37 Days to America

In 37 days I will hop on a Boeing 777 in Hong Kong and make the 14-hour trek to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. I’ll be leaving Asia after spending the majority of the last 2.5 years in lands of rice, traffic, black hair and spices.

There are, of course, a range of emotions; gratitude, relief, sadness, bitterness, joy, disappointment, curiosity, et al. Both push and pull factors were critical for my decision to leave Indonesia and to return to the United States. I don’t think I’ll discuss most of those feelings and reasons but allow me to look forward. I present to you, 25 reasons I am excited to return to the United States (also 37 is too big a number to attempt to write a list for)

  1. Driving – Nothing is more American. Nothing more democratic.
  2. Food – Casseroles, jello, turkey, BACON, pie, fresh fruit, bread. . .
  3. English – I know that it’s not always spoken, but it would be nice to generally know what strangers are saying
  4. Patriotism – Americans may be skeptical and suspicious but dang if we aren’t proud. ‘MERICA!
  5. Sports – Americans may be fat but we’re also very athletic and place a huge emphasis on high physical performance.
  6. Books – Indonesians respect books, they just don’t read them.
  7. Running – Trails, paths, sidewalks sure are nice.
  8. Amazon – And I’m not talking about the river.
  9. 4G – I’m told there is such a thing.
  10. Credit Cards – Fast, easy because ain’t nobody got time fo cash n’ change.
  11. Craftsmanship – Builders generally create buildings that are decent. Or at least be to a standard that stops leaking and pests.
  12. Sarcasm – I just can’t get enough
  13. College Football – Go Big Red!
  14. Cheap Products – Ok, so this is a mixed bag but many things like consumer electronics and books are much cheaper in the US.
  15. Reliability – Because it’s nice to meet expectations.
  16. Professionalism – You don’t show up to work, you get fired. Simple as that.
  17. Bowling
  18. Alcohol  – That doesn’t cost 60% more for a basic beer.
  19. Manners – That are aligned with mine.
  20. Names – Should be consistently spelled and used. My name is Matthew not Mister.
  21. Euphemisms – Because that’s what she said.
  22. Restaurants – Where I’m not scared to find out the hygienic practices.
  23. Pets – I miss my dog :(
  24. Language – People that understand what I say and what I mean.
  25. Family and Friends – It sure would be nice to see them besides Skype.

Selamat Tahun Baru

Lippo Cikarang, West Java, Indonesia

It’s been a year since I last blogged and I’ve been through quite a lot. Looking back, here are some of the things that happened in 2013 in my life:

  • Visited Papua, Bali, Poland, Cleveland, Minnesota, Japan as well as more familiar haunts
  • Completed my first year of teaching and began my second
  • Moved to a new house
  • Experienced my first ever breakup
  • Became an uncle
  • Became school House Coordinator
  • Saw drastic workplace injustice
  • Did not re-sign a contract for 2014-15
  • Flew an airplane twice
  • Gained a lot of weight
  • Drove a motorcycle
  • Hosted visitors to my home

So what will 2014 hold?

A mixed record

Lippo Cikarang, West Java, Indonesia

I phail. A lot. Here were my goals for 2012:

  • Run a marathon or two half marathons or 1000 miles in 2012
  • Fill up 3 pages of passport with stamps or fly 20,000 miles
  • Blog at least 28 days per month – hold me to this please! It just needs to be something not a treatise on microeconomics
  • Only eat desserts at special occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc and not daily)
  • Read 15 books (150+ pages)
  • Tear out the thorn and let it heal
  • Read a chapter of the Bible before going to bed every night

I definitely completed my travel goal and then some. Instead of flying 20,000mi I actually flew 31.870 see:

I think I also may have completed the book goal let me try and think what books I read in roughly reverse order: Song of Ice and Fire books 1 & 2, House on Mango Street, Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Flies, Blood on the River, Ask Me No Questions, Hunger Games 1, 2, & 3, Apocalypse Z, Life of Pi, At the Back of the North Wind, Mayor of Casterbridge, Daisy Miller, I think there could be others that I don’t remember but that’s 15.

Despite a (little) success I am hoping for 2013 to be better. 2012 was a great year and I’m sure I will look back fondly on it in the future.

I won’t be home for Christmas

Lippo Cikarang, West Java, Indonesia

Confession: I’ve been listening to Christmas music. A lot. Even before Thanksgiving. That is a most grievous sin and yet I still committed it quite a bit. A few days ago I just bought an entire Bing Crosby Christmas album on iTunes (I never buy stuff form iTunes – it’s too trendy, expensive when I could just go on Grooveshark. One of my favorite ever Christmas songs:

It’s a lie. Although I sin like those opera vikings a beautiful bird in the shower every morning it doesn’t make the words come true. I’m not going to see my family this Christmas. In a way perhaps. I get to see my girlfriend which is fantastic! But I won’t get the traditional clam chowder, tree decorating and let’s be honest best of all valuable presents! celebrations of Jesus at my home church! And so in the beginning of this 25 days of Christmas Blogging I will start it the way I start everything with a stinky fart caution. As great as this Christmas season will be I know that my home has changed but I suppose that’s what it means to grow up.