Monday, September 12, 2011

Permisi Dulu, Pak. Mari!

School is never-ending!! I just finished this week's lesson plans last night, and I'm already thinking about next week's. When I took my kiddos to the library today, I checked out two books for myself. Bahahaha... Oh, boy... I don't know what I was thinking. I have never had less time for reading in my entire life!! Most days, I come home with so little energy that it's all I can do to eat dinner and stay up until 8:00. In the evenings, I'm either writing lesson plans and grading/checking papers, or going to Bible study or some other activity. There are occasional game or movie nights, but even those have become few and far between. During the last movie night (Friday), I fell asleep 30 minutes into the film. Great... I've become my mother!

In spite of it all, I LOVE my job. Somehow, when 7:45am rolls around, I'm actually looking forward to seeing the little buggers. Amazing- and a total God-thing!! Most days, I feel incredibly boring and inept, but hopefully, my second-graders are getting SOMETHING out of my talking at them for 4+ hours.

I also love this country that I'm in. On Saturday, I went into town for a cream bath. Now, I can try to explain what a cream bath is, but it really is something that has to be experienced (hint, hint). I paid the equivalent of roughly $8.50 for an entire head, neck, and upper body massage, along with a hair wash, condition, and blow dry. It's literally a small taste of Heaven. As in God will have cream baths for us after we die. I'm convinced. On Sunday, one of my students celebrated her birthday at the restaurant her family is opening next week. It was essentially a free-for-all food-wise. There were appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and gelato... in unlimited quantities. I attended, and am still having trouble believing it. Thankfully, I have witnesses.

What I've come down to is this- life is a balance. There are definitely negatives to living and teaching in Indonesia. Bugs, heat, language, distance, resources, etc.

And then there are cream baths.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Idul Fitri

Today is Idul Fitri, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. For the last 30 days, devout cousins have been neither eating nor drinking during daylight hours. Each evening, after the sun sets, they "buka puasa", or open the fast, and eat for the first time in 12 hours. Wow!! I can't even imagine! By the end of this month, most cousins are pretty tired and weak; their bodies have a lot of adjusting to do! To celebrate, they all return to the area where they are from to spend time with their family and to ask forgiveness for anything they may have done over the last year. Again, wow!

What this means for me is... NO SCHOOL!! We actually take the whole week off, so I'm am living in luxury right now- sleeping in, watching tv on laptops, reading, etc. It's been lovely. There has, of course, been some schoolwork as well, and I'll be working in my classroom later this week, but oh well. A break is a break!! Even though we've only been in school for two weeks, I was definitely ready for a break! I hoping to do some changing and revamping in my classroom before the kiddos come back next week. We'll see how that goes :-)

The weather so far has been really nice. Pretty warm, but nothing like dry season usually is!! We had rain here in Kota Baru last night for the first time since I've been here; a very short foretaste of what rainy season will be like.

For all my teacher friends, I hope your school years have begun well!! I'd love to hear all about your classes :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Love Indonesia

1. With only 6 degrees separating one from the equator, one tans really quickly. I already have Chaco tan lines.
2. Living in a very modest country means never having to shave above ones knees. Like, ever...
3. One word: motorbike.
4. Not having to have any kind of special license necessary to drive above-mentioned motorbike. Oh yeah...
5. The fruit. Did I mention the incredible abundance of strange and wonderful fruit that's available? It's mind-blowing.
6. The money is BEAUTIFUL! Also, each denomination is a different color, making identification really easy. And, it's just pretty. (Seriously, Google it...)
7. The sun rises and sets almost exactly 12 hours apart. This makes living on a schedule (and having to get up early for school) much more bearable. It also makes one really tired by 7:30pm
8. Indonesia recognizes 5 major religions (Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and Catholicism [yes, they separate the two]). Each religion gets 5 holidays a year, meaning LOTS of days off of school. Fantastic :-)
9. One can do almost anything at an ATM, including paying for bills and buying more minutes for your handphone. One trip...
10. If you want something, and you can't find it anywhere to buy, you can have it made. Like, anything...

I love this country.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Selamat Hari Libur

Well, I promised my sister that I would update today because it's a holiday and I didn't have school (Happy Indonesian Independence Day, by the way...). I have thus far survived two days of school- as a teacher!! It stills seems strange every once in a while to realize that I actually have my OWN CLASS... and my OWN CLASSROOM... even my own grade! Every time I think about it, a goofy smile appears on my face. Because I love it, and sometimes, I can't believe it's actually happened.

I have 11 students- 3 Indonesians, 3 Americans, and 5 Koreans. 7 boys and 4 girls (yes, we're a little uneven... I keep hoping for another girl or two). 3 are brand-new to the school (not counting me), and 3 are staff kids. Together, we comprise the second grade of Bandung Alliance International School.

The last two days have been spent getting to know each other and the rules and expectations of the class. So far, there haven't been too many bumps, but it always a little tough getting back into school mode (for the teachers and the students!). My kids are really sweet, though, and VERY smart. They're already keeping me on my toes, and it's only day 3!!

My favorite part of the day, though, is definitely the ride to and from school. I LOVE my motorbike!! I don't know why everyone doesn't drive a motorbike or motorcycle... It's so amazing!! I love feeling like I'm flying down the road, and the freedom that ready transportation gives me. It's a big deal in a country that relies on public transportation to get almost anywhere!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One Week

So I've been in Indonesia for one week, as of yesterday around 1pm Indo time. While many things have been familiar, thanks to student teaching, there has been so many new and different things. The biggest challenges have been thinking long-term, especially when setting up housekeeping and such. Our house is GORGEOUS, and we've had a lot of fun putting it together. Right now, only one bathroom has a water heater, so that's been interesting... I'm alternating between cold showers and mildly heated ones depending on my mood.

Next week I begin setting up my classroom for school. Students and parents will be by next Friday, so things are supposed to be shaping up by then. Yikes!! It's pretty overwhelming, but my principal is awesome and has said that she'll help me if I need it. New teacher orientation ends this week, and all staff orientation begins on Monday. From here on out, it's sink or swim!!

The last really exciting news is that I've learned to drive my motorbike!! I only had one MILD accident (essentially, I fell over and pulled the bike on top of me... I was going MAYBE 5 kph and was having trouble braking). I have a lovely war wound on my elbow and a large bruise on my leg, but I LOVE riding!! It's so amazing! I even took a passenger yesterday- big step!

Thanks so much to all who have prayed... it's the only reason I've still alive and sane!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Four by Four

Okay, just when I was thinking that it was time to post again, but was wondering what on earth to write about, my good friend Abby at graduate "extraordinaire" tagged me in a fun post called a four by four. So for you, Abs, here goes (and I'm trying not to just copy your answers!!) :-)

1. Four Places You Go
  • church (particularly Third Grade Sunday School!)
  • Zoe's house
  • Publix (the world's best grocery store)
  • Target (my favorite place to get everything that you can't get at Publix)

2. Four Favorite Smells
  • my mom's perfume (White Diamonds, though she doesn't wear it often)
  • anything chocolate
  • the beach (there's this salty, fishy kind of smell that I love...)
  • crayons (my Teacher Ed friends will understand)

3. Four Favorite Shows/Movies
Okay, this was tough, because there a LOT of shows that I like, but:
  • NCIS
  • Hawaii 5-0 (even though I usually HATE new versions of old shows!)
  • Masterpiece Classic "Downton Abbey" (an awesome PBS show that my parents and I discovered)
  • Batman Begins

4.  Four Recommendations
  • Don't wait until you're older to start working on your bucket list.
  • Tell the people you love that you love them; you never know what tomorrow holds.
  • Always read the book before you see the movie!!!!
  • Find a recipe for strawberry daquiri cupcakes. My sister makes vegan ones, and they are UNBELIEVABLY GOOD!!

This was fun, Abs... thanks for the tag!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well, Here Goes Nothing...

A number of my good friends blog, and I've wanted to follow their lead and create one of my own. However, I'm one of those people who is always at the tail-end of fads/movements/trends, etc. I still don't have an iPod, I shop at Kohl's and JC Penney, and my knowledge of current music and/or movies is, at best, hopeless. So I was intimidated, to say the least, about attempting to 1. understand this website they call "Blogspot" (I'm that person who only switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox about a year ago...) and 2. find enough interesting things to write about (I really have a pretty boring life). However, something happened a couple weeks ago that I decided was worthy of blogging about- I was hired to teach 2nd grade in Indonesia!! I'm beyond excited...

Last spring, I student taught at a school in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, and have wanted to return almost since the time I left. And now I am returning. I want to use this blog to both chronicle my exploits and share with others what is going on in my life. So here goes... we'll see what happens!