“Where are you from?” the man asks me in Indonesian.
We’re standing on the side of the road by the stall where he pushes some buttons on his phone and sends minutes to other people’s phones. We’re waiting for my phone to light up and say that this transaction has successfully occurred.
“From America,” I say.
He asks where.
I say New York and of course he thinks I mean New York City, so I try to explain the close to Canada thing, but my explanation in Indonesian isn’t the greatest yet.
He asks something else.
I say yes because I heard the word for ‘north.’
He asks if the money is on my phone yet.
I check, and it is.
He asks my name.
I stall, ask if he means me, wonder if it matters what I tell him. “Zoë,” I say.
“Zoë,” he says. “Thank you.”
“Thank you,” I say.
“Your Indonesian is already good,” he says.
I say, “Not yet.”