How was your break?

By Wiwin Hartini

I would normally say, “It was great” like most of us do. But there are more details to it.

I used to think that holidays are holidays, no school and that’s all. But a month of no school in college is something I am really grateful for, because this last holiday was different: I learned new things.

I read a book called Factfulness by Hans Rosling, which changed my perspective about the world. I got to make video blogs with a friend of mine, and I worked on my online business in Indonesia. Unlike school, my time was unstructured, and there was no grade other than personal enjoyment.

From all of the things I did during the holiday, the best decision I made was to check my school email every day. Since I transferred to PSU last year, I’ve been using Handshake, where job and internship opportunities are posted for students. I had emails from it and from the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department. I told myself that I’d read the opportunities and apply for some.

During the first week of winter quarter I received one job offer, was acceptance into a Hydro Power Career Workshop, and had one internship offer from TriMet. I learned from the one-month break that the world does not stop, opportunities are always out there, email is a tool, and that I just had to pull myself together and take action. Therefore, thanks PSU for a great beginning to 2019.

Thoughts on the bus

 By Wiwin Hartini

3:30 PM

The sunlight passes through the bus’ windows making everyone’s afternoon more cheerful after a day of work or in my case, school. Riding buses with 20 other people has become my normal routine. This is my first bus of three. 

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Coming from the fourth most populous country to the third shouldn’t be a big surprise, I thought. But it is.

When my Indonesian friends ask if I live close to Washington, D.C., because I live in Washougal, Washington, I explain that it takes about a six-hour flight to get to D.C. from where I live. It’s closer to go to Canada. 

When my American friends ask me if I’ve been to Bali, which is an exotic destination in Indonesia, I explain that Indonesia has about 16,000 islands, and I lived on one, Sumatra, my entire life. 

I spent three years living in the capital city of a province with about 2.5 million people. And yes, the U.S. seems to be more spacious when you go for a walk on a fine afternoon. But no one is outside relaxing on their front porch like my neighbors in Medan.

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“Stepping out of your comfort zone will make you grow.” Have you been told this yet? Maybe, more than once? Same here.  In reality, it’s more than a growth experience. It makes you rich as a human being.

Rich in experience because you are placed in a situation where you’re exposed to all kinds of people. “Wiwin, do all people in Indonesia wear hijabs?” 

Rich in thoughts because you learn about agreeing to disagree. “Wiwin, what do you think about Trump?” 

Rich in languages because you get to see how different nonverbal languages can be. “Wiwin! How have you been? Give me a hug.”

 

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5:30 PM

I am almost home, where I live with an American family. The sun lights up drops of rain on fallen Orange leaves—a pleasing contrast to the grey sidewalk. Welcome to the Northwest, they say, where sunny days are beautiful and green, but rainy days offer peacefulness.