I am a mess. It just hit me. The end is coming. In fact, this time next week I will be in Singapore. I will be awaiting my flight through radioactive Japan. To land again in the carnival country of California. My repatriation is so confusing–something to look forward to but something so scary and sad. This experience was not supposed to get so good at the end. I was supposed to be comfortable from the first day and get slowly less awesome until I was just bursting to go”home”. Only now do I understand Muslim boarding school kids, Muslim boarding school teachers, Muslim boarding schools, Muslims. I have just now really honed my strategy. In this moment I cannot fathom leaving. There is nothing else to do but make lists.
Things I will miss more than anything that I simply will not find at home:
1) Fresh tropical fish cooked over fire with Gorontalo extra spicy coconut salsa and garlic spinach.
2) A friend who is not only the smartest person I know but my soul sister, my teacher, my Zen master, my chef, my cultural liaison, and more.
3) A place I can go anytime of the day to get the yummiest food ever, for FREE, that has NEVER made me sick, from people who tell me I am beautiful, who cannot wait to give me high fives and teach me local dialect.
4) Constant amazing and unique photo opportunities
5) Discovering extremely rare underwater species
6) Singing Beyonce at Karaoke with groups of veiled, empowered, educated, incredible Muslim women.
7) Giving lectures and having to have a translator.
8 ) Getting meetings with government officials just because I ask nicely.
9) Jogging around rice paddies, through adorable villages, where cream colored cows and naked children swim in the river…all while listening to Gangsta Rap on my headphones.
10) Teaching in classrooms filled with the most talented young students I will ever meet; who take my hand to their forehead every time they see me; who are smarter and stronger, more dedicated, loyal and kind than I will ever be.
11) 24/7, 365 days a year of fantastic weather…rain or shine completely enjoyable.
12) Being greeted with at least 10 friendly smiles and “Pagi Miss Jolie. Apa Kabar?”(Good Morning Miss. Jolie! How are you?”) every morning I step out of my house.
13) Working across the lawn from my awesome, huge, yellow-green house.
14) Japanese news source (the only English channel on my t.v.)
15) Weekend trips to the most isolated and exotic beaches on the planet.
17) Parents who never say no to their children.
18) The pack of 3-9 year old kids who treat my house like their own.
19) Yoga-dance-art-music-jumpingonbed parties with said pack.
20) Riding the motorbike around one of the most breath taking, mountainous, rain forest strewn, coastal towns on the planet.
Things I will absolutely not miss, ever:
1) Cold showers
2) Skype conversations with Seth
3) Dropped calls
4) Fried food
5) Overly sweet food
6) Typhoid water
7) Dirty/wet bathrooms
8 ) Stinkiness
9) “Hi Mister??” “I love you!”
10) Strangers taking photos of me when I have already told them to please not.
12) My hair falling out due to heat, hard water, malnutrition, and genetic evolutionary environmental response.
13) Making plans for weeks and then everyone completely forgetting/not caring to actually do them.
14) TRASH on the beach, on the road, in front of my house, in the forest, etc.
17) Cheesy romantic pop music
18) When “I don’t understand” means “I’m deaf.”
19) Not being able to understand one word someone is saying for 5-12 hours straight.
20) Having to always wear long sleeves and long pants when I leave my house.