Sometime in February, I think, I found out that I was certainly going to be in Yogyakarta in June for the Global Institute of Theology (GIT). To be blatantly honest, I didn’t like that decision all that much. After all, it meant yet another month away from Geneva, from Europe… and to be in Indonesia, my own country, of all places! Uh-huh, not so cool. The thought of being part of another GIT, however, was quite a consolation, after all, the GIT means the world to me. I had a wonderful, wonderful experience as a participant at the 2010 GIT in the United States, and it was through this event that I came to know the WCRC and eventually got the internship! So yes, it was bitter-sweet, but nevertheless, on June 1st I boarded the plane to Jakarta, and on the 5th of June I was in Yogyakarta.
That was a month ago, and the GIT has come to an end. I am back in our office in Geneva while the rest of the students have also returned to their home countries. Several have assumed their responsibilities as pastors again, others are continuing their formation with an internship or other activities. Most of us are still suffering from homesickness, not for our actual home but for the family we had at the GIT.
To me the GIT 2012 experience has been bitter-sweet. I can tell you that being “on the other side” of the GIT is an interesting challenge. It meant a lot of work, going to bed late and waking up early, running around and shouting out announcements, dealing with about a thousand questions from the mundane (“what time is dinner?”) to the difficult (“would it be possible to…?”) and the plain crazy (“where can I get a wooden teddy bear?”), chasing people on and off the bus, and everything in between. The first week in particular was very hard, then things started to be a little better and I was able to mingle and hang out with the students more. One thing that I did try hard to do from the very beginning was to take part in all the worship services. I did eventually miss one particular service on one particular night where I was just super tired and something went wrong and I broke down, wailing in my room.
Being “on the other side” of course mean that I don’t get to form the bond that we had between participants in 2010, but it gave me the opportunity to be more of an observer… and I have to say watching a group of people from 22 different countries interact with each other is quite a show!
How does this GIT compare to my GIT? Personally, of course, I still love the GIT 2010, but I must say that I love the GIT 2012 very much as well. Inevitably, I guess, sharing three weeks with people from all over the world, each with their own background, their own stories, and their own quirks and habits can only be positive in the end, that moment when you realize that you now know a whole lot more about the world than you did before, that you now have people to call your friends in many more countries than you know before, but most of all when you realize that even with all our differences, we could nevertheless be united.