Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, I’ve had to move from one great host family to another great host family. In the end, it just means I have two!
Moving in the middle of my service has had its pros and cons. On the one hand, I’m much better equipped to communicate with my new host family than I was during training or at the beginning of my service. On the other hand, I haven’t stopped being a foreigner that needs to be babied and worried over. In fact, that process has started all over again: reminders every five minutes that I should eat and reminders that I should help myself. The only trouble is, with being reminded to eat and even being handed snacks around the clock, I barely have an opportunity to help myself. Recently, I (gently) reminded my new bapak that it’s guests he should be pressing to take food, not his “family”. He laughed and admitted I was right.
Another pro has been getting to know my new family and their neighbors. My ‘host aunt’ and ‘uncle’ live next door with their two sons. The other night, I pulled out my ukulele and sat on their porch with them. I sang a few songs in English as well as the one I’ve learned in Javanese, all the while being reminded to
eat finish the plate of fried bananas next to me.
After six weeks, I’m feeling pretty settled. I’m used to the way things work around the house, and my family is used to my inherent strangeness. I’ve started teaching the neighborhood kids English after school. I’m where I need to be for the year that I have left!