Curiosity# 42: Temporary Loves of a Traveler

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When one’s only community is a language school, developing stable friendships is not an easy task. In the past six weeks since I’ve stayed in Indonesia, I’ve befriended a ruddy-cheeked Australian vagabond (now a late-blooming linguistics student), a shameless social worker from Switzerland, and an Israeli tour guide who—despite pride in his Muslim faith and Arab origins—leads week-long pilgrimages for bussing, self-righteous evangelists across the Holy Land.

All these friends have left, either back to their homeland or to their new occupations abroad, leaving me to wonder if new acquaintances in this country will ever solidify into substantial relationships, or if I must continue discarding the connections I swallow as if they were defunct pills passing directly through the intestine to the bowels, or—should we dare continue this analogy in the other direction—hearty food combatting my (now) hopeless state of social bulimia.

Too much comfort prevents learning. And so I tell myself. And yet I hope you, reader, are thankful for the people who stay still; who will stick around for another week, another month, maybe decades until the grave. Personally I haven’t reached a point yet in my life where I can stabilize in this way. Perhaps a “reachable” status in life will only manifest several decades down the road. Until then perhaps acquaintances will merely pass through me and out: remembered, always, although—for the ones I leave and who leave me—this memory-confined love might not work the other way around.

I, as a traveler, should be quite alright with that.

My homestay mother, Ibu Wiwik, one of the few people with whom I've been able to establish an extended relationship here in Yogya

My homestay mother, Ibu Wiwik, one of the few people with whom I’ve been able to establish an extended relationship here in Yogya

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