The journey began when I was 14 or 15…and I have not looked back!
On that first journey to Indonesia…something touched my heart or possibly even stole a small part of my heart…something reached into my soul and I still continue to search for more knowledge and deeper understandings about the Indonesian language, culture, traditions and The Arts.That first trip made me so determined to learn and understand more…that it led me to study the Indonesian language as my major for four years at university whilst completing a Bachelor of Teaching and a Bachelor of Education. That formal education was still only the beginning stages of my journey.
I then went to live and work in Semarang, Central Java, where I taught English at ‘Universitas Katolik Soegijapranata’ and also completed a Private Intensive Language and Culture Course.
During this extended stay in Java…I had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout many islands ( obviously Java – West, Central and East, Sumatra from Lampung to Medan – unfortunately it was impossible to cross the border in to Aceh at that time, Sulawesi – including a small island that tourists weren’t allowed to enter (after one night, I was escorted off the island by the local police! Hehehe..), Bali for the umpteeth time, Lombok and the Gili Islands) gaining a deeper fascination for the contrast of cultures and the diversity of the Indonesian people and their languages, customs and beliefs.
This only lead me to delve even deeper into the weird and wonderful world of Indonesia, and the need to learn more and more…finally erupted!!! I knew that I would have a deep connection with Indonesia throughout the rest of my life. It is a passion from deep within…that I can not explain.
Since that time of living in Semarang, although I had long stints of living back in Melbourne, I travelled to Indonesia once or twice every year to continue my journey of learning. In 2007 things changed dramatically in my life and I made the decision to leave life in Melbourne…I took off to Indonesia and lived on Gili Trawangan for over 6 months…just absorbing quiet village life and the ins and outs of the locals. I lived in a small room with no TV, no radio, no newspapers and very rarely any electricity! That period was a learning curb for me in many ways. After that I travelled quite extensively through Lombok. I then returned to Melbourne for a short time but I was longing to be back in Indonesia – a constant pull of being caught between two shores (that was what my life had become) so in 2008 I moved to Bali and lived and worked in Bali for an extended period of time, working at Sekolah Lentera Kasih in Kerobokan, teaching grade 4/5. This was also a very interesting experience – but I’m not going to reflect on these past experiences – I want to move forward.
In 2009 I moved back to Melbourne to be with my family at a difficult time and I am now living and working back in Melbourne and for the first time in a very long time – I feel settled here and I feel at home, although my longings to be in Indonesia are still with me…those feelings will always be with me. Melbourne is a lovely place and I always recommend that people come and visit me here. The weather is beautiful and there are so many things to do, not to mention the amazing Café in north Melbourne! Although I love Indonesia, Melbourne will always be my home.
From 2009 – 2013 I worked as Indonesian Language Advisor for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and during this time I finally felt that I could put my strong passions for Indonesia into practical use through developing and managing projects such as; In-country Student Study Tours, Student Local Language Immersion Camps, Educational Resource Kits, Online Learning Resources and so much more.
I’ve also since continued my adventures back to Indonesia, exploring some new destinations and some old favs; Kalimantan (twice now!), a return trip to Sulawesi (from Makassar to Manado – an epic journey!), West Timor and Rote Island (spectacular!), a road trip through Flores from Maumere to Labuan Bajo and numerous return trips to Yogyakarta – Central Java, Bali and the Gili islands.
For the past 12 months I have been working as a freelance Indonesian Language Educational Writer and Consultant, working on national and international educational projects, all with the focus of promoting, sharing and gaining understanding about the Indonesian Language and Culture.
As you can probably tell, I have had quite a few jobs during my lifetime. I never seem to stay on the same path for long, even though most of my projects have been relatively similar to one another. I’m just lucky that I get to have all of these different life experiences, as I’m sure a lot of other people can’t say the same thing. My friend told me that I should make sure they put me on the payroll system, even if it is for a short amount of time. I am providing them with my service after all, and even though I’m not bothered about the money, it would be nice to be recognized for my work. This way, it can help to fund my next adventure, regardless of whether it’s for work or personal purposes.
So, who knows where the next journey will take me…for now I will embrace the fact that I am caught between two shores and I can enjoy the best of both worlds; with a home in Melbourne and a holiday adventure to Indonesia annually!