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Making the Most of Everything

Ina Syafiri Adani Riding Bike With Hsis

By Syafira Adani (YES Indonesia 2019-20, hosted by IRIS in Davenport, IA) 

During the quarantine, all the weekdays have felt the same. However, I always tried to make a daily challenge to break up the sameness. Currently, I am learning many sewing techniques such as quilting, cross-stich, and hand embroidery, and am making face masks for my friends who are departing earlier for their home countries.

Also, though the gym is closed, I still couldn’t resist the urge to keep my health in good shape so I usually take a walk around my neighborhood. I found the blooming flowers as my biggest amusement. They brighten up my day in a way I couldn’t imagine. I wanted my neighbors to feel the same, so me and my host family cleaned our garden and planted many flowers in hope that it will brighten up someone else’s day too. Also, me and my Host family have worked together to build raised beds. We hope that we could decrease our need to go to the grocery store and provide food for other people.

Ina Syafiri Adani Iris Planting
Planting flowers in our garden that will last for years after I leave the U.S.

Furthermore, the early spring weather has been quite marvelous. Taking this opportunity, I taught my host sisters how to ride a bike. I was thrilled to see how happy they were that they can ride a bike after so many years!!

Last week, I received information that I will be leaving the United States on Thursday, April 9th. This news has saddened me the most, but it won’t take away my opportunities that I can still do here! I reached my 100 hours volunteering and I am still volunteering each day by making face masks for the community.

Ina Syafiri Adani Making Face Masks
Making face masks for my host community

My advice to all exchange friends is to get out of your comfort zone and make the most of it! Make sure that every second when you are here is worth it!

For me, I have tried my best to make sure that every second I have spent while I am In the United States is extraordinary and memorable. Even if there is one thousand miles between me and my host family, we will always be connected as close as fingers in our hands. I want to say my deepest thanks to my family and my friends in my host community, most importantly, because they have taught me many things that I can apply to build a better world for my home country once I am back! I can’t wait to give back all the lessons that I have learned in the United States to my community in Indonesia, my home country!


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In May, write a thank you letter to your host family, host community, or favorite teacher! 

Check out this month's story prompt at bit.ly/YESstorywriting and submit your story!