Intiar practicing in her room.  (Mami Osanai/AQ)
Intiar practicing in her room. (Mami Osanai/AQ)

Khairunnisa Intiar spends a summer away from her home in Indonesia

When you think of Fredericton you don’t really think about summer, so the prospect of spending the summer there was scary at first. When April came rolling in, and all my friends started telling me their awesome summer plans, I started to worry that I wouldn’t have anybody to hang out with and nothing to do. Going home to Indonesia would cost too much, and my family isn’t at home. I tried to figure out what I would do with so much time on my hands. So I decided to write down the things I needed and wanted to do.

I wanted to work on my music and art more, and a four-month vacation is just what I needed. I contacted pubs, cafės and other local hang out spots in Fredericton. While waiting for replies, I kept writing music. I painted a bit when my painting mood came on.

One of the highlights of my summer was watching the World Cup with my friends. The world cup rocked the beginning of my summer!

Later on in the summer I got some feedback from the places I contacted. I got offered to play once a month at a coffee shop downtown, and a little two-hour gig at a nightclub downtown. I was stoked! It was nothing much, but it was a start. I still play at Trinitea’s Cup one Friday a month.

Performing is a total thrill to me. It’s like sharing your emotions without actually intimately talking heart to heart to other people. Although I play my original songs and do some cover it doesn’t matter to me as long as I can feel the song when I sing it. To me, a song is deep when I can perform it wholeheartedly. The money that I made was used to see Hey Rosetta!’s show in town, among other things. This is one of the reasons I came to Canada, it’s so much easier to catch your favorite bands live!

The rest of the summer I spent by the river, writing, having picnics with friends, going kayaking and going camping in PEI (which was quite the adventure). I took a couple of classes to prepare myself for the new academic year. I spent a lot of time with the people that I call friends but never had the chance to hang out with during school year. With them, I can show my true colours freely, joke comfortably and have late night talks about anything. This summer there was never a dull moment.

My summer also made me realize how much I missed home. Aug. 17 was Indonesia’s Independence Day. I was saddened that I couldn’t even attend an assembly to salute our flag and sing our national anthem. This is the first summer in which I did not celebrate Aug. 17.

It was also nerve racking to practice Ramadhan in Canada. This year’s Ramadhan started in August. It is my first Ramadhan away from family. It is hard to wake up in the middle of the night to eat, alone, and then start fasting in the heat, in a city where most people do not follow Ramadhan, and then come home to break your fast with microwave-able food, alone. I was excited, but it’s the time that I missed home the most. I tried to make it as close to home as possible. I would invite my friends to have dinner together where I would cook simple traditional Indonesian food, so that it feels like I have a family to break my fast with. Sometimes my friends stay up with me, talking, until it’s time for me to eat before I start fasting again.

The summer has turned into something more of a learning experience. A summer where I learned to be braver, to try new activities, be more adventurous, be more knowledgeable about the city and its many free events. I’ve had the chance to meet more people and learn their backgrounds. I’ve had the chance to actually spend time with people and become friends with them. I’ve had the chance to know myself better and know my friends better. I’ve moved all my life, and I have had to adapt to a new place every couple of years. And these places that I have lived in are not easy places to live in. But it’s not about the place; it’s about the people and your own creativity. If you have the right people to hang out with, and a lot of creative ideas of how to spend time, life will be alright anytime, anywhere you are.

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