This morning, I boarded a small plane out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for a journey of more than 30 hours to my next destination: Jakarta, Indonesia. Over the past few days, one item after the next got checked off my to-do list. All that really remains is to transition well to a new country, a new culture, a new world. Not that that was on the written list. Just the mental one.
It's a tricky business, at times, this international life. Moving back to Taiwan 16 months ago was easy. I knew the city, the language, even some people. I knew where to go for the best dumplings. I knew that I loved Chinese food, and I knew where to go to escape the busy-ness of the city.
This weekend's transition is different. I've never been to Indonesia, let alone Jakarta. I know no Indonesian words (yet). I know little about the culture which will inevitably become part of my most certainly affect my worldview.
But I will learn. Of that, I am sure. I'm sure I'll come to love Jakarta and its people. Over and over, friends who have been there emphasize how amazing Indonesian people are. They're super friendly, I am told. I've also read that no matter what, they smile. Even when trying to solve a problem. I'll have to remember that. I'll also have to remember that Indonesians never use their left hand to give or receive anything.
I look forward to discover for myself what makes Indonesians unique. I know enough not to make blanket statements about a culture based on interactions with one or two people. No stereotyping, right?
And so, as I set off for this new chapter, I am excited to see what I'll learn about my new home, about myself, about life itself. And about the Source of Life. I will blog, occasionally. Maybe you, too, will come to love the people and the places of Indonesia.
Life still is good, indeed.
For those who wonder, I will continue working on my dissertation, which has been put on hold for the summer and for the transition time.