Between Sukowono, Surabaya and Trondheim

Hello 🙂

This post is inspired by a friend of mine. She is living in Zambia now. It is the following sentence she wrote which triggered me to write this post,

Sky is the limit

For international student like me, living in the place which is far from home country has its own fun and challenging experience. I will not talk about the pleasure side. I think most international students out there have listed what the good things being independent and outside from your comfort zone. Even BBC has an article that either studying or working abroad makes us smarter. That article is reasonable that through difference experience, culture and people that we, as international students, have to face how to solve it through out every day life..

This is my personal reason why it is demanding: homesick. It is serious matter as I am desperately missing my nice life in my country, among my family and friends. But it is inevitable, isn’t it? This is life and I have to find out how to tackle this problem, so that I can develop and move forward.

I have been living in few places so far. I was educated from kindergarden and elementary school in Sukowono, while junior high school to senior high school in Jember (It is just 30 km away from Sukowono). Not a problem anyway, since I went back and forth house-school, everyday with public transportation. I used to nap time or just simply talk (more precisely: joking) with friends sitting beside me.

250 km was the distance between home to university where I pursued my bachelor degree. I need 5 hours to get there and by this reason, I decided to stay in Surabaya, the capital city of East Jave province. Now I couldn’t go home as frequent as I want, not only was it far but also several technical factors such as traffic jam, time efficiency and gasoline cost as my main considerations. At least, I could go home once in three months when I had minimum holidays of 7 days.

My journey did not stop in here. I have made myself to pursue higher education outside of Indonesia. It was the experience together with sort of “questing and testing” myself in order to dig down what kind of unrevealed aspect of my innerself which I did not realize. So, of all applications I sent, university in Norway and Taiwan accepted me. Strangely, I decided to go to Norway which is really far from Indonesia. With the distance close to 16.000 km, crossing Asia and central Europe, I arrived in the place which was new for me, a foreign land with unknown culture, people and habit. Thanks to the God, what I feared by the time I determined myself taking a Master degree in Norway had been slowly faded. Through the cruel winter, poor sunlight, slippery road and many other things which are occured naturally in northern part of the world, I survived. I found the warmth heart of the people among the coldness; and the most important factor is friends. I enjoyed my days being with them; my life was colored by them, I was really grateful. As the time flied, one by one of my friends had to return back to their own country, and it brought me a great sadness. Finally, when I finished my education, it was my turn to leave Norway. The night before I left Norway, all of the memories I had for the past two years ran through in my head, similar like old projector with black and white color. So much trouble I had that night, remembering the unique and memorable life I made with my friends, through every cycle of emotion. The day after, I left Norway.. Sorrow lived in my heart but I could not cry. Such a nuisance 😄

Time is cruel, I tell you my friend. It does not need to know what you have done or progress you have made. It will do as the time come. I am just knowing that our life is not the function of result, but it is a function of time. Therefore my advice is: treasure your time, be wise in using it! It will never come back..

The next journey of my life after completing Master Degree has been determined after I had been graduated from bachelor level: research. So the asnwer is clear enough: either becoming a researcher in industry or looking for PhD opportunity. In four months of engaging jobs and PhD searching, I have settled myself for company and university in the semiconductor field. Tens of applications were sent and just few answered me. Among them, only one positive feedback I received. It was a PhD position in NTNU, the university I am working now. It has been four months since I came back again to Trondheim and started my research. Though I returned to the same city where I have been living for two years, I experienced such different: a new perspective. Some aspects are not the same as I had when I was a master student. My old and best friends are not longer in here anymore, and such a reminiscence and memory I have for them, whenever I walk alone through the “wild” path I use to go from home to university and vice versa or when I have fellowship with some friends in the Church. I am vaguely remembering their face, but their presence are still living in this tiny heart.

I remembered correctly that when I had a final exam weeks during my junior and senior high school era, usually I did not sit in my room. As long as I could, I studied in the 2nd floor of my house where there was an open space, mainly used for drying the laundry stuff. So I sat and read there, under the bright of the sun, with the sky as my solely roof. For some time when I got bored, I used to see the sky, some shape of the clouds and birds. It did not only help returning my concentration, but also I felt that burden and tension in my mind were also blown away with the wind. This habit disappeared when I moved to Surabaya as it does not offer the townfolk great view of the sky; people are busy with their own things, without realizing an awesomeness of the sky is sitting above them, and I was one of them. The habit of staring the sky grew when I did my master in Trondheim but I much more enjoy it now.

Sky as it is seen from the bus stop close to my home
Sky as it is seen from the bus stop close to my home

As the place where I live now is bit further up (about in the hill), I can see some part of outskirt of the town from the bus stop close where I live (around 10 m). Whenever I return from university, I always rest in this bus stop with no intention for taking bus of course, just re-take my lost breath for having 3.5 km walking or cycling up to the hill. Especially when it comes in cycling, I feel my heart beating so fast with heat generated in my both feet especially in thigh. As I arrive there, I feel satisfy with good time in work and exercising (walking or cycling) while enjoying sunset, clouds, vehicles in the far place, mountain, weather station on the peak of the mountain, Tyholt tower, roof of Nidaros Church, the fjords, apartments, roads, light road, people… It is paid off. In the same place, I often reflect, revise what I have been done for a day and plan for the tomorrow. While gazing the sky, my mind has wondering, looking to the future, where I will be after I finish my PhD degree and what kind of place in the next 10-15 years and things I have been designing so far. Sometimes, things are not going as I plan, but as soon as I set my mind to the dream I store in the “clouds” or sky, I feel eased up, putting my feet back to the ground with a conviction that “Everything will be OK and something will be get developed as long as there is a hard work, determination and commitment in solving present issues”. A new power has been obtained and I prepare my night for the new day. It takes 5-10 minutes for me to enjoy my solitude. A great thing also that, my desk in the university is just next to the window, so I can free my mind in between of busy working days.

Sky as it is seen from my desk at university
Sky as it is seen from my desk at university

Through sky-gazing, I realize something: we are living under the same sky. No matter where we are, there is a common connection between us. One of the most miserable event in my life is separation or parting. Realizing the moment when that will be the last time I enjoy moment with my friend, and think that the “good bye” is meant to be “So long!”, the last and final word to be spoken. An occasion with rare statement of a friend when we about to part with each other, “we will not see each other again” broke deep inside my heart, leaving a scratch on it. Unexpectedly, all the reminiscence appeared and anxiety of leaving friend for indecisive time and thousands km of distances. Throughout my life, I met some great friends from whom I learnt a lot: some fellows are still in Trondheim while number of them are away and I also receive a new friends \^_^/; I am grateful that my experience living as an international student has brought me to have chance encountering them. It is them, whom I treasure. My feeling at the moment? I am badly missing them! Nevertheless, whenever I look fixedly at the sky as well as through constant prayer, they are within my reach emotionally. Something is on the sky, a magical space linking us together.

Between Sukowono, Surabaya and Trondheim: these places are bonded together, though the mighty distances separating them. My recollection are treasured within these cities. Despite I live separatedly from my friends and family, but one thing I remember:

it is the sky that becomes the only limit between me and them. And one day, take it in mind that I will meet them, under the same sky 🙂

It is a great to meet a new friend(s) who you can get familiar with. It is awesome when you talk to them as you will not feel time passing. It is substantial by the time you listen to them since you feel relaxed just by opening your heart to accept them as they are. If you do find them, treasure them, as they will not be able with you all the time.

“Is there any adventure more exciting than meeting new people and finding out what lives within them?” -Sonja Henie, Norwegian skater-

I remember a great song created and sung by GooseHouse, called “Sky”. Here is the pieces of the lyric:

We’ll walk our own ways
Then looking back,
“I’m alone” you may say
Hey, don’t you forget
We always share the sky
Always…
I’m by your side 

Thank you for reading :))

Your friend,

Andreas

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