Saturday, March 6, 2010


Since I returned to Indonesia and the life of a humanitarian aid worker three days ago, I've had two perplexing yet inspiring questions present themselves to my existential existence:

First, as I took my first cold bucket bath back in my room here and remembered wistfully the nice hot showers I got to take in England, I all of a sudden remembered how cold I felt most of the time I was in England! In fact, on one occasion, I felt so cold I didn't want to strip down to get in the shower. True, growing up in Brasil, I always had both the warm weather and the hot showers, but let's imagine a reality in which we have to choose:

Hot weather with cold shower, or cold weather with hot shower?

I have no answer, but just asking myself this question everytime I get close to a shower has revolutionised my Indonesian existence!

Second, last night I went out with some of my colleagues in the emergency-response-humanitarian-aid-expat-community world. A group of about 10 people made it through several dozen bottles of beer. I have no idea how many, but their tally did not fit on two receipts - at least three separate receipts were written up to cover the beer. I didn't have a sip. Not because I'm a teetotalling anti-alcohol girl, but simply because I hate the taste of beer and I never really felt I needed alcohol's effect to let loose. Sure enough, when the karaoke singing started, I was jumping and dancing right there with the rest of them. For a while I was probably leading the show in terms of jumping, dancing and screaming into the microphone. Alcohol-free.

I was proud of this fact, until it occurred to me that my entire company was completely wasted and were not going to remember my behaviour the next day any more than they're remember their own behaviour. So my second conundrum this week is:

Does letting my defences down when I'm not drunk count if everyone else is drunk and therefore the social environment has let all defences down for me?

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