I’m feeling way better than I was a few weeks ago. I’m settling into work and starting to adjust to life here. I have a Nasi Goreng guy whose stall I eat dinner at almost every night, we named the cat that visits him Nasi Cakil (Little Rice). I found a pool at the university down the road from me so I have a place to do laps when I’m not too lazy. I’ve found the local supermarket, the coffee shops, and I’m comfortable in the weird Kost I live in.
It’s Ramadan at the moment. The first couple of days were blissful; there was NO traffic on the road. It was incredible. Normally, I’m straddling the moto and walking it through the traffic. The first 3 days of Ramadan, I rode all the way in to work and all the way home without stopping. It was so incredibly still, which is astonishing to experience in Indonesia. I have a feeling though, that the traffic’s will go back to normal pretty soon, unfortunately.
Anyway, you know how I was freaking out that work told me I would be flying to Singapore soon and I was worried it would be the same time I booked a ticket to Bali? Well, it didn’t happen. I’m flying to Bali for 2 days tomorrow. YAY. I’m going to get some waves…
I’m a little shell-shocked at the moment; I left Bali, flew to Java, started work, flew to Singapore, flew back to Java, found a room in a boarding house, and I’ve completed two full-time weeks at my new job.
Last week was miserable. It was/is a combination of not being near the surf, working full-time, and feeling completely out of my depth at work. I didn’t have many classes to teach, but it was more classes than I’ve ever had to teach before. I’m completely inexperienced, so it takes me hours to plan one lesson; this week I had to plan 9 lessons. Some of the classes are quite high-level, and to be honest, they actually know more English grammar than I do… It’s pretty ridiculous. I was meant to be observed by the Director of Studies on Friday. I had a well-planned lesson, but I completely freaked out and asked him not to observe me… I was about to hop on a plane and fly away.
I’m doing two things I promised myself I would never do again. I’m working full-time and I’m living away from the surf. I had thought about going to Nicaragua, but generally, for those countries you have to be in-country to find a job. It was a lot of money to spend on a flight without having work organised up front. I settled on Java because the school I’m working for has other franchises, so I thought if I got my foot in the door maybe in a year I could move somewhere there’s surf.
Aaaanyway, as a compromise for making such horrible compromises : )) I’m allowing myself to fly back to Bali for a weekend every 2 months. I was freaking out so much last week that I ended up buying a ticket for June, just so that I have an escape hatch. After I bought my flight (which was a major drama because the Indonesian airline doesn’t accept international credit cards, WTF!!!) my work told me I might have to fly to Singapore in June for a visa run. I cannot believe it. I just know it’s going to end up being the same week I’ve booked my surf holiday : (
Anyway, this week I booked accommodation in Cimaja for the Idul Fitri holiday week. And today I went and bought a motor-scooter. So I’m feeling a lot less trapped. YAY…
A couple of years ago, on the cusp of New Year, you called. We hadn’t talked in weeks. You were drunk and louche and sentimental. Your voice was heavy with beer, or whiskey, or arak, or whatever the fuck you were drinking. I sat in the gutter in front of a restaurant in my street while we spoke, thinking you might think I’d be partying, and not missing you. I can’t remember what you said. I know it was urgent and emphatic; in that slow, heavy way you speak, and your voice deepening, when you need me to know that you mean it, self-consciousness inflecting your voice with the sting of falsity.
I sat in the gutter on the phone with you this New Years too. The fireworks exploding and hypnotic; bright little humming lights squealing up into the quiet night sky, spidering out then falling home, in one last twinkling grasp at the world.
I just google you even though I know I won’t find anything new
I was just thinking about us. In New York. I’d just arrived. We were in the backseat of a taxi. I was tired and wanted to lay my head down in your lap, but rested my forehead on the window instead. I closed my eyes.
In your apartment: You have a window with a yellowed blind you keep closed. Light leaks in around its edges. We are quiet, in this small room, on unvarnished wooden floorboards. I walk to the window, and tug the bottom of the blind, which furls up in on itself with a snap; a sharp little reprimand, cracking open the quiet. The light leans in through the window.
A looming brick wall. A vine in an old tin can, tendrils clawing.
The next day, while you’re out, I clean the window.
You come home. We lie on a mattress on the floor, clean white sheets crumpled beneath us. We look at the light.
still, with the missing of you