Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Growing Up Together and Old Friends

I have this friend, Jared. 

We were in the same class in fourth grade, but he tells me he doesn’t remember any of us girls until years later. That’s the kind of guy he was. Mr. Sports, for sure. 

Once we hit high school, we became good friends. The kind of good friends where he drove me crazy like a brother and yet I also trusted his character as I did no other guy around. His mom was my teacher and class sponsor. His dad is the hero of many of my good friends.

When I came back to college in Chicago, Jared came to visit. Isaac had just shown up and Jared taught him to say, “You’re pretty, kiss me” in Indonesian, which pretty much makes Jared instrumental in getting us together. Okay, not really, but he was one of my only friends from “home” who met Isaac in those early years. We kept up with each others’ lives, which were generally pretty similar. Jared and Teresa got married a year after Isaac and I did. My brother and sister-in-law lived with them for a couple of years. They were at our friend Rachel’s wedding this summer in London. I just love it when friends stay friends. You know? I love it that he's still Jared after all this time.

Jared’s wife just linked to a sermon Jared preached. Really? Jared is preaching a sermon? In the words of our former class sponsor, “I can just see you all in 10 years with the boys still stealing the girls' hair ties.” How did we grow up? And how did Jared get to be such a fantastic preacher? 
In any case,I listened to the message and got all teary, for one thing because Jared is great and he’s an adult and that’s weird, but also because I love his life stories – because I lived them too. He told these stories, and you can see my comments added in red. 

I absolutely loved growing up in (Papua). I thrived in it,whether it was being carried around in a net bag on my dad’s back or going to the beach to go snorkeling or spear fishing, Indonesia had lots of outdoor activities and I loved that. I loved getting to hike through jungles and go to waterfalls,and most of all, I loved going to the beach (yeah,remember what I said about Jared not remembering the girls in our class? This is why. He was too busy playing outside)
As I look back on my time in Indonesia, one thing that I’m very, very thankful for is I had the opportunity to play a lot of football. When I say football I don’t mean the weird oblong shaped ball you use here in America, I’m talking about the round kind, a soccer ball, and in Indonesia anything that was round and could be kicked was a soccer ball. I remember when I was about seven years old my parents gave me a little mini rubber basketball. It did not matter to me that it was bright orange like a basketball or that it had stripes on it like a basketball,we could kick it, therefore it must be a soccer ball. I remember spending many many afternoons with my Indonesian friends playing soccer with that rubber basketball. As I grew up I got to play soccer on a number of different Indonesian teams and it became a big part of my life and a big part of my story. Heh. I grew up with it too, but not because I was playing it – I stink at nearly all sports. More because I was watching it. I had a massive crush on a guy on Jared’s team so was a big “fan”and went to watch them practice. My most embarrassing moment involved that soccer team. My brother later played for the same team. 
I was 19 when I left Indonesia. I can remember like yesterday the day that I left, because it was the hardest thing that I had ever gone through in my entire life and the hardest day of my life. Si. I wrote about that same thing. I can pictures itting in the waiting room waiting to board the plane with my family and my friends that were there to say goodbye. Jared left six months after me. When I left, he was the last one to hug Rachel, Fiona and I goodbye at the exit of that waiting room as we sobbed our way to the airplane. I had a friend named Ben and he came over with this bracelet that I’m wearing today. Ben was at the airport with us too. Saying goodbye to him was brutal. It’s nothing expensive or made out of gold or silver and he didn’t buy it at a jewelry store. It’s actually a rubber 0 ring, a seal for a fuel drum that was probably used to fuel a Mission Aviation Fellowship plane. He gave it to me as a way that I can remember Indonesia. Most durable bracelets ever. As I got on the plane I can remember sitting there as it was taxiing away down the airstrip and I had tears just flowing down my cheeks because I was saying goodbye to everything that I knew. I was saying goodbye to my family, saying goodbye to my friends, to my home. To the point where if I wanted to come back and visit I would have to get a visa just to get in the country. I remember sitting on that plane and looking at this rubber bracelet and feeling like it was the only thing I have left of my childhood… of my time in Indonesia. It’s a very difficult sort of loss and traumatic goodbye experience to describe since it’s so far from the experience of most Americans. I did it too. The amazing thing to me is that Jared IS going home.
One of the most precious things that we could get was American candy. We loved American candy. Yes. As a matter of fact, Jared and my class took our senior trip to Australia mainly with money we raised selling American candy to the community. Jared bought me a few packets of my favorite - M&Ms.  Specifically for me, my favorite was reeses peanut butter cups. If I ever got reeses I cherished them highly. They were also my dad’s favorite, so when I got them I couldn’t leave them out in the open because I knew my dad would find them. It was something I had to watch out for. So normally when I got the candy I would eat a little and then take the rest to my room and hide it. Now in Indonesia that is a very bad idea. For one thing it’s very hot and anything that that you don’t put in the fridge will melt very quickly. But worse than that there are a lot of bugs in Indonesia and more than few times I went back to my stash of candy and I opened it up and found the chocolate melted and a bunch of ants running around with peanut butter breath.  Funny, a missionary recently wrote about this, complete with photos!
I love it when old friends stay friends

1 comment:

junglewife said...

Love your stories. I've probably said this before, but as an MK, my best friends are not from college. My best friends are still the friends I have in high school. I love that we are still friends, even all these years later. And yes, it is hard to accept that we all are "all grown up"! I love hearing their stories about when we were growing up together and seeing how they differ from my remembrances of things. Thanks for sharing about your old friends that are still your friends!

Oh, and thanks for the linky back to my pictures, too :-) Some things never change... the ants stay the same...!