Hello, friends! I am leaving two days to start my Fulbright “year” in Indonesia; my bags are packed, goodbyes have been said, and I’m bringing more books than I should. Doesn’t that make me ready?
Preparing for this trip has been a breeze in important ways: no longer at the mercy of the Peace Corps Cambodia/Philippines packing list and equipped with two years’ worth of experience, I can pack the appropriate clothes, footwear, and gifts– and I feel immensely relieved. In the old brain are but minimal worries about language issues, food, weather, transportation, and facing the unknown of full cultural immersion, but the prospect/reality of designing and executing my own “major” research project remains daunting. I have decided to coffee treat myself right through it all and actively try to take it easy on myself, and hopefully I’ll emerge a better scholar, friend, and person at the end!
The excitement of seeing my far-away friends and family is building by the minute. I can’t wait to reconnect…and I can’t wait to develop more friendships and relationships over the course of the term. Hopefully, I’ll do quite a bit of teaching and lecturing during the next ten months, both at the secondary and post-secondary levels. I’ve already got plans with a high school teacher in eastern East Java who wants me to teach her some lesson planning tricks and give her students motivation to study English. #Indobanget. Full steam ahead!
I’m sure it will be surreal to be back, but I think that living as a graduate student rather than a PCV will allow me to keep a more amused, detached, and loving attitude toward navigating the interesting waters of Javanese culture and to relax a little more than last time I lived on Java… I hope! I’m not going in with the attitude that my Fulbright year will be a 24/7 job like I made the Peace Corps out to be, and I feel clear-headed about the certain challenges ahead. So here’s to mental preparedness and trying to be calm, cool, and collected. Lucky for me, I always manage to fall on the side of optimism.
Travel this weekend will take me through Minnesota and two countries before I reach my destination, and I won’t reach my site until three days in the big city collecting research permits and other important documents. Ideally, I will have an apartment by the end of next week and a phone number a few days before that, if not Monday. I’m both excited and nervous for this next chapter to begin, but I hope that in a weeks’ time or a little more, I’ll be settled in and ready to go– belly full of white rice, sweating through my shirts in ten minutes each morning.
I hope to maintain this blog on a very regular basis, so please keep checking in if you would like to keep track of my adventures/exploits. Encouraging comments are most welcome! Keep in touch!
Sampai ketemu lagi,