Eleven months ago I moved with my husband and our youngest to Jakarta, Indonesia, two oceans and 8,000-plus miles from the United States. To reach Stateside friends and family, we must rewind: Their today is our yesterday. Hallo from the future! I message again and again. A dumb joke. I’m seriously not over it.
Jakarta is the planet’s most populous city on its most populous island, so the future is dense, it churns. On a land mass the size of the State of Georgia, 145 million people (10 million in Jakarta alone, though never alone) simultaneously live and die in a whirl of constant making, buying, begging, scrapping, scamming, loving, hating. Jamming vehicles through side-streets built for pony-carts, turning highways into parking lots.
Eighty-five percent of us are Muslim. By us I mean Jakartans. Our little family isn’t Muslim.
I have many great Muslim friends. And some of them, I will say, not all, have called me and said, ‘Donald, thank you very much; you're exposing an unbelievable problem and we have to get to the bottom of it.’ We have a serious problem. And we can't be the stupid country any more. We're laughed at all over the world.
—Donald Trump, January 14, 2016
In the quantum mechanics of expatriate physics, the evening of November 8 was the morning of November 9. At breakfast, polls still showed Hillary Clinton for the win, so we planned a celebratory lunch downtown.
By noon, though, our appetites had vanished in a crimson sea. When my home state joined the red brigade (bloody hell, Ohio), I flagged the waiter for a bourbon. He glanced at my abandoned dish, raised an eyebrow—
We’re American, I said.
He returned with a drink in each hand. I’m so sorry, he said. Second one’s on the house.