Not having internet or time to sit down and write is gettin’ old! Really, it’s okay. I’m so busy and happy and excited. I wish I had just a bit more time each evening to type some stories, but I haven’t quite adjusted to the hectic PST training schedule yet. Soon. I’m going to make a much better effort from here on out. It’s just that by the time my alone time comes around (usually a half an hour before bedtime), I want to stop thinking about Indonesia for just a sec. It’s great and wonderful but the constant stimulation and mental activity required for complete cultural and linguistic immersion is astounding. Whew!
What should I talk about first? The food is great, absolutely delicious. I love the stupefying amounts of tempeh and white rice served with each meal. Mushrooms here are fantastic, just like the fruit… which grows all around us. We’ve got everything growing in our village. My host mom fries everything and everyone here has a serious sweet tooth, but so far I’m not tired of anything. Strange things I’ve eaten so far… cow skin (prepared a variety of ways), dehydrated deep fried whole fish, strange floral vegetables I’ve never seen before, numerous heretofore alien fruit types, and delicious durian. It’s all great (except the oily roasted cow skin). So far we’ve made guacamole and tortilla chips for our families to try… most of them hated it. Too salty! The most popular way to prepare avocado here is to “juice” it by blending it with milk or water and sugar. For an Indonesian, salty avocado doesn’t compute.
Everyone in my village is great. The kids love us, my host family is delightful. My parents are helping me learn the language and are the sweetest people. My host dad loves hearing stories about America and my mom loves harassing me about “my darling” back in the US or here in Indonesia. She’s asked me numerous times if I’ll marry an Indonesian and already invited me to live with them for five or ten years, no problem. I try to spend as much time with them as possible but it’s difficult because I’m so busy all the time!
Indonesian TV… strange and great. The host of Indonesian family feud is my dreamboat. Lucky for my mom, he’s already married with two kids. My host dad said, though, that if I didn’t mind being a second wife, that wouldn’t really be a problem. The soap operas are great too. The commercials are appalling; every face cream or lotion has whitening agents and all food items are presented as either super-healthy when completely unhealthy or in highly provocative overly sexy ways… ladies performing unspeakable acts on candy bars, etc.
Language learning is coming along well. Bahasa is fun and my teacher is so kind. She’s a recent grad from UMM. We have about four hours of language class a day on top of practicing and studying outside of class. Really, it’s always study time because my host family and most Indonesians I know don’t speak English. But I like practicing anyway. I remember things much better through experience than through rote, of course.
What else can I talk about? The scenery? It’s great! My village is surrounded by mountains. I’ve taken two trips so far, one to a waterfall and one to a beach on the southern coast of Jawa. I’m putting some photographs on facebook as we speak, so feel free to check them out.
I hate blogging at the moment. I feel so much pressure right now!! I’m going to go check the news and make a concerted effort to type a little each day so that I can actually upload something substantial next time I get online…which should be next Monday. I’m sitting now in the next village over at a rather nice Internet cafe with carpet and air conditioning (or at least a ceiling fan)… didn’t know there was Internet so close to me. I do technical training in this village each Monday, so this might become a regular deal. Let’s hope!
Today I love: call to prayer, sandy butts, Suzanne Vega, brushing my teeth, music sharing with Noel, Wednesday plans for Mighty Boosh time at Bart’s house, accidentally slapping Diana’s sunburn, mencuci-ing my baju without bleeding, aspirin as an anti-inflammatory, and chatting with two family members in the same day.