Minggu, 15 Juli 2007

My First Written Contact to the Outside World

(Via Email)

Dear All,

Greetings from Jakarta, Indonesia.

I'm alive and well and back again, this time 6 degrees down under. I just can't seem to get away from the Southern Hemisphere. I have now landed a teaching gig here, teaching middle school, which I had vowed to never ever teach that level again in America. And lo and behold! I can't run away from it. The contract says 2 years and I hope to last that long. I'm living in a house of 5 girls plus a helper(Now that's difficult). Our complex is full of mansions, but not the one we're living in. While in this complex, you may very well think you're in America, except that extreme poverty is just right outside the community gate. Quite a stark contrast.

I haven't yet experienced a terrorist attack and, to tell the truth, Indonesia is a rather alluring country and I won't be surprised if I'll not want to leave when the time comes. (So, don't always believe what the media says.)

I've been keeping myself busy with school, church, and learning Bahasa or Indonesian language. I hope that I don't lose my English or start speaking with a new accent, which tends to happen.

To all the disciples, the church here is doing awesome for being in the largest Muslim country. There are about over a thousand of us in Jakarta alone and there are still others in the provinces, as well as Bali. The disciples are continually studying, baptizing and loving people, and I'm looking forward to learning many things from the Indonesian churches. I'm also living and working with disciples and can't ask for anything better. Also the music ministry continues to amaze me even though I don't really understand the lyrics. Indonesians can really sing!

I'm sure more challenges will come but for now, I'm trying to be grateful for all the good times and the bad. There were a brother and a sister from America who taught at the same school for two years. (So teachers, if you want to come out and experience this jungle adventure, let me know.)

I'd love to hear from y'all when you get a chance.


Kamis, 12 Juli 2007

The Price I Pay

When I told people that I was moving to Indonesia, their first question generally was "Why?" followed by "Are you out of your mind?" And oh the look on their faces, expressing such terror, disappointment and pity. People can't grasp why someone who can live and work comfortably in countries like the USA would want to move to places like Indonesia. Maybe I'm just weird, backward, and crazy. Or maybe my life if being let by the hand of God?

There are hard times when you travel to new places on your own, especially for a single woman. But eventually you begin to meet like-minded people and start to form your own community wherever you go, and you realize that you're not that crazy after all--well maybe a little.

Traveling is teaching me to be less of a control freak since there are many variables that come with it-- like during my layover in Malaysia. I ended up spending the night at the Kuala Lumpur Airport, freezing my little rearend off with a thin towel over me and constantly waking up to every announcement and noise of passerbys and having to endure the itch from sleeping on a flea-infested airport bench that probably had not been cleaned for decades--the experience that made the movie Terminal come to life. I could have sworn, but I won't, that I booked my hotel reservation online the night before and got a confirmation. But when I arrived at 10 pm, the hotel receptionist said my name was not on the list and I happened to lose the print out of the confirmation along the way, oh so unlike me. Then the receptionist, in such a stealth manner, whispered that he'd still give me a room after he obviously had marked up the price. I said no thanks since I had to wake up early to catch a 7 am flight to Jakarta anyway. I mean things like this are bound to happen when you need to watch your budget; however, the woes of traveling can also add the flavor to your stories. And don't we all love to hear the sufferings of others to ease some of our pain and know that we're not the only one. The fiasco continued all the way until I got out of the Indonesian immigration, but I won't go into detail right now. Needless to say, I was glad to have arrived and not linger any minute longer in transit...