“Sometimes moving away to do something radical can be admirable, but it can also be an escape—from how hard it is to make a difference at home and how hard it is to become a different person. Is this okay, not okay or just something to be honest about?” -Kent Annan

35 days to go. 35 days left to stay. 35 days to make it through. 35 days to make it worth while. I once had a friendly debate with a friend (Randy) who insisted that a moment could be calculated down to the second. Someone had defined a moment and stuck it in the dictionary. I disagreed then and I disagree now, respectfully of course 🙂 that words like “moment” should ever be defined scientifically. After all, how many moments are left on this trip? Many it seems now, but I know long after I’m home I will reflect on this summer and all the memories will have gathered themselves together to form one strange faint moment I spent in Malang, living on Segura-gura V street with strangers-turned-friends.

I never thought of myself as one of those people who experienced culture shock. But I realized this week, I’ve been wrong. Those obnoxious cultural adjustments travelers must make, are much more clearly defined, actually as they’ve begun to wear off. I realized that whenever I go somewhere I end up spending the first couple weeks in a bit of a daze…sort of like sleep walking. But the good news is, I think I’m starting to wake up. I eat more (not enough by Javanese standards but still), I take more pictures, I notice (Re: appreciate) more about the country around me and begin to dream about visiting/living in countries other than the US again. The experience is sort of like trying to fit something square-shaped through a circle opening over and over again until you realize you have to change your own shape to get anywhere. I think I’m rounder now… despite my best efforts to decline second servings. 🙂

This doesn’t mean that I understand what on earth I’m doing here. I have my moments, walking home through the jalan kecil (small streets cars can barely get through) and marveling at the colorful shops-houses, toothless smiles, stray cats, cheeky food vendors, Mosques full of kneeling Muslims, random rice paddy fields with the sun beating down and the mountains protruding high above the tallest buildings in the background. Many times I’ve been greeted by random Indonesians (usually men) who attempt some English with me as I walk by and (quite often) say “Where are you?” (instead of the intended question, “Where are you from?”). I usually just keep on my way rather than get pulled into a conversation with a strange man but the question always lingers…yeah… Where am I?

For class we’re required to choose a topic and write a term paper and present on it. I’ve taught a few of my teachers some basic signs from ASL so one of them suggested studying sign language here in Malang for my topic. I explained that I’d love to but in the states I had a hard time finding good sources for it (given it’s not a top priority here at the moment) but they said there’s a school for deaf kids really close to the university and I could probably get a tour and some interviews there to write the project. I’m ecstatic over it 🙂 I’m so interested to see how Indonesia handles their deaf population given that they value a common language (Bahasa Indonesia) and the strength of the nation as a whole over the individuality that springs from thousands of islands all with their own language and culture. Have deaf people developed their own language here? Is it suppressed in an attempt to learn a government-designed Indonesian-based sign language? (Like SEE, Signed Exact English, in America) Hopefully I can understand enough in the interviews to write my paper; My Indonesian is improving but only small painful steps at a time.

Speaking of my Indonesian, I’ve had some pretty funny blunders with my Host family already. On Sunday I was trying to explain to my host parents that I would be going to a pool with a group of girls that day to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Often whatever I say most frequently comes out first rather than the words I actually want to use. I always forget the word for swimming pool and end up opting for the easier “place swimming” (place to swim) instead. Unfortunately when my host mother inquired about the trip the following came out: I’m not sure about everything, I only know I am going to bed (place to swim becomes more often said, place to sleep) with Pak Peter.” (Pak peter was driving us). Sigh. She was quiet for a minute and then started busting up laughing as I realized what I’d said. A few days later I was trying to tell her about a trip to get iced coconut juice with some friends and getting caught in the rain. (Wonderful little trip where we all cowered under a small bit of roof to avoid the golf ball sized raindrops). I unfortunately replaced “Es Kelapa” (iced coconut) with the more familiar “Es Kepala”. I told my host mother “Today I tried some delicious iced head, man it was so good!” Surely the entertainment I provide my host family is worth more than the small stipend they receive for my staying here. 🙂

The war over my eating habits rages on, and Indonesians fight dirty.
Personal choice: A while ago I decided I didn’t want to be one of those pansy Americans that wouldn’t eat something just because they’d never heard of it. I decided if something was offered to me that I couldn’t get at home, I would commit to always trying at least a bite of it (be it dog or animal brain or whatever). So far, I’ve succeeded.
About a week ago my host mother made a really good vegetable dish with a vegetable I’d never had before. I try to encourage her a lot whenever I enjoy a dish because I know she feels self conscious about her cooking since I don’t eat the meat etc… She responded to my enthusiasm by going and getting the vegetable to show me what it looked like before it was cooked. I happen to have my camera right there and said “Oh, maybe I’ll take a picture of them together so I can show people later”. (With all the language I have to remember I don’t try and remember the names of all the dishes I eat.) She smiled and nodded. (In my experience living overseas, slight smiles and head nods usually means nothing’s being understood.) Last night (days later) I climb onto the bus and a friend (fellow student) who lives down the street said “Hey my host parents were talking about you at dinner tonight.” Huh? “Yeah they were saying how your host parents have been telling them you are really weird because you never eat rice, like only once or twice a week and you love this one kind of vegetable so much you took a picture of it and sent it home to America.” …So apparently I’m a pansy American because I don’t eat white rice three times a day 7 days a week. (Not to mention the embellishment of the vegetable story. No one in American has seen that picture.) I couldn’t believe it. Why aren’t the neighbors talking about how amazing I am for eating tons of really spicy food? Or how courageous I’ve been to eat dishes where I didn’t understand the ingredients in them? Couldn’t I be famous for that? No, my ibu kos has resorted to gossiping about me to all the neighbors so that I become the crazy American who doesn’t eat white rice and fried chicken for breakfast. Two can play at that game. I recently hid three pastries (greasy doughnuts) that she forced on me in my bag and handed them out to my teachers and peer tutor at school. :] Like I said, raging on.

This week has been busy and full of trips and parties. On Friday we visited the famous religious site, “Gunung Kawi”. That was interesting. We went on Thursday night because that’s the lucky night. We spent two hours walking up a smoke filled bustling street with flower and food vendors and people squeezing past each other (all of us American’s clutching our belongings tight to our chest). We stopped to watch a bit of a Wayang (Javanese Puppets) show. The story behind the famous site (which attracts thousands from all over) is that a soldier died and is buried there. People come to pray to/for him (an important distinction that is obnoxiously blurry) to get into heaven and request whatever they want (usually wealth) in hopes that Allah/whoever is listening/God will give them their request as a sort of reward. When we finally got to the temple (after passing the fortune teller’s booth who uses boiled animal blood and keeps a snake in a suit case to channel the spirits and tell the future) I saw hundreds of people crowded in a candlelit room, eyes closed, lips moving quickly but silently. Outside on the courtyard are hundreds of people (mostly very poor) sleeping all over in hopes that one of the courtyard tree’s leaves will fall on them while they sleep and promise good luck for the rest of their lives. On the long walk back to the bus, back through the thick clouds of smoke, we passed a group of people gathering around something. There were two men in the middle of the circle, one making strange, loud, yelps and cries, the other clearly some sort of witch doctor. I didn’t stay long to find out why.

We also visited a different village on Saturday (Desa Kidangberik) and visited various peoples homes who made things like colorful mats, a certain type of sugar (used to make sweet ketchup here) and bricks. It’s certainly strange to meet a man who looks 60, is around 30, and spends all his days shaping mud into squares and laying them out to dry. Strange is probably the wrong word. On the other hand there are kids running through the fields flying kites painting a picture straight out of a children’s book. It’s hard to do these things in such a big group, but other than that I more or less enjoy them. They are long hot days walking around and cramming into small houses but it’s stuff I want to see. Most of the time anyway. 🙂 And it makes me appreciate my home in Malang.

Friday we celebrated fourth of July at Pak Peter’s house. That was actually a wonderful day. A lot of people attempted to make their favorite dishes/sauces from America so for the first time since I’ve gotten here, there was food I actually wanted multiple helpings of. We lit sparklers and though it was no river side American fireworks show, it was the first time I’ve gotten to light a sparkler in several years and…well definitely made my day. The rest of the time we just visited and played a few games. Javanese absolutely love to embarrass themselves it seems and any time someone with a guitar is around they coax someone into playing it and sing for what seems like forever. They really love to sing…at least the ones here!

I’ve planned my long weekend trip to Jogjakarta (the 15th through the 19th) and I couldn’t be more excited. I am going with a friend from class by train through the night and I plan on picking up some special items for friends and family back home. I am also hoping to visit a school (UGM) there and maybe wander around the English department to see if anyone’s around to meet me. I would love to apply there later for a teaching job.

I’ve been really enjoying the opportunity to get to know the people on this trip. Sometimes I feel bad for spending time with Americans rather than Indonesians (when I have the option) but I also feel that my time with them is valuable. I enjoy hearing about Ethiopia, Rwanda, Guatemala, Spain, other parts of Indonesia, Italy, Germany, and others. The variety of educational backgrounds also gives me a lot of opportunities to listen to mini lectures about separatist movements (like in East Timor and Kosava), special needs education in Latin America, small business development and NGO work in Rwanda. I’m quite happily discovering that this trip is not just about me learning Indonesian. I really appreciate the company I’m with and the times when I’m not particularly fond of it, they make for really interesting case studies and psychoanalysis. 🙂 (Makes me wish Emily were here!)

Alright that’s all for now. I hope you all are doing wonderful. Excited to see you in five weeks. 🙂
“Everybody is just a stranger but
that’s the danger in going my own way
I guess it’s the price I have to pay
still “Everything happens for a reason”
is no reason not to ask myself
If I am living it right…”



On the Ipod: Yet by Switchfoot

“TRAVEL: The word travel comes from another word, travail, which means hard, painful work. Imagine for a moment, you’re living in a time five hundred years ago. There are no cars with comfy seats, no airplanes to take you anywhere in the world within hours. You have to travel on a horse, or in a wagon, for days or even months. The road is bumpy and there are no roadside McFriendly’s restaurants. Travel was truly hard work.” -The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two

Well it’s Saturday, and my morning plans were canceled so I thought I’d do something therapeutic and write out my thoughts for this week. Currently, I’m eating a Fuji-like apple and observing the dark heads that pass by beneath my balcony. I opened iTunes at first, to try and put on some mood music, but what I stumbled across were the voice memos from my iphone that somehow loaded on my computer. I didn’t really know I had any so I started listening to all 12 of them. Most of them were from Katy, Evan, and Anna (Emily if you count laughter in the background as contributing). They basically just made alien noises, recited all the presidents and US states, told me to kiss my boyfriend and started out with “Dear Diary” and “Love Shannon” for each one. But man, I sure miss home now :]

For the last two weeks I’ve been working on a reliable internet source and have come up with basically none. It’s been kind of depressing actually. Yesterday I spent 7 hours at Telekomsel trying to fix the 100$ USB they sold me that doesn’t work, only to leave empty handed. I’m trying to stay positive since I did get an Avocado milkshake out of the whole ordeal, and there is an internet cafe nearby that I can use AND since two weeks have already gone by, I’ve only 6 more to get through without internet. Last night when I lay in bed and listened to the consistent clicking of my fan I prayed that maybe listening to all that rapid, slightly irritated sounding Indonesian all day would help me with my language skills. In the end of I’ve decided all pursuits of high speed internet access overseas are fruitless so my solution is…next time I’m bringing the boyfriend with me!

The truth is I’ve lost my touch a bit. I remember listening to volunteers whine about things not working out and thinking “look around you, nothing works out here.” It sounds pessimistic but it’s the sort of attitude you kind of have to take on in order to get by in developing countries. If you assume nothing will work out as you plan then you can be pleasantly surprised 2 out of 10 times…depending on the country. I mean…traveling is still hard… depending where you go.

Home is pretty good. Like I said, I can’t really complain. About 10 minutes ago my anak kos (30 yr old single son that lives here) asked me if I wanted to meet the other anak kos. I had no idea what he meant but followed him through the backyard and found out there are 14 other students that are housed “back there”. I kind of wanted to say “You’ve been here the whole time?” But that felt rude so “it’s nice to meet you” came out in Indonesian though I’m sure my face said a lot more.

I’ve become a vegetarian. I don’t know how it happened really…losing my appetite for meat and fried food (which never mixes well with travel) and trying tempe for the first time just about did the trick. Add to that an endless supply of apples (and vegetable dishes since my Ibu kos knows I won’t eat rice every meal) and I was hooked. I’m pretty sure I’ll switch back in the states but I’m kind of enjoying the change. I’ve been eating a lot of nuts, eggs, and tempe to still get some protein and I have to say, other than refusing second helpings every meal, me and my Ibu kos are getting a long pretty great. Special treats have been the snake fruit (the peal looks like snake skin) and the aforementioned avocado shakes. Yum.

Since shutting my window at night I’ve reduced my mosquito bites down to about 1 or 2 a week. So I’m still winning. (Though they did pull slightly ahead for a bit when we went up to the mountains to observe a Tea farm and I had only Indonesian (Re:fake/not working) bug spray to protect me.

School is great. I don’t know how much I’m learning but I love my teachers. Particularly Agnes (female) and Prayitno (male) who don’t mind the rabbit trails I consistently take our class down by asking questions about Islam and personal beliefs. This week we studied and debated Polygamy, Home Industries (Re: fried tempe, yum), Education in Indonesia, and the ceremonial bath done in Javanese Weddings. Well, we didn’t debate fried tempe very much :] that’s a no-brain-er.

After class we started our Cultural classes which included traditional Javanese dancing, Silat (Martial Arts) and Javanese Culinary class. I also went to a “nearby” Yoga class with some friends that turned out to be Power Yoga and I think I left with half my body weight in a pool on the floor. Wow, that was a pretty gross thing to say. 🙂 They’re really fun classes, but tough when everything is completely in Indonesian. I like that they keep me busy and I like trying things I’ve never tried before. I have a new respect for both my sisters who can do those things already with great proficiency. Well except for the dancing haha 😉

Making friends has been great. I met with two other Christian girls from the group on Wednesday before school and talking to them was really nice. They are sweet girls and welcomed company in a country like Indonesia. There have been some great awkward moments with the big group, since overall there’s quite a mixture from lots of places, but I’ve really enjoyed getting to know all of them and being around fellow travelers/language lovers has certainly been helpful and refreshing often. I think being in diversity is both fulfilling and draining…at least that’s how it feels.

I have promised Evan that I would keep track of interesting Cultural tidbits/experiences/shocks that I come across so this section is devoted to those precious moments so that you can enjoy them too/occasionally laugh at my expense:

*Men here don’t really say much to you when you walk by on the street, unless they’re really desperate or really brave or really stupid, usually a combination. Most men look at you intently as you continue on your way.
How I found this out: I’ve been walking in peace every day to school until about 3 days ago when a man started aggressively yelling “SEX! SEX! SEX!” at me and my companion on our way to school. He’s continued to do it every day since.
*Indonesians don’t eat meals together regularly, or at all really.
How I found this out: I’d assumed this entire time that I was either missing the correct meal time (though my family kept saying “Kapan saja” whenever I want) or that my family secretly hated me and my eating habits and thus chose to always eat when I wasn’t around and not eat when I sat down to dinner. Eventually this came up in class and Agnes informed us Americans that Indonesians apparently don’t really do meals together, they just eat when and wherever they want. So, it’s not because I chew with my mouth open sometimes. Whew.
*Most common way to get around Malang is something called an Angkot, or a Mikrolet which is a tiny blue van- the real definition of a “minivan”.
How I found this out: some friends and I decided to catch a ride to a cafe. We tried to wave the first one on, seeing that it already had about 8 people in it (there are two benches on each side, no seat belts, and the door stays open). The driver insisted we could fit and the Indonesians in the car seemed to think us strange for not having already gotten in so we piled in. I was half on a bench and a little nervous about the other half of myself hanging out the door. Ingrid, another student, held my hand the whole way, and now we’re great friends (as is the case with most people I’ve entrusted my life to).
*Conservative Indonesians will never touch someone else’s underwear and it is understood that women take very long showers.
How I found this out: It’s two parts. 1.My Ibut kos often asks me when I get out of the shower, “Wah, sudah mandi?” As if I’ve accomplished some great feat by finishing my shower in 10 minutes. 2. My Ibu kos told me she would wash all my laundry but told me to leave my pakaian dalam (panties) out of the pile. This resulted in an awkward silence as I contemplated what I was supposed to do with all my dirty underwear and she just looked at me like she shouldn’t have to say anything. I felt weird asking why so I simply said okay and got up the nerve to ask Pak Peter what to do with my underwear later. He explained the following: There is an old Javanese myth that if you steal/obtain a woman’s underwear she will be eternally attracted to you, sehingga women are very protective over their undergarments and always take longer showers in order to wash their underwear then.
*Indonesians assume if a person returns from a journey skinnier than when they left they were sad and had a terrible trip.
How I found this out: Insert exasperated sigh. My Ibut kos finally told me that the reason she asks me to take so many helpings of food is because she doesn’t want people in America to think I had a terrible time. Eventually the confession came out that she is terrified I will go home looking healthier than when I came. (Those darn vegetables!) I explained to her that people in American will think I sat around and watched T.V. All summer if I come home fatter, and after that we just sort of smiled uncomfortably at each other hoping the other would cave. I thought I won, after all I didn’t eat any more. Then yesterday morning I came down stairs and started drinking my tea (usually taken without sugar) and eating breakfast. I realized right away that there was sugar in my tea and became suspicious. She came into the kitchen and told me she put sugar in my tea because she wants me to be strong for all my activities today. She doesn’t usually do it, she assures me, it’s just for all my activities today (which are the same as usual). She tried to convince me after that, that sugar does indeed make you stronger, not fatter. In the end I smiled and wondered whether I shouldn’t just take a second helping every so often to avoid finding Lard mixed in with my other dishes. Indonesian’s are kind of weird with food. And by weird, I mean terribly unhealthy. On our field trip on Friday at 8:30 am they passed out a huge piece of chocolate cake with frosting to each of us for the ride. When mine accidentally spilled on the floor, they replaced it quickly. Am I being fattened up for something? I hid mine in my purse and handed it out to the first scrawny girl I saw walking in the neighborhood. Take that Indonesia! :]
*I have not seen real poverty in Indonesia
How I found this out: Over lunch yesterday an Indonesian casually asked me where I had traveled. He asked me if I was a Christian, if I enjoyed working with the poor, and whether I would continue that work here in Indonesia. I said that I did and hoped to always be involved in it. He then said the following “Well you know you haven’t really seen poverty yet. Where you live (pausing to chew) isn’t the real Indonesia. Most houses aren’t like the ones you’re in and you haven’t seen anything here yet, ’til you’ve seen the poor here. You know? right?” My mind clouded with memories of Haiti and I tried to picture any suffering worse or more devastating… “Belum, Pak” I responded, a little afraid of the possibility their could be worse.

I’ve made it a fourth through. I’m pretty proud of that fact. I wake up every day and struggle with things, I like that too. I danced around my room to the where the wild things are soundtrack with Bintang a few nights ago and missed my family terribly. I have absolutely no experience with about 75% of the things I do every day or conversation topics I come across, and I’ve gone hours without being able to understand a single word of what’s going on around me. Often during language classes I end up daydreaming about going back and speaking Indonesian with my white boyfriend. And when I fall asleep at night, the word I find to describe it all is: incomplete.

I’m reading this book about Haiti called “Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle” that my friend Katy gave me. It’s been really great to read and reflect over last summer and the things I see this summer. One particular quote I wanted to share I feel describes so much of the love/hate I feel about traveling to places like this:

“Yesterday afternoon that occasional hollow, palpable ache opened in my chest—the ache that isn’t healed by any [worldly desires] but is certainly soothed by all of them. I felt kind of helpless and impotent, a little lonely. I didn’t know what to do or why it should be done, or even if I should find something to do. Moving across cultures this thoroughly means leaving behind many legitimate pillars of support, like relationships and language. It also means leaving behind the culture and convenient escapes that are so reliably useful to numb the mysterious ache that, for me at least, points toward God via the reality that life is disappointing and painful and incomplete.
…Part of why I looked forward to moving to Haiti is because I hate how easy it is to satiate my hunger for God and for good and for love by stuffing my appetites with food, with entertainment, with ambition, with stuff. How easy it is to fill the echo chamber that calls me toward God and good and love with other clanging noises. The absence in Haiti of choices to feed this profound hunger is unpleasant…but I need it. I’m too often too weak to hunger for good (or, to be more biblical, to seek the kingdom of God) and to pull away from the dancing lights that have embarrassing power over me, like over a mindless, fluttering moth.”

That’s a lot of bus reading right there. :] Please feel free to write me and tell me your thoughts or what’s going on in your life. I’d love to read it.

Ps. I refuse to do a grammar check, get over it. 😛

Every time I make it safe to a new country I picture little Olivia from the Cosby show throwing her hands in the air and emphatically saying “I’m still alive!” (after being babysat by Cliff Huxtable.) This time might be most worthy of such an exclamation after such a ridiculous flight schedule! (D.C.-San Francisco-Japan-Singapore-Jakarta-Surabaya). I’m writing this at 5 AM on Friday morning (the 18th) but you’ll probably read it tonight because that’s the soonest I can make it to an internet cafe, and which means it will still be the middle of the night on Thursday for you, so you probably will read it Friday morning, and i’ll already be in Saturday. Or something like that. Time is ridiculous.

Sorry it’s taken me this long to write you guys, but one of the first things I learned here was apparently, the internet sucks. You can spend a pretty penny on some USB (USA designed) internet connection and it will still be slow and obnoxiously stop working (as is the case currently). But when I got to an internet cafe I hate to spend all my time writing this blog (I’m always dying to read what’s going on with you guys) so I decided I’d write it ahead of time, and just post it when I get there. 🙂

I’m not sure where to start. My baggage was lost. That really sucked. The first night at my home stay I had these three women all standing in my room worrying over me in Indonesian about how I was going to survive, speaking rapid Indonesian I could barely catch any of and repeatedly leaving the room and coming back with oversized T-shirts and sweaters for me to wear. That was different. I eventually borrowed a giant Washington DC shirt (clearly a lame souvenir someone had given my Ibu kos and she’d never worn) to sleep in and wear the next day. Thank God, my luggage arrived the next morning. I have to say I was a little critical with God considering I had done so well packing this time and only brought one of my two allowed suitcases. Sheesh what a reward. 🙂 Its okay though, currently I’m sleeping in my own oversized t-shirts, and I was really appreciate of a family that worried a little too much, rather than not at all.

My room is pink. 🙂 I have a dresser, vanity, desk, queen size bed, and a window overlooking a “middle class” neighborhood. Just outside my room is the bathroom, containing a normal toilet (unlike the squatting toilet a lot of my companions are using in there houses) and there is a shower head full of cold, very slow and weak, water that I use rather than the traditional shower option next to it. (A tall container of water and a scoop.) A little further than that is a nice balcony I can (but have yet to) sit on and look…out. I can’t complain. Not about the physical aspect of my logging’s anyway. 🙂

My family is very nice. There is a mother and a father (both retired in their 60s) and two children (in their thirtys) a boy and a girl. The girl is married but her husband lives and works in Surabaya, and her son is the most adorable little thing I’ve ever seen. His name is Bintang (=Star) and he runs around this house with more energy than the rest of us combined. He can’t really talk yet, but we’ve shared a few moments nonetheless. When I finally got my luggage, I quickly rummaged through it to find the little husky stuffed animal I’d brought for him. He ran around like crazy and then went and brought me one of his own stuffed animals and gave it to me. We’ve been pretty good friends since. Every time I come and go from the house my family encourages him to bersalaman with me which means he walks up and takes my hand presses it against his cheek. Like I said, pretty darn cute. Everyone else is friendly and nice though I can’t say I’m exactly friends with any of them. They all kind of keep their distance, haven’t invited me to do anything with them (unlike some of my companions), and mostly say “makan dulu” if anything, to me when I’m around. (before 8AM and after 5PM).

School is good and I’m enjoying the intermediate class. I mostly write down 8 thousand words everyday that I don’t understand and hope that I can remember at least five by tomorrow. Even now, I can’t remember the word exhausted they kept giving me when I first got here… don’t judge. After all that traveling my brain was already in retirement like my host parents. I’ll update you more on that when it’s been more than 3 days. But I will say that the teacher-student ration is 4-4 which is pretty awesome.

Mosquitoes: On average I kill 3 everyday in my bathroom and get bit about twice each night so I figure, I’m winning.

I miss home a lot, and I have the typical first-week-out-of-country-don’t-know-anyone-entirely-dependent-on-God-why-the-heck-am-I-here Blues. :]

**So this as you can tell was written a week ago, but internet is RIDICIULOUS here so there you go, I’m a week behind. I’ll try to catch up and post again. Sorry 🙂

On my way

Hey all just letting you know that I’m hanging at the Singapore airport right now 🙂 I have two more plane rides to go ’til we get there and then we’ll be in a hotel for the night. The next day we travel to meet our host families and get orientation for school and all that. I’ve been on a plane constantly for the last day and half so I’m pretty sick of flying! It’ll be nice to finally meet these people and settle in a little 🙂
D.C. was pretty fun, very exhausting though since it was non-stop orientation and then on to tons of airports and 10 hour plane rides.

I’m pretty nervous to be honest, the first week is always the toughest and I keep reminding myself that. 8 weeks will surely go by so fast!

I’m SO excited to be immersed in the Indonesian language, it’s going to be awesome!
I’ll let you guys know what internet connections are like when I get there.

Bu Pauli can you email me your phone number? I’m going to have a phone in Indonesia and I may get an opportunity to visit you in Jakarta!

Hello world!

Hey all! Haven’t really started writing yet, but I’ll try to give an update in about a week or so 🙂