Thanks for the flowers

Diana’s blog has been outstanding lately (not that it wasn’t before, of course)! I’m going to try and make an effort to be as disciplined with my updates…the last post seems, upon review, rather scatter-brained, though this reflects my own state over the past few weeks. She’s able to do more than write about herself. Should I take a hint?

The past couple of uneventful days have been positive and enjoyable. I’m settling in here in my new home and community, which is a slow process. Things are working out well with my host family; Ayah is still great and Ibu Mama, yesterday, accepted my ‘rent’ money (not without another intervention from Bu Heri and Bu Tri), and she and I have been working on our communication. I think it helps that we’ve shared a few laughs, mostly about my inability to remember the correct pronunciation of a couple new vocabulary words. I’ve also realized that if I wake up half an hour early and chill out in my room before starting my day I’m a lot less grumpy; it’s outright unpleasant to be bombarded with greetings and questions about what I want to eat and why I haven’t yet made coffee immediately after opening my bedroom door.

School has been slow but still exciting. I’m getting to know the teachers, which is fantastic—they’re so funny, kind, and warmhearted. Students were released last week and we’ve been going to school everyday to get ready for next year, register new students, and, in my case, use the Internet as much as possible. I’ve been researching lots about TEFL theory/practice and graduate school/taking the GRE (which I’ll hopefully be able to do before the end of the year, in Jakarta). Trying to keep up with folks back home, too, via blogs and Facebook. I’m stunned but grateful that I have free wireless internet practically everyday…I don’t feel guilty (I’m happy about it almost more for my family’s sake than my own).

The past couple of days have been spent writing and translating a course description for the two English classes Bu Heri and I are creating for teachers in our school community. I’m very excited about the courses. We’ll be offering an “Advanced” and a “Regular” class—the former for English teachers or teachers of other subjects who have taught English in the past, the latter for all other teachers at the school—both of which will meet for one hour every week. Curriculum has yet to be developed but I’m planning to get the teachers involved in designing a course based on their specific needs and desires. They’re still excited beyond belief about practicing and learning English! I thought their interest would wane after a week or so of interacting with me, but everyone’s still trying to greet me in English when they can, say things to each other in English, and use bahasa gado-gado whenever possible. Diligence! Great!

I had an excellent afternoon a couple of days ago when a few little girls from the village came to my front porch and asked if I’d like to go on a walk. I was reading but practically threw my book down and jumped out of my chair. We walked down through the fields on the western side of the village, back toward the main road, up to the east through a neighborhood, and back home. The kids were so excited, almost as excited as me. We chatted a bit in English and Indonesian…I taught them a couple of new English words and they taught me some Javanese. We met a few folks along the way—there are still quite a few people who don’t know I’m here. They’re always surprised when I greet them in Javanese…my favorite is when older ladies say “Oh, Allah!” when they realize I can say the proper, polite greeting. I felt great about making a few new friends (the girls) and getting some more visibility in the village. Plus, walking down through the corn fields and rice paddies… down into the valley… and looking up at the mountain, in the late afternoon, is just incredible. It’s finally the dry (hot) season, so the skies have been crystal clear and blue lately…I am living in a place that’s much more beautiful than I could have imagined Indonesia to be before arriving here.

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