Sitting in my hospital bed in Singapore, recovering post-surgery, I feel a million worlds away from my friends, teachers, and family in Jogjakarta. I was evacuated here yesterday with Christine after I fell off my bike and fractured my elbow. The past two days have been a struggle for me, both emotionally and physically. The injury itself was a big fat L, to say the least. I was extremely embarrassed, partly because it happened in the middle of the street, and partly because I was COVERED in the mango juice I was holding at the time. I also felt some annoyance and anger with myself (shout out to Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions for figuring that out). I had just recovered from my first injury, the bamboo incident, and there I was again heading back to the Jogjakarta International Hospital. Both injuries were my fault, the first time, I was carelessly climbing barefoot through group a of bamboo shoots, and the second time, I was biking one-handed through a busy market holding a bag filled with mango juice and pastries.
I arrived at the hospital 40 minutes after the accident and was immediately fitted with a sling and an IV. I spent the next few hours filled with anxiety and painkillers, awaiting the final assessment of my x-rays from the orthopedic specialist. When he finally called me in, my heart sank as he told me I would need surgery. The next 24 hours flew by in a blur. I spent the night at the hospital, flew out to Singapore the next morning, and was operated on within 4 hours of arriving. The next morning, I awoke sore and exhausted, after a restless night of intermittent sleep. I spent the morning in bed, nursing my arm and bingeing Singaporean Netflix. As the pain in my arm started to dull, I decided to get some fresh air in the city.
I spent the next couple of hours having an evacu-cation of sorts (evacuation + vacation). I went shopping in luxurious malls, bought western comfort food, and soaked up the sights and pleasures of Singapore. I was actually about to buy an ice cream cone dipped in gold, before I came to a startling realization. I was shocked at how fast I got sucked back into the material world, especially after spending the better part of last month learning about the many horrors and inequalities of westernized capitalism. And a $12 gold-plated ice cream cone seems like the epitome of it.
Even though I’m only a two-hour flight from Jogjakarta, and I’ve only been away from my family and my fellow dragons for two days, I feel completely isolated in the unfamiliar setting of Singapore. I didn’t realize how fast I had disregarded the lessons I’ve learned throughout the past month until I had already gone too far.
In fact, I feel like I’ve had a moment of clarity while sitting here in my hospital bed writing this. The only good thing to come out of this injury is this realization that it has given me. The realization that the communities and relationships I have built throughout the past month and a half mean far more to me than I had originally thought. From the countless hours I’ve spent with fellow dragons, to my groggy morning meals with my host mother, these are things I didn’t realize were so important to me until they were out of my reach.
My evacu-cation in Singapore has allowed me to take a step back and appreciate all that I have in Jogja. From morning kopi (coffee) runs with friends, to joking around in Indonesian with my host family, I miss it all. I want to set a new intention for myself. To spend the next 8 months I have in Indonesia living with a re-ignited commitment. A commitment to make the most of every second of my experience here by creating strong relationships, appreciating the little things, having fun, and hopefully, to stop getting injured.