Today (26/02), when I was looking for an old email in my email inbox, I accidentally found an email that I wrote for an AFS newsletter. This email is an essay about my experience living in the United States in 2004/2005. I wrote this essay about 6 years ago. I found it interesting to imagine a 17-year-old Yoga wrote this essay. Well, 6 years ago, I was still young, yet seemed to be idealistic. Chekc this out. ;)
It has been a long time since I said good bye to my family in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport , Jakarta . It has been a long time since I had orientation in Washington DC and chance to visit awesome monuments and memorials there. It has been a long time since I flew together with Joel to Buffalo and it has been a long time since I spent my first night in Western New York in Mrs. Jayne Mack’s house.
The time is continuingly passing by. I feel now a complicated feeling that the time I have to go back to my country is coming, either fast or slowly. It feels like counting the time second by second, filled with excitement of seeing again my lovely country of Indonesia and sadness of leaving America that makes me so welcomed and comfortable to spend a year of my life.
I begin questioning whether I have done enough for my self, my country, and both AFS and YES program. Sometimes I feel that I have accomplished my duty as an exchange student, but sometimes there is a feeling that comes out, intimidates, and pushes me to do more.
I have been socializing with my community in order to personally broaden my knowledge about American culture and diplomatically form a better understanding among people of the two countries. I have done many presentations to ‘reach’ people who I could not ‘reach’ before.
Throughout the year I have received many interesting questions from question about East Timor and becoming a Muslim exchange student to such question as “Do you keep monkey in your house?” I have also met many different people, from those who like talking about serious topics to those who just said “That’s cool.”
Further I have read news, articles, and opinions about Indonesia , mainly when Tsunami hit and devastated Indonesian province of Aceh and many other areas around the Indian Ocean . I began understanding how international world see and view my country. Yet, my emphasizing to my country increases and becomes even stronger.
For me, it is important to emphasize our country even if we are just teenagers. In fact the teenagers will be the future leaders of their country. In another hand, it is our duty as the young generation to participate in building our country. This idea has been filling my mind with the spirit of nationalism. In the other side, it has been burdening my back and making me feel responsible to elevate Indonesia ’s reputation.
The last I would thank to America for the entire incredible experiences and knowledge that will last forever in the rest of my life. America has been a great country for me. Thus, I hope the relationship between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia will be so much better, closer and more developed. Thus, I have a dream. I have a dream that one day American kids will sing Indonesia Raya while Indonesian kids sing the Star Spangled Banner.
Some of my experience in the States: