This summer, I was asked multiple times if I missed Indonesia.
It seemed like a strange question; usually while home in the states I am asked if I miss America. Was it because I had lived in Indonesia for two years that people now thought it was Indonesia I missed while in America, instead of the reverse?
“Well, no,” I would stammer out, caught off guard all three times I was asked this question. “I mean, I never get to be in America. I am happy to be here.” And that’s the truth. I spend 10.5 months of the year away from America, and when I visit it’s a magical time– I breathe fresh air, sleep in my childhood home, drive a car while singing at the top of my lungs, visit family and friends, and I don’t think about work for weeks on end. Not to mention everyone speaks English, the food is amazing, and even the worst of America’s traffic isn’t half as bad as rush-hour in Jakarta.
So do I miss Indonesia while I am in America? No.
I talked about this with Teresa, my ultimate travel buddy. We were co-workers and friends while in undergrad, and have traveled around Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia together and are in the habit of flying together on our annual trips to the states.
At the time of our conversation, I was anything but missing Indonesia. However, we talked about all the things we will miss when we leave our adoptive homeland. The people, we agreed, would be at the top of the list. Not just our friends and students, but the Indonesian people, who culturally are friendly and warm. Teresa said that she likes the endless summer of Indonesia, because she doesn’t think she can deal with winter anymore, but miss the changing seasons. (Although, I would love if Michigan would get rid of one of its four and a half months of winter.)
Being able to walk or motorbike everywhere is also a huge positive of living in Indonesia. I like being able to walk to the grocery store in five minutes, and having Starbucks twenty-five feet from the entrance of my building is pretty fantastic, too.
Tempe, cheap massages, easy access to other countries, and affordable vacations are all on my list of things I will miss, to name a few.
Even though my list of things that drive me crazy may be longer than the list of things I will miss, the truth is that, in so many ways, Indonesia is my home. With the exception of the home in which I grew up, I have not lived in the same room or apartment for longer than 8 months until I moved here. I never owned pot and pans or had to maintenance AirCon.
So, do I miss Indonesia?
But I will.