New Step of Life

Cindy Aulia Sari-INA YES to USA YP 21/22

One year of anxiety has paid off. Now, Cindy Aulia Sari, who always talked about the American dream and entertainment, has arrived. August is a really fun month in Indonesia, but if I can go to the US, why not. 26 hours of flight was my first flight ever in my life, it was a bit terrifying, but worth it. And then, my new step of the journey has begun.

My First Snow!

My 2021 August in Wisconsin was the best August of my life, so far. It was summer, but it was so cold that I had to wear my sweatshirt and made people stare at me. For two weeks, my sleep schedule was horrible. I felt like I was a bat; slept during the day and stayed up at night, because we all know the difference in hours between Indonesia and the US. I spent most of my time in my first month just traveling around, adapting, and learning. I would say that I did better than I thought in terms of adapting and accepting a new culture, even though sometimes it felt weird.

Peacock’s family is the sweetest family that I met, they treated me just like one of their family members, I never felt so happy being a person. I would say my host mother is sweeter than my mom in Indonesia, but I know every mother has their own way to treat their kids, I still love you mom dont worry. My host sister… She is okay, she is in 6th grade and has her own thoughts. Honestly I don’t really like kids for the most part, and dealing with 6th grade American kids is really hard for me. There are a lot of times that I really want to yell at her or just give her one hour of advice, but instead I just cried, I know I am so limp, am I? But we are okay mostly, we are pretty clicked.

New Orleans with My Host Sister and Charlie

School just like what I thought it was going to be, just like what I watch in the movies. Not every part but mostly. I did a really good job making friends, mostly they were friendly to me and asked me tons of questions, but I liked it! So far, I really feel comfortable at school. The education system in the US surprised me. Since my biggest question about the US is how they can be worldwide influenced and become successful, this education system makes a lot of sense. How the teacher treats their students, how the assignments are assigned, and how the situation at school is designed make me really want to make a change in Indonesia. Well ya I was surprised that school is super easy here, but how the students not having a pressure to do the school work is really amazing.

The list of things that I wrote in my journal is almost completed. So far, I have visited 15 states, and for sure will visit more. From the coldest place, Wisconsin, to the hottest place, Arizona, which surprised me I can survive from -30 degrees celsius to 30 degrees celsius. If I have to choose my favorite season, it will probably fall. Summer is too hot, winter is too cold, fall is perfect! Also fall is the season of prettiness, halloween, thanksgiving, and other fun stuff. I survived the strangest food I ever ate, ate without any spices, ate too many sugars, it was not that bad. I tried mostly everything that I watched in the movies; smores, ratatouille, raclette, etc. I remembered clearly how my friend and my family in Indonesia said that I will lose some weight if I go to the US, I can only laugh. They have to know how big American foods are, and how delicious they are, then they would understand.

My First Sailing with Ecology Club

All of those graceful moments never make me forget that this life always has two parts, whether I like it or not. I never thought that I was going to miss my pecek tempe and kerupuk every morning, or my friend’s complaint about online schooling, or the fight with my nephew every single minute, but I do. Never thought in my life I was going to miss how my mom was squawking in the market, on the road, in my room or basically everywhere. I have to say sorry to my mom because I did not call her very often last year, because I just did not want to make it harder for me. I do miss her a lot, even when I type this letter, I might cry a bit. Everytime she called me, I always thought about her, did she eat okay and what she has been up to, but I just could not ask her, too hurt to be heard. This new life makes me understand to be thankful of everything we have, because just like Passenger said, “you only need the light when it’s burning low.”

This is life, if I laugh, I have to prepare to cry afterwards. Half of my exchange journey might not be perfect, but I am so thankful that I can experience every one of my dreams. Thank you for reading my story, I am Cindy Aulia Sari, KL-YES 21–22.

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Bina Antarbudaya

Bina Antarbudaya

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The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs