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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An Experience of Trial and Error (a.k.a. Science Olympiad)

Hi internet people! It’s been a while since I last posted, but I’m excited to be writing again. A lot of things have happened recently, one of the two biggest ones being my experiment in joining TOSKA (Tim Olimpiade Sains Kharisma Bangsa). In this post I’ll share with you my experience studying geography for the science olympiad, in the point of view of a science-major Indonesian student, and what it all amounted to. 🙂

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The Meaning of Hijab

When asked about my reasons for wearing a hijab, I answered, “It’s what good Muslim women should do.”

The questioner was quick to respond. As she voiced her opinion of my textbook answer, I immediately regretted my words. The reason for regret was that I didn’t always wear a hijab. I might be what some people would call kerdus or cardboard, a negative term used to describe on-off wearers of the garment. Moreover, as my questioner pointed out, there are good Muslim women who don’t wear a hijab.

Then where was the fault? Did the reluctance to wear a hijab mean I was a bad Muslim? Or was there something inherently wrong in the statement itself?

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Ode to Teachers

This is the essay that got me a half scholarship to a Leadership Program in Australia. 🙂

Morning sunlight streamed in through the slanted windowpanes, bathing the classroom in a soft golden hue. Shuffling in with half-closed eyes, my classmates and I took down the chairs and rummaged for pencils and notebooks. Suddenly, the door flung open, and in came my 5th grade teacher, Mr.Rackowitz. As always, he greeted us all with those crinkled eyes and that wide smile which creased his face with lines. He stood silently for a moment, hands politely in front of him, with jet-black hair damp and square glasses perched lightly on his nose. It rose and fell as he talked.

“Good morning everyone!”

“Morning…” we yawned in reply.

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To Be A Traveler

To be a traveler is to follow in the footsteps of our nomadic ancestors—each new terrain uncertain but brimming with undiscovered possibilities. It is to be a rolling stone, constantly changing yourself to suit the environment around you, nature, circumstance and chance. Never is it the other way around—the way sedentary metropolitans build skyscrapers, burn forests for farming, and pollute the skies to suit them. Why do they not realize that it will cause a domino effect?

As with most things I know of, the situation is neither good nor bad. It is simply a constant stream of experience, upon which we row-row-row upon our boats of consciousness towards the next dream-like adventure.

However, having myself traveled from one continent to another—in both cases to live there, not just to tour—I’ve learned a thing or two about the ways of the world. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not implying that I’m a wise sage or anything, simply a girl who knows what it’s like to pack up your suitcases and brace yourself for a new world with bizarrely different creatures, cultures, and conducts.

I grew up in two places. My mind and heart didn’t have preferences. It was a constant tug-o’-war between one country and the other—one which would often leave me puzzled and distraught during those years that they coin “puberty”. It wasn’t only the dichotomy between the two countries that left me so—one being a first-world nation, awed by the world, the other hectic and developing—but also the “big” thoughts, such as pondering the nature of life and the uncertainty of ever meeting my childhood friends again. But also, the Great Perhaps of it.

Scrolling through pictures on social media, you notice smiles and warm sunny days—the stars of said pictures being friends you once knew. I know of the wistfulness aching your heart. I know how it felt to turn glass-eyed at the airport, meeting relatives for the first time in six years. Only to cry yet again because you realized how different they were from you, how alien, because you were only a toddler then, and now a misshaped preteen.

However, to be a traveler is to have a novel view of life. It is to realize that you will never truly fit in, because you came from another place—while other people stayed in place. It is to develop a stoic attitude towards life, because, try as you might, you can never return to the past.

To be a traveler is to gain valuable experiences. With those experiences, you learn to understand the world. You learn about human beings—what brings us together, what we all have in common. You learn how to connect the dots of life, seemingly arbitrary at first. You learn that cherishing family moments is important, because they’re the people who will never leave you, while others come and go.

In the process, you might cry (for joy, for sadness); or you might laugh because you’ve finally found humor in it all. You might just become a better person—more compassionate, more thoughtful and understanding, albeit more sensitive. And in the end it’s all okay, because you’ve learned things that you otherwise wouldn’t have learned.