Where do I go next?
That is the question that has been on my mind for the last week or so, unsure of what country to visit after Indonesia. I had originally planned on spending nearly 2 weeks on the island of Bali, but as I heard over and over again that it is a place filled with tourists and partying, I decided that it probably isn’t where I want to spend much of my time.
So, decision-making time. Something I seriously dread. I had 15 different tabs open on my computer – checking flights, hostels, and visa information for Cambodia, East Timor, Bangladesh, Nepal, and a random assortment of other countries… trying to figure out what would be the smartest/cheapest/most enjoyable choice. But no single country had all the pieces lining up.
I researched late into the night, until I finally realized that I needed a new game plan. This obviously wasn’t working. So instead, I said a quick prayer, asking God to make His will for the next step known to me, and went to sleep.
I woke up the following morning feeling grateful instead of stressed. I sat out in the garden by myself, drinking coffee and reflecting on what this journey has been for me so far. I recognized how purposeful God has been every single step of the way, and felt humbled by God’s intimate knowledge of who I am – He knows me even more deeply than I know myself, and has blessed me so richly over the last couple of months.
I guess that joyful gratefulness was working its way from the inside-out, because after a long morning of reflection, my alone-ness was interupted by an Indonesian man who works at the guesthouse where I’m staying. “You look like you’re a happy person,” he told me. “Haha, I am pretty happy.” And a conversation began with a new friend. We talked for awhile before it hit me that this quirky, toothless guy was speaking exceptional English but was not a native speaker.
I asked him how he learned the language, and he told me that he had studied it, and had even worked as a tutor at an English school on the east side of Java. The conversation progressed, and he ended up offering to contact his good friend, who was the head of the school, to see if I could get a temporary job teaching there.
WHAT?! I spent hours the evening before trying to figure out “where to go” next, but I hadn’t even considered the idea of staying where I am. I had actually talked to my mom that night, and she had mentioned the idea, but I brushed it off at the time. I don’t really know why I didn’t think about staying here before. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the “next step” that we forget about our CURRENT step, the place where our feet actually are in the present moment.
It felt like God was somehow answering that little prayer from the night before, and so I agreed to talk with the head of the school. My new friend called him, and after a 10 minute conversation, I was offered free accommodation along with a job for as short/long as I want to stay and someone to pick me up from the train station upon arrival. WOW. That just totally fell into my lap.
This job is even more perfect than what it sounds like. I’m on summer break right now, but back in the States I’m studying Linguistics and working on getting my TESOL certification to teach English. While traveling in Myanmar, I realized even more how much I truly love language, and enjoyed so much the few days I was able to volunteer in an English class in Yangon. I’m usually down for any kind of work, but this is something that I know I love doing.
So, I was supposed to be on a flight to Bali in the next few hours, but instead I’ll be hanging out here a couple more days to reflect and rest before heading to a new job in a little town that I’ve never heard of here on Java. I don’t know how long I’ll stay or where I’ll go next, but I’m learning that maybe it’s better that way. For now, I’m loving Indonesian people, “Soto Kudus” soup, palm trees, colorful marketplaces, quiet gardens, sippin' on coconuts, and feeling like an island girl here on Java.
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.