Lately I’ve been feeling pretty on edge. My time with Shansi is coming to an end, and although I know I’ll be in Indonesia next year (airline tickets just purchased!), I’m still not exactly sure how. I’m waiting to hear back from a scholarship, and the decision date for that keeps getting pushed back. If it doesn’t pan out, I have other methods in reserve to get the necessary visa. It’s the waiting that kills me.
And while I wait, I get all these second thoughts, the foremost of which being why do I want to stay at all? I have good answers for this, answers about developing skills and planning for my future. Nevertheless, I also know that I am very adverse to change. If I had my way, I’d stick to the same routine forever. So am I staying just because I don’t want to change? I have to admit that there is definitely this possibility.
Which is why I need to move to Solo. My sometimes-dance teacher, sometimes-friend, sometimes-mentor has been telling me this for a year now and I’ve slowly come to accept it. I need to get out of Jogja and experience somewhere new. It will be a good change; it will force me to be more independent and learn new things. It will be altogether good and so I keep reminding myself when I get a little too caught up in my headspace.
And then I eventually get to thinking about something tangentially related: I’ll be back in the US in late June for a little more than a month. I have no idea what that’s going to be like. During Shansi orientation, they talked about culture shock and they talked about reverse culture shock, or what you experience upon returning to your home country. I felt minimal, if any, culture shock on coming to Indonesia1, so I’m inclined to say that going back to the US will be similar. After all, visiting Singapore has been fine. I clap my hands at the existence of drinking fountains and then I move on.
That said, a recent thread on reddit brought to mind something that I am not looking forward to readjusting to: handshakes. This is going to sound strange coming from someone who has already mentioned how she doesn’t much care for physical contact, but, since coming to Indonesia, I have gotten really into handshakes.
In Indonesia, you shake people’s hands all the time. You shake hands when you enter a room. You shake hands when you leave. You shake other people’s hands when they leave. Operating in a second language, I have come to really appreciate nonverbal communication. For this same reason, you’ll find me letting other girls put their heads on my lap or loop their arms through mine. It’s going to be decidedly strange going back to only shaking hands when I meet someone for the first time.
Anyway, this is all really just to say that nothing out of the ordinary is going on here. Stay tuned and you’ll hear about that scholarship as soon as I do.
Edit: Since scheduling this post, I’ve heard back from the scholarship. I’ll be in Solo next year!
1And most of that occurred after I’d been here for quite some time.