The U.S Trip : Young Southeast Asian Leader Initiative (YSEALI)

“There was a really rude thunderstorm up on the sky that illuminates my eyes, causing damage and a huge fight in my heart. At the end, rain and waterfall among the trees would wash away all of my sorrows, would also bring back the glory of the river after a long dry summer” -FK

Well, I got asked by several friends of mine to write about my trip in the United States of America which specifically took place in Hawai’i, California and Washington DC. And I was like “Why not?”. But all I need is time now.

Ok, I was actually so surprised to know that I got accepted by U.S Department of State to join Young Southeast Asia Leader Initiative (YSEALI) since visiting US was one of my bucket list that I wrote 2 months before the program. So it is actually a fully funded program that is run by several institutions under U.S Government. The selection was pretty competitive because we had to beat more than one thousand applicants in one season. I didn’t know exactly why they picked me as one of the cohorts since I know that I’m just nothing compare to the others. All I did was only giving all of my efforts to write an essay, to write a good curriculum vitae, and to speak English fluently. Until there came a day, It was midnight and this unusual sound from my phone just came. It vibrated like a wake-up call, but it wasn’t. “It’s an email!” I said. I don’t know why I’m always excited to get an email because there will always be a mixed feeling. Shortly, the email said that I was accepted. I just couldn’t believe. It was like I had a 5-week hibernation, and all I did back there was just a dream. And…. Yes, the U.S trip began.

Hawai’i

It was the the longest flight that I ever had, more than 17 hours. But it was all paid by the first word that I saw and heard at the airport “Aloha!”. If you guys haven’t known this word before, it is a local Hawaiian language to greet people, like “Hi”. So how can I describe this island? It feels like Bali with its beachy atmosphere, but it is much more organized like any other big city in US. According to Wikipedia “The culture of the Native Hawaiians is about 1500 years old and has its origins in the Polynesians who voyaged to and settled Hawaii. These Native Hawaiians developed culinary, artistic, and religious culture and practices”. This means that the culture here is still strong and very different with the American culture in the main land.

We spent our first three weeks here in Honolulu, staying at a student dorm called Hale Manoa. It is located inside University of Hawaii at Manoa valley where you could see rain and rainbow every single day. Manoa valley is such a comfy place to stay where you could hide yourself from tropical Hawaiian sun and where the breeze blows from the mountain to your hair. Students here are cool as well, cause they could skate everywhere (except in several areas).

So we were actually here to learn about leadership and character building based on environmental issues. As we know that environmental issue is one of the global issues that is really necessary to be solved. This training was run by East-West Center in collaboration with University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of California Berkeley, and several organizations which work in fighting environmental issues. We learned how to deal with the problems, how to brainstorm our self to come up with a solution, and how to manage people and our self. Read, discuss and lead were the only things we did back in the class. We also had an american studies class which let us know more how the education system goes. In my opinion, the education system in US is anchored to literacy and freedom of speech. Wise man said “book is a window of the world”. Thus, literacy has an important value as one of the foundations to build a student character. We could also see the fact that the average American borrowed more library books in 2001 than his or her peers in Germany, Austria, Norway, Ireland, and European countries (Wikipedia). Americans also buy more books than people in Europe. This is what I really love from US education system. Even when you just take a walk around you will find free books being given to the people who want to have it.This whole thing took a huge amount of our energy, but we spent our time exploring the island for the weekend.

Back to the topic, Hawaii with its beautiful tropical scenery just took my breath away. There was one time I hiked this little volcano hill called Diamond Head. You can see the whole part of Wakiki beach, one of the most popular sites in Hawaii which became a trademark. It wasn’t really a difficult hike compare to several places that I had hiked back in Indonesia. So if you get a chance to visit Hawaii, you should probably hike this hill. We also did a short trip along the island of Oahu, from south to north, from beach to mountain. Well, pictures will tell you alot!

Since I was the only Moslem guy participant, I probably had a really different experience. I also had a chance to visit Masjid Manoa where I met a lot of Moslem brothers. Masjid Manoa is the only Masjid you’ll find here in Hawaii. It’s just like a small house with an old architecture design, it doesn’t even look like Masjid, I guess. But, you’ll recognize it when it comes to Friday Prayer, lol. (I don’t know what to write, I’ll tell you more if you ask).

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California

I was probably the lucky ones, because I have explored this country from coast to mountain, from tropical to freezing western temperature, from west coast to east coast, and even from relaxing place to busy place. California was touching one, I visited Oakland, San Fransisco, Berkeley, and Yosemite. Yosemite is heaven, the place where you can contemplate and realize how beautiful your life is. The place where you can appreciate the nature, where you can listen to the trees and wild animals talking, and where you can find solitude. So our mentors taught us “River of Life”. River of life is a method to imagine my self as an individual or social from the beginning of my life to where I wanna be in the future. Not only that, by visiting Yosemite, we could see the clean river here as miniature of our paths, and understood more how life should be.

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Washington DC

Final place was the capital, Washington DC. The end of everything. Visiting places here is one of the great things. But we also gotta present our vision after joining the program, and here are my personal thoughts:

Young people are the key actors in powerful social and environmental movements that transform the course of human history. Sasha Costanza-Chock, Assistant Professor in Harvard University, said that young people can be powerful agents of social change with their anchored idealism, their capability in capitalising social media, and their bright innovative ideas. Many young people have the potential capacity and huge desire to transform the world into a better shape. In fact, youth have been key actors in almost every major social movements in the field of agriculture, environment, social, etc. However, we found it in several chases that innovative young people with strong ideas are not well-organized. So, it is necessary that youth have to go hand in hand and work together to deal with the food security challenges.

There is a connecting line between youth and education system in Indonesia which we actually could utilize. As we know that there are three fundamentals value (Research, Education, and Social Service) of university in Indonesia that have to be implemented, campus is a suitable place, academically, for student and youth to gather. Several ways to fight environmental problems through education system are (1) good management of social service course by university, (2) implementation of student strategic plan and social service by student organization such as Student Government, and (3) independent movement from student to run social service using independent funding. Food security problems could actually be solved by youth in education system through these two last ways that has been written before

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Epilog

Thank you for reading this random writing. For more pictures I put on my instagram account.

Puisi #1

Hingga Kau Menamainya

oleh Fariz Kukuh

Pendarnya tak kutemui di pagi buta
Tak tahu milik siapa
Sedikit saja, lelapkan senja sementara
Jantungku berhenti pada suatu koma
Apakah indah hanyalah bias
Sehingga apa-apa yang tersisa hanyalah resah
Lelah dan bekas
Perih dan merintih

Hingga pada suatu ketika
Kabut berbalut terbalut takut
Semeru sisakan abu berujung akut
Maut dan kemelut
Siap melaut

Girl from Mars

(Ps : Play this song while you read this post)

Never thought before i would end up here, this feeling evaporates, and changes its subtances to unknown, or maybe it’s just my personal confusion. Well, it finally comes to what i worried about before, leaving.

As the season changes, this coffee cup in my hand is getting colder, these boots are getting heavier. I’m shivering. I’m alone. I’m in the middle of nowhere. I lose my shape. I’m feeling unsure, i guess that hues and shades of tomorrow would be just black and white, cold, and vicious.

What is it? A dead body? I wish it was the smell of petrichor instead. You know how i love spending my time playing soccer in the rain, and i know you love watching rain. I wish we were there, seeing each other through the rain. But for now, I’m just a raindrop that you may feel but you won’t even remember. I’m just nobody, nobody belongs nowhere.

You push me to admit that you’re vicious, nope. We are vicious.

One more thing, this song lyric implicitly tells what i feel :

I was listening to the ocean
I saw a face in the sand
But when I picked it up
Then it vanished away from my hands

I was painting a picture
The picture was a painting of you
And for a moment I thought you were here
But then again, it wasn’t true

Well, the question that still lingers in my head is…. “Should i leave?”. Whatever the end would be like, I’ve already felt grateful with all the times we have spent for this. Thank you, my prayers on you.

Asleep, Living Dream

Dear the imaginary one.

I’m on my halfway there right on your side. Well, am i really floating high or gravity gave up on me? The universe knows that our lonely hearts will never find its way to heaven, and will arrive at somewhere we don’t know where yet. I’m just a boy with nothing to show off, just a poor boy. Not really man like Dave Grohl, but too mellow like Adhitia Sofyan.

*i don’t know what i am writting

Euphoria Pendaki Kekinian

SIGIT HARDIYANTO


PENDAKI GUNUNG  Penampilan yang kumuh, gondrong, lusuh, compang camping itu sebagian yang telah ada dalam pandangan orang pada umumnya  (jaman dahulu). Tapi banyak tidak orang ketahui tentang jiwa sosial mereka, kemandirian mereka, rasa peduli terhadap sekitar dan masih banyak lagi. Berbeda saat dulu dengan saat ini, hampir tiga tahun mengamati semakin banyak peminat yang menggemari kegiatan mendaki gunung. Kegiatan mendaki gunung saat ini seakan menjadi gaya hidup tersendiri dengan banyak tujuan dari setiap personal. Menulis jurnal maupun cerita perjalanan, pembuktian sebagai eksistensi dapat sampai dipuncak, mencoba keluar dari zona aman yang menurutnya itu hal yang baru, berburu foto bagi penggemar fotografi, atau sekedar keluar dari rutinitas sehari-hari mengisi liburan, ada juga yang menganggapnya itu adalh sebagian dari perjalanan spiritual. Itulah sedikit banyak dari tujuan peminat kegitan mendaki gunung, memang setiap orang mempunyai hak untuk meminati tapi apakah karena hak untuk menikmati itu sebagian banyak melupakan keterampilan maupun…

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Selamat mengulang tanggal 17 kampung halaman!

Saya masih berada di tanah yang sama seperti dua puluh tahun yang lalu, tanah yang baru benar – benar kusadari akhir – akhir ini saat saya pergi mengantar ibu untuk membeli berbagai macam rempah. Kata guruku saat berada di sekolah dasar, itulah alas an mengapa kita jadi sasaran anjing – anjing beringas eropa selama 350 tahun dan juga sarang perbudakan selama 3,5 tahun oleh kawan sebenua. Secara mitos dan mistis, cerita ini juga digambarkan jelas oleh siaran uji nyali dan para pencari hantu di televisi jaman sekarang.

Tanah ini begitu kaya, sehingga kami bosan dan lebih memilih mencicipi adiksi kemiskinan. Tanah ini begitu indah, sehingga kami bosan dan lebih memilih mengotorinya. Tanah ini begitu  luas, sehingga kami bosan dan lebih memilih kawasan minimalis layaknya perumahan elit jaman sekarang. Pelik, rumpun tetangga lebih hijau katanya.

Oh iya, Saya juga baru ingat, nenek moyangku dulu seorang pelaut, tapi sekarang mungkin sudah kandas ditelan tsunami sehingga tidak ada yang bisa kami petik, atau mungkin laut ini terlalu luas, sehingga kami bosan dan lebih memilih hidup di rumah minimalis kami.

Yang jelas saya harus tetap kukuh, seperti nama saya. Saya harus belajar, supaya luasnya tanah dan laut ini bisa saya jaga, supaya bisa ditanami dan hijau kembali, paling tidak saya bahagia dengan hubungan saya dengan Tuhan.

Selamat mengulang tanggal 17 kampung halaman!

Happy Disappointment

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I always said that i wanted to be an architect until finally i was rejected by a thing that i always dreamed. It’s funny how almost-best-student at buildings designing got rejected by the university to continue his study. It wasn’t because i wasn’t skilled enough to draw lines here and there or to make a precision blue print of buildings. It was because of God, God had already drawn me a blue print of my life which i believe it is much bettter than my plans. So here i am, still being the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. And God, God’s still here in my heart giving me a holy echo to follow.

Indonesia needs me.

And at the end of my time, I just wanna spend my time with those happy faces, share happiness.

Happiness only real when shared” -Christopher McCandless