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A Bond Beyond Belief

I was sent to an English academy when I was five years old, and it was there that I made my first friend. He shared my faith as a Muslim, and we were very good friends, hanging out almost every day, even when he saw my crush and me together for lunch. I didn't know anything about religion at the time, so I dated a girl who practiced a different religion than me. Unfortunately, as time went on, the school closed for an undisclosed reason and was abandoned for years; even now, I can still remember the layout of that building. When I reached elementary, I was unaware that my parents would enrol me in a school with students from many ethnic backgrounds and religious groups. When I first appeared at school my heart dropped and  I was startled due to the fact that I got separated from my old school's friends, so I took it upon myself to make new friends in my class, however due to the fact that I was new to the school, I became anxious and shy, so instead of socializing with other people I just sat on my chair nibbling on the bread I had for lunch all alone, even though me and my Muslim friends still would regularly talk and  have fun outside of class, nevertheless I felt out of place in my own class, so I was just waiting for the school day to end. At the time, I thought others didn't want to be friends with me because of my religion or because of my ethnic background, so I returned home and tried to build up the mental courage to endure it the next day. 

After that day, I just went to school and studied without socializing with anyone; I felt so isolated, as if I had been the odd one out, but on particular day, while I was eating my lunch alone and there was a stuck of hope because a friendly Chinese Buddhist student walked towards me, I thought he wanted to eat with his other friends but surprisingly he requested that he have lunch with me. Of course, I was pleasantly surprised because I thought no one wanted to be friends with me because I was different from the rest due to religion and race, but he didn't care about my race, or religion, he only wanted to make friends, so in the end, we talked for what thought like hours despite the fact that it was a mere thirty minutes during lunch and we became close friends, and we would take pleasure in spending time together in class, studying, and after that he would introduce me to all of his friends which comprised of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and numerous other groups. I was thrilled that I've obtained a lot of friends with whom I can interact without the fear of being criticized or discriminated toward because of my religion. By the time we reached our junior year of high school, my old friend and I rarely talked because we each had our own circle of friends, but we continue to remain in contact.

Junior high school was an oasis of joy for me to be placed in my designated class, in which I recognized most of my friends from the previous grade. But there was one kid in particular that drew my attention. He was an Indonesian Christian student, new to the school, and didn't know anyone, so he sat there by himself. I could see the sadness on his face because he felt uncomfortable, but it brought back memories of when I was in a similar situation six years ago, feeling so alone and miserable. So, after first period was over, I decide to approach him and started a conversation, we would talk for a couple minutes about our hobbies, desires, and what we wanted to be when we grew up and after that having a conversation with him we became close pals without realizing it, after class we would enjoy time together with some of my friends playing futsal and basketball during recess and would play a few board games in class when we were bored and we would study together to improve our grade and I can see the look on his face and how thrilled he was that he was making new friends and I was happy for him. In a specific day where we would all have religion class we would eventually engage in a discussion after religion class about what makes our religion unique, and we would have such an in depth conversation about each other's religious culture and morals that we forgot it was time to go home because we were all so fascinated by each other's religious stories and that sense of religious pride we all have, and we all discussed the topic in a non-offensive manner.  It was our shared reverence for each other that made us enjoy talking about religion simply because no one lambasted or argued which religion was right or wrong. I'm in my final year of high school, and I'm going to remember everyone who made me feel at home, regardless of religion, as well as the sense of solidarity we all shared.


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