You know those moments (however brief) when you just can’t believe how lucky you are? I’m sorry to be sentimental, but right now I’m kind of having one of them.
Snuggling on my lap is our little kitten. Usually he is painfully annoying, but today – with the rain outside, and the breeze blowing through the house – I’m enjoying having this little water bottle for company. And right now I’m reading a book about the ‘experience’ of travel. Why do we travel, and what makes us enjoy it? And what makes us seek new cultures and countries – why don’t we just stay at home?
I’ve had those moments when I question my reasons for traveling. You know what it’s like – you’re in a foreign country, you’re tired and disorientated – and you wonder what you’re doing. And then there are those quiet moments amongst the routines of daily life overseas, when suddenly you lose that anchor and float towards doubting everything. So why do we travel? And why on earth did I make the decision to live in a new country for a year?
It’s easy to just say that my decision to move to Indonesia was a serious of unplanned events that led me to a) study a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies (Year in Asia), to b) choose Indonesia as my country of choice, and c) take that big jump and drop it all to move overseas. But in reality I think there was something underneath my consciousness that landed me in Indonesia.
I’m naturally pretty competitive. I’ll pretend I’m not, but in all honesty I’m one of the most competitive people I know. And I’m not just competing with others – I’m often just competing with myself. Moving to Indonesia was an opportunity to challenge myself – and let me tell you, challenge myself I did. I’m also very curious (I think I can say it comes from both Mum and Dad – two very curious people themselves). And finally, I happen to love people. I love talking to people, hearing their stories, and learning about their lives. Traveling is one way to satisfy these parts of my personality.
What’s more, traveling is an absolute privilege. Living in Indonesia has given me opportunities to visit incredible parts of the world, to meet a huge range of people, and to access experiences and job opportunities that I wouldn’t have even known about had I stayed in Australia. As an Australian student living in Indonesia, I’m part of a dynamic community that has and continues to make strong connections with Indonesia.
These thoughts and more are on my mind as my time in Indonesia draws to a close (for the time being). The pendulum is swinging between a little sadness that I’m leaving Bandung, and absolute excitement to get back home and squish my family and friends into a big fat hug. I’ve hit the final month mark and time is flying by. I’ve got a draft of my skripsi (thesis) finalised and I’m on top of some other projects I’m involved in…so now it’s time to look a bit further into the future. What exactly am I going to do when my program here ends?
Well quite a bit actually. First of all, I’ll be flying home for Christmas and I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!! Christmas has always been one of the best times of the year and I am really looking forward to being home with my family at last. Little babies have been born, cousins have grown up and seasons have been and gone. It’s time I caught up on it all.
I’ll be home for two weeks, and then I’ll be….coming straight back to Indonesia. After quite a few unsuccessful applications I’ve finally received an offer to do an internship in Jakarta with Mercy Corps for the duration of January 2015! Mercy Corps are running a program that will focus on delivering financial services to farmers in Indramayu – a poor agricultural region in West Java. My role as an intern is to help design and implement a media campaign to supplement the programs activities. I’m terrified, but I’m also very excited. (For more on Mercy Corps follow this link: http://www.mercycorps.org/indonesia).
And even though the idea of moving to Jakarta is a bit daunting, I won’t be alone. Other students from the ACICIS program (my current program) will also be doing internships with NGO’s in Jakarta. Even friends from Australia are coming over to do the same. And though we’ll be spread all over Jakarta, I’m hoping we’ll be able to catch up throughout the month. We’ll be a gaggle of overenthusiastic, Indonesian-inspired interns ready to take on whatever our internships throw at us.
After my internship I will head home and take the next step. I’ve decided to study a Masters degree in Urban Planning. At the moment I’m choosing between three universities – two of which are in Melbourne. So at this stage it’s quite a large possibility that when I do come home in February, I’ll be gathering my things and moving down to Melbourne!
It all sounds a bit hectic, but that’s the way I like it.
In the meantime, I think I’ll go back to my book – that is, if I can shut out the heinous noise of the afternoon Call to Prayer. I don’t mean to be blasphemous, but sometimes I wonder why they often choose such terrible singers to deliver their message.
Never mind, this daily chorus is something I know I’ll miss when I come home.
P.s Yesterday I climbed Gunung (Mount) Papandayan- here are some photos that I took!