What I’ll miss, what I won’t, and what I’m excited for at home

by Tabitha Kidwell

As I’m preparing to go home, I’m thinking a lot about all those special (or annoying) things that I won’t find in America… and all the amazing things I will find when I go home. Here are some of my thoughts…

What I’ll miss about Indonesia:

Massages
I’ve probably overindulged in massages these past 2 years. There have been periods where I was getting 2 or 3 a week. At under $10 a pop, why not?

Vegetable Peanut Sauce Dishes
There are 5 or 6 very similar Javanese dishes involving vegetables and peanut sauce. They all have different names, but seem to include differing combinations of 7 or so ingredients, kinda like the food at Taco Bell. (Chalupa, gordita, taco, tostada, come on, it’s all the same!)

Riding my Scoopy
I had a pink motorcycle. That will never happen again (but, actually, never say never.)

Fresh Juices
Mango, melon, strawberry, papaya, avocado (sounds weird but it’s awesome). Oh I’ll miss you.

Mangoes
I’m sad to be leaving just as mango season is beginning. When I tell people how much mangoes cost in America, they wonder why I want to go back there. Actually, now I wonder, too.

My Housekeeper
I haven’t mopped, dusted, cleaned a toilet, or done laundry in 2 years. I’ve barely even done dishes. It’s going to be a rough return to housework.

My Students
They are so sweet! Many can’t really speak English, but they are so nice and hard working. I’ve gotten hourly text messages the past few days: I will miss you! Miss, safe travels! Miss, we love you soooo much. So sweet.

Feeling Like a Celebrity When I Walk Around Town
It’s flattering to be stopped and asked for a photo when walking down the sidewalk, even if they only want it because I am white.

What I Won’t Miss:
Ants

Leave out a sugary cup and you’ve maybe got 5 minutes before they descend. They’re everywhere. They even use my body as a ladder to get to food. I don’t even look anymore, I can just tell when one is crawling on me and brush it off. I was a little worried that, if I sat still for too long, they would slowly disassemble me the way they did with the cockroaches I smashed.

Cockroaches
Speaking of, I hate them, too. I got to the point where I didn’t even need to see them, I knew their sound. That is too intimate.

Heat
It’s hot here. It will be in America when I get back in July, too… but then it will be autumn. And then I intend to complain about the cold.

Rice
I just can’t do it anymore. Maybe I’ve eaten my quota for the year. Or for life. At my going-away luncheon, I just took fish and vegetables and people were really concerned. “No rice? You will be so hungry!”

Pollution
It’s not so bad in Salatiga, but I still hate sucking in exhaust when I ride or run along the main roads, and I won’t miss the haze that sets in when everyone burns their trash in the late afternoon.

Having to Wear Extremely Modest Clothing
I’m going to show my knees. And shoulders. And collarbone. Maybe even at the same time… eventually.

Feeling Like a Celebrity When I Walk Around Town
Ok, it’s charming for schoolchildren to laugh and point when you pass, but, believe it or not, it does get old.

What I‘m Looking Forward To:
Driving

I hope I can remember which side of the road to drive on. Good thing my mom encouraged me not to sell my car since now I am unemployed and might have to live in it.

Bars
Happy hour! Draft beer!

Target
They have everything there, all under one roof. And you can reach up and take it off the shelf. And you can walk down the aisles without 400,000 people being in your way. And they have icees. Or so I hear.

Getting an iPhone
I heard there is something called an emoji, and I want to know what it is. Also, I’ll need to find where the nearest Target store is at all moments.

Moving into an Apartment
Ok, this won’t happen for awhile, but I’m so excited to take the boxes out of my mom’s crawl space, remember what is in there, and put it all in cabinets. I love packing and unpacking (probably why I travel so much).

Running & Biking with Friends
I did this here, but not enough. And not in places where it is a normal thing to do and adolescent boys didn’t chase after us.

Friends & Family
This, of course, is the big one, and the reason I’m willingly leaving my wonderful students and colleagues, my scoopy, the massages, juices, and peanut sauces. I have had a wonderful 2 years here, but it is time to come home and spend time with the people I love most in the world. If I can tear myself away from my iPhone, that is. (Can someone please explain who this Siri is and why she knows so much?)

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