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

indo life.

As we settle into routine here in Jojga there is still such variation in the day which seems to stem from something distinctly Indonesian.  There is contrast and contradiction every where in the city which i think provides the variation in the day. there is a odd blend of time moving and whirring by as it does it most cities but there is an underlying calm slow pace of life. These two contradict themselves.

My routine here is being waking up around 7 to have breakfast with my family usually a yummy fresh fruit, nasi – rice, ayam – chicken and something goreng – fried. Then off to my mandi – a cold bucket shower to wake up. Then taking a go car to the program house. Even just with each of these steps in the morning there is variation. The food will be different. The water for the bucket shower will be a different temperature. My walk to the go car will be filled with different odd interactions with the people in my village and the on drive to the program I will notice a complete new set of things on route that I had not seen before.

After getting to the program house, we have language class and another lesson. After we have lunch. Usually we do not know what anything on the menu means so this involves a lot more time and awkward laughter than anticipated. After this we have a variety of different activities. Most days we have ISP. I have gone to the market twice for my ISP and the market is a prime example of the variation in a day.

Each time you go into this huge market you are swarmed and engulfed by different smells, colors, tastes, and sounds. It smells like SO  fish one step, than the next something sugary, the next we are tasting the most bitter root and making faces and the everyone around us is laughing because they knew how bitter the root is. Each time we go into the market, we try new fruits, we adapt and figure out how to use our minimal Indonesian to order food, we meet new people working there or make a new spectacle of ourselves.

The variety in the day is the unexpected. You never know what the market has in store for you, you never know what you will have for dinner, you don’t know if you will get lost coming home, or know what the food you are asked to try will taste like. Each time you do not know what you are getting yourself into you will be encountered by the bizzare beauty that I have grown to love in Indonesian.

This beauty comes in the form of finding a new place to sit in my village – a concrete slab where bats fly near and people whizz by on motorcycles. The beauty comes when my host brother surprises me a fresh coconut after dinner or when we laughing on the streets well aware that everyone is staring. The beauty is in the variation and the unexpected.