Sunday, August 25, 2013

Not Always About The Place

First thing first, I’d like to say that I couldn’t be grateful enough for what Allah has given to me. This is more like a dreams come true to me. This journey was the unexpected one to me. I always wanted to go back to the USA, since the last time I went there, it just gave me a lifetime experience that I couldn’t and wouldn’t forget. My last visit to US left me with so many things to be thankful of.  I met so many kind, friendly, warmhearted people with their warm welcome they gave to me and my family. 

I once heard a beautiful words from my lecture: the best thing of  traveling is not about what place you go, but it’s about how you interact with the people there. Well it would define my journey. I met so many kind people, as I said before. Those people I met are whether they’re my family’s friends, or even we just met, literally. It has been made me think, how great Allah arrange things up. It started at Narita Airport, my mom went to a restroom, and when she came back, she told me that she met Ruth, a warm hearted American who lives in Virginia. They talked about how Ruth loves Indonesia, especially Jakarta (this is a wow to me), and how my mom misses America. Then my mom introduced me to her after we had boarded to the plane. That time, Ruth gave us her number and kindly said “Call me”. My mom was shocked by that, a foreigner who just met us could easily gave us her number. Well that was something to us. (to be continue)

I stayed in Columbia for a week, we were waiting for my father to finish his training. We had already made a plan to visit our friends in Ithaca and Syracuse. So the route was Columbia-New York-Ithaca-Niagara-Syracuse, and other cities. So then we went straight to New York afterwards. New york has a spot in my heart since the last time I went there on 2008. I know that the people there isn’t as friendly as in Columbia yet I still love New York. Who doesn’t love New York? Unfortunately, I only stayed there for 3 days. Well I tried to cheer my self up by thought “Someday you’ll stay here for a long time, hopefully”. I went to NYU, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Ground zero, etc. Too bad I didn’t get a chance to go to Central Park, my favorite place in NYC. So the second day in NY, my dad called his friend, Patrick.  When he was in Jakarta, he went to our house. At first he said that he was so busy that he couldn’t make it. Alhamdulillah he made it. He came up with a smiling face. Then he took us to the 9/11 memorial. He was so nice to us. He’s that kind of funny man. I felt like a friend to him even we just hung out. He even remembered the food we served him when he was visited our house. He told us that he was running a project with New York Times, and I was like “WOW”. I told him that I wanted to be a journo, he gave me several advices. He’s a truly kind person.

The journey was continued to our “hometown”, Syracuse. My dad had arranged a meet up with his professor there. The first day at Syracuse, we strolled down the Syracuse University. We were remembering the old days when we still lived there. So then we met Phil Doughty, a professor of my dad when he was in university. At first I thought, how come a professor want to spend his time to meet his student? But then, when we came up, he welcomed us with his big smile. Phil Doughty was a modest and warm hearted person. He was keep saying he’s a farmer when actually he’s retired, lol. The best part was, when my dad told him that we’re hoping I could continue to study there in the USA, he said that if I come back next time, I should stay in his house for a couple days and he would take me to survey those universities. And he said it to me seriously. Again, that was something to me.

Until the last day before I got back, we stayed in Manassas, Virginia. So my mom decided to text Ruth. She said to her that we stayed in Manassas and tomorrow we’ll be going back and wishing to see Ruth if she come to Jakarta. It turns out that Ruth’s house was close from our hotel. We arranged a meet up afterwards. She picked us up to our hotel, took us to applebee’s to have a dinner. In the middle of conversation, Ruth told us that his husband is a delegate, some kind of caleg dprd in Indonesia, hehe. We talked about how Ruth loves Indonesia. She has been come to Indonesia for 12 times. Surprise huh? Most of the time Ruth told us about Virginia.

So, that was it. I tremendously happy about this. I knew that Allah is my travel guide and travel arranger. He made it possible. It was such an unexpected amazing journey. What I love about traveling is that I could learn how the people from another side of the world communicate. How they accept diversity, and how the diversity could be a beautiful thing. I’ve learned a lot from my last visit. It’s like I had that goal, “after this journey I have to become a blablabla person”. Really, I had. All I can say is, Alhamdulillah. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Columbia, MD

Salam all! Alhamdulillah, it's Ramadan now! Happy ramadan mubarak everyone, may this ramadan be our starting point to be a better person for Allah and for our environment. Amin.

So, I'd like to continue my USA story hehehe. The first day I arrived at Washington, I found out that my dad's training wasn't held at Baltimore city, it was held at Columbia, Maryland which is only 30-45 minutes from Baltimore. So that was okay. But the thing is, we didn't know where to go because of the- so-quiet-surrounding we found. In nearby, we saw only one shopping mall near our hotel, that's it.

"Whhaaaat? So I have to spend a week going to a shopping mall? No library? No museum? No place to make my mind and brain happy?"

I had to spent a week before started the road trip because my dad was still on training. So the second day we went to a shopping mall. The Mall in Columbia. Me and my mom walked through little patuxent parkway, then we arrived. Yes, it's literally across our hotel. Well, Columbia is a fine city. I met so many moslems there. My dad said that Columbia is famous for its religious harmony. Idk if it's true, but in my opinion, yes it is. As i said on my previous post, I was worried about the, well I could say the discrimination for me and my mom as a moslems. Otherwise, I met so many kind people there. They were so friendly. And I realized after all, that's the difference between small city and big city. When I continued the road trip to several big cities, I figured out that the people wasn't as friendly as people in Columbia. I just love Columbia.

The next day, we decided not to go anywhere because we were knackered. Since the first day arrived, we had struggled to fight the jet lag by went to three shopping mall in a row. Haha. But then, because of the boredom, I decided to strolled around the hotel. And..... We found out that our hotel was located near the super beautiful lake of Columbia! Teehee! The lake is sooo beautiful, the name of the lake is Lake Kittamaqundi. So these are some pictures of Columbia, Maryland.