Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's Good to Live in America, Isn't It?

I'm back in Houston.

I'm not ecstatic to be back. Let's get that out in the open. When I arrived 2 days ago winter greeted us. The sky was grey, everything looked gloomy and mellow. Almost the total opposite of what I had been having in Indonesia.

Most of the people I met back home asked me the same question: "It's good to live in America, isn't it?" It sounded almost rhetorical to me, because I know in their mind the answer is "yes". My answer was, I felt, did not matter.

Do not get me wrong, living here is a blessing. Not because it's America, but mostly because it's an independent life. The kind of life that I would imagine hard to find if  I stay in Indonesia. And to add to that, it's a life surrounded by mostly orderliness. So yes, I love living with rules and norms. Rules and norms that are actually obeyed by the majority. I love Indonesia, but let's face it, it's chaotic there. I blame not only the government, but the people also for always trying to find the easiest way out. Money has become so important, even to those who scream against capitalism.

I don't actually know why people who have never been to America assume living here is great. There is really nothing lavish about life here, except of course if what you mean by "life in America" is "life in Hollywood". We are most definitely on two different pages then. It's not a lavish life, but it is absolutely comfortable. It is comfortable to not sit in excruciating traffic every single day and it is comfortable to get almost always good service. It is quick and easy to get things done here. Time is appreciated as something important and expensive. Of course, I am comparing these living situations with what I had in Indonesia. It's just too easy to compare it that way.

So, so far I love orderliness and comfort. Who doesn't? But those two reasons didn't make me automatically answered "yes" to the "It's good to live in America, isn't it?" question. For me, living in Indonesia was also good, despite the fact that the country has one of the worst governments ever. It's good to be surrounded with friends and family. I'm a family person, so yes, it's hard to be separated from them. It's good to have colors and sounds and smells! Indonesia is so vibrant with colors, loud and rich with smells. I sometimes feel lonely here just because I can hear no other sound but my own, the dogs and the television. And Indonesia is a country that will surprise you. It's the people, the nature, the food, the sounds, the sights that differentiate that country from all the rest. Not necessarily in the best of ways, but believe me, they will surprise you.

Anyway, I actually ended up saying "yes" to the "It's good to live in America, isn't it?" question. Because I would be lying and ungrateful to answer differently, but still, my heart was left in Indonesia. Maybe broken in pieces, because of all the disappointments, but time and time again the heart is healed because it automatically does that whenever the sight, sound and smell of Indonesia are involved.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, life is almost always good when you find the things that make it good. Happiness comes when you let it comes. At least that's what I feel. So here's to life, wherever you are living. Chin up, darling. Life waits for no one.



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