I’m back online after a two-week internet hiatus and a much longer blogging hiatus. It’s been too long. During my trip home many of my friends told me they read my blog and I was really touched to hear that because I didn’t know so many people were keeping up with what I’m doing here. Naturally, I was inspired to blog more and of course I have utterly failed to even write one post since going home. My apologies, loyal friends.
A brief recap of the recent months:
In June I went home and had a lovely time. I didn’t have any troubles adjusting to the food or time difference but culture shock hit a little when I saw how clean and fresh everything was. I forgot what grass smelled like. And the first night back I couldn’t sleep because it was so silent. I didn’t have the lullaby of crickets, frogs, mice/rats, cats, geckos, TV blaring, motorcycles roaring past the house, people shouting, and mosques call-to-prayer-ing. Believe it or not, I can sleep through those noises now and I genuinely missed them when I was in America. I had to wear earplugs to block out the silence so I could sleep. I also had trouble walking on the right side of the sidewalk. I wondered why all the other pedestrians were walking around me like I was an obstacle – that’s why I realized I naturally walk on the left side of the road after one year in Indonesia. I was cold practically all of the time. I missed my warm blanket of humidity (words I never thought I’d say).
Being with my family was simply amazing. I love them and I loved every minute I spent at home. We did so many activities. I went to the beach, Becca and I moved David home from college for the summer, I went strawberry picking with Mom and Hannah, I had a family BBQ, I visited Sellwood Pool for Hannah’s first ever day of work, and so on. I got to see my favorite Portland people (shout out to Elizabeth and Olivia!) and go to church three times. I ate lots of great food. After about a week and a half of that I went up to Seattle where I visited many of my college friends, visited my old office where I worked for nearly 5 years, and – most importantly – got to be a bridesmaid in Charis and Josh’s wedding. It was an honor and a ton of fun. That whole weekend was so special and I’m pretty sure I was still glowing afterwards for at least a few weeks. Then it was back to Portland for a few more days of family time and running errands and then I was on my way back to Indonesia.
Coming back to Indonesia was just as smooth of a transition as going home. I was surprised. I expected to feel really homesick when I first got back but I felt right at home when that first blast of humidity hit me in the Jakarta airport. I loved being able to communicate in Indonesian with the people around me – so much so that I practically accosted the gentleman sitting next to me on the plane in my eagerness to speak Indonesian. He coolly responded in English. After a sketchy ride home with a potentially drunk driver, my wonderful host family picked me up from the side of the road at 5 AM and I was back.
I was a little concerned that my language skills would be rusty after a few weeks in the States but there was no better way to brush up on them than instant immersion. After crashing for a few hours at home I got to go visit my brand-new 5-day-old host niece (along with the entire extended family – none of whom speaks a word of English). Baby Aqila is absolutely adorable and I got to witness and photograph her hair-cutting ceremony that took place when she was one week old. No promises, but hopefully there will be a blog post about this coming soon.
July a month full of language camp, VAC meetings, and our Mid Service Conference (aka, tons of PCV time). School started slowly and then stopped again so everyone could start fasting. Then, school resumed with a shortened schedule. I met my classes a couple times and then in August we had another two week break for the Idul Fitri holiday. That was my recent two weeks sans internet. Blog post coming very soon (tomorrow?) about my second Idul Fitri here. After the festivities I spent a few days at the beach in Pacitan with some friends. We cooked extravagant meals, swam in the ocean, read books, played games, and relaxed. It was one of my favorite vacations so far and I can’t wait to go back.
Now school is back in session (for reals) and I’m staying quite busy grading pre-assessment tests, making posters for the classroom, and mapping out this semester. In my down time I’m trying to cook more and do more yoga and hopefully blog more and describe different cultural experiences I’ve had here. I’m really excited for this second year – it’s gonna be a good one.