Joy is an Australian girl I know from language swap forum. She was doing her internship in GTZ, an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development, in Jakarta. Her internship was 6 months long. As she wanted to pick up Indonesian language quickly she came up with an idea to make language swap gathering where she would learn Indonesian and help those who wanted to learn English.

The first language swap gathering was in January 2010 and was attended by around 5 Indonesians. Every week she organised this gathering and more and more people came to join. Sometimes people who came exceeding 20 people. Of course they all were Indonesians who wanted to improve their English. Sometimes there were one or two foreigner came. However, I must say that these Indonesians swappers’ English is good, maybe they only needed a little bit of polishing.

In order to avoid boredom, Joy sometimes threw up games, such as scrabble, take two (basically it’s using letters like scrabble, but it is played with do-it-yourself letters printed on pieces of paper), guess-who-I-am game, or what-word-it-is. Sometimes when there were new swappers, we asked them to share their experiences.

There were 8 regular swappers who came almost every week, including me. Together we were arranging a surprise farewell party for Joy which would take place during the last session of language swap at Plangi. We decided to arrange a cake for her and a token of appreciation – a large print of collage of photos of ours. I was in charge in arranging the cake. I came up with the idea of ordering an Opera cake for her as she liked chocolate very much. Another swapper was in charge in making photos collage. It’s not that difficult to collect photos of swappers as in every session there were people who brought cameras and took photos. Well… like many people of some Asian countries, many Indonesians like having narcissistic photos (read: photos of yourself in various photo model-like poses).

The 4th Monday of May, the surprise party organisers had to arrange things so that Joy would not know what was happening and that we had arranged a surprise for her. That night there were around 20’s swappers came at Sky Dining of Plangi. We had take-two game in groups. After dinner we unwrapped our surprise. She was thrilled in knowing that we had arranged that for her and thanking, hugging and kissing and saying goodbye to each and everyone… Stranger may come in our life for a short period of time, but will be missed greatly when s/he leaves.

The time showed quarter past ten. Time to call it a night.