What I Miss

I had an interesting conversation today with a few people about Indonesia. The question, “What do you miss?” came up, and I almost wasn’t sure how to answer it. If you asked me that question every day for a week, you’d probably get a different answer every time.

I listed a few things…and then I thought about it for the rest of the day.

What exactly do I miss?

So here’s my top 10 11…enjoy. :)

11. The climate. That’ s a given on a day a

s frigid as this one is. I don’t just mean the weather, though…because truthfully, it was always a little on the hot side for me there. I miss the mountains I saw every single day when I looked out the upstairs window. I miss the palm trees in our yard. I miss the smell of rain and the fun of riding a motorbike when it was so completely pouring. I miss the beaches and the many vacation nights that Tobin and I would sit out on the sand in the dark, stargazing and listening to the waves crash.

10. Starbucks. There is something about Starbucks in a country such as Indonesia. To me it represented more than coffee…it was my little slice of America in a place so different from my “home”. It was there that I often found my sanity, there that I spent hours with friends as we laughed, poured our hearts out to each other, and bonded over similar circumstances that no one else quite understood.

9. Outlet Shopping. It would be so very wrong if I wrote this post and didn’t include outlet shopping on the list. It isn’t because I am was a shopaholic. (I’m getting A LOT better, I promise. :)) Outlet shopping to me was therapy. It was a chance to go look for a bargain and take a friend and just explore. And while I almost always found a good deal, we had far more fun laughing at some of the crazy T-shirts we found made by someone who didn’t have his/her English quite right. If you ever get a chance, ask Tobin to tell

you about the T-shirt we found all about meatballs. :) Dude, really?! Yep, we bought it and gave it to a friend.

8. Tempe Goreng & Pisang Goreng. Easily my two favorite Indonesian foods.

Tempe goreng is fried soybean cakes and p

isang goreng is fried banana. I loved eating tempe goreng and craved it a lot when I was pregnant…it’s best with lots of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and rice. Pisang goreng…so yummy. I actually loved it the Indonesian way, with brown sugar and shredded cheese…but throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and I’m just as happy. :)

7. Crazy Adventures. Whether riding a motorbike in a downpour, getting completely lost for hours, swinging from a vine, or tromping through a jungle, I miss the adventures from our time in Indo.

One of my favorite quotes is “Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure.” So although our Indonesian adventures are over, I’ m looking forward to

many, many more of them, wherever we are!

6. My Pembantu (Housekeeper). I don’t just miss the fact that Ibu Sari did all of those things that I despise… cleaning bathrooms and the floors, laundry, dusting.

We so appreciated everything she did for us.

But I miss her…my friend. I miss laughing with her and practicing my Bahasa Indonesia with her. I miss our daily conversations. I really, really just miss her.


5. Students. I could say I miss the school we taught at, but really, the students are what made BAIS. I spent a LOT of time with some of those students, and they know far more about me than most people.

(Scary, I know.) Really, teaching them changed my life…I gained so much appreciation for different cultures and ideas because of the students I taught. I could list individuals and what I miss about each of them, but that’s for a different day…I so look forward to Heaven and the absolutely incredible reunion that will happen there. :)

4. Friends. Friends come and go in a place as transitory as BAIS…and so we made a lot of friends and lost a lot. Some of those friendships are/were strong enough to make it through living on separate continents, but a lot are/were not. I say that to point out that God gives us people in each phase of life to bless us, to teach us, to encourage us, to help us grow. So I appreciate the relationships we had there even if not all of them were close…and even if not all of them lasted forever. But I can honestly say that each person I knew impacted me in some way, and for that reason, I am thankful.

3. Appreciating the Small Things. Not that I don’t do it now…but I realized not too long ago how much Tobin and I found joy in small things. Like the day Setiabudi (the expat grocery store) had orange cheddar cheese for the first time in about a year. Or the day we spent $8 on a package of frozen bagels and a (very small) block of Philly Cream Cheese. Or the day smack dab in the middle of rainy season that we drove up to Lembang on the bike…and it didn’t rain. Or when someone was visiting from the States and would bring us American chocolate. :)

2. The Indonesian People. I didn’t have as many relationships with the local people as a lot of teachers/ friends I knew did.

But the ones I did meet and know… they were wonderful.

I am so thankful that I was able to live among people from a different religion…because it changed the way I viewed that religion.

I still don’t see it as Truth, but I did come to respect their way of life and tradition. Most of what you hear in the media…well, I just think most people could benefit from living in Indonesia for awhile.

I’m thankful for how much bigger my world became through the opportunity to live among the people of Indonesia. They’re amazing.

1. Maelie experiencing Indonesia. I so wish my daughter could have lived in Indonesia for awhile. (Well, other than in my belly :)) She will hear us talking about it her whole life but never really know what it was like. Of course, we plan on taking her there to visit someday…and that will be fun. :) No matter what she does with her life, though, I hope Mae has the opportunity to spend some time in another culture. It’s life-changing.

This list could have been a lot longer…but here you go.

Maybe there will be a Part 2 later.


I’m glad I miss it…because it means I loved it.



  1. we miss you, too!

  2. Leah Jansma says:

    Wow! Just Wow! <3 <3

Speak Your Mind