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 Besides, there were some jobs that had been offered to me, but the offers were withdrawn after I said I had to go to Australia for a month next year.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