you know pak puji?


a quick update before a two-week sojourn in surabaya, in-service training… hopefully a week full of learning and not just discussing things that cheese us off.

every time i sit down to write lately i draw blanks. i’ve been very busy and drained, but excited and hopeful about my activities, teaching, and progress.

what haven’t i told you about? teachers’ english course is fun and enlightening. my principal is on board with me using the course as an avenue for teacher training; i’m planning to teach my coworkers activities and methodologies by incorporating them into my lesson plans for the course and giving ‘homework’ wherein teachers can test out new techniques in their own classrooms and reflect on results. planning to teach them how to use popsicle sticks for encouraging student participation this week and am looking forward to teaching them jeopardy when we’ve finally learned enough english to warrant a review session. lots of other ideas in the works, still taking baby steps. i’m taking on a leadership role that’s putting me quite a bit out of my comfort zone, but that’s what i’d hoped for when accepting this assignment. it’s hard being a youngster in charge of teaching a whole mess of folks who’ve been teaching since i was in grade school.

peace day project will be awesome once it’s finally done, hopefully by tomorrow. we’ve made a banner and gotten pledges in the form of signatures to commit to peace; the big photo shoot is tomorrow. can’t wait to share the pictures i’ve already taken and those that have yet to be snapped. the kids and i had a blast running around campus today, describing our project and taking pledges; the seniors were stoked to have a special project with me (they’re bummed that i’m not teaching them everyday) and to be able to teach their underclass fellows about it.

the juniors’ letters to mrs. mccracken’s kids… my students blew me away this week with their honesty, their openness, and their creativity. they are genuinely interested in making friends with laura’s kids and have done an excellent job writing about their culture, religion, country, family, and selves… reading their words and seeing the kids diligently and painstakingly prepare some top-notch creations has been really inspiring. it took us three class sessions to draft, edit, and make the final copies—that’s about two and a quarter hours. i’m so proud of them and i hope the kids in indiana are as energized to reply as my kids were to start the exchange. our opportunity here to foster positive relationships between americans and indonesians is enormous; i haven’t yet started dreading checking the news in america but misrepresentations of muslims and the highly contentious portrayals they receive in the media is more than enough motivation to do everything i can to ensure this little penpal program works, and works well. so far, it’s been a breeze, thanks to my students. count me amazed.


10.8.2010: Maxwell Stands Alone, Or: Tiny Black Biting Ant Infestation

T-minus one month to the (maternal) parentals’ thirteenth wedding anniversary. They’ve got big world travel plans coming up; voyages across the ocean halfway to Indonesia this fall, the probable purpose of which is to prepare them for their epic 2011 sojourn to my new home. I’ll drink (Crystal Light lemonade, thanks family Bleumling) to that.

So, one step forward, two steps back, right? Okay. Go with the flow.

Stopped in at the post office in Magetan with one far-fetched hope that I’d be able to send my package to Laura without paying with my first born. They tried to charge me $46 to send a parcel weighing one kilo. The same saucy lady that tried two months ago to charge me $13 to send a letter had the pleasure of waiting on me; I don’t doubt that she secretly relishes dashing my hopes against the wall and turning me out like a pauper. Really, I can’t afford that shit.

The English course for teachers was cancelled today, and BBI for seniors was cancelled yesterday. This makes empty afternoons, not ideal considering I’m counting down the hours to Surabaya. I especially disdain the fact that things get cancelled about ten minutes before they’re supposed to start so I can’t even plan anything else to do in advance. The flipside is that I get more time to goof around with the neighborhood kids.

Tried to get the high school kiddies to make a human peace sign yesterday and it absolutely did not work! Mismanagement and poor planning on my part are mostly to blame. Learning lessons, learning lessons—it’s alright! We ended up making a circle instead. Halfway there…maybe next year.

And I was goofin’ around on Facebook yesterday and stumbled upon a picture from about four years ago of Mike and me and our old gang, taken outside the auditorium before a show. My heart still hurts.

Chug along, onward ho.

To cheer my spirits and hopefully give you a chuckle, I give you…installment one of Interesting Things Bu Heri Has Said To Me Lately:

  • “HEY! We can play Bingo!!”
  • “You can’t write with money.”
  • “Not all fat men are strong. You know Pak Puji?” That’s her husband.

Word on the street is that we’ve got plenty of free internet opportunities awaiting us in Surabaya; folks who wanna Skype, stand by.


Miss Martin


3 thoughts on “you know pak puji?”

  1. This is so exciting! Especially the part about pen-palling around with my Mom’s students. yay! You’re so wonderful, Sam! I miss you. Can’t believe you’ve been there for over a year!


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