Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Every few months I have a mini break down where I realize that I cannot save the whole world right now, nor will I ever be able to save the whole world, and that the burden I put on myself to create the perfect resume that will land me the job where by the age of 27 I am saving the whole world from my desk with a view of the Empire State Building or the Capitol Building with a gourmet late by my side and an income exceeding 40 grand a year... Who am I kidding? Heck, now that I think about it is that even what I really want....
It's quite a load and I begin to see things as "What will this look like on my resume?" instead of "What does this add to my life?".

Resumes don't have anyone's name on it but your own. It doesn't reflect your quality of life. It reflects your academic and work achievements and attempts to give a possible future employer an idea about your ability to successfully fullfil job requirements. No one puts on their resume that they have a healthy body, a healthy mind, a good community of friends and peers who hold them accountable to be the best version of themselves.. A resume doesn't mention the quality of your relationship with your family or your outlook on life- if you are able to appreciate the small things and understand the meaning of living a full life. It doesn't mention if you are at peace with the Creator of the universe and have the right perspective about making a broken world less broken with the creativity and uniqueness you were made with.

I know these things are so much more important than what is written on a resume, but sometimes I get caught up in the rat race of the world and the bad economy and lack of jobs and the prospect of being out there in the job market again in about 7 months just gives me a headache and a heartache and I wonder if I have what it takes to make it. And then that brings me to think.... What does it mean to "make it"? What is dying well? One thing that still strikes me when I think about it, is that we are all going to die one day. From famous TV actors, to presidents, to multi millionaires.. Their fate and my fate is no different than absolutely anyone elses in this world. We all have one finite life to be lived, and none of us can get away from the question "What does it mean to make it?" What am I living about?

Sometimes I feel panicky when I think that maybe I will die not being known very well in any area of work.... In development or politics or writing or theology... That I will not have made a mark in any of these and that 2 generations after my death maybe a handful of people will know my name. I dont know though.. Because then I think- better to be known while I am alive, then work all my life and neglect relationships so I can be known after I die. Not that I think that anyone who has ever made a mark in the work world has neglected their relationships. I'm just saying that if the stress of making my resume better is putting stress on my relationships, it's not worth it. Let it go. Be where you are and do what you need to do to take care of your mind, soul, spirit and relationships where you are, and think about your resume later.

The world is not meant to be carried on a single pair of shoulders and I think when it does it's really a shame and ignores that fact that I'm part of a bigger humanity. We're not in this alone, and no one steals the show, because no one lives forever. Death means that our role in this world ends, and hopefully we will have done something to bring peace and redemption to the broken areas in us, around us, and between us.

I can deal with that. Since I have the bigger picture about life after death, there's nothing in that last paragraph that I can't live with. I have a hope in humanity (because I have a hope in the One who became human and by redeeming us, showed us how to live and how to work to redeem the world around us) and I have hope in the role of an afterlife that is just as lively and legit as life on earth.

So now that the world is off my shoulders, I see it was never meant to be there anyways. I will have an "Ugh life is too big for me, this burden is too heavy!" moment again in a few months but hopefully truth will hit me over the head again and I will be able to refocus before going insane.
That said, I need to get out of my head and out of the open Word document entitled "Resume 2010" and engage these people around me, starting with creating a power point for the Writers Forum at the university tomorrow and then visiting the work girls at the store next door. And write some emails to some people I miss a lot back at home. :) And make some tear-out snow flakes for my room. I love Christmas time and I don't care if it's 110 degrees outside, it's going to look like Christmas in here.!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Update on life

I realize it's been a while since my last blog entry and it's not because I haven't been doing anything worth blogging about. Often I'll be engaging in an awesome, unique activity and think, I so need to blog about this later! But when your internet is iffy and everyday you have those, "I need to blog this!" moments, time gets away from you and before you know it it would take 15 blog posts to relay your crazy stories.
I haven't been doing a very good job of personal journaling either which I'm mad about. Sometimes life's too busy and I'm too tired to go through the motions of remembering and writing.
This month of November has been hot. Maybe it's because at the moment I'm sitting in my underwear with a fan pointed blowing toward me and I'm still sweating, but I do feel like this month has been warmer than months past. I shower in the morning, shower right as soon as I get back from school, and usually shower right before bed if I have the energy.

In the beginning of this month we had MCC Indonesia team meetings in Bandungan. That's near Salatiga (where the MCC office is and where we had language training) and much higher than Kudus so it was colder. Actually, it was legit cold. I loved it. It was a great reminder that it's cold back in the US now too. It felt right. Team meetings were so great.. It had only been 2 and a half weeks since we started at our assignments but it was still good to be back with the office people from Salatiga and the other SALTers. I miss native English speakers and people who are accustomed to my culture when I'm in Kudus. I miss like minded people who understand the meaning of my being here and understand who MCC is and why I am here. The greater goal and vision. It was a crazy team meetings because of the natural disasters that had hit and were hitting Indonesia. The tsunami and earthquakes off the coast of Sumatra and the floods in Papua were over, but there were still relief efforts happening to address them. And then the Merapi eruption was still going on and people were being evacuated and then shuffled around as the danger distance increased around the volcano, so Jeanne, MCC Indonesia director, was both leading team meetings and trying to coordinate and work with MDS (Mennonite Disaster Services) to address the volcano craziness. It was great for me, actually, to see her "in action". I got to hear and see what MCC is about. We made lists and talked and our voices (even us one year SALTers) were listened to. I definitely feel a part of MCC Indonesia and appreciate that I am here not on my own but a part of a bigger effort to serve this country. We watched some good documentaries (ok, I slept through half of one but it started at like 8:30pm and we had had a pretty early morning and a full day that day so don't judge), eat some good food (some American chocolates, pretzels, and Karen even brought candy corn!!!!), had good discussions on the vision of MCC Indonesia, were updated on MCC's response to the natural disasters, talked about plans for MCC Indo team retreat in April (Bali?), and just hung out with each other.
It was at a beautiful green cabin-ish place and I loved the fresh feel. Kudus is pretty muggy, stuffy and hot.

Teaching has been good. It's not easy for sure and my patience gets low at times but I enjoy talking to the students and helping them understand new concepts. I've started making powerpoints and the students like the pictures and I think them reading the bullet points as they hear me speak on them is good for their learning. I teach about 2 classes a day and then spend a couple hours at my desk either talking to the professors, making power points, or talking to students who stop by. There is usually a professor in the class with me and I am technically an assistant. Some classes I only talk for about 40 minutes and other classes I have the whole time. My schedule is strange and not very consistent because the English dept director would like me to visit every class at least once so there is a lot of repeating information and new names to learn but I've started repeating classes a bit so faces are beginning to look familiar and I have started begin able to open up strait with teaching and not a long intro about who I am and what I'm doing at UMK. Starting next week I am meeting with groups of students outside of class a couple times a week and I think that will help with their opening up with me. They tend to be shy in class and that's hard when I'm teaching a class called "Speaking". They're great kids though and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. The meetings outside of class will allow us to talk about subjects of peace and current events and I'm excited to engage their minds with some critical thinking opportunities.

I'm getting sick of the food here a bit. I'm tired of rice and have started eating mainly either toast or cereal in the morning. Just everyday the same thing is tiring. I feel like the food has many names but much of the same ingredients. Rice, peanut sauce, chicken, meatballs, noodles, broth, sambal. I'd like to start cooking at home more and creating some meals similar to what I'd eat at home. At least once in a while. I'm thinking about biking into town now actually, to buy pasta and Presto sauce and make spaghetti for dinner. It's a bit expensive though.. The pasta is maybe RP 10,000 and the sauce RP 30,000... That's not much in US dollars but when you can get a full meal here for RP7,000, RP 40,000 becomes a lot. Plus I'm not sure if I have enough energy to face the traffic and the stares and the heat.

I've been sleeping a lot and I'm sure if it's because I'm sick and don't know it or if it's the heat starting to wear on me or if it's just normal. I sleep 8 hours a night and often can sleep two hours in the afternoon after school. The heat is just so tiring... I read a lot too. I've read several books and instead of boring you here by listing them, I think I will start a tab on my blog labeled "Books" and review them there. I've been reading random things.. Suspense, romance, memoirs, economics, poetry, modern history, religion... Just a mix of stuff I brought from the US on my kindle and then some from the MCC library. I love reading here. It's super for relaxing and provides an escape for my mind, plus I have time here that I didn't have when I lived in the US. It's crazy.. I will go to school at 7am and stay till noon, and then I might have an activity in the afternoon or at night but then that's all I can handle. My mind can't take any more stimulation than that. It's exhausting, being in these new situations. It's so so great for sure. But all the newness and hyper awareness tires a mind out and there needs to be greater time for rest than when I'm home in my comfort zone. For example I went to school at 7 today and then went home at 12:00. There was a wedding from 1-2 which I went to but then when I got home at 2:30 I was done for the day. Ready to not have anymore activities. I gauge myself.. I want some engagement with people and the culture everyday aside from classes in the morning. So either meeting a friend for baked chicken, going to a church meeting, participating in praise and worship somewhere, going to a wedding, visiting a family...... I don't want to get into the habit of going to school and coming home and reading all day. I could definitely do that but that's not why I'm here.

Because I don't have my art supplies, I think creativity in this time in life will come in the form of words so I decided to start another blog where I will talk about less personal things and more opinions and essays on current events and write some stuff on Indonesia. Hopefully it will be quality and something I can put on my resume. I know I haven't had time to blog much this month so you may be skeptical that I can handle another blog, but I think that if I severely limit my facebook time (which I plan to do anyways... With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, my spirit can't take looking at everyone's punkins and family gatherings and bright lights and cozy homes.. Nope, not healthy for me. ) and read a little less I'll have time to journal, blog here, and blog on the new blog. We'll see.

I'm happy and healthy. Missing home a little more often then in past months but excited for Jerica and then my sister to come at Christmas time and before I know it it will be spring then summer again and I'll be saying tearful goodbyes.