31 December 2012

A Year of Gifts

Typically, the most change in an Indonesian teenager's life takes place in July when the new academic year starts and the teen enters a new class, possibly a new school. That's why the whole "new year" kind of feeling usually comes about twice a year for me. You have literal new year resolutions and you have new school-year resolutions. But this year, that isn't the case for me. It was indeed in January when I moved to a new school and practically began a new life. The school year in IICS also did begin in January for Year 11 anyway. Furthermore, it was in this year when my family's second home was completed, but that's quite minor.

This year is without question not a prime year like the last one. However, it has undeniably been a year where I kind of started life all over again. Never have I seen myself change and grow as much as I have this year. I gave up a scholarship worth over one hundred thousand Singapore dollars to be in IICS. Boy, do I expect to get a lot out of it.

Again, I must reiterate, never have I seen myself change and grow as much as I have this year. It has taken a journey of great adversity and adventure to get to all these changes and whether these changes have been for the better I have yet to learn for myself. It's been a very interesting year revolving around a new school.

On that January morning in the Multi-Function Hall, the school introduced three new intruders to the class of then 120 students. Yes, the word I have used is "intruder". I was indeed an intruder. It wasn't the first time that I was one but with experience, I have learnt that it doesn't get any easier the more times you do it.

So, I began the year with meeting 119 entirely fresh faces. I did not know any one of them prior to the year (I did meet Edward very briefly but that had to do with the fact that we were both "intruders"). Thus, I had a very simple first task ahead of me at the beginning of the year: getting to know people. Again, not the first time, but I screwed it up every time before and very unfortunately, this time was not different.

We were 120 completely different people (duh) but with a million and one similarities linking us. My first three weeks in the school were filled with getting to know one person after the other because I really made it a point to myself to get to know everyone beyond their name. Slowly, I learnt that getting to know someone takes a long time, especially in IICS where the questions "What are your hopes for the future?" and "Who in the cohort inspires you?" can baffle a person for days and nights.

But when you have 120 different people living together, there must be a common bond keeping them together, no matter how separated they may seem. That common bond is culture. In this case, it is school-culture. Ultimately, that is what has really changed me: a culture. I've learnt about another way to live life. There's nothing wrong with it I guess. It's just a new way of life, a new train of thought and a new outlook on the future. But now that I look back at the year, I think of the many things that this culture had changed in me, the many things that would not be if it weren't for the 119 people around me. Among them are Jeans and Chinos. At least now, thanks to a bunch of guys who apparently care about me, I do own a pair of each and I have worn each at least twice in public. Yes, an achievement for me. One small step for man, one giant leap (into a pair of pants) for Aaron Colin. That's all thanks to something we like to call culture. There's definitely lots more culture has done to me this year. Among those others have to do with dance moves, sexual references and lots of interesting bitching sessions.

What about those nights when I learn the most things: Party Nights. New world for me indeed. For one thing, I have earned a lot of money from these parties (hehehe). But through the many times I have been bullied in the games, like almost having my first kiss be with Calvin all because of a tiny piece of paper at Jovita's or having my Vice President Cassey search my body also for a tiny piece of paper at Angel's, and through the many times I have been styled and styled myself, from that hideous blouse I wore at Jovita's to the suit at Jennifer's to the Jeans at Delia's, and the many interesting people I have met, from Ruben Onsu at Nathania's to Prambors Broadcasters at farewell to Far East Movement at Clarissa's to all ex-IICS students from Junior High at every other one, I have learnt something every night. Every celebration I have had this year has, to my and everyone else's surprise, been an education in itself. At Marcia's, I learnt about how fun only really exists if all the people around you are having fun as well. At Devina's, I learnt more about developing intimate relationships with friends. At Carissa's, I learnt more about tact, to say the least. It has been such an education.

Friendship, I would define it as simply the acknowledged relationship between two people, to give a definition as wide as possible. I've had many in the past, thought far less than the average person. So in essence, I have had few, or fewer. Having a fresh start this year, where I knew no one and no one knew me to begin with, friendship is something that I wanted to work on this year, and it has been such a rough road. Over the summer holidays, I've met so many amazing and interesting people in Moot Court High School Summer Program, especially the SPH gang which I always had lunch with at Supermal: Michael, Marcel, Callysta and Jonathan. In school, I've made many as well. Some of them have been, well, just friends, and others have been really intimate relationships. One thing that I'm really glad about this year is that number of people I've bonded so closely with. There's Andrea D, the "Standard" buddy. Then there's Jonathan, my programming and now Maths Extensions mate who understands me maybe more than anyone else. There's my ever busy and fretting council. There's also my mentoring students 10.3 and all the other year 10 students, especially Winson who is now my neighbour and ride to school every morning. There have been so many others, like Kenneth, Irvan, Regie, Calvin, James. But the most touching and unexpected friendship has got to be with Kevin U, and the most intimate friendship, hands down with Jethro. In each friendship I have developed this year, I have met an amazing and inspirational life-changing person. I've learnt so much from each one. As a bonus, I've shared so many memories with each one. Some of them have let me into their lives more than anyone has ever done before. At the end of the day, they have made me a better man, helping me with my struggles in my new life every step of the way, despite everyone and everything.

As I am just over an hour away from the new year, I can't really think of any competitions that I have won or any awards I have received. Acceptance, both in the professional and personal world, has been nothing but difficult, presenting obstacles in my path every step of the way. Yet, I feel like I have achieved more this year than ever before. How much I have achieved this year is immeasurable. If somehow I have to put it in numbers, it's undisputably worth more than a pair of Jeans or Chinos, or more than however much it costs to throw a sweet-sixteen at the most expensive hotel in the country, or a meal with a friend consisting of two bowls of noodles, three bottles of Teh Botol and a small bag of Kerupuk Ikan a two minute drive from the school by the side of the road I walk over every day to get home. One can never create an index of how much I have achieved this year or a list of everything that's changed about me this year, yet I will never be able to say if what I have received this year is all worth more than one hundred thousand Singapore dollars. One can only ever ask me to tell the stories one by one and sit there listening till one's last gasp.

This year, it has been all about three priceless gifts that I received: Culture, Education and Friendship. Forever will I hold on to these gifts bestowed upon me, and intruder, by the people that have been around me this year.

This December holiday, I've been questioning myself every night. Does the intruder deserve all this? Does the intruder deserve the gift of Culture, Education and Friendship? Now, in the last few days of the year, since that touching event on Christmas day, I could only think of how lucky I am to be the proud owner of these three gifts. For culture and education, no one can take it away from me even if he or she tried, because that's just how those two are. Friendships aren't permanent, thought. However, I've just realised that the gift of friendship that I've received this year is one that no one can take away from me, even if one or I tried.

I have a symbol to remind me of this: an object given to me by someone which represents those three gifts all in one. As I ponder over it every night, I will forever remember the gifts of 2012. When this person gave the item to me, I had no idea what it was or what to do with it. It was all a great mystery which I had to be careful with. But as time when on and I began to study this item, I realised that that person's giving me this item really symbolises how all throughout the year, people have been giving me gifts of Culture, Education and Friendship. They may be confusing and seem useless at first but as time progresses, I learn to see the beauty in it. Now, I have this item with me to remind me of all that I have. I shall keep this item forever and ponder over it every time I feel like I have nothing.

Culture, Education, Friendship.

[Post specifically about my first year in IICS coming up soon. I really want to make sure that it's perfect before I present it.]

1 comment:

  1. Hello Yudhi,

    Rasanya sempat "tau" kamu selama 6 bulan di iics, lalu sekarang seperti "kenal" kamu lagi dari sekolah smp kamu....:)

    Senang lho Yud, dengar kisah kamu tentang persahabatanmu yang bisa membuatmu lebih hidup, berkembang dan bertumbuh, lebih dari sekedar semua award ya :)

    Good luck in your future life. Gbu

    -ma'am hedy-