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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

The Storm

I was startled awake by a clap of thunder. My timepiece read 4:00 am. A fusillade of fat raindrops smacked incessantly against my window. I felt sick. A violent thrashing of ache and unease plagued my stomach. The previous night’s nasi goreng threatened to make an acidic return. “Oh dear” I thought to myself. Between bouts of diarrhea and sun induced fatigue, malady had become my loyal companion in Indonesia. I twisted and turned to the rhythm of the rainfall. A dance of pain, the endless pursuit of comfort. To quell the dull nausea that lingered precariously in my gut, I lay facing the window and listened to the wind whip the palms to and fro. Hot. Muggy. Wet. A lightning bolt flashed bright against the black sky. Immediately, it struck me. Not the lightning bolt, per se, but the parallels between my own physical ailing and the country’s. Two bodies alive with an unpredictable excitement, a simultaneous suffering. We had become one, Indonesia and me, knit tight over two months. A marriage, for better or for worse.