I cannot imagine that it is six months already of being a fellow in the United States of America. Similarly, the batch of fellows before our batch is leaving in a few days from now and a new batch is coming as well. Time flies so fast!

I remembered writing a blog a few weeks after settling in my host organization and “fellows’ house” that to be able to survive the whole yearlong fellowship, a fellow like me needed a sense of oneself, an attitude of valuing of other’s time, and the humility to meet new but genuine people. Those three values I mentioned still hold water up to this time. Yes, it had changed in context but the essence is still very much the same.

Let me start with “my sense of self” which became stronger than ever before compared to the time when I was just starting up for this fellowship. It was somehow shaken with some of those events that transpired in the last six months, but at least I did not become crazy (big sigh of relief). More importantly, I could still “smile big inside,” sleep at night with peace and contentment and wake up the following day with vigor! (I have to emphasize “genuine people” because in the last six months of being in the fellowship, I met a lot of “untrustworthy,” “selfish”, “great pretenders” and “arrogant” type of personalities who did not inspire me at all no matter how “big” their accomplishments were. Such is a given fact and sad reality which I could not take out from my whole fellowship experience. Thus, I am focusing my energy to meet those real, honest, positive and soulful people, and for sure there are still a lot of them out there.)

More than that, I have valued other people’s time more than ever before. I have come to believe that respecting other people’s time also means putting more value on the people whom I shared my life with. It has not limited me of being always “on time on appointments” (though, it has been all the time my priority), but it has also meant sharing quality time with people who are dear to me. Thus, being with genuine people, I have realized that I needed to have a more “listening heart” than just being physically present with them.

Furthermore, I have shared experiences with soulful people who had become my real friends now from Nepal, Korea, Turkey, Colombia, Egypt, India, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Haiti, Mexico, Moldova, Vietnam, and the US. And even genuine friends from countries like Uzbekistan, Russia, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia, which I did not thought of having before. The list goes on, but one thing for sure that I love with these people is the common sharing and support that we had in the last six months or so.

Yes, the road in the last six months had been rough, bumpy and crooked at times, but this did not hinder me nor most of us of meeting genuinely inspiring people. Who can ever forget the moving and inspiring case of our dear Eva that brought the fellows in unity?

It has been a remarkable experience for me meeting people of so much diversity and wisdom, and making them part of my long list of “fellows.” The values of mutual learning and sharing from such people that I had met in the process had given me a priceless treasure that is worth keeping for the rest of my life!

Such experience has made me more humane in trying to understand and accept them and the commonalities that we share as human beings. Ultimately, time has been very essential for me since I never know if I shall have such opportunity again to share valuable time and experience with such wonderful souls.

Indeed, having such three values intact for the last six months is truly amazing! I am grateful of the whole experience especially to such soulful people I met along the way. Such joy is an epitome of valuing the whole experience of both the worst and the best in the fellowship.

With that said, I am ready and excited to face the surprises of the remaining six months! It might be a bumpy or a smooth road ahead, but, one thing for sure, the three values that I hold dear at the start of this fellowship would still be there clinging on my being on the next six months!

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