Exchange is About Wanting to Stay, But Needed to Go

I don’t know where i should start.

The time has come. The end of my exchange year is near. I have 12 days left right now, and i don’t even know about my own feeling. A part of me says that i can’t wait to go back, and the other big part says that i really can’t let go of this life.

I can’t imagine i’m leaving soon. I just.. can’t. I don’t want to go.

But i have to.

It has been an amazing, incredible, mind-blowing, mentally challenging, and an unforgettable year. It’s true what they said, it is the best year ever. A lot of things happened, mental breakdowns and of course happy days like candy canes and sunshine. I know something have changed within me. All of these ups and downs made me a stronger person. I did new and crazy things, i did things i already done in ways i’ve never done before. I see the world in different perspectives. I have a better understanding to the world. I am more open and flexible to new things. I opened my eyes wider. I realised that the beauty of living are people, different people from all over the world. I realised in how amazing people can be in so many different ways. They have so much to teach, to share, and to love. They taught me to realise what is important in life and what is not.

Continue reading “Exchange is About Wanting to Stay, But Needed to Go”

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You are so much more than just “pretty”

i want to apologize to all the women

i have called pretty

before i’ve called them intelligent or brave

i am sorry i made it sound as though

something as simple as what you’re born with

is the most  you have to be proud of when your spirit has crushed mountains

from now on i will say things like

you are resilient or you are extraordinary

not because i don’t think you’re pretty

but because you are so much more than that

-rupi kaur

 

Dedicated for all the women out there.

Selamat Hari Kartini.

Olen Kotona

Voi voi, time is really doing its thing, running quickly without a notice, eh? I can’t believe it has been 6 months already. One thing I know is soon I will have to go back to Indonesia and leave this all behind. It’s not that I don’t miss my country and everything there, I do, a lot.

Honestly it has not been always rainbows and butterflies, especially about the differences. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I was culture shocked; but sometimes I was too comfortable with these new ways of living. All of these changes – both in better and worse ways, they all happened unconsciously. I changed without even realizing it myself. In spite of all that, I found beauty and I fell in love. I fell in love with this amazing country and every single unique thing in it. It was weird and strange once, but not anymore. Minä rakastan Suomea.

Anyways, a lot of things have happened since I wrote my last newsletter in November. It’s been winter for almost 3 months now; my sight has been all white and snow, everyyyyday. The ‘warmest’ temperature was 2 degrees Celsius during this period of time, and the coldest I’ve experienced was -26 degrees. You know what? It’s super cool seeing your hair or even your eyelashes became frozen when you go outside for a minute. But yeah, at this point, I really reaaaally miss the sun. We only have sun approximately only for 4-5 hours a day, could you imagine?

Continue reading “Olen Kotona”

2017 was the year.

This was the year i didn’t see coming—the one that shook me out of complacency. When i learned to stop being compliant, to demand what was rightfully mine, refuse to settle for anything less than i deserve.

This was the year that came with a gentle tap on the shoulder, reminding me of who i was and what i could be, if only i’d just open my arms and let the light in, stop over-thinking and start living. Give myself permission to fall as long as i got back up again.

-Lang Leav

With only two days to welcome 2018, i am writing this in my room at 2 am, thinking what have i done during the year. Then suddenly i start to question myself. Am i proud of who i am now?

I started the year 2017 with worries and hopes and prayers and waits. I was waiting for Bina Antarbudaya’s announcement of my AFS placement. Then exactly on my birthday, i got an email that said i was placed in Finland.

Next few months i spent with doing AFS paperworks. Which was a lot. And i had to longer my passport (it was really frustrating), then a Finnish resident permit that took about a month, do medical checkups and so on. With all the hectic going, i still have school to be cared about.

On 17th August 2017, I was reaaally excited to leave. I couldn’t wait for this day to come. I didn’t even cry at the airport when i left my family. Which was weird, because i expected a lot of tears coming out. But no, not a single tear came out of my eye.

Here i am, spending my 17th year of my life in a totally different country, far away from home, building another life in Finland. It’s been roughly 4 months. I’m almost halfway! Wow, time flies.

Back then, i used to think like, “exchange students are so cool, i want to be like them, presenting Indonesia and bla bla bla” but now i’m here, i just feel like it’s my normal life, you know? It’s so weird. But it’s a good kind of weird because it means that i’m already settled. Well, at least that’s what i think.

So if you ask me, am i proud of who i am now? The answer is: yes, and no. Yes, i am proud that i could make it this far, but no, i am not satisfied yet. Being here makes me realize that i know literally nothing about this world. I had deep conversations with different kinds of people and it often made me surprised and there will always be new things.

And I am grateful.

Ihmeitä Suomessa

It all started 97 days ago, when I first arrived here in this Land of a Thousand Lakes, Finland.

I still remember my first weeks. It was the hardest and the most challenging, but also one of the most exciting parts of my exchange. Because then, everything was so new; it felt like starting everything from 0. I knew nothing and no one. When I used to have things under control in Indonesia, it was completely different here. In Indonesia I always knew what to do, who to call, where to go, or even what to say. But under that hard circumstances, by forcing myself to break habits made it possible for me to be more independent, learned how to make decisions on my own, knowing myself better and believing that i can rely on myself.

On the first days, everything made me curious. Even being excited with the simplest things, like going to the supermarket or seeing a swan on the lake. Also school was realllyyy scary back then. Because everyone knew that I was new but they didn’t talk to me, they only stared at me so I felt like I was an alien. But Finnish people are not cold, they’re just shy! 😉 Once they were used to me being around, they started talking to me and it got better.

Many people has been asking me, ‘how’s Finland?’. And to be honest, the first thing that crosses my mind will always be: cold. It’s true, though, it is cold. But when I think about it, there’s actually a whole lot more than just cold!

As we all know, Finland has the best education system in the world. I feel like I’m so lucky to experience the best education system. In my opinion, school here is so chill. The students are not stressed with school. They don’t have a burden and there are so many free times, they even have a 10 minutes break after every lesson. Internet said that in Finland there’s no homework, but hey, they do. However, there’s no such a thing as staying up late doing your homework, because homework here is only for a reminder of what you have learned that day, not a bunch of papers to do to make your grades higher.

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Warna-warni Musim Gugur

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
― William Cullen Bryant

Kembali ke bulan Agustus lalu pas gue pertama sampe di Finlandia, matahari terbit sangat sangat awal, dan adzan subuh itu sekitar jam 2 pagi. Tapi makin kesini matahari terbit makin terlambat setiap harinya. Bahkan sekarang jam 8 pagi itu masih gelap gulita, dan jam 4 sore udah mulai gelap. Bayangin deh sekarang jam 5 sore itu berasa jam 10 malem. Gelap banget.

Pertama masuk musim gugur, kira-kira awal September, kelihatan banget warna pepohonan berubah. Pemandangan daun dari warna hijau berubah jadi oren atau kuning, bahkan ada juga yang jadi warna merah. And i’m still amazed by how mother nature changed colors by itself. It was super incredible to see it.

Di musim gugur ini sering juga terdengar suara khas burung-burung yang terbang bermigrasi ke selatan, dengan formasi terbang mereka yang unik. Sayangnya gue gak pernah kedapetan foto burung migrasi. 😦

Nah jadi, beginilah kira-kira pemandangan sehari-hari gue di 2 minggu pertama musim gugur:

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Gimana Finland?

“How’s Finland?”

Pertanyaan yang gue dapet hampir tiap hari sejak datang kesini.

Dan hal pertama yang ada di pikiran gue pasti… dingin. But when i think about it, there’s actually a whole lot more than that!

Pertama-tama, kalian harus tau faktanya Finlandia adalah negara yang penduduknya paling jarang dibandingkan dengan negara lain di European Union, dengan hanya 16 penduduk per km². Bayangin aja di Indonesia gue tinggal di Bekasi yang kalian tau macetnya kayak apa. Nah disini gue tinggal di kota kecil banget namanya Perho, bahkan McD pun disini gak ada, musti keluar kota dulu.

Jadi disini tuh sepi, tentram dan damai. Saking damainya, gak ada polisi di kota gue. Kok bisa? Iya, bisa. Kalo ada hal darurat, harus telepon kantor polisi terdekat, jauhnya kira-kira 1 jam naik mobil. Lumayan sih, ya.

But anyways, walaupun disini sepi sama orang, tapi rameeeee banget sama pohon. Serius gak boong gue, pohon dimana-mana. Bahkan orang bilang: “You can have a 14 hours driving trip and all the sceneries you see are trees.” Gak heran sih kenapa udara disini bersih banget. Saking bersihnya, upil gue disini warna putih, gak pernah sekalipun warna coklat kayak biasanya di Indonesia, AHHAHAH.

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My First Month in Finland

– Tervetuloa Suomeen! –

On the 17th day of August 2017, i left my family, my friends, my school, and my life behind to experience a completely different life in Finland. It has been my dream since i was in middle school to study abroad. And here i am! After all the struggles, tears, and months of waiting, i traveled 10.270 kilometres away from home and finally had a chance to actually living my dream.

Now it’s been a month since i left Indonesia, and it is weird how time flies so fast. It only feels like last week when i got off the plane and walked on this land of a thousand lakes for the first time.

I am living a completely different life here, and i’m still trying to figure out how things in here work, and what this and that are. I would say that literally all of them, they are so new to me. I didn’t know that a lot of things could surprise me, and i’m eager to figure out many more surprises this beautiful country has to offer.

The weather, school, people, food, culture and MANY other differences. But the biggest challenge is: yep, definitely the language. I am completely blind to what people are saying and i just nod and smile when they talk in Finnish, especially when i’m at the dining table. It is sad that i can’t join in the conversation because i have no idea what they’re talking about…

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A piece of advice

Destroy the idea that you can only be a certain thing if you’re good at it. If you make art because you love it, you’re an artist. If writing is your passion, you’re a writer. If you love making music, you’re a musician. Same goes for everything else. Don’t feel like you’re not good enough to do anything. Keep doing what you love and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The paragraph you read above was not made by me. I found it on the internet and it was so well said i had to post it.

Keep your head up, your tiara is falling.

Love, from 10270 kms away.