict me that the world doesn’t revolve around me, yet it revolves with people who are eager to step off their comfort zone, and step aside their ego-sentries.