Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friendship in Indonesia

One of my favorite things about living in Indonesia is friendship with Indonesian women. I am overwhelmed sometimes by what I learn from them, how they care for me, and how they let me love them. And while they are different from me in many ways, they share my same heart about many things.

Here is a brief rundown on some of my friends and what I love about them. I’ve referred to them by only their first initial for their privacy.

M is a friend who shares my love of writing. She, like me, often lets so many other things take time away from this love. And she, like me, has the same fears and insecurities about it. I love talking with her and knowing that she understands. She also knows so much about Indonesia, about its culture, heartbeat and pain. I could sit and listen to her all day talk about her perspective on life in that country.

E is a young mom who wears her heart on her sleeve. She is so full of life, even though she’s spent all of hers on an island 5 by 10 miles in size. I love knowing her dreams, and feel honored that she shares them with me so openly.

I is an older woman with grown children, who while a Muslim Javanese with many differences, is a wise woman who shares many of my same values. She is new in my life, but I am eager to return to Indonesia to deepen my relationship with her.

Y is a woman who always has a smile to hide the horrible pain of an abusive husband. She is poor, with many burdens and worries. I can hardly bear to hear of her struggles. But she still has the amazing capacity to love others, including me. I wish I could make all the bad things in her life untrue.

Y (a different Y from above) was a friend who died this past year. She came from a large, poor family, but lived in the hope of making her own life better. Sadly, she was killed in a motorcycle wreck in May. I still can’t believe she’s gone. She was just 21.

U is another older woman who is tough and bristly on the outside, but who has great pain hidden underneath her pride. She runs a household of women—daughters and granddaughters—with no men in it. Her husband, a Muslim, has another wife on another island and rarely returns home. I wish she could experience true love in her life.


  1. Rebecca, I could listen to you and your husband talk for hours about your adventures. I will enjoy keeping up with you on your blog. xo Rachel

  2. Were I half as wise as you at your age..just think of who I would be today. What unique and wonderful friends you have. Think of all you learn from each of them. How I would love to know you by the time you reach my age. Of course I will be long dead by then..but in the meantime..I will enjoy your blog as it is a joy to read.


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