I’m not sure if this post could be counted as a letter, but I write and post it anyway.
Despite my limited language skill, grammatical mistakes, typos, jumbled flow or any other possible mistake, I have to warn you in advance that this post can be very long. So…
Imagination vs Reality, Impressions (and Secrets?)
Lets talk about the most important thing during the whole summit, the people.
The first bunch of people I met in Istanbul airport are Dharmesh, Hardik, and Hitesh(is that you?). I saw the summit program on Dharmesh lap, and immediately talk to them. Soon after that, Taj joins us, an Indian guy in a bright yellow jumper. I already suspect that the other 2 Africans in that waiting room are Alice and Francis, but I’m not so sure yet. So I waited until we arrived at Ljubljana.
My short talks with Taj while waiting for my suitcase being spitted out from the harsh ‘luggage belt‘ machine in Ljubljana airport, reveal that this Indian guy with Santa Claus beard is only a year older than me, yet he already traveled to more than 30 countries in just 4 years. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to learn what’s the secret behind it.
Once we arrived in Maribor, I started to meet more and more people until I can’t explain in sequence anymore how and when I met them.
I think I ever read Jatin‘s name somewhere but have no idea how he looks like, I don’t even know that he’s from India, yet among the other YOC members I met him first. But even that time I don’t even think that we would have a chance to spend one of the our nights in Bled to talk about a glimpse of our business, eating noodle with Faisal and having some midnight discussion with Iulia. After that I remember calling out “JATIIIN!” countless times during summit. Hey, Jats, don’t forget our business deals ! Hehe!
“FAISAAAAL!” is the second guy I remember calling out countless times too. That night, during Faisal’s birthday when he actually waited for Iulia in the kitchen, but she failed to showed up (gossips?), I remember eating a weird tasted instant noodle, which the taste I started to miss (I wish I eat more that day!). Before the summit, Faisal sent me email once, and I remember replying, “ Dear Mr Faisak Imtiaz..” (yes, with a typo!). Back then I thought this guy is a slender tall Arab looking guy (this is based on pure imagination). Yet in reality I met a chubby guy with coke bottle glasses. Among other summit participants I guess I tease this guy a lot, spreading gossips (Oops!).
And then there are Iulia and Iuliia. The one with more ‘i’ in her name is my roommate, we have short talks before sleep, and without her I probably came late to the session. Iuliia said to me that she was one among those who get the lasts chance to attend the summit, and indeed, I just checked her CF profile that she just joined the sites recently. Whoaa, I guess our room in Bled is reserved for the luckiest girls, since we got chosen for the summit while we don’t really expect it, since we’re both newcomers in CF!
While Iulia, with less ‘i’ is the one who always acts as the bad guy during teamwork. With her and Jatin, I spent one of my nights in Bled exchanging our thoughts and stories. Iulia told me that she was once asked for help naming a restaurant, and she spent weeks (or months) arguing with the owner. She reminds me about the quote ‘if two people always agree one of them is useless’. From that moment on I know that I could discuss a lot of things with her without always agree on everything.
Nindy, the girl in red jacket, is the one that surprised me a lot, when I saw her photo, I imagined a super serious super mature young woman. Yet what I found in reality is a very bubbly girl, clinging to her huge ‘teddy bear’ Michael . With her I could talks in my own language, and I’m quite sure beside us, and possibly Melanie, Amrullah and Lai Hock, everybody else is having a puzzled looks on us when we talk with each other. The same looks I have when I was listening to the Indian guys talk in their language.
Amrullah, my secret keeper, any secret to share? Hehe yours is save with me, although I cant help twisting and teasing about it sometimes, but its save, trust me! Hopefully mine is still save too . In the beginning I really don’t know how old he is, it turns out that he’s only a year (or even less) younger than me, but the national service and his short breaks makes him way behind in terms of university class. Hope you find a wife soon and have many kids. (an absurd talks, eh?)
Melanie, the girl next door, I haven’t got a chance to really talks or play around with you, but thanks for dancing with me on the last day . Well we probably meet again soon, but first I have to start saving some money for my ticket to Singapore. Ah, Melanie be careful, don’t let Audrey ‘poisson’ you again.
Audreeeeeeey…my future adventure partner. It is true that at some point I suddenly forgot Audrey’s name and then five minute later I suddenly remember again without asking anyone else. It is weird indeed, but happens. We’re almost always in sync in terms of suddenly stopped and taking photos, a quality that’s quite rare, but very crucial when choosing a travel partner. Hopefully we could collect enough money (any sponsor? ) to fulfill our dreams, traveling around South East Asia together!
Lai Hock, the daddy of CF Summit participants. Lai Hock is actually around the age of my parents or at least my uncles. That explains why some summit participants cling to him like little chicks cling to mommy hen. I am thankful for a lot of thing that he said or asked, since it reminds me of lots of important things in life. Thanks for agreeing to become mentor for my project, although right now Lai Hock is still somewhere out of Singapore and I’m not yet having any contact with him since the end of the summit.
The last guy representing Singapore (and India), Mr President, Sid, the smiley guy, everybody’s good friend (and idol?) you’ve been spending years in Singapore, I have a question for you, “Do you understand Malay now?”
Damjan the cartoon guy, the first time I saw Damjan I thought I’ve just seen some cartoon character coming out from comic book. His looks and even the way he moves is so cartoony. Other than that I thought the name Edgar suits him too, maybe he should consider changing his name? Thanks for being awesome mentor, and believing in us!
Umm, since we already talks about edgar, lets talk about my super awesome teammates.
Alice from Uganda, is one among the earliest friend I got during summit. It is true that it was hard to understand each other’s accent in the beginning, but then we managed to overcome that problem. What I like the most about Alice is the colour she wears, the rainbow shawl, the shoes, the outfit that she designs by herself. Thanks for taking care of me during the hectic minutes before our pitches. I remembered her slightly puzzled look when I asked for black coffee, no sugar no milk, and she give me two mini chocolate cake (muffin?) which is end up eaten by Damjan later that night.
Simon the serious guy, it’s a good thing that we end up agree on the mix of your serous pitch with my funny looking slides. It turns out that the mix brings us to the final and eventually win the challenge. Also thanks for the diagram you make to explain about the community systems, it was a breakthrough indeed! Keep rocking!
Chourouq, the girl who agree to disagree, we are always together in every competition, although we are on the same team in one and on different team in other. I remember staring at your eyes and remember actually thinking, “whoaaa very long lashes..” haha! This serious finance graduate sometimes argue with me about lots of things since we might have different point of view. But one thing we have in common, both of us started Make.It.Work project while actually being unemployed ourselves.
Sanaa, the one who I always called 언니 (eonni = Korean word for older sister). It is a good thing that you have Korean boyfriend and able to speak Korean. I’ve been longing for someone talk to me in Korean for almost 3 years. Yet your existence, talk to me in Korean heal that ‘chronic longing’ feeling of mine. Although I always talk to you in banmal (the most impolite level of speeches in Korean) like a little kid. Gonna miss you a lot eonni! Don’t forget to send me your wedding invitation, I really wish I will have enough money to attend it! Or you could borrow Jatin’s idea 3-day wedding, followed by 3-day summit so we could get some sponsorship.
Back to the YOC members, Dan actually send me emails about my competition’s brief, so he’s among the group of people that I only know the names but I don’t know the looks. My pure imagination thought that this guy is someone serious (possibly fat guy?). It turns out that in reality this guy is a true entertainer, and together with Hayley, he perform the coolest act ever!
Hayley, also the true entertainer, awesome speaker, “Why are you missing from our table so often?” Well, I know that you are busy preparing a lot of awesome things for us, thanks Hayley! I will always remember your smile and your thumbs up for my silly answer on the car study case.
Who else in the YOC whom I know? Bistra! I remember always wrote to “Dear Ms Bistra” on my email to her, but I the moment I met her in person I forgot about all those formalities . We exchange so many email (yes, many, it was so much until it becomes uncountable) but we don’t talk to each other much in Slovenia. But that’s okay. We have to share our time with everyone else, right? Hugs from Indonesia!
Next is Denis, the shouting guy, I’m sorry I was always somewhat behind when it comes to walking between places , I want to enjoy lots of thing that I saw on the road especially during our walks in your city, Maribor. I wish one day I have a chance to come again to Maribor, and walks slowly (again!). Thanks for being patient with a girl who walks slowly and stopped often to capture the scenery, and sometimes walks in the wrong side of the road. Thanks for always being my ‘almost private’ guide. You are my savior!
Whoa, I wrote quite a lot already. I’m sorry I can’t write in equal length about each participant, since I know only some participant anyway (we are 80++ people).
So, short note about some others.
Andreja, Nadya, Metka, Matjas, and others, the ‘ancesstors’, the fathers and mothers of challengefuture.org, thanks for the awesome chance you give to others, and me. Thanks for the awesome speeches, session, and works behind the screen. Thanks for remembering me.
Lucian, trust me I’ll remember you as yourself not as Dan’s brother (oops!).
Pacifique, I still remember our talks in the bus, although not all of them. I will re-watch hotel Rwanda, soon. Meanwhile you should start saving money to visit me and then we could go to pacific ocean together. Hehe!
Vesna, you’re the only person who gave me a postcard during the summit … (putting it inside my postcard album)
Ding Ding, I should start learning Chinese so I could speak in Chinese to you later.
Aimee, If I got the AusAid scholarship, I definitely visit you during one of my holiday. Show me around Brisbane, ok?
Udoka, the tweety girl, you know I want to write at length about you but since we tweet to each other quite often I’m sure that the sum of all those tweet will be equal to (or more than) those lengthy paragraph.
Silviya, Jovanna, Nesli, Tatiana, Marusa, Stefan, Apiane, Ayodeji, Dzemal, Mila, Abigail, Uros, Sandra and all the other that I can’t mention one by one. I want you to know that, you are as special as the other, my inability to wrote personally about you is not because you guys are less special, its just that we all have limited time with each other, which is very normal thing to happen. We can’t grasp everything and know everyone during that short week. But still, you can add me on facebook, follow me on twitter, drop me mails and start knowing each other more after the summit.
(next: C:F summit 2013, My favorite moment)
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