I received great news today, one piece of news I have been dying to hear since God knows when: I got accepted to the University of Washington! The one university I have been dreaming of getting into ever since my visit to Seattle in 2010. Upon receiving this information, I felt a humongous weight lifted off my chest. I sighed with relief, and praised the Lord over and over again in my mind. Dear God, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Let me take you to the beginning of the story. In eighth grade, I decided that I would leave my beloved home country for high school and subsequently, college. After that decision was made, my parents arranged everything for me. In my junior year, I left the harrowing traffic and bright city lights of Jakarta for the modesty and quirk of Vashon Island, a small island near West Seattle. I stayed with a family friend and went to a public high school. I made friends, went to parties, and joined clubs; in short, I got a taste of the “American life.” But then after only 1.5 trimesters, my host parent had to change her priorities and informed me that I can no longer stay with her and her family. In other words, I had no other choice but to go back home to Jakarta.

I was heartbroken. I was not ready to just up and leave my new life. Most of all, I was slightly embarrassed. I had said goodbye to my friends, my school, my life in Indonesia only to return after only four months when I initially planned to stay there for…ever. Naturally, I refused to go back to Madania, my previous school, therefore my parents and I revised the game plan. I was to be enrolled in a homeschooling program that would let me take the National Exam along with the class of 2011, allowing me to graduate one year early. As it is with life though, there is always a challenge. I had to learn 3 years’ worth of physics, biology, chemistry, math, English, Indonesian, and civics materials in only 6 months. Dayum, right?

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t excited at all. In fact, I was somewhat depressed at the time. I was so used to studying in school and meeting with people everyday, as opposed to studying at home only with a teacher. I kept asking myself, how did I go from studying abroad to being home-schooled?

Then of course, after being depressed due to lack of human interaction, I discovered that God works in mysterious ways. Because my new “school” was literally as far as a trip down the stairs, I had much free time. I utilized this time to learn things that I might not be able to learn had I stayed in a regular school. I learned ballet, contemporary, and jazz. Even though my dance background was neither exceptionally extensive nor consistent, I was able to excel. I got a chance to perform, express myself, and even found a new passion. In addition, I also went to museum exhibits and arts performances in order to extend my grasp of art and culture. Last but not least, I cultivated my writing and photography skills. One of the lessons learned: one can learn so much by not being in school, if only one had the will and the time.

Long story short, the time came for the much-feared exam. I did my best, and hoped for the best. When I found out I had graduated, I was more than elated. 6 months. 3 years’ worth of materials. 7 subjects. And I did it. God threw a hurdle at me and I managed to jump over it with grace.

Afterwards, life became somewhat of a breeze. I enrolled myself in Green River Community College and got a chance to go to school again. I made friends, gained new knowledge, and got good grades. But most of all, I developed a new perspective on life. It turns out being in such control of myself during the homeschooling really helped me get to know myself and mature in the process. That’s life, I guess; get knocked down first, learn lessons afterwards.

During my time in Green River, I also applied to a few different universities, one of which was the University of Washington. By this time, I had discovered that I had a profound passion for writing and was actually considerably more than adequate at it, thus I aspire to be a journalist. The UW was definitely one of my top choices, and I was really nervous that I would not be accepted.

But after all is said and done, here I am, with an acceptance letter in hand. Looking back, I would not have changed a thing, cause as I have discovered, everything happens for a reason. Seeing everything in perspective now has actually made me feel like this is some kind of closure. Maybe it is, too though. For so long, getting into university was a need I had to fulfill so badly, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could succeed on my own, despite whatever halts I faced in the process. Now I am ready for a new beginning, a step into what I hope to be a bright future.

As my mom always say: when faced with an obstacle, take a step back, get some perspective, then take two steps forward. Time to move on.