So my heart is scattered across the globe. Now what?
It’s a question I’ve struggled with ever since I got back from my first exchange in Hungary. It was only six weeks. It was only 1300 km from home. And yet, I found myself changed.
Since then, I’ve left pieces of my heart across all parts of the globe. A big chunk can be found in Australia, where I discovered that home no longer meant my house but rather a collection of people that I couldn’t imagine life without. Another little piece can be found in Egypt, where I did my first volunteering work with Bouworde and where I discovered that life could not only be lived for oneself but could be lived for others too. Then there was my Erasmus exchange in Sweden, which swallowed another piece and where I got inspired to pursue not what is expected but rather what I really desire, even if I don’t know what that means yet.
So yes, I just got back from another Bouworde volunteering trip to Indonesia. 3 weeks in the beautiful Javanese surroundings of Baturraden.
Indonesia was challenging, mostly physically for me, yet rewarding. The lush rice fields, the hazy mountains, the countless palm trees, the uncountable amounts of waterfalls and never cease to disappoint or amaze.
Indonesia was overwhelming. The food was exquisite. (Anyone visiting Central Java should pay Santos Home Stay a visit.) The traffic was mental. Something like a survival of the fittest scooter. The green was the greenest. The people were the friendliest, the most welcoming and most eager to learn.
Indonesia made time irrelevant. 26 hours on a bus seemed nothing. 4 am suddenly didn’t seem so early if we got a gorgeous sunrise in return. 9 pm suddenly wasn’t so early to go to bed, either. And 3 weeks went by way too quickly.
Indonesia means tradition. We were lucky enough to experience the Ramadan while we were there. Although it meant daily 4 am wake up calls by the nearby mosque and although it made traffic so stuck it moved slower than any snail, it was also rewarding to see the end of this fasting month, Eid al-Fitr. People were genuinely happy. There were fireworks, a lot of singing in the mosque, lots of cookies, even more family visits and loads of people on the streets. But tradition couldn’t just be found in the people, the mystic temples we visited in Yogyakarta were not too shabby either.
Indonesia meant work, although it never really felt like it. We built a classroom made out of wood. And I managed to not to hammer myself to one of the walls. We felt content and achieved. We had left our mark, just like I did a piece of my heart.
Indonesia was greatness. From the size of their animals (yes, cockroaches, I am speaking of you here, may you rest in peace) to the height of its waterfalls, from the kindness of the people to the unfortunate garbage piles we found on the beach. But mostly, we left Indonesia with great hope for the future. With great hope to someday return and do it all again.
And if you’ve gotten this far into the blog post, you’re probably wondering: who is this ‘we’? Well, it’s the amazing group I got to go on this rollercoaster with. Emilie, Ajka, Lisa, Gwennin, Bruno, Anke, Heleen. Thanks for sharing this experience, for sharing the work load, for making 26 hours in a bus a lot more bearable, for sharing food, for sharing bathroom problems, for making anything discussable, for playing cards during our spare time, for sharing Oreo’s, for making me laugh, for making me cry when it was time to say goodbye. See you soon?
Needless to say Indonesia took away another piece of my heart. Sometimes I wonder if at some point there might not be more to give of my heart. And then I hope that is not the case, because I like it this way, my heart scattering. My heart expanding. My heart embracing the world. I wouldn’t have it any other way.