Amy’s cousin, Steve, recently came to visit us for three days as part of his trip throughout Southeast Asia. It was great having him here and I think he was able to get a really authentic view of Indonesia outside of Bali and the cities. Our village and Amy’s school were excited to have him here, too. Steve works on a golf course in North Carolina, so the students were naturally curious about this. His demonstration of the sport to Amy’s students was incredibly foreign and entertaining to them as you can see in the picture below.
Steve was leaving on Wednesday to head to Yogyakarta, so I went with him to the train station on Wednesday. The train station is in Jombang, which is the largest city near us, about 20km away. Jombang is the capital of this regency and is a pretty big city (about 130,000 people).
We took the little van (angkot) public transportation to the train station. When we arrived, we bought Steve’s ticket and headed in to figure out when his train was leaving. Upon walking in, I heard someone yelling “Will!…Will!” I turned and saw a beaming station employee that I recognized from the week prior when he had met Amy and I and helped us figure out what train to take. I talked with the wonderfully mustachioed gentleman for awhile and when it was time for Steve to go, he made sure that Steve was on the right train and in the right seat.
When I left the station, I heard another voice yell, “Will!…Mr. Will!” I looked up and saw a teacher from Jombang who I had previously met at some of the regional teachers’ meetings. We chatted briefly and he offered me a ride home, but I neglected as he was waiting on someone that was still more than an hour away.
As I was walking to find a bus or angkot to take back to our village, I heard another voice calling me. It was the guy that drove us to the station an hour earlier, still waiting on passengers before making the return trip. After waiting another five minutes with him, we headed back toward my village.
It was so strange to see so many familiar faces in the city. Six months ago, I would have never thought that would be possible. As I told Amy, it felt like I was cruising through the Winchester Wal-Mart, where you are guaranteed to see half of the town on any given visit. It is the little things like this that can make Indonesia feel like home.