I'm sitting in an outdoor eating area in Jakarta, sweat dripping down the back of my sundress, gazing at the young Muslim woman across the table from me. It's a thousand degrees and humid, and I can't figure out how she can look so comfortable in her black hijab and long sleeves.
The physical contrast between us feels emblematic, as does the table that separates us. It may as well be an ocean. Neither of us belongs in Indonesia, yet here we are—me as a middle-class American on an overseas work trip, her as an Afghani refugee trapped in a country that has no place for her.
I'm keenly aware that neither of us has chosen these identities, that it's merely the happenstance of our births that has placed us where we are. My obvious privilege hovers over us like a disco ball, but neither of us mentions it.