After receiving a Fulbright grant, traveling thousands of miles, and essentially living the dream I have long since dreamt, I wish I had something more insightful to share. But my current reality is: it’s hot here. Like, really hot. All the time. Nonstop. Even after living in Florida for four years, I wouldn’t consider myself much of a sweat-er. But here in Indonesia? My pores have never had such a continuous workout!
Even showering three times a day doesn’t feel like enough sometimes. Usually I can feel the first rivulet of sweat running down my lower back between 7 and 8:30 a.m. There is no A/C to be had pretty much anywhere except sometimes in cars, in offices of high-ranking people, and my bedroom in the evening. At the end of the day, before my final shower (which I just took, during which I made a rough mental outline of the content of this post) I feel like I just went swimming in the ocean. A taste-test of my shoulder pre-shower confirmed: lots of lost salts and electrolytes.
But that’s enough talk about sweat.
I went to not one but THREE weddings on Sunday, plus a bunch of other activities. Photos are loaded on Caitlin’s computer and are waiting to be loaded into Google Drive so that I can share them here. Today we received yet another wedding invitation for next weekend, this time for a teacher at my school. Apparently October is wedding season in Indonesia. Either that, or there are usually just lots of young people getting married on a regular basis.
I taught a total of three hours at school this week. Even that was not official class time because Ibu Isnaini, my co-teacher, was sick that day, so I was left to my own devices while another teacher (my grant stipulates that I cannot be alone in the classroom) sat in the back.
For these classes, I wrote three incorrect sentences on the board that were modeled after sentences students wrote for me last week about their weekend plans. Example: “On Saterday I go to beach” became “On Saturday I will go to the beach.” I had students volunteer to come up and write corrections on the board. After each correction was made (and especially for the corrections that were incorrect) I provided an explanation for why the corrections were made. This was followed by practice with articles and then a speaking activity. This took an hour and a half. All in all, a successful class I think.
But that was Tuesday. Monday I didn’t have class because I was invited to attend Drama Kolosal, a play that reenacts Indoenesia’s military history. Then Wednesday through Friday this week there is no class because there is a teacher training workshop that all teachers must attend. And I think mid-term tests are at my school next week, so I might not be teaching then either but I will prepare a lesson just in case. Welcome to Indonesia.
After making several inquiries as to whether or not mail had arrived for me at school, a letter and a postcard mysteriously appeared on my desk. Thanks Mom and Dad! Good to know the Indonesian postal system works.
Being vegetarian in Indonesia can be challenging, but it is by no means impossible. I eat a lot of rice every day as well as fruits like apples, mangos, and pineapple. Indonesians like spicy and sweet flavors (not usually together) but most of the spicy food has meat in it so I have tasted far more of the sweet side of Indonesian food.
By far, my favorite Indonesian food is gado-gado / pecel / ketoprak / whatever other kind of dish is in that family. I want to learn how to make it so I can eat it always no matter where I’m at, but I have yet to find an Indonesian who is willing and able to teach me.
To follow up on my previous post about the challenges of learning Indonesian, I have been feeling the Bahasa a lot more as of late. Definitely not fluent or anywhere close, but step by step and day by day I get better. This year AMINEF also has a program for ETAs to continue learning Bahasa Indonesia independently with the guidance of a tutor of our choosing. Technically we are supposed to have our tutor chosen by tomorrow, but my selection process is still a work in process. In the meantime I should probably get crackin’ on my self-study book……