First Impressions / by Kali Wood

View from the airplane window of our soon-to-be new home.

View from the airplane window of our soon-to-be new home.

[Editors note: This article is from April and reflects on a visit to Medan. We moved to Medan on May 14th.]

On the morning of April 9th we finally got to meet the city we will soon call home. As we flew in I was filled with mixed emotions. We have been preparing for this for months and it was finally here. Because we weren’t going to live in a city full of expats it was difficult to do research on what living there would be like. All the research I could find for living in Indonesia focused on living in Jakarta or on Bali. Neither were very helpful. So we went into this a little blind with a lot of trust that the LORD would provide.

So here are some of our first impressions after spending only 5 days there.

We’ll start with an obvious one that we expected. It is HOT and HUMID! It really is everything we didn’t like about St. Louis summers, but it will be all the time. We pray our bodies will learn to adapt.

Traffic is its own kind of organized chaos. I know there is a rhyme and reason to how it goes, but I don’t get it and I don’t know if I ever will. There were a few times in the taxis that we got a little too close for comfort to a nearby vehicle but the drivers all seem to know what they are doing.

The Indonesian people love children. We visited Indonesia with another family who also has young children. These kids were oohed and aahed over by many. People would stop us and ask to take a photo with the youngest children. Lots of cheeks were pinched and many people shed friendly smiles upon our children. I’m most surprised by the men who openly made silly faces trying to get the kids to smile.

Speaking of the Indonesian people, everyone we met were so kind and helpful. They all seem to genuinely want to help us and want us to love their country. We were blessed by a local pastor who took time out of his schedule to drive us around looking for houses for rent. We were blessed by our new landlord who is looking into hiring household help for us. Not to mention the taxi drivers and restaurant staff who were kind and understanding even though we had a lack of Bahasa Indonesia.