Anyway, I digress. Before I even start. But, its what’s going through my mind right now and I don’t know any other way to start. So, I’ll just write.
About this. About that. About rice fields. About how they change from bright green in daylight to silver at dusk. About broad, sweet, smiling faces. About mud floors and straw hats. About motorbikes and live chickens. About the sound of crackling, hot oil bubbling over an open fire. About a searing midday sun and the immediate relief provided by the shade of a palm tree. About vibrant color. About poverty and hope. About art and creativity. About politics. About the beauty of a dirt yard surrounded by cracked clay walls. About determined women with the weight of the world on their shoulders. About hard work. About curiousity. About friendship. About connecting in a meaningful way with someone who doesn’t speak the same language. About the universality of play. About the luxury of owning an animal to love and not to work. About religion. About the in-your-face impact of the reality of the devastation caused by volcanoes and earthquakes. About learning to pee anywhere, in anything. About “the community of women” and how it’s the same no matter where you are. About coconut sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. About families of five or six or seven living in a single room with no indoor plumbing. About gracious hospitality. About how funny are goats. About entire families with no helmets riding on a single motorbike. About shy, giggling, school-age girls in hijabs wanting to take a photo with you. About feeling totally annoyed the 150th time you are asked, but smiling and saying "sure", anyway. About knowing you’d NEVER want to be famous. About being overwhelmed by all the things you want to buy in the local market and about how many people vie for the chance to sell the same things to you. About having to choose from whom to buy. About children having to work so their family can eat. About how instead of going to school, their “job” is to walk 20-30 km each day, collecting discarded plastic bottles to deposit for recycling, while their father sometimes lies around drinking cheap rum. About huge, wrinkly, toothless smiles. About how inappropriately humorous (and totally repulsive and sad) it is to see a “bouquet” of live chickens hung by their legs from the back of a motorbike swerving through congested city streets. About sweet, cool, fresh coconut water. About the guilt of haggling and doing it nonetheless. About the shock at the realization that people are willing to work so hard for literally just a few pennies per day. About so many baked and interesting, storied faces. About understanding that the people who live amongst the trash-strewn packed dirt areas surrounding clusters of haphazardly-built shacks, know intimately, each curve of the surrounding wooded paths, the ways in which sunlight streams through the trees at particular times of day, and all the secret spots where the children love to play, because this small, packed-dirt area is their whole, entire world. About the fear of knowing that most of the people in the world have no awareness that burning their trash or dumping garbage and sewage in the water supply has lasting ill-effects on their health and our planet, but not blaming them because they have more pressing issues, like eating, to worry about. About feeling helpless and a bit hopeless about that. About gorgeous batik. About the pleasure of finding geometric patterns in a paddy of young rice and noticing how they shift and reform depending upon the angle from which you look. About the bravery of a young woman who has dedicated her life to empowering other women to raise themselves out from under the suffocating weight of poverty. About being awed by this young woman’s quick, yet quiet intelligence and how, despite a lack of formal education and a background that mirrors her clients, has single-handedly built an impressive, well-run and effective organization from nothing but a donation of $500 and a strong will. About fierce, brief, rain storms. About reverence for the ancient buddahs and burial sites. About feeling mystically connected to a stranger who lived thousands of years before, and who may have also stood in the same spot as you, and whose fingers may have also lightly ambled over the same roughly-carved relief of Gautama Buddah while watching the deepening orange sky surrounding Mt. Merapi at dusk. About patience. About wanting to aid humanity and a gorgeous leather bag simultaneously, and convincing yourself that buying one will help accomplish the other. About the comfort of “western” food, cleanliness and service standards. About how anathema it seems is to get stuck in miles upon miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic on a rural road surrounded by pastoral rice fields and tiny villages in central Java. About the hundreds of organized groups of people dressed in election paraphernalia on motorbikes, honking their horns to the beat of a political chant and carrying enormous flags for one of the twelve different political parties vying for their vote, being the cause of that traffic. About how ear-drum crushingly loud is this fervent political activity. About the ironic election poster for a candidate running an “Anti-Corruption” campaign, whose photo looks like a farcical representation of a foreign dictator in an old SNL skit, clad in aviators and a Chevy-Chase-nose-flaring smirk. About feeling gravely disappointed in realizing how paternalistic and patronizing you are to have assumed that rural farmers in the “third world” are too provincial and naive to be so political. About the overwhelming feeling of love you have for your sparkly-eyed husband because he can joke around with anyone in any language at any time, and because he tucks his ego into his back pocket and balances his hulking body and long, langorous legs on the back of a tiny motorbike driven by a man half his age and size, even though it looks ridiculous. About knowing that he’d find a way to ultimately end up driving, regardless. About appreciation. About gratitude for the warmth, openness and sensitivity in your son’s approach to life, and the strength, confidence and humor in your daughter’s. About feeling comforted that you love the same city you fell in love with twenty years ago. About loving to say the name “Jogjakarta”.