As an English Language Fellow, I can renew my contract in Indonesia for a second year. I need to decide sooner rather than later if I will do that. My friend Julianne (who is posted on another island in this crazy country) already wrote a great blog post on this very dilemma. She took the words right out of my mouth (or off my keyboard, rather), so you might as well read her post to know what many of my considerations are.
The only thing I have to add is that my decision is further compounded by the fact that I’m still in the middle of the culture shock cycle. I have really good moments when I definitely want to stay here longer. And I have really bad moments when I question why I am here struggling when I could have a more comfortable life somewhere else. Today, for example, was a very good day. I lead a teacher development book discussion with faculty members in my department. I bonded with some coworkers over boy issues, gaining insight into the Indonesian dating world and providing them with a lot of laughs at the expense of my neighbor boy, who probably has a crush on me judging by the gifts he keeps bringing me. I tried out the spa that another neighbor runs out of her home and was floored by the utter professionalism and luxury of her operation. My “milk spa” included a massage, body scrub, body mask and bath, and was supposed to be 2 hours long. I was pampered for a full 4 HOURS. All for $20. On days like this I really like my new life in Indonesia and can see myself staying a second year.
Flashback to a few weeks ago, however, when I was praying to the porcelain gods during a horrendous case of food poisoning, and life here wasn’t so rosy. Since then I’ve had two more days of upset stomachs, which has pretty much turned me off Indonesian food for awhile and made me very reluctant to eat out. Not fun at all for a foodie. And food and sickness are just two of the drawbacks of living here.
Basically, I’m still torn, and I need some more time to decide. Since Julianne ended her blog with a compelling quote, I will do the same. It doesn’t really help me with my decision, but I do find it comforting nonetheless:
“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”