Indonesia… Before leaving Germany in order to visit Bali on vacation in October I had only heard of the warm, friendly and open-minded people, the most pristine culture and undeterred lifestyle of my parents’ narratives of 25 years or so ago. Oh, and not to mention the incredibly efficient traffic provisions (not ;). So staying there for a month was my first delicate touch with the country consisting of – depending on whom you ask – mind-blowing 13k, 15k, or even 17k islands.

Continuing my travel through Asia for two more weeks, the impact my time in Bali had left was distinctive. Though Singapore and Bangkok were undoubtedly two worthwhile experiences, I couldn’t wait to get back to Indonesia.

What should I say, faster than I could eat another portion of mango with sticky rice in the Sukhumvit Road I found myself chatting with three YCM students in the car on the way from Jakarta’s airport to Bogor. And faster than being able to realise that the incredibly kind family I’ve just met will host me for the next 6 months I was already on the stage in the Hoolies, singing a Maroon 5 song I’d barely ever heard before between a bunch of smiling and laughing faces that were going to be the first portion of wonderful people I was just about to getting to know.

And what appeared to my tired eyes as an overenthusiastic and exceptional welcoming on that first Friday night, turns out to be more like a… well, like a way of living for the students at YCM, and many other locals I was delighted to meet so far. Though of course my German appearance stands out in many places and doesn’t remain unobserved, no matter with whom you join in the afternoon or on the weekend, it didn’t feel like ‘joining’ – I felt that I belonged, from the first time shaking hands and showing my incredibly professional karaoke skills in the Hoolies. And this is the wonderful thing about YCM: Everybody belongs. It is one caring, selfless, grounded community.

The House of Dreams gives all of us the space and freedom to escape our own boundaries, to ultimately realise there are no limits or rules for the person we crave to become and what impact any of us can have during our lifetime on this earth. It sets the foundation for a mindset that provides the strength for enjoying every day no matter what life throws at you, and gives meaning to every hour. Together we’re learning about a more sustainable way of living, sharing our knowledge about all different kinds of interesting fields, showing massive support for each other while on the way to improving our English skills and, above all, having a whole lot of fun!

Together we’re trying to get better, trying to grow individually within the community in order to eventually shed light on any new place or person with that overall positivity that emerges from sharing experiences, skills, and taking care of each other. And every obstacle or issue that arises along the way – May it be of personal origin, about communication difficulties or missing creativity figuring out the challenges for this afternoon’s class – contributes to the end goal of making us stronger as well, as long as we just keep going, keep learning, keep sharing, and keep finding new ways of making the best of our precious time on this planet.

I hope I might get to distribute my own little pieces of positivity during the course of the next half year in Bogor, and bring along to Hamburg a whole bunch of Indonesian ones. So far I have no doubt about the latter.