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.


McCaye said...

Flan, this is just amazing! What a camp! You'll never be able to tolerate a regular la-de-da camp again where there are no clouds of moquitos, no high-stakes pool battles, no Martabak, and no ambassadors claiming to have been a foreign exchange student who knew Barak Obama's family!!!! Yay!! Go, Flan! I can't believe you know the Soulja Boy dance. Next time the Faitha kids do it, you can join in! About the snatch/smash and grab distinction: I'm pretty sure one involves broken glass of some type! Man, who is this Omar? I say Omar for president! Maybe in about 30 years he'll be able to point out the Indonesia connection in positing himself as the new Obama and get elected!
Love you Flan! You're doing great!

Asta said...
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Asta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Asta said...

hai, i am Asta.
i'm new blogger here..
i was looked around to see another blog and i find yours..
interesting story to read.. :)
Nice to know that you're enjoying jakarta with its heat, traffic jam, mosquitos and martabak..

and if you don't mind,
please check out my blog at
thanks :D

Anonymous said...

That is so cool flan! it sounds like you're getting over the homesickness part with all the fun you're having!!! Lol i wonder if those mosquito-whacking broom things hurt really bad...ouch.
love and miss you, Flan Flan!!
i was actually reminicing (however you spell that)about when i used to come over and play in your sand that was forever ago.

Miss you!!!!(especially since school started)

don't let a moment go by where you're not enjoying yourself!

Frabby :)

Anonymous said...

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