I’ve been trying to come up with a way to acknowledge passing the one-year mark in Indonesia—just over a year in country and just under a year at site—but I’ve had trouble figuring out how. I started writing a blog post about first experiences and personal records during my service, but a list of moments—though I treasure them—somehow seemed inadequate. I’m still here, still looking forward to tomorrow, and I’ve decided that that is acknowledgment enough.
Indonesia has stretched and squeezed me, pushed and pulled me, awakened intellectual muscles in me I didn’t know I possessed. The best tribute to this description defying experience that I can think of is to continue. I have one more year to teach and learn, make and do, shrink and grow.
Every day, I feel smaller in this big world, but every day, I also grow more rooted in my community. I’ve had to relearn things I thought I knew about myself and about how the world works, but I’ve had many willing teachers. Aspects of life in East Java that I haven’t adopted, I’ve learned to tolerate; the few that I cannot tolerate, I’ve learned to handle.
I came to Indonesia with few expectations, knowing that in time, I’d be reimagining the handful of goals I did have. Over the past year, I’ve continually reflected on those original goals, scrapping some and adjusting others, aligning them with those of my colleagues and students, and I’ve made many new ones. Thinking about them now, I know I have a lot to look forward to, as well as a lot left to learn. So let my salute to Year One be an amazing Year Two.