Friday, June 17, 2011

Last of teaching

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Semarang, a stop over on my way to Salatiga. I'm going to a good-bye dinner for two MCC families here whose terms are up this year. The dinner is in Solo, about two hours away.
So much traveling. I'm glad for this stop. And, happily, Starbucks has internet.
I haven't had internet at home for a couple of weeks and the internet at the university is spotty.

What a different world I'm in right now than I was even 30 minutes ago. One world but so many realities. I knew that before coming to Indonesia, but I'm re-realizing it here. Which is necessary, because I'm not supposed to stay in the little world I was born. It takes intentionality to make others' realities our own- either intentionally going into the slums, or taking a plane and engaging in another culture, or taking on someone elses' injustice and advocating for something that in the end might never effect our own living standards. Advocacy is a central theme I'm noticing in the job descriptions I am most attracted to. I've been thinking a lot about it lately and what it means.

Ok, big news-  I'm done teaching at the University!! My last class was yesterday, and afterward I had some time where I hung out at my desk and students could come by and say good bye. There will be a farewell party on the 11th but I'm not sure if that's just a teacher thing or students are invited as well. So we took the opportunity to talk a little about what my year there has been like and what they have learned and what I learned. I was so surprised by what some of them said- some of them that I thought didn't even care about the Small Speaking Groups or the workshops talked about how much they appreciated them. Some even cried! It was good for me to see that they have been blessed by my being there.

The last few days I have been pretty calm emotionally which is amazing seeing as so much is happening. I got good news from home and had a very encouraging conversation with my mother. What a good friend. I also got my tickets for Portugal. I'll be going right from orientation to Portugal to meet my family for a week. Maybe that's what I'll need as a buffer between Indonesia and Phoenix, AZ.

Also my current calmness has allowed to see Indonesia with fresh eyes. It's one month today until we leave our placements and start three days of interrogations- er, assessment meetings, ;-) in Salatiga with MCC Indonesia. Things bug me less and I'm able to be awed by this amazing country again. On my way here to Semarang I saw a lot of things I like about the looks of this place and that I know I'll miss. Specifically the colors used on the houses and buildings, some of the older architecture, and the chipped paint. Other things- little boys playing soccer with their Muslim hats on, food sellers cooking on the side walk or walking their mobile kitchens up and down the road, women coming or going from the market with live chickens sticking their heads out of wicker bags, men with little guitars waiting to hop on a bus and entertain the riders for a few coins. This stuff is unique. And I'm glad to be noticing it again.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

One month and seven days

I should not be counting down the time till I pulang (go home) because there is still so much to do here that needs me to be present in mind and heart but it'

When you know something big is about to come, something that will be emotion-filled and difficult and wonderful, it's hard not to rush to get there and start going through the emotional process before it's actually time to go through it. It can be damaging to jump the gun, but it's hard to keep your mind and heart from doing that. And at the same time, you can't just ignore that this huge change is coming, because that kind of denial wouldn't be good either and might make the transition harder.

I know there are still some great times to be had in the next month and I need not to rush through them, but savor them and allow them to be what they are... If my mind leaves before then I know time will go by slower, and I'll miss out.

I had  really bad day about two weeks ago. My helmet got stolen, it was a hideously hot day, there were some cultural misunderstandings, I was lonely, there was a bee in my juice... I just wanted to go home. I sort-of checked out of Kudus then. Just, really done with it. So I did. I let myself just be done with caring and started to really look forward to leaving. And once I did that, a survival numbness took over that made certain things that would have gotten on my nerves not effect me. It works. When I get into those frustrating situations that tempt me to bike off a cliff, I just kick in the survival numbness and try to roll with it. But when fun times happen, I let myself enjoy them. It's hard- these ups and downs. Awesome experiences dispersed within grueling every day life. The heat, the molding clothes, the traffic, the stares, the food... I guess it's just life now, and the people make it worth it. I'm not here because I love Kudus and love life here. I'm here because what I get out of my interactions with people is precious. I believe I am having an effect on my students, on my small community, even on MCC Indonesia and my host family and whether I notice it all the time or not, this experience is growing me. Sometimes I surprise myself with how I've changed over the year. How I've adapted to things I thought I could never handle. It's made me stronger in ways that will help me in life beyond Indonesia.

I've been reading Genesis and Exodus and while these books challenge my view of God more than any other part of the Bible, one thing I learned and that has grown my faith is that we are not known by God and blessed by him for the purpose of our happiness. We are blessed by him to be a blessing to others- the purpose of Israel in the first place.

I'm not going to apologize for being an American and having a great education and having money to spend. I don't feel bad that I have been blessed. Guilt is not the purpose of blessing, the purpose of being blessed is to be a blessing. That way, no one is left unblessed.

So momentarily, in this hot muggy Kudus, I am giving up some of my blessings. My car, having my family close, having food I love, being in my element.. In order to bless. And I am being blessed in return in ways I never expected. Three good friends, a free trip to Bali, amazing natural beauty... There are definitely moments where I lose it and just need to have a bad day, but the next day will redeem the previous days anguish and you move on to the next emotion. No getting stuck in the moment but taking everything as it comes.

This next week is my last week teaching at UMK unless I decide to have some special seminars my last week in Kudus. After next week I'll be teaching in a village with some other SALTers- there is a week long English camp at a church. Then that weekend we will head to a youth summit in East Java for the weekend. That next week there is a holiday where I might head to the beach with a friend, then the next weekend is my church's youth camp. From the 6th to the 17th I'll be in Kudus and possibly travel a little with my host family. Then it's back to the MCC office in Salatiga from the 17th to the 20th and then it's home.

There's a lot of little projects I'm working on at the moment. Translations, recording some narration for my host dad, producing and editing a text book at the university... As well as the normal 7:30-1pm school schedule. This week will be hectic. There are short stories I need to blog about soon and I'll get on that. I miss writing. And there is so much to say...