Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some Parting Words

"The end of a journey is the beginning of another."
Elementary school teachers stressed that all stories must be composed of three parts: A beginning, a middle, and best of all, an end. For my 10-year-old self, writing the endings of stories was the most satisfying component of the writing process. I mean, the work was finally over and the story could be shared and enjoyed in its entirety. All stories finished. All characters ceased to exist. And all plot lines commenced. 

So perhaps it’s for these reasons that I have procrastinated the last two months in writing the end of my Indonesian story. 

I graduated from high school in a language that just last year, I couldn’t speak a word of. I performed a mashup of American cheerleading and traditional Jaipong all while rocking traditional, purple kebaya. Empowerment washed over me as I surfed on some of the most famous waves in the world and witnessed the melting pot of culture in Bali. I fasted with my host family and observed the holy month of Ramadan. I volunteered with an English teaching language initiative. I awoke before dawn to catch the world cup games with my host father. I created my own fireworks show with my friends on a mountain top and celebrated my last night in Bandung. I fed bananas to the vacuum-like trunks of elephants. I frolicked in tea plantations and tried to keep a smile through the 347 goodbyes I faced. I paraded on Capital Hill with my exchange comrades and shared our stories with US Senators and Evan Ryan. 

With a story this good, how could I possibly wrap it up? 

The truth is... I can’t. I simply can’t wrap up a years worth of smiles and compassion and adventure and lessons into a few short paragraphs. And for now, I don’t think that I want to. Indonesia has left an imprint. The story will continue. And I will return sooner than later. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey, and encouraged me to keep the adventure alive. I couldn’t do it without you all! Sampai juga lagi! 

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