Monday, September 19, 2011

One Year Ago

One year ago I had tears in my eyes, okay, pretty much running down my face, as I said “good-bye” to family and friends and the U.S. knowing I wouldn’t be back for almost 4 years…

Now I still cry sometimes because I miss friends and family and home and Target (yes, I really have cried over Target…we have a very strong bond Target and I), but by trying to daily choose to see the good and with lots of help from God I am learning little by little how to be content here in this new life.  Luckily I have an excellent Indonesian “family” of MAF friends to give me some of the love and support I miss from home.

One year ago I smelled that spicy, smoky Asia smell as we got off the airplane in Jakarta…

I don’t much notice that smell anymore, although the smell of the trash bins (so disgusting) and the neighbors cooking (yummy garlic and shallots sautéed in oil) always get my attention.  Also, burning plastic is an all-to-familiar scent that often wafts through our living room.

One year ago I had butterflies in my stomach thinking about what our little house would be like and how we would manage without our crate of belongings from the States…

Now I love our friendly house and feel at home here.  It’s been a long road to get to that point through an unwanted guest in our toilet, sewage woes, and the renovation of the rat dungeon AKA our storage area/garage, but now I feel really good about our house.  Although we did have a snake in our storage area last week…but it wasn’t big or poisonous, and it was actually dead since it very intelligently slithered into the fan on the floor and got chopped almost in half, so I’m choosing not to be scared!  And yes, we made it just fine through not having our crate  from the States for a month or so when we got here.  Now that I've mostly run out of the supplies of special American food I packed (just finished my last jar of Jif peanut butter, sniff, sniff) I have learned how to work with the food we have here.  My cooking skills have improved and my ingenuity has increased-necessity is indeed the mother of invention!  Anyway, I digress...yes, our house is a home now...I even put up fall decorations today, although I’m not holding my breath on the arrival of any crisp fall weather!

One year ago I knew how to greet people in Indonesian and introduce myself, but that was about it…

Now I am almost done with formal language study and can carry on a conversation reasonably well as long as the other person talks fairly slowly and doesn’t mind repeating herself pretty often.  I can read basic articles in Indonesian and write basic notes…I still struggle to decipher the shorthand in text messages from Indonesians though-I don’t know if I’ll ever get that down!

One year ago I had hardly ever ridden a motorcycle by myself…

Now I ride my Scoopy motor scooter all over town to get things done and visit people and I love it!  Motorcycles are so much more fun than cars, and I never get motion sickness on them, it’s great!  When we are ready to leave Indonesia one of the things I will miss most is riding my little scooter.

One year ago I would never have had conversations with others about the functions or malfunctions of my or their or their kids’ digestive tracts…

Yeah, I pretty much discourse on this topic on at least a weekly basis with someone.  Oh the joys of life in the third world!

One year ago I thought I would never get used to not drinking water out of the tap…

Now I don’t even think about it.  I think it will be really hard to be comfortable drinking water from the tap again when we are back in the States since I’ve conditioned myself not to.

One year ago I was horrified by the little black ants that are absolutely everywhere whenever I start cooking and constantly stopped my food prep to kill them…

Now I ignore them, mostly flicking them off whatever I need to cook…there are much more scary bugs to worry about, like huge spiders or creepy millipedes or big red fire ants…I just can’t worry about those little ants anymore!

One year ago I despised being hot and sweaty within 1 hour of waking up and feeling gross and sticky all the time…

Yup, I still don’t like that-some days I want to do my hair and make-up and have it actually stay pretty for more than 5 minutes.  I just want to feel cute every once in while gosh darn it!  And the constant sweat that forms on my upper lip, is that really necessary?  It’s like I’ve run a marathon, but really all I did was cook dinner.  I’m trying to embrace the benefits of humidity on my skin…maybe less wrinkles later because of the constant hydration?  Let’s hope so!

One year ago I wasn’t sure if I would make it through my first year in Indonesia…

And I have, and it was hard, but I did it with lots of help from God and those that love me both here and in America.  I am excited (and a little scared, but I’m going to try to focus on the excitement) about what the next year will bring.  It’s sure to continue to be a journey that provides lots of stories to tell!

My Fall Table

More Autumn Decor ( I get excited about decorating for seasons even though we don't have them here!)

Me after 1 year in Indonesia-shiny skin and here has reinforced the importance of being real with people, so this is the real, everyday me in Indonesia


  1. I think the real you is adorable! I sure enjoyed my time with you last week and celebrate with you all your adjustment milestones!

  2. You are beautiful! I know the heat is hot but you sure don't look hot in your picture :-)

    I appreciate your post and all of the things that have changed since you have arrived. I am glad you have adjusted to life there in Tarakan and I am sure you are thankful for the wonderful community you have there!

    I don't comment often but I read every blog you write and I love your writing!

    Oh, and I miss Target, too! I am not sure I have ever cried over it, but I have definitely had my fair share of dreams about shopping at Target!!!

  3. What great observations. Keep up the good work!

  4. Thanks Linda! It was great to spend time talking with you and hanging out last week. Thanks for the sweet thank you note & CD. Glad to see you are having a good, refreshing time w/your daughter and son-in-law.

    Thank you too Sarah! I appreciate that you take the time to stop by and read my blog. Hope things are going well in Wamena!

    Dad-love you lots!!! Glad you enjoyed my musings!

  5. I laughed out loud at some of your reflections, Sarah! And I don't do that often when reading. Thanks for sharing...I think one day you will really enjoy reading all of these memories! :) -H

  6. Glad to make you laugh Heather! I hope you and your family are getting used to life in Salatiga and that language school starts well. I think it's great to keep a blog for the memories-maybe for my kids to read someday and laugh at all my blunders!