It’s difficult to pick one experience that sums up my time here in Indonesia. I think the difference between here and the U.S. is the pace of life here in Indonesia. The morning after I was dropped off at STT Sankakla I remember there was a group of students knocking on my door around 6:30 to take Connor and I to breakfast. Then, a few days later at 4:30am I heard the loud call of the morning trumpet summoning us for Doa Pagi (Morning Prayer). While living at the seminary the typical day would be structured as follows: Doa Pagi at 5am, Breakfast at 6:30am, Golden Time at 8:30am – 12:30pm, Lunch at 1, then there might be an English class in the afternoon or an evening worship service depending on the day, and dinner at 6:30pm.
Another thing I realized was that it was very common for people here to take an afternoon nap in the middle of the day, and that was the routine that I started to fall into during my first few weeks here. This was a very different schedule than what I was used to while living in the United States – while I was in school I would wake up around 8am and be at work or in classes until 4pm. Then work on homework and hopefully squeeze in some time to eat and relax during all of that.
I had a very unique service assignment in which I was documenting the entire SST experience. This allowed me one day to go out and visit a coffee farm with Bright Java Coffee. Which is Leah’s service assignment. We went out to a Javanese village and this was where it became more apparent to me that the pace of life there was extremely different from what I had been accustomed to in the states.
While we were at the coffee farm it was explained to me that for the farmers that their typical day consisted of; waking up at 5am, going to work in the fields and then returning in the middle of the day for lunch and prayer and after that they might do some chores around the house. Growing up, I had watched both my parents working 9 to 5’s and then putting in some more hours in the evening. I, myself, have been working since I was 16 years old.
While visiting this village and also walking through some other Javanese villages I noticed that I saw older people working and carrying these bundles with them. This is when I put two and two together. In Indonesia peoples’ day to day lives run at a much slower pace, however they work for their entire lives. While in America on average we’ll put in 9 – 12 hours a day for about 20 years until we retire. While there are exceptions to these rules on both ends, the biggest difference I noticed while in Indonesia was the pace of life compared to our’s in America.
I’m not here to argue that one way is better than the other. They are both extremely different from one another and are just that. On this trip I’ve come to realize that there isn’t a right or wrong way to live your life. Other cultures are different and not bad.