It’s weird to wear socks.

My feet are covered! My feet have been breathing for a year, as I was sandal-clad in Indonesia. The only times I wore socks and shoes was when I went for a run or a long hike, which wasn’t all that often. Most people in Paciran wore flip-flops. There are so many of them. You can buy some for 10 000Rp, or maybe even 7000 if you’re a good bargainer. Or you could get a mismatched pair on the beach, there were so many washed up on the shore from the tide. Since I left all my footwear back in Indonesia, coming back only with my books and batik, I purchased some new sandals in Canada….for $15, they were half off too. That’s like 15 meals in Indonesia.

I miss you, Indonesia.

I miss waking up at 5am to see the sunrise, and going for a walk in the cool air, feeling the temperature rise as the sun rises.

I miss eating food so spicy I was sweating. I tried to make some basic Indonesian dishes here – sego goreng, oseng-oseng, sambal tomat, sambal kecap. But it’s not the same. I can’t find the right onions, or the right chilis. And I don’t think Canada imports rice from Indonesia. The closest thing I could find was from Thailand. It tastes pretty good. It tastes even better when I eat it with my right hand.

I miss the flexible rules. SSHRC won’t let me hand in a late application, that’s for sure. They are even reminding me every time I log in: 7 days 18 hours and 6 minutes until the deadline.

I miss being confronted by things I would never think of, being challenged in my religious views, my feminist views. But I am comforted to be back home and not be challenged, and just ‘be’.

I miss the predictable weather. During the dry season, there is no rain. During the wet season, there is rain everyday. Everyday the weather is changing in Canada, and I don’t know whether or not to wear rain gear, or a sweater, or a t-shirt. So I bring it all, and wear a giant backpack.

But most of all, I miss the people I became close to in Indonesia. In Paciran, I shared so many experiences with my amazing friend the Research Assistant/Cultural Advisor/Gossip Advisor, and also with her family! I lived under one roof with a family of 10 people and 4 generations. The grandmother would just laugh at me and smile. The 2 year old would ask me to sing “bunny road (Bumpy road)”. The sisters would hang out and get the best sego goreng from the next village over. The father who would tell me to be careful, that they are my family in Indonesia, so don’t worry that I’m sick; they will take care of me. The neighbour girls across the street calling out to me, asking me to go for a walk on Friday. All the people in the village were so generous and welcoming, almost insisting.   In Yogyakarta, it was my friends who kept me sane – cards night with my bule girls, dinners at warungs with those ladies, cycling and rock climbing with Andre the non-giant, language learning with the patient tutors. Even though I wasn’t living in Yogya anymore, it felt like I always had a place there because of my friends.

While I can remember all these things, and cherish these things, I cannot replicate any of these things here in Canada. And so all I can do is miss them, send them a message that I hope to visit soon, and have a good cry.


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