What will you expect to be learning in life within 11 weeks?
Flying back to Jakarta a week ago from NL after 11 weeks away left me to feel two contrary emotions: glad and sad. Glad because I was imagining my big family, particularly nieces and nephews, hugging and welcoming me back; mum encouraging me with her loving and motivating words almost every day (through phone); friends who really cheer me up; and officemates who spend much time working together with me. On the other hand, sad because I had to say goodbye to friends who cared for, encouraged, and gave me so much joy and laugh; also my room which invisibly recorded all my activities doing unimportant things such as laughing in front of facebook till getting distressful because of heap reading materials! All these were flashing over my mind within 16 hours before the wheels of the plane touched the ground of Jakarta. “This journey is great but too short”, I whispered.
To be honest, this journey started with only one aim: being away from routine activities, particularly work. There was too much pressure in my head for 11 months before departing, making me physically and mentally weak. I thanked God that within 11 weeks I felt so much joy and love of God through people around me, through fellowships in which I was reminded about many things, through environment I could enjoy, through places I visited providing me so much experience, and through reading materials enabling me to switch off my mind from things unpleasing (even though sometime made me more distressful!). All these blessings strengthened me a lot.
Now, what did I learn in 11 weeks? Please don’t ask me about the course (land administration systems), even though this course gave me so much knowledge (people might say)..:). I hope will write about that in other posts. Allow me, this time, to share with you some precious points I learned (and still learning) and valued the most:
1. There were always helpful people around me. How grateful I was when I needed something, someone/some people unexpectedly offered help. This happened many times during 11 weeks of time, including when friends offered me and a friend of mine help on the first day we arrived and got no idea about the new place, when strangers gave information for me and some friends who lost direction in a train station (the announcement in Dutch), when a friend rang me in a morning when I wrongly read the schedule and was almost late going to uni, when a friend offered me help to understand out of head course materials, when friends helped me drag my luggage to the train station on the day I was leaving, and many more grateful moments. Lesson learned: how grateful other people must be when I do the same thing to them.
2. Too busy with my own interests and activities many times pulled me from other beautiful experiences. My apologise to say that the uni in which I was studying put the students into too big room for their own academic study, and less room for giving attention on other people’s interests, even God’s interests. Lot of assignments and work demanded lot of students’ time, so that less time left exploring and experiencing other beautiful moments, even exploring Holland itself. I hope this feeling and thought are only mine..:) As a short course student, I easily took myself out of this trap and started experiencing other precious moments. Lesson learned: I need to make lists of values I want to experience and explore from a place, then start doing as planned.
3. Being part of a community is very helpful. In a new place, in which I spent 11 weeks, being involved in a community provided me lot of help and comfort, as I was far from families who were always there for me. Church community was the first place I went, as I was sure I would feel so much comfort in it. Realising that, I went to church and being part of them, also other communities in which I could cherish and make friends. We can find communities in which we feel belonged to and convenient, to be encouraged, and to encourage. However, in many cases, to find these communities needs first effort from us, it might need us to get out of our comfort zone because we should not expect other people to draw near to us, but instead, we ourselves should be the ones who go near to them first. Lesson learned: find new communities in new places, and be the one who is proactive rather than reactive.
4. There were always cases of disappointment or displeasing moments/things. I thanked God that He gave me opportunity to experience those which finally made my life colorful if not tasty!:P Living with other people with different background, interest, and concern, might make us face things unpleasant. That’s normal! If things are always going well, life won’t be that beautiful, and we won’t learn to be more mature in matters of behavior and character. However, focusing my mind on this disappointment will not open a room for me to gain more. Lesson learned: be constructive in managing conflict with other people, and be the one who is the first showing love to them. This is hard, but doable…:P
I realise that many more valuable points I got from that short journey. I might add these points later. But for this time, hope these I experienced and learned (and will always learn) give you some ideas in how to gain more in the place where you are living at the moment.