Well, it would seem I’m living in Indonesia now. I keep waiting for the shock to wear off and for me to realize I’m in another country about to be thrust into a myriad of new and often uncomfortable situations. But it hasn’t. I’m tucked blissfully away in a little resort hotel and, until tonight, I hadn’t travelled outside the hotel without “adult” supervision.
We got here Tuesday (I’m pretty sure) at around 9am and were all basically zombies. My prediction was correct, the last leg of the journey was, by far, the worst for me. That two and a half hour plane ride seemed like it took a small eternity. You couldn’t keep me still. We were met with a warm welcome by some of the current volunteers. In their lovely batik fabrics and colorful signs, they greeted us as we came out of the airport with shouts and general merriment. Walking out of the airport was like walking into a wall of sound, smell, and heavy heat and humidity. I walked out of that small airport and into a whole new world. (YUHP, disney reference number 8 billion, just for you.)
We took busses to the hotel and were instructed to report to the meeting room promptly. We had our first day full of introductions and details and protocol. I can’t remember a single word. I’m grateful they did it, if only to keep me awake until 7pm, at which point I fell on my face in my pillow and didn’t move again until 5:30a.
Wednesday and Thursday have been full of fun training adventures. We started language class Wednesday which takes up the first 3-4 hours of each day. It seems as though they are trying to see how much information they can cram into our heads at once before we break. An interesting method, I’ll let you know how it goes. After language on Wednesday we were split into three groups and mine took a field trip to the Peace Corps office. All 16 of us were piled into 3 Angkok (the public transportation busses) and shuffled off to the office. We had an opportunity to meet the staff which was followed by a Diversity training before getting to the really good stuff: girl talk. They split off the girls and the boys and we were able to sit down with three of the current volunteers to ask all of the nitty gritty questions. How do you sit on the “Squatty potty”? How do you clean up? What can I wear to bed? How do I wash my hair? I have to say, being able to sit and giggle while one of the current PCVs did a (fully clothed) demonstration of how to use a squatty potty made me feel worlds better.
At this point I was feeling a little more like a human and a little less like a zombie, so I was thrilled when they told me there would be an additional optional dance class. My step father has often enjoyed reminding me how I can’t walk from one room to the next without falling on my face and traditional Indonesian dance is no exception. I may not have fallen on my face but it certainly took me most of the hour to figure out where my feet went. What better way to reward yourself for learning something new than with a nice game a Marco Polo? You heard me folks, about 8 of us opted to regress to the days of yore in the middle of Peace Corps training to unwind for just a moment with some poolside merriment.
The fun continued into today as my small language group grilled our poor teacher with digressions and superfluous inquiries. As a result I can now say Saya suka Anda, tapi lebih baik kalau Anda harap tenang. Which translates to: I like you, but it would be better if you be quiet. How many of you have I said that to in the States?? Well, fear not my friends, the legacy can continue. After language we had one of the most terrifying talks yet: Malaria and Dengue Fever discussion. The self proclaimed point of this lecture and accompanying powerpoint was to scare us into taking our anti-malarial meds and to wear so much insect repellent that we sweat it back out. I’m just going to warn you all now, I will probably get Dengue Fever (aka. The bonebreaker) before I leave. I will whine and complain and tell you all about how miserable I am, but I promise to take pictures of the hideous rash that follows after the fever breaks.
As much as I have enjoyed this government funded vacation, I’m worried about what happens in the days to come. I’m currently reclined in my warm bed with my A/C blaring with a western toilet and shower down the hall. Sunday we leave Surabaya at 6am to go to Malang where we will meet our host families and begin real integration into Indonesian society for the remainder of our Pre-Service Training. I’m thrilled at the prospect, every lecture makes me more certain this is where I should be, but I’m still holding my breath, waiting for the water to get to my head. But what’s the motto? Let’s do this.