Exchange Year

Yes, My little sister just came back from her wonderful exchange year to Waupaca, US, through Rotary.. She seemed almost had the same experience I’ve had. Both of us were an exchange student. Yet, I know she is better than I was back then. Another one good thing, she put all her experiences, thoughts, feelings through her writings. Yes, she’s really good combining words onto story. DARN. That’s what made us different. Oh, and beside she is really THAT good with her English, while me…yucks –-I’m trying here, folks. If you dont practicing, you’re losing it. That’s so me right now.

Read her post made me burst into tears. My memories about family and friend back then,which I think i put it on the bottom part of my brain, suddenly pop up in my mind. How I miss them a lot. How oftenly I think about them. How I really wondering what they’ve been up to.

If you want to know more about exchange student, you should read her post. How many good things you can get. If you’re thinking about being one, so do it. If you were an exchange student, you should cherish yourself, thanks to God, for the opportunity you’ve had that not everyone could have.

“Exchange students are the strongest people in the world.”

“Exchange students are those who master all kinds of fear.”

“Exchange students take the risks.”

“Exchange students experience farewells unlike any others.”

-Sri Izzati-

 

Thank you Mom for inspirational stories you ‘ve shared to your daughters all these years until finally we experienced it by ourself🙂 Mom and Dad, We cannot thank you enough for the support you’ve given to us to chase that dreams.

Thank you God, for everything.

And my little sister, Sri Izzati, I’m very proud of you🙂

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“Exchange students are the strongest people in the world.”

Just like in a circus show, we fearlessly walk on what I had determined is a rope of life that spreads from one side to the other, taking the challenge of being able to make it to the other side without falling and get severely injured.

“Exchange students are those who master all kinds of fear.”

Fear—an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat—is inevitably powerful, yet we don’t give it a chance, not even to make our feet tremble helplessly. I overcome my fears and see how gradually stronger I become. I’m scared of so many things still, but I try not to let it fail myself in achieving what I want to achieve.

“Exchange students take the risks.”

We devote ourselves in all the consequences there are; we know the ride at some point will be rough and bumpy, but we go on anyway. Why? Because it promises us something. Something that we know worth taking the risk. Every risk turns to a lesson, and what do students do but learn?

“Exchange students experience farewells unlike any others.”

Finally I reach my point…like I even had one (forgive me and my brain for having the tendency to wander around helplessly). But all those aforementioned paragraphs above are to support the all kinds of bitter sweetness of a goodbye about which I am going to rant.

You see, I was just there. In the recurrence of farewells, recurrence of saying goodbyes and future hopes and promises, and the endless stream of tears. Hours ago I bid my farewells to the people I love the most. My host families, my best friends, and my other half. And boy did it kill me! Talk about bitter sweet… It did feel bitter, even worse, but I couldn’t find where the sweetness is. Not even until now. My eyes still glisten with tears and a huge lump in my throat continues on making myself aware of its existence every time I rewind the scenes. It’s unbelievable that I actually coped to walk away from my folks and entered the plane and not a single airport way-beyond-reality drama occurred. It’s unbelievable how I could actually manage to pull myself away from the hugs and as much as it hurt and painful and worth 100 buckets of tears, I kept on going. I could’ve stayed in their arms. Missed my plane. Be very immature about it. But no, I was actually sane enough to understand that it had to end there. It hurt as hell, but it had to happen. By the time I stepped across the security line, I was by myself. Again.

I wasn’t fully alert all the time. I hugged my exchange student friends goodbye and let me tell you something: it didn’t feel real. We sobbed like crazy and whatnot, but somehow I was confused. I wasn’t conscious of the fact that our “see you later”s we exchanged are going to be for the longest time. I want to believe that we are going to see each other again. But in the same time, everything seems so vague.

Saying farewells to the people I loved the most was the hardest. Isaac Baumgart, my host brother, I had to bid him farewell a week before, and God wasn’t that difficult. Me and Isaac had gotten incredibly close and I had to say saying goodbye to him was awfully bitter. We only had a couple of minutes to stand and hug and whisper our hopes and promises and then he had to leave. (In my defense Isaac Baumgart left me first… so it’s you who’s got to come to Indonesia Isaac hahahahahaha just kidding. But that’d be sweet if it actually happens, so do it.) And then there was Sandy. My Rotary Officer. My very first American “mother”. Sandy had to leave up north a week before my departure so she couldn’t set me off in the airport. Our goodbyes went so quickly I didn’t even have the chance to shed any tears, but the lump was there. Demanded to be felt.

I didn’t even get a chance to see Kalie. And we hadn’t seen each other for more than three weeks. Which sucked. Not that we didn’t want to, but it never worked. 10 pages of her penmanship written in a journal book (which not only did it include her writings, but also my other friends’, the Baumgarts’, and abundance of Logan’s) was the closest that I could get from seeing her in person.

Alyssa thankfully was around quite often, and our farewell was more of a sweet one than bitter. Alyssa and I celebrated our last moments happily and she didn’t allow me to cry, and she let me go with a smile. She just knows that we are to see each other again. My Rotary friends came to the airport (Alexis and her German friend, Jenna, and Lalo). Emma (who just got back from Sweden) and I had a violin date. Brittany stopped by and said goodbye. Adam and Kaylee did too.

That day when I left, the Baumgarts, Logan and I headed to Appleton by morning. The car ride was quiet. I had Hannah resting her head against me and mine against Logan. And as soon as we got there and all my flights were taken care of, we sat there waiting. People talked. I stared off the distance in silence. I gave Logan his last farewell gift, a card. And he exchanged it with the notebook Kalie had given him to pass to me.

And then it was time.

I hugged everyone and the lump in my throat has gotten to the sixe of Texas and I just burst into tears.  God, I love these people so much, I whispered over and over. Have Your blessings upon them. In a year they’ve helped making me who I am today. They watched over me, grew within me and made my life in a year so much better in every way. I could never be grateful enough for them. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Thank you for the patience. Thank you for the warmth and the joy and all the blissful moments. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for all the help. Thank you for listening. Thank you for the experiences, the opportunities, the trust and all life lessons you taught me. Thank you for being so awesome. Thank you for the love and the friendship. Thank you for the questions. Thank you for the curiosity. Thank you for being very welcoming. Again, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. Like I said, I could not thank each and every one of you enough.

I love you, Waupaca, Wisconsin, America.

Gracias. 

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