I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m incredibly lucky when it comes to Indonesian host families.
I have been blessed with two absolutely stellar groups of people opening their homes to me, teaching me how to be Indonesian and listening to my mangled Bahasa Indonesia with patience.
Without all of my families’ support and love, I surely would have given up on Indonesia long ago.
After a long day, at school or in town, my Ibu is ready to listen to my stories.
Much like my mom in America, she always takes my side and has a few unkind (downright rude) things to say about whoever has bothered me.
It’s so easy to brighten my mood here. Just talking to my host family, now that my Bahasa Indonesia is advanced enough, is usually all it takes. Just some quick, simple conversations and the resulting giggles and shoulder pat from Ibu. Cake.
Ibu is also the person who literally keeps me alive by constantly feeding me. Sometimes, too much, sneaking snacks into my room, and supporting my coffee obsession.
My students grabbed me, but it’s my families that have kept me here.
My Kediri host-mom was similar to my Panawangan Ibu, but times a million.
That woman had a special power of knowing exactly when I needed something, and what it is I needed. From a hug to a hot cup of coffee mysteriously appearing on my desk — she was/is perfect.
On the other hand, my host-dads are the kings of laughing at me/embarrassing me. Sound familiar? She asks as every human ever raises their hand.
Pak Basuki, from Kediri, is especially masterful as the unfiltered Facebook comments and my Panawangan host-dad is wonderful at calling me a fool, making fun of me when I clumsily get hurt, and lecturing me every time I leave the house about finding police if I’m lost.
Parents: whether by blood or adoptive; Indonesian or American; Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, they’re all the same.