I can barely wrap my mind around that fact. I still remember working on the post about 'only' having seven months left. I can even remember writing about having 90-something days to go. This is such a cliche, but time really does fly when you're having fun... and when you're on exchange.
The past six months have been more formative for me than entire years in America. I look back at the girl who boarded the plane in Boise and she is lightyears away from who I am now. For one, my appearance has changed: my hair is longer, back to brown, and I've lost weight, probably due to the fact that I can't secretly buy myself McDonald's every other day.
I also feel different as a person. It's still really early to tell (I have major reflection to do, I know), but I'm more secure as a person, more confident, better at communicating, and bilingual to boot. Exchange is the hardest thing I have ever done, and it's tested everything I have and reshaped me to become someone different, someone better than who I was before.
As you all know, right after I published my YOLO post, my friend and fellow exchange student Morgan passed away in Bali. That was kind of the catalyst for the low point of my exchange, which lasted from December through February. I know it's normal for students to hit that point but I feel like so many factors combined to drive me to slam way past rock bottom to the other side of the planet.
During that time, as a rule days were bad. I passed through them as if I were walking through mud wearing lead boots. Of course some really awesome things happened (Thailand!), and I wasn't not happy, but at times even getting up the motivation to reply to an email or shower on a Saturday morning was difficult.
I don't regret the low point; it was just as important as the good times, which thankfully have come again. A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor, and all that, right? Now I'm just looking forward to spending my last two months in this beautiful country making the most of my language skills, my knowledge of the culture, and the freedom that I've been given to explore the city and hang out with my friends.
And now, to briefly summarize what I've been up to these past few months, I have...
Gone to Bali, Bandung, Malang, and the hospital; begun to study Javanese; stayed overnight in an Islamic boarding school; swum in the Java Sea; begun to learn the local public transportation system; hung out with my friends, both Indonesian and American; bought shoes on the black market; hung out with my extended host family; bonded with small Indonesian children who used to be afraid of me; gone to multiple weddings; modelled; ate applesauce from a tupperware container while on a public bus; explored the Arab quarter of Surabaya; gone to a fashion show; tweeted (a lot); watched new movies; and generally tried to blend myself in with the society around me as much as possible. Considering I'm a bule, that might be difficult. But I'll be damned if I don't try anyway!
|One of my favorite pics from a photoshoot |
we did for fun with an Indonesian friend
|Eating applesauce on public transportation... |
not me but you get the idea
|Waiting - the Indonesian way - for our bemo to come|