So I realize it’s been almost a month since I’ve last written. I’ve meant to blog so many times… but things have been all over the map here – the last month has held some of my lowest points in Indonesia (see Not Gonna Sugarcoat It), as well as some of my favorite memories. It also held a little bit of travel as I went to Jogja for Christmas. In addition to the travel and the emotional highs and lows, I’ve suddenly become extremely busy. I’m teaching, tutoring, being tutored, running English clubs, hosting informal hangouts with my students, and also trying to be an adult and keep my house clean, eat something besides instant noodles (haven’t achieved this yet), and exercise here and there. Oh, and internet is always a struggle so uploading pictures and posting a blog post is not nearly as easy as it sounds.
However, it’s Wednesday afternoon, December 30th and school finished early today for the holiday and I’m now nestled into a comfy booth in the corner of a cafe that I just found. With an avocado juice and free wifi, I’m a happy girl.
Which means, an update. So much has happened in the last month and I have no idea where to start…
I just posted today something that I wrote several weeks ago but never had the chance to post. It was my most difficult time yet in Indonesia and everything seemed to be going wrong. I didn’t have internet to post it then, and quickly afterwards things got better and I forgot about it. But today, I saw that unposted post and realized I should probably post it… it’s important to know this isn’t all sugarplums and fairies. So go read that first: Not Gonna Sugarcoat It and then come back and read this and see how things got better 😀
But back to the good… On December 1st, the Christian students and teachers and I all participated in a huge Christmas Parade through the streets of Palangkaraya. It was a blast. I drove over to it with one of the teachers and a bunch of the 10th grade girls. The 10th graders are by far the shyest with me but they loosened up pretty quickly 😀
On December 2 and 3rd the local tv station came to our school and filmed all of our extra-curriculars for two days. One after another, student groups performed traditional dances, showed off their pantomime skills, did martial arts, etc, and of course showed off their English skills! They filmed my English club – I led the students through a few games while the cameramen went from table to table filming the students and me. Afterwards, they wanted to interview me! I wasn’t nervous at all, but then everyone started telling me how big of a deal this was and then I got really nervous! ha!! But it went well and was super fun! Apparently this will air as an hour-long segment or something? I’m not sure but I’m excited to see whatever it turns out to be!
On the second day of filming, about 100 students did a traditional Dayak dance. Of course, they wanted me to participate so into the middle I went! It was hilarious and the tv cameras LOVED it. At one point they had the camera right in my face and I was so bad at the dance but it was hilarious anyways 😀
My school also apparently does the “penguin dance” on fridays so we had to highlight this for the tv station. I’d never done it before (they do it at 6am and I don’t have to come to school that early so I’ve never seen it.) But again, I was placed smack in the front and literally danced in circles with my hands at my sides like a penguin. It was the funniest five minutes…
After the craziness of those few days, things settled down a little. I taught classses, began tutoring some girls for the TOEFL exam, started my Bahasa Indonesia tutoring sessions, and spent a lot of time hanging out with the kids. December meant a lot of snowflake making and tree decorating. They LOVED it! I showed a few girls how to make snowflakes and the next night, more girls came over and asked how to make them… for five nights in a row I had kids coming over to make snowflakes! It’s been so fun. And mom sent me a tree making kit – I snagged a few of the girls after dinner and together we made it! I can’t describe to you how cute and excited they were!
The pancake parties have expanded. We now make pancakes and play UNO all the time. We even bought out Hypermart (~Target) of their pancake mix. So… I bought flour and sugar and we’ll try making some from scratch!
They’ve also taken me to the local swimming pool a few times… its so fun! But so many of the kids can’t swim!! They go anyways and I make sure to keep my eye on all of them to make sure no one is drowning! (Of course there are no lifeguards)
Then, the weekend before Christmas, we had a huge Christmas party at school. The students prepared for WEEKS! Which was irritating for me as a teacher, because they kept skipping class to prepare for the show. However, it was very fun (all six hours!) and we took tons of pictures, sang Christmas songs, and received presents. I got two more batik shirts from the school! I have so many now! Oh, and the teachers sang a song… in the traditional Dayak language. Of course, that meant I participated too. All the students were delighted when they saw me on stage singing in Bahasa Dayak!
On the 25th, I headed to Jogja for my short Christmas vacation! I have so much to share from that trip so I’ll save it for another post 😀 Which I promise is coming soon!