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!