My posting has become infrequent, sporadic. Lack of discipline, entropy, inertia, a failing appetite, a reluctant acknowledgement that my wife and I are newly unemployed teachers, a dying father-in-law, witness to the dismantling of two ESL programs that served several generations of adult immigrants in Sacramento and helped it become recognized as the most diverse city in the United States--any and all of these may be behind the scarcity of recent posts. I try to be generally upbeat in my posts, but it has been hard to be upbeat recently. Yet, in the end, what choice do we have? Stew in our funk, or try to enjoy life.
Currently we are in Indonesia, visiting my dying father-in-law. While the death of any parent is difficult, it is more so when they are not near. Tjing’s mother died while Tjing was getting her Master’s in Australia. She also had cancer, but her death was swift, happening just days after being diagnosed. Although Tjing was home within 72 hours of hearing the diagnosis, it was too late. That loss, that failure to connect with her mother one last time, is a hurt that haunts Tjing to this day.
Despite the advances of science, cancer remains an unpleasant killer. My father-in-law’s cancer of the tongue is particularly insidious, not only making it nearly impossible to eat or drink, but also robbing him of his voice. He speaks as if muffled, choking on the tumor that mushrooms on his tongue and down his throat. Still unbent in spine, he stands about 5’9’’ but now barely weighs 90 pounds. A once vibrant, social man who enjoyed morning walks and conversations with all manner of people, he now spends most of his days in his room, wanting only, he says, to die.
So yes, I’m in Indonesia, a country I feel at home in and enjoy as much as any. Yet, it’s not exactly a vacation. Still, it’s hard to stay in a funk in Java, to not appreciate the magic of its people, food, and culture. Soon there will be more postings on some of that magic. This I promise.