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Ibu’s Care

Boy getting sick sucks; the annoyance of our unwelcomed houseguests, illness and injury, only escalates knowing that they seem to creep up at the most inconvenient of moments. This is all the more true on a trip like Bridge Year where it seems like every day is a Yak worthy event. No matter what event we may be missing or whether at home or all the way across the world in Indonesia, our families and close friends seem to lessen the burdens of our sickness. I was quite fortunate in comparison to some members to the group to have just a quick two-day spout of vertigo, yet in a fitting fashion, day two just happened to overlap with the group visit to Borobudur temple.

As I forced my disoriented self into the shower at 3:30 am, it became clear almost immediately that that walking kilometers through the cosmos symbolized by the largest temple of in Indonesia was impossible. The five meter walk between the bathroom and my bed was daunting enough. I told my Bapak and Ibu that I wouldn’t be joining the group that day and their response was immediate “Ok then we’ll go to Borobudur tomorrow together. Don’t worry, you won’t miss it. Sleep. Feel better” Waking up four hours later I heard my Ibu right outside my door. She asked “Do you want food, water? How are you feeling now” before I had even oriented myself to that I was not actually living my dreams.

Over the next twelve hours, her care was the embodiment of love and worry. First it was a head massage for my headache – she didn’t even ask first. Then a spoonful of local honey from Ashley’s house’s hives – part of the family’s quotidian regiment which I am now an involuntary member of. She sat next to me on my bed as I lay unmoving listening to music. Throughout the morning she had been persistent asking me if I wanted kerokan – an Indonesian tradition medical practice done on the sick. Both not wanting to be a further burden and not feeling my adventurous spirit, I declined and declined again. But after eating I found her at my bedside with a quarter and the massage oil. Kerokan involves firmly pressing firmly rubbing using the edge of a coin to produce parallel stripes on the shoulders and back, followed by a gentle massage. Regardless if it did anything for my dizziness, it made me feel good for a half-hour in a day where that seemed like an impossible feat. With the afternoon shift my Bapak got lucky as we both took 3 hour naps. At the end of my rest day with Bapak and Ibu I felt good enough to sit upright in a chair and walk around a again. I feel immense gratitude for my homestay for nursing me back to good health and giving up their days to be with me. It turned out to be a strangely nice family day.