AFS Exchange Program Selection (2017-2018)

Ever since Sunday, 21st May 2017, there’s only been one thought clawing at the back of my mind. My performance during the AFS interview. I know it’s a silly thing to think about.

“Move on! Get it done and forget it.”  — everyone, literally.

But, I’m not the type who moves on so easily. So, in this post, I will be mainstream and cliche and talk about my experience thus far in the AFS selection process, like so many other bloggers have done. ^^

And for those of you who are reading this in preparation of your own AFS selection test, then good luck! May the odds be ever in your favor. 😉

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The Bongo Man

A while ago, I entered a competition called Genius Olympiad. Thankfully, my essay made it to the final round. However, the trip to New York and back is far too expensive. So instead, I’ve decided to share my essay here. Hope it brings you a little moment of reflection… =)

***

I’ve always longed to see the “spirit” of nature. Oftentimes I’ve asked myself, what would it be like to feel the heartbeat of a forest, or to hear flocks of birds take flight across wide open fields? What would it be like to observe, uninhibitedly, monkeys swinging from branch to branch in the thriving Amazon rainforest? What kind of person would I have been had I grown up in a world of dark starry nights instead of artificial city constellations?

Then, in fifth grade, I finally found my own “deep connection” with nature.

It was one of those days where the sun shone and the sky blazed blue, scattered slightly with clouds. The breeze blew, bringing scents of warm soto, cow dung, and burning wood, curiously all mixed into one. Panting, I made the final leap through the air.

“Yes! I win!”

Face crimson with sweat, my friend Alia staggered behind and planted her hands on her knees.

“You… got a… head start,” she rasped.

“I did not.”

Pushing aside a hanging branch, we stepped into the shadows of the forest canopy. Here, it was a whole other world. Here, light danced in strange ways before us, casting its rays upon crawling critters on the forest floor and fallen fruits. Branches rustled and creatures scuttled. The air was vibrant with the smell of the moist soil that pillowed our feet.

Treading lightly, we weaved between slants of sunlight, when a boom suddenly echoed through the air.

Thud. Thud. The sound was constant, reverberating through the foliage. We stood rooted to the spot.

“Do you hear that?” I whispered.

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New Years Reflections

Hi internet explorers!

This is a little bit late, but today I’d like to write about 2017 and the daunting, exciting 361 days left we have ahead of us… before the year changes again, I mean.

A friend of mine says that we shouldn’t really celebrate the new year, because our new year is the Islamic one. By we she means Muslims, gang. While she may have a point, that’s a little bit extreme, isn’t it? It’s not as if I was getting drunk and partying only because it’s a new year. Instead, I believe it’s the perfect time to reflect on what you’ve done so far in your life. And what you plan to achieve this year.

Some people feel like the New Year is pressured with social obligations. Mustn’t we go out and make the most of the new year with our friends or family, or kiss that person beneath the fireworks? But it’s just another day. The only difference is, we’re restarting the cycle. It’s been ingrained into our minds to live life in cycles. That’s why we have rituals, festivals, birthdays. It’s a renewal of the soul, in a sort. You can read more about this in Myth and Reality.

Anyways, you might be wondering. Why did I put a picture of cherry blossoms up there and not fireworks or something? The most honest answer would be because I think it looks nice *cough* I took the photo *cough cough* . But, I could formulate two other answers for you. First, because it reminds me of the trip I took to Japan with my family at the beginning of 2016. We move through time in moments. The best moments are fleeting. So we record them in pictures, journals, and blogs. We’re obsessed with memories, aren’t we? And when you need to move on from something or someone, sometimes there’s still a nagging at your brain as you remember… and remember… Is that why it hurts sometimes to be human? Because we’re so preoccupied with memories we let them devour us, let ourselves obsess over them. Until we’re weak and crumpled on the ground, heavy with memories.

Wait, wait. How did I get so sidetracked?

Whales, let’s move on. The second reason I’m making off the top of my head. It’s because flowers symbolize cycles, don’t they? Withered, they fall to the ground, where their seeds scatter. And before you know it, they’re shooting out buds and growing into tall, lovely trees. In turn, more flowers fall, carrying seeds- regenerations.

So, that’s what the new year means to me. How about you?

 

NOT IMPORTANT THINGS

This year I have three resolutions:

  1. Study hard & passionately. Get all-A’s. (okay, okay. You might think of me as a nerd or whatever, but this is very important, people! Try asking anyone, “Do grades matter?” “Well no they don’t, young lad. Go out and be a stripper!”)
  2. Get out of my comfort zone and have a new experience.
  3. Be happy so that everyone around me is happy 🙂

Living in a Boarding School

Hi guys!

Maybe I’ve mentioned it before, or maybe I haven’t. But something really different is happening in my life right now.

I’m in a boarding school. 🙂 The name of the school is Kharisma Bangsa. And so far, it’s brought me so many new experiences.

The first thing that I noticed when I came to this school was… well, how smart everyone was. To be honest, I regret my middle school days a little bit, because I did nothing special during those three years. Yet here at Kharisma Bangsa, everyone around me is smart and talented. In fact, in my block there are two people who won the science olympiad. One of them, Fadhila Mahardika, even went to international! Isn’t that so cool? My other friend who won the science olympiad is Eva Maisaramita Gayoris.

I’m so astounded by their achievements. And I feel so small next to them. What have I done in my life that I can be proud of? Why didn’t I do something extraordinary in middle school? How come I wasted it doing stupid, silly things?

However, it wouldn’t do to just sit and complain, would it?

I’ve made a resolution to myself that during high school I want to try to be the best person I can be. And I want to try everything. Like in that Shakira song. I want to participate in as as many competitions as I can, be really active in class, and still have time for having fun(hopefully). 

I think that confidence is the key to success. You should have confidence not only in others, but also yourself. You must believe in your heart that you can be whatever it is you want to be. At the same time, you have to make sure that your reason is right. It mustn’t be for pleasing others or so you can get good grades. It should be because you want to be an inspiration, you want to help or motivate other people, and it should be for God.

I still hope that I can make a difference. In my heart I believe that I can. And I will always dream, and I will never stop dreaming.

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Our Story- Arvoisa

Dedicated for my friends from Budi Mulia Dua Bintaro, angkatan ke-empat, ARVOISA.

The bell rang through the school corridor, signaling that yet another school day had begun. All 19 of us shuffled into class. We took our seats and waited for the teacher. There were 19 students in the Arvoisa generation- out of 60 students in total. We started school without knowing each other, or what would happen to us, yet during those mornings we drilled for the National Exams, I couldn’t believe how close we were to graduating. How far we’d come.

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20 “Homemade” Gifts

  1. Showing the person your secret thinking spot
  2. A song by you
  3. Poetry
  4. Dinner/lunch/breakfast cooked by you
  5. Home-baked brownies, cake, ice cream, milkshake, etc. – made by you, of course
  6. A book you wrote!
  7. Movie night
  8. An old heirloom(this is very romantic, but make sure it is actually of worth and that you won’t get into any trouble by giving it away)
  9. A drawing/painting that you created 🙂
  10. A photo album filled with you and that person’s memories
  11. A scrapbook/book of memories
  12. A collection of inside jokes, (or quotes or song lyrics that are special to you both)
  13. A sweater/any article of clothing(if you can, you know, knit)
  14. Origami
  15. Teaching something(like how to make origami cranes)
  16. A book someone else wrote!
  17. A box of memories (I’ve done this one before. I made the box using a shoe box which I covered with old book pages. Inside I put little things that were special to both of us) 🙂
  18. Something you invented
  19. Knowledge – there is no greater gift than knowledge
  20. A garden

The point is that the best gifts are the ones which you create wholeheartedly with your own hands. You can also give a gift by sharing something special to you.