So how lucky am I that for 2 days in a row I have some beautiful ladies posting here?!?! Mel is my new BFF (she may not know it yet!) 😉 And we are going to be newbie roomies at Allume and we are both super excited about that!! Anyways Mel has some amazing stories to share because she lived for a time in Indonesia…so I asked if she would share a story with us today and you are in for a treat!!
My husband and I spent five years (2005-2010) living and teaching in Indonesia.
From different foods and climate to a completely new mindset regarding normal, life there was definitely a shift from what we had grown accustomed to in the U.S.
As far as acclimating, I think we did ok…we liked most of the food. (Most, not all.) 🙂
I was all about warm weather and no snow and the chance to have a tan year-round.
And, really, living in the tropics with real palm trees? Something I’d always wanted to do.
Yep, you can tell I’m a total Midwest girl, just from those details.
But the one thing that continually threw me for a loop was the traffic.
I can’t describe it to you.
I can show you pictures…
Or even this.
But to give you an accurate account of the crazy it was, I’d need to drop you into the middle of the chaos.
I had said, almost from the first day we moved there, that I would learn to drive a motorbike in the city.
In the chaos.
I was determined and adamant to conquer it all.
I wanted independence and the chance to explore. (And I mostly wanted the freedom to go get coffee when I wanted it. Sort of an addict here. ;))
So it was no surprise to anyone that within a month or so of being there, we purchased our first motorbike. (It was orange, and this isn’t necessary information…I just think it’s awesome that we had an orange bike.) 🙂
My husband…well, he’s the guy. He drove it, and he drove it without crashing into carts and people and cars and buses and vans . (And even horses, but only on Sundays.)
I Drove it right into a bush within the first week of having it. 🙂
After that little incident, I was content for the next year or so with riding on the back with my hubby at the handlebars and letting him conquer the crazy.
But, eventually, I knew I’d need to find the courage to embrace the chaos and just drive.
We went out one random day after school and bought me a bike.
It was cute, it was pink, and most importantly, it was automatic. (read: easy to drive)
I’d had this theory that if we spent money, I’d be more determined to follow through with actually driving in the city.
For the first week, I focused on driving around our neighborhood and area, avoiding the major roads (and also avoiding those silly bushes that liked to jump out in front of me).
But after about a week, my husband decided it was time.
Time to get out in the middle of it all and Just. Drive.
I was so nervous that my hands were shaking, even as I strapped on my helmet. I took off with my hubby following on his bike. As I cautiously weaved my way in and out of the what-seemed-like-millions around me, I realized something in between the whispering, I can do this through Him. He gives me strength, about a hundred times.
There was chaos around me…lots of it, and that part didn’t surprise me.
But being in the middle of it, I only had to worry about what I could see, about what was close to me. Focusing on all that was going on fifty meters in front of me would only remove my focus from where it needed to be.
I had to pay attention to what was right in front of me.
I finished that drive, one that took me to a major shopping area (with a Starbucks…hallelujah!) and back home again with no major incidents.
It really wasn’t that bad…in fact, I might even use the word enjoyable to describe it.
And that drive gave me the confidence to keep driving all over town.
There were definitely a few incidents over the years with me behind the handlebars of that little pink-mobile…mostly bumping mirrors on cars or cutting it a little too close with other drivers, but learning to drive in Bandung ended up being such a good thing.
Oh, and there were multitudes of lessons…on patience and patience and more patience, on bravery, on trust…and on dealing with chaos.
Too often in life, I let myself become weighed down with all that swirls around me. I look at the big picture and throw up my hands in the air…How can I possibly deal with all of this?
The truth is that sometimes we have to embrace the chaos of life and just keep going, dealing with what we can see, what’s within reach, and forgetting about the rest of it.
And even in the middle of chaos, I often find that it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be.
Plus, as I learned during that first bike drive several years ago, I can do all things through Him because He does give me strength.
Mel is a Follower of her Father. Wife to Tobin. Mommy to Mae. Friend. Writer. Dreamer. Throw in some coffee, chocolate, running, music, and that’s describes her. Blogging at A Barefoot Life , Mel shares her heart for her family and finds beauty in the little things.