Category Archives: culture
my trek through the flood…
Though I’ve lived in many different places in my life, I’ve never really experienced a true flood. I have heard and seen pictures of flooding, but his year I got to experience it myself.
I had gone to stay with my friends the Tahitoes in Kelapa Gading Sunday night so I would have an “easy” journey to class the next day. However due to the heavy rain all night Sunday and all day Monday, there was no way to get back home and I was stranded in Kelapa Gading for four days.
Early on Tuesday morning (the second day of the flood) the rain stopped and we were able to get a big truck to go pick up my friend Jessica’s family. The plan was to be in and out as quickly as possible–but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men… Needless to say it was quite an adventure.
We went and got a quick breakfast, as the house was without water and power, and then headed out to start our “quick” rescue operation.
On the way to pick up Jessica’s grandma, we passed these children playing in the flood water.
We met up with the truck and headed into the flood, ready to evacuate Jessica’s family.
The roads were crazy…I’ve never seen so much water in the streets.
We picked up Jessica’s family and began the trek to pick up Mark, an eight year old who was stranded with his nanny because his family couldn’t get to him due to the flooding.
Unfortunately, the truck broke down and Uncle T and I had to make our way through knee deep water to get to the mall where we could rescue Mark.
Once we got Mark, we made our way to Uncle T’s house, where Mark’s family met us and we reunited them.
After a few hours, the rest of the KG team met us in a different truck and we proceeded to start riding through the flood giving people rides.
We met all sorts of interesting people that night. People would get in and out when we got them to where they need to be. There were some times when I wasn’t sure that the truck would make it, but it did!
Once it got dark and it was harder to deliver people, we decided it was time to go buy supplies for the emergency food packages for the evacuees in one of our slum communities. I’m pretty sure I have never bought so much food in my whole life.
After dropping off the food and everyone back in their homes, we got in the truck and headed back to the Tahitoes house to sleep for a few hours before day 2 trek activities.
the cultural exploration…
As excited as I was to go to Bali for the conference on community development, I also really wanted to get to explore some of the Hindu heritage of Indonesia that I hadn’t gotten to experience yet in the year I’ve been here. My friend Tirza suggested that we rent a car and explore Bali on Monday during the day before the 5pm kick off dinner…so that’s exactly what we did.
We started off by going to a traditional Balinese dance. It’s more like a ballet than other traditional dances that I’ve seen, because it’s not just about the movement or costumes, it’s about the complex storyline that gives you insight into the culture. Though I must say, the costumes were pretty cool…
Our next stop was to one of the largest Hindu temples on the island.
While we were there we were able to see some of the ladies preparing for a ceremony later that evening…
On our way to the volcano view for lunch, we passed this tea plantation and had to stop to take a picture…
Right around lunch time it started to pour rain, so we stopped at a little restaurant with a gorgeous view. I miss being around mountains so much that getting to see this view was like medicine to my soul…
After this, Tirza and I made our way to the second largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.
While we were walking through we were able to crash part of a Hindu wedding. I got to see both the end of the ceremony and part of the wedding procession…
But first, let’s watch her take a selfie…
We ended our day of adventure by stopping by a coffee plantation, which has been on my bucket list of things to do in Indonesia since I first decided to move here.
At the end of the tour we got to do a free coffee tasting, which was awesome!
All in all, it was an awesome day…especially since it had been a while since I was able to do some cultural exploration.
the building blocks of communication…
Language is a very important part of life, it’s the building block of communication. When you cannot speak properly, you cannot communicate, which is so frustrating! I’ve been trying to learn Bahasa Indonesia on my own this past because I couldn’t find a good class here in Jakarta. Since I’m around so much English every day, it’s been really hard to just pick it up…which is why I decided I wanted to find an official class. In September, my boss found a great two-week intensive 60-hour program and recommended it to me—and I signed up right away!
The only problem with the class was it’s location—it was all the way in downtown Jakarta and I wasn’t going to be able to have access to the car, so I didn’t know how I would get there. Well I found out that my friend Valen (who lives in the same area I do) works right next to the school—so she was awesome and showed me the ropes about taking the bus to class so that I could do it on my own my first day.
Every morning I left my house at 5:30am to catch an ojek (motorcycle taxi) and an ancot to get to the street where I could catch the bus into downtown Jakarta. The bus that I took was really nice—it was actually very much like the buses in Madrid. I discovered throughout my two weeks riding the bus that Indonesian flash cards on the bus is a great way to make friends. The girls that would sit next to me were always curious and we were able to have some great chats!
I was a little nervous about the class itself and to be honest not really sure what to expect. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised at how great it was, even from the first session the first day. After working at JMU in the faculty professional development office for a year I learned a lot about proper pedagogy—particularly when it came to intensive seminars—so I tend to notice that kind of thing whenever I attend a seminar. The CFI staff would have been so proud at their course design and layout of my Bahasa Indonesia course! I loved that the three teachers were very different and had very different teaching styles, so it gave us multiple perspectives on both the material and Indonesian cultural observations.
Not only did we get to learn in the classroom, but we got to go on a fun adventure to the market Friday afternoon! We were given a blank list that we needed to fill it in with the names and prices of 10 fruits, 10 vegetables, 4 types of coffee beans, and 3 things we thought were weird. It was so fun! And of course, at the end we had to take a group bonding photo, haha!
I ended up really making friends with my classmates. I guess when you go through an intensive language learning process you sort of bond with the people who are on the same journey. We would go get lunch together every day. Some days we would practice our vocab words and other days we would just hang out. Today, the last day of class, was the most fun. We finish our test early so we had a longer lunch break. We decided as a group to go to this really cool Greek place across the street. The food was delicious and the company great!
Basically the class was incredible! The teachers were fantastic, the material was great, and my classmates were wonderful. I forgot how much I really do love school. I guess now that I’ve been out of school for two years I was actually able to enjoy being a student—complete with about 200 vocabulary notecards! And I think more than a particular set of words, what I really look away was how to study Indonesian. It’s very different than learning Spanish as a kid or French in school. But I’ve figured out my system and am excited to continue my journey towards fluency!
the symbol of a melting pot…
As I was on my way to the IFF Retreat in Lombok, I came across this really cool piece of architecture. According to my taxi driver it is the symbol of Lombok. The small building has pieces of each of the five major religions in Indonesia and apparently it represents how Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism can peacefully coexist. I thought it was very symbolic of Indonesian culture, so I thought I would share it with you all.
to walk in her shoes…
Last week I had the opportunity to go to a four-day indoor soccer coach training seminar. I was so excited about this opportunity because it would help me be better equipped to coach my kids Sunday afternoons. The training was a good experience…but it was very different than I thought it would be.
I’ve grown up with a lot of freedoms…ones that I never really appreciated until my trip to Bandung last week. I was one of 40 participants…and the only female. I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting—but being verbally discriminated against because of my gender by the other participants was not it. I didn’t know this when I signed up to go, but it is apparently not socially acceptable for girls to play soccer—it is a man’s sport. I knew that there were some people who thought that, I just had never experienced that attitude before.
It was interesting spending the whole week trying to understand what was being said (since it was all in Indonesian) and trying to still be able to participate. It’s not that they were rude to me personally—but it was an overall attitude. It was rough…but I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I had not fully realized the social pressure the girls who are on my Sunday evening team go through when they show up to soccer practice each week– since it’s not an option that is normally available to them. Now that I have had an opportunity to walk in their shoes for a couple days, I am even more exciting to be able to coach them!