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Beautiful things (Photos)

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Winter time.

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Snow. Cold. White.

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Beautiful.

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Welcome a new member of our community (who survives for… less than a day)

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Wait. Is this spring already?

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It is just last week.

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Ironically, it was the day “Snow Day” happened

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(House for two years <3)

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Greetings,
Bayu

 

Let there be IB

Who knows from the beginning that IB (or International Baccalaureate) can take your life so much? Perhaps, my first-year observation was too narrow. Or perhaps, being indifferent is just my thing. But it is overwhelming to see the life of second years through the eyes of a second year. University application, standardized test, Internal Assessment, Extended Essay, FOA, WT, you name it, and most of them are stuff from the IB.

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Coming back

Tick-tock. Time flies. My fingers have been numb for a long time. They usually dance on white alphabets of a Lenovo laptop every week or every other week, but for about four months they have been locked from playing with words. Not completely, they are still playing for reporting Urban Nomadizing or doing the “acronyms” – EE, IA, WA, etc. The victims are not only my fingers, but also my brain. My brain has been lost, missing the way to express itself. My brain wants to release the emotions. Letting the ideas fly roaming the air. And now, is the time for coming back.


It has been roughly 2 months since the school began. Even today is already the first host family weekend and Fall Break is coming in a week. But let’s take a step back before the school began because many things were happening, including Urban Nomadizing. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Urban Nomadizing is the name of a project of me going back from Indonesia to Germany without using airplanes. The whole thing can be found later in the blog once I update it (some parts are already there, including pictures).

But for now, let me just focus on one thing, something happening before all of the above: my stay in Indonesia. Perhaps, from the previous post, you can get a sense how it was: hot, humid, friendly, short, yet intense. My summer break was actually from May 28th to August 20th, but since it also consists of my journey and attending a summer university, I only had almost 6 weeks in Indonesia.

In the first week, what I basically do was just balancing between meeting my old friends and organizing the mangrove tree planting project. Before going back to Indonesia, I ran a small donation in UWC RBC for a mangrove tree planting in Indonesia. Muara Gembong, a coastal area just three hours away from my city, is hardly damaged by erosion due to a positive feedback of mangrove deforestation. This also causes many houses to be flooded all year round and even more, a habitat loss for Javanese langur. One possibility to help is simply by planting more mangroves there to give more protection and that’s why I was doing it.

 

After the first week, it was already Ramadhan – a month in Islamic lunar year where Muslims are fasting every day from sunrise to sunset.  One of the nice things in Ramadhan is that people often gather together in the evening to break their fasting together, from families, organizations, to school reunions. This means, we have it all the time. I consider this as an easy opportunity to catch up with old friends in Indonesia rather than meeting one-by-one. It is always fascinating to see how people change when they are growing up.

In between, most of the work I did was a balance of my Extended Essay and the preparation for Urban Nomadizing (tickets & visa). This part of summer break might seem boring, but my stay was actually powerful. I have been constructing my perspective towards things in a rather liberal environment in UWC, without actually encountering the real-life situation in the society, especially the society of my origin. Let’s take my stance towards environmental issues as an example.

Being sustainable in UWC bubble is easy. We don’t need to worry about the meal option and transportation at all, as the environmental-friendly options are available. But the attempt back home is a different story.  In term of food, literally no one in my surrounding is vegetarian and as in other cultures, there is barely vegetarian option available in the market. Luckily, my mom is very supportive towards this, so there is always vegetarian option on our table. The same was with transportation. Sadly, public transportation seemed to be an option only for economically poor people while using motor bike is so much more time and energy efficient, and even can be cheaper than public transportation, due to uncontrolled usage of personal vehicles.

After all, everything comes to an end, including my summer break in Indonesia. I had to take myself back from being comfortable at home and get ready for another home. I wasn’t going right away to anywhere though, but Urban Nomadizing. However, if I think about it, Urban Nomadizing makes road my home as well, so where is my home?

Bayu

Reverse culture shock

According to Wikipedia, “reverse culture shock (a.k.a. “re-entry shock” or “own culture shock”) may take place — returning to one’s home culture after growing accustomed to a new one can produce the same effects as described above” (the original culture shock).

And here, I want to share the reverse culture shock I had to deal with after coming back to Indonesia two weeks ago. It was not such a big shock though, since I was not in Indonesia only for 9 months and I was still in contact with Indonesian people that reflected the culture.

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Just a random picture of my city

However, here I will share the shock that are not only in term of culture but also in the other terms. There are four shocks I will talk about: (literal) culture, time, weather, and food. So, here they are!

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Just a quick announcement

First, for those who don’t read my last blog post till the end and have no contact with me in social media, I have been back to Indonesia since 12 days ago! Whoa, it feels so weird to be back and live my old life again. Although it is so hot here and I got a bit reverse culture shock in the beginning (I’ll just write another post about that), I guess I am doing fine. I met a number of friends, ate some Indonesian food, went to some places, did a project – all good.

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Back to Indonesia!

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Going back

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I was thinking about what excuse I should make for not writing any post for quite a while. But then, I think I don’t have to make any excuse. It just happened. I couldn’t write anything because things were happening so quickly that I couldn’t even take a break. Not only things were happening so quickly, but also mood were swinging so easily. Anger, excitement, sadness, fear, stress, disappointment, love, pride, happiness. All of them slipped into our life and played in our heart alternately in the last weeks.

It started with the stress and anxiety given by the block week that sucked a lot of people’s energy physically and mentally, which might be followed by disappointment. Although block week had finished, the academic life was still challenging as practice IAs and IOCs were haunting us. Then, I was personally burdened by the rush I experienced during (the preparation of) the fundraising for my project “Urban Nomadizing” and my mangrove tree planting project since I had to gather the money before the end of May.

In the midst of the rush, the mandatory outdoor weekend provided me a stress reliever when I was biking down a hill in the Black Forest with 800 m elevation drop only in 15 km and also serenity when I was biking through a straight path in the middle of the pine forest with flowers on the sideway like in the romantic movies. It gave me satisfaction as well because everything was perfectly done, especially by the help of a teacher, Angus, who kindly accompanied us.

After both generations got rid of their academics, the atmosphere was turning into something different. The air was filled with positivity, complemented with the bittersweet smile cherishing the last moments together. Second years show, last party, last house meeting, watching movies together as a community, closing ceremony, appreciation night. Happiness, pride, love, gratitude. Those moments and emotions were so beautiful.

Then came the stage for sadness. Monday morning that is well-known as the worst part of the week got worse when we had to give our last hug and say our goodbye to the second years and even worse when the rain completed that mournful morning. That night, emptiness came along. The student village that used to be filled with students’ madness suddenly turned into a deserted graveyard. Half of the people were gone.

The time where we were independent from the second years arrived: disorientation week. Working in the Klostergarten, university presentation, sustainability planning, etc. Nothing much to say about that actually as it was only a series of activity to prepare the next year. Nevertheless, I am glad that in that period, specifically at last night at school, I was able to close the first chapter of UWC experience in a smooth way by jumping together into the pond, washing our soul to get prepared for summer break.

And here I am. Laying my back to the airplane’s soft seat, optimizing my biggest carbon emission of the year by enjoying the facility and the food while turning the draft of this post into something decent. Now I am going back to Indonesia with a blended feeling. Excitement? Yes, for sure. But somehow my heart is already filled by the longing of the campus and Freiburg environment that have been my second home in the last nine months. It is weird, to leave home for home.

Yeah, I am heading my first home. I am going back.

With love,
Bayu Ahmad

P.S.: As I am publishing this, I am already in my room! Pictures will be added later 🙂

The summer break is on its way

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Spring has sprung @ Heidelberg

Spring has sprung. Flowers are flourishing all over the places. A herd of sheep delightedly enjoys the weather, grazing together with the lambs next to the students’ houses. A ray of sunshine enters the students’ rooms, inviting them to enjoy the warmth outside and to forget the importance of sitting on their desk in the midst of their study. “We cannot go,” they say to the sun. “Please understand me; IB exam is here.”

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For the zero years

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Are you a zero year who wanders around trying to know every single thing in the UWC you are coming to? Are you a zero year who adds a bunch of strangers in Facebook who you think you will be friend with? Are you a zero year who is excited to enjoy all of those UWC experience as promoted in the advertisement? Well, before you get excited like a valence electron in an atom when it absorbs energy (haha chemistry jokes), here are some suggestions you might need from me as an experienced first year (LOL) to calm yourself. Enjoy!

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