For the past three weeks I have been staying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a short course program. I was totally clueless about this program, honestly. The only thing I wanted was to make the most of my uni break days, instead of just staying home or going to malls. Which is not beneficial for my life at all. And I'm not the person who would, you know, let time passes me by.
I thought it was going to be a long-ass program. I thought I wasn't gonna survive. I remember my first days. I called a friend, saying, I think I can't do this, not for three weeks. I don't know what it was exactly. Maybe the people. Maybe the environment. Maybe I miss my family. My friends. My home.
Until I got to know each one of them; people who also joined this program. My fellow friends from Indonesia. We come from different field of study. Most of us hadn't known each other before we joined this summer program. But we got closer. From laughing at each other. To telling stories. To sharing perspectives. To opening our minds. I can still rewind one or two conversations we had. The kind of conversation with people you have known for a long time.
And also my friends in Malaysia. Who for the past three weeks, had been so...how should I put this into words? My dad was very skeptical about the Malaysian, he said it himself. And I understand his thinking, because I know how Indonesia-Malaysia relationship for the past decades. Most Indonesian would think the same. I know, I understand. It's just a way of thinking. Also I'm glad that I'm not one of those narrow-minded people. When we arrived at the airport, I remember some of our malaysian "buddies" picked us from the airport. I was very surprised by how friendly they all are, not that I had expected less of them, but they were all incredibly nice. They initiated the conversation, helped me carry my things. These small things. Unnecessary, but essential. At the very moment I just knew my dad was wrong. I knew they're good people. I knew that they had put a lot of thoughts on us and that all the nice things they did, are coming from their heart.
What we do in summer school (in this case from what I experienced) is basically studying in class with different lecturers (some of them were lecturers from other countries) and lessons every day, then travel around the city when we have the chance. I studied at the faculty of arts and social sciences at the University of Malaya. And I'm lucky enough that I can relate the lessons so much to what I've been learning in my uni back in Indonesia. There were so many topics and discussions that I just had never had before. It was very eye-opening. To know how other people's thoughts on certain problems. How they consider every aspect of the problem according people's different social backgrounds and beliefs. How the decisions were made. How we shouldn't be selfish about others. But those aren't the only things I get during my weeks being apart from my hometown. I learn so much more than just lessons from classes.
I learned about the diversity of people. I learned that each one of us is different and we should embrace our differences. How some of them are brave enough to speak up their minds, to ask questions, to initiate conversations. I learned to be exactly like that. To have passion. To be passionate in what I'm doing. To be honest, in class, I wasn't that one person who always have some shit to ask. I only care about good grades. The lesson, not so much. It was me, long time ago, though. I wasn't so much of that person anymore. Quoting from my favorite writer of all time, Palahniuk, he said "Why do we do what we do?" Why do we think what we think? I don't think it matters anymore. When you study X, you don't only get x, but also y, and maybe z or maybe you don't even get the x at all. You will learn more than what you study. Meeting people with different way of thinking makes me feel like I've been living under a rock for a long time. I had no idea a person could think the way they think.
I learned about process. You can't just meet someone and love them. You can't just go to a place and get used to it in a millisecond. I learned that to be able to love something, I have to get to know it first. Because what you don't understand, you can make mean anything.
This morning, I wake up with totally different routine. The past weeks I got up early, took a bath, rushed my way to the bus stop to catch the earliest bus, got breakfast at uni and recorded videos in between. If you ask me why I recorded videos so much (and yes, so MUCH) it's because words themselves are not able to describe the moments I have experienced. The talks. The foods. When we were lost trying to find a restaurant. First time we figure out how to take LRT or monorail. The perfect sunny side up. Roti canai. Teh tarik. Sunset in Malacca. Chocolate moist cake. The goosebumps on each presentation. The sleepless nights before. All of these things we experienced together.
If you're smiling now, you know what I'm saying.
I learned about sincerity. And friendship. And I was able to learn it because I saw it. I saw people with good heart. And it's the only thing matters to me. It's not your country, not your social status, not even your religion that I see. I've only known these people three weeks. And unlike 3 weeks ago, this morning I said to myself, three weeks is such a short period of time. It was so hard for me to wave goodbye to my Malaysian friends, Bella, Raian, Yung, Talib, and Syiqin, Claire and Mimiey who unfortunately couldn't come to the airport. And even to my Indonesian friends, we're possibly gonna meet around the campus at some point but it's not like we're gonna hangout the way we used to anymore. But maybe because it was short that it is so meaningful. We have grown very close. It was such a pleasure for me to have known you guys whom I spent my past month with.
I found my home
in each and everyone
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