Honestly, I didn’t believe what Bang Az said to me right after I got the result: “Congratulation, Naya! This is a good opportunity. Your life will change”.
It was in 2017 when I had just quit my job and my side project that I wanted to present in Australia did not work out as I had hoped. Besides, there were some jobs that had been offered to me, but the offers were withdrawn after I said I had to go to Australia for a month next year. They couldn’t wait. Everything seemed so hard and I was at the lowest point of life. There was time when I was about to give upon joining the homestay program and I was asking myself “Is this homestay program necessary? I have lost many great opportunities to just join it”.
I spent hours rethinking what exactly are the benefits of this homestay program for me in the future.
The goal of this program is actually to see how Australians live each day, to experience cultural differences, and to observe things that would normally be taboo in Indonesia. Then I realised that it was the perfect time for me to live as the real me, to experience true freedom to live a life with fewer limits, and to find answers for many unanswered questions in my mind. My brain often goes crazy and has too many running thoughts.
My host family, Richard and Anne, is a perfect family that you could ever dream of. Richard is very logical and a caring father, while Anne is so warm, smart, yet a strong and independent woman. They are really a perfect combination. They live in a suburban area called Castle Hill. It is located in the north-western area of Sydney, approximately one hour from the city. I always tried to be at home before the dinner time, because dinner is a special moment in this family. In Sydney, in Richard’s family, I found the importance of eating together as a family. At the beginning of the dinner, Richard and Anne usually asked how was our day going. Sometimes I had to wait for a perfect moment to finally ask the questions I had in mind. Yes, dinner is the best time for me to ask everything I couldn’t ask in my whole life!
My curiosity about things and my protests against the things that I disagree with sometimes don’t match the culture in my neighborhood. Since I was a young girl, if I ask about things that areuncommon, people in my surroundings will probably tell me that it is wrong to ask such question and I may not ask those questions again.They sometimes give the wrong answers just to placate me, or give me the answers that they think are right, but not the answers that I need to know.
“Why has this happened?”; “What do you think about LGBT people?”; “Why do I have to do this?”; “It is wrong, isn’t it?”; “I don’t want to do this!”. No one has ever heard my questions and protests.
I feel fooled because of their anxiety. There was no room for discussion. I grew up thinking that this was the best way to live life. I know I was totally wrong.
From that round table in Richard’s house, I asked so many things to Richard and Anne about everything; travel, arts, food, politics, LGBTQI, sex, family, religion and even death. I could ask my biggest question:
“Does God really exist?”
It was my second week staying in Richard’s house. I told Richard that I need the perfect time to ask that question. I thought it’s time. Richard’s response was surprising, “You didn’t have to wait that long to ask”.
Richard and Anne might not have the reasons to prove whether God exists or not and I didn’t expect an answer as well, but I expected a long and passionate discussion about God and religions. I expected different point of view.
Yep, no hard feelings is the key. They never take everything personally. Richard and Anne never get angry because of my questions, even the personal ones. If I asked, they answered. They can even professionally answer questions given by their small grandchildren with very simple and easy-to-understand words. That’s how they respect, treat, and educate their children. I know, I learn about parenting too through this family.
There are a lot of things I learnt during the Homestay Program and it seems impossible to share them in just two pages. Now I am back in my country with a glass full of water. It doesn’t mean my brain stop questioning about things, but at least now I have somebody to ask and to discuss with. I am beyond happy for having Richard and Anne as my other parents (I am so lucky to have many parents!).
Right after the Homestay Program ended, I realised why everything seemed so hard at the beginning. It is because good things take time and finally every effort counts. I changed into the real me; I have new perspectives on life and the most important thing is that I feel free.Richard’s round table changed my life, my life changed. I finally appreciated myself for passing and joining this Homestay Program. Thank you, Bang Az, you were right! :)
Fatin Dinni Inayah
Peserta GMB Youth Leadership Homestay Program – Australia 2018
Hai, saya Yessica, salah satu homestayer Jepang. Saya akan sedikit bercerita pengalaman saya selama sebulan menjalani kehidupan di Jepang. Saya berkesempatan untuk magang di Miyako Ecology Center yang berada di bawah naungan Kyoto Environmental Activities Association (KEAA). Miyako Ecology Center sendiri sebuah learning center facility yang memiliki visi untuk meningkatkan partisipasi publik dalam peningkatan awareness masyarakat Kyoto. Selain itu, saya juga tinggal bersama orang tua angkat (host family) asli orang Jepang beserta 2 kucing mereka yang sangat menggemaskan :)
Sejujurnya sulit merangkum 30 hari dalam 1 cerita, namun saya ingin membagikan sepenggal pengalaman yang paling berkesan selama saya di sana. Semoga cerita ini bermanfaat untuk kita semua :)
Akhir pekan Otosan (ayah angkat) mengajak saya untuk melihat Hina Ningyo, ialah sebuah boneka tradisional dari Jepang. Kata Otosan harganya sangat mahal, 1 paket Hina Ningyo bisa seharga 1 mobil. Festival ini merupakan hari di mana para orang tua mendoakan kebahagian dan kesehatan bagi putri mereka, kemudian dilanjutkan makan bersama. Mungkin kita bertanya, kenapa ya hal seperti itu harus dirayakan, doa kan bisa kapan saja dan dimana saja, tidak perlu dijadikan festival segala. Tapi, di situlah poinnya, "kebersamaan dalam menjalin hubungan" dengan orang lain. Terutama dengan keluarga adalah hal yang sangat penting, karena keluarga adalah tempat pertama dan terkahir di kala kita sedang dalam senang maupun sedih. Festival ini sebagai bentuk peringatan kepada anggota keluarga untuk saling mendoakan.
Tidak hanya dengan keluarga, menjaga hubungan di tempat kerja juga sangat saya rasakan selama disini, bagaimana mereka respect terhadap orang lain, terutama orang yang lebih tua dan bagaimana mereka menjaga privasi masing-masing orang. Saya juga berpikir awalnya orang-orang Jepang sangat serius dan sulit diajak bergaul. Tetapi ternyata saya salah besar, mereka sangat menyenangkan untuk diajak bersenang-senang, mereka selalu tahu tempat kapan waktu bekerja dan kapan waktu untuk bersenang-senang, semua harus seimbang. Di luar jam kerja, saya banyak menghabiskan waktu bersenang-senang bersama teman-teman di kantor magang mulai dari makan bersama, mendengar lelucon mereka, dan bersepeda bersama. Saya belajar jangan pernah menilai seseorang sebelum kita benar-benar mengenalnya. Dan yang paling penting saya juga belajar ini dari mereka; work harder, play harder.
Selain kebersamaan, salah satu sifat masyarakat Jepang yang kukagumi adalah 'disiplin terhadap waktu'. Hampir setiap hari, setiap pagi Otosan pasti selalu mengingatkan saya bahwa 15 menit lagi saya harus berangkat dari rumah ke kantor magang. Rute menuju kantor magang saya memang agak jauh karena saya harus naik bis dan kereta, saya harus berangkat pukul 07.15 . Namun, itulah yang berkesan untuk saya, waktu itu begitu penting, kita harus bisa mengestimasi waktu kapan saja. Jika janjian jam segini, ya jangan ngaret. Alasannya sederhana karena mereka respect terhadap orang yang sudah membuat janji karena orang kita temui sudah meluangkan waktunya untuk kita, mungkin orang itu punya pekerjaan lain tapi demi kita dia rela untuk meluangkan waktunya. Dan alasan lain karena selalu berpikir bahwa "kita yang membutuhkan" mereka, bukan merasa "superior seolah-olah kita orang penting yang ingin ditemui". Kebiasaan ini bukan hanya dilakukan antara bos dengan bawahan, rekan bisnis, maupun presiden dengan menteri, tapi dilakukan antara teman ke teman, sahabat ke sahabat, anak ke orangtua, dsb. Kuberharap kita semua juga bisa melakukan ini. Yuk, sama-sama belajar. Be respectful! :)
Note: memang tidak semua orang yang menganut paham work harder, play harder di sana. Namun, setidaknya saya tahu bahwa di sana mereka selalu mengatur waktu mereka dengan sangat baik.
Sebulan merupakan waktu yang singkat jika kita tidak bisa memaknai setiap detik yang kita jalani. Namun, sebulan akan menjadi waktu yang panjang bila kita bisa memaknai dan menerapkan nilai-nilai berharga itu dalam kehidupan kita.
Yessica Maria SImanungkalit
Peserta GMB Youth Leadership Homestay Program – Japan 2018
Japan absolutely has different kind of people and it changed me personally especially from the very simple things like how to say ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ to people although sometimes with no reasons at all. Sense of appreciation and doing small things to respect and to thanks to, won’t be found easily in my home country.
Staying with Japanese family for 4 weeks have taught me many new things such as life values and different perspective of life through a meaningful journey. I love to meet new people and widen my networking, but this program offered me more than I expected! For instance, I visited some of my dream places in Kyoto that I only saw on YouTube before. It was incredible and unforgettable!
In Japan, I also tried something I was afraid of, not to care about what people think about me, so that I could totally express myself as who am I. I really appreciated all people in Japan who tried very hard to talk with English with me to keep the conversations up, even though I knew, it was tiring for them.
Moreover, I got impressed with all sophisticated technologies, clean environment with good waste management, and how Japanese telling a stories.
Visiting some tourism destinations in Japan taught me well about something attracted many people want to come and explore Kyoto, Uniqueness. Yes, the way Japanese telling a stories of “old city where rich of history” in a smart way make people curious so bad. Including me, along the way in Kyoto, I could see that some temples might looks the same but enrich with totally different stories and purposes.
There are very simple things I have observed and good to be implemented to myself. First, we have to be proud with our culture and we have to make people curious about it. How is it to make them want to know more about it? Explain them in a smart and interesting way, just like Japanese do. Culture is always interesting to be told to tourists, so it is very important to save them.
Visiting the holiest and oldest temple in Kyoto Sarutahiko jinja (Ise-jinja) was very memorable, seeing the God bridges and wishing a life full of happiness completed my journey. Makudo-san (Matsui-sensei's wife) taught me about how to purify ouselves in Naiku River Shogu, eat Soba in Okahe-Yokotyo Restaurant Street, get some courage energy from three stones in Geku(Mitsu-ishi) and visit Futamiokitama-jinja where many couples were coming to wish their relationships will last forever.
I got so many new insight and became so close to culture beliefs of Kyoto people. I also learnt about the importance of respecting others religion/beliefs even more here.
Makudo-san has a religion (I didn't exactly understand what kind of religion) but Matsui sensei does not have a religion. They are married and have been together for more than 17 years. They didn't worry about different religions they believe. Unbelievable that Matsui sensei usually goes to the temples to accompany his wife. What a sweet couple!
It was a very worth weekend to spend with this family. The value of togetherness and quality time with both friends and family.
I miss people I met in Japan, more than the places. I still remember when I started to pack my luggage, it was very hard to leave these great people; my host family who always take care of me as their daughter and new friends at internship place who treat me and offered me once in a lifetime experiences. Time flies so fast, I found my feet here in Japan. Many valuable experiences/moments I can not explain by words.
I will agree to say that I will never be complete like at home again, because part of my heart will always be elsewhere in Japan. Yes Japan is part of my young journey which shaping me as a new person when I am heading back home again. That is the price I pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. Japan is not only a country where Sakura awaited the most to bloom and cherish but also its friendships will last forever in diversity. The worst kind of sadness is not being able to explain why it hurts so deep. How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good bye so hard.
Many thanks to Kiku-san and Dede-san especially for making this great opportunities happened in my very young age which widen my networking and experiences.
GMB Japan and GMB Indonesia, my beloved team of Japan Homestayers, donors and all the people behind this program, I would like to send my high gratitude for your countless support.
This journey makes me deeply understand myself even more.
Thank you Gerakan Mari Berbagi!
Peserta GMB Japan Youth Leadership Homestay Program – Japan 2018
“Not crying because of sadness, but because of tears of happiness.”
Morning in Jakarta a little overcast, lately almost every day rainy. Yes, like myself, I cried this morning. But not crying because of sadness, but because of tears of happiness. I never expected to get this feeling. This message I got from Shiga sensei (my mother in Japan) when I did my internship and homestay program in Kyoto, Japan. A feeling that strengthens me to say on the path of my dreams. How others who even us are not in the same blood, motivate me very well. Accepting me with cultural differences.Allowing foreigners to enter their lives. Shiga sensei teach me that all of us have mistakes and failures in our life. Mistake is not only about bad things. Because of mistakes and correctness can makes us growing in those way.
She was a teacher of elementary school, one of private school in Kyoto. From her I could see how teacher in Japan did their activities everyday. How they are very passionate in their way becoming a teacher. What impressed me was she arranged my Indonesian class in her class. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that because we didn’t have a good time to do that, so I can’t go. But, the last night of my homestay in her house. We did some conversation about teaching. She decided to take a dream about being Japanese teacher for another country especially in Indonesia and she gave me motivation to do the best in Indonesia, so someday I could come back to her house and arrange Indonesian class in her class. Not to forget, we will also go sightseeing to pay back the time that we don’t have before, because of the short time that we had together. I gave my pop up book to her about Indonesia, my handmade hand-doll, and blangkon. I was worried about staying at her house because of our cultural differences and a little time of meeting only at dinner time after she get back from her school. I know very well, she did the best to make me comfortable. Even she only had a short time, she really showed me that she did the best. Because of her, I learnt that direct communication is the best way to understand each other because of different culture that we have. Yes, I did mistakes not only once but more. I made her worried and sad. I was trying to understand but it was failed. Good communication can save you. I still remember, when she drove me to the bus station, we did conversation again about dreams and life lessons. Her life story sounds like a sakura blossom in the winter. My heart was crying. I really thank Harada-san and team to for having me at their house.
Besides, I also had a good time with Shigemura family, Okasan and Otousan colored my heart also my mind about how important to have dinner together, support each other in the family and also have a good time to do hobbies or some vacation together. What I learnt about education was, education is not only about school, get high education until university or others, but the best important point of education is family. Family is how education takes place and it takes me back to my first goal about doing some experiences in my life, I want to do my best in my age now, educate myself first because I have a family that I want to save. I want to be a great friend for my children and a great part for my family.
I do believe it’s not a sayonara, we can surely keep contact each other. I decided to keep this networking for a long time. Indonesia is my house, my land that I want to do the best. However, now I have a family too in Japan, I love them even we were not born in a same land.
Don’t worry much, make a plan, and do it. I have a rich experience because of this program, maybe it’s not just program but it’s how we create a new family and being wise and a learner. What the most important is we understand who we are, we accept, and be ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a mystery, but today I have a strength and love in my heart. I am ready to do more for myself, my dream, and Indonesia. I love all what happened in my life. God, how lucky I am!
Dyah Ayu Intan Ratnasari
Peserta GMB Japan Youth Leadership Homestay Program – Japan 2018
Di hari-hari libur sekolah belasan tahun lalu, biasanya saya dititipkan di rumah opah (kakek). Biasanya juga Ibu kaka (satu-satunya anak opah yang mahir memasak) akan menghidangkan berbagai makanan untuk semua keponakan dan juga Opah. Sayangnya nggak semua dari kita memiliki subjektifitas yang sama terhadap rasa makanan. Kehebohan pernah terjadi ketika Ibu Kaka memasak bebek, makanan favorit Opah yang paling tidak disukai oleh hampir semua cucuknya. Segala drama diadegankan, mulai dari pura-pura tidur, alasan main ke rumah tetangga, sampai pura-pura pusing dan minta makan bubur ayam, semua adegan itu dilakukan demi menghindari si menu bebek di meja makan.
Di akhir hari liburan tersebut salah satu paman kami berpesan “Kalau ini rumah orang lain, gak apa-apa gak suka makanannya, nggak usah dimakan juga nggak apa-apa. Tapi ini kan rumah opah sendiri, yang masak juga tante kalian sendiri, bukan orang lain. Jadi kalau disediain makanan tetap harus dimakan, dicoba untuk suka. Susah loh itu masaknya.”
Semenjak hari itu, makanan apapun yang disediakan di rumah opah ataupun di rumah sendiri oleh ibu, akan saya coba makan, suka atau enggak jadi urusan mindset bukan lagi lidah.
Sayangnya kali ini persoalan yang saya hadapi bukan bebek tapi daging babi, ditambah lagi kali ini bukan di rumah ataupun rumah opah, tapi di rumah Okasan (Ibu angkat saya selama di Jepang). Daging babi, sesuatu yang sekalipun belum pernah disajikan di rumah.
Tadi malam, Okasan (Ibu angkat saya selama di Jepang) kembali menghidangkan daging babi di meja makan, kali ini dibuat menjadi katsu – tonkatsu. Sebelumnya dibuat sup, dan sebelumnya lagi digoreng seperti ayam. Bagi saya, makan daging babi bukan perkara halal atau haram, tapi memang belum pernah ada kesempatan untuk makan aja.
Kalau bisa saya jelaskan, rasa masakan yang dibuat Okasan hampir semuanya cocok di lidah bahkan lebih enak dari masakan ibu di rumah. Tapi entah kenapa dengan daging babi, lidah saya menolak. Seperti contohnya pada sup yang disajikan di hari kedua saya di sini, supnya enak tapi daging babinya sulit saya telan.
Sebelum keberangkatan, pesan yang selalu diingatkan oleh para alumni program homestay adalah “Kalau memang gak suka makanannya, bilang aja, host fam kita gak akan marah, justru bagus jadi saling mengerti.” Pesan tersebut saya amini, minggu lalu saya mulai jujur kepada Okasan, bahwa saya sulit menelan daging babi, saya bisa makan tapi susah, nggak cocok di lidah saya. Biasanya yang akan dilakukan seorang host family kepada homestayer adalah meniadakan bahan makanan tersebut untuk si homestayer. Begitu menurut cerita yang saya dapat dari para alumni.
Tapi Okasan justru sebaliknya, yang dilakukan beliau bukannya meniadakan daging babi tapi menyajikannya hampir setiap hari dengan model sajian yang berbeda-beda.
Daging babi yang beliau sajikan tadi malam entah kenapa saya suka, rasanya enak, bahkan lebih enak dari chicken katsu favorit saya. Dari sekian banyak percobaan masakan daging babi yang beliau sajikan, saya tersadar betapa beliau mengusahakan masakannya bisa cocok di lidah saya. Okasan mengingatkan rumus makanan rumah yang dipesankan oleh paman saya, Tonkatsu buatan Okasan mengembalikan ingatan saya pada sebuah rumah, tempat di mana ada seorang ibu yang susah payah menyediakan makanan untuk anaknya.
Melalui sepotong katsu babi, Okasan mengembalikan saya pada sebuah rumah yang telah lama hilang dari benak saya, sekarang rumah itu ada, hadir dalam kehidupan saya, lengkap dengan Okasan (Ibu) dan Otosan (Ayah) di dalamnya.
Peserta GMB Youth Leadership Homestay Program – Japan 2018