Duck, Duck, …What?

We weren't ready to leave!

We weren’t ready to leave!

Well, my friends, I have survived another week. This has not been just any week, either. This was a week of a week if ever a week there was. I had two more days of teaching on Monday and Tuesday (one of which was observed and critiqued. My favorite.) I gave a short speech in Bahasa Indonesia (like a BOSS) in which I was kinder than I have ever been in English. I think the Indonesian lifestyle is rubbing off on me.

We had Wednesday to prepare for English Camp on Thursday which we, of course, used to its full extent. At Iron Man 3. And getting supplies! Don’t give me those judgey eyes!

Thursday was inundated with approximately 60 kindergarteners. Let me say that one again. We had SIXTY children between the ages of 5 and 8 to entertain. We set up our camp in three stations of 20 kids, two indoors and one outdoors. Of the six of us, one was positioned at each station and then one of us stayed with each group to herd them like cats. I was supposed to be stationed with the blue group which, after we realized how much Indonesian was required to teach, quickly devolved into me staying with the outside session. I then spent the day outside. In the sun. In Indonesia. Which is, by the way, 7* above the equator. In case you were curious.

I started each session by teaching them how to play hopscotch. We claimed the educational value of which was to ensure they could count in English. The majority of the information I delivered, however, was in Indonesian as their vocabulary in English is still quite limited. Not too difficult, one would think, yes? They are but wee humans, they only know about 40 more words than me in Indonesian, right? Wrong. I quickly discovered the error of my ways when, for “Duck, Duck, Goose”, I attempted to request they sit in a circle only to realize I didn’t know the word for circle. Or Goose. So. That proved an interesting lesson for everyone involved.

Atop the mountain en route to the waterfall.

Atop the mountain en route to the waterfall.

We took a few days to recover from our exhausting endeavor and decided to award ourselves with a wonderful day at the a new waterfall. Coban Talun was the waterfall we were attempting to find last weekend on our excursion to Coban Rondo. Not the same. Not at all. I do not know if Coban Talun has an awesome story like Coban Rondo (cue my mother googling the answer) but I think it may have been more beautiful than the latter. To begin with, it is much more remote. We had to hike about 30 minutes to get there. We arrived after a long walk to find about 80 children on a field trip from Surabaya at the falls. Much to our chagrin. They had a bule with them, so we nominated Courtney to go ask her how much longer they would be around. They promised they would leave shortly and so we decided to wait it out. We made some adorable middle school aged friends and asked questions about the falls while we waited for them to leave. It really was beautiful. Some of us braved the water and took a swim. I was not one of these brave souls. I’ve watched too many episodes of River Monsters to choose to go neck-deep in murky water. I did, however, go knee deep. I was very proud.

Last night I saw the stars for the first time since my arrival. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen a glimmer here or there, but when we first arrived it was the tail end of the rainy season. I had a snowball’s chance in Hell of seeing more than a twinkle. Last night, after a rewarding day of waterfall activity, I saw the stars. For those of you who know me well, you know this is no small event. I stopped mid-stride and gazed. I saw the Southern Cross. Now I’m in Indo-freaking-nesia. I SAW NEW STARS. For all of you non Astronomy Nerds out there, this is huge. I have been looking at the same stars in the same sky my whole life. I know almost every story. I can recite the summer sky to you almost exactly. Stories, locations, major stars, even some major celestial bodies (nebulae, star clusters, galaxies, specific binary systems, etc). And now I have half a sky I have never seen before. I feel like a little kid at Christmas. Like I was just handed a candy bar after giving up chocolate for Lent. Like I found a $100 bill in my pants pocket after I’d forgotten about it.

I tried to tell some stories to my host family and ask them about new stories but my language skills aren’t quite there yet. Sadly, that will have to wait until I have a larger vocabulary. I am, however, going to need to brush up on all of the constellations I’ve ignored my whole life due to their position below the horizon. I’m really regretting packing up all of my star books right now…

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