Monday, September 7, 2015

Six weeks of ex(change)

*spends 3823423 hours looking for writing music*

I always start a blog post with "phew it's been so long" or whatever statement emphasizing my inability of religiously updating my blog. WELL. I don't know. I feel like the older you get, that excitement of sharing anything to the ~whole world~ gets thinner. Or I'm just lazy. Because I'm barely twenty. Also, I think I grew tired of having one year of, countable essays, yet tiring pages of sentences that revolves on everything except me and my interest and my activities (YAY FOR NO MORE ACADEMIC ENGLISH). I had to fake it so much, I pretended I'm interested in 'rookie problems of starting a business'. I have no interest in starting one, although I'm majoring in one. Hashtag consultant career. Hashtag pretending to have it all together when in fact, not. This hipocracy of me did put me away of writing creatively, and sometimes when I have ideas of posts I just... Sigh and "let it be". Energy be like, slim to none, more to a none.

So. The big deal of college, for me, is the summer break. 3 MONTHS OF NO SCHOOL, YO! I don't hate university, I kept saying to myself it will be beneficial for me. BUT, it gets tiring and... Repetitive. Being a snobbish, self-contained, and ~driven~ young lady that I am, of course I already planned of doing something for summer. I might have say something about being an AIESECer in this web of thoughts (read: fancy name for a blog, or me being used to 'elongate' my sentences to maximise ~word count~), and I joined this program called... GCDP. Global Community Development Programme. Basically, it's a cultural exchange programme, so you will go to a country doing some volunteering projects, and expected to grow a leadership sense, at least for yourself, by making an impact, no matter how small. For five-eight weeks, usually. You can pick ANYWHERE in this world, as long as your destination likes you. Like, I have 100+ options, but each projects have requirements and certain specifications. If you're a business student, you can't apply for a volunteering project about healing certain part of the world of a health disease. If you're an engineering student, you're less likely to get accepted to a project that helps people startup their business. You get me. Out of my gazillions options (seriously, one country can have up to twenty projects, most likely to be more than that. AIESEC is in 120+ countries. Boom, how about that for an organization), Malaysia picked me.

Yes. Malaysia. A country two hours away by plane, from Indonesia, with a history of quarrel over an island, culture, and songs. With similar food, similar language, even similar FACES. Basically, when I tell people "I'm going to Malaysia for my project", they all went... "Are you sure?"

Of course I'm pretty sure, but, I set my expectation to... Almost nothing. I have no idea what I will do, but I believe everything will have an impact in your life. Everything affects each other in a magical way, because you might be a princess. Just kidding. But who knows. Personally, my theory is that my owl got shot on his way and my Hogwarts letter never came. Great Britain and Indonesia is PRETTY far. Maybe an owl's limit is China.

BUT. I also have fears that I'm not pushing my limit, and that I might not bring any impact or develop myself. I mean, it seems so near. My trip to Papua when I'm 10 took longer than this, and even then, I wasn't making any impact or learning about myself other than 'maximise your use of electricity, we might not have one tomorrow'. Maybe I was also too young back then, but also, I know deep inside, I was not myself for settling small. 

Boy oh boy, was I wrong.

The video will show you what I did. But here, I will tell you how I feel.

You know that feeling of being familiar to something, yet it doesn't feel the same? The feeling of being so close, yet so far? That's basically me for six weeks straight. I kept seeing the same kinds of people, eating same kinds of food, having the same sceneries, going to same malls layout, seeing rhw same Sephora and Kate Spade, but it doesn't feel like home. It feels like everything is lying to me. It feels like you're not supposed to have a culture shock, but you did. Everything was similar. Even the (seated) toilets are the same, but the spray bidet is different. I cannot get ANY Indonesian food. Which was funny, because in Indonesia, I never crave one. I never have a soto betawi craving, I have sushi craving. I never wanted to eat rendang so much in my life, I would kill ~people~. I do that to a medium rare, rib eye steak. What's more funny is that you can find soto and rendang in Malaysia... But again, it's different. It doesn't taste like home. AND THE LACK OF VEGETABLES. 

tl;dr of paragraph above = everything seems like a lie and I was doubting my survival. I feel like bathing in kuah soto while munching on emping, if you know what I mean.

That particular feeling shocks me the most because I thought I was... Safe. I thought I didn't have to spare my energy to adapt. Exhibit A of why you shouldn't be a know it all, and that things might be different with what you expect them to be.

On top of that, I have 30+ EPs coming from different countries and mostly all of them are complaining about the same thing. So much negativity. During the first day, it was goal setting day. A week after, I was unsure about my goals, I was unsure if my goal will succeed.

However, my #1 key learning of this experience is that the development that you expect to get, might not exactly be the development you will get. But the point is, development is still development. I travelled to lots of places with a Russian friend, something I will never get if I stayed in Indonesia. I got to learn others' trivial culture that will never ever make it to the books and the encyclopaedias. I didn't learn others' culture, I experienced them. I experienced eating a goat cheese cube that tastes like.... Armpits. Each of them is rewarding.

My believe as an AIESECer is that you should never leave an experience as the same person. I left, and I changed, for the better.

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