Sudah berapa lama di sini? How long have you been here?
Its a question I get asked on a daily basis and yet I still find myself struggling to find the answer.
How long has it been? I had to sit down and do the math.
66 days since I left Canada
64 days since I arrived in Indonesia
42 days since I arrived in Ende
For the most part I am easily settling into daily life and routine. I wake up around 6:30am shower, meditate, eat breakfast, listen to the news. Around 8am I head to the office, attend meetings, gather information, make site visits, make conversation with my coworkers (usually consisting of where I ate last night and what I plan to do after work). Around 2pm I return home, have a light lunch and sometimes a nap, exercise, read a book or watch a movie. Around 6pm I meet up with the other volunteers for dinner or just to chat. Life carries on as it always does. Weekends and evenings are spent discovering new warungs serving up the same dishes of gado-gado, nasi tempe or tahu with a heaping side of sambal, attending weddings, teaching english lessons, escaping the heat with a dip in the pool, entertaining visiting volunteers, or meeting up with traveling couch surfers.
But than there are moments that take you out of the everyday and remind you of where you are and what you are doing. You witness a motorcycle accident where a mother and her new born baby (both not wearing helmets) are thrown off the back of a motorcycle. You witness your coworker throwing their garbage out the car window. The realization that none of the staff in your office have been paid since January as they are still waiting for the budget to be released. Or the news that your friend has taken ill with dengue. And you realize, this is not home.
It’s easy to say everyone should wear a helmet or properly dispose of there garbage. Its much harder to get a community to buy into the message unless they truly believe themselves.
Time is a funny concept. Its slow on days when there is no power and the sweat is pouring out of you as you count down the hours til you can leave. And yet I know looking back in two years that the time will have gone by quickly.
For now, 66 days is a reminder of how long I have been gone, I remember of how much I still need to learn and an appreciation of the all small moments I’ve enjoyed so far in last 66 days.