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

Sedikit Gila

As we wait to board our ferry away from langa, one passage of my journal stands out to me:

10/27: “I have found / re-found a new sense of child in me. I am so much more loving and playful. Today I ran and giggled and skipped and sang under a clear crisp night full of stars. I chased Karli (my 11 year old sister), screaming and giggling. I am content now. I sing and dance in front of people now. I am silly.”

Langa taught me how to be a child and this holds even more significance because not many places allow or want an 18 year old to be a child. Most of the time we are rushed to grow up. These expectations make us look towards the future, subconsciously pushing our childlike curiosity and play away.

Langa strikes the balance between fostering play and laughter but also pairing it with responsibility. Never before have I seen children hold such responsibility within the family. There is not the boundary between child and adult. Instead a blend of the two.

I am forever thankful that Langa challenged the way i think about family, community and growing up. I am so thankful that i felt so free here. I am grateful for dancing in front of my friends family for an hour, singing at the top of my lungs, chasing my sisters, cackling, skipping with children in each hand, seeing who could spit beetle nut the farthest and learning/relearning.

I will miss the immense amount of pisang goreng (fried banana) and kopi (coffee) I ate. I will miss my freezing cold morning no hesitation mandis (showers), freaky dogs, stars, sunsets, and most of all the welcoming, warm, hardworking, kind community.

I hope to carry this balance between childlike play and responsibility back with me to Maine. To appreciate my own role in my community and family.