25 August 2011

I´m Connecting the Dots.

I am home.

Which road to go now? Oh, this is home already.

Nothing could beat the feeling of hugging mom deeply after nine months being away from her. Tears and joys collide into one another. I am happy, yes, but apparently it is not as easy as I thought before. Seriously it is not.

Before I decided to come back to Indonesia, some considerations appeared in my mind. Staying abroad, in my case was Lima, was definetely one of my best experience in life, ever. It was not only about being free because I lived by myself and made my own decision with no one involved on it. Heck no, it was way beyond that -post high school´s euphoria- reason. These reasons was the explanations why it was not easy to convinced myself : ¨Yes, now it´s time to go back to Indonesia!¨

Nine months living and learning  a lot while I was staying around South America, I had found the real me, the real part of me in which I was never aware that had been living inside of me.

I never admitted myself as a selfish and spoiled person. Back at that moments before I departed to Lima (November 2010), I identified myself as a super independent young woman. I had faith in me and my future, and I could say now actually that faith was such missing in a hole. The way I looked at others was very judgementals. I see diversities as something that I have to hide myself from, even though I supported multiculturalism. When I believe that something is right and the other is wrong, so I would tell to myself that I was right and people with the opposite´s perspectives were wrong.

I was very narrow minded, judged book by it´s cover, and… idiot.

Before I took the flight to Lima, I spent 8 days in Berlin to attend international conference organized by Institute of Cultural and Diplomacy (ICD). There, I met-talked-shared perspectives with young scholars from around the world, mostly from Europe. I talked with high confidence back at that moments about how proud I was as a young Indonesian who flew to several countries to get involved in various international conferences and presented my thoughts through the papers. I never realized that actually by having such opportunities, I have had bigger windows to contribute more for my country, more than just flew from one to another countries and enriched my personal curriculum vitae.

What´s more pathetic as a young academician when all you have done was not more than just travelled for your own sake? 

Still at Berlin´s conference, when one graduate student from Latvia named Ivanna asked me one simple question, ¨So how much do you think you could help your people by coming to this conference,¨ I felt literally slapped right on my face.

Yes, what have I done for my country? This question had been popped up in my mind every single time I think back about Berlin.

Before I left this city, I walked alone passing through Reichstag, visited Kennedy Museum which located right across the very well known Hotel Adlon. 

There, I looked at one big picture of JFK, hanged on white painted wall inside one big empty room. I stood there for about 10 minutes, aggressively talked to my self: ¨This is the guy who had brushed his name in world´s history by made his own choice to ruled his people, served his country. Now Germans acknowledged him as one of this country´s long best friend and honoured him through this museum, dedicated only for him, John F Kennedy, American. What would you for your country? What would you do for the world

I left Berlin-German still with that question kept on my mind, until now.
In my first few weeks in Lima, I met this traveller in Starbucks Miraflores, the most touristic area in town. I sat there with my book about freedom of expression and ordered my first Americano coffee which in the end would be four in total.

10 minutes reading, somebody sat on a couch beside me. After rest for a while and putted book to his lap, this guy asked me very simple question, ¨Where do you come from?¨

I looked at him, welcomed him with simple answer, ¨Indonesia.¨

Then the conversations poured down easily. After those very basic Q&A about each other´s identities, we crossed to different things to discuss, from borderless world to his photography hobby in which he found his profound love for small and silent town, switched to Greek ancient history (he is very knowledgable on this issue I must confess), until we concluded that we had to talk and meet more during his short visit in Lima. 

Well, we never made it again after that day, but one thing I always remember about him was one statement he told me during our talk, when I told him how much I felt homesick and missed my mom the most, he sipped his coffee and starred to my eyes, ¨Afie, if you never walk out from home, then you will never know. Explore, learn, and explore more. You are such a very young woman!¨

Before I continue my story, I would like to say thanks for my friend, Zkot Pen. Thank you so much for that conversations we had in Starbucks. You taught me a lot through your stories! This is his website where we could trace his journeys through the lens! 

Yes, I agree that through people you met while you´re hitting the road, you could possible renew the way you look at this life. People comes from different surroundings, embraced various things in their life, and of course carry their own stories with them. I love to meet new people and listen to their stories. That´s the way I could look back on my own and measure the good and the bad parts. Not to compare mine with others, but just think whether I have drove it into the right paths or.. the wrong ones.

I had such fabulous opportunity to join social work in Port au Prince, Haiti, from December 2010 until January 2011. I never imagined myself, ME, came into this city where used to be named as ¨The poorest part of western hemisphere¨ by the media. There, I realized that I was such a bitch who always complain about my life, my achievements, material things, all of  those things which actually will never affect me as a person. 

Thousand tents built around the town with people dying to earn money after the 2010 massive earthquake destroyed all they´ve got from house to jobs. But back then, I saw that Haitians still believe in the future, even though what they could eat everyday are depend on other people help, the developmental aids, et cetera. 

Haitians live their life to the fullest. They looked very sad, yes devastated by the fact that they lost almost all the things they have had in life. But they still believe that tomorrow will comes with the new stories to tell. 

With kids at the orphanage in Port au Prince. They were all lovely!

They keep on saying, ¨Bonjour¨ to every people they meet in the morning, showing that they are okay. Their smile were priceless. 

One bright sunday morning in Port au Prince, I decided to accept our fellow haitians invitation to go with them to the church. I was born and raised as a muslim, so I was really curious to see how Haitians praised their Lord. 

What I saw in there was breathtakingly beautiful. They wore the most beautiful clothes they had, put their smile on their face, and listen to the priest´s words seriously. They still believe in the power of God, they admired their Creator and they feel blessed by what they´ve still got with them at that moment. They sang the songs together and made my sunday morning as one of the most unforgettable ones. I love the colour of diversities. I love Haiti.

There are too many things I have learned while I was away from home. I learned how to appreciate other people´s feelings. I learned how to accept the conception of several things I was never agree with before. I learned the meaning of relationship. I learned how to control my emotions. I learned that knowledge is nothing without fundamental understanding. I learned the price of living independently. I learned to look at other people´s life and believe that nothing would be the same among humans.

I learned how to appreciate myself.

If I could turn back time and the time machine let me choose whether to change what have happened into what I wanted it to be or stay at the same point I am now, I would choose the second one. 

I think it is unfair if I tell that I want everything to be what I want it to be. That is totally bullshit. Mistakes, obstacles, tears, hard times, difficulties are all made not for nothing. We should be thankful because by facing those things, we would become a stronger person in the future and looking back at that memories with huge smiles on our face.

Just like Steve Jobs said, ¨You can´t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust, that the dots will somehow connect in your future.¨

I love who I am, I love what happened in my life, I love it.
But loving my life also means trying hard to fix the holes and be better.
Learn from people, mistakes, stories, everything I could find in this universe.

Because I believe, if I never walk out from home, I will never know.

Now once I got back home after 9 months learned from the road, I hope I know where to go and how to face it all. 

Love, this time from Jakarta,

Ayunda Afifa


Janty Jie said...

you should check this website out:

one of my fav :)

explore your life and keep on learning

Keep the faith, whatever it is =)

Ayunda Afifa said...

Thanks Kak Janty! I will, of course! :)