Fried Chicken and Church

I go out to lunch with people from my office. My senior fellow has to teach and can’t come, so the conversation is almost exclusively in Indonesian. I relax into it, focusing less on the meaning and more on the cadence of the words.

“What about you, Zoë?” another lecturer asks, jolting me out of my reverie. “Did you have a party with your friends when you graduated?”

“Not really,” I say, thinking back to senior week and its mess of performances and late-night hikes to Asia House and a green sundress that I could never wear out of the house here. “I had a party at church, though.”

He’s surprised.

“Well I was also going to leave to come here,” I say, “And it’s a small church.” But that doesn’t really explain how the church is like a family to me, how I’ve grown up under their care, and how it was the most natural thing in the world to have a party there.

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