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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

THINGS I WON’T EVER FORGET

Picking ripe coffee in Langa, Flores

I will never forget the beautiful sunset I watched every night as I ate my tempeh, tofu and rice for dinner.

I will never forget looking into my Ibu’s (mother’s) eyes as tears stream down her cheeks with her hand on her heart, explaining to me how she has always wanted a daughter. I will never forget the sound of her sniffling behind me as she brushed my unbrushable hair.

I will never forget climbing up the side of a volcano at 4 in the morning and taking a second to put my head between my legs to look at the village lit up upside down as if it were a cluster of stars in the sky. I won’t forget how fresh the air was when I finally reached the top.

I will never forget how peaceful I felt as I hung in my hammock in the bamboo forest.

I will never forget how fulfilling it felt to have a conversation with my home stay family and have every word understood.

I will never forget my Ibu rubbing my stomach, praying for my health as I lay there with stomach pains. I went home one evening feeling as though I could not breath due to indigestion from something I had eaten earlier that day. She told me to lay down on my bed and pull my shirt up. She closed her eyes and started pushing on all sides of my stomach, moving everything to the center followed by her tapping on each side. She then started to draw a cross on my stomach and then placed the tips of her fingers on the middle, shaking then grabbing the layer of air right above my skin. She grabbed and cast the evil spirits she was holding across the room. My pain immediately vanished and I had the best night’s sleep yet on this trip.

I will never forget my bapak (father) saying “Selamat Bye-Bye” every morning as I left the house.

I will never forget dancing all night long under the stars with the entire village, learning the traditional dance and then proceeding to demonstrate how American’s dance.

I will always remember what it feels like to be a part of a community that values loving one another above everything else. For the past few months I’ve been thinking a lot about what home is and what that feels/looks like. I now understand the concept of home a little better and feel as though I have found that on the other side of the world.