Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Reentry to Jakarta

I've been trying to formulate this post since we got home on Friday night.  Now its Wednesday, and although I haven't formulating anything smooth, I have reached my first empty 10 minutes.

You see, reentry to Jakarta has not been smooth.  I mean, we faced no major challenges.  Our luggage did not arrive with us on Friday night, but it did arrive at our home on Saturday afternoon.  Our carbon monoxide detector beeped gratingly all morning yesterday, but the batteries were replaced by lunchtime.  The alarm goes off again at 5:30 in the morning and the routine keeps me running until I fall into bed exhausted by 10:00 at night, but that's just life.  No, nothing in particular has made rentry difficult.

Still, its been a hard week.

Chalk a bit of it up to exhaustion.  Our family regularly travels halfway across the world, so suffering from jet lag to me means waking up ravenous at 3:00 in the morning.  Dave and I didn't expect to notice the 3 hour difference between Sydney and Jakarta.  But together with the exhaustion of vacation, we have found ourselves sleepy through much of the day and starving by dinnertime.

Chalk it up a bit to the third world.  You see, we usually travel in the third world, and then coming home in the third world feels like a step up.  But this time we traveled to Australia, and now it annoys me that I can't brush my teeth with the tap water or find any sidewalks.

But those both oversimplify.  The bigger issue is that Jakarta is not home yet.  And that is depressing.

As it happens, we usually take a trip about 6 months into our new life.  And upon return, there's this lovely feeling that we are walking back into our home.  It is at that point that I always realize, I'm really happy here.  I am home.

Except this time, I didn't feel that.  Not really at all. 

I like our house, and it feels like my own.  We have spread and oozed to fill every space and I have loads of comfy little spots for reading and chatting.  The house is good.  And from Friday night until today, I didn't leave.

Well, that's not quite true.  We did try a new church on Sunday morning.  And that distills why I am sad.

By this time, we've usually got the routine figured out.  We've discovered who our friends will be, and we're looking forward to reconnecting with them.  We've found the places we belong, and our absence left a hole.  But when we left Jakarta, no one felt our absence and there was no one to welcome us home.

Okay, that's not true for my kids.  They have loads of friends who felt their absence - both in the neighborhood and at school.  Their return confirmed for them: Jakarta is a happy home.  And its not really true for Dave, either.  He needed to get back to work, where his absence was noticed and his return was appreciated.  He enjoyed reconnecting with people.  Its more for me.

Big space there... 'cause I've got nothin'.

{deep breathe}

I finally ventured out today.  Actually, I did go to visit with a neighbor yesterday - a neighbor who I really like.  A friend.  And I walked to the grocery store once, too.  But today I got in the car and went to a coffee shop across town.  And now I'm at the school with Lilly, waiting for soccer practice.  I had a coffee and I got a bunch of work done, and that alone has cheered me up.  But just getting back into the city has cheered me up, too.   As I worked in the coffee shop, I glanced out the large bank of windows to see sometimes driving rain and sometimes sun glinting off the wet cars.  I rode through the chaos and enjoyed not having to drive, not needing to navigate the sea of people and cars and motorbikes and snack carts and one-way streets.  I was able to look out the window and see people pushing their own little businesses on a cart, people helping each other park, little pocket houses in strange little pocket parks and all of the grit and life on display in a huge Asian city.

I don't have a community yet, and that pains me.  But I'm still working on it.  Sitting on soccer practice in 20 minutes, I'll be chatting with the other moms.  We are returning to that church again on Sunday morning, where three different people noticed we were new and came up to introduce themselves.  I'm joining language classes next week, and my music classes begin on Saturday.  I like my neighbors and the parents of my kids' friends, and I'm trying to be more intentional about getting together with them.

Its coming.  Its just coming slower than usual.  But by the time we return from our summer break, this will truly be home.

Of course, by then we will have less than a year left..

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