So, this is it. A full year has passed since I said goodbye to my families, my friends, and my life in Indonesia. In my head this time never seemed to come but alas I sit in front of the computer and relive the past in my mind. This year has been a whirlwind for me. I finished up my freshman year at Gustavus a few weeks ago, a year that brought almost as many new experiences as Indo did (I guess I am a tough rugger now?), and even though college is a blast and living in my house again isn't so bad, I feel the emptiness. This emptiness is like that hole in my skirt that grows a little bit every time I wear it (the whole is now the size of my leg which I accidentally put through the hole the other day). At first it was a little I miss this... and I wish I could eat this... ever so often, but now it is to the point where every day I yearn for my mie goreng and hearing the morning prayer chant. The skype calls become more frequent as I desperately try to be with my friends though they are thousands of miles away. Suddenly home doesn't quite feel so homey anymore.
To be honest this is all quite a shock to me. Sure sure I've been warned about culture shock from reentry but I thought I had gotten past that after the first couple of weeks when I my sleep schedule was still off and I realized how much space in Minnesota is devoted to nothing. I had read other blog posts about how other rotex dealt with this, and it seemed like I was in the same boat as everyone else (everyone was sad to leave their country but happy to return to Chipotle). I don't think it was until Thanksgiving that I realized how much I missed my life in Indonesia. As I ate the biggest meal of my life (a highly anticipated one, about a year's worth of drumrolls leading up to that turkey and mashed potatoes), I remembered last year when my friend Fernanda came to my house with chips and cookies from the little Alfamart near my house to celebrate my American holiday. A simple gesture to make my day better, like so many other gestures that my family and friends made to make me feel welcome and at home in Indo, that crept into my mind as I devoured pumpkin pie. From that day, I noticed how much I missed my year. How special it all was. How lucky I was. I mean, not everyone gets to go on exchange, and to Indonesia no less. But my year was done, and I still have the memories, so I should be fine now...right?
Wrong. I miss learning bahasa with ibu Merna, struggling to grasp it as much as laughing at my horrendous -- yet improving -- abilities. I miss going out with Kak Diah who is still the best older sister ever. Bu Rini and Pak Herry joking with me after they'd come home from work...and so many other relatives and friends who made my life there such a joy. Those conversations, outings, jokes that linger in my mind make it so hard to just be happy here. Granted, I am happy to be with my birth family and school friends, but it feels like I am torn in two. How did that year go by so fast anyway?
If you saw my adventure fund (a cooler way to say piggy bank), you would laugh at all the things I am saving up for. Trips to Mexico and Russia to see my girls, volunteer trips across the world, a reunion trip to Indonesia, a trip to Sweden perhaps with Grandma...the list is much too long for my impoverished college student life but where there is a will there is a way. Or so I've been told.
For those who haven't talked to me recently, I have decided to live the life of a nomad (check in with me in two weeks, I am sure my life plan will have changed by then anyways). After my adventure to Indonesia, I have the travel bug. Now you might say "Why dear Katelyn, if you went to one country and miss it so much, then why would you go to another just to come home and miss it again?". Well inquiring friend, I am coming to realize that maybe this pain is a good kind of pain (like a "I just did a bunch squats" pain). I don't think we were put on this earth to stay in one place, because if that were the divine intentions then the world simply wouldn't be so big. We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong (as Pinterest so eloquently puts it) and I don't think these adventures should be a "someday" type of deal. We need to grasp any opportunity that we have or, as Randy Komisar puts it, there is the most dangerous risk of all -- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. So, Kate Holman is going to become a nomad who doesn't live the same year 75 times and calls it a life.
Sometimes when I think about how Indonesia has changed my life, I wonder how much everyone else sees. Like when someone tells me that my family (in Indonesia) isn't my real family...it bewilders me. They took care of me, taught me how to eat, to speak, to walk (if any of you remember how much I struggled to walk throughout Indonesia, then you can attest to this point). They were there for me when I was sick, when I was alone, when I was a pain in the rump. I cried just as much (if not more) when I said goodbye to them at the airport as I did when I said goodbye to the Holman gang. To me, of course they are my family, each and every one of them but to anyone else, they were just strangers nice enough to let me bum on the couch. Though I may not remember the name of every single person I met there, they all have affected me and shaped the way I see the world now. I am sure I am not the only exchange student that feels this way (I can almost see the collective nod from other exchangers around the world).
Maybe that is what makes me feel so torn here. Is it that I no longer live in one place anymore, but rather my heart resides in two countries now, divided between many households? Or is it just because, had I known I would feel this way later, I should have jumped up every morning in Indonesia and pronounced love for being there? In my leaving-Indonesia blog post, I said that surviving in Makassar was such an accomplishment and that if I made it there then I could make it anywhere. Makassar, I am sincerely sorry that I under appreciated you during my year. You are truly the most wonderful place, and I could not imagine my exchange anywhere else. When I say I left a part of me with you, I do not exaggerate.
Before this gets too long, I just want to say cheers to one year. I made it. I made it one year since from the best year of my life. One year since an entire lifetime was smushed into a year. One year too long. I would go back in a heartbeat, no question. But for now, you'll always be with me.
Though it hurts to miss you, more often than I would like, I will keep you alive in my memories until I get to see you again. I will live this divided life because I means that I got to have you. I will always choose this pain over never knowing you at all.
Until next time,
your wandering Holman