“I confess that I have been blind as a mole, but it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all.” –S.H.: The man with the twisted lip
As I set my feet at “The Boot”, I am trembling with excitement from the transcendental change that I would experience. Though I told myself not to have such a high expectation for things. Still, the feeling is tremendous about all the eventualities that will come.
The journey begins, literally. After we met the AFS people, we took the bus to the Inn. When we arrived, there were already many AFS students from all over the world. That was the first time I met AFS students from every corner of the earth, delightful.
We went inside, they gave us a key to our room, and so we put down our bag and then had a little rest. They told us the schedule of that day, it’s simple, dinner at 7, gather in an aula at 9, then sleep. At the dinner, we could choose any table we want, we should mingle with other exchange students, and then I sat on a chair in an empty table, and…… my Indonesian friends were coming. Well not all though. There were 2 Turkish that came to our table, but I thought that they were here only because their friends’ table were full, because they didn’t talk much. Well, at least that is reciprocal.
First revelation, it doesn’t matter how unique or how impeccable you are, people are not always interested. At first I thought people will be curious about Indonesia and initiate something first. But if you’re not doing it, then don’t expect people to be.
Fast forward to the morning, there was a bus for every region that the students had to go. So we were divided into a different time of departure. I went at 8:30, I said goodbye to my friends, and then left. Stopped at Roma train station, then took the train to my placement city as the final destination, oh Bolzano that I cherish, here I come.
Again, after I got off from the train, there was a stranger but familiar face reaching for my suitcase, trying to help, and it’s my first time meeting my Italian family that I will love, indubitably. And then my PA from Bolzano Intercultura (AFS), the families of other exchange student, truly appeasing.
New room to sleep, new school to go, new friends to meet, new knowledge to learn. What a wonderful place to do a “first time”. My host family turns out to be nicer than I imagine. And I am grateful for that. Not only that, but also the house, the school, the environment, all! It evokes the hope and happiness inside of me. All of the future endeavor that I dreamt about, suddenly become more plausible.
Now, first day of school. Oh, all my thoughts are detrimental. And my family tried to tell me ad nauseam that I don’t need to worry. Nonetheless, I am heading to school. A teacher gave me some tour around the school. I remained demure. But all of that changed when I walked into the classroom. They were very nice, and I was very jubilant. Breaking all the assumption in my head, I presented myself to them with a lot of effort because of the language. It seemed that they understood English a little. But it engenders a feeling of wanting to become better at Italian language.
A lot of good things happen when you are in a good surrounding. I had some good friends now here, and things going well. Because I am in a music class, some people ask me to join their music group. I saw a lot of music concert in the center of the city. And also my first time of seeing a well-known orchestra practicing in their auditorium because my host mom was in it. Ah, what a good start, in an amazing bit of serendipity. Ah, I also saw it for the first time, that a couple kissing in the public. I was flabbergasted in that moment.
And something that irreplaceable, was the pride for my first time introducing Indonesian culture to the world. No need to be something so supreme. For an instance, wearing batik to the school and other opportunities, show them a brief presentation about Indonesia which I have prepared from home, cooking some Nasi Goreng for new friends at an occasion, teaching Javanese words to my classmates, etc. That alone already makes me feel “I really do something”.
Of course we have to galvanize ourselves so that we could be moving forward and be better. For example, I, that maybe a little bit impertinent, also sometimes indolent, now have to be intrepid to face all my fear, being meticulous to what’s good and not, and hope for the best. Because I truly believe, that we, exchange students from our beloved country, Indonesia, is endowed with a limitless potential and perseverance to face the atrocious world.