Monday, December 9, 2013

Generosity: The New Normal

Today was a typical day. Well, as typical as it can be for an eighteen-year-old, bule living in Indonesia. I went to school, took my last final, and began my walk home. I was filled to the brim with good vibes as people sent me sweet smiles and waved in my direction. Just as I turned the final corner to my house, a woman whom I had never met before flagged me down.

Her: "Halo! Pulang?" (Hello, are you going home?)
Me: "Ya, Bu! Pulang!" (Yes, I am going home)
Her: "Awww, bagus. Kamu cantik sekali, dari mana?" (Good. You are very beautiful, where are you from?"
Me: "Terima kasih! Saya dari Amerika." (Thanks! I'm from America.")
Her: "Amerika, wow. Kamu pernah coba kue Indonesia?" (Have you ever tried Indonesian cakes?)
Me: "Ya, Saya pernah. Enak sekali!" (Yes, I have. They're very delicious!)

The small chat continued for another five minutes while the cake seller dished up some goodies. Next thing I know, the cake seller is handing me an entire spread of Indonesian cakes and pastries. The woman who I had just met smiled. Confused, I looked to the woman with a puzzled face.

Her: "Ini untuk kamu!" (These are for you!)
Me: Speechless at this woman's hospitality.

Things like this happen on a daily basis. I can't count the number of times my neighbors have offered me rides as they see me walking. Or how many people have paid for my angkot rides. Or how many street food vendors have given me free snacks just to give me a taste of all Indonesian foods. The security guards in my neighborhood always make sure I'm safe. My friends at school always have my back if I don't understand an assignment or I get lost in translation. My teachers are patient, and offer me support when I don't understand test questions. School kids run to me with pictures they drew for me at school. Random strangers will offer to share their umbrella when the silly bule forgets hers. Acts of kindness, aren't considered acts of kindness here. Acts of kindness are the norm. And I. Love. It.

1 comment:

  1. Mal :') I am thankful for people like you who reminds me of what kind of country I am actually living in. You remind me of all the basic value and the beauty of my own culture when people, including me sometimes, have been taking this for granted and sometimes forget to be thankful for simple things like this. Keep writing and inspire! :')