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!