THIS IS MY LIFE NOW
This morning, Josh and I woke up, finished straightening our room, and decided what else we should buy from the store. A few hours later, we were on our way to the store, only to arrive and see that the entire shopping complex building didn’t open until 9:30am. We walked around until then and finally were able to enter the building, but had to wait about twenty more minutes until Carrefour opened—it was supposed to open at 9:30 as well, but things aren’t run on as strict of a schedule over here.
We got everything we needed, including a few new dishes and some lunch foods, and managed to make it through the checkout, though we still haven’t learned any more helpful Indonesian phrases. By the time we got home, it was about time to go to school, so we tossed our grocery bags on the bed and left.
One of the other teachers walked us to the school and pointed out an Indonesian place where the teachers normally go for lunch. After having a look around the school, we had plenty of time to kill before our induction meeting, so Josh and I headed to the recommended restaurant.
We hadn’t brought much money but figured we could find a cheap thing on the menu to share between us. As luck would have it, this restaurant didn’t have a menu. Instead, they immediately brought us each a plate of rice and about 8 different plates of meats, fish, and veggies. We realized at this point what kind of a restaurant it was—you take whatever you want from the dishes and they only charge you for what you’ve taken. We didn’t have a way to ask what the price for each dish was, however, so we settled on just eating the rice, since we knew we had enough money for that. It didn’t end up being an issue, and now we know what to do in the future.
Josh and I each observed three different classes, and we absolutely loved it. The students are really intelligent and for the most part seem really enthusiastic about learning. In each of the classes I observed, the students spent several minutes asking me questions, and as I walked through the halls between classes, some other students noticed that I must be a new teacher so they came up to talk to me.
We left school at about 7:30 and came home to our sparkling clean apartment—the maid had taken our dirty laundry pile and had also put away those groceries that we had left sitting on the bed. She even washed and put away all of the new dishes that we had bought!
Already amazed, we went to the common room, where the maid was waiting at the table, ready to serve us the heaping piles of food that she had made for our dinner. Though she knows a little English, she mostly refuses to speak it, so much of our conversations were short snippets of English and Bahasa mixed in with exaggerated hand gestures and a lot of smiles.
A few of the other teachers showed up soon and joined us for dinner, and though they know a little more Bahasa, there were still some language barriers, which we all laughed about. We mimed out some things to ask the maid, and she mimed the answers right back with some questions of her own. Finally she could tell that Josh and I were pretty tired, so she pointed to us and indicated that we should shower and go to bed. We took that as our cue to leave, and are now just trying to stay awake a little longer so that we can actually sleep in later than 5:30 tomorrow morning—jet lag is kicking our butts right now. The rest of the week will be more classroom observations and co-teaching, but I’ll write if anything else interesting happens!
Arrived safely in Indonesia, and here are some disorganized initial thoughts so far.
We arrived in Jakarta on time last night, got our visas at the border desk, and picked up all of our bags. The school director and his driver were waiting for us as we entered the arrivals area, and they drove us home in the school’s hot pink van. The drive was just under an hour, with horrifying traffic. Take NYC traffic in rush hour, add 6 motorcycles for every car, and take away all lines on the road—that’s what traffic in Jakarta is like. Some of the scooters even had up to four people on them. There were so many times I thought I was about to witness a wreck. Needless to say, I don’t ever intend to drive in this city.
Our flat is really nice. We have a big, high-ceilinged room with two large wardrobes, a queen bed, mini-fridge, a large desk/workspace area with a chair for each of us, two big bedside tables, and a sink and kitchen cupboards. There’s also a very effective air conditioner, which we still can’t figure out how to turn off.