20 Days, 20 Lessons: #20

I apologize in advance if this makes no sense. I am very tired and will modify tomorrow.

Somehow, tonight is my last night in Magelang. Despite packing up the room that I turned into a home and giving away some two thirds of my possessions, I still can’t believe it. I came to Indonesia barely knowing how to say thank you, and I’m leaving behind a community of friends and coworkers that refer to me as family.

Today was my farewell party. Following some kind words, we dug into a traditional celebratory meal focused around tumpeng (rice in the shape of a cone). It was both delicious and beautiful, and thanks to doggy bags, I haven’t given myself time to digest all the goodness that was consumed. Strangely enough, this is similar to when I would find myself in a rut over the past nine months. When I didn’t give myself a chance to digest the wonderful things happening around me, and by digest I mean fully acknowledge them rather than nodding them off, I would get caught up on the issues that were often out of my control. In such cases, I could either chose to feel sorry for myself (which I am most definitely guilty of doing every now and then because I am human), or take a step back, slow down, and readjust my perspective, allowing myself to absorb the goodness that was right at my fingertips. The latter is truly what has what has gotten me through this experience.

Lesson #20: Your life is what you chose to make of it. I knew this before, but I’m not sure it fully hit me until my experience in Indonesia. There were days when all I thought about was how much everything sucked. Occasionally, these days would add up to one of those weeks where everything seemed to go haywire. I would eventually snap out of it, and that’s largely due to the people I’ve been surrounded by. Life ain’t easy, but it can certainly be beautiful when you’re grateful. Indonesians let gratitude be their attitude, and I like to think it’s contagious.

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