Minggu, 1 Mai, 2011
Highlight of the day (and it’s only 8:10a): sleeping in until 7:15a. Seriously never thought I would ever appreciate that as being “early”, but when you’re waking around 5a every day, it seems like sleeping in past 7a is like sleeping in past noon (oh miss you Chinese wedding bed! And sleeping butt-to-butt with Gao Xing)
Currently sitting on the tiled front area of my house. There’s barely ever a quiet moment, the sepeda motors (motorcycles) keep on roaring uphill, downhill. I just saw a family of 5 ride by, that’s impressive, and illegal, especially because they weren’t wearing helmets, but who’s going to enforce the law anyways (more on the polisi later)? Listening to Kathryn’s playlist (terimah kasih!) It’s been one month (well almost, if you count the time difference) since I said an emotional “see you soon” to my mom, Elaine, Klaas, and Gao Gao at Richmond International Airport to catch my 1:15p flight to Fort Worth which would eventually take me to San Francisco for Staging. Mom, remember when I was about to go through the Security Checkpoint and realized I still had the keys to the Volvo in my pocket? And when I cried on the airplane while reading Elaine’s letter. I get emotional just thinking about it now…homesickness, leave. Me. alone!
And it’s been about a month since I hugged all of my best, best friends farewell, over stomach-ache inducing laughter, copious amount of celebration drinks (oh hey, Joe’s Inn), and the best foods (think: my moms food obviously, Toshi’s sushi, Edo’s, Lamp Lighter sandwiches, Café Ole crack chips and salsa, Christian’s Pizza, Nate’s Chorizo & TVP tacos) one could ask for, in my opinion.
In the one month that I’ve been here (Nelly’s “Hot in Here”, just came on, thanks again, Kathryn):
- I’ve made 30 + new friends (American and Indonesian) who you all will probably meet sometime in the near future.
- Been accepted into a huge new Indonesian family, with lots of aunts, uncles, babies, and old people. Always smiling, seriously, all the time. I have to say I’m beyond impressed because Indonesian’s have really strong cheek muscles as a result of all the happiness.
- Greeted probably every person, animal, bird, squished frog/snake in this village with countless Pagi’s, mixed up Siang’s and Sore’s, and Selamat Malam’s.
- Seen a family of chickens almost get run over, innumerable amount of times (stressing the hell out of John and I). Please remind me, why did the chicken cross the road?
- Got a ride on a paddy wagon through the village, for fun.
- Remembered to ALWAYS have my umbrella & rain jacket packed, along with aspirin, diarrhea medicine (never know when she’ll hit!), toilet paper, and soap with me.
- Learned more about Islam in one month than I ever have since being introduced to it in 9th grade (Thanks Mr. Fernandez)
- Sprayed more DEET onto my body than I would have preferred
- Saw how people buy live chickens, imagine: the chicken truck pulls up in front of your house, the seller collects the ones you want by their feet and holds them upside down in a buddle (while the make the saddest sounds because they know they’re going to DIE), and then weighs them.
- Become a born again vegetarian
- Discovered a new appreciation for tempeh
- Not recycled ANYTHING because Indonesia doesn’t have the infrastructure (Jordan’s next venture?), however I am compiling a collection of plastic bottles in my room in case I ever start selling my own bottled water?
- Inhaled more toxic fumes, think burning plastic, shit, trash, and gasoline fumes.
- Squeezed 15+ people into a teeny, tiny angkot
- Consumed too much nasi (rice), and dear God, it’s only been a month, and I’m already tired of it. Please bread/cheese God’s, please reveal yourselves
- Had my face break out like I was 13 again
- Used about 300,000 pulsa for my phone
- Spent less than $5 on internet
- Perhaps lost a little bit of weight
- Jalan-jalan’ed more than ever
- Seen volcanoes on my way to school
- And I think I’ll stop at 22 since that’s how old I am and because I’ve obviously learned and experienced way more than that, and it’s ONLY BEEN A MONTH!
- BONUS: acquired a good amount of bahasa Indonesia! And can only say a couple of things in bahasa Jawa.
- BONUS BONUS because I’m a jerk and I feel like laughing at the fact that I haven’t had to take a cold mandi yet, thank you hot shower gods–Except for I learned we have a hot shower because my Ibu has a developing bone problem and so cold water isn’t good for her bones.
Things I need to grow to accept over my next 26 months in Indonesia
- The heat. Being in the Batu-Malang area, which is apparently one of the cooler locations in Java, scares me, because most of us agree that it gets pretty damn hot here. I’ve already gotten sunburned (and more freckles!). Although the weather is generally perfect, it boggles my mind and perhaps makes me sweat even more when I see people wearing jackets.
- No matter hot cute/adorable/vulnerable the animals look here, no touching! Except for Toman, our unofficial [vocal] outdoor cat (who I haven’t seen since he jumped into a pile of drying shallots on top of our garage), and I pet him once. Luckily I got all three of my rabies shots, thanks Doc Leonard and PC!
- Ants are a part of Indonesia. They’re everywhere. I hate them. You can’t kill them. They will conquer the world, I don’t know when, but until then, I will proudly continue to sqoosh with my thumb.
- The spiders are enormous, they create neighborhoods in the power lines, as long as we keep our distance, I think I’ll be ok.
- I will likely never stay up past midnight
- Rice ain’t goin’ no-whurr and French cheeses ain’t endin’ up in my tummy
- Lizards like to hang out in the kitchen, no biggie
- Squatty pottys aren’t that bad
- Water is cheap in Indonesia. People waste lots of it and let it run, drip, drop.
- As much as I hate the sounds and smells of motorcycles, I WANT TO RIDE ONE! To comply with PC policy, this won’t be happening. BOOOO.
Looking forward to…
- Among many things–visitors from home!
- Becoming a teacher
- BALI, holy wow, BALI BALI BALI/a SE Asian country where I can let loose and relax, and show my thighs, obviously.
- Becoming fluent in BI
- Growing up
- losing weight and becoming healthier
Perfect example of why I need to acquire more common sense language skills: Finally got my bank account established and when I went to go withdraw some Rp, I tried to PULL the door open and it didn’t open very wide and I thought I was just being a large American, so I gave up with trying to open the door (as some bystanders watched). A minute later, a local pushes the door because that’s what DILARONG means, but I was too embarrassed to try again because the bystanders were still there. Now I don’t have much Rp until I find another ATM. AND SO my big decision of yesterday since I’m low on Rp was to either buy toilet paper for 3,900 Rp (~44 US cents) or pay 3,000 (less than 44 US cents) Rp for a 10-minute angkot ride back home. I got my priorities straight and chose to purchase the toilet paper and enjoyed a good 40-minute conversation with John instead.
Sidenote on polisi—they’ve come to check on me, at my home, at strange hours, once per week. This is not usual and I have reported it to PC. One of them once when I was home alone, and they asked if I needed help with my homework, which I felt really weird about and told him he couldn’t come in. Anyways, I don’t trust them and neither do many people in Indo.
(later on in the day—1:11pm, since I still haven’t made it to the warnet, may as well get everything in this post!)
My host sister-in-law just took me down the street to the farm where my Bapak works as a farmer. It was gorgeous to say the least. Everything you can imagine earthly delicious was grown there—peppers, onions, tomatos, guava, dragonfruit, coconuts, scallions, soybeans, rice, hot peppers, green beans, spinach, water spinach, bananas, oranges, berries, oh yeah and a coffee bean tree, the list could go on and on. I’ve never seen how rice is harvested—basically there’s these tall stocks that look like wheat and you shake the stalks over a tarp and then the loose rice pieces fall out. What happens afterwards, I have yet to discover. I then helped pick scallions that were going to end up at the traditional market. It’s been a very peaceful Sunday so far, and it feels nice to just rest, read, and recount everything that’s happened in the past month abroad. Many photos to come once I have access to high speed internet again, so maybe on Friday?
This video makes me miss Richmond, its craziness, and dance parties like this that brought Klaas and I together!