Maiello: Defeat the Press
Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Ten days ago, I said good-bye to Indonesia. My last few months there were a bit of a whirlwind, especially my last four weeks. I barely had time to say good-bye and that makes me very sad. My year in Indonesia was one of the best of my life. It sounds ridiculously cheesy to say I found myself again, but it's true. After my mom's long illness and years in the wilderness, I rediscovered my love of adventure, of new experiences, and mostly of not being stuck in a rut. I also discovered a true love of my own language and a love of helping others learn it.
I wasn't ready to say good-bye to Jakarta. It's a crazy, frustrating, magical, contradictory place. It's in my blood and I'm certain I'll be back to visit often. I wouldn't have left but for an excellent opportunity elsewhere. So, I'm back on the northern side of the equator, but just barely. I'll be spending the foreseeable future in peninsular Malaysia, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
My new town is smaller than the town I grew up in, and that's saying something! I also happen to be the only foreigner in town, so I'm trying to get my head around the idea that everyone will know my every move. On the flip side, the beach is an hour away, the jungle is an hour away (the jungle that you can trek through--the other jungle is all over the place), Kuala Lumpur is two hours away, and I'll have the opportunity to take a trip out of town pretty much every weekend. Which is good because even if they sold beer in my new town, which I'm pretty sure they don't, I wouldn't be able to drink it without causing somewhat of a scandal.
I grew up in farm country, so small town culture is not unfamiliar. I'm even used to seeing lots and lots of road kill. In Indiana, that ususally meant a squirrel or a raccoon or a skunk or the occasional deer. Here, I've seen a couple monkeys and a big boa constrictor. That might take some getting used to.
I'll keep writing travel journals as I explore my new surroundings. But politics is starting to interest me again. I might have to get my dictionary of idioms out and refresh my memory on the definition of petard!
**The photo above was taken in September 2010, at Pulau Pankor, an island off the coast of western Malaysia, during a weekend visit.