Friday, December 18, 2009

Exploring jakarta

a couple of weeks ago me and the other american exchange students and florence, a girl from belgium, met up with some friends who were going to show us a bit more of the crazy city we live in. everyone met at one mall and then came to get me at another. the day started clear but as soon as i got to the mall the sky split and it started pouring rain. they were still on their way so i rode escalators up and down for about 20 minutes while i waited for them. one of the people guiding us today came to get me, because all the others were waiting in the shelter of the busway stop. he had an umbrella but i wasn't so well equipped, so he called over a little kid to escort me. these kids are everywhere, carrying umbrellas and accompanying you until you don't need them anymore. at first it was awkward because he was so short and we were both trying to fit under the little umbrella. after a bit he handed it over to me and that was better. we could finally walk right. it was weird though. i mean in a way, to me, it felt kind of like the poor kid was my servant, holding the umbrella for me, the rich bule. theres times almost everyday when something like this happens. just some little culture bit that i'm not used to that re-underlines what exactly it was that drew me to doing foreign exchange in the first place. i just have to tell myself, if it seems weird at first, that that's just the way it is here. sometimes i think too much about what its like in america, forgetting that i am just about as far away from america as it gets.

so anyway, back to the trip. we got off the bus in the chinese district and went to a chinese hindu temple. it was so amazing. we got there at prayer time so almost all the people there were burning incense by the altars to the different deities. the air was full of swirling patterns and trails of smoke and it smelled incredible. after a while it really started to burn your eyes and by the time we left i felt like i was going to start crying (probably looked like it too) because my eyes were burning. by every altar there were offerings, fruit, flowers, cakes, and at one there was fish and chicken. All the statues of the deities were so beautiful. we all rubbed a buddha's belly for good luck as we left the temple. just as we were leaving, a muslim call to prayer rang out from the mosque. it was so cool to be there amidst the two religions. i can't believe how lucky we were to be there at that time, to hear the call to prayer after seeing the chinese hindus pray silently with incense. two religions coexisting so close to each other, creating a moment in my life i will always remember.

from there we walked through the crazy streets to a noodle house for lunch. the noodles were fantastic. they were homemade and so fresh and delicious. i will never be able to eat chinese food in america again. seriously. you guys have no idea what you're missing. after we ate we walked to a market area and saw a store full of stuff for the temples. there was a wall of incense. there were also all these paper things, like versace sandals and a louis vuitton wallet and cigarettes that you burn at the temple to send to the deceased in heaven. we saw an old man selling pork. a crazy cook pot in which there were intestines, tongue, ears, and a snout. the seller put the two halves of the snout together over and over again and it was pretty repulsive. why anyone in their right mind would want to eat a pig snout is beyond me. then we moved on to an area of mostly traditional chinese pharmacies. we watched a lady weigh out some mushrooms and saw lizards on a stick that are supposed to help with asthma. there was also a guy selling cobras. we got on public transportation and rode to kota tua, to the old city of jakarta, to go to the wayang museum.

kota tua is so cool. the buildings are all from the colonial period, such a different style from all the other buildings in the city. wayang are traditional puppets. and the museum was full of all different kinds of styles of wayang, from all over indonesia. its really cool to see how different regions design the wayang, every region is different. after we'd looked at everything in the museum we heard an ondel-ondel show going on outside so we ran out to see it. ondel-ondel are these like giant dolls that people wear and dance in. i can't describe it. look it up. anyway, the dance was really awesome but sort of eerie. its just scary to see the giant ondel-ondel moving around and then look down and see the tiny feet of the dancer inside. after the dance we went back inside the museum to buy souvenirs. the guy selling them to us was so hilarious. he told jillian she could dance like a javanese girl and that she looked like bella from new moon and that i looked like alice. then he said he was giving us a student discount because he loved americans (and said florence looked american so she counted) so everything was Rp. 10.000, or 1 dollar. he then told us he used to have an american girlfriend who was like 1 meter 60 or something, i can't remember what exactly but the girl must have been a giant, and she studied batik and since jillian was wearing batik and i guess somehow looked like his girlfriend (?) he gave her a free ondel-ondel figurine. then, so the rest of us wouldn't be jealous, he gave us free bookmarks and a hug. he kept saying he loved america and hitting on jillian and by the time we finally got out of there me and jillian were laughing so hard i think we were near tears. we got out just in time to see the last bit of a traditional betawi dance, which was absolutely incredible. we got back on the busway and rode to the national museum.

at first all around there were pieces of ruins from temples which were so beautiful and amazing. it amazes me how much people are able to create, changing a rock to a statue so incredible you can't believe that it was made by humans. we went to a huge room that had stuff starting from tribal in papua going to just about every island. There was traditional daggers, pottery, jewelry, costumes, really everything imaginable. indonesia is so rich and varied in cultures i can't believe it. for representation of some of the cannibalistic tribes there were weapons and jewelry with bones. one necklace had a jaw bone on it. we wandered around some more and then got into 2 taxis to go to grand indonesia. ending the day where it started. we got dinner and then our guides left, setting the bules loose in the mall. we ran up a down escalator and found the small amusement park. me josh and omar rode the rocket ride and the merry go round. probably the oldest people there, easily having the most fun. it was a really incredible day.

so far december has been relaxing. i haven't been going to much school because for a week they were doing exams so i didn't go at all and then there have just been days off every now and then. on tuesday actually me and my friends skipped school to go see a movie. not much is going on though, because our break starts on the 18, so when we go to school we just sit in the classroom and hang out. there are no classes. i haven't seen any of my teachers in weeks. all i can say is, if this was america, no students would be there. i don't know why anyone bothers to come here, but they do. i really cannot believe that already its almost christmas. has this year just flown by? its been 4 months. four amazing, confusing, but absolutely wonderful months. why is it that normal years take forever to pass but this one, the year that i wish would never end, is going by faster than i can comprehend? i guess that's just the way life is. i love it here, if that wasn't made completely obvious by the last couple sentences then here it is. i have only started to love it more since the language barrier started to lift. still not perfect, but worlds better than i was.
that's all for now. cheers

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving and Idul Adha

first off SORRY it has been forever. a lot has been going on this month, mostly just school. almost everyday after it ends me and my friends go and buy food from the street vendors or take angkot to a nearby mall to walk around or maybe see a movie. its really great. my bahasa has improved SO MUCH. i still can't say a lot, but i understand almost everything. so now when i'm with people we talk a mix, bahasa every word i can but when i get stuck i say it in english and they teach me the right word. everyday i learn more, even though i usually forget about half of it by the next day.

thanksgiving was amazing. i was pretty homesick, just thinking about family all day and about the traditions we have that i never thought twice about. the us embassy arranged for all of the YES kids to be carted off to the houses of embassy workers to have a thanksgiving feast. i took a taxi to meet the father of my dinner family at a hotel in central jakarta. it was a bit awkward at first, we didn't really know what to say to each other, but it got better. the family was really nice. i think both the parents were korean-american, and they had one son who stayed pretty quiet the whole time. it was hard to have much of a conversation since we were all stuffing our faces with delicious delicious food. needless to say i ate like an animal. i can't begin to express how grateful i am to this family for opening their home to me. normally on thanksgiving, all i think of is seeing my cousins and eating more than is humanly healthy. but this year (this is really cliche..) i really felt so thankful. for everything. to be in indonesia this year. that i got the YES scholarship in the first place. to everyone in indonesia who has helped me so much so far. thankful for family, for the bottomless support and love they always give. never in my life have i thought this much about being grateful. i never really had to. it was all right there, and i never even really thought about it that much. but here, so removed from it all, and it really hit me how many wonderful and incredible things and people i have in my life. all night there was nonstop praying sounding from the mosques, because idul adha was the next day.

we had to get up early on friday to go to my host-grandma's house. when everyone got there we spread some carpets out on the floor and all sat and listened to a man lead prayers. it was so cool. i love the way arabic sounds. after the prayer there was a sort of train where everyone went around and kissed everyone else's hands to show forgiveness. when you got to the end of the train you'd sit by the last person and everyone else who came through would kiss your hand and join the line. then we feasted. instead of regular rice we had ketupat, which is a kind of sticky rice that's cooked in little cones wrapped in a pouch of woven palm leaves and boiled. to go over this there was some really good curry like soup with pumpkin. after a while there we left to the other grandma's house for a little while and chatted, then it was back to the house for a little while. after maybe an hour, we left again with a bunch of cousins and went to a bazaar. we shopped for a few hours, ate, and shopped some more. after a while we split up and i went with diandra and her group to blok m to buy cheap pirated dvds, among other things. these ones were cheaper than the ones i got in yogya, i think they were 6o or 70 cents. i love it. after we got dvds we walked around looking at all the pirated, cheap, and knockoff things. i saw an ipod mini for sale. sometime around 6 we drove to another mall and saw a man walking around in a a bright pink suit shirt, bright pink shorts, a long bright pink coat, bright pink cowboy boots, and a brown cowboy hat. it was the funniest thing i have ever seen. i was desperate to take a picture of him but there was no way i could sneak one without being totally rude. then dennie and dewi came and took us to yet another mall, where we met up with some family and ate chinese food. in this mall there was a huge christmas display with spongebob and patrick and the pineapple house and we all got pictures taken by it. they were playing lots of christmas music and it made me kind of homesick and sad. this christmas is going to definitely be one i never forget. i can't imagine christmas without snow. ahh its weird to think about! after a long day of nonstop shopping, we came home and i slept like a rock.

i had to get up early for school on saturday. lucky me. for some reason all of the desks had been taken out of our classroom, so we sat on the floor and talked until it was time to go do the morning run. i think they shortened it today, because it went by a lot faster than it normally does. so we were sitting back in the classroom lounging on the floor and my friends, who were out in the hall, got really excited and called me out to them. they had just killed one of the 4 adorable saggy cows that i walked past not too long ago. let me back up. idul adha is a holiday where goats and cows are sacrificed to symbolize abraham being willing to sacrifice his own son but instead killing a goat when god's angel stopped him. the animals are killed halal, similar to jewish kosher for those of you who know it, its just meant to be more humane. after they are killed, the animals are cut up and the meat is donated to the poor, who have no meat. i think just about every school had this happen on saturday. well i was in total shock. i told my friends i didn't want to watch but at the same time, i couldn't look away. luckily more people started to gather and my friend lady was standing just enough in front of me that i couldn't see the first awful moment when the cow's throat was cut. basically this is how it went: our religion teacher was singing prayers into a microphone. some men, who i guess came with the cows, would take the cow and somehow harness it with a rope and at the right moment cut the throat. it was so terrible, sometimes the cows would struggle and try to get away so one of the men would go grab its tail and the kids standing on the basketball court were laughing. the cut never fully killed the cow. it would lay there, in what i'm sure was unimaginable pain, almost but not quite decapitated (sorry this gets pretty graphic) just waiting for it all to end. they'd blink and kick their legs. blood was everywhere. after the poor animal finally died, one man would grab its head and another would grab its tail and they'd drag it off, leaving a nice trail of blood, to go finish decapitating it. then they'd spray the blood away and it would be the next cow's turn. they were scared. you could tell they knew what was happening and they were scared. i know this is so much more humane than a slaughterhouse but frankly, there is no humane way to kill something. nothing about the act of killing, no matter the creature, is humane. while it was horrifying and sad, i'm glad i watched. i learned A LOT. my views of meat have forever changed. never again will i look at it the same way, now that i've seen what its really like. the cows i watched were lucky in the sense that it was lightyears better than a slaughterhouse death and they were actually fully dead before all the cutting began. but i watched a cow die. i watched its last minutes, saw the life fade from its big eyes. you can't come back from that. after the executions we went back to class like nothing happened while outside the students in osis, kind of like rotc, helped skin and cut up the cows. so glad i'm not in osis. i'm sorry. this is an extremely opinionated story. maybe if i wasn't already vegetarian, i would have seen it all differently. and i know its religious. its just...shocking. suddenly all the cows and goats that have been lining the streets for weeks are gone, and i know just where they went. but it was a really cool experience, and like just about everything else here, i will never ever forget it. i will also most likely never ever eat beef again.

so that was the holidays for now. i'm really curious to see what christmas is going to be like. i still love it here. its full into the rainy season now, which is so beautiful. almost everyday it rains. and when i say rains, i mean full out storms. usually its so hard the things in the distance are faded and blurred, i think of it as indonesia's version of a blizzard. and there's always thunder that sounds like a gunshot and lightning that, at night time, makes the entire sky light up. i love it. rain is already magical, but this is the most magical rain i have ever seen. overall things are great. again i'm so sorry for the huge gap in posts. this month i will try to post once every week or two. i really wish my friends and family could be here and see what i'm seeing. indonesia is such an amazing country. i can't imagine spending this crazy year anywhere else in the world. i love it with my entire soul.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ants in my pants and confused faces

alright so first thing's first, school is exhausting. i like it, the kids are all really nice and most of the teachers are too, but just the strain of sitting there everyday and listening so hard to everything that's said, trying to make some sense of it, it really wears me out sometimes. today was awful because the power shut off halfway through our first class and did not ever come back, so the whole day i was so sweaty and hot. one of my friends let me borrow her fan, for the last half hour of school. oh well. i feel like i'm doing really well in school. i mean aside from the fact that my lowest grade is in english because the teacher grades me harder than everyone else, everything's going well. i'm starting to understand a lot more. my speaking is still painfully limited, but i'm working on it. so where i sit in class is right next to a wall where a constant string of ants is moving, i don't know where they come from and where they end, but they're always there and usually we scoot the desks away from the wall so if we sit back the ants won't crawl on us. a couple days ago my desk was a lot closer to the wall then i realized and my friend olive told me to move, but i didn't want to do i said i'd be ok. oh man i was wrong. that day after i came back from school i had 13 ant bites all over my legs and 5 on my arms. i didn't even notice they were there! ahh i hate ants. it seems like the ants in america are usually tame, and they don't bite unless they feel especially vicious that day, but here they're just malevolent beasts. any time you find an ant on you, chances are its already bitten you at least once, and all its friends are on their way to bite you too.

i'm finally feeling the full swing of life here. for the most part i haven't been missing school for whatever reason and i dunno, just getting used to how it all flows. i still have the social skills of a peanut, but i'm working on that too. two months has really flown by, but at the same time taken so long i can hardly believe it. do i seriously only have 8 months left here?! that can't be! there's so much i still want to do and so much i have to see and learn, can i possibly fit all that into 8 short months? i better be able to.

a couple weeks ago all the YES kids went to yogya for a big YES alumni conference there for 3 days. it was so much fun! me omar and jillian took the train, which was really exciting. in my head i saw it more as the hogwarts express, but in reality it was just a regular old train. it was really fun to catch up and see each other again. there were a lot of sessions in yogya, mostly all for the real YES alumni, so we only had to go to some, giving us lots of free time. one day we went to a big traditional market and it was so cool. its so weird to me that i bought so much stuff and in the end it all cost me about $15. also one night we went and did karaoke, which was hilarious. i took some videos, and if i can figure out how i'll put them on facebook sooner or later.

so now on to the rest of my title. one thing i think all foreign exchange students have in common is the want to find ways out of doing stuff. even if the alternative is just sitting at home all day, nothing beats the satisfaction that you found a way out of doing something maybe you weren't too keen on doing. the biggest thing i find myself doing is pretending like i don't understand what people want. this only happens in school though. a lot of the time my friends will ask me to give my opinion of one of the kids sitting right next to me or a teacher will want me to just write something simple about the topic they teach instead of taking the quiz with all the other kids, and i don't know what to say or just feel too plain lazy to do it, i make my confused face. mostly it consists of me looking like i'm trying to understand what they want and looking back and forth, from person to person or from person to paper, trying to draw some connection between them. or i just furrow my brow and try to look like i'm very deep in thought, and i can't seem to figure out what they want from me. it works like a charm. i fully intend on using it up to the point when its just plain ridiculous that i can't understand what they want. this means i probably only have a month or two left. because if not sooner, i know that by christmas i'm going to know and understand everything. i'm trying to make it sooner though, because nothing frustrates me more than not being able to speak or understand everything. at this point, i understand 50% of what is said. which i think is good progress, i mean i didn't exactly try as hard as i should have to learn bahasa before i got here, so if you think about coming to a place with only the very most basic knowledge, i'm proud of myself. but i know i can try harder, so i'm going to.

knowing that where i come from the seasons are changing and seeing the same sunny sky or rain storm everyday instead of the colorful leaves and the brisk temperature is so strange. its weird to live in a place with no seasons. i mean there is the rainy season and the dry season here, but other than more frequent rainstorms you can't tell the difference between them. i miss seasons. the feeling, the sights, the smell. its something you never think about until its gone. that seems to happen a lot, i suddenly find some small thing that i didn't think twice about in america and here it seems so monumental, so huge i can't believe i ever took it for granted. i'm curious to see what ends up happening during the holiday season here. i know that the us embassy is setting something up for the YES kids for thanksgiving, but other than that the rest seems up to fate. hopefully, if our ramshackle plans work out, the YES kids will be able to hang out on halloween. i wish desperately that we could go trick or treating, but i dunno, kind of seems like that wouldn't fly too well for some reason ;)
until later, cheers

Friday, September 25, 2009

The last couple weeks and vacation

with each new day i just get lazier and lazier when it comes to blogging. i'm sure i've mentioned it before, but for the holiday after ramadan my host family had plans to go to central java, and have some fun in the cities around there, including yogyakarta (pronounced jogjakarta, its old spelling). so, i think i'll start there.
on monday, we got up really early and i threw the last of my stuff together and we had breakfast, which today was bread. it was weird not to have rice for breakfast though, i've gotten more used to it than i thought. then we went to dennie's parent's house and chatted with people there for a little while. his mom gave me this weird cooked banana which didn't taste as sweet as i thought it was going to but it was really good. she also gave me this stuff, i wish i knew the name, that was like kind of firm ovals of green jelly in a kind of green sugar water soup. when she was getting it she put some brown stuff from a little bottle that made me think of vanilla extract which she said was for flavor. flavor indeed. it was good, but it kind of tasted like chemicals..then we left. we were on the road by 7. it was one of the most amazing drives of my life! i was totally entertained the whole time, just looking out the window. it was amazing. indonesia is so beautiful!! the world outside jakarta is majorly different. there were rice paddies and corn fields everywhere. after maybe 4 hours we stopped at a big rest stop to eat. it was a cool place, really open, just a huge room with a bunch of tables and waitresses running back and forth, trying to keep everyone happy. the only problem with it being open was that there were a bunch of flies everywhere..we sat down and started looking over the menu. as it happened, there was nothing on the menu that was vegetarian, but luckily dewi had packed some stuff from home. i ate rendang potatoes, which are so amazing. they are little potato balls with this delicious..sauce? its coconutty and a little bit spicy and so good. i also ate rice and mie goreng (fried noodles) it was one of the best eating experiences of my life because i finally tried eating with my hands! i love it. it really makes the meal more..personal somehow. its the coolest thing. after we ate we continued onward, stopping after a while to eat again. we stopped because everyone wanted to eat crab, so i had some really good traditional javanese tea while they ate. everything is so cool here, even the tea was cool! there was a little ceramic teapot and in my cup there were giant sugar crystals, which made the tea so sweet and delicious. just as i was about to pour some tea i noticed a couple ants crawling around in my cup...but there was nothing i could think of to do to get rid of them so i just poured the tea in and was very careful not to sip up a shriveled ant body. i also had some cucumber chips that were dipped in really spicy sambal, which was amazing. before the food came all the kids went to one end of the table and we played uno, which was a lot of fun. i'm so in love with indonesia right now. i know i've been saying stuff like that a lot lately but i'm so happy to be here. just sitting in the car and looking out my window at the 'real' indonesia was so incredible. i can't believe i'm in such a beautiful, magical land. what better way is there to spend a year of your life? in the car after that i slept on and off and watched zoolander on my ipod. i felt like i had to watch zoolander because my friend tyler, who's on YES in malaysia, had something on his facebook status a couple days ago that said something about how zoolander was the only permanently banned movie in malaysia. i can't believe how hilarious that is. so in honor of that, i watched it until we got to our hotel, hotel nirwana. we schlepped all our crap into our rooms and then me, dennie, and dieva went swimming. the water was perfect. so warm and amazing! it felt really good to exercise too, after a day of sitting in the car. after i showered in our room, me and diandra watched mr. bean and ordered room service because she told me we were going somewhere tonight where everyone was going to be eating black escargots..she got some spaghetti type pasta and i got nasi goreng. it was really good but there were some eggs with it that were rather rubbery and odd..when i was heading to the car i saw something flapping around by a lamp and at first i thought it was a bird but after staring at it a bit longer i realized it was a bat. it was so cool, i've never seen a wild bat before and i swear i could hear its sound, its sonar, ever so faintly. we drove to where the party was, at an outdoor place that to me looked kind of like a gas station, where there were a couple food tables and a ton of chairs set up all over. i ate some tempeh goreng and then had a seat with diandra and a bunch of the cousins. a couple people got up and made speeches, during which i just let my mind wander, and then we left. pretty much i passed out as soon as we got to our room.
tuesday: all the food was full of meat at breakfast so i had a blueberry muffin we got at bread talk a couple days before we left and 2 pieces of toast with pineapple jam that was a radioactive yellow. we packed everything up and drove off to a relative's house. by the time we got there it was lunchtime, so we ate. everyone else ate crab again, but i ate rice and this weird vegetable soup and sambal and krupuk and tempeh goreng. it was kind of horrible though, i was sitting on the floor with all the little cousins who couldn't figure out how to open up their crabs and one of the uncles came and just snapped them open. it made me feel sick, to watch everyone breaking and pulling the little animals apart. i know i shouldn't be so sensitive, but it was really kind of shocking. then we set out to drive to semarang. the drive was incredible, as it had been the whole time. semarang is such an amazing city, its so beautiful! i'm really jealous of all the AFS kids who get to live in this area. we drove around for a little bit and then parked our car and walked around, looking for a vendor who would sell us vegetarian lumpia, or spring rolls. finally we found someone. it was really fun to watch him cook them. i think that's one of the best things about getting street food, watching it be made right before your eyes. there were people selling stuff all around us. two old ladies were selling baskets of flowers. an old man was selling slide whistles that sound like birds and tops with a slit that make them sound like a train. and all around there were food vendors, selling everything imaginable. the lumpia were delicious. when you eat them, they give you some green onions and you hold one against the lumpia and take a bite. its amazing. hmm i wonder how many times i've said that in this post..anyways, after we ate we kept on driving. in the area we drove through there was constantly a ditch on one side of the road or the other that had a small incline and was full of water. i saw women doing laundry, goats and sheep drinking, and little kids swimming. what an amazing life that would be. i mean think about it, you always have just your little place where you grew up swimming with your friends and pets (assuming that the goats and sheep are pets). i would love to have grown up like that. alas, i did not. ok, so i was really fascinated by that and i continued my endless staring out the windows until we got to the hotel. as soon as our stuff was in our rooms me and dieva went swimming. the pool was really cool, there was a kind of roof cover thing over the center and along one end there were statues on big cement blocks that had a fountain of water shooting out of them. we met up with a couple cousins and all practiced doing handstands and front flips and back flips. it was a lot of fun but the pool was super crowded, surprisingly since it was like 5:30. i was swimming some laps and trying to go all the way across the pool in one breath and i smashed into an old man. immediately i said sorry, and then remembered that i'm in indonesia. he asked me where i was from and it was painfully embarrassing. i saw some more bats flying around and heard some little kids yell bule at me when we got out. i watched fashion tv in our room while diandra did twitter. i got room service again, because diandra told me we were going somewhere where there probably would only be meat food. this time i got mie goreng. being very adventurous food wise, i know. she got off the computer to take a shower so i got on and checked my facebook. as it turned out, they were going to their grandma's tonight to eat but my food just came when they were about to leave so i stayed behind, watching runway shows on fashion tv and chatting with sage and coco. i had a fun night. when diandra got back it was pretty late so we watched tv and went to sleep.
wednesday: we had to get up at 7:30 to eat, it was rough. i had rice and vegetables and this little thing that i thought was tofu but it was actually chicken. i also had porridge! i've been dying to try porridge for weeks, so i was really excited. basically its like plain oatmeal, but with rice instead of oats. it isn't sweet. i put some small peanuts and kecap, sweet, thick soy sauce on it, and i ate it with krupuk. oh my goodness. it was amazing. really so delicious, i love it. we had to dress nice today, and i had brought a dress with me but diandra said i should have long pants on, so skinny jeans it was. we drove to this place which i was later informed was a kindergarten that someone in the family started. an uncle got up and talked for a while, followed by dennie's dad. as soon as we were in our seats a lady came around and gave us little boxes of treats. they all had meat except for klepok, which are these little balls of i think rice flour that have brown sugar in the middle and coconut shavings all around them. those were all i could eat, which was fine with me because i love them. a bunch of little girls got up and started singing karaoke, and it was the cutest thing i've ever seen. a couple were dancing to the music, and all of them were amazing singers. everyone here is. i haven't met one person who doesn't love to sing and is amazing at it. makes me feel bad that i'm not much of a singer myself..after they were done it was lunch time. almost everyone stormed the little house next door where the food was, but me, diandra, dewi, and a couple others hung back until the crowd cleared. one of the uncles told me that he was an AFS student to germany a long time ago and that there were about 3 other AFS alumni there. small world. finally we went to get food. there were tables set up all around that had already prepared plates of food on them. i got pecal, which is similar to gado-gado. for those of you who don't know either, basically its a bunch of different vegetables over rice and covered with peanut sauce. sometimes there's tofu with it too, like there was today. it was so spicy! but really delicious. dennie let me use his iphone and i got on facebook again for a little bit. then all the adults lined the place and we went around clasping or kissing hands to show forgiveness/apology. then some aunts and uncles started singing karaoke and one aunt kept trying to get me to go but i had to explain to her that i don't sing. maybe someday i will, but for now i choose to spare their ears from that. after that we left. we went to this place by the ocean which was lined with shops selling everything imaginable. food, clothes, shoes, toys, sunglasses, everything. it was crazy! we got on one of the little bus things that were going all over it and rode around for a while. we got off by some food stands and bought 3 coconuts, which a little lady then hacked the tops off of and they put some sweet syrup in two of them and gave us a straw and a spoon and we ate them. it was so fun. i've never eaten a coconut like that, let alone a fresh coconut, so that was fun. it was so sweet and delicious, i love it! i was holding maybe a 6 pound coconut in my hand, so by the time i was done my wrist and arm were pretty sore. on our way out, i saw a stand swarming with people that was selling rabbits and hampsters. they were so cute, and i really wanted to stop and look at them but we didn't have time to. me and dieva went swimming again. she was playing with some cousins so i swam some laps. i love all this exercise! it feels incredible. after i got cleaned up we hung out in the room for a bit and then went out for dinner. the restaurant we went to, papa ron's pizza, was inside a huge department store that reminded me of a was really good food though, the pizza i got was super garlicky. that was the first time i tried pizza with sambal, which i was kind of questioning at first but it was really good. then we went to this little factory outlet/pool/restaurant and looked around there for a bit and then went into the courtyard and got dessert. i got avocado juice and chocolate pancakes. the pancakes were tiny and perfectly round, served like a sandwich with the chocolate between the two of them. they were really good. the avocado juice was too, surprisingly. i actually really like it. some of the cousins came and we hung out for a bit and then left for the hotel. and that was the end of that.
thursday: we got up at 6:30 to eat breakfast. they had porridge again! we packed all of our stuff and then watched a lot of fashion tv until it was time to go. our first stop was museum kereta api, or the train museum. its a really cool old place from the colonial times. we took a lot of pictures on and in the trains and of some old phones and stuff they used to use here. it was really fun. then we left. i had a little nap and then looked out the windows. we stopped to eat at this restaurant that had ig spaces where windows should be but there was no glass so we just had an amazing view. i ate rice, spinach, sambal, and bean sprouts. it was really good. after that we left. it took a really, really, really long time but finally we got to yogyakarta!! dennie didn't know how to get to borobudur (a huge and totally amazing ancient buddhist temple) so he asked a guy on the street, who hopped on his motorcycle and took us there. we bought our tickets and then walked through the park until we got to the temple. me and dewi were standing around waiting for the rest of the group to catch up and these people asked me if they could take a picture with me. i don't know why but i thought it was hilarious. i'm not used to being a novelty, much less to strangers wanting to take pictures with me. everyone came and we started the climb up the big stairs to the top of the temple. it was so beautiful i couldn't believe it. there was a little girl, maybe 10 years old, walking behind me and she bumped into me, then touched my arm and started giggling wildly. i guess it was a dream come true to touch a bule. the view from the top was so amazing, words cannot describe how beautiful and magical the whole thing was. all the cousins climbed around one of the smaller towers and we took a bunch of group pictures, and then i took more with strangers. after a while the aunts and uncles started yelling out "sepuluh ribu!" and "lima ribu!" it actually would be a really great way to make money though, just get dropped of at borobudur everyday and sit at the top and take pictures, charging as much as i want per photo, and then leaving when the park closes. i'd be richer than kings. hmm...haha. a lot of the time people would ask to take a picture, but it happened a lot that i'd just see a phone or camera coming out of nowhere or suddenly someone would stand right up close to me and i'd have a second to locate the camera and smile before the picture was taken. once, a small group gathered, and the last person was a homeless-looking fellow with long and dirty dreads who was standing REALLY close to me. i took a bunch with really ugly guys, really hot guys, and a middle aged man with a beer belly whose shirt was only buttoned half way. we were trying to leave and 2 boys stopped us and told us "just one more, she has time for one more" so i took one more. just before we left i saw a huge group of bule so i snuck one last picture. it was so much fun! i really want to come back here sometime, get more (hopefully better quality) pictures and just see the beautiful temple again. we drove to a relative's house for dinner, which took a while. we all joked about people taking pictures with the bule and ate good food. i had rice, really good tofu, green beans, some strange soupy stuff with leaves in it, and gudeg, traditional yogya food made of jackfruit that is cooked with mahogany tree leaves i think so its brown and really sweet. we left after a while and got to our new hotel which was so cool! all the rooms were decorated either to be traditional javanese or chinese. the room me and diandra shared was chinese, and it was so cool we both went around and took pictures of everything in it.
friday: we got ready for the day and set off. our first stop, after about a 3 hour drive, was jejamuran. jamur in bahasa means mushroom, and jejamuran is a restaurant where everything they serve is mushrooms that i think they grow themselves. oh man. it was so heavenly! we had mushroom sate, spicy mushrooms, and these incredible deep fried mushrooms with a sweet sauce on them and pineapples and they tasted so good together! we walked around and looked at where they sell some of the mushrooms, and they were so cool. there were these big ones that were almost purple, it was amazing. i was so full after that, it was great. i was really happy. our next stop was at a place that made me feel like i was on top of the world. we were on a hill, surrounded by mountains, some of which i later found out were volcanoes. in the valley all around us there were rice paddies as far as the eye could see. we were at the ketep volcano center, where there were such beautiful views i was speechless. we were taking group photos and guess what happened? someone asked to take a picture with me :) dennie's mom gave me some corn on the cob, which was so sweet and delicious. we went into a small, dark theater to watch a movie about merapi volcano. it was really cool. it made me want to watch a volcano erupt, even though i know that's super dangerous, and i also want to climb a volcano. i'm going to someday. it was so nice in this place. the air was so clean and cool and it seems like it would be such an amazing place to live, despite the fact that it was all at the foot of an active volcano. after that we drove to borobudur again, and i thought we were going to go in the park again but we just went to all the touristy, cheap shops around it. it was really fun. they were selling the coolest stuff! dewi let me get some bracelets that i think i'm going to use as presents in america and also i got a really cool bag made of a patchwork quilt of different batik fabrics, it reminds me of the one my cousin sarah gave my mom. i also got a rice paddy worker hat!! that's what i call it. its one of those hats that is round with a point in the center and its made of straw..its so cool, i adore it. after we were done we drove to a restaurant to have dinner. we ate indonesian style, with a big pot of rice and a bunch of sides. i had mie goreng jawa, spinach, fried tofu, kecap and sambal with my rice. back at the hotel diandra watched tv and i tried to make my train tops make noise, but i couldn't. i think i just fail, which is sad, because they're just tops..oh well. after a while dieva came and got us and we set out to the ramayana ballet, a traditional javanese dance performance. we were sitting in an outside stage, it was so cool. there was a really cool view of an old hindu temple, and the dancers were incredible. i can't wait till i can move like that. i know its going to be different because i'm learning balinese dance and this was javanese, but its still kind of similar. at one point all the power shut off, so you could faintly see the dancers moving and you could hear them too, which by its self was so awesome. i watched some bats fly around in the sky for a little bit and then the lights came back. in the last act before the break, a bunch of dancers came out with torches and lit these stacks of wood on fire and also lit these thatch things, i thought they were houses but i guess not, and it was SO COOL. we left at the intermission and dennie took some pictures of me sitting by some musicians. we went to a house where dennie's parents were staying and i watched a really weird anime with some of the little cousins and ate a strawberry, and then we left for the hotel.
saturday: after breakfast i checked my email. i don't know what happened by for some reason facebook has stopped sending me emails so for maybe the first time since i got to indonesia i only had 1 email, from my mom. i wrote her back and then she called me. it was fun to talk to her! i miss home, but thank goodness i'm not homesick anymore, and i haven't been for a few weeks. you just miss the familiarity of everything, you know? you miss understanding what people are saying all the time and you miss your comfortable life. life here is good though, i'm enjoying it. that day the first place we went was the sultan's palace. let me just say, the fact that i live in a country where there are sultans makes me so happy i could die. the palace was amazing. we got a tour of the grounds and i took a lot of pictures. it was weird though, there were some big cages that i would have thought would hold large, exotic birds but there was a large chicken or rooster in each one. actually on of them had a turkey in it, not a chicken. we saw all this stuff that belonged to the sultans and the tour guide told us about them and it was really interesting. i love learning about the history of indonesia, it fascinates me. we were taking a little break in the shade drinking water and one of the aunts and her kids came up to us. i got confused about my hands and ended up emptying about half my water on the ground by diandra's foot. oops. after we were done we took bacak, which is this public transportation where there's a kind of cart thing with a little bench with a bike behind it, which the person rides, so we had an amazing view again of the city. we went to a little shop with touristy souvenir type stuff at the front and batik in the back. i got some more little things to use as presents and then we got back in the becak and went to a kind of cracker shop. there was no door we went through, we just walked in. the walls were lined with all kinds of crackers and treats, it was so cool. then we were in the becak again and went to lunch. the restaurant we went to was really neat, there were a bunch of low tables and we sat on the floor on straw mats. i got gudeg and rice with tofu, peanut sauce, and an egg. it was really good. after we were done eating we went to prambanan, which is the hindu temple i saw the other night. there was a big earthquake a couple years ago and most of the towers stayed up but there were some that got knocked down, and the pieces were spread out all over the grass, one gigantic jigsaw puzzle, waiting to be put back together again. you couldn't pay me enough to do that job. one of the temples had red scaffolding all over it, and it was kind of an interesting sight, the modern scaffolding over the ancient temple. we went into the shiva temple and took pictures by the cow inside that represents shiva, and then we walked around and talked. the temples were so gorgeous, i can't believe i am surrounded by such amazing things. we walked under some mahogany trees and they smelled really good. there was another market here, just like the one at borobudur, which we walked around in for a while. there was a place where you could get a temporary tattoo and the sign by it said that they lasted 1 week to 1 month. it all depends on how much you shower haha. for dinner we went to this really cool restaurant called gadjah wong, named after a river that its right by. there were elephant statues everywhere in it, they were amazing. we sat on a patio next to an open room where a jazzy band was playing music. the night was perfect, cool and beautiful. i saw stars for the first time. the food was amazing too. i was in the mood for something familiar so i got pasta with a cheesy mushroom sauce, it was delicious. i saw a lot of bule in the restaurant, and it was funny to listen in on their conversations. after we ate we went to a kind of pavillion, still in the restaurant, and said hi to some people i think they're related to somehow. i shook and kissed the hands of everyone there, and they all laughed when i did. it was a big family, all there with their grandma, who was a living example of the women you only hear stories about who smoke so much they sound like a man. it was both terrifying and hilarious at the same time. she was wearing a ton of makeup and tacky jewelry, which only added to the effect. then we left. at the hotel me and diandra watched the miss usa pageant, which was completely ridiculous, and then we switched to mtv china. we went to bed around 12, which was probably a bad idea because we had to get up at 4:30 the next morning..
sunday: it was definitely a bad idea. waking up has never been harder. i stood under the shower simply to get my hair wet and then we packed up and left. the guy who worked at the hotel and brought our bags out to the car gave us each a box with some breakfast in it. i watched the sun rise for a while and then passed out. i woke up and opened my mystery breakfast box to see what was inside. there were 3 pieces of bread, one of them toasted, and some butter, jam, and a piece of white cheese. my butter was so melted it was all liquid, but i spread a little of it on the toast and then used all the jam over it. it was so good. then i made a little sandwich with the cheese, which made me think of a kraft american single except that it wasn't american cheese, it was the same white stuff i see everywhere here. i wanted to look out the windows but my head felt like a rock, so pretty much my whole day was spent sleeping and waking up every hour or two to see where we were. we stopped in cirebon to eat a late lunch. the place we went to served padang style food. they had all the food made, and they brought it on carts over to us and we told them what we wanted and didn't want. i had vegetable curry and rice and boiled cassava leaves and deep fried mashed potatoes. i ate with my hands again! i got some es teh manis, and it was so sweet i could not taste the tea at all, it felt like i was drinking straight liquid sugar. it was good though, in a weird way. then we drove just a tiny bit further till we got to our hotel. the hotel had free wireless wifi, so i finally got to use my itouch! me, diandra, and dieva all sat in our room, them on laptops and me on my touch, for a few hours. after dieva was done on diandra's laptop i got on and started writing this post and uploading my 200+ pictures. it took a while. after a few more hours me and dieva and dennie went swimming. they left before i was ready to, so i stayed back and swam some laps in the empty pool. i love swimming. it feels so so good to exercise after a day of sitting in the car for 8 hours, i must say. when we were leaving to dinner, my friend florence, who is an afs student from belgium, texted me and asked if i could hang out at plaza senayan (big mall) tomorrow. i asked diandra who asked dewi who said i could! i was so excited. we went to pizza hut, which was the weirdest thing ever. i never eat at pizza hut in america, so i don't know if its like this or not, but here its super fancy. you sit at tables and waitresses bring you stuff and i don't know, its different from how i'd imagine a pizza hut to be. then again kfc is fancy here too, so maybe i shouldn't be so surprised. we all shared some salad and i had some vegetarian pizza, which was really good. back in the hotel i got back into my routine of blogging and uploading. i got a ton done, which made me happy. i also got to chat with sage on facebook for a little while, which was good. and then i went to have a real, good night's rest.
monday: we got up at 5:30, but then slept again until 7 or 7:30 i think. we both showered and then went down to breakfast. continuing on with my all-american eating, i got some pineapple (which is so much better here, way sweeter and not acidic at all), watermelon, and papaya and a little croissant and this pastry that looked interesting but really just tasted like a croissant with sugar on top. i was done eating but then i saw that they had porridge, which i love so much, so i had to get some. we packed everything up, for the last time, and left. in the car i slept a little bit and listened to my ipod. we made a couple short bathroom stops, but that was all, and we were in jakarta by 12:30. i knew we were getting there when i saw bajaj again, which only exist in jakarta. its weird to see (and hear!) them again, after a week i've gotten so used to only seeing becak and ojek. we went to senayan city, the mall i went to with them on my second day here, and got lunch. dieva wanted burger king so while she was getting that me and diandra went to a bookstore for a little bit, then up to the food court to meet everyone else. i had nasi goreng, which was so good. after we were done eating they dropped me off at plaza senayan to meet up with jillian, omar, and florence. we were going to see a movie and they were already there so i had to find the theater all by myself, which made me a little nervous at first because i had no clue where to go. i found it though, without getting lost. in the lobby i called jillian and omar came out to get me. we went back into the room where jillian and florence were, looking at a menu. in plaza senayan, if you pay for the right ticket, you can sit in the premiere theater, which is like first class on an airplane. the seats are huge and comfortable and they lean back so far its like you're laying down. there are blankets too, so if your movie's boring you can lay back and have a nice nap. i guess they also bring you food, if you order it. i ordered a banana split, and after everyone finished ordering they led us to our seats. we saw g-force, which i'd already seen before but it was fun to see again. there were only like 3 other people in there besides us, it was so fun. jillian and omar sang and chair danced to the songs they knew, and it was hilarious. the food was so good. i want to live in this theater! after the movie we all took pictures of each other while the staff waited and watched and i'm sure though we were totally stupid. we walked around in the mall for a bit, and sat down in the food court to talk. omar looked around to see if there were any no smoking signs. there were, we were surrounded by them, but he lit a cigarette anyway and said he'd finish it by the time anyone noticed. he was right. by the time the mall cop came and told him he wasn't allowed to smoke, he was just about to put it out anyway. we walked around in the mall for a while and then sat outside on the stairs and talked and watched the sun sink. jillian had to go so after she met up with her host sister me, omar and florence got in a taxi and went to omar's. his host sister jade was watching december boys, so we watched with her for a while and then omar and florence and dinner but i was too full to eat so i just chatted with them. at 7, florence's "niece", who she's here in jakarta with, texted her and asked if we all wanted to go do shisha. i said i couldn't, plus my host family was coming to get me at 8. she told her niece to come at 8, but she came at 7:30 so for an hour we watched the brave one. then diandra and dewi came and got me. florence has an uncle who lives in south sumatra and on wednesday she is going to go to his house till sunday, and i was invited to go. i asked dewi and diandra, and they said i should ask dennie at home. i did. we argued about it for a little while, and i was really stressed out and he said i couldn't go. i don't want to put the details on here, i don't know who reads this blog, but i think we both said a lot of the stuff that was on our minds, and i don't really know if that made things better or worse. frankly right now it feels like worse because i'm really stressed out and its even more awkward than normal around here right now, but we'll see what happens. today i didn't do much. just finish blogging (finally!) and wrote some emails. florence called me today, just a couple hours ago actually, and said that the trip was cancelled because there was too much traffic. i kind of wish we could have found that out last night, but oh well. she said they are going to go again sometime, and between now and then we want to try and get our families to meet because that was the biggest issue yesterday, the fact that they didn't know the family. so hopefully i'll get a chance to see how life in sumatra is different than life in jakarta. i can already tell that the difference is going to be drastic, but i don't know how exactly. i have balinese dance tonight, i'm excited. its been...2 weeks?..since my last lesson, and i really like the lessons a lot, so that will be fun. i'll try to do another post sometime next weekend. until then. cheers

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Its been a while..

sorry everyone. there's been some issues with the internet so we haven't been able to use it much this week. i guess actually its only been about a week but it feels like a lot longer for some reason...anyways, a lot has been going on. every night when i write in my journal i'm so surprised at how much i write here as opposed to america. there's just so much more that happens every day, and i really try to remember every detail. i don't want to forget any of this. so lets see, this week...

i was waiting all week for the weekend. finally saturday came! we hung around at the house for a few hours after school. diandra left for a class she takes, so it was just me and dieva at home. then wendy came over though and we broke the fast together. we only ate a little tiny bit though because we were going to go get diandra at a mall and eat pancakes and pasta there. the first thing i saw in the mall was a louis vuitton store. its still so weird for me to see designer stores in an everyday place. so we went to the pancake restaurant, which was like the best place ever. they had like 30 different styles of pancakes and waffles you could order, from bailey's chocolate with ice cream to every fruit imaginable. i got one pancake and one waffle with blueberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. oh my goodness, i was in heaven. everything was so perfect. i gobbled down my food, then had a happy little food baby. we walked around the mall for a few more hours. by the hard rock cafe, there was a live band playing and it smelled like burgers and ketchup and a bakery. i was peace. it just felt so comfortable, and familiar because of the burgers and ketchup, it was really nice. while we were walking around i saw a lady dressed all in black with only a little slit where you could see her eyes. it really shocked me at first, i mean i know this is a muslim country but it was just something i never imagined seeing for some reason..but it was cool. every day i think of all the little things i see and do here that i wouldn't have a shot at ever doing or seeing in utah, and its so cool how much more indonesia has to offer. sorry guys, you just can't cut it. haha ;)

sunday was also amazingly fun. i was having a pretty hard morning but then my friend inez, who is a YES returnee from salt lake last year, and her siblings and host sister rahel, who was my roommate at the LOC, came and rescued me. we drove to the center of jakarta, which i think is one of my favorite parts, its so beautiful. i just feel happy looking at it. we went to this huge mall, the biggest by far that i've ever been to, called grand indonesia. we were going to go see a movie but then didn't because there wasn't time for us to since we were going to break the fast at a restaurant, so we just hung out in the mall all day. it was so fun! it was really great to see inez again, i've missed her a lot. we were walking along in the mall and i was chatting with rahel and then inez called my name. i turned to look at her and saw a small train heading right for me, ready to run me down. no one was harmed, luckily. actually probably all it would have done is knocked me down, it wasn't going fast at all. we went into this really cool store that was choc full of all kinds of traditional indonesian stuff and i wanted to buy the place. i really want to buy one of the traditional puppets, gamelan, because they're so beautiful. anyway, there was a case of way expensive jewelry and me and inez were talking about using our fork bracelets to pry the lid off and swipe them all. pretty much everything we talked about that day ended with me in indonesian jail or on the news the next morning, either as a desperate foreign exchange student living as a hobo in the streets of jakarta or because i broke the law. of course inez, my partner in crime here, would never get caught. isn't weird how my life always seems to point in the direction of me ending up homeless? i wonder if its a we got a little lost in the mall, which at the time we were saying was going to become my new home. i probably could live there though, no joke. i had my camera and my wallet, and in my wallet is my debit card and all the other important cards i need to have. i could buy clothes and food, and sleep in so many places, the mall is so big i'm sure i could find at least 50 really good hiding spots. in the mall there are little sections that are set up like a certain country. when we got the the japan section, there was a small amusement park that of course we had to go to! we went on a couple rides, which was so great, and then set off to leave to eat dinner. it took us a while though, like i said we got lost a little bit and its such a big mall..we got out though, and drove to an amazing thai restaurant. there was one page of vegetarian stuff, which was cool. i ordered vegetarian pad thai. when the food started to come, i saw that the way everyone else had ordered was what i think of as more traditional indonesian style, where there's a big bowl of rice and several little sides to put over the rice. but i just had a big plate of noodles, all to me. i eat so much here, its gross. i can't help it though, all the food here is so good! there's only been a few things that i've tried so far that i didn't like. it was such a great day, we laughed and talked a lot. i was really sad for it to end. all day there was that sick feeling of knowing that the next day i had to go to school..

so this week..hmm well nothing special really has happened. EXCEPT THAT ON MONDAY I RODE IN A BAJAJ!!!!! my dream come true! bajaj's are these amazing little public transportation vehicles that are a small car with a motor bike engine. they sputter along, easily the loudest thing on the street. i love them. and i got to ride in one! my cousin wendy was with dewi when she picked me up from school, and we were driving along when she pulled over and me and wendy got out and went to a bajaj driver and hopped it. it was so great. bumpy and loud. the inside of a bajaj sounds like an old motorcycle plus an old lawnmower. i got to smell jakarta, which sounds so weird but it was great. the smell of people, fried food, sweet food, fruit, cars, motorcycle exhaust, and the overall smell of the air here was incredible. i love it. on tuesday i had my first balinese dance lesson. the teacher came to my house and helped me put a big piece of batik fabric on like a sarong and then tied a long orange sash around my waist to hold the sarong there and act as a corset. it was the hardest thing i've ever done in my life. the teacher only speaks a tiny bit of english, so the lesson was all bahasa. mostly i watched her like a hawk, trying to exactly imitate the way she held her hands and bent her knees and moved her head and hips. it was exhausting. so different from any way of moving i've ever done before. my neck and legs were so sore the next day. but i couldn't be happier with it. i can't believe that i get to learn such a cool part of the beautiful culture that is indonesia. i'm going to work like i've never worked before to make sure i always do my best in that class. everything is so precise, from the movement of your hands, making sure they are flexed up and your fingers are curved, to moving your head side to side and keeping your eyes open wide and bending your knees so low and walking with your toes flexed up and your hips moving side to side with your butt sticking out. its really hard. but i'm going to learn it if it kills me. after dance i took a shower and we went out to dinner to celebrate diandra's birthday. we went to a really good japanese restaurant, where i ate nasi goreng and a tempura leaf (?). it was a lot of fun. basically i just had school everyday, then came home to rest and watch tv until maghrib, the call to prayer that tells you when to break the fast. on thursday i got a 6 out of 10 on my assignment in english. maybe its just that i know american english and they teach australian/british english in school here, or maybe its that my teacher is just bad at english. i think its a combination of both, because the stuff she marked me down for was not wrong at all. we were writing direct and indirect sentences, for crying out loud. how hard can it be? so i was pretty mad at my teacher for that, but its no big deal. and....that's really it.

i love it here, so very very much. i'm happy for the most part, though there are times when i'm so homesick i could die. but i'm content most of the time. no, more than content, i'm....amazed. i never knew it was possible to feel this way about a place i've only lived in for a month. i'm so happy, but i can't find the words to do it justice.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This week and bogor

last sunday my cousin wendy and some of the volunteers here, stoky and nino, came to my house and we all set off to bogor!! the drive was long. longer than i thought it was going to be acutally, but i liked getting to see all the scenery. even though it was mostly trees and green as far as the eye can see, it was beautiful. and there was the occasional mosque, too, or random buildings. when we got to bogor we drove around in this one neighborhood for a long time, trying to find stefan's (a german student here doing community service) house. neighborhoods are so confusing! well really everything is confusing to me because i don't know how anything is laid out..but this was something else) we asked some ladies sitting by the side of the road which way to go, and they all pointed in different directions, then one of them switched to point the same way as the others. finally we found it, and got stefan and headed to botani square, which is a huge mall. we met up with josh, his host brother dimas, meidy, tami, jascha, his host sister, and vivian. vivian's family wanted her to buy some bread, so before we left she went and got it. it looked so good. i really REALLY wanted to buy some bread and tear into it with my hands, but i resisted. from botani square we went to kebun raya bogor, which is this huge and beautiful botanical garden that bogor is famous for. we saw some really ancient trees and there was one tree with a sign by it that said its bark smelled like didn't. it just smelled like bark. there were some totally amazing plants there though! it was all so green and alive, i love it. we walked through the garden, talking and taking pictures, and then stopped at this restaurant for the people who weren't fasting to get lunch. at the restaurant, i think they were some of the waiters who got together and started playing guitars and singing to us. then they told us they wanted us to sing 'heal the world' while they played the music. it was kin of sad because no one knew the verses so they were really quiet and then when the chorus came everyone would sing really loud. and we got behind the music a couple was really fun though. then we walked back the way we came and sat around outside the entrance talking some more. then we all piled into our cars and drove off to find a restaurant to break the fast at. the car i was in was already holding 6 people, with stoky in the back since we had vivian, and we got lost so meidy, josh, and tami squeezed into our car to help us out. vivian was sitting by the window and she rolled it down to get some fresh air, but then rolled it up when we passed some of the peddlers. we were fearing a snatch and grab!! haha. we got to the restaurant, and still had half an hour. the longest half hour of my life. we all ordered our food and were just hungrily waiting, counting down the minutes and talking with each other. i really like seeing the other exchange students and getting to talk with them about whats going on and get some perspective for my own situation. its nice to hear about what other people are facing and give and get advice. it seems like right now a lot of us are on the same page, so its really helpful to be able to talk with each other to help each other through it. they brought us our drinks when we still had about 10 minutes to wait. they looked so cool and was like they wanted us to be in pain. finally, at the stroke of 6, we all attacked our drinks. mine hadn't come yet so someone gave me iced tea, and it was the best thing i've ever tasted. the food came shortly after. i got roti cane coklat keju susu, or this kind of indian bread with chocolate and cheese on it. it was so good. i also had strawberry juice, but it tasted more like a smoothie than juice. before i'd left the house that morning dennie gave me two water bottles and some minute maid orange juice. after i was done eating me and vivian chugged the juice, which was way sweeter and more pulpy than the american minute maid. i feel cheated. mmmmm. after we finished eating josh, vivian, meidy, and tami left. the rest of us hung around a bit more, having a good time. me and stoky were planning on camping out in kebun raya, either in a tree with the hammocks we had, or in a tent. and we were going to catch bats and roast them for dinner. we left after that to take stefan home. it was easier to find his house this time, i think we got there in half the time it took us earlier. at his house, stoky and wendy prayed and we all watched tv with his host mom. she was really nice. she told me that when she was younger she went to a boarding school in england, so she knew what it was like to feel far away from your family and homesick. and then we left, after a short visit. we stopped at a restaurant on the way home, looking for durian ice cream, which they didn't have but we got this apple pie that was so good! it looked kind of like a calzone, which was strange, but it had amazing buttery crust and really delicious filling. in the car, we also ate some really greasy and delicious pizza. we made one more stop at anggie's house to say goodbye to her. she and her husband are moving to england for a couple years because she's going to college. while we were there, a girl came up to me and introduced herself. i met tanti, who i've been friends on facebook with for a long time but never actually met. she was bria and elle's host sister last year. bria and elle are both going on the YES program this year, bria to egypt and elle to thailand. i talked with her for a little bit and then we left, for real this time. i was so tired in the car i kept dozing off. when we got to my house, basically i stumbled all the way to my room and passed out. it was a great day :)
so about this week...
this week marks my first whole week of school since i got to indonesia. the past weeks don't count, because there were days when it was cancelled or i didn't go for some reason or another. its so weird. i really like school here, its loads better than east, but i'm still having a pretty rough time adjusting. i sit quietly most of the time, and my friends always ask me why i'm so quiet and tell me not to stare. i can't figure out how to explain to them that i'm not staring, i'm just thinking, and in doing so letting my eyes lose focus. they're really patient with me though, as are my teachers, so that's good. this week i had art class, which i think is my new favorite. i was a little sad because we didn't get to just free draw, we all had to draw a rooster, but it was fun. the teacher came and sat by me and showed me how its done, and i copied. he had his rooster divided so that specific sections (neck, body, wing, tail) all had a really specific way they needed to be texturized and shaded. i used his techniques, but added my own too. quietly defiant, just like always >:) its looking pretty good so far, i mean it still definitely needs work but for a work in progress, i like it. man oh man i had no idea how hard mandarin and japanese were going to be! at first japanese didn't seem so bad, but its total overload trying to learn a language in a language you don't understand. everyone in my class already has some foundation in katakana and hiragana, and i can barely draw the characters. most of the time i just stare at my book, trying to make sense of the mess of characters i see there. still nothing happening, but i think that when i understand bahasa things will get easier. actually that's a dumb thing to say. i KNOW that when i can understand and speak bahasa my whole life will pick up and get way easier. i just need to learn it. but i'm getting really excited because lately more words are starting to stick out to me! today in indonesian, the teacher had a powerpoint up and i was looking at it and recognized the word abu-abu, which means gray. i looked at the whole article and was delighted to find that i knew what it was talking about! for the most part, i could only understand less than half, but i knew that it was talking about the school uniforms for a school in jakarta. i can't believe how happy this made me! earlier this week i was having a really rough time and i felt really homesick but now things are getting way better. and i think talking to my family on the phone and my new-found understanding of more words has everything to do with it.
after school yesterday dewi picked me up and we drove to the hindu temple where i'm going to take balinese dance lessons. she told me that they're trying to find a private tutor for me so that it will be more intensive. i don't care how i learn it, just as long as i learn it i'll be happy. but the idea of taking balinese dance in a hindu temple is just so magical to me.. we walked in on a class of about 7 little boys practicing their dance. it was so incredible. there were a couple who had no idea what was going on (probably a glimpse into my near future...) but there was this one boy who was so amazing! he looked like a pro. he really knew the dance and he was so into it. it was really cool to watch. there was a teeny little girl in the classroom who was playing with another little boy. the little boy was wearing a cap, which the girl yanked off to reveal probably the worst hat hair i've ever seen. where the hat was, his hair was all smooth. but then where it ended, like on the back of his head, his hair was standing up in every direction. he grabbed the hat from her and shoved it back onto his little head. the girl was so funny. she reminded me of a female mowgli, she was just really skinny and mowgli-like. a couple of times she'd stop running around and dance with the boys. she knew the dance better than they did. she was probably like 5 years old and already a better dancer than i ever have a prayer of becoming. she was so cute. so really not a whole lot has been happening lately. i'm ever so slowly beginning to adjust to life here, and while its still incredibly hard at times, i can tell its getting better. i heard from amber for the first time since she got to turkey yesterday! it was so great to hear from her. i feel so bad for her because she's stuck at the beginning of the stage i feel like i'm near the middle of. homesickness and hostility. the whole 'stages of culture shock' thing was such crap. i don't know one person who started out in the 'honeymoon' stage. i think everyone went straight to hostility and homesickness, the stage they said wouldn't come until a couple months in. yeah right guys. i bet they just tell people all that to get them excited, so they don't freak out before they leave and call it quits. oh well. we all know that after things are this bad they can only get better, so i guess thats some comfort..
ramadan is going really well. its much easier than i expected, since i've gotten used to it i mean, and i really like it. its such a cool holiday. i'm really excited to see what other traditions and holidays we're going to experience this year, both living in indonesia and with muslim families. my mosquito bites are almost all gone. i don't think i got malaria.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

LOC-language oreintation camp

day 1- i got up around 7 and got myself all ready to head to the camp. when i got there, i met the students and went to sessions, for the first one all the YES kids went with Ketty and asked her any questions we had and told about our first week and it was really great. then they taught us traditional indonesian games, like a mancala type of thing and jacks and this one where two people hold a rope and you have to jump over it and they start at their knees, then go to their waist, then to their chest, then their chin, then their forehead, and then above their head. it was so hard! i couldn't do it once it got to the chest haha. we also did hop scotch and a game where everyone puts both their fists together and you go around in a circle saying a random number and people can either put up 1 thumb, 2 thumbs, or no thumbs, and if they make the number you called out then you can take a hand out and the last person with a hand in loses. it was really fun. everyone wanted to try fasting, even the kids who just got there, so during the times when we were supposed to eat everyone just hung out or had naps. we had an indonesian lesson and it was really funny to listen to the german kids saying their s's like z's and having to roll their r's. the whole day, everyone was staring at the clock, counting down the hours til 6, when we could eat. it felt so good! the first thing i ate was a banana that was in a little pouch of bread stuff and fried. it was incredible. there was a lady who came and gave a presentation to us about indonesian culture and earlier that day the new kids had made lists of their hopes and concerns and put them on the wall so she was looking at that and one person wrote toilets down on concerns and she started talking about how squatting on a toilet is healthier for you than sitting on one and she made some people come up and demonstrate how to squat was so hilarious! she was really great, i liked her session a lot. everyone was pretty tired that night so we went straight to sleep...
we got woken up at 3 to eat breakfast. for the meat eaters there was vegetables and cow liver that you were supposed to put on your rice, and it looked so gross. i was sitting at a table with josh and a couple of the volunteers and they were saying eating the liver was like fear factor and josh ate all of his even though when he chewed it it looked like he was going to throw up. so i was really full but then vivian started wondering if there were ways for the vegetarians to get more protein so they got us some oatmeal, which was rather flavorless, even after i put milk and 2 packets of sugar in it. then we went back to bed and i got up at like 7 to shower and waited for my roommates to wake up, but they didn't and i didn't know if i should wake them or not and i also didn't know when we were leaving for out field trip that day so i read a book on my bed until one of the volunteers came a-knocking and woke them up because the bus was there..oops. we got onto a bus that was swarming with mosquitoes. every couple seconds you could hear people clapping at them and some of the germans started a competition to see who could kill the most. omar kept smashing them against the window and it was really funny.we drove to taman mini, which is this huge park that has a specific little section for each part of indonesia and it shows what a traditional house is like and there's a small museum with cultural and historical stuff in it. we separated according to where we were going to so me and omar and jillian were in a group together and we went to the jakarta section, which was really cool. the traditional house was amazing! the museum we went to was small and dark and didn't have was pretty hot in there. there were a bunch of dioramas that showed all the history of the city of jakarta and they were so cool to look at. after we were done in jakarta we walked to the yogyakarta section and met up with about half the people there, then took then bus with everyone else to the bali section. it was so beautiful! we sat in an ampitheater sort of thing and the people who weren't fasting ate lunch and i had a bottle of water because my head was spinning. we all had to go up on the stage and say our names and where we were from and say one thing we hoped for this year and be filmed for a slideshow for the welcoming party. i was one of the last people to go mostly because i didn't want to go so i was trying to sneak by unnoticed but also because i had no idea what to say. i ended up saying that i hoped to learn about indonesian culture...just like everyone else. oh well. after that we went and took a bunch of pictures of our whole group at a small stage kind of thing outside the ampitheater. we didn't do as many as i think they wanted us to because the sun came out from behind the clouds and it got really hot. so we got on the bus and drove to an IMAX theater, still in the park, and watched a movie about indonesia. it was in bahasa, so no one could understand it, but it was still cool to watch. there was some really incredible scenery. i think it was all about the land and culture of indonesia. it was fun. and so cold in the theater! :) after that we went back to the guesthouse and had free time and some people went swimming and i was going to go too but i fell asleep instead. then we had sessions, one about bahasa and one about culture again. this time the guest was a guy and he had this powerpoint that illustrated the main parts of indonesian culture and we had to take the main ideas that are the values to every culture and write down what the values for our culture were that fit into the categories. it was kind of sad because all the american values were basically the total opposite of the indonesian values :( after that we ate dinner and they gave us this really delicious fruit and i think the english name is mangosteen and you smash it open with your hands like passionfruit but the skin is purple so it stains your hands when you open it and the fruit is wihe and wonderfully tart. omar said he felt like he was in the jungle when he ate it. then we had some more free time and me and omar and vivian and jillian went swimming. i didn't want to get in the water but then a volunteer and omar grabbed me and threw me in. it was really fun though. then two belgian girls joined us and that was a lot of fun too. after maybe an hour, we had to get out and get dressed for talent show practice. at first our plan was to do a skit about american independence history and make it really funny but then we decided we were just going to look really stupid if we did that so we were thinking about learning a little bit of the thriller dance but then decided it was too hard so we found a how-to video to learn the soulja boy dance. it was really fun and not hard to learn, which was nice. then we decided also to sing the national anthem and light sparklers. so we looked up the words and wrote them down to learn them. we practiced a couple times and then got bored and quit and went to bed.
again they woke us up at 3 to eat. no liver today though :) i got up at 7 again to shower, and woke my roommates up at 8. we went down for our first session, which was bahasa, where we learned to count, and then all the YES kids left for the US embassy. i was in a car with ketty and josh. we were almost there when ketty realized that she didn't have any id for the entrance to the embassy, which sort of looked like a mideval fortress, we talked to the other students and the only ones who had id on them were jillian and omar, so they got to go in while me and josh and vivian waited around outside while they figured everything out. finally we got to go in. we went through security and got visitor passes and met up with jillain and omar and we were led into this giant official-looking room where we were seated and met the ambassador and the guy in charge of our program and the guy in charge of security and a couple other people. the security guy was so weird, when he was talking he winked at vivian and kept telling us people here like to do 'snatch and grabs' or 'smash and grabs'. i don't know what the difference between the two is. and he told us to always vary our routes, because terrorists and regular creepers watch for foreigners who make the same routes everyday, like going the same way to the gym at 6 o'clock every morning or something like that. it was so scary. he told us all this freaky stuff and then he was like "but i don't mean to freak you out by this, i just want to give you precautions" and we introduced ourselves before he started talking and then he was looking at jillian and told her he knew salt lake had its rough parts because he'd been there and he told me he knew detroit could be dangerous and he was just sort of an idiot. then the guy in charge of our program talked and he said he knew india was an amazing country, then stopped and said he just got back from india so he mixed it up with indonesia. the ambassador did that too. he told us that he first studied abroad in indonesia a long time ago with a lady named anne. at this he stopped talking and looked at us like he expected us to say something. no one knew what to do. he kept saying her name and then got exasperated and said she was the mother of the president of the united states. i don't know why he couldn't have said that before. he never actually met the young barack but he knew his mother and step father. also they told us that obama has said he will come to indonesia in october but no one knows when for sure or if he even will come, but if he does there's a chance that we will get to meet him!! then we could get real pictures with him instead of just with a cardboard cut out of him like we did in dc. after that we drove back to camp, but it took a really long time because everyone was going home from work early so traffic was wretched. we got to camp about halfway through an indonesian lesson about days of the week and months, and then it was dinner time. wahoo! the dinner was always so good, they had fresh fruit and all kinds of treats and candies, it was wonderful. they tried to make it fancy by serving dinner outside but there were so many freaking mosquitoes everyone moved inside. after dinner they had a 'mini-olympics', where we were all in teams and we had to all do a race where we carried a spoon in our mouth with a marble in it and pass it off to our teammates and then we did a sack race and then that thing where there are boards with little straps on them and everyone gets on it and has to walk across the yard and pass it off to the rest of the team and then there was a contest to eat these giant crackers off a string and it was so funny to watch everyone trying to get it in their mouth and bite a piece off. half of the students went first, then after that the other half went. it was so hard to get a hold of the dumb cracker, but it was really fun. then all the boy students and all the boy volunteers did 2 rounds of tug-of-war with this giant rope and the bules (foreigners) won both times and then it was the girls turn, which we also won. it was so hard though! my hands were throbbing for a really long time after that. then they added up points and scores and my team tied for third place and then they gave us goodie bags full of candy and fruit and we all ran and got changed into swimming clothes and jumped or got pushed or thrown into the pool. little by little, all the volunteers and reluctant students were dragged to the water and dropped in. it was so great! omar was leading most of it with two of the german boys and my roommate, a german girl named katrin. some of the volunteers locked themselves in their room inside but were tempted out by martabak (this time with chocolate and peanuts) so we forced our way through the door and into their room and one by one brought them out. when we were bringing the last person, i was holding onto her foot and she was kicking and squriming and we were on wet tile and i fell right on my back. it was pretty funny, but i cut up my elbow. after everyone was in the pool, katrin was trying to throw omar in but she couldn't and they ended up throwing each other in. there was a big crowd of people around this belgian girl named lea and we and jillian and vivian saw them helping her up off the ground and she looked like she was drunk or something but it turns out she got electrocuted on something in the garden and she was really shaky. when we were getting out of the pool katrin asked omar if she could use his towel and he gave it to her and she started to whip him with it. he ran inside and she chased him and he got the towel from her so she was defending herself with a chair and then we ran up into our room and slammed the door but couldn't figure out how to lock it before omar was throwing himself against it, trying to force it open. he got in and they chased each other across the beds in our room and then out into the hall. a couple other people came up and we didn't know where they went until we heard a whip and katrin screaming in the hallway. omar ran out and hid behind a corner and katrin snuck around with a little broom made of twigs that they use to kill bugs and she hit him with it and then a volunteer came out of her room and made them stop. it was so hilarious though! everyone calmed down and went to bed after that though.
got up at 3 again to eat. i had like 4 pieces of bread and jam, i really wanted to be able to fast the whole day. we got up at 7 and got all ready and i packed my bags and all my things. then we got on a mosquito-free bus and went to the ministry of education. we had to wait in a really dark lobby for about 10 minutes, then took the elevator up to a huge business room. there were long tables with big swivel chairs set up so they went around the room like 2 rectangles, one smaller one inside a huge one. every couple of chairs, there was a microphone thing that you could push a button on and it would activate the speaker so the whole room could hear you talk. the people who were supposed to talk to us (don't remember who they were exactly) came and we all went around and used our microphones to introduce ourselves in bahasa. it was pretty fun. they talked to us briefly, then left. it was over a lot quicker than i though it was going to be. we all crowded up to the front of the room and took a bunch of pictures and then left. we drove to this fancy little hotel thing where i think they do a lot of parties like the welcoming party we were there for. on the way there we saw the ritz-carlton hotel. it was weird to see it, i mean there was nothing wrong with it it looked perfect but just thinking about the bombings there and then being there was weird. we got to drive through the huge main central part of jakarta, which was really cool. there are a ton of tall buildings here. its really a beautiful city. so at the hotel, we were taken to a small room with no ac to be our holding room. we sat in there for about an hour, talking to one of the volunteers, ika, about her business as a shoe designer. then me and vivian and jillian decided we should probably practice for the talent show and so we went to find omar and josh. we found them on the main floor, which was heavenly cold, sitting in a sushi restaurant. vivian then decided she was hungry and didn't want to fast anymore so she got some sushi and edamame. omar and me wanted to go across the street to the mcdonalds (which has 24-hour "mcdelivery" here) and play in the play place, but they wouldn't let us. so we sat in the restaurant for a while and then it was time to go practice for the talent show. we had to go first, and it was horribly embarrassing. we had only practiced a couple times on the national anthem and everyone started messing up and laughing so we stopped and went to go practice with ika, who is an amazing singer. finally we got all the words down and she helped us arrange it so it sounded a ton better and then we practiced and practiced and practiced until it was good. then we went over the dance a couple times and went to the full rehearsal again. they had a little story to go along with the talent show, about 3 travelers (3 of the volunteers) who were going to different countries to see how they celebrated their independence day. america was first, and omar and josh stood on either side of me and vivian and jillian holding sparklers and we all held a giant flag and sang and then we draped the flag over vivian's shoulders and put sunglasses on and started doing the soulja boy dance. it was really fun. after us, rahel the swiss girl showed how to make chocolate fondue and then she and the travelers did a traditional swiss dance. then the belgians sang a folk song and did a traditional dance, and shion the japanese boy did judo, and the germans did a really hilarious skit about the berlin wall. one of them had a giant trench coat and a fake rifle and was a russian, and on one side of the wall katrin and stefan were well-off germans eating and drinking water, and on the other side judith was a poor german who didn't have any food. it was so hilarious, they were great. after that it was done and we sat around talking and playing the guitar until it was dinner time. dinner was really good. i had rice and vegetables and watermelon, cantaloupe, and papaya and noodles and sambal and cake. it was amazing. then all the people started coming. we met vivian's host family and josh's host family and omar's host family, and then my family came, so i got to introduce all the students to them. then the talent show started. first they showed the videos of us from taman mini, saying what our hopes were for the year, and then someone gave a speech and then we all did our shows. it was a lot of fun. everything went really well. after each country did their show, they got a microphone and said who they were, where they were from, where they were staying, and something they liked about indonesia. i said i liked food. after all the students went, the volunteers surprised us by going up and singing and dancing. it was so amazing! they are all such good singers and dancers, it was just great. then we all went on the stage and took so many freaking pictures! but it was fun. we said goodbye to the other students and then left. i had an amazing time there though! i really hope i see some of the other students sometimes. it never ceases to surprise me how at every thing i've gone to for foreign exchange how easily you fall into conversation with kids you've never met in your life and how so suddenly you have new friends. its such a great thing. i really hope that we will be able to do a mid-year trip with all the students, so we can reconnect and hear how its been going for everyone. until then, facebook is just going to have to do.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This week...and food!

i have a lot to say but first thing's first. below are pictures of some of the amazing stuff i've been eating lately:

the cake is called martabak manis. it is like a sweet cakey pancake and the crust on top is really buttery and then there's a layer of chocolate and then i don't think its the same in this picture but on the one we ate there was another layer of cake and then there is more cake with cheese on top. now i know it sounds weird to eat cheese on cake but let me tell you, it doesn't even taste like cheese and it is SO GOOD. if i could eat one thing for the rest of my life until i die it would be martabak manis.

next there is some fruit. the orange one is called markisa, or more commonly in the us passionfruit. you take the pod between your hands and smash it open and then pull the two halves apart and suck the little fruits out. SO DELICIOUS! i love it. then there is salak. you peel off the snake-y looking skin and bite into a fruit that tastes like an apple and a grape combined. inside the fruit there are 3 sections and each section has a large brown pit that i imagine would kill a bird if you threw it hard enough.

ok, so back to this week....
monday was independence day, which i already wrote about. on tuesday, i went to immigration with my liaison heidy and my "cousin" wendy. i can't even begin to describe how happy i was that i was going to miss school. we had to fill out 3 forms that were all more or less the same, but on the last one it asked for your face shape.. after we were all done filling out papers and taking pictures and waiting around we drove to a mall and met up with a bunch of the AFS volunteers and omar. it was really fun. we ate frozen yoghurt (i think this is my new favorite frozen treat) and walked around the mall for a bit. we went into the arcade and played games. this was a new experience for me because i never go into the mall arcades in utah. usually the only people who go there are creepers and stoners. in the arcade we did this bowling game, and we figured out if you throw the second ball right after the first you can hit all the pins you missed before the game realizes whats going on so you get a strike every time :) haha. after that, it was time to go home. i hadn't been home in like 6 or more hours so i guess it was high time. when we got home i ate dinner. i wanted to be adventurous so i loaded up my noodles with super hot sambal. my mouth, tongue, throat, and ears were on fire. i've never eaten anything that was so spicy i could feel it in my ears! it actually kind of feels good though, in such a strange way. after that i got all cleaned up and went to bed..
wednesday was my first real day of school, like where i actually have class. i had to cross the street between diandra and dieva's school by myself, which terrified me a little. the traffic is so insane its really rather treacherous to just cross the road. luckily there is a traffic cop who helps the desperados (like me) out. i met up with my friends and got to class alright. in class everyone started to freak out because there was a cockroach in the room scurrying around and it was nasty. the teacher calmed everyone down and they forgot about it pretty quick. after our first class was over, me and olive and fima and sendwi and vanya sat on the floor and they taught me some vocabulary (most of which i promptly forgot)and then they started playing clapping games and doing these traditional sundanese clap-dances. i call them clap dances for lack of a better word. they're really cool though and they tried to teach them to me but its so hard! after that we ate lunch and then we had math, which i actually sort of like, because it stimulates my mind. after sitting like a lump through almost every class it feels good to have something to do. after math we all sat outside and waited to get picked up. everyone came over to help me with my homework, and it was really fun. while sendwi was in the bathroom we went into my room and vanya got the idea to hide and i got the idea to hide in my closet. it was so hilarious and we were all laughing into our hands, especially when we heard her yelling for us. vanya peeked out the door and screamed-sendwi was in my room. hahahaha it was so funny. that night me and diandra watched memoirs of a geisha, which i really liked. i've heard a bunch of mixed reviews about it but i loved the book and really liked the movie. while we were watching wendy brought us martabak manis. mmmmmm so good!! that made the whole movie better actually.
thursday (today) i didn't have school. sweet! so i slept in and for breakfast ate a piece of sweet bread (all the bread here is sweet, its so good) with strawberry jam and one piece with their version of nutella, which is more peanut-y tasting, with chocolate sprinkles on top. it was incredibly good. there is a little lizard, a cicak, that lives in my room and i saw him this morning :) i got a call from home and dad told me i should name him pete, so now he is officially dubbed pete. he is the cutest lizard ever, about 5 inches long, and sort of grayish colored. so..i really didn't do much today. i chatted with vivian on facebook and we both agree that as soon as we're situated here we're going to take buses to visit each other. i can't wait for the day... i also can't wait for saturday morning, when we have another orientation, this time for a couple more days than last time and with the rest of the AFS kids. can't wait!!! its going to be so fun. :)