On Thursday morning, I was in the backseat of a car driving back from Wukasari village back to the city area of Yogyakarta.
Just two hours earlier, I had been panicking about maybe finding myself dead before I could fly home. Wouldn’t that make for an interesting story? Fever, headache, muscle aches and stomach pains - coupled with a hard ground to sleep on, a little bucket for a bathroom and the heat - meant that more than anything in the world, I wanted to forget this place and go back to the comfort of the life and food and people and language that I knew and dearly missed.
I was so relieved to be able to sleep on a mattress in an airconditioned room that evening, but my ego hurt because I felt like such a wuss.
These overseas experiences that we have give us a glimpse of what life is like in a world vastly different from our own, but at the end of the day, it is still a world that is not our own.
When we leave, because we can leave, we return to our lives as quickly as we arrived. We forget the pain. We archive our memories. Sometimes we reach back to them and it tugs at us, but we let go.
Before we moved in to the village, I did a brief internship at an alternative education school for poor kids near the Jogja airport. I was touched by how happy these kids were to be there, and how incomparable the value of money was between our lives - with our university educations and the money to travel by air - and theirs.
Their need was pressing. But you get distracted by more need, everywhere.
Experiences blur into other experiences. You lose yourself momentarily, because you are neither here nor there.
You are one foot in; one foot out - and how quickly it is, that we can let one go.