Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Things I look forward to about being in the States

There are so many things I'm looking forward to in the US:
  • Working on my dissertation. After basically not doing a ton of writing for the past year, I am more than ready to dig in and work hard at getting this done, and done well. I look forward to seeing the various experiences and ideas all come together...
  • Being with friends who've known me for a while, who've walked through my time in Kenya with me, who know me as more than a preschool teacher. Not just one or two, but a variety of friends from different walks of life
  • Talking long talks to these said friends about things we're all passionate about and being inspired and challenged by them
  • Getting face-to-face time with good friends rather than having to rely on Facebook, e-mail or Skype to interact with them
  • Having the freedom of driving my own car
  • The joy of a quick run to the grocery store, picking up ingredients to make a great salads and amazing dishes and enjoying these with good friends
  • Seeing a few good movies! Due to bizarre political issues, Indonesia rarely gets any current English movies
  • Sweet corn season in Iowa. I can eat Iowa sweet corn every single day. It's so good, I don't even add salt or butter. Just cook it for 5 minutes and that's it!
  • Sane traffic, and traffic rules that make sense to me... In Jakarta, much of the time on the road is spent taking obscure, roundabout routes for what could be a simple trip (e.g. in the US or in SA, the trip from the freeway exit to my house would include two simple right turns. Here, it is one left turn, two U-turns, and another left turn!)
  • Feeling safe when I cross a road on foot (the bizarre road rules here are to eliminate traffic lights which supposedly slow down traffic. However, imagine having to cross a 3-lane road on foot with a constant stream of trucks, buses, cars and scooters coming at you!
  • Going for early-morning walks with my friend Nan and her dog, Rocky. Enjoying open roads, fresh air, birds, no early-morning traffic, no early-morning humidity
  • Going to a great church with great friends and hearing nourishing, thought-provoking teachings
  • Going to a Beth Moore conference in Nebraska with friends
  • Taking in some other road trips from time to time
  • On days when I won't be in the library, writing, finding a cozy spot in one of many favorite coffee shops and reading
  • Taking a trip out West to see my sister and her family
  • Writing, writing, writing...
  • Somewhere along the way, finding out if the next season will mean I move to Malaysia or not
  • Getting my "cup" filled, and writing from a place of fullness
I'm sure I'll think of more...

Anything you miss where you are living now, or looking forward to having, should you be going on a trip home soon?

Things I will and won't miss about Jakarta

Recently, I started making a mental list of things I will and won't miss about Jakarta. It's part of the transition process. At least, for me it is, especially since it's not l simply want to get out of this place. Nor do I dread leaving. So it's good to acknowledge some of the process of letting go...

I will miss . . .
  • friends who have crept into my heart, some over the course of the year, some just in the last few months
  • some Indonesian foods, like beef rendang and chicken sate
  • being close to some pretty amazing sites to explore on weekends
  • cheap taxi rides
  • working with little ones and introducing them to the amazing world of reading, writing and arithmetic... I especially love seeing the light in their eyes when they understand concepts for the first time
I won't miss . . .
  • having to take taxis to get around. Though convenient and affordable, I'm far too independent to be dependent on strangers to drive me places
  • teaching preschool. It's been a season through which I have learned much and for which I am thankful. But I won't miss being a preschool teacher. It's what I did, not who I am
  • Jakarta (neither the traffic, nor the heat, nor the crowdedness, nor life in general here)
I don't regret having spent this year in Indonesia. I gained much insight for my dissertation. I gained interesting insights into my field of study. I had fun experiences. I made dear friends. I also had some unforgettable experiences relating to my job search... All in all, it's been a good year. And one that I'm OK with it being over.

Now, what are some things I'm especially excited about for the next season...

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


My mind is all over the place. Sort of like my stuff right now.

Packing up one's life is never fun. At least not for me. It doesn't matter that I've done it often. Way too many times. I think I live a fairly simplistic life. Compared them whom, though, right? When I pack to move, I'm always astounded by some of the things I have. Things that I move from place to place. As much as I don't mind starting over (buying new silverware, again, new plates, again, outfitting an entire kitchen from scratch, again), having old stuff, for me, has more value than just the price.

It's about having a history, a story. There's this little ceramic tumbler that dates back from college days, given to me by a dear friend. My kicker espresso maker. My favorite cheese cutter. Pieces of jewelry that have memories attached. Little things that make transitions a bit more palpable since it doesn't feel entirely like I'm moving into a stranger's house. Again. Then there are bigger pieces. Framed photos. My giraffe painting. My favorite carpet. A quilt friends made for me. Things that are simply me. Mine.

Believe me, I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff. Again. In the end, it's pretty amazing that right now, my life fits in just 4 pieces of luggage and 8 boxes. Maybe 9.

Simplicity, right? Except, in two weeks' time, I'll inevitably have to start buying again... Toiletries I'm not lugging around the world. Some of the bigger stuff can wait till I move into my own place again. Wherever that may be.

But when I start over, again, there will be evidence of a life once lived on a different continent, at a different time in my life.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Adele's Update: June 2011

Last days as "Ms. Adele, preschool teacher." At the end of next week, I'll move on and be a full-time student for a while.
I know I'll miss these pumpkins. I've learned a ton from them this year...
It's been a very long time since I've written a general update. And since a major change is underway in my life yet again, it might be good to bring you up to speed on the constantly-changing world of Adele...

Weren't you going to Indonesia for two years?
When I moved to Indonesia last summer, I thought it was for two years. The plan was to teach little ones at the new city campus of an international school. The teaching load would've afforded me the time and energy to devote my evenings to completing the final phase of my studies: my dissertation. And then the plan was to go try and find a teaching position at a university somewhere around the world in my field, Transformational Leadership.

However, a month into my time here, I was asked to move to our other campus in southern parts of Jakarta. The move meant a drastic increase in my teaching hours, and I realized right away that this would have long-term implications on my plans to finish my dissertation and move to things that's more up my alley. So I renegotiated my contract with the school and agreed to stay on for just one year rather than the original two.

So what's next?
This meant that I had to start my job search anew January. Though it would be way easier to find a position in the international teaching circuit (I could've even stayed on and just moved to teaching high school, what I'm trained to do). But that's not my long-term goal nor my passion, and I thus decided to step out in faith and apply for university positions again.

One opportunity in Kuala Lumpur looked very good. We started a dialogue, and somewhere along the way, someone higher up at the university sidetracked my application and asked me to instead consider a position at a partner institute. It was a position that would afford me amazing opportunities to work alongside a brilliant strategist in the field of transformational leadership. Everything about the position seemed to fit perfectly. All in all, I had 13 interviews, two of which were formal presentations to a panel. Everything looked very positive. But in the end, I was told they thought I'd be bored in the position, that I'm an abstract thinker and they needed a concrete thinker... I would still love to work with this group somewhere down the line in a different role. Time will tell.

So I went back to visiting with the university in KL about the original position there, the one I first applied for in January. They told me they'll make a decision by July... It's a great position, and I'd love for it to work out. But I won't just hang around Asia and wait to hear.

Where are you flying to when school closes?
School closes in two weeks' time, and I get to return to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to focus on working on my dissertation. Cedar Rapids is home for me when I'm in the US. I could go home to South Africa, but studying wouldn't be as easy there. Hence, I'm going to Iowa, where I have a car and community, and access to great university libraries.

I am very excited about diving into my dissertation and having time to focus just on being a student. I am excited about living with good friends for the next few months. I'll be staying at my friend Nan's house and making use of one of the college libraries in town for my writing times. I look forward to just being with close friends. I look forward to having the freedom to get into my car and go places. I look forward to getting as much of my dissertation done as is possible! I look forward to going to a Living Proof event the weekend after I arrive. I look forward to doing some traveling around the US. I look forward to going to see my sister Liesl and her family, and helping them as they move. I look forward to seeing my adorable nieces. I look forward to getting my cup filled doing things I love, seeing people I love... and then writing from a place of fullness.

Once I know whether I got the job in KL or not, I'll obviously post an update. But for now, my goal is to be a full-time doctoral student for the next season.

What the season after that will hold, God only knows!