When I was 10 years old we moved from our well loved neighborhood of large old houses and wonderful friends to a whole new world. A world that I had no idea even existed. It was quite an adventure to say the least and truly ended up being some of the best years of my life.
We moved to Indonesia – yes the same country that Barak Obama lived when he was a child – though we were in a different city. My parents had originally believed they would home school us but if memory serves me right that really only lasted about a week! I’ll talk about that in another post.
Our home was quite “modern” in that it had floors which were tile over concrete, windows that opened and closed, actual bedrooms for each of us and air conditioning! But where we were there were no other children for us to play with. Well that may not necessarily be true.
You see we lived directly across the street from a Kampong or village. Let me set the stage for you here. Sitting in our living room you could look out the front window and you would see in this order, our front yard, a somewhat paved road, a Kali (river), a dirt road, then the village. There were by the way, little buildings built over the river which I soon learned were their outhouses.
Initially we were told that we should not play with the kids in the village nor should we ever, ever drink the water unless it was boiled. Oh my…how things changed from that first initial week there.
Some quick thoughts: we ended up drinking the water – from the faucet! My sisters and I were allowed beer (or Orange Crush) in lieu of water at many times. The people in the village were wonderful, lovely people – and yes – at least I played with the kids there. The red bridge that eventually crossed the river was built with the help of my father. It was a beautiful country. I can still read my parents letters to friends back home and see and smell what they are describing.
This was a special time in my life. It was a time that would eventually define me though some for the best and some, well not necessarily for the best.