We still don’t know where our permanent sites will be, but we talked about what to expect today. We find out next Friday and we actually get to go there that weekend!! We’ll be going there for a few days to meet people and get the lay of the land.
Next week we’ll be getting some classroom experience, both as observers and teachers.
We went for a little hike this morning. A local friend drove us to a nearby hill. Climbing the hill actually meant climbing a bunch of stairs. At the top, we had a beautiful view of the surroundings, including a nearby mountain. Not a dry limb in the house, but there’s nothing like a nice breeze to cool you down when you’re drenched in sweat.
After our hike, we drove to the mall to buy a few things and have lunch. It was cool in the mall, but that changed when I had the spiciest noodles I’ve ever eaten. After about half of it, my mouth was numb.
We’ve been at our training site for a week, and I haven’t really been dry since I got here. I wake up damp – not drenched – then I dump a few buckets of water over my head. The water feels cold for a second, but it’s just an illusion, because the bathroom is sauna-esque and I don’t stop sweating while I mandi (“shower”). I towel off, and though I’m no longer dripping, I’ve really just returned to a state of damp. I put on my damp clothes and study Indonesian before breakfast. My books and papers also seem to have absorbed some of the humidity, which I believe to be the reason that it’s not quite 100%. Then it’s time for breakfast, which means time for sweating, because it’s physical activity – and spicy.
We had a day off from language classes and training sessions today. Everyone did something with their host family. Two other trainees and I drove into town with my host mom and sisters and their cousins. Our first stop was a monumental arch. Sunday morning is “car-free” so the streets were full of people just walking around, playing sports or jogging. We got stopped once in a while and asked if we’d be in a picture. After our monumental stroll, we drove downtown and strolled a bit there. We went to a small eatery and had some chicken soup and orange juice for breakfast. Back to training tomorrow!
What to write?
With each passing day, it gets harder to decide the answer to that question. Everything is new.
Language class is progressing, but I feel like I’m learning at least as much from my host family. I don’t understand nearly everything, but I can wrap my head around a little more every day. They seem to understand me a little better, too. How strange to have a foreigner in your home, who either speaks in garbled riddles or like a child!
The other night, a few of us who are living in one part of town were invited to the municipal center to meet the head of the district. Everyone was offered snacks and water and then there were a few little speeches. Each of the volunteers introduced him or herself (in Indonesian). Then the photo session began. Pretty much anywhere we go as a group, officially or not, photos are taken. Of us, with us, it doesn’t really matter. That won’t be our biggest adjustment.
So we’ve made it!
We’ve been in Indonesia since Wednesday. We’ve learned lots of rules and regulations and a bit about health and safety.
On Thursday we visited the school of a current volunteer. The students were very nice to us. They showed us around, fed us and performed for us. About a million photos were taken.
We’ve been learning Indonesian intensively since then and tomorrow we get to meet our first host families! The word excitement doesn’t cut it.