This is my final blog from Indonesia. We leave in a few days, which will be filled with packing and throwing ancient, forgotten papers away.
Today I was working at the school to do some computer work in the library. When I was finished, I realized that I likely wouldn't be back in the library before I leave. As I was going out the door, I turned and said, "Goodbye library. Thank you for serving me well these past few years."
I've discovered that to be thankful doesn't require a living recipient. The importance of thanksgiving is found in the state of mind: a recognition of service or kindness or availability that wasn't of my own making. The library has been a place of solace and, sometimes, solitude. A place where I can read National Geographic when I want to hear about the exotic world abroad without being in a NatGeo-type setting. (It's humorous to me that I have to go into my Western-constructed environment to do that.)
The library has also been a place where I've done some of my best work here, writing and researching for articles. It's where I've met with students to discuss their papers or their relationships or their problems. It's where I've played chess in the air-conditioning on steamy monsoon days. It's where I've escaped from the heat and muggy-ness outside when I simply can't breathe the Javanese air any more.
It's important to say goodbye. And it's important to be thankful. And places can be just as important in our lives as people. So, goodbye library. And thank you for serving me so well these past few years. I won't forget you. Cheers.