My last post was about our local WORDS competition – and now I get to share with you about the National WORDS competition!
The Palangka Raya girls set off Sunday morning for the big city. We stayed at a fancy hotel in downtown Jakarta which was a treat for the students but a REALLY big treat for us ETAs! Hot showers, bath tubs, the biggest and most delicious breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen… Three days was not enough there…
Sunday evening we all dressed up in our fancy clothes for the welcoming dinner – it was fun to watch the students mingle shyly with each other and size each other up before the competition the following day.
I was part of the Pesta (party) People 2k16 team that organized some fun activities for the kids throughout the weekend. After the dinner we organized an oleh-oleh exchange, where the kids each brought some kind of special food or gift from their region and we randomly paired them up so they had a new friend to exchange gifts with! It was adorable watching them introduce each other, share about their gifts, and then continue chatting and making new friends.
Monday morning was a blur of nerves and excitement. One by one the students delivered their speech and talent before the panel of judges and audience. They were all incredibly impressive and so fun to watch. I’m glad I wasn’t a judge!
Finally, it was Telsy’s turn! I gave a short introduction and then she took the stage! Telsy’s speech was about wanting to motivate people, become a tv producer, and be a tourist ambassador of Central Kalimantan – and so she wore a beautiful traditional Dayak costume.
I was so proud of her. She delivered her speech flawlessly, sang beautifully, and danced to perfection. It was all I could have asked for and more <3
Afterwards she was even taken aside by the media for an interview!
After the competition, the Pesta People 2k16 took the crew out for an evening of lasertag and mini golf. None of the students had ever done laser tag before and they LOVED it. We were hot, sweaty, and happy!
The next day, after the students had toured Jakarta and the ETAs had a debriefing meeting – we took the kids out to go ice skating! Unfortunately, traffic kept a lot of ETAs and students from making it there before it closed but at least some of the kids got to try it!
However, seeing as the rink was in the middle of a mall, that meant we had the whole evening to explore the mall! I don’t think our girls had ever seen a mall like this – maybe only in the movies! We wandered through every floor window-shopping, buying any treats the girls wanted, and meandering a bookstore where I was inspired to try reading a book in Bahasa Indonesia. I crazily chose The Girl on the Train as my beginner novel… And the girls laughed at me as I tried to read the first paragraph and couldn’t make out anything but a few words here and there. But I’m determined! I’ve now read a whole two pages in the week since I bought it 😉
We truly had a blast – it was a weekend of so many firsts for the kids and that made it so special. I was sad to say goodbye to Carlie and the girls on Wednesday when they headed for home, while I stayed a few extra days in Jakarta to prepare for next year’s incoming cohort with the other SETAs (Senior ETAs).