Starting with ABC (Academics, Birthday, and CCE 2019)

Hi, beautiful people! 🙂 Honestly, there are times when I feel like I have no right to write, that my words don’t matter to the universe. That these frail sentences won’t matter to anyone but myself, as a way of letting go of the feelings that pent up inside my heart or as a way to express the things I can’t control or put in order. Yet, I promised someone important that I will write more regularly. So, dear reader, despite the doubt, I will do just that. Starting with… a recap of January!

A.

School has been pulling me in like the tides of the sea that draw in sand–eroding the land ever so slightly until one day there’s no land left. But don’t worry, I won’t drown! Once I told you about the subjects I’m taking, right? Well, I forgot to mention how I changed a lot of things. The subjects I’ll permanently take over these two years are Biology HL, Economics HL, English A Literature HL, ESS (Environmental Systems and Societies), Math SL, and Chinese ab initio. HL  means higher level, meaning there are more class hours dedicated for it, hence it’s more rigorous. IB is… demanding. It feels like a never-ending stack of homework or that pile of laundry that you keep putting off. It’s manageable though, don’t worry. And as much as people talk about how little they sleep or how stressed they are, I believe that if you can discipline yourself you’ll do fine…kinda. Hehe.

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Brave New Year

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

-Abraham Lincoln

2018 ended with the sky bursting asunder in tears. Fireworks scantly glittered the black curtain of sky last midnight–before the rain hushed them to sleep. I lay under my covers, next to my cousin and little sister, just as last year. Except this time, no message from a special someone would greet me in the morning, wishing a splendid new year. So instead, dear reader, I’ll wish you one! 🙂

For me, 2018 was full of contradictions. There were countless beautiful new memories and experiences where I felt that God was giving me the best present in the world–yet perhaps just as many days where grayness filled my heart. 2018 was a year of growth.

To be sure, going to UWC was one of the most life-changing events that have ever happened. For that reason (and a few others), perhaps 2018 has been my best year so far. This year I learned about what it means to love someone–family, friends (old and new, far and close, young and not-so-young), special someones, and random strangers. It means trusting that they will be there for you, and carving out a space in your heart for them–despite doubt, lack of proximity, or even distance. I created bonds with people who I will appreciate endlessly for their kindness and patience in dealing with an annoying dork like me. 😛 I hiked for the first time in my life. I slept in a grassy field next to an Irish and an Australian in the Wu Gong Shan Mountains, where for the first time in my life I saw an unfiltered sky winking its twinkling stars upon us. I met people from all walks of life, and became their friends so that now the problems which seemed so far away from me previously now feel much more personal. I’d have to say, that is one of the best things about UWC–the things you learn from simply living and growing together with people, and of course, tolerating and accepting all their differences.

Thus, I want to encourage you to go beyond your boundaries. Step out of your comfort zone. To put it in terms of a hiking trip: you might be the last one in the team, you might be gasping for breath, sweaty, and scared beyond your mind, or you might feel dizzy as you look at how far the ground is as each step leads you to yet more thrilling heights–yet the view and the swell in your heart at what you’ve accomplished is so worth it. Besides, there will always be people willing to look out for you, and make sure you don’t fall. Trust me.

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Orientation

On Monday (tomorrow), school will finally begin. Right now, rain is drizzling down as the sky rumbles. It’s beautiful to watch, especially from the window view of my room–like a watercolor painting of subtle grays and urgent flashes.

Frankly, I’m pretty excited to start because I haven’t gone to school for about… um… three months, I think? Yeah. My brain will probably have to load for long periods during Math and Chemistry class, but who cares? I can’t wait to experience the IB curriculum, have discussions and debates with my classmates from all around the world, and learn subjects that I actually love. By the way, the subjects I’m taking are: Geography HL, Chemistry  HL, Economics HL (I’m still considering Philosophy HL instead of this), Math SL, English A Literature SL, and Chinese ab initio SL.

The first time my heart raced here was not when the plane landed in Shanghai. Neither was it when Dinda, Jill, and I joined the group that would ride the same bus as us to the school. It was not the hello’s, what’s-your-name’s and where-are-you-from’s. It was the way I spent half a day with my mom and yakked at her in the way I yak at people I’m very close with. It was the way we hugged tightly before the Taxi drove off from the school, and the thoughts that raced along with my heart. Darkness enveloped me for a half second. I thought of the oceans that would soon separate us. Then, I noticed once again the moon’s resplendence between clouds and the blare of building lights. Breathing in the night, I walked back to my dorm.

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UWC Changshu China (A New Beginning)

This is a post that I’ve postponed for a long time now.

Originally I’d planned to write about UWC starting from the selection process but a part of my heart whispered,

“You shouldn’t write about it unless you actually got in. What if it turns out like AFS?” So I never wrote, except to parchments of paper.

For those of you who don’t know, UWC stands for United World College. In short, it is an international two-year school using the IB curriculum. There are 17 schools across the world. Each country undergoes a unique selection process. Each selected student would then be sent to his or her nominated UWC school. Besides through the national selection, you could also directly apply to the school, however, that method wouldn’t grant you any scholarships. In my case, with all thanks to God, I got accepted to UWC Changshu China with a partial scholarship. Besides me, there are eight other Indonesians sent to the UWC schools. Two of them, Jillian and Adinda, are going to UWCCSC with me. 🙂

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Internet Gems

Hey internet folk! Today I want to share my favorite resources on the internet, ranging from scholarship websites to online courses to cool forums. If you have any of your own suggestions, please comment below. 🙂

Scholarships

  1. Scholarship-Positions – This website is fully stocked with undergraduate, masters, and even PhD scholarships. I’ve actually subscribed to this website via email, but I haven’t discovered one that’s available for me yet, heheh.
  2. Starla Education – Not only does it provide information on scholarships, it also provides free online courses, information on tests like SBMPTN, and other relevant tidbits for Indonesian students.
  3. Scholars4dev – Yet another amazing site to check out for those of you aspiring for a scholarship. The link I gave immediately takes you to the section International Scholarships for International Students from Developing Countries 2017-2018.
  4. Indbeasiswa – Yang ini khusus untuk kawan-kawan di tanah air. ^^

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Polar Ends of a Continuum

Happiness is the smell of rich earth and dew clad grass after a showery night; pink petals fluttering beneath a startling blue Kyoto sky; how my cat snuggles into my lap as it rains outside; the wind grazing my skin and the morning sun nuzzling my face; the taste of salty ocean breeze and the waves lapping at my sand-sunken toes; the soft dongs and tinkles of gamelan at a family’s wedding; harmonizing with the choir as we sing traditional Indonesian songs during the weekly flag ceremony at school. Happiness is the beauty of nature and music.

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The World in Color

Sometimes I see the world through its reflections

in the murky puddles on the ground

in wayward mirrors casting distortions

or even shadows jumping from behind.

 

Sometimes I see the world in true proportions

Without any of the crazy contortions

And when I do

—although it’s rare—

I pause to take a snapshot with my eyes

Relish the moment of that rare exception

so I’ll remember it

even when the world subsides.

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