Friday, October 16, 2009

*Flashback * 13 September: The First of Lasts

Well, THAT was an unexpected break from blogging. In fact, I haven't looked at a computer screen since Sunday morning. We didn't plan on going down to the Gold Coast but a family friend had an apartment there this week and invited us along. The initial two night stay was extended to three and then subsequently four nights. That meant four early mornings on the beach. What a bonus for us!!

Now, on to a topic that has been on my mind for months. I wanted to blog about it as it was happening but circumstances didn't really permit that. When we found out that the next baby was on the way, it set off a snowball of decision making which culminated in us moving to Australia. So, this break I'm on now isn't exactly like all the other breaks. We'll probably be here a few years. Richard will be joining us in a couple of months too. This blog is so much about the ups and downs of my life in Palembang and I really wanted to share the thoughts I had as we were preparing to leave. Instead, I wrote the posts from our final week there and saved them as drafts for when I could post them....which is basically a month later. I think I have a week's worth of those.

So just pretend that we're all still in September when you read my posts over the next few days. Here is the first, written on September 13:

When I woke up this morning, I thought "Today is the last time I'll go for mass at St. Frades." In fact, today is the start of many lasts for us. We've been here for 2 years and 7 months and it has really become "home".

I've been thinking a lot about why I feel so sad to leave this place. From my posts, you already know that I have many complaints about this place - unreliable power supply, suffocating haze, questionable water cleanliness and of course the total lack of anywhere to go on the weekends. I should be rejoicing that we're finally getting out of here.

But I'm not. I've been dreading this final week. Sometime last year, I really started seeing this place as our home. Then this year, we've made some very good friends. And because we've always referred to this place as "home" (even before I thought of it that way), Aaron now thinks he's Indonesian. We're going to miss Palembang!

I've been pushing through each day and not thinking about our departure but we're really down to the last few days now and doing all the 'goodbyes'. The simplicity of life here is probably what I fell in love with in the end. There may be 'nothing' here but it also means that there is nothing to tempt us into a materialistic life. Or a life where one's enjoyment and happiness is derived from external factors. This place has sort of centered us and made us enjoy friends, family and our surroundings for what they are instead of what they can do to entertain us.

I wonder if we'll ever come back for a visit. This isn't exactly a tourist destination but I hope we can stay in touch with the friends we have made. And one day, meet them again.


Mike said...

Wow, ........ Wow, ....... OK I can talk now. When you pack up and move, you pack up and move! So you're moving back to civilization? No more pictures of 10 amp house circuits. No more pictures of holes in the floor toilets. No old trains. No more Aaron standing on the gate banging for girls to come? ..... BUT, could it mean high speed internet for Amanda?! This could be a good thing. First thing to ask when looking for a house. Does the area have high speed internet?

fiona said...

i like your thoughts (the second last para esp.). definitely something for me to think about and humble me down abit when the blackout is happening (again!).

great to know you're having nice mornings at a beach. :)

Bilbo said...

Glad to have you back and know that you're going to be settled in a good place for a while. I agree with Fiona's comment and your observation about enjoying our surroundings for what they are...that's a good thing for us all to think about. Have a good weekend! Also, e-mail me and let me know if your Australian address is still the same as the one I have...Christmas card season is coming.

Amanda said...

I had sort of 'forgotten' about being sad to leave Palembang with all the activity here but putting these posts up is reminding me all over again.

Mike - I'm definitely loving the internet speed here! Now I can watch video clips from your blog :)

Fiona - Oh no! They're not back again are they....but then, they never really go away.

Bilbo - I'll go do email now.