It’s been eight years on the same narrow street on the same tiny island. And I just can’t believe it.
That’s twice as long as I’ve ever lived anywhere in my whole life.
As the daughter of an Army officer, I rarely lived anywhere longer than just a couple of years. And even if I wasn’t moving that year, many of my friends, teachers, pastors, neighbors and coaches were moving.
Nothing stayed the same.
So, when I moved here, I saved most of my boxes, folded and hidden under beds, in storage rooms, on top of the laundry cupboard. All probably soggy and molding in the tropical heat.
But year after year, I buy my bananas from the same old lady in the same tarp-covered structure. Almost every Thursday night, our team gathers at the same Chinese restaurant, whose owner is also my neighbor, whose grandson was born the same week as my daughter. And I get together with the same Indonesian friends, their children and mine growing and growing, as we stay and stay.
I knew when I moved to this tiny island on the other side of the world from everything I’d known that I’d have to learn new things. How to speak Indonesian. How to drive on the left side of the road. How to trust God to keep my husband safe while flying, to keep my kids healthy while playing. But I didn’t think about the fact that I’d have to learn how not to move. How to let settle. How to stay.
Sometimes my feet get itchy and I wonder what it would be like to live in a place with seasons other than “hot and sticky” again. I wonder about life back in the States, about my siblings’ babies getting bigger without me to see. And I wonder about other foreign lands and the adventures I could be having there.
But then I look around me, hear the words I don’t yet know, see the cultures I’m still learning, and me growing deeper in love with this place, these people, my team, and my God who called me here.
So for now, let the boxes mold and the roots grow and the staying keep … staying.