June 28, 2011

What a crazy couple of days it’s been.

Yesterday was Pack the Container Day.  We are shipping our stuff to Papua via a 20-foot container, so Monday night David and I were up past one, boxing up and wrapping our worldly goods.  I was hanging out laundry at midnight, having just remembered my aprons hanging on the back of a cabinet.  You’d be surprised at how much noise there is at midnight here – roosters crowing, toads croaking, the night watchman banging out the hour on a pole. 
Tuesday morning a crew arrived to help take our stuff to the dock where the container is.  In just a couple hours all the stuff was gone.
The truck is loaded.  Note the sweet grafitti.

It is a relief to have a bare house, after the craziness of packing up.  And yet it is sad, too.  Our voices bouncing off the walls, and the early morning light coming in earlier than usual because of the lack of curtains attest that our house is EMPTY. 

My sentimental side has kicked in, and allowed a floodgate of memories to hit me when I am already feeling emotionally vulnerable.  I stood in our playroom/schoolroom yesterday, and thought of all the playing and learning my kids did in that room.  In the kids’ bedroom, by the door, are the fading marks of where we’ve marked their growth over the years, the first mark for Grace – now a gangly 11-year-old – barely two feet off the floor.

Our kids learned to talk, walk, ride a bike, read…so many things in this house.  Leaving here is the end of an era for our family – the end of the Holstens With Small Kids Era.  And while there are some awesome perks to having older kids, I am sad to leave the small kid era.

And Orpa is pregnant, and I am bummed that I may never get to hold her baby, my “grandchild” if you will.  Many Indonesians wish to have children right away after tying the knot – sort of making their family or the marriage complete, I guess – and Orpa and Herry were no different.  She and I have had our first good cry – she flung herself on me the other day and I held her as she sobbed, “Oh Ibu, I never got much love from my own parents…it wasn’t until I lived with you that I truly felt loved.”  So yeah, this goodbye is going to be pretty tough.  She made soto ayam (Indonesian chicken soup) for us one last time yesterday, which was sooooo good.  So good that we had it again for breakfast this morning.
Comfort food

Monday was kind of an insane day – David flew one last time in the Krayan region, and there was room for Zoe and I to go along.  The plan was to drop a load of passengers in Long Bawan, then another load in Long Layu, then head over to Paupan where one of our adopted families lives.  We were hoping to be back in Tarakan by 2 so we could get back to packing. 

Alas, it never seems to go according to plan when you really need it to.  The load of passengers was a group of immigration officials who wanted to hang out in Long Bawan for a little while before heading over to Long Layu.  So we had to wait while they did their visits – but we were invited along so we had a meal, which I was happy about.  Any chance to eat the wonderful short-grain rice of that region, along with a side of wild ferns, I take it.
With the immigration officials

On one leg of our trip Zoe got to sit up front with David and “fly” the plane.  She is our fearless one and was more than excited to go “weightless”.

When we finally got to Paupan, we had to rush it a bit.  Zoe and I went on a little walk, and I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but I was able to say goodbye to the beautiful wild jungle of Borneo.  Our “father” in Paupan, Pak Ajang, hosted a little goodbye meeting for us, which was followed by a meal.  He and his family rode with us back to Tarakan, where they will wait for the birth of their second child.  Their older son, Bryan, is 14 and will be living in Tarakan to go to high school.  For years they've wanted a second child, and it's finally happened.
Pak Ajang (standing) formally bids us farewell

Goodbye Borneo! (photo by Zoe)


Sarah said...

Sniff, sniff Natalie - I'm tearing up for the second time today!

Chad and Andi Irwin said...

Wow, not looking forward to "that" day! Thanks for taking time, in the middle of it all, to tell us about your feelings.