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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

A week in my life

This week was a immense transition from jungle to city to say the least. Starting with a glorious 10 hour drive through the mountains at 4 AM, but hey, plenty of time for group bonding. From being surrounded by orangutans drifting through the towering trees, to the rush of city traffic and smell of all the spices, was a reassuring change. But the biggest hurdle to jump so far was being accepted into our host family as one of their own.

After spending a night in a hotel we got to see the beautiful program house (thanks to Rita) where we gather every morning for Bahasa Indonesia class and our varied lessons every afternoon. We nervously awaited for the families to roll in and welcome us to join their family for the next 3 weeks. I was very fortunate to be paired with Popi, a single parent with just as much “charisma” as me, AKA were both crazy in the best way possible.

Being bored in our house is a very rare occurrence, kids are constantly coming in and out the doors to grab snacks or just to listen to Popi talk, she is very captivating if you could imagine. A day in my life includes being woken up at 7 AM by Popi’s glorious voice, take a mandi (bucket shower), help Oopi cook breakfast (if she lets me, I’m not the best cook), then eat whatever she has whipped up.

I walk with Jackson, my home stay neighbor, to the program house to begin our lessons. We didn’t go to school in the States so they brought it to us, how lucky are we! But according to how rusty my language skills are I need all the help I can get. Then we have a lesson conducted by one of our instructors over various topics: the history of Java, the history of Indonesia, the practice Islam etc. All the kids go out to find lunch either in little hidden restaurants or street carts (which usually have the best food). We finish the day off learning things we couldn’t have ever in a class room with our ISP instructors. I come back home and eat and talk with Popi then pass out and repeat the day over again.

I think I can speak for us all, this has been the biggest leap we have ever taken outside of our comfort zones, and look we are still alive!