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 so...at 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 sign...so 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.