Trash Can Frenzy: Adventures and Life Lessons from my KL-YES Exchange Year
Nur Dinniy Karimah — KL-YES to USA YP 22/23
If someone told you that you were going to the United States, what would come to mind? Would you imagine the bright lights of New York City, the sunny beaches of California, or the pictures of countryside?
My name is Dinniy, and I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the KL-YES program 22/23, that allowed me to spend a year in the United States. I was hosted on a farm in Springfield, Missouri, and my host family had ten kids with a lot of people living and working on the farm. I went to a private school in Missouri State University, Greenwood Laboratory School.
From the moment I arrived, I knew that my experience was going to be different. The farm was busy with activity, and there was always something new to see and learn. I was welcomed with open arms by my host family and the other people living on the farm, and I quickly felt like I was part of the community.
Every Thursday night from May to October, my host family hosts pizza party. People come to the farm to work, to help, or to just eat and enjoy pizzas. One of the most memorable moments of my exchange year happened during a pizza night. After we finished helping, we all gathered around the table, enjoying delicious slices of pizza and chatting about our day when someone suggested we play the trash can game. For those of you who don’t know, the trash can game is a fun and challenging activity where people join hands around a trash can and try to push other people to touch the trash can without touching it themselves.
At first, I was afraid to play, but my host siblings encouraged me to join in and have fun. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up with the movements and the competitive spirit of the other players. But as we started playing, I quickly realized that the game was not just about winning or losing. It was about having fun and pushing ourselves to try new things. We laughed and joked as we tried to get each other and avoid touching the trash can. It was a great way to break the ice and get to know each other better.
Playing the trash can game was a perfect representation of my exchange year in the United States. I was facing new challenges and obstacles. At times, it felt like I was in a position of almost touching the “trash can” — of giving up or feeling overwhelmed by the challenges I was facing, but I was surrounded by a supportive and loving community that helped me navigate my way through them. I was able to stay strong and keep pushing forward. My host family and all the people who lived on the farm, became my second family, and I’m grateful for the memories we created together.
Throughout the year, I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to try new things and meet new people. Living on a farm with so many people was a new experience for me, and I had to learn to adapt to a different way of life. I had to learn how to work on the farm, from seed to harvest produce and take care of animals, something that I had never done before. I’ve had the opportunity to explore new places, try new foods, and make new friends. I’ve learned about American culture and history, and I’ve also shared my own culture and traditions with others. I’ve had some amazing experiences that I will never forget, from floating on Buffalo River to traveling in RV to the west cost. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve gained a new perspective on the world and a deeper appreciation for the diversity of people and cultures that make it so special.
I know that I’ll carry the lessons and memories with me for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the KL-YES program and to have experienced the warmth and hospitality of the American people. They are like sunshine on a cloudy day, brightening the world with their kindness and generosity.
That’s all for now! Thank you for reading my newsletter. I hope you enjoyed reading about my exchange year in the United States and the trash can game. If you ever are interested to play, please make sure that you invite me — or I’ll feel missed out and be prepared for some friendly competition and a whole bunch of laughter. Until next time, keep pushing through life’s obstacles and remember to never get stuck in the trash!