Archive for August, 2012

August 26, 2012

Selamat Datang Lagi!

by Tabitha Kidwell

Coming back to Indonesia, I honestly didn’t know how I would feel. Would I be sad? Happy? Lonely? Overwhelmed? Miss the friends and family I spent the summer with? Excited to start a new year here? When I got on the plane in Ohio, I really didn’t know how it would go.

But the minute I got off the fifth and final plane of my 40-hour journey, I felt like I had come home. Even the familiar sights of the Semarang airport and the congested, 1.5-hour drive to Salatiga brought me joy! My Bahasa Indonesia started to come right back as I was chatting with my counterpart (my go-to person at the university) Bu Rini. It seemed like I had been gone for two weeks, not for over two months!

And once I got to Salatiga, it was even better! I was so happy to open the door to my house and unpack all of my new goodies from America. It was awesome to ride my scooter and my road bike, re-enroll as a member at the fancy hotel so I could use their pool, and make a pot of tea and drink it while I sat on the couch and read the New Yorker. I haven’t done too much since I got back, but that’s okay – I needed a vacation from my action-packed vacation! I’ve had to report at the immigration and police offices, but otherwise, I’ve just exercised, read, and settled in. Life is as peaceful and as joyful as I remember – actually, it’s even better. The American coffee shop down the street re-opened in a new location, and they now serve staples like burgers, pizza, and chicken wings! And the organic grocery store (I like to think of it as Pedagang Joe’s) now serves homemade bread! The sun seems brighter and Mt. Merbabu, always towering over town, seems bigger.

Ohio will always be my home – it’s where my friends and family are, and I will always go back there. But Salatiga is a pretty close substitute for the next 10 months!

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August 18, 2012

Hi, my name is Tabitha, and I’m an Ameriholic.

by Tabitha Kidwell

You know how they say you have to hit rock bottom to accept an addiction and begin to heal? When I wrote my last post, I was somewhere near rock bottom, and America was my drug. I had been overindulging on all the wonderful parts of life here: baseball games, fresh summer berries, fast food, happy hour, pizza delivery, Target stores, friends and family, fried cheese, etc. This summer has basically been an America binge, and it has been awesome! Like any addict, I thought I couldn’t live without it. I was so sad at the thought of cutting off my supply of American amazingness and returning to Indonesia, cold turkey. It was so tempting to imagine a life here where I just had a steady stream of the good stuff. But I realized I was stronger if I could live without it, and my life would be better if I could just cut the habit. And, I started to remember all the good things about life in Indonesia: cheap massages, delicious peanut sauces, my students, my road bike, my quiet, peaceful house. In short, I feel ready to go back to Indonesia and work off the metaphorical hangover from my summer of fun in America. To be honest, I’m exhausted – and I’m really looking forward to having some time to myself again. I loved being around all the people I love here, but my life this summer has been skewed out of balance towards time with other people. The shift back to solitude will be welcome… at least for a little while.

So I’m excited to go back to Indonesia, especially after the last week of orientation in DC. As a renewing fellow, I didn’t have to go, but I wanted to meet the new fellows and help answer the many questions anyone moving halfway across the world will have. Also, it was nice that I got a $400 allowance for food, got to stay in the Omni Shoreham, and got to see all the people I know in DC! Though the orientation was basically the same as last year, I found it really useful. Whereas last year I was just totally inundated with information, this year I could sort through it all and get inspiration and new ideas. It really got my creative juices flowing about possible projects for the upcoming year. And it was great to meet the 14 new fellows coming to Indonesia! They are mostly in their late 20s (like me, for another 2 weeks at least!) and a fun and interesting bunch. Last year, many of the fellows were older and tended to be happy doing their own thing, but it seems like next year’s are a more intrepid bunch, and we’ll have a good community. So, while the summer of fun was great, the binge is over. It’s time to roll out of bed, have some coffee, and get back to work!

August 6, 2012

Summer of Fun

by Tabitha Kidwell

I’ve been home since July 2, and it has been a whirlwind of activity! Almost everyday, I’ve met friends for lunch and dinner, or maybe coffee, drinks, or a run. I went to a bunch of doctor’s appointments and took care of all my visa paperwork. I went to visit my Aunt Leslie & Uncle Tom in Tennessee, my Aunt Erin in West Virginia, and my Dad and step-mom in East Lansing. I hung out with my sister when she was home visiting. I got together with some of my former KMS students. I went up to Kelley’s Island last weekend with my college roommates and we attempted to re-live our college partying days. I went to a Columbus Clippers game, the Ohio State fair, Gallery Hop, Grandview CafĂ© Trivia, the UA 4th of July parade AND the Doo Dah Parade. I’ve spent time with my mom and my grandma. It’s been an amazing summer, and I’m so lucky to have a few weeks where all I really need to do is spend time with the people I love.

But now it’s August, and reality is sinking in. All my plans for the summer have happened now. I only have this week here, then I go to DC for a week of orientation, then I’m back just for one weekend, and then I leave. I just got my plane ticket for my departure on August 20th. I’ve started putting stuff in piles to get ready to pack. The Summer of Fun is coming to an end, and at the moment, I’m really sad that I have to leave my friends and family to go back to the other side of the world. When I was leaving her in Greece, my friend Libby said “I hate the way time works, how you look forward to something for so long, and then it happens so quickly.” That’s what I’m feeling now. I spent all year looking forward to coming home and thinking about all the things I wanted to do while I was home, and now it has all flown by.

Of course, the past month has basically been limbo – I’m between things, and just here for a visit. People are thrilled to see me because we haven’t seen each other all year, but if I lived here, it would be no big deal. The summer of fun isn’t exactly real life. I know that I want to go back to Indonesia, and I know I’ll be happy once I get there, meet the new people in my program, and start working on the projects that I have planned for the year. And then I’ll have something else to look forward to. And it will end, too… and that’s how life works. I guess I’m lucky to have to many exciting experiences and wonderful people in my life. I just wish time would slow down so I could enjoy it all a little bit longer.

At MCL with my brother Mark and my Nana Bets

Out for drinks with Maggie, Ann, and Debbie

Kelley’s Island with my college roommates: Erin, Tess, Michelle, Ashley, and me

At the Columbus Clipper’s Game

On the ledge at Graeters with some former students

The chocolate farm at the Ohio State Fair

At Dolly Sods Wilderness with my Nana Bets