“I like the privacy,” says Mohammad Resyad Mulyadi.
That is understandable, considering Mohammad, also known as Ray, moved from Jakarta, the enormous, dense capital city of Indonesia and home to nine million people, to live in Port Hardy for a year as a Rotary exchange student.
Ray, 17, sits in Carrot Park with a white headband holding his wild black hair back, and reflects on his year in Canada.
Ray has lived with five host families throughout the year, and attended Port Hardy Secondary School. He says that attending the school was very different than what he is used to.
He thinks the First Nations culture in the North Island is amazing and notes those students were the ones who embraced him first.
He says that experiencing Christmas with his host family was exciting, especially because they were at Mt. Cain and the family had young children.
He misses the food from home, but has developed a taste for prime rib and chanterelle mushrooms picked from a secret spot in Port Alice.
Other highlights have included fishing, seeing lots of different wildlife, experiencing Canada Day, and enjoying Canadian music. A few days before Ray goes home, he will see Rush perform in Vancouver.
Ray, a Muslim, is currently fasting for Ramadan. When he returns home in mid July, it will be the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the Feast of Breaking the Fast.
Shortly after he will begin his final year of high school, but he is determined to come back to Canada to attend the University of British Columbia for engineering.
“I’ll go find a way,” he says of the work that awaits him in order to return.