When I went to church in Yogyakarta this past Sunday, I ran into Elder N., my former missionary buddy. In Semarang, he had spent much of his time grumpy and tressed, but he looked much happier this Sunday. When I asked him how he was liking Yogya, he grinned wider than I had ever seen him. "Great!" he said. "I love it! Yogya's like a party, every day!"
This quickly became the theme for my weekend visit to Yogya. I had been feeling vaguely dissatisfied over the past few weeks in Semarang, and when I, as is my habit, sat down and made a list of things possibly causing my malaise, two easily-resolved reasons appeared: I was bored with my routine and lonely for American conversation. So, with a week and a half of vacation coming up, I packed a bag, climbed on a bus, and went to Yogya.
Some of the other Americans from my program were in town for the weekend, and as we restaurant-hopped in search of Western food, market-hopped in search of fine silver and batik, and travel agent-hopped in search of cheap plane tickets, I felt, for the first time in weeks, happy. Yogya is like a party, I kept repeating to my friend, at least ten times a day, and like the best kind of party, too: something for everyone! The city itself is almost schizophrenic in personality: it is both one of, along with Solo, the deeply traditional centers of Javanese culture, complete with gamelan orchestras, wayang performances, batik production, and the 'purest' dialect of Javanese, all of which I experienced during my last visit, and one of, along with Jakarta, the deeply hip modern centers of Indonesian youth culture, complete with a university campus, live music at open-air cafes, art galleries, and totally rad Indonesian slang, all of which I experienced during this visit.
In other words, I like it. So thank you, Yogya, and thank you Nono, Steve, Hillary, Elena, Amelia, Amanda, and Tamara, for breaking me out of my funk. And party on, Yogya. May your days and nights always be excellent.