House Swapping


What’s it like to move across town in Indonesia?

It’s 17 pickup truck and car loads of our stuff, carted across town to our new house. For two of those loads I was at the steering wheel of the truck, nervous and driving like a granny to avoid potholes (which in this country is virtually impossible); in the truck bed was a pile of furniture and about 10 Papuan teenagers hanging on and having the time of their lives.

Holsten Moving IndonesiaIt’s realizing how absolutely wonderful our friends are. They helped us pack, helped us lift, brought us food, cleaned our bathrooms. They rock.
It’s adjusting to a new neighborhood that, while only five minutes from our former home on the MAF base, could very well be on a totally different island. The sounds of revving airplane engines have been replaced by the sounds of chickens squawking, pigs squealing, and a forlorn-sounding dog wailing in another area nearby.

It’s not having easy answers to questions like, what do we do with our garbage? What’s our new phone number? Where do we hook up our washing machine? It’s extending grace to one another when we ask each other for the umpteenth time, “Have you seen my…?”

It’s knowing that because of the nature of the life we live, this won’t be our last move. The joke is that MAF really means “Move Again Friend” and we can expect to move multiple times. We were in our first house overseas for 10 years, an almost unheard-of length of time in the MAF world. Despite being uprooted often, we try to put down roots quickly when we move to a new home.

It’s another “goodbye” in the ongoing hello-goodbye continuum of our lives. Goodbye to living on base, hello to being part of a mostly Papuan neighborhood.

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