At the end of the year – as has been for the last 17 years, I usually posted my annual newsletter as a recap. However, as I approached the end of the year, I felt that I would be doing it out of mere personal tradition rather. So, The Kimber Chronicles is taking a break this year. It will probably return next year … we shall see.
Yani and I returned from our trip to Indonesia early this morning – after a 3.5-year hiatus brought by COVID. The last time we visited Indonesia was in July 2019 to celebrate my Mum’s 79th birthday. To me, 2022 feels like a coil that was quickly released after being tightly wound-up during the two years of the pandemic. The year was filled with frantic energy – a release of pent-up excitements and frustrations. It’s a year of achievements, activities, and mental burn-out. Maybe subconsciously, I really needed that trip to Indonesia – to say goodbye to Mama personally by visiting her grave, and to see the families and friends. Appreciating things that truly matter beyond citation index, publications, and research projects.
The trip to Indonesia was really what I needed. Over three weeks of realigning and relaxation. It was great to catch up with my family as well as with Yani’s. We flew to Denpasar on December 8th and stayed there for the night at the airport hotel before we flew to Jakarta on the 9th of December. Subsequently, we travelled to Bandung (my hometown), and then Surabaya (Yani’s hometown), and we also spent four nights in Denpasar, Bali as our holiday. The usual comments that I received were that I was looking ‘prosperous’ (aka ‘fat’) after three years. Haha. The thing is with Indonesians is that food is often used as the expression of love and care. So after the comment that I was looking plump – the next line was often that I should try this and that, or that they had bought us dishes and snacks that we should eat. Saying no is not an option – besides, I didn’t want to say no anyway. Thankfully, after all the feasting and restraining, I only weighed one kilo heavier when I stepped on the scale this morning here in Adelaide. Hurrah!
I will post more about my trip in a different post perhaps – especially about our journey to Bali. If you’re wondering about the title, well, this is what I mean.
Towards the end of the year, I also came to a realisation that my life is a bit like an amphibian. No, I haven’t ingested any hallucinatory substance and I haven’t recently subscribed to an alternative philosophy.
The word ‘amphibian’ means ‘both kinds of life’ and is generally used to describe animals that can live on land and in water. Not quite one or the other. It sums up my life, somehow. Not quite Chinese, not quite Indonesian. Not quite Asian in my thinking, and yet not quite Australian in my attitudes. I feel that I’m too academic to work in the industry, and yet not scholarly enough to be an academic. I can survive and flourish in both worlds – but it does leave me with a feeling of restlessness. It’s not easy being green, Kermit the frog says. I can understand him, feeling like a fellow amphibian.
So, I’m closing this year off feeling reflective and yet thankful and at peace with how things are at the moment. Many of the folks who I chatted with recently expressed their concerns and fear for the year ahead. Somehow I don’t share that fear – 2023 will be an exciting year, I feel. A year of further explorations, discoveries, and constant changes. At least with me being an amphibian, I should be adaptable enough with different habitats. Ha!
Happy New Year, all – and may God continue to bless us all!