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My Story (Interview with Yunnita)

This week we have Yunnita who was a shout out speaker and giving us her experience in the program as well as her experience living in Australia. 

What is your experience as a shout out speaker?

"Honestly, at the beginning of the program, I felt pretty clueless and didn't know what to expect. But as the program progressed, I felt that Shout Out had pushed me out of the comfort zone and helped me explore my own unique story. My experience as a Shout Out speaker has strengthened my self-confidence even until now."

Tell us more about yourself and your childhood?

"As a child, I always enjoyed writing and public speaking. But mostly I enjoyed listening to music! I remember every time I went back home from school, I always turned on MTV and Channel V to watch music video clips.

And when I watched those clips, I loved watching the background dancers as well and tried to imitate their moves in front of a mirror. But soon I felt discouraged with myself because I looked like a jellyfish instead of a dancer, hahaha.

About myself, I'll describe it based on my answer to three ‘popular' questions that people always ask when they meet me for the first time:

“Where do you come from?”

My answer to that is I was born in Jakarta. Now I’ve lived in Madrid since Jan 2017. But before that, I lived in Australia for almost seven years.

“And what do you do?”

I am a dancer, teacher, performer, and a blogger. But I see myself as a multipotentialite - someone who has many interests and creative pursuits, such as travelling, learning and connecting with people.

“What? A dancer?? What do you study before?”

During my seven years studying in Perth, I had a qualification in Patisserie & Hospitality (Diploma), and a bachelor degree in Politics & International Relations. While studying, I wanted to try a new and fun hobby. So I joined a dance class in 2013, which is called Lindy Hop and Authentic Solo Jazz (Just Google it, guys. It’s worth it!). And I’ve fallen in love with the dance, its music and history ever since!

In January 2016, I graduated with my bachelor degree and everyone told me that looking for the first full-time job is tough. But I didn't realise how tough it was until I experienced it! I applied for countless full-time jobs, but it only led to interviews and… rejection. Eventually, I hit a low stage of my life, and my best friend encouraged me to take a break and try new things outside applying for jobs.

The first thing that I did was to join a leadership program called the Catalyst Youth Summit, which was held by a multicultural organization, Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA). The Summit is a life-changing experience for me and after the Summit, I decided to create my blog, YOUR 3 AM CALL. I believe in the power of narrative because everyone has their own unique stories to tell.

The idea behind my blog is to share stories from people whom I consider as passionate about what they're doing, genuine and humble. For me, interviewing people is a new skill that I've developed through my blog. I really enjoy listening to people's stories because it teaches me one thing: no matter how ‘successful’ I think other people are, there’s always a story of struggle behind them that is also important to be heard. It reminds me to always be patient and persistent in life.

The second thing I did after I graduated was to compete in my first dancing competition at the 2016 Australian Lindy Hop Championships (ALHC). It all started as a challenge from my dancing friends and I thought to myself, "Why not?". So I applied to compete in two categories. Finally, the day of the competition came. I remember that I felt so sick because I was so nervous and I almost cancelled my registration.

I collected myself and gave it a go and to my surprise, I won both categories! A few months after, I had the opportunity to teach my first Lindy Hop class with a dance school in Perth. I moved to Madrid soon after, where I got an offer to teach Authentic Solo Jazz at Big Mama Swing. To me, teaching dance was a wake-up call. From that moment, I decided to pursue a career in dance. Dancing opened a new door where I can truly express myself, connect and share with people and respect myself and others for who they are. "

Your biggest struggle in life in Aussie?

"The first struggle is to speak the language and understand Aussie accent! Second is to find the balance between my cultural identity in Indonesian and Australia.

I notice that the longer you are away from your hometown, the more you need to ‘catch-up' with all the changes that happened while you're away. In my case, every time I go back to Jakarta I need to ‘catch up' with the newest trend in town, the most popular slang words in Jakarta, some ‘life dramas' in my family, and so on.

But no matter how hard I've tried to catch up, I end up being labelled as the ‘westernised' kid in Jakarta - whatever being ‘westernised' mean. And when I'm back to Australia, my ‘Indonesian identity' that I've tried to keep doesn’t fit in Australia. So finding the balance of my cultural identity is still a ‘homework’ for me."

Your best moment you had in Aussie?

My best moment in Aussie is to find out who I really am (my best and my worst) and slowly make peace with myself.

For me, coming to Perth as a 16-year-old kid who didn't know how tough life is has taught me a lot of things! But all I can say is those difficult moments that made me question my identity and beliefs are there to force me to live my life as a real human being - not like ‘robots’ that only follow whatever people tell them to do."

Things you loved your other shout out speakers? Any?

What I loved most from other Shout Out speakers is the way they tell their life stories - genuine, honest, no B.S! Believe me, you don't often get a chance to see the true colour and vulnerability of others. Telling your life like it really takes a big courage and is not an easy task!

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