Each year, the Shansi fellows are required to write a narrative piece about their time in Asia. Here’s a scene from mine that didn’t make it into the final version:
I dumped my little bag of green beans and tempeh onto my rice, running the counts through my head one more time. The dance I knew I could do—I’d already learned it well enough that I’d helped teach it to other people—but I was worried about the walking to get on and offstage. I’d half-learned the walking the night before, from a video and with counts in English. I’d learned it again just now, a little differently from the video and with counts in Indonesian. My brain bounced between the two languages in confusion. I gathered together some rice and put it in my mouth.
“You’re already used to eating with your hands,” the girl next to me said.
I looked over at her and smiled. “Yeah.” For the moment, we were eating alone while the other girls practiced their second dance. We were new, and so we’d only perform the first dance—part of the opening scene when Rama wins Sita’s hand in marriage.
I popped a thin strip of tempeh in my mouth and dabbed my oily fingers on the brown paper in front of me.
Read the full version here.
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