One Week Before: As I sit here in the stillness of my thoughts. Tired eyes, open mind. I wonder about the week or day before I left India for my new home, America. Did my 2 year old self panic at the prospect of not obtaining proper paperwork? Did she worry about how in the world she’d fit her life into two suitcases? Probably not. Two-year old me had this ability to be present in a way the adult me strives to master.
One Week Later: One week after I arrived to my new home in New Jersey , I wonder how it felt. Did I feel relieved to have something I didn’t before? Did I feel loss at the life I left behind? I wonder if I felt “settled.” Did starting anew feel as though I forgot the life I left behind? I wonder if the two year old me just embraced all the new good things amongst adapting to a new language, culture, time zone and lifestyle.
A New Life
I’ve arrived in Jakarta! 👏🏾 This post starts out with my narration of thoughts the week prior to my departure because I was going to write a post. Amongst the chaos of extra steps because of COVID, I just didn’t post it. Then, it was just about a week ago that I was in transit to Jakarta and I was writing in my journal on the plane. Now I sit here quarantined, almost one-week in my new “home” and I realize I never posted any of these thoughts! If you’re wondering why the reference to my adoption story. It gives me an interesting perspective in processing this move. I like taking it way back to early ’92 when the most impactful inter-country move of my life occurred. It’s helped me calm down knowing I’ve done this before at time when I was much more vulnerable. This is just the flow of life.
So here it is, the BIG post! Posting on my social media accounts was kind of hard because there was so much more I wanted to say. The past two weeks have been really emotionally charged and surreal. When big things happen you can’t believe they’re happening and they take a while to process.
A week before my departure I was truly a wreck. I was feeling so many nerves and emotions involving proper documentation, packing & separation anxiety. I’m so thankful post-move emotions aren’t as distressing. As you see, I didn’t really even write much for my post leading up to my trip which is why I decided to keep those thoughts and write one-week later post-move thoughts.
A week before. A week later. When I was two, I’m sure I wasn’t as much of a timekeeper as I am now. The moments just were and my big, inter-country move was less momentous. Nevertheless, this journey is one to be noted. About 21 hours total flying time alone, last Saturday August 15th I began the two flight journey to my new home in Jakarta, Indonesia.
I knew saying goodbye would be the hardest. I actually feared that moment. That week before, I’m sure I was just dreading the moment of no return. Filled with the anticipation of feeling like I’ll just burst. When I left India to join my family, I was too young to know what it would feel like. Although one could argue my lack of memory aided in my adjustment, basic psychology could explain a new anxiousness with separation and goodbyes. A new knowing that forever goodbyes are not far from reality.
However, the process of S E P A R A T I O N was actually healing.
At the point of me writing this, a week after my arrival, I almost can’t feel the same pain I felt in that airport. I felt so much hugging everyone goodbye. Hard doesn’t begin to explain what it means to leave a part of your heart. For years I never even allowed myself to ponder about this dream because I was afraid what would happen if mom was unwell and something happened to her in my absence. Now, it’s almost like I left that fear as well.
I’m not as fearful of what comes because it’s not always a wrench in the road. This time, the universe granted me a pretty flawless two flight trip to the other side of the world to my new life just like one day so many years ago. I had my family near me supporting my grandest dream. Thirteen hours later, I arrived in Japan, met some of my new coworkers (we had a similar layover flight) & my connection flight from Narita to Jakarta was on time. About 7 hours later, all my bags arrived with me in Jakarta and though it felt like vacation, I knew this was it. I had actually arrived. After arriving to my apartment at around 1:30 am, I found myself in my new home alone. And I could only think, “What next?”
What’s next is a 14 day quarantine. Today, I am on day 7 exactly. I can’t believe a whole week has passed in my Jakarta life. I’m feeling comfortable in my space and figuring out how to organize and do apartment things. I was given my moving bonus in cash, so I’m lucky to be occupied learning how to navigate the shopping and food delivery apps. It’s truly an adventure paying when the exchange rate is about 14 thousand Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) to ONE USD. Somehow my 1 million IDR Ikea order makes me feel like I’ve indulged.
I’m in sort of a stagnant point as I wait through my quarantine teaching remotely and adjusting to the new normal of solitude. Being quarantined really does make my miss mom’s (our) dog, Rory. Leaving her innocent, happy smile was extremely difficult. Since that was my first goodbye, leaving her pushed my emotions to catch up to the reality of my departure that morning. I ran back into the house to hug her twice. Now, I’m making mom send me videos so that I can still see her. Nothing is the same as having her near, but I’ll be OK. If it weren’t for quarantine, I’d be off in Jakarta not really thinking about how lonely solitude can feel here. On the flip side, my new Jakarta crew is definitely awesome. We’ve already had virtual game night and heart-to-hearts (socially distanced.) It seems to be that when I’m starting to feel frustrated with quarantine, I get a Marco Polo from someone at home or a text from one of my Jakarta friends that makes me feel less alone.
So much can happen in a week. A week ago I was about 3.5 hours into my second flight from Japan to Jakarta. The week before that I was thinking there was no way I’d get packed and be emotionally ready to leave. Now I’m settled in my new home. A week from now, I’ll be getting ready to really go out into the Jakarta world to work remotely from campus. And from that point on, I’m hoping that my weeks are filled with more authentic experiences to learn about my new city, the community in which I’m surrounded and as always, myself.