before i left for indonesia, i was telling people:
“my life is going to be dramatically different from what it is now.”
boy, and that’s no joke. especially about the drama bit.
lemme rewind a little.
so before i left for sumatra, a friend told me i should get in touch with m., a former bassist in their band. little did i know how essential this contact would later become. i have no americans as a sounding board here, so just to be able to text or call a fellow american who has been in sumatra for years has been instrumental in keeping my sanity intact. m. has become indonesian, and there have been times when in talking to m. in perfect american english, i feel like i’m talking an indonesian. so having a friend whose mind is capable of thinking in both realms of cultural reality has been a godsend.
anyway, to the present.
someone started to send m. goofy text messages, starting last week. yesterday, m. called me saying that they had received a text at 4 in the morning in broken english. which followed up the next day with texts like, “i am a student at isi padang panjang.” “i know jackie ann from america who is of korean blood, rita from italy and oliwia from poland.” “i got your number from belda.” etc.
last week, a friend had invited me to their home for a muslim holiday. so it is highly likely that this “friend” took my phone while i just had it laying around and helped themselves to my text messages and phone numbers.
so, to be half a world away from close friends and family and to have this happen (when another indonesian had recently helped themselves to looking through the photos in my laptop, also very fun very cute) really fucking sucked.
i asked m. to send me the phone number, and sent anonymous a message that basically said this:
“you are an ignorant person who toys with others as a pastime. you must certainly be aware that what you’ve done is dishonest and bad. your conscience is sick. because of this, your life cannot be honest and you will never know true love. anyone you want to be close with will hate you because you are like this. this is no one’s fault but your own. i hope you want to become an honest person.”
i hate to get judgey on someone’s ass* but getting my FRIENDS involved in this perverted and voyeuristic prying is NOT fucking cool.
m. has not received any new messages from creepy mcshittypants. and the anonymous has not sent me a reply.
there are beautiful and positive things that happen here, but the really sucky things that happen are undeniable.
i’ve been listening to a lot of pema chodron’s teachings, and there is one teaching from shanti deva that i’ve written and put on the mirror to read in order to steel my nerves:
“the cause of happiness comes rarely, and many are the seeds of suffering. but if i have no pain, i’ll never long for freedom. therefore, o, my mind be steadfast.”
coming back to seattle is going to be a vacation from my “vacation.” at least, i hope it will be.
i’ve been helping a friend here translate dialog from the 30 minute film he directed for his final exam.
i’ve got my work cut out for me because, well. i’ve got the vocabulary of a 3 year old.
to have fluency in bahasa indonesia by the time i come back home is truly unrealistic. and besides that, there’s bahasa gaul, conversational indonesian. and also bahasa minang, the local dialect here which is heavily used. and i mean, heavily. when i’m around my indonesian friends and they’re speaking in minang i am utterly clueless. and when they want to include me, they slow down and use simple bahasa indonesia. which i don’t always understand, either.
which makes me realize how much of a genius my thai roommate is. she can read thai, arabic and indonesian. three completely different scripts.
maybe all of the learning explains why i have a headache every day.
i got paranoid about scurvy today, so i bought a bunch of oranges in the market (and got ripped off by the vendor, surprise!).
i generally feel very unhealthy here, must be the msg that is in EVERYTHING and the bensin (benzene?!) fumes. or maybe gas emissions from the nearby “dormant” volcano which i honestly don’t trust considering all of the natural disasters that have recently gone down in indonesia in rapid succession of one another.
i don’t think it’s right to have a persistent low-grade headache. but it’s incredibly common. the translation of the commonly used word for this persistent low-grade headache on the label on my eagle balm (indonesian tiger balm) is funny. “pusing” is translated as “giddiness.”
if i were to come back stateside and tell someone i’m feeling “giddy” whilst rubbing my temples and grimacing, i’m sure people are gunna think i really lost it. like, really.
time to say something nice:
i really love my gamelan bali class. it’s challenging and fun. but my ears hate it. my classmates laaaaaaaaugh at me when i use earplugs. it just cracks their shit right the hell up.
i also enjoy my talempong class. talempong are 6 brass bells in myxolidian mode, the arrangement of the bells vary according to the song.
there are so many classes here, i wish i could take them all, but unfortunately, i am only one person. and a very achy, low energy person at that.
i’m really loving malaysian music, and hope i can bring back a melayu drum home. i really love it, the songs are pretty… kinda middle eastern sounding.
i told a friend here that i was sick, so she asked her friend to help me. and i received one of the most painful deep tissue massages i’ve ever gotten in my life. i was wearing only a sarong and slathered in coconut oil while one girl was doing incredibly painful work on my leg while i’m yelling out strings of explicatives and two other girls laughing heartily and dabbing at the sweat on my forehead saying: “jackie’s giving birth! hahahahah!”
indonesians love to laugh, and so we’ve shared a bunch of good laughs over all kinds of wacky stuff.
*okay, so i really enjoyed getting judgey on that particular person’s ass.