20 Days, 20 Lessons: #12

If you were to ask Federico about my experience in Indonesia, he would probably tell you that it has been far from positive. While I don’t blame him, that’s not true. My time here has been incredibly challenging, but monumental in broadening my perspective and facilitating personal growth. I have met some of the most beautiful souls, spent time with the most hospitable families, explored with the most welcoming new friends. This opportunity has been nothing like I could’ve imagined. I’ll be simultaneously laughing and rolling my eyes at the past nine months for the rest of my life, forever cherishing the memories and the lessons. Indonesia is wild. It’s hard to love and harder to hate. It’s far from diverse but one of the most diverse places I’ve ever been. It’s so predictable but a country that I will never fully understand. There were days when a smile never left my face, and others when I wanted nothing more than to hide in my cave and eat peanut butter.

For this post, I want to focus on the latter; those long days of trotting around in my ambassadorship pants that were busting at the seams by the time I got back to my room. Despite being notoriously expressive here in Indonesia, I pride myself in publicly keeping it together 98% of the time. My school knows I smile a lot, and I like that. Smiles are certainly harder to maintain when you’re both mentally and physically crumbling, but for the sake of representing a country, you do it. You get over your shit (temporarily), and flash those pearly whites until you return to a private space. Once you get back to that private space, the ambassadorship pants don’t just pop at the button, they tear beyond repair. All of the frustrations and confusion and exhaustion and smelliness and food-induced lethargy come pouring out the second you contact a trustworthy individual who will listen. While I am incredibly appreciative of all my sweet family and friends that have checked in on me since August (thank you, from the bottom of my heart), I need to give a special mention to three people who listened to me day after day because each of you deserve to feel really great about yourselves.

Mama and Dad, thank you for continuing to put up with me. Those days when I questioned what the hell I was doing, you reminded me of how proud you are. You send me a ‘good morning’ text daily. You let me call you at 1AM EST when I repeatedly purchased faulty motorbikes. You continue to tell me irrelevant information as if I were at home. You love me even when my constrained frustration unravels in your ears. You even visited me. I am blessed to have the best parents.

Fede, thank you for talking to me every single day, and continuing to want to talk to me despite my evident lack of sleep and tendency to verbally dump my emotional chaos on to you. Everyone knows an overtired Savannah horrifically malfunctions. I did not complain to you occasionally, it admittedly became a habit that I’m not proud of. Yet, without fail, our conversations ended with me feeling lighter, laughing, and reset for the next day. You have been my rock.

Lesson #12: Be tremendously grateful for those people in your life who will love you down to your most raw, vulnerable state. They are irreplaceable.

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