Oil and Gas Industrial zone,The equipment of oil refining,Close-up of industrial pipelines of an oil-refinery plant,Detail of oil pipeline with valves in large oil refinery.

The EXPAT

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15. Letter Home

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A letter to my mom, a widow still living in the small town of her birth.

22 March, 1982 – Jakarta, Indonesia

“Dear Mom,
Just sitting here in this big empty house all alone so better drop you a line.  The family are all at play practice. I was scheduled to go to Singapore today at 6pm on business but found out at the last minute they hadn’t renewed my exit visa.  Very touchy about that.  You have to get government permission to leave or enter.  Of course there is always a fee for the privilege.

Anyway, I left the house this morning with my suitcase and said my goodbye’s to all, then was going to the airport from work.  But had to come home, finding the whole family at play practice until late tonight.  The play opens this week Wednesday, running four nights until Saturday.  It is going to be so good, I’d give anything if you could see it.  I’m sure you’ve heard much about the trauma of not getting the lead role for Valerie, but life goes on.

We have been planning our home leave for the last few weeks, looked at going through Europe, and New York that way, then going through Australia and the South Pacific Islands and on to Los Angeles.  And stars in the eyes and high hopes.  But when  you get right down to it, there is a little more involved.  The company only provides the round-trip air-fare to our home from Jakarta, with four weeks to do it. When hotel rooms, meals, cars, laundry and all else that goes with travel is considered, it loses its appeal.  The reason we are in Asia is to pay our bills and get out of debt and pay for the two beautiful young ladies to go the university, and not too far away a mission for a third (number one grandson) kinder along with school, and on and on.

Anyway, what is a possibility at this point is going to Australia (the company requires that we get out of town), flying Marcie out to meet us there, and then the two girls can fly back to the states together to attend school.  Only a thought at this point. If we did that it would mean over $5,000 in our pocket, since the company will give us the cash for the round trip fare to Salt Lake City.  We would retire two delinquent debts in Orem with that.

Having some excitement over here now.  This is an election year and the elections are in May.  There are three parties in the system, one in power called Golkar which is the most progressive, accepting foreigners and business influences from outside.  Another which is a radical Muslim party, like Khomeni’s group in Iran, and a third which is quite left-leaning.  Anyway, the campaigning got under way last week at a rally with many thousands of participants.  Ended up in a riot with many injured and stores and businesses ransacked.  The embassy closed down and told all expats to stay home.  Wasn’t as bad as it sounded, more like a high-school rumble, but with the numbers of people involved it could get out of hand.
Work is so busy I’m really pooped out.  Looking forward to Easter weekend as we will take a few days and do something, not sure just what yet.  We’ll send you pictures of whatever it is.

Really a nice homecoming tonight, two letters from Marcie and the two (in one envelope) from you.  Keep up the good work.

P.S. Your birthday gift is on a slow boat from China…
Much love,  Bob”

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson is a retired professional quality engineer and educator with extensive experience in manufacturing environments throughout the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, and various locations throughout the United States. Besides all that, he Leslie Householder's admired and revered father, and she is pleased to spotlight his "Expat" stories here on her Rare Faith blog.