In the JOU program in 2008, I met the other encompass participants from the UK, the US, Palestine and Israel. They were not the only ones I met that day, I also met a program facilitator from Serbia, named Snezana.
In my school, I was taught a lot of general knowledge about the world, but mainly it was about the UK, the US, Australia, or some other Southeast Asian countries (as they are my neighbor countries). So, when I first encountered with Snezana, I honestly had no idea what to ask, what to talk about; simultaneously I did not want to hurt her feelings for being ignorant. However, it turned out that she actually asked me a lot of questions, about me, my country, and some other things. Then I realized that she knows more than I thought she would.
During the program, I started getting to know her more and more. She was so sweet that moments before the program was finished, I decided to tell that “I will come and visit you in Serbia one day!” Of course, when I said that, I had no idea how I would do that. But they say “Your words are your prayers”.
On May 14th, 2015, I had a chance to visit Serbia and had a mini reunion with my parents in law in Belgrade. I was thinking of Snezana right away! So I let her know that I would come to her country. On her first reply, she mentioned that she had a plan to go to France, and would be back on the 16th of May, and would go again to Bulgaria, on the 19th of May. I was like … wow, what a tight deadline and coincidence that somehow the universe organized two days in between her trips for me!
So, on the 17th of May, my parents in law drove to me to Novi Sad, where she lives with her family now. It was so wonderful to see her again, this time with her husband and little daughter. We talked about how we were doing, life, and particularly about our memories in the JOU programme! She showed me around the beautiful city of Novi Sad, and we had wonderful lunch together with Serbian food! I was just wondering how fast time flies. I felt like yesterday I met her in London. But it’s been 7 years since the programme! What a journey!
Unfortunately it was just a one day trip. The day went by quickly because we enjoyed everything; the companion, the food, the weather, and the reunion! Hopefully we could see each other again one day. We never know when it is going to be.
Not long after Serbia, I had a trip to go home to Indonesia. Having been 2 years in other countries, I missed home so much. Apart from visiting my family in Java, I went to Bali to enjoy my short holiday from work. My husband and I decided to visit Kuta Beach. Yeah, the famous surfing and sunset paradise in Bali.
We stayed in a hotel in Legian. And, when we arrived there, I straight away remember that the hotel we were staying is not far from the Bali Bomb Memorial. We went to the memorial and had a prayer there. I was looking through the names of the victims. I found Daniel Braden, and hundreds of other victims. It could have been me, could have been my siblings, my family or my friends.
I was lucky to be one of the people who participated in its programme. It taught me tolerance, open-mindedness, about other cultures, friendships, and most importantly it taught me to love even those whom I dont know or have never even heard of before. This is why Encompass exists.
Nurminanti (Anti), Indonesia, February 2008