Being away from my family was an experience for me. I learned how to solve my problems, I learned how to manage my own life and I learned how to respect others. It was a year full of excitement and enthusiasm when I studied in Australia, back in 2004. I was one of the volunteers who joined the Catholic organization called Vincent de Paul, a well-known social organization that provides some activities to support the unfortunate children and their family. One of the activities in which I helped was called Buddy Day.
It was a sunny day on November 2004. At 9 am, we gathered in front of the Alexander Library building to meet up with our little buddies. There were 15 of us –the adults- and 8 buddies. Their age range from 5 to 12 years old and they lived around the city of Perth, Western Australia. The adults came from different backgrounds: 4 Singaporeans, 3 Malaysian, 7 Australian and me – the only Indonesian who joined the team. That difference turned out to be something interesting. We had that special moment where each of us could laugh because being together with so many different people from different culture was something good.
There was a boy named Josh. Instead of calling his name correctly, I pronounced his name as if I was going to call ‘George’. He kept telling me that I did it wrong, but every time I tried, I still spelled it in a wrong way. Then he said it out loud, ‘She can’t say my name’ and the second after, he hid behind his older brother with a grin in his face. I could not help myself not to laugh and then my Singaporean friend helped me on how to pronounce his name correctly. He was not mad at me even though he was startled (or maybe confused) with the difference that we had in a matter of pronouncing his name.
After waiting for a few buses – they were all full- , we decided to walk to Cinema City. We were going to watch Shark Tale. On the way there, we talked about our holiday, hobbies and families. They were good models of people who were being true to their heart, being honest and live their lives with excitement. We made a long people-train and end up in the cinema hall played Cat and Mouse. It was hilarious to see their happy faces, to hear their laugh and to be with them.
My buddy was a little girl with blonde hair. She came from an unfortunate family with 6 siblings. On that day, she wore a filthy pink dress and a pink baseball cap. She said it used to be her sisters’. Her face made her appearance meant nothing to me. She held my hands every time we saw a funny scene in the movie, as if she needed an assurance that I would laugh with her. Sometimes she whispered in my ear about certain scenes. She looked like a little angel for me.
That day was over when we had sandwiches as our lunch together in front of Western Australia Museum. They ran around and played with us until their parents came to pick them up. That day was over, but the meaning of being together with them was not.
… on a one fine day… 29 January 2005