I have now finished more than half of my time in Indonesia. It seems so long ago that I arrived here, but also like it was just yesterday.
During my first few months here, I had a mild case of culture shock. Thankfully, I got over it and finally started seeing the beauty of the people and the place; I finally began enjoying being in Indonesia. And even though I spent a few months wondering what the heck I was doing, I still learned so much – about myself, the world, and others.
First, I learned a new level of gratitude from witnessing in new ways the fact that many people have life far harder than I do. I will never again take for granted a solid roof over my head or a clean, pest-free environment. I’ve also learned how to be more flexible. From changing cities to changing rooms to changing teams, I’m learning so much more flexibility than I normally need to have.
When I arrived in Indonesia, I didn’t expect teaching to be something that I actually enjoyed, since I’ve never seen myself as a teacher. I always thought I was too impatient for that job. Yet, here I am, liking teaching my students and learning to be a good teacher.
A shining jewel among the many lessons I’ve learned here is the basic kindness and generosity of people. It may seem to go without saying that people are basically kind and generous, but examine your life and see if you really believe that. Don’t focus on what you say; check what your actions are telling you. My actions were telling me that I cynically believed that people always had an ulterior motive, that they were only o
ut for their own good and that there was really no such thing as a stranger with a truly kind heart. I was so wrong! From the start of this journey, I have been inundated with the kindness, generosity and friendliness of people: fellow co-directors, local volunteers, friends of volunteers, cab drivers, guides, tourists, the fruit guys…so much kindness everywhere!
I already feel so different from when I arrived here a few months ago. I feel like the same person but somehow different…better…new.Thank you, Indonesia, for helping me grow in so many ways.