life

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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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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Writing About Writing

A while ago, I was trying my luck in applying for Phillips Exeter Academy. Yep. That extremely selective private boarding school. The school of Mark Zuckerberg and Dan Brown. That school. I don’t know what I was thinking. But, everything’s worth a try right? Heh.

Anyways, now that it’s all over and done with I decided to share one of the essays I wrote for that school. I don’t know if you’ll like it, but maybe you’ll agree. 🙂

Write a topic or activity about which you are passionate.

I have always loved words and telling stories. Through stories, you can open up gates to a world both so fascinating and awe-inspiring it cannot be much expressed through words. For years, people have always found magic in folktales and legends. Martin Luther King fought against discrimination using words, not force. Princess R.A. Kartini of Indonesia changed the minds of Indonesian women through her writing. Anne Frank gave us a deeper understanding of her struggle during World War I, which we would not have acquired had it not been for her diary. Writing is a vital part of life, just as much as eating and breathing are. Writing gives us documentation, in phenomenal ways that no technology can replace. Even human history was marked by the point when we began to record things in writing.

Writing has always been a big part of my life. In the corner of my room, I have a stack of dusty journals to prove it. Soggy as they might be from the rain that once leaked in, I like to leaf through them and see how much has changed. In the third grade, I wrote a novel titled Two Lives in One Girl, which was originally only a handwritten story in a journal. When I finished that book, and the one I wrote with my friend titled Heart of the Willow, I felt like I was on top of the world. I know that seems like such a simple thing to be proud of, but it turns out that writing a novel is hard work. It takes sweat and determination. Writing has different meanings for everyone, but anyone can agree that even though it is a grueling process it produces fruits that are so sweet to harvest.

I believe there is power in words. Words are important. With them, you can inspire, motivate, and change the world. That is why writing is my greatest passion. I find it amazing how you can express yourself and pour out your heart through written form, and even inspire others with it. I never want to stop writing. Someday, I want to change the world with this beautiful craft, the way my favorite authors Markus Zusak, J.K. Rowling, Madeline L’engle, Princess R.A. Kartini, Anne Frank, Jostein Gaarder, and so many other great authors have changed my world.

Ramadhan

Last month was Ramadhan, the month of fasting for Muslims all around the world. On July 6th it was Eidul Fitri. So to all my Muslim friends reading this, I wish you a Happy Belated Eidul Fitri! How did you celebrate(if you did)?

Ramadhan is always a special time of the year, like a prolonged Christmas. During that month, you can’t eat or drink during the day.

Here is a rundown of how us Indonesian Muslims fast:

To prepare for the day, you wake up at 4:00 A.M.(give or take) to sahur, or eat. You fill your stomach to the brim until the adzan sounds through the neighborhood. Then, you have to quickly swallow your food, then a big gulp of water. You pray Subuh, then go back to sleep, read the Qur’an, or exercise depending on what type of person you are.

Throughout the day, you try to make the month extra special by doing good things such as helping the poor, being kind, and praying.The day feels long and hot. Your chores never seem to end…

Finally, after a long day, you look at the clock and watch the hand tick ever closer to Maghrib time. Your anticipation rises. You and your family prepare for breaking the fast by concocting fruit salads, hot tea, soups, kurma, rice, and all the other foods that look so much more delicious when you’re fasting.

Tick. Tock. Everything’s ready. Everyone is waiting, waiting, and waiting for that cue. Someone turns on the TV and channel surfs to see if it’s time yet. Tick. Tock. At last, the adzan rings through the air. The beautiful, lyrical Arabic words travel through the dusky air of your neighborhood and from the TV. Allahuakbar Allaahhuakbar, Asyhadu’ala ilaha illallahh… “Alhamdulillah! Yay!” All crowd to the table and say their prayers. The food is gone within minutes, yet somehow you feel full even after only one bowl of fruit salad. How odd.

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Someone to Love Us

Memory I

It was a cold winter day. There was no snow in Austin, but in my head, ice flakes were flurrying down and all around. The skin between my index finger and thumb had gone dry, causing cracks in my skin. Dried blood. Shivering, I waited. I looked between my feet and waited. I looked at the neat, beautiful houses in rows and waited. At the cars going by. And waited.

My mom sat beside me as we both squinted into the distance, eyes searching for the signature university colors of dark orange and white. Upon seeing my chattering teeth, Mama took off her woolen jacket and wrapped it around me. I stayed quiet.

Ten minutes felt like an hour. But at last the campus bus came, and we shuffled into the warmth.

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