Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sweet, Quick Getaway: Sawarna, Banten

Last week after finals, Raras, Angga, Daffa and me went to Sawarna village in Lebak, Banten. It is a village that has several beaches and caves located in the south of Java island, two hours away from Pelabuhan Ratu. I've planned this trip by myself since I read a blog about Sawarna some day between studying. I've wanted to go in a small group since Sawarna is pretty far from Depok, so it'd be easier to manage. So I asked Raras, who's easy to travel with and also happened to be my sister; Daffa, who's everyone's most wanted travel-buddy since he has a so-called great sense of direction and he's super chill to travel on budget; and Angga who stayed on the computer almost all day long and got on my nerve because of it. Oh, he's my brother, too.

There weren't lots of articles that talked about Sawarna on the internet. If there was, mostly they did the trip recently, either in 2014 or 2013. I found out later that Sawarna is a pretty new tourist attraction, about three years been commercialized. In the past, there were only foreign tourists came for surfing. Which is common because of its location that faces the Indian Ocean, makes it has big waves.

From Depok, we boarded on a train to Bogor Station then took angkot 03 to Baranangsiang Terminal then bus with Bogor-Pelabuhan Ratu route. The first mistake happened here; there were two buses going to Pelabuhan Ratu. So I asked a man nearby, which one left early? He pointed on the non-AC bus. So then we got on it, instead of the MGI AC bus which parked beside it. As soon as we sat, they immediately asked us to pay. First alarm went off: there was no one but us on the bus and they asked for money so soon meaning that they wanted to ensure that we'd stayed. Then Raras whispered to me:

"Mbak, ini kan kayak bis roti tawar yang di Purwokerto, yang ngetemnya lama banget terus jalannya ugal-ugalan"

Jeng jeng! But I tried to think positive and assured her that we weren't in hurry for the first day and we'd eventually get there and prayed so that nothing bad would happen. Yeah, that made us sitting on the bus for 5 hours and my brother vomiting his stomach off. Not recommended. Better take the MGI AC bus which is faster and smoother for only IDR 10,000 difference.

After we got to the terminal, we took a rest in a warung to eat our home-packed lunch, and of course to let my blue-faced brother drenching in sweat sit for awhile. I asked people how could I get to Sawarna and if the Sawarna elf still there. The Sawarna elf is like a van and is the cheapest way to get to Sawarna. There is only one elf which means if we missed it, get ready to dig your wallet a little deeper. Everybody in the warung said that the elf had left since 9 am. Another said that the elf left at 11 am everyday. Then they offered me another option; by angkot or by ojeg. Basically people who were at the warung were drivers of either angkot or ojeg. They were hovering all over us. They charged from IDR 60,000/person (angkot) to IDR 150,000/person (ojeg). I was skeptical about them, I believed that there was another cheaper way than those optins. So I went to an officer and asked him. To my annoyance, the angkot and ojeg drivers followed me. Then one of the officials pointed at one elf in the corner and said, 'Isn't it Icep?' We went there and yes! To my relief, the Sawarna elf is still there! Yay!! By the way, Icep is the elf driver.

Good thing we met Pak Icep. He had a warung by the beach and then I decided to camp in front of his warung. Yay! Our camping location solved even before we get there!

The rest of the day went by with us sitting by the beach watching sunset. The beach was deserted, the warungs (there were LOTS of them by Pasir Putih beach) were closed. Pak Icep's wife told us that most of the warungs only opened from Thursday to Sunday. No tourist on Monday through Friday. Good thing we came on Thursday, we got to enjoy the quiet and peaceful beach :)

On second day, we went to Lalay Cave. An ancient cave that has this eerie feeling to it (or is it just me who was never caving before?). To get there from Pasir Putih beach, we went out to the main road and walked about 2-3 km to the cave. The fact that Sawarna is a pretty small village with relatively few tourists makes the villagers recognized us instantly! We had breakfast by the main road, and one guy who sat there greet Raras and asked if we were heading home. Raras answered accordingly, but then I told her afterward that he must've recognized us by the way of his question.

We walked along the main road and didn't have any idea what would indicate the location of the cave. We were just greet the villagers whom we passed and asked about the cave. When we were walking, a family on a motorcycle stopped on the other side of the road and told us that we'd missed the cave. I mean, that's just awesome! It was as if the whole village knew that we were going to the cave! Haha!

Or most probably they knew because we greet them and asked... Still it was very kind of them to take the effort to get there and tell us :)

To reach Lalay Cave, we passed hectares of rice fields with hills on the background. That's the unique thing about Sawarna. It has different soil, the kind of soil that could be planted by rice fields yet it's only metres away from the ocean. It has freshwater, too, right from the tap. Not the salty water that usually happen in other area.

Like what I said, Lalay Cave has this mystique atmosphere to it. It was kinda scary and exciting. We walked about 300 metres inside the cave in knee-deep water.

Then we walked up and down the hill heading to Legon Pari beach. It was far, farther than what it took us from Pasir Putih beach to Lalay Cave. In and out the forest, passed drying rice fields... Then we got there! Legon Pari beach. It was HOT. But I didn't really feel it until later I realized that I got sunburnt...

Anyway, the plan was to do beach trekking from Legon Pari back to Pasir Putih which took us the whole day, plus one hour where we had lunch and took a nap in one and only warung in Karang Beureum. The beach between Karang Beureum and Tanjung Layar was rocky. It was really hard for me because I was the only one who wore flip-flops. It got slippery at times.

Sawarna beaches are beautiful. We passed Legon Pari beach, Karang Beureum, Tanjung Layar beach then Pasir Putih beach. Each beach has its own uniqueness to it, and it's just awesome.

We played with the waves right after we got to Pasir Putih beach. As usual, a local whom we greet earlier came to us and warned us to be careful. That was what locals had been telling us since our tent stood: be careful of the waves. Don't get too far into the water. It's just natural, I guess, since the waves were seriously big all the time and we were new there.

The rest of the evening spent by chit chatting with Pak Icep and her wife in the warung. It was also raining and our tent was flooding. So we stayed overnight in Pak Icep's warung. It was really peaceful, sat in the warung made traditionally by bamboos, talking about the history of Sawarna whilst listening to the sound of the beach.

I went home the next day with fond memories about Sawarna and its serene life.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


We were just done caving at this mystique cave and continued walking to the beach. Went through a forest with no one around. The road was long and narrow, until we got to the top of a hill and look out at the horizon... And vast fields with the ocean far away.

"How can we get there? It's so far.. It didn't feel like we walked out this far,"

Then we walked... And walked... And walked... 

And at one point we knew that we were just one step away from being lost, but then a friend said,

"Just walk ahead. Explore."

And that's the truest expression of its kind. Explore.

Thankful for another chance to travel and explore the richness of my homeland.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Challenging Myself

I've been challenging myself in the past months in the form of joining Model United Nations. What is that? Model United Nations or MUN for short is a simulation of United Nations conference. I represent another country and I have to dive in and get to know the country's stance of the issue on the table, as well as another important information about the country. For instance, who are their enemies, how is the culture and what is important for the country. The keyword is diplomacy. We have to negotiate to solve the problem.

I'm a novice in MUN, still green. So far from being a good delegate, but I'm trying my best. There are a lot to learn from MUN, and even though at times I'd got headache in the conference, I got a great experience.

Today I've given myself the most important event of the MUN Challenge that would be one of the highlights of my (second) senior year: joining Yale-NUS College Asia Pacific MUN.

God, do I know how to embarrass myself… And how to expose myself to new things that would broaden my knowledge and connected the synapses on my brain.

I have butterflies on my tummy right now, but oh God it feels exciting! And scary!

I've joined two MUN conferences so far, both in Universitas Indonesia. The first MUN, UN Day 2014, was held by International Relation major back in October. I was there with my classmates. We didn't know a thing about MUN at first and just jumped on the boat. It was the beginning of my MUN Challenge.

The next day after our first MUN, the four of us boasted our MUN experiences to everyone who would listened. Yes, boasted. Because on the D-Day it felt like I just couldn't wait for it to end. But after it really ended… Then I got a clear picture of what it just gotten me into: friendship, knowledge, experience. Great things, indeed.

So we got several more people on the boat, excited to join the second MUN. It was General Grand Assembly 2014 held by MUN Club UI. It was… Challenging. Still a challenge for me who have got a LOT to learn about MUN… Though it was my second MUN. I was kinda down after that because it got me thinking… Am I gonna ever be good at it? Am I joining this because I like it or because I like the idea of it? But my mom assured me that this is a great event to join and she believed that MUN would gain me personal development. I knew it would, I just need to put my mind more into it. I know I can.

Oh, challenging myself feels good! Really looking forward for the event!!

First MUN with Bundo, Fajar and Babot

Second MUN!

Been with Babot from the first MUN and he'll most possibly join the Yale-NUS MUN, too! He is the mastermind for the first Smansa MUN loh! It's still an idea but it has begun to form into real thing! Semangat, Bot!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

US Newsletters

During my stay in US, all exchange students had to write a newsletter every three months to share our experiences with Bina Antarbudaya, the intercultural organisation which we were in.

Opened Facebook today and read some of the current exchange students' newsletters made me feel so mellow. I've been feeling so blue lately, remembering my time in the USA.

Thought I'm gonna share my newsletters so I wouldn't forget I had ones.

The first newsletter

The second newsletter

The third newsletter

Video newsletter #1

Video newsletter #2

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Prom Preparation

Just found this in my draft and decided to publish it. I must've written this around May 2014:

Mau prom doang rempong banget sumpah.

Mau pergi sama grupnya Kaitlyn atau Marijke? Itu butuh dua bulan untuk menentukan. Akhirnya sama Marijke.

Mau ikut party bus sama 20an anak lain atau pake classic car yang cuma berdua sama date?

Ikut classic car akhirnya.


Abis itu Bianca gamau ikut party bus kalo gue ga ikut dan minta ikut classic car.

Terus gue harus bilang sama Marijke gimana dong? Soalnya kalo dua orang ngundurin diri, bayaran per orang jadi meningkat.

Ini alamat gue ikut party bus yang mahalnya gila-gilaan.

Terus Dad saran ikut party bus buat pengalaman anak Amerika. Mom disisi lain takut sama party bus dan juga prom after party.

Minggu depan promnya. Sumpah pingin tidur ajaaaaa, pr banyak bingit pula. Pingin baca novel juga.

Ini harusnya simple T.Tv

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Before I went to the MUN event in University of Indonesia last Friday, I opened Facebook after a very long time. I got several messages, one of them was from Natalie. She was my speech teammate back in Lakeville South last winter. The first thing she said was, 'I'm sorry we haven't stayed in touch!' and then something knocked me off.

Gosh, I've been so involved with myself and school that I just haven't stayed in touch with anyone back home in USA. I haven't even been in touch with my family for like two or three weeks! I replied Natalie's message then sent messages for Dad and Marijke. I had the plan to send messages to my family, Marijke, Sydney, Alexa, Sheridan, Joey, Maria, Claire, Kaitlyn, and all friends I'm close to, but it stayed on the back of my mind; until I read Natalie's Facebook message.

It's Saturday, 30 minutes to midnight. I just opened my email and found out Dad replied me twenty minutes after I sent him the email yesterday, asked if I could Skyped Mom. Natalie replied me back as well and she is not in a good condition. I know her struggle and I wish she will be better soon. She is one of the strongest person I know.

Then I started to trace the photos on my iPad. All the photos back in USA were there. And the bottled up feeling was like bubbling… shh shh shh. I'm feeling like something flutters on my chest, and something churns on my stomach.

I could almost feel the fall breeze on my face. The air turns cooler and cooler by day. The crushed dry leaves under my feet as I walked down the path by the lake.

I remembered, I used to be homesick as well by this time last year.

Then two tears slid down my face. Now everything that reminds of home in the other part of the world could burst me into tears.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

about the one that got away

Nikmatin salah satu fase vital ini. Jangan sampai meninggalkan ini dengan adanya sisa,"
"Right back at you,"
"Emangnya gue kenapa? Gue gak galau,"
"I don't know that. Maybe deep down you are,"
"Maybe deep down. But I know how I should channel the leftover feelings,"
"Good for you then,"
"Could you channel your thoughts away from her?"
"I'm not sure. So far, no…"
"There'll come a time when you'd laugh at the memories. I wish that'd happen soon,"
"Thank you. I really wish the best for both of us. But for me, I need some closure, perhaps when she finally got married or dies. So, until the time comes when I finally have some closure, there's hope for me or at least that's what I like to think…"
"*teary eyed* Why don't you make your own closure? Like, come to her and say your true feeling and see what she has to say. Isn't it enough a closure for you? If she is not into you, perhaps that'd be the end of your story with her,"
"The thing is, I know exactly what she will say. Regardless of what she says, my feelings for her will stay the same. So, closure for me is, she finally got married or dies. Or, the unlikely chance that we'll be back together,"
"That's your call --and your loss. I can't wait when the girl comes up and turn your life upside down --in a good, crazy way--. Definitely another girl who's better than her in a lot of ways,"
"Well, that's very nice of you. If the opportunity should present itself… Then I don't know. A good man once said, 'If you fall in love with two woman, then be with the second one because if you truly love the first woman, then there would not be a second love.' So, I don't know what I'd do if this happens… But for the time being, I'm still foolishly in love with her…"
"So.. You'll do nothing? You chose to do nothing?"
"It's not what I choose to do. It's the outcome of my action…"
"Lo marah nggak sama gue?"
"Kenapa harus marah? Lo yang milih buat merana,"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tender Soul

Being a year away at such a tender age opened my mind about the meaning of home. No matter how bad the heat is, no matter how you hate the air quality, it's still home. Where you laid your heart and felt good. 

All these places have their moments, and I thanked God for every blessing in my life. 

All that remains in the present are the voice, the presence, and the importance of fulfilling my mission. I don't regret difficulties I experienced; I think they helped me to become the person I am today  -The Zahir

Early October 2013
The leaves are turning red and yellow. The school bus's fan is still rolling, although this is already October. Playing Let Her Go by The Passenger. Such a beautiful and neat city. The trees lining beside the boulevard. People biking or jogging with their dogs in the tracking path that lining everywhere throughout the city.

The sun is hot outside, its rays shining through the bus window.

Sometimes you got this negative feeling about someone, about how they acted toward you, and only toward you, this way and that way and you don't know why. Sometimes you got upset when your little siblings acted like their age -like kids. Sometimes it's hard to approach something or someone and you just tired of smiling. Sometimes it gets really frustrating and tiring and you started to think if you could just roll on your blanket and woke up when it's all right.

But it's gonna be alright, if you keep going. Great things don't come easy. Gosh, that's exactly what I said on my speech yesterday.

 Step by step. Maybe it's hard for the heart to beat 31.622.400 times a year. But it will be easier when it beats once in a second.

'Cause you only need the light when it's burning low
Only needs the sun when it starts to snow
Only hate the road when you missin' home'

Autumn in Afton Park

Sebelum sedekat nadi, kita pernah sejauh matahari

Tempat itu menjadi awal kisah kita.

Tempat yang ramah dan hangat, dengan suasana kompetitif yang membuat dinamis. Tempat yang pernah pada suatu hari dulu, selalu dirindukan. Dimana nyawanya di hari pertama terasa sampai ke sukma.

Bukan anak populer.

Kamu duduk di barisan paling kiri, pendiam dan selalu berkonsentrasi. Kita tak tahu satu sama lain, dan kamu asing untukku. Kehidupan kita berbeda, lingkaran kita tak sama. Tanpa kita tahu, Ia menggariskan kita untuk berpapasan di satu persimpangan, tak lama setelah itu.

Kamu ambisius.

Komunikasi pertama kita lewat pesan singkat. Apa kamu masih ingat apa yang kamu kirim? Instruksi tentang tugas kelompok yang batas waktunya masih lama. Hal pertama yang terlintas dipikiranku: kamu ambisius, dan aneh. Cara kamu berbahasa. Waktu itu aku pura-pura mengerti semua yang kamu instruksikan.

Lalu, selama dua minggu kita melewati hari bersama.

Duduk di sudut dengan sapu, cat, dan berbagai perlengkapan lainnya. Kamu mengajariku banyak hal, secara akademik juga tentang karakter. Aku ingat pernah menjelaskan satu topik pelajaran, hal yang sangat jarang terjadi karena biasanya kamu yang selalu jadi guru untukku. Saat melihat balik ke kenangan itu, aku sadar, kamu bukannya tidak mengerti. Kamu hanya ingin tahu seberapa jauh aku mengerti.


Sejak kapan aku berbagi rahasia denganmu? Dan yang aku tahu, itu selalu satu arah. Kamu yang tertutup dan memagari hidup.


'Kita boleh sayang seseorang, tapi jangan berharap sayang itu dibalas. Menyayangi tanpa ekspektasi,' begitu kata Ibu saat aku menangis. Mungkin sekarang kamu tau kelanjutan cerita itu. Dan kamu tau kamu adalah… Kamu.

Waktu aku pergi.

Malam itu, kamu menangis di bahuku.

Sebelum sedekat nadi, kita pernah sejauh matahari

Mungkin ini untuk sementara, mungkin ini untuk selamanya. Hal yang ku tau pasti, kita adalah arus air yang akan selalu mengalir. Mungkin kita akan bertemu di muara dan berpetualang bersama, atau... Kita akan terbelah dan mengarungi sungai kita masing-masing.

Sampai nanti.


Draft waktu gue masih di Amerika. Ini cerita tentang kita, tapi gue mendramatisasi dengan efek berlebihan. Given that I informed you about most of this post's content on the scrapbook I gave you. Just in case you found this post and wondering why it is so exaggeratedly tragic :*

Complete The Circle

It has been so long since our first encounter that morning in the corner of the class. It has been so long since your role began to change in my life. It has been so long and it is time to cut loose the remaining string. As Paulo Coelho said, It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.

Point taken, lesson learned. The future doesn't scare me --not anymore. It makes me wonder and it makes me think, and I intend to live my life the way I want it to be. It meant to put you and all the baggage into a suitcase and locked it away. 

People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

June 20, 2013 -- Remember when we watched a rainbow with the kids? I think it was such a sweet moment. 

I believe when it's meant to be, it will be. It's only the accompany feeling that makes me uncomfortable. I'll try to cope, though.

Time is up. No more coping with anything uncomfortable. No hard feelings, and I wish no left-over feelings either.

Complete the circle. Not out of pride, inability or arrogance, but simply because whatever it is no longer fits in your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were and become who you are.

Thank you for the experience. I'm completing our circle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cerita Awal Dari Bandung

Waktu YES End of Stay Orientation di Washington D.C., Vima sama Febri punya rencana untuk college visit ke ITB sama UI sesampainya kita di Indonesia. Kalau ke ITB, bisa tinggal di rumah Febri. Kalau ke UI, bisa tinggal di rumah gue. Waktu itu mah ayo ayo aja kan, asik juga sekalian jalan-jalan sama cewek-cewek ini.

Ngga nyangka ternyata trip-nya langsung 10 hari setelah kita sampe di kota masing-masing! Soalnya kan emang seminggu pertama udah haha hihi kongkow kongkow sama keluarga dan temen-temen, jadinya ga ada kegiatan yang pasti gitu. Akhirnya kita ke Bandung tanggal 3-5 Juli 2014, pulangnya tanggal 6.

Kita berempat cewek-cewek Chapter Bogor bertualang ke kota dimana kampus-kampus impian kita berada; gue dari Minnesota, Vima dari Michigan, Febri dari Massachusetts dan Zahra dari Pennsylvania.

Hari pertama ngunjungin ITB sama tour guide kita si urang Bandung, Barbar. Dia ini dulunya di host di Wisconsin terus terkenal pisan karena dianugerahi YES Student of the Month yang sangat bergengsi itu. Aduh ga ada kata yang bisa describe Barbar. He's seriously one of the greatest hosts I've ever ran to. Barbar ngajak pacarnya juga, Sasha. Udahlah mereka berdua tuh, cocok jadi yang berdiri di gapura Bandung buat nerima tamu, baiikkk bangettttss wkwkwkwkkwkw tapi beneran loh.

depan labtek arsitektur, tempat impiannya Vima

calon-calon penghuni Bandung tahun depan! Amiinn

Hari kedua gue, Vima sama Febri ke ITB lagi soalnya hari pertama gue gak sempet ngeliat SBM ITB. Sementara Zahra dari pagi udah caw ke Jatinangor sama Barbar buat ngunjungin FK Unpad, impiannya mereka.

Jalan-jalan sekitar ITB, duduk-duduk berasa mahasiswa. Terus kita kan udah di depan gedung SBM tuh. Gue harus masuk liat-liat ke dalem dong. Dari lantai satu, liat-liat kelas, jalan di sepanjang lorong, baca-baca madingnya… Abis itu ke lantai dua, nontonin gimana interaksi murid-murid dan gurunya di kelas... Ke lantai tiga yang sepi... Gedungnya emang sepi waktu gue kesana. Kebanyakan pada di dalam kelas lagi semester pendek. Waktu lagi ngelewatin pintu gedung SBM, Vima bilang,

Vima: "Kita berasa anak sini, main masuk aja,"
Gue:   "Act like you deserve it, Vim,"

With the willing of God, we deserve ITB. Amiinn.

Kakak kelas gue di Smansa yang kuliah di SBM, Kak Aisyah, udah gue hubungin beberapa hari sebelum gue ke Bandung tapi ga bales. Pas paginya di hari kedua, gue hubungin lagi tuh via Twitter, bilang kalo gue lagi di Bandung dan ngunjungin ITB. Terus pas udah selesai tur SBM dan ke labtek Teknik Kimia sebentar, Kak Ai belum bales-bales juga. Yaudah deh, gue memutuskan untuk melanjutkan perjalanan selanjutnya.

Pas lagi makan siang di Warung Pasta sebelah ITB, Kak Ai bales DM Twitter gue dan bilang kalo kita bisa ketemuan setelah dia rapat OSKM! Yeyy!! Jadi gue, Vima sama Zahra ke BIP dulu sambil nungguin bedug Maghrib sementara Febri ada acara bukber sama temen-temen SD-nya jadi gak bisa ikut.

Masalahnya adalah,

1) Kita adalah sekumpulan anak-anak yang backpacking ke kota itu dengan budget super tipis
2) Kita gatau juga mau ngapain di BIP

Akhirnya setelah jalan-jalan gajelas sekitar BIP, kita memutuskan untuk nonton di XXI. Adanya cuma film kartun sama film horror. Jadilah milih film kartun karena gue paling gabisa nonton film horror. EH begitu siap bayar, mbak-mbaknya bilang kalo AC di bioskop mati. Kita memutuskan untuk gajadi nonton deh.

Terus kan bingung abis itu mau ngapain. Si Zahra terus nyeletuk, "Nyalon aja yuk!" Yaiyalah kita cewek-cewek langsung semangat wkwkwkwk. Masalahnya, ternyata creambath itu mahal dan ga sesuai sama budget kita. Akhirnya si Zahra bilang, "Mau nonton aja gak? Gue sih gapapa ga ada AC,"

Terus gue bilang, mereka nonton horror aja soalnya kan sebenernya Vima sama Zahra pinginnya nonton horror. Akhirnya gue berakhir di foodcourt sendirian, makan crepes sama nasi goreng dulu terus langsung caw ke ITB.

Di ITB, gue duduk di alun-alunnya (?) pokoknya di pinggir lapangan deh. Ada massa ITB disitu (asik) lagi duduk di lapangan dengan satu orang lagi orasi dengan berapi-api. Semuanya pake jaket hejo. Gue kirimin fotonya kan ke grup whatsapp, terus Nindy bilang, mungkin itu maba ITB lewat jalur bidikmisi. Iya kali, gue gak ngerti kan. Eh pas gue lagi perhatiin grup, tiba-tiba gue mendengar suara yang udah tidak asing lagi. Ternyata saudara-saudara, tak lain tak bukan, itu adalah Kak Ai lagi kasih pendapatnya di depan massa tersebut!! Wowwww. Yang gue tangkep itu Kak Ai menjelaskan tentang sistem Buddy di SBM ITB. Terus gue tuh yang, 'ohhhhhh ini pasti rapat OSKM yang tadi Kak Ai bilang' Kak Ai keren banget deh!!!

Yasudah deh abis itu bukber di Warung Pasta (lagi) bareng Kak Ai. Cerita tentang Kak Ai di SBM, di himpunan, pokoknya semua dikupas habis. Tentang kehidupan gue di Amerika. Aduh pokoknya Kak Ai kerennn!!

Hari ketiga, gue dan kawan-kawan caw ke Lembang! Yeyy! Pergi ke Boscha pertama. Jalan kaki ke atas, lumayan 1 km sambil nyanyi-nyanyi lagu Sherina dan ketawa-ketiwi. Begitu sampe Boscha….. Loh? Kok kecil?? Ternyata kawan-kawan… Sherina-nya aja yang kecil, jadi Boscha-nya terlihat besar… Padahal Boscha imut-imut gitu bangunannya kayak jamur wkwkwk.

Abis Boscha, kita main ke Floating Market! Bandung itu keren deh kalo masalah transportasi --terlepas dari abang-abang angkotnya yang ga ramah dan suka hajar harga jauh banget sama pendatang--, tapi angkot itu ada dimana-mana. Sama kayak di Depok dan kota-kota besar lainnya. Masih kerasa tinggal di Lakeville yang harus ke Mall of America dulu baru dapet akses public transportation…

Setelah puas jalan-jalan di Floating Market, kita naik angkot St. Hall yang langsung menuju Cihampelas! Woww!! Pokoknya angkot St. Hall itu angkot paling sakti deh selama gue di Bandung. Secara kita cewek-cewek angkoters tiap malam selama trip pulangnya ke Cimahi, jadi selalu naik St. Hall wkwkwk.

Di Cihampelas kita jb-jb acara bukbernya Chapter Bandung. Ketemu lagi sama anak-anak AFS Chapter Bandung yang baru pulang dari negaranya masing-masing dan juga anak-anak hosting yang udah waktunya balik lagi ke negara mereka :)

Pokoknya trip ke Bandung itu sangat seruu! Gue ngerasa kayak udah besar, backpacking sama temen-temen ke kota yang agak jauh cuma kita-kita aja hehehe. Semoga pas kita nanti bareng-bareng tinggal di Bandung, kita bisa travel ke tempat-tempat yang lebih jauh. Amiiinn.

masih muda

Gue masih umur 18 tahun. Masih duduk di bangku SMA kelas 12 setelah setahun merantau ke negri Paman Sam. Masih drama queen dan ragu-ragu akan banyak hal. Masih ga percaya diri sekaligus punya rasa kepercayaan diri yang melambung. Masih suka berkhayal tentang masa depan. Masih nulis diary. Masih sok tahu dan suka melebih-lebihkan sesuatu. Masih takut untuk membicarakan mimpi terbesar, walaupun sekarang udah mendingan. Masih punya kadar rasa sayang yang berlebihan untuk orang-orang yang gue sayang.......................

Kemarin hari pertama masuk sekolah untuk tahun pelajaran 2014/2015. Tahun terakhir gue di SMA setelah dua tahun di Smansa dan setahun di LSHS. Ketemu sama (dulunya) adek-adek kelas yang sekarang udah jadi temen seangkatan. Yaampun, masih inget banget gimana ngelewatin setahun bareng dengan gue sebagai senior mereka. Terus gue pergi... Dan balik lagi untuk jadi teman seangkatan. Seneng karena gue tau banyak anak jadi ga terlalu asing-asing banget :>

Tapi pas dijemur di lapangan karena telat sampe sekolah (iya, hari pertama udah telat. Ninis nih emang), kayaknya gue bisa ngebayangin Bimbim duduk di pinggir lapangan sama Lia dan Sintia, nontonin gue. Atau Nindy yang berdecak di tribun karena gue telat sekolah di hari pertama. Atau cewek2 Uber yang ketawa-tawa dari kantin ngeliat gue. Atau Izmi yang ada di kelas, siap untuk gue sambangin.

Tapi itu cuma imajinasi, karena sekarang mereka udah lulus dan jadi alumni Smansa Depok. Itu cuma imajinasi sesaat waktu gue lagi berdiri di tengah lapangan dibawah sinar matahari yang yaampun panasnya. Rasanya itu yang bakal terjadi kalau 35 masih jadi murid Smansa.

Well, sekarang gue udah jadi bagian dari angkatan 36. Seangkatan sama adek gue. Menjalani hari-hari menjadi anak SMA setahun lagi.

Seneng gak? Seneng! Gue seneng jadi anak SMA lagi. Seneng bisa nikmatin Smansa untuk satu tahun ekstra. Seneng status gue masih jadi remaja yang sedang menikmati kehidupan masa SMA-nya yang indah. Apalagi setahun ekstra ini bakal dihabiskan bareng 36 yang kebanyak orang-orangnya pernah berpartner dengan gue di kepanitiaan-kepanitiaan waktu gue kelas 11 dan mereka kelas 10. Seneng karena gue tau gue dikelilingin orang-orang hebatnya Smansa.

Pingin kuliah gak? Pingin! Soalnya kayaknya gue udah cocok jadi mbak-mbak kuliah wkwkwk. Dan membayangkan akan seperti apa rasanya tahun depan, dengan melihat temen-temen gue sekarang...

Gue gak takut untuk berjuang. Apalagi gue gak berjuang sendirian. Apalagi berjuangnya sama temen-temen baru gue yang hebat.

Gue punya satu tujuan utama untuk tahun depan, dan bagaimanapun jalan menuju kesana, semoga gue bisa sampai ke tujuan itu :) aaamiiiinnnnn.


Sabil, temen sebangku gue di kelas 12 yang sama2 telat di hari pertama sekolah :")

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tips Lolos Seleksi AFS/YES

Jadi ceritanya gue udah selesai seleksi, udah berangkat menjalani the most awesome year in USA dan udah balik lagi ke rumah tercinta safe and sound sebagai fresh YES Alumni, tapi nggak pernah nulis di blog apapun yang berbau seleksi. Padahal dulu gue kerjaannya googling tentang pengalaman seleksi AFS/YES di blog-blog orang selama dua tahun......................................................................

Ceritanya gue lagi googling tentang beasiswa kuliah di luar dan bacain pengalaman orang-orang yang tes beasiswa itu, terus tring! Tiba-tiba lampu diatas kepala gue nyala. Gue harus membalas jasa orang-orang yang udah nulis blog tentang pengalaman mereka ikut seleksi AFS/YES dan bikin gue punya insight tentang seleksi-seleksinya.

Kalo dulu gue pas jaman seleksi ga berani nulis blog tentang seleksinya karena takut untuk membicarakan mimpi terbesar gue sebagai anak-SMA-pengejar-matahari ke seluruh dunia. Sekarang, berhubung programnya udah selesai, gue akan membicarakan tentang.............

Jeng jeng jeng jeng.................................

Tips lolos seleksi AFS/YES! Yay!

Tips Isi Formulir
Untuk isi formulir, saran gue buat yang belum, mulai aktif di organisasi-organisasi dan timbun prestasi sejak masuk SMA. Terus jaga rapot jangan sampe jeblok-jeblok banget. Dulu gue ikut empat ekskul di kelas X dan di kolom prestasi gue tulis prestasi2 waktu masih SD di bidang tari Bali dan renang. Di kolom minat dan bakat, usahakan supaya organisasi yang kamu ikutin relevan sama minat dan bakat. Kalo gue minat dan bakatnya menulis, organisasinya salah satunya ekskul jurnalistik di sekolah. Itu contohnya. Pokoknya bikin supaya formulir lo itu bersinar tapi yang masuk akal dan real, ga dibuat-buat. Soalnya di tes wawancara, formulir itu bisa jadi senjata untuk melaju ke tahap berikutnya, atau malah jadi senjata makan tuan.

Tips Seleksi Pertama

  • Untuk tes IPU cuma satu saran yang gue punya: baca, baca, baca! Baca semua yang lagi hits yang baru kejadian dalam rentang waktu setahun sebelum tes tahap I. Dari mulai grammy award, natural disaster di Indonesia dan luar negri, sampe politik ekonomi juga. Pertanyaannya juga kadang melenceng dari topik yang kita baca. Misalnya, ada gempa di Depok yang jadi headline nasional. Pertanyaannya, siapa wali kota Depok? Pokoknya random gitu deh kalo IPU, jadi persiapkan aja semuanya.
  • Untuk tes essay, coba latihan bikin essay dalam waktu cepat. Waktu tahun gue, harus bikin essay 1,5 halaman dan dikasih tiga topik yang harus milih salah satu. Kalo dulu waktu gue tes essay, pas banget salah satu temanya tentang kepemimpinan dan gue kebiasa nulis itu untuk essay-essay MOPD. Plus essay MOPD kan lebih banyak dari itu dan bikinnya tengah malam pas udah ngantuk-ngantuk dan capek, jadinya alam bawah sadar gue kayak masih inget gitu *asik* wkwkwk tapi beneran.
  • Untuk tes Bahasa Inggris, ini gampang kok basic banget pertanyaannya. Mudah lah sambil lewat. Asal ngikutin pelajaran bahasa Inggris di sekolah, sambil merem juga bisa ngerjain ini wkwkwk.
Tips Seleksi II
Ini seleksinya wawancara kepribadian dan wawancara bahasa Inggris. Tes wawancara kepribadian itu bobotnya lebih berat daripada wawancara bahasa Inggris, jadi persiapin aja untuk yang kepribadian. 

Tips pertama: Jadi diri sendiri. Klise, tapi beneran. Pingin terlihat menonjol tapi kalo ga masuk akal juga jadi ga meyakinkan. Pertanyaannya itu pertanyaan normal kalo wawancara beasiswa, kenapa mau ikut ini? Kalo udah disana mau ngapain? Kalo udah balik lagi kesini, mau ngapain? Terus waktu wawancara gue, mereka kayak kasih satu kasus dan kita harus cari jalan keluarnya. Kasus gue dulu, kalo di Indonesia ada masalah buruk, gimana cara jelasin ke orang-orang luar. Pertanyaan-pertanyaan yang diajukan itu tergantung si pewawancaranya. Ini juga ada faktor untung-untungnya si anak. Ada yang dapet pewawancara enak, ada juga yang nyebelin. Tergantung rejeki, makanya banyak-banyak berdoa dan minta doa ke orang-orang tersayang 

Tips kedua: Siapin kalo diminta untuk nunjukkin bakat lo. Kalo bakat lo nari, biasanya bakal disuruh nari. Gue disuruh tunjukkin gerakan-gerakan tari Bali dulu. Kalo bakat lo nyanyi, ya sama juga disuruh nyanyi. Kalo bakat lo main biola, bawa biolanya ke tempat seleksi. Pokoknya siapin semuanya sesiap-siapnya. Dulu senjata gue *asik* itu tulisan-tulisan gue di koran yang di kliping. Itu sebenernya bukan kliping gue, tapi ketua ekskul jurnalistik, kak Nuurul, yang sangat rajin mengkliping tiap tulisan anak-anaknya di koran Jurnal Depok. Gatau deh kalo ga ada kak Nuurul, mungkin gue gabisa berdiri disini sekarang *yaaak* wkwk. Terima kasih kak Nuurul :))

Tips Seleksi III
Seleksi ketiga itu tes Dinamika Kelompok. Jadi ada sekitar enam orang di satu tes dan bakal dikasih alat dan bahan yang minim banget. Bakal dikasih juga satu studi kasus dan kita harus bikin sesuatu untuk memecahkan masalah di studi kasus tersebut. Dulu studi kasus gue itu pulau yang jarang air dan moda transportasi untuk kesana minim, jadi kita buat kayak kincir angin yang bisa bikin air tawar dari air laut. Kita bikin kincir anginnya dari poster, selotip, gunting dan spidol aja. Disitu mereka melihat gimana kita bekerja sama dalam satu tim. Saran gue, jangan terlalu mendominasi tapi jangan terlalu pasif juga. Jangan terlalu mendominasi itu maksudnya jangan jadi orang yang selalu ngomong dan malah ga kasih kesempatan yang lain untuk kasih pendapat. Jangan jadi pasif juga karena nanti juri gabisa ngeliat bakat-bakat kepemimpinan kamu. Pokoknya jadi orang yang mendengarkan tapi juga jangan ketinggalan untuk kasih pendapat :)

Nah, itulah rangkaian seleksi chapter! Kalau kamu lolos seleksi III, berkas kamu akan dibawa ke nasional untuk seleksi berkas. Ga semuanya lolos seleksi berkas, jadi seleksi ini ga bisa dianggap mudah. Tapi karena emang seleksi berkas itu yang punya andil cuma juri dan Tuhan Yang Maha Esa, jadi cuma bisa doa aja di tahap ini. 

Beberapa bulan setelahnya akan diumumin apa kamu dapat undangan untuk ikut seleksi YES atau enggak. Kalau dapet, selamat! Karena kamu punya kesempatan untuk dapet program beasiswa gratis dan pengalaman yang nilainya setinggi langit. Tapi kamu harus ikut Seleksi Nasional YES. Gapapa, emang sesuatu yang berarti itu butuh perjuangan ekstra. 

Good luck adek-adek untuk seleksinya. Peluk terus mimpi ini supaya makin dekat dan lebih dekat. Jangan lupa minta restu dari orang-orang yang disayang dan percaya sama diri sendiri. Give yourself a chance cause if you never try, you never know :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hi Depok,

Kita bersama lagi -untuk sementara-

Balik lagi ke kekacauan lalu lintas, polusi udara, orang-orang yang terlalu awas dan waspada
Balik lagi ke rumah yang sejuk dan adem dengan bunga-bunga kamboja yang sedang berkembang
Balik lagi ke pelukan Ibu yang sudah lama dirindukan
Ke canda dan tawa teman-teman yang hangatnya sempat terlupakan

Untuk sementara

Karena mimpi-mimpi lain mulai muncul seiring dengan berakhirnya petualangan itu
Petualangan penuh makna di masa remaja

Mungkin langkah selanjutnya lebih pendek dari sebelumnya
Atau bahkan lebih jauh lagi
Siapa yang tau?

Sekarang adalah waktu untuk menikmati semuanya
Meresapi semua nikmat yang saya punya

Sebelum pusing karena kelas 12

Surprise welcome home dari xevenovica hari pertama gue di Depok itu sweet bangeeeettt. Banyak balon2 dan makanan Indonesia. Bersyukur banget dikasih temen slash keluarga kayak xevy. Dikasih kesempatan sama Tuhan untuk merasakan indahnya ukhuwah kita :****

Besok ke Bandung dong sama Vima, ngunjungin Febri plus jalan-jalan sekitar kota kembang. Ga sabar, euy. Si Nadya juga udah balik ke Makassar setelah sempet nginep di Depok dua hari. Nanti giliran ana ke Makassar kapan-kapan ngunjungin dia. Aduh mereka itu my sisters; yang satu Minnesota-bound, yang dua Bogor-bound. Udahlah, hands down, sayang mereka banget 

ini foto lebaran 2013 pas lagi orientasi di Washington, D.C. Rambutnya masih pendek-pendek wkwk

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Farewell, Minnesota

Minnesota, my home.
The coldest winter, the sparkling snow, the fabulous reddish trees along St. Croix river in fall

Lakeville, my home
The nice people, biking path everywhere, fresh air, Lake Marion to bike along, sit by or boating.

The Noreaults, my family.
Mom, Dad, Caleb, Jacob and Taylor. 

Lakeville South, my school.
The warm atmosphere, the busy halls and the mighty cougar

Marijke, my best friend.
A true drama queen, an awesome listener and a professional driver

Farewell, Minnesota. I will see you later.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

18 tahun

Melanjutkan tradisi menulis tentang hari ulang tahun... Tapi untuk pertama kali nulisnya beberapa hari setelah hari H karena lupa -_- Sama sekali ga inget untuk ngeblog tentang hari ulang tahun, padahal udah ngelakuin ini dari empat tahun lalu. Mungkin tahun depan bakal lupa lebih lama kali ya... Yaudah, jadi sekarang gue berumur....


18 TAHUN!!!

Astaga. Mimpi apa gue semalem.

18 tahun disini berarti udah 'legal'. Udah ga dibawah peraturan orang tua lagi. Udah menjalani hidup dengan pillihan sendiri. Udah bisa ke casino dan gambling (btw, ini request gue ke ortu buat main casino. Tapi berhubung gue tiap hari ada acara sampe hari keberangkatan, plus gue udah pernah ngerasain casino di Senior Party, ga terlaksana deh)

Gue keluar kamar dan menemukan sign 'Happy Birthday' yang unyu di sitting room. Emang Mom paling excited masalah gituan <3 nbsp="" p="">
I had my last presentation about Indonesia that day at a senior living house. Pertama jalan kaki ke rumahnya Winnie di bawah gerimis hujan berangin. Sialnya gue pake celana pendek dan kaosan, jadinya agak2 dingin gimanaa gitu. Ke rumah Winnie dulu buat ambil sepeda soalnya hari sebelumnya party di rumah Winnie sampe malem dan gak mau pulang naik sepeda jam 10 malem dingin2. Begitu sampe di rumah Winnie dan pake jaket, topi dan kacamata yang gue tinggal di sepeda, eeh mataharinya keluar -_- cacadh banget -.-

Senior living housenya jauuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh banget. Ampun deh. Gue telat sejam dan ngos2an. Sebenernya kalo dibandingin Depok ga ada apa2nya sih; gue bersyukur banget disini gue ga keringetan kayak di Depok wkwkwk. Tapi tetep aja abis ngelewatin the worst winter in decades terus ke panasnya matahari jadi harus adaptasi lagi.

Terus abis itu nonton film sama Taylor. Pas ditengah2 film kedua, Dad manggil dari ruang makan, suruh kita kesitu. Taylor excited banget tuh, narik2 tangan gue, peluk2 gue. Gue masih sempet2nya buka sweatshirt yang kebesaran sama rapihin rambut dulu wakakakkakkak. Ternyata ruang makan dihias pake balon dan kertas krep terus ada kue dan cupcake warna-warni plus hadiah2 ulang tahun. Yaampuuuun terharu banget. Padahal orang tua gue ngajak gue trip ke Disneyworld sama Florida pas Spring Break sebagai hadiah ulang tahun ke 18, dan gue ga expect hadiah2 lagi.... Speaking about Mom yang excited tentang apapun dan bintang keberuntungan gue yang ngasih mereka jadi keluarga gue.

Dapet satu tas isinya segala pernak-pernik scrapbook lengkap, terus gift card visa yang bisa gue pake di bandara nanti buat beli sesuatu (gue tau ortu gue ngasih ini karena mereka expect gue gapunya duit lagi pas hari terakhir gue disini wkwkwk). Terus ditengah2 buka2 kartu ucapan dan hadiah, gue bilang kalo gue bakal nangis. Terus Mom bilang sesuatu tentang 'the last gift' tapi gue ga nangkep Mom bilang apa.

Eh, pas kado terakhir gue buka, yang mana isinya buku tentang perjalanan gue dari awal nyampe Lakeville sampe akhir tahun, udah lah gue mulai nangis kejer. Mom bilang, gue bisa baca nanti aja kalo gabisa baca sekarang. Terus gue tambah nangis. Mom peluk gue, nenangin gue yang kejer. Pas udah selesai nangis, gue liat Taylor sama Dad juga ikutan nangis -_- Bukunya tuh kayak surat dari keluarga ini buat gue, tapi done digitally. Cover bukunya says 'When Ninis Joined Our Family 2013-14' sama ada foto gue berlatar salju, terus sampul belakangnya surat buat gue dengan latar belakang foto Caleb lagi menghadap bendera Amerika dan Lake Marion yang gue ambil last summer. Aduh pokoknya terharu banget deh gue.

Gue beruntung banget bisa menghabiskan umur 17 tahun di Amerika, di kehidupan baru yang penuh pelajaran dan sarat makna. Bisa menghabiskan puncaknya masa remaja dengan orang-orang hebat dan dapat pengalaman-pengalaman yang ga kalah hebatnya.

Sekarang gue udah 18 tahun, udah dewasa muda. Makin banyak tanggungjawab dan makin tinggi ekspektasi. Makin banyak harapan untuk masa depan, terutama yang terdekat: kuliah.

Well, gue masih punya setahun lagi untuk menjalani tahun terakhir SMA sebagai kelas 12. Gue bakal kerja keras untuk mendapatkan apa yang gue mau. Nggak mudah, tapi bisa.

Life won't get any easier, but I'll get tougher. Semoga di tahun ke 18 ini bisa lebih baik dari tahun-tahun sebelumnya. Amiin.

Second-to-last Week

I went to Senior Party after graduation. A lock-in party at school started at 9.30 pm and ended at 5 am. Party all night long and it was SUPER DUPER FUN!!! Oh My Gosh. So first I didn't sign up because I wasn't sure about an all night party like that. What if I got bored in the middle of the night? But Kaitlyn assured me to signed up. Since it was so expensive ($85), I asked the front desk if I could go for free and yes! So I had Senior Party for free, and there I went the night of graduation. I went with Marijke and stopped at the gas station to buy energy drink. I don't like energy drink; they are too carbonated. At least mine was.

We were the last one to come; the door closed at 10 pm and we barely made it. There were LOTS of games --casino, mini golf, wheel of fortune, wrestling, sumo, bingo, ping pong, laser tag, etc. We had to do each of them in order for us to participate in the door prize and it was so fun!! I didn't realize the time until we had to go to the gym at 3 am for the door prize. They had LOTS of iPad minis, TVs and Beats headphone, but I didn't get any of it -_- not my luck. Although I got Caribou gift card -which I gave to Cynthia since I'm not fond of Caribou- and $25 Target gift card which I used the next day to buy tracfone minutes. It's a very good deal considering that I didn't have to pay at all for the party.The last event was a hypnotist that actually hypnotized several people on the stage. It was soooo funny, I was laughing so hard with Marijke.

It was on Friday morning. I came home at 6.30 and woke up at 9. Slept for 2.5 hours after stay awake for almost 24 hours? Not good. I biked to Target and it was SO HOT I couldn't catch my breathe. I got home at about 12 then sleep until 7 pm. Marijke came later that night with her boyfriend; she went to the Caribbean on Saturday morning and she thought I left to Indonesia while she was there. She was gonna say good bye. I told her I would leave two days after she got home from the Caribbean.

Then  graduation and good bye parties that weekend. I got invited to, like, five grad parties that weekend but I didn't come to most of them. On Sunday evening I babysat with Sydney and Tanner; I got money yay! My wallet is too thin right now, any money would be very much appreciated.

Monday was my 18th birthday! I did my last presentation about Indonesia in the afternoon. I biked sooooo far to the other side of Lakeville to get to that senior house living. I answered their questions about Indonesia and danced in front of them. It was out of expectation; I expected a crowd and more responsive audience. There were only four ladies and three of them were too old to pay attention. Well, I enjoyed it a lot, though. At least I got the chance to check my bucket list before I go home.

I went on a campus tour at St. Olaf College this afternoon. It's a very pretty campus, up on the hill. It's located in a small town of Northfield; a very safe campus and friendly people. At least the people I met in admission office were very friendly and I like it. I have another campus tour tomorrow to Macalester College. I'm interested in both of that colleges. Well, let's see what the future holds for me.

It's exactly a week before my flight to Washington, D. C. I told Mom that I didn't feel anything about that; I'm not anxious about going home. It's an abstract thought, thinking about 'going home'. I spend my day with things to do everyday and it hasn't hit me home... Yet. Maybe because I know deep down that someday I would come back and visit Lakeville? I don't know. I don't want to think about it either. I'm excited about the idea of being able to eat pempek and bubur ayam, for sure.

I probably should finish my scrapbooks and pack more things. Bye.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Last day of school

Last day of school, I wore the senior shirt with 'KISS OUR C14SS GOODBYE' on the front. Came early because of the senior prank, they need lots of car to block the parking lot so underclassmen couldn't park. With just-wake-up Marijke barely listened to my story all the way to school.

We shared our work this semester in Journalism 2, but it turned out seniors told their stories about the beginning of journalism. My eyes watered that hour, I inhaled deeply, a lot. Journalism 2 was so much fun and I learned a lot.

When I got to history class, mr. Ring gave me the final sheets with a white envelope and instructed me to go to the library. History is a class for sophomore and they are gonna have their finals after seniors' last day of school. There was a letter in the envelope; a reply from mr. Ring. For English 11 class, we had to make Letter of Appreciation for anybody at school, and I made one for mr. Ring. 

I was crying whilst reading the letter. The tears streamed silently. How lucky I am that I got to meet a great person like mr. Ring. He is such a dedicated and passionate teacher and I'm grateful he is my teacher.

In the end of 6th hour, Lakeville South has tradition for seniors to bull run around the school and ended up in the commons. There was drum line performed there, we chanted just like in football games, we boo-ed the freshmen because they suck, we celebrated because we are graduating from high school! 


Well, kind of. 

Anyway, it was the last day of school and I have exactly two weeks left here. 


I don't feel like I'm leaving. Everything feels normal.

My room is as messy as usual, Taylor is as sassy as usual, everything is the same. Except Marijke. By the way, she is going to the Caribbean as her graduation present and I'm so jealous. And she is going to Europe, too, in summer. 

It's 1 am in the morning, and I have to sleep and get up at 6.30. I'm gonna cook Indonesian dish and bring it to school, give them for the staffs and teachers. I have graduation practice at 9.30, and I have no idea what we are doing. Then come home by myself because Marijke is going to the senior brunch, which I'm not.

It's two weeks left and it doesn't feel real. Like... Really? The idea of going home is abstract.

I mean...

Here is home.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I love you, Mom. I'm sorry I've brought you worries, frustrations, disappointments, headaches, and everything. 

I love you and I hate it that I make you disappointed. 

I love you, Mom.

Jangan Pergi

Jangan pergi dengan utang
Atau amarah yang terpendam

Jangan pergi dengan rasa kecewa
Atau mereka yang menyimpan kekecewaan

Pergi dengan rasa tuntas akan tahun yang berarti dan hidup yang penuh makna
Pergi dengan harapan untuk melanjutkan perjalanan dan tetap meneruskan hubungan yang pernah terjalin

Pergi dengan senyum dan tangis akan pelajaran yang dipetik dan kenangan yang selamanya ada dalam hati 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


We were grocery shopping at Target —me, mom and the kids—. I was looking at the movie DVDs while mom waited in line to pay. I distinctly knew mom was talking, but I didn't pay attention until mom called me, waiting for my answer.

'Sorry, what?'

Then I realized there were other people —looking at me. I knew the girl, she was in my journalism class; we never talked to each other but I knew her name, Marijke. I saw her a moment before in the aisle by the freezer; I acknowledged her but she didn't look at me. There was a woman with blonde hair who was wearing cream suit by her side. 

'They asked if you want a ride to school everyday' said mom.

'I saw you this morning running for the bus. You can go with Marijke to school so you don't have to go with the bus' the woman whom I assumed Marijke's mom, added.

I nodded and smiled slowly, trying to process.

'Yeah, sure. Where do you live?' 

'They live in front of us,' explained Mom. 

'You have to come to my house at 7.20 because I need to pick up my friend. She lives by Target,' said Marijke. 

Then they left, and I still baffled. 

'Where do they live?'

'The blue house right in front of us'

'I never, ever, see them before and I've been here for three months!'

The scene was replaying in my head that night. I stalked her Facebook when I got home, saw her homecoming picture. I remember seeing her dancing at homecoming, but that was the only thing I remember about her. We never talk before at class and we sat far from each other. The only reason I knew her name was because I heard her friend called her —that was it. 

I was nervous. What if we don't have anything to say? What if it's gonna be awkward? What if she doesn't like me?


It was six months ago. There are lots of stories about Marijke in that span of time. Now I know her expressions, what she would say when I said this or that and her opinion about her brother's girlfriend. I've cried in front of her, I told her about my country, my friends, my family —although I doubt she remembers anything 😑 She's a true drama queen, and she denies when I say that hahahhahaha.

Hi Marijke! 😉

The only reason why we have about the same height in this picture is that I put on three inches heels and she was barefeet. My prom dress was hers from last year before she gave it to me, and it was almost as tall as me. 

Monday, April 14, 2014


Ceritanya weekend kemarin ke Chicago bareng anak2 YES AYUSA Minnesota. Emmanuel dari Ghana, Martin dari Macedonia, Samer dari Mesir dan Yash dari India dan gue. Ada lima anak dan gue cewek sendiri, plus local coordinator, Joey, dan ayahnya Martin sebagai extra chaperone. Kita bertujuh di satu van, berlibur ke Chicago.

Ceritanya kita bonding selama tiga hari terus mereka kayak the big brothers I never had. Terus jadi makin deket sama Joey juga.

Chicago berangin, tapi ga begitu dingin. Banyak burung dara, orang-orang merokok di jalanan, sangat multikultural. Emmanuel nanya, kalo gue dapet universitas disini gimana?

"I won't get accepted in any university in Chicago because I won't apply for one,"

Chicago asik, tapi gue gak pingin tinggal disana. Asik buat liburan, tapi gue lebih milih universitas di Minnesota, kalo bisa milih wkwkwk.

Samer: "Are we in Minnesota?"
Me: "Yep"
Samer: "Ok, let's go back to Chicago,"

Begitu nyampe Minnesota tadi malam, rasanya mau balik lagi ke Chicago. Mau freeze time dan stay selamanya jadi anak 17 tahun yang lagi have the time of her life.

Nyampe rumah disambut Mom sama Dad yang khawatir karena gue nyampe rumah telat dan hape gue mati. Disambut sama Taylor yang berusaha ngagetin gue tapi gue ngeliat dia ngumpet duluan dibalik tangga. Ga disambut sama Caleb dan Jacob karena mereka udah tidur.

Pagi ini berangin. Cuma pake capris karena mikirnya bakal hangat, tp nyatanya...

Me: "It's so cold outside"
Marijke: "Ya, why you wear that? You're crazy"

Disambut sama tugas sekolah yang (masih) menumpuk.

Minggu ini dan minggu depan, setiap hari, bakal volunteer selama 2.5 jam karena gue defisit volunteer hours disaat anak2 YES lainnya udah dapet sertifikat dari Obama karena volunteer hours mereka. Terlalu woles sama volunteering hours -.-

Udah bulan April sekarang. Dua bulan lagi pulang. Orang-orang udah mulai nanyain, gimana rasanya mau pulang?

Gatau gimana rasanya. Sekarang lagi banyak yang harus dilakuin, ga mikirin pulang. Ga mau mikiri pulang.

Maunya make the days count. Maunya carpe diem. Seize the day while I can still walk everyday in Lakeville South halls and inhale the not-so-spring Minnesota weather.

Joey :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

hal yang membuat berbeda

Selama tujuh bulan jadi exchange student, banyak banget cerita tentang host families dan sekolah yang gue denger dari temen-temen sesama exchange students. Ada yang punya pengalaman baik, ada juga pengalaman ga menyenangkan. Semuanya belajar, menyesuaikan diri, di jalan dan caranya masing-masing.

Tapi cuma ada dua poin yang bikin hidup di negri orang sebagai exchange students berbeda:

1) Orang yang bersyukur


2) Orang yang mengeluh

Orang yang bersyukur itu, walaupun sebenernya dia punya masalah yang mungkin sama kayak anak-anak lain, tapi dia tetep merasa positif. Tetep tersenyum, dan percaya kalo semua akan lebih baik. Terus berusaha untuk merubah keadaan jadi lebih nyaman dan sisa waktu exchangenya lebih berkenang. Although it costs them tears, which makes them tougher and tougher with time.

Mereka yang menginspirasi exchange student lain dan bikin mereka berkaca ke diri sendiri, harusnya gue lebih bersyukur dari dia.

Untuk Nadya yang selalu positif dan tersenyum. Kamu menginspirasi orang-orang disekitarmu, Nad :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine's Day

It was sooooo sweet! I love spirit day so much!!! People wore red or pink and flowers/chocolates everywhere. In journalism class, we did like in elementary school, people made their boxes and valentines cards for each student. It was sooo fun!!! I got lots of valentine cards, candies, chocolates, etc.

There was also Singing Valentine, we can request choir to sing for certain person for $3 or $5 with chocolate. There were two Singing Valentine in my first hour. It was sooooo cuteeeee. So the choir came to our class, call the person's name, and the person had to sit in front of the class. The choir circled her/him while singing, and they were like touching your hair, your face, and it was sooooo funny.

On my second hour, there was Singing Valentine coming, and guess who was the person??? Me!!!!! I was like... 'Really? From who??' Then I sat in front of the class, wore the angel halo they gave me and they started to sing. It was sooo cute! I was smiling from ear to ear and the other student was smiling, too, watching me. It's always been a fun part in the middle of boring hour. They gave me chocolate too, and a sheet the requester filled. The requester didn't write his/her name! So I didn't know who was it. I tried to figure out from the hand writing, but it's hard! I thought it was Ia, and at the same time Ia texted me saying happy valentine. But it wasn't her! I was so happy, though, it was soooo cute and the highlight of my day.

 I came home and I found a love-shaped cookie and a letter from mom and dad. I was crying when I read the letter. All my siblings got a heart-shaped cookie and a letter, too, but they are too little, they didn't bother to read-_-

Around 7, Kaitlyn, Maddie and Alana picked me up. Kaitlyn invited me to her friend's Valentine's party and I was so excited! The party was in Jackie Chatelaine's house. There were about 20 people there, we were hanging out and mingling together until about 10.30. I stayed awake until about 12.30 downstairs, just browsed internet and chatting with my friends in Indonesia. I went to bed still with my makeup on-___- I didn't want to make any more noise more than what I already did when I opened the garage door.

SO that was my valentines day. Then I was sick over the weekend, stayed home for two days straight. My gums are swollen-.- I can only wish I won't be sick anymore.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Penguntai ronce cinta,

Karena perjalanan ini perjalanan hati... Mengeksplor kemampuan dan kekurangan diri. Merasakan sedihnya frustrasi, dan bayangan-bayangan menghantui. Menangis sampai habis, dengan suara salju ditapak sepatu, dan angin yang sangat dingin membuat bulir-bulir itu pergi.

Ada rasa rindu akan dahulu, ada juga rasa yang belum puas akan pencapaian saat ini. Ada rasa yang mengingatkan, momen ini hanya sekali, dan tak kan terulang kembali. Tapi sudut lain memutar kenangan-kenangan indah yang terjadi di tempat berbeda, di ruang waktu yang berbeda pula.

Memang tidak mudah, tapi akan menjadi sesuatu yang berharga. Toh mutiara didapat dari keberanian menyelam ke lautan dalam.

Untuk para pejuang yang sedang menguntai ronce cinta, kita harapan Nusantara.

"Kita sepakat bila rasa yang sesungguhnya tak mudah didapat. Perlu ada pengorbanan... Perlu ada perjuangan..." -Asmara Nusantara

Friday, February 7, 2014

Salah Sangka

Jadi ceritanya minggu ini berjalan sangat cepat, sekaligus lama. Perasaan pas hari senin, ga sabar pingin pulang dan tidur. Walaupun gabisa cepet pulang juga, karena ada speech practice. Ehhhh, abis itu, nyadar-nyadar, sekarang hari kamis aja. Kemarin kan ada game di Eastview HS, terus pas di perjalanan pulang ke Lakeville, Maria nanya, "What day is today?"

N: "Tuesday"
M: "No, it can't be. Today must be Thursday because the next day is Paige's birthday"
N: "No, today is Tuesday"

Pas Maria liat hapenya, yesterday was Wednesday. Ga ada yang bener-_-

Terus sekarang lagi di kelas Creative Writing. Ini kelas emang di computer lab, jadinya bisa blogging sekalian wkwkwk. Jadi kan gue masuk ke lab, terus pas gue liat, ada yang duduk di barisan komputer paling kanan. Pas gue liat lagi, ternyata itu Allison! Allison itu temen sebelah gue di lab. Lah gue sebel kan, kenapa ga mau duduk disamping gue lagi? Apa coba salah gue? Perasaan kita ngobrol biasa aja.

Gue duduk terus mikir, gue bakal ajak perempuan yang duduk belakang gue buat duduk bareng gue, atau gue bakal pindah ke sebelah dia. Terus gue mulai deh buka web schoology, ngeliat apa yang harus gue lakuin di kelas hari ini. Disini, kita tinggal buka schoology untuk tau apa yang kelas udah pelajarin, hari ini, and the rest of the week. Jadwal pr, daftar link-link yang ngebantu kita buat ngerjain pr juga ada disitu. Pokoknya praktis banget deh. Terus kan gue suka ngeliatin anak2 di kelas gue. Gasadar, abis itu mata gue jatuh ke matanya Allison dan dia senyum ke gue. Gue senyum balik lah. Ga lama setelah itu, Allison angkat tangan. 

A: "Mrs. Settlemeyer, I have to move, my computer doesn't work"

Pas denger itu, gue yang, 'deg!' Yaampun, dia pindah bukan karena ga suka sama gue. Kok gue negative thinking banget sih-_- Terus jadi ga enak sendiri. 

Abis itu kita harus kerja berkelompok, Jade datengin gue, ngajak sekelompok bareng. Gue bilang, kita bisa sekelompok bertiga sama Allison juga, soalnya gue yakin Allison bakal datengin gue wkwkwk pede banget. Terus Jade balik lagi ke komputenya. Abis gurunya jelasin apa yang harus kita lakuin berkelompok, Allison datengin gue. Dia jelasin kenapa dia pindah komputer, terus gue cerita gue sebel pas liat dia pindah wkwkwk. She was like, 'I was afraid that you would be mad at me'. Yaudah  abis itu kita kerja bareng deh bertiga. Kita harus revisi kerjaannya partner. Tugasnya itu bikin Name Paper, kita bikin tulisan tentang nama kita. How does it tastes, feels, sounds, and poetic words about our names. This is my paper, revised by Allison:

Danistri is a Sanskrit word, full of hope and love. It may be hard to remember at first, but once you remember, you’ll always say it in thirst. It represents a prayer from a mother, who was willing to sacrifice her life like no other. A true love from a father, who taught me to be strong and brave. It’s a word from paradise, singing by Gods and Goddesses who are draped in dazzling dresses. ​

Danistri smells like Bali, an island in my country, Indonesia, well-known as the island of paradise. It smells tropical, like a coconut tree dancing with the wind, or waves slapping the sand in a fine Sunday morning. Danistri means the main. It tastes unique, like no other name people have tasted before. Da-nis-tri. Three syllables that suit me very well. ​

It doesn’t stand alone, it can’t stand alone without my two other name. My full name is Luh Danistri Widyaningrum. Luh is a Balinese name, that every Sudra girls have in their first names. Danistri, my middle name, which means the main. My last name is Widyaningrum, formed from three words: Widya, Hening and Harum. Those are ancient Javanese words. Widya means knowledge or learning, in hope that I will always learn and seek for knowledge. Hening means silence, for Balinese famous for yoga and meditation. Through silence, we can find our inner peace and balance. Harum in English means scent, or fragrant. In Indonesian meaning, it also means well-known. My name is a symbol of hope from my parents. They hope that I will be a main girl that become well-known because of knowledge and peace. It’s a one of a kind name, and belongs to me. No one in this world has name like me, since my parents especially arranged it for me. ​

My name feels like home, sounds like home. My loved ones put my name in their hearts, for they say home is where the heart is.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Once Upon A Time in January

Ninis: do you have economics?
Katelyn: yeah, I have Carlson
Ninis: me too!
Katelyn: he really likes economics. Did he play the video in your class?
Ninis: about the opportunity cost?
Katelyn: yeah! He said that was his favorite economist. I mean, who have favorite economist? Favorite athlete, yea, I have favorite athlete. Favorite economist? Even my dad has favorite president

(Between our laughter)
Joselyn: so there was a boy who was like tracing a girl's hand in the dance class and it was so... awkward
Ninis: o my gosh, in finals, mrs. Matos said about a girl in the past presenting tango and she was dancing with the door. Then she said we could do anything, just make it less.... Sensual
Fernanda: hahahahahhahahahhahahahaha

Dad: tell you dad that your... American dad wants to see the photo

Mr. Ring: *introduced me to mr. Carlson* so this is Ninis, she is a superstar. She likes to talk and she is from Malaysia'
Ninis: 'Indonesia'

Ninis: *talking to katie*
Jami: *from a far* ninis!
Ninis: *looking around*
Jami: ninis!
Ninis: AAAAAAAAA hi jami!!!
Katie: o my gosh that was loud! We were talking about height and you started to scream and I was like 'what?? Why are you screaming we already talked about it before'

age seventeen and eight months

Now I'm in Creative Writing class. It's barely anyone here, there is french class field trips or something that makes most of the class gone. All of my lunchmates are gone! Bzzzzz.

Yaudah, dadaahhh

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Autobio Ninis

Setelah pengumuman kalo gue keterima di Smansa, gue mulai browsing ekskul-ekskul yang ada di sana. Rencana gue udah bulet banget mau aktif di SMA. Pinginnya kayak Adek Raras yang sibuk sama ekskul tarinya di 49. Pulang malem terus, walaupun itu juga bagian dari SMPnya adek yang terletak di ujung kulon dan macetnya Jakarta. Tapiii waktu itu gue iri banget ngeliat adek dan kehidupan SMPnya. Kalo denger cerita-cerita adek tentang kelasnya, Jumagul, Evectomus Biawak, sama apa ya nama kelas 9nya. Dulu itu masuk 49 impian gue banget. Tapi waktu itu nilai UN SD ngga sesuai sama passing gradenya 49, dan karena udah nyangkut di Bento, yaudah gue sekeluarga santai-santai aja liburan, ngerayain gue dapet SMP favorit di Bento. Nah di tengah-tengah liburan, waktu itu kita lagi di Cirebon, Ibu iseng buka web penerimaan siswa baru SMP di Jakarta. Daaaan ternyata jengjengjengjeng, nilai gue mencukupi untuk bisa masuk 49 lewat gelombang 2!! Bahkan waktu itu kita ngga tau ada jalur masuk yang namanya Gelombang 2. Waktu itu ibu ngeliat gue sambil bilang, 'gapapa ya mbak, smp 3 juga bagus kok. Ga kalah sama 49'. Waktu itu gue biasa-biasa aja, yang penting udah dapet sekolah yang kata orang-orang bagus.

Tapi ternyata... Singkatnya, Bento ngga seperti yang ada di bayangan gue. Gue juga ga tau sih apa yang gue bayangin dulu, tapi yang pasti... Itu bukan apa yang gue temuin di Bento. Mungkin karena faktor gue dari sekolah kecil, ditengah2 perumahan yang kenal semua anak di angkatan gue dan ngga begitu banyak drama-drama awal masa remaja. Yang ada cuma cerita-cerita persahabatan klasik masa sd yang masih bertahan sampe sekarang.

Itukan kenapa pas waktunya adek masuk SMP, gue ga ngebolehin dia daftar Bento. 'Daftar 49 aja ngelanjutin mimpi mbak Ninis'. Gue juga bilang, kalo pun 49 ga masuk, daftar Bangor aja. Ibu dulu jatuh cinta sama Bangor. Dibandingin Bento gitu ya yang gersangnya kayak padang pasir, Bangor hijaunya ibarat hutan hujan tropis wkwkwk. Adek dulu kayaknya lebih condong ke Bangor. Terusss, karena udah pengalaman di tahun gue, ibu bikin strategi supaya adek bisa masuk di 49 lewat gelombang 2, karena gelombang 1nya dia mental sama kayak gue dulu. Kita dapet kuota 5% karena dari luar kota. Ibu daftarin adek di 49 juga supaya adek ada pilihan mau sekolah di Jakarta atau di Depok. Gue terus bilang ke adek, 49 aja. SMP terbaik di Jakarta Timur.

Masuklah adek di dua sekolah itu. Pas waktunya daftar ulang... Berkas dimasukkinnya ke Bangor. Sampe hari terakhir daftar ulang pun, berkas adek masih di Bangor. Lalu sampailah kita di detik-detik penutupan pendaftaran SMP.... Dimana adek berubah pikiran. Dia mau ke 49. Kalang kabutlah orang tua gue. Ibu sama adek pergi ke 49 buat 'jagain' bangku. Gue, Bapak sama dek Angga ke Bangor buat cabut berkas. Gue inget banget ibu guru yang bantu kita ambil berkas, ngomong berkali-kali kalo banyak yang mau masuk Bangor tapi ga lolos, eeh adek malah enak banget cabut berkas. Yah mau gimana lagi bu, bukan jodoh kali wkwkwk.

Cerita beralih ke gue, yang waktu kelas 7 denger cerita dari temen yang kakaknya ikut AFS ke Jepang. Gue yang ceritanya lagi butuh sesuatu buat going through my middle school year, mulailah cari-cari info tentang AFS. Ngobrol-ngobrol sama returnee dan anak-anak AFS yang lagi dalam masa program, temenan sama mereka di FB. Pokoknya pol-polan lah. Itulah mimpi yang bikin semangat gue terus nyala dan terbang melayang-layang di angkasa wkwkwk. Itu bikin gue set goal: SMA gue harus di Jakarta. Waktu itu yang ada di kepala gue: SMA Jakarta=SMA bagus, keren, bergengsi, punya kegiatan banyak yang bikin gue aktif dan bikin gue dapet AFS. Waktu itu target utama gue SMA 28.

Gue ikut semua jalur tes yang 28 punya, tes kelas internasional sama kelas reguler. Niatnya ikut tes kelas internasional cuma buat pemanasan menghadapi tes-tes di depan. Yah, seperti yang diprediksi, gue gak lulus tes internasional wkwkwk. Gue juga dulu minta surat pengantar buat ikut tes Smada Depok. Kenapa Smada? Soalnya kata orang-orang, Smansa tuh susah banget. Gue takut, kalo gue ga masuk Jakarta tapi ga punya cadangan Depok gimana? Lalu datanglah satu waktu dimana ibu nasehatin gue, buat berani berjuang untuk yang terbaik. Smansa sekolah terbaik se-Depok, berjuang buat itu. Masalah keterima atau enggak, itu belakangan. Dulu rayuannya, liat anak-anak AFS di sekolah itu. Smansa yang alumni AFSnya bejibun sementara Smada ga ada sama sekali. Smada pun berganti Smansa.

Sementara masa-masa perjuangan mendapatkan SMA masih dalam proses, ada kejadian dimana SMA 28 bukan lagi tujuan utama. Gue waktu itu harus nganterin berkas ke 28. Sendirian naik angkot. Ga nyampe 20 menit gue di 28, terus balik lagi pulang. Tapi pas di Angkot jalan pulang, gue ngerasa... Gue ga mau kayak gini. Tiap hari di tengah-tengah macetnya Jakarta, di angkot yang penuh. Gue ga mau menghabiskan 3 tahun masa SMA dengan jadi tua di jalan. Terus waktu itu Ibu juga bujuk gue buat pertimbangin antara smansa sama 28. Gue disuruh bikin daftar perbandingan dua sekolah itu di kertas. Liat ke belakang, ke pengalaman itu, gue tau kenapa ibu bilang gitu. Mungkin karena kesempatan gue buat ke 28 itu sangat sangat tipis, dan ibu tau itu.

Yang gue tau, pas tes kelas reguler 28, gue udah yakin gue mau Smansa Depok. Gue mau sekolah disitu, jadi aktif disitu, dan meraih mimpi AFS gue disitu pula. Gue gak lolos kelas reguler 28, tapi itu ga buat gue kecewa. Gue tau kemana tujuan gue saat itu.