Welcome to Truro
"Welcome to Truro, Nova Scotia," said our Canada World Youth guide as we bused into town more than two months ago.
Those were the first words I remember hearing after travelling more than halfway around the world to get here.
I am from South Kalimantan, or what some people call South Borneo, Indonesia. The capital city of South Kalimantan is Banjarmasin, which is known as the city of a thousand rivers.
I, along with other Canada World Youth participants, arrived on Sept. 4 for a three-month stay and everything was really new for me. I looked around the town for awhile just to make sure that I had arrived in Truro.
Even then I felt so cold compared to South Kalimantan. It was sunny though. It seemed I put my body into the freezer. It was so weird.
But there were many things that surprised me more. For instance, when I got into the bus I saw that the driver sat on the left. I thought that he had sat on the wrong seat because in Indonesia all the drivers will sit on the right side.
I asked him, "Why do you sit on that side?"
He explained to me patiently because I knew that he identified me as a foreigner.
"In Canada, the driver's seat should be on the left side," he said. "So I sit on my seat like the other drivers."
There was another new thing that I found related to transportation, roads and streets: the side of the road that vehicles drive on.
In Indonesia, when I want to cross the street, I have to see on the right side first, and then I go to the other side.
In Truro, however, I almost got myself killed by a car because I turned my head to the right side first, and, in fact, the car came from the left side. I said to myself, "I should be aware now, it is 100 per cent different."
During my stay I have been living with Bennie and Viola Bartlett, my host family. They are so nice. They treat me like their own daughter. We live in North River with my counterpart in the program, Megan Michaud, and our Korean sister, Young Sun Lee.
Living with the Bartlett family has helped me so much adapting to the area and I honestly can say that almost all people in Truro are so nice and friendly because I can feel it in this family.
Speaking English has also been an experience. It is not my first language which I speak Bahasaas.
At first I tried so hard to understand what people were saying but almost everyone was really patient and tried to speak slower and clearly to help me.
It really worked because now I can understand English better than before.
Canadians have their own style in English, too. I figured it out because I always heard the word 'eh' in the end of a question. It works to emphasize something and it is like a question tag. I really love to hear the Canadians say 'eh' and I've tried to use it. I spoke with Megan and said, "It was so nice to spent our day in Victoria Park, eh?" and Megan replied, "Yes."
But Nancy, my work supervisor at Maggie's Place, laughed.
I wondered why. Did I use 'eh' in the wrong expression or what? She said to me that it was unbelievable that I could speak English a with Canadian style in just my second week in Truro.
The difference in money was also interesting.
Indonesian currency and Canadian currency have much different values with the Canadian currency higher than Indonesia. I will say that all the things in Truro are really expensive and I really worried about that at first.
But, thanks to God, because there are some second-hand stores here. I found it is easier to buy some stuff and it really helped me a lot.
If I am thinking about secondhand stores, I can say that people in Truro do not want to waste anything. It is better to sell it again rather then just throwing them away.
There are so many differences, too, including culture, tribes, religious view and way of living.
Indonesia ,as a Muslim country, differs with Canada because most Canadian are Christian.
In September, for instance, Muslims were fasting. All Muslims cannot eat and drink from the sunrise until the sunset. In the Arabic language, we call it the month of Ramadan. At the end of Ramadan, all Muslims celebrate the day called Idul FItri as the ending of fasting month.
Most of the Canada World Youth participants that come from Indonesia are Muslim. On Sept. 20th, we celebrated the end of Ramadan and one thing that makes me so proud to be in Colchester County is because I feel like I am home. I celebrated Idul Fitri with all the Canadian participants and with all the host families in Victoria Park.
I was so happy at that time because people here really respected our holy day and they are so loyal and celebrated together. It showed me that people here really respect differences, whether different language, skin, or religion.
Despite living in this area for such a short time I have learned so many new things. One new thing that I think I can implement in my country is recycling. This environment issue is the number one problem in the world. I see in Truro that the government and society are already trying to do something for environment and I really appreciate this. I used to throw all the rubbish and stuff in only one basket. We never divided it. That is why I want to recycle in Indonesia.
I also have to talk about the weather.
In Indonesia, we only have two seasons, dry and wet. We do not have four seasons like in Truro. We never know what is autumn, winter and spring. I have already known about those seasons from books, but to see it directly, of course, is more meaningful.
This is the first time for me to see maple leafs, the symbol of Canadian flag. They look so beautiful in autumn. Some of them turn into yellow and red. It really makes Truro more beautiful. I cannot wait to see snow, too.
My host family and I attended the Remembrance Day service in Truro on Nov. 11. I saw so many people with a beautiful poppy on the left side of their chests.
In my city, we have a celebration like Remembrance Day, too, but ours is for the independence of our country. The purpose is still the same, which is to remember the soldiers who have protected our country. We also have almost the same ceremonial process. The only difference is we have to raise our national flag, unlike the ceremony in Truro.
One thing that makes me feel jealous about Remembrance Day in comparison with the celebration of Independence Day in my city is the awareness of the people who celebrate it. In Truro, I can say so many people came to celebrate it, but in my city only government workers, police officers, soldiers, and students come to the ceremony.
Living in Truro is going to be an unforgettable experience and moment in my life. Truro is not too big, but it is really neat. One thing that makes me love Truro so much is the people who are so friendly, respect the differences and high awareness about environment.