Miss/Won't Miss

As things wind down and in hopes of savoring my remaining time, I've been trying to prepare myself for what I will miss after 2+ years here. 

I also found it helpful to document those things I currently believe it will not be sad to leave behind. Time will tell, however, if even those become fond memories down the line.

Won’t Miss?
(or will eventually grow into the things I miss)
  • PEOPLE!!! Fam, friends, neighbors, kiddies, teachers, students, PC Staff, PCVs
  • Riding my bike to school and having multiple people wave and call out my name
  • Open doors and random little kids visiting
  • Hanging on the porch
  • The nap as a revered part of culture
  • Bakpia
  • Fresh tropical fruits: mango, salak, rambutan, duku, durian, sirsak, mangosteen, starfruit
  • Bananas that taste like something
  • Picking noses out in the open being considered acceptable
  • Random texts about Indonesian life from PCVs
  • Rice paddies
  • Guitar guys on the buses playing John Lennon or Tracy Chapman
  • The ease and mutual understanding of allowing a stranger to fall asleep on me or vice versa on long bus trips
  • Packed lunches
  • Calls to prayer
  • Ledre
  • Meals served in banana leaves
  • Jus alpokat
  • Tempe
  • People asking to “Main ke rumahku”, literally meaning “play at my house”.
  • People saying, “Posisi di mana?” Or “What is your position?” like we are pilots or at war.
  • Texting or speaking in IndoEnglish and being able to pick whichever word is shortest. “See you besok!”
  • The way students and teachers will clap and say “Yay” so sincerely like they are on a family sitcom.
  • People thinking I’m beautiful even at times when I am quite obviously not
  • People thinking I’m hilarious
  • Getting quick laughs just by throwing out a Javanese phrase
  • Hearing my name being called as I run or ride my bike “Mbak Erin!” 
  • Being called "mbak" 
  • Sleeping 5 PCVs to a bed
  • Rp 5,000 McDonalds sundaes
  • My becak guys
  • My guys at the bus terminal  
  • Walking around town like I own the place
  • Having all my meals prepared for me
  • Goats in becaks
  • Babies in jilbabs
  • Not worrying about money
  • Drinking beverages out of plastic bags
  • It being OK for adults to have Tom & Jerry pencil cases or wear Hello Kitty skirts
  • Twinkies! (couple wearing matching attire)
  • No plan or schedule   
  • Being able to bring immediate joy to a small child
  • Bus rides 
  • Onde onde
  • Hearing words like "mughi-mughi" or "lanjutkan"
  • Kids playing in the rain daily
  • Chocolate milk prepared for me twice daily
  • Dads and grandads holding babies while ibus sweep
  • Volcanoes
  • Getting practically anywhere for under $5
  •  Saleems and the pramuka handshake
  • Mango season
  • Sahur wake-up calls
  • Buka puasa
  • Es buah
  • Rp 1,000 soy milk
  • Gandum sari cookies 
  • Not being able to be grumpy, miserable, annoyed whenever I want
  • People planning events around me before even asking if I am free or want to attend
  • Cats
  • That animal skin that sometimes appears in food
  • Rocks, staples, hair that sometimes appear in food
  • Being asked to be in photos w strangers
  • Bus drivers who are allowed to stop the bus mid-route to eat, hang out, or generally roll at a ridiculously slow pace when there is no one to pick up
  • Attempts at cheating
  • Ayu Ting2, dangdut
  • People calling repeatedly and not getting the hint that you won’t answer the phone
  • Loud sneezes
  • Farting openly being acceptable
  • Constant claustrophobia
  • Throwing up being a common activity on buses
  • Same questions over and over
  • Marketing scheme of dumping books, snacks, flashlights etc on your lap on the bus in hope that you buy it
  • Bread always having something in it. I miss plain!
  • People not looking when they pull out in front of me when I'm on my bike
  • Inhaling burning plastic or garbage smells while running
  • Whistling being inappropriate for girls
  • Always being different
  • The following being shouted at me and somehow still getting rousing laughs from boys of varying ages: “Bule!” “Yes, No.” “Mister", "Ching chong." This last one always gets me as it is a racial stab at being Chinese, which I'm not. In these instances, I feel in solidarity in taking one for the Chinese. 
  • Lack of privacy and people always trying to look at what I am doing on my computer
  • Lack of anonymity
  • Low talking
  • People not understanding my accent (“Stretch your ears! I do it for you!”)
  • People grasping onto me when we barely know each other
  • Waiting 15 minutes at the neighborhood Indomaret when there are 6 people working, but only one working register
  • Mysterious illness that I’ve never had before: masuk angin, mual (nauseous) for days, muscle aches, dengue
  • Lack of hugs  
  • Someone videoing me as I am minding my own business, eating an apple and asking me to say something in Javanese
  • Lack of dancing
  • No plan or schedule
  • Being able to bring immediate terror to a small child
  • Bus rides
  • People questioning my rice portions
  • Sule
  • Did I mention cats?  
  • Hearing about my married co-workers' birth control methods
  • People generally treating me just as a photo op and not even bothering to try to talk to me 
  • Constant sweating
  • Laron-laron 
  • Those guys who do their sales pitch in the teacher room. They always target me. Like I need another blender!  
  • Ironing my pajamas 
  • Ironing, in general
  • Mohon maaf-ing 
  • The pervasive teaching of "free sex from the West" warping minds here
  • Car trips which usually involve stopping at least 3 times for praying or eating or picking up other passengers when the car is already full


  1. Lovely journal!
    I read all of it.
    Question Erin: did you find what "masuk angin" is in english or any american slang?

    1. "Enter wind" is the literal translation, but we don't have any reference or illness like that in American culture. The closest is having a cold, but it isn't exactly the same.