Hi there, I realize that it has been approximately forever since I’ve written anything: I’m going to put down as much as I can in a short time.
So- as many people know, I made a pretty last minute decision to visit home for two weeks to attend my sisters high-school graduation, and it has been wonderful!!!!!
DON’T WORRY, I’m still coming back
Obviously it’s wonderful to see my family: I got to see my parents, sisters, aunts, uncle, and all four of my grandparents <3 which pretty much made my year- I’ve been able to attend my sister’s graduation (Yay!!!!! She made it!!!!!) attended a good friends wedding (congratulations again! You guys are wonderful!), and a pre-funeral gathering for a former teacher, which, while it was sobering to realize he is gone, was a celebration of the life of an incredible man.
I’ve been able to meet up with friends, catch up on the phone with those to far away to meet, arrange to meet with relatives of some current volunteers and trainees in the area, buy necessary clothing in sizes that FIT…it’s been good
Let’s talk about culture shock cause I know a lot of people are wondering what to expect:
First off, nothing has been as shocking as I expected it to be. Let’s face it, I lived in this culture for the first 22 years of my life- a year of something else isn’t going to throw me off too badly for too long. Yes, I had a small freakout when I realized that I could understand everything that was being said in the SanFrancisco airport (and with different regional accents!!!) Yes everyone seems enormously tall, and yes, I thought American money was a weird color for a few days, but again, 22 years of this didn’t just fade away, and it came back fast.
(going through Hong Kong was…odd though…)
I was nervous going into a grocery store the first time, but it turns out that the stores in Surabaya have kept me in decent practice (I was a little disappointed I couldn’t bargain for my fruit….but hey: I think I always have been)
I’ve been eating basically nothing but ice cream (cookies and cream), potato salad, and pumpernickel bread, but I’ve branched out into olive garden food, cobbler, brisket with baked beans, real mac and cheese, apples, CAKE, hot dogs, pizza, tacos, cinnamon toast crunch, honey wheat pretzels…you get the idea. Haven’t touched tofu for some reason nor have I fried anything. I’ve also eaten rice only once, and as it was smothered in cheese (and delicious Peyton!), I decided that was acceptable lol. and no: I am not still hungry.
(Noel, I googled Rhubarb to find out what it was, but I don’t think we have that in Texas…)
In other cultural tidbits
No one has called me fat or black sweet since I arrived in America. Nor has anyone told me I should get married NOW (since 23 is so incredibly old) I know that people mean well when they say these things, but its lovely to have a break from hearing them. For serious serious.
Unfortunately Oleh-oleh followed me back here darn it. My suitcases are going to be so heavy…argh
Speaking English at a ridiculous rate using all my idioms and slang is also marvelous, hot water, ovens, news I can follow (though sometimes I have to wonder why I bother), the radio (and the 70mph speed limit and lack of tour buses!), being able to wear whatever I want to without worrying that I will inadvertently offend someone, going out at night and walking down the road for two miles with my dog without seeing another living soul, piano (piano piano piano!!!!!), all so great.
I feel like me.
Still, I find that as wonderful as it is to be home, I do miss some things about Indonesia (yeah!): I miss people- my neighbors (even though they do call me fat haha) my host families,my students, the other volunteers (I’m so jealous everyone got to hang out with Diana again before she left!). Though I do not yet miss eating rice ( I could be finished with rice. Forever), I miss having rice fields out my door (the sunsets here may be just as good, but I’m not sure about the cows). I expecially miss having a job that I was doing every day- as much as I needed a break, I’m starting to gear up to get working again.
I needed this, but now I think I’m ready to roll down my sleeves and get back to work.
So. Two more days vacationing at home, and then I’m back to my other home and what is for now, my real life in Indonesia. Hope I can still speak the language!
PS I will NOT be leaving the Airport in Hong Kong this time…I believe I may have had enough of THAT kind of adventure for one trip lol