(if you look really hard, you can see Venus on the left edge, middle section, pretty wild, no?)
Thanks to some RPCV’s who work for NASA promoting science education, many of us were lucky enough to receive packets filled with educational materials about the Venus’s rare journey across the Sun. Aside from all of the cool learning materials included, the most useful things we received were the stylish solar-viewing glasses.
Confession: Like many around me, this was also my first time using solar glasses
Personally I haven’t studied astronomy since I took a course at UVA many summer’s ago. Another confession I’d forgotten the order of the planets. I brushed up on some solar knowledge to give people some idea of what to expect, not to mention new terms in Indonesian so others would understand why I was telling them to put on funny glasses. Once or twice while briefing people, I heard ‘Venus? Apa itu?’ — Venus? What’s that?
All of the buzz was getting me so excited about the event, so much that the night before that I had a wild dream about it. Sort of. In that dream, I could see a rotating reflection of the Earth, or something like it. Perhaps what I had imagined was a hybrid of what the Sun and the Moon would be like if they produced a beaming offspring. Even though I was on Earth, it was like I was looking at it from another planet. It was so magnificent in size, swallowing the surrounding bits of sky, sparkling as if trapped in a storm of glitter, with cartoon like stars twinkling (like when a Looney Tunes character punches a villain), lighting up the night. I kept chasing the Earth trying to get a better view of where I stood on the Earth but constantly failed, wherever I went, the view was blocked by wild branches…it was trippy.
The following day at school, my CP and I told students and teachers about Venus’s journey across the Sun, an event that wouldn’t occur for another 105 years from now. Let’s be honest, unless we all learn how to Austin Powersify (yes, I make verbs in my free time) ourselves, we ain’t gettin’ another chance. Try making that pitch clear to people who were blatantly terrified of putting on solar-glasses (I’m looking at you Yakulit lady). Saying they weren’t berani (tough/brave) enough. Oh come on. Sure, the glasses weren’t exactly styled after chic Rayfarer’s and surely they weren’t covered in Satanic saliva, so what’s there to be scared of? They’re safe! Once the glasses were on, students trickled out of their classrooms in packs until the crowds began to form lines, waiting to see the Sun’s temporary beauty mark.
The majority of the responses were:
- Oh it’s so tiny!
- Miss, it’s so itsy bitsy!
- Waaaaaa cilik (little)!
- It looks like a fly on the sun!
- Ngak ketok! (I can’t see it!)
Additionally, before the semester ended, my counterpart and I taught a brief section on basic poetry. I set up poetry stations around the room, demonstrating different poetic exercises, one of which was a sense stimulating creative writing exercise based on one’s personal relationship with the Sun, any way they interpreted it. Aided by a fierce poster of the Sun (thanks again, NASA), the kids came up with some pretty creative stuff; some quite impressive and made me laugh. In their own words, I will leave you with a few odes..
If I go to the sun
I can’t run
And it’s not fun
In there it so hot
And I want to out
Because in there not have a lot
So we can’t to sport
The sun is very big
Well, in there we can’t find a pig
and you will sick
if you see it
(students from XI IPA2)
My Journey to the Sun
When I have a chance
To go to the sun
I will invite my son
I’m thankful for it to God
I will fly like bird
And roast some breads
Sun is very hot
And I feel ‘cekot-cekot ‘ (throbbing pain in the head)
I will go around the planet
like an astronaut
And it very entertain
I will sleep in the sun
Cook in there
Take a bath by sun’s warmth
And when I go to home
I will be a “Dust Man”
(Wahyu from XI IPA2)
Your color is beautiful
Your shape is like a ball
Yours rays decorate the world
You’re never tired to ray this world
Without your ray, the world becomes dark
You’re always there every afternoon
You bright the dark with your rays
Although you far over there
I can always fill your wam
I’m sorry if I often abuse you verbally
Because your hot ray
You’re very present in my life
(students from XI IPA3)
You look circle
Out light in afternoon
Give hot weather in Earth
No life, no people, no trees, no water
Lonely, be alone, and hot
It’s a source of life
(students from XI IPA3)
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Wow, really awesome post! Keep it up!
When I was at that center in Cambodia, a guy was installing energized quartz in anticipation of this, but I missed it. Sweet stunner shades, BTW
my compliments to your students on the poetry. good job!! great photos, too, miss ellllleeeeee! xo i miss you xo
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