Story from Arcata

A Name and a Story (Reflection 2)

“When it is dark enough, you can see stars” -Persian proverb-

Something that makes my life so colorful and meaningful here, in the USA is having many wonderful people around me. There’s nothing so happy but sitting on the same table and laughing together regardless of what country we come from, what race or ethnicity we are, and what our religion is. There’s no such those borders and there’s no such limitation. There’s only small laughing, warmth, and togetherness.

Indeed, those are the happiest thing during my temporary life here, and with tears in both of my eyes, I will hug them so tight when the time to say good-bye comes.

Global UGRAD has changed me in a bunch of good ways. This is the first and the most prestigious exchange program that I got. This program is not only “sending” many promising young generations to study and to build mutual understanding between the target countries and the USA, but also manage the people to build self characters, leadership, and most importantly how to be helpful to everyone and to the surroundings. These things are built through community service and internship, and this is what I feel now.

In the last Fall Semester, I did community service as a volunteer for the elderly. That was the first experience I worked with them, unless in my home, I always help my beloved grandma. There are many things I learned from the program. For example, generally the elderly in the USA live alone at their home or at nursing home. This is the sad side of U.S culture I think.

In Indonesia, usually the elderly live together with their son or daughter because we know at such those ages, they can do less, so they need more help and attention. We cannot just put them in a nursing home or leave them alone.

If we recall what they have done for us when we were child, their merit cannot be replied with any kinds of kindness. Therefore, accompanying them and living together with them until they find the last place to rest their head is the only thing that we can do. I can see the sadness through their eyes and the feeling of solitary.

When I and my friends helped them cleaning their houses, or simply sit together with them playing cards, I can see a slightly happiness through their eyes, and at that time, a bunch of happiness came to myself. Seeing they were smiling at their “afternoon ages” was something that cannot be described even with a thousand words.

After that, I feel I am getting love my only grandma, my parents, and also the elderly in my country. With these small hands, I truly want to help them while I come back home. There are still many unfortunate elderly in my country.

They might have breakfast but after that, most of them still do not know what to eat for lunch, dinner, or even for breakfast tomorrow. Ah.. seriously! Today’s world is so pathetic. There are still many people starving while on the other sides of this earth, people are throwing away their food, or merely complaining their lunch was just not good.

In this Spring Semester, I am working with ART (Art, Recreation, and Theater). This is another kind of happiness that I found here working with children and entertaining them. I don’t know, but I always feel so happy and excited when seeing their laughing. This reminds me of my awesome childhood although it was definitely different in terms of place and the entertainment, but the laughing is still the same, right?

For the internship, I am also working with children as a teaching assistant for 3rd grade in a big charter school in Sunny Brae. I love them, and I always cannot wait to see them on every Friday. I planned to work with them until I finish this semester and I wish I could continue it. I must be very missing them when I have to head for Indonesia.

However, I still can do it in my country. Continuing to teaching some unfortunate children in a slum area near my house will heal my feeling of missing them. That’s ok! Children laughing will be the same in every place, and most importantly, what I have learned here in teaching and entertaining them can be applied to the children in my country.

UGRAD

It is knowledge that is so precious for me. I just want to see them laughing and smiling before they realize that this world is so chaotic. Sooner or later, they will see the reality of this world, but when it comes over them, at least they already have a strong feeling and a bunch of happiness to build this world to be a better place to live in. It seems impossible and theoretic, but hey.. there’s nothing impossible if we believe.

*****

Creeckview Apt, Laurel Hall #7321

Arcata, California

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2 thoughts on “A Name and a Story (Reflection 2)

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