My Very Own “Odyssey to the Infinity”
R. Kinanti (INA AFS to Italy YP 17–18)
Hallo everyone! So, this is my first ever newsletter in Italy. I have never written a newsletter before, and I spent my whole week thinking about what should I put down. So, I think I’m just gonna tell you about my journey. From way before I took my flight to Rome, or even before I finally decided to join with AFS, until now.
I came from a small city in Indonesia named Batam. It is small yet so crowded city, with a variety of Indonesian ethnics, but the main ethnicity is Malay. It was a busy city, with loud people, and many traffic jams. Everyone does their own things and their own activities until late noon. I must say, it’s actually a beautiful city, but I don’t know, I had never really fallen in love with that city. Because honestly, since I was little, I’ve always dreamed of living in small green town surrounded by mountains, with pavements made of stone and houses made of wood. It might be down to how I spent my childhood watching disney movies and reading Christian Hans Anderson and Enid Blyton’s books. And how by that, European towns were starting to fill my mind and my dreams.
Therefore, I worked my way to that dream. I was into learning English since in elementary school, I told my Mom about how I would really love to go abroad someday. I read more of books in English, I studied pretty serious in middle school, and I have lots of activities during highschool just to train my social skills. Finally, when I got the last notification from Bina Antarbudaya that I passed all the tests and will be going to Italy… I was blown away, and I cried while I was calling my Mom to tell the news.
I was never actually afraid of getting homesick. Because I was so sure about (literally) living my dream. Also because I have worked so hard until this point, and one of my mistakes was considering that going to Italy would mean a happy ending of my journey. Because it’s the opposite. MY JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN. And now I feel truly amazed of how I really miss and adore Indonesia. My Indonesia. The food, the people, the language, the culture, customs, and traditions. Everything that the alumn said was right. The further we are from our dear country, the more we realize that despite everything, we still love it fully with our heart. And we then remember of how precious and uncomparable it is compared to the other countries. I even finally realized how I actually miss so much of the crowded Batam City, the place where I grew up.
Now I’m here. In the mediterranean part of Europe. It feels good indeed. Not like a fairytale, of course. But everything is exactly how I expected and dreamed of it to be. It’s a peaceful town. Sometimes almost too peaceful, that it makes me miss the crowded and chaotic streets in my city. Even though I have gone and seen many beautiful places, I still feel that the best pleasure out of these experiences is being able to represent my beloved culture, and country, Indonesia. It was around a month ago, I had Intercultura Camp in Cagliari. For me, it was the best experience that I have had so far! I met a lot of friends from other countries, oh and I also could meet my Indonesian friends that are in Sardegna as well. On the second day, we went around Cagliari and it was a really a beautiful day. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and the streets and people were just amazing. But actually, the camp is just not about travelling to another part of Italy, but it’s about making more connections, sharing about cultures, learning and understanding. Which were the meanings of this exchange’s journey. I still believe that the most precious legacy of our humanity is culture.
In that 4 day camp, I explained about Indonesia in a group discussion. About our customs, traditions, values, school system, and so much more. On the last day of the camp, I showed them Indonesian traditional clothes and also performed the Persembahan Dance. It has been twice that I showed people in Italy our stunning traditional clothes. I can tell, that it was a great feeling. I never dreamed at all, that I will eventually do the traditional “Persembahan” dance that I have done multiple times with my fellow dancers at school, in Italy. In front of people that came from almost all around the world! It was priceless. During these 3 months, I also made a lot of presentations about myself, my city, and of course Indonesia. I showed them pictures, songs, movies, even accents of Indonesia. Something that I will always be grateful for.
This is really just the beginning of my journey, and it’s not going to end even when the 8th of July, the day of my departure to go back to Indonesia comes. No. I believe that every event that happens are just going to be the obstacles or the bliss of our journey. There will be no point where the obstacles or the blisses stop, obviously unless you’re dead. And therefore, that’s why I suppose, that this JOURNEY of ours….is INFINITY.
Ps : Alright, I’m not doing any promotions because the events were over, but why did I say “my very own” in my title? Because there is another “Odyssey to the Infinity”! That is actually the name of the events that my friends and I organized for my school. Xx!