The art of being uncomfortable is actually hard to master because humans are highly adaptable creatures. Still, rare is the individual that seeks to leave their comfort zone very often, and though I moved to Indonesia for two years, I’ve found I’m guilty of this, too.
Without going into all of the sordid details, I had to leave the host family and the place I called home for the majority of my service; that was a tough decision. I believed I was comfortable, and I didn’t want to get out of my zone, especially when I only have 6 months left. Luckily, I have awesome PCV friends that put up with my poutiness (shout out to Kayla and Katie), a supportive Peace Corps staff, the best and most caring school of all Peace Corps Indonesia, and a great family at home that helped me to see that 6 months is actually a long time to make a new home for the remaining months of service. After all, most study abroad programs and fellowships barely last that long. And it turns out, they were right. Moving has been a blessing in disguise.
Discomfort comes from a lack of familiarity. That lasted hours at my new place. It’s really quite interesting to see how I’ve gone from being extremely formal in other people’s houses to feeling quite familiar in a very short period of time; but mostly, this is due to Indonesians, whom are very welcoming and warm hosts.
This new environment refreshed my experience here, which, I must admit, was becoming stale upon becoming too familiar with my last one. Though it can be quite uncomfortable (read: annoying) to have people marvel at my ability to eat Indonesian food or my other foreign peculiarities (again!) at 21 months of living in Indonesia, I’ve been reminded that this is what I signed up for. I wanted to be uncomfortable, which–when viewed positively—is synonymous to challenged and stimulated amidst new experiences.