Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Just Want the Delicious Alone.

Week 2.5 in Indonesia..
I took the theme from the church I attended on Sunday as the title. It fits though.
As I was running the other day... maybe it was this morning.. who knows.. time is flying... I was thinking how awesome this trip is. I remember when I was little dreaming of living in a foreign country and being able to speak a foreign language. I wanted to travel so bad. Now I'm here in Indonesia still training for Cross Country. Being able to do both is amazing. Running here is awesome. People are starting to be less gapey as I run on the same paths and greet them. Sometimes I use Javanese and they laugh really hard because they are surprised and other times I use English.. and they still laugh. Some people don't respond, some just glare, some glare till I say something. I feel a little safer knowing the city is more Christian than I expected:
I was trying to explain this picture below in that video. Here is the picture that is widely used in Indonesian churches (without permission of course) I guess its just a good picture? It was on the collection envelope/tithing thing:

I was worried about this program, but it really is improving my Indonesian. I lost a lot of it, but retained a lot more than expected. Every day more phrases and words pop back into my head while I'm learning tons of new words. My speech is awesome sometimes, but other times... I sound like a beginner. One thing that came back is I'm losing my English. I have trouble speaking English enough.. now I am having trouble remember words in either language. I can feel the concept of the word but I can't think of either.

The popular term right now is "lebay".. it means.. like over the top, too much... here's a music video that kinda shows it, but its like soap operas that are too serious so much that its hilarious. Thats lebay (le-bai):

This song is really popular right now. All the little kids sing it, its really funny:
Here are a few shows I have watched in the last few days that were really funny too..
That was the first result.. I dont know where to find more. Its called Doong Doong I think:
This show is just like it called ooglies. Also funny.. I haven't watched this one but I assume its all the same:
Short clip of the Market. (I dont like looking like a tourist)

Here is a giant wood spider... I saw one of these but it had green legs.. I had a video but I think it got lost.

This is Jenni. She lives at my house and always wants to play with my laptop when I'm trying to work.
She knocks on my door all the time.

That is a trash can behind all that trash. Only 3 in 100 people throw their trash away in the right place here.
 This is a big moth that landed on me. MOTHY!!
 The end. I need to take a nap cuz I didn't sleep amazing last night. I wake up at 5:30 every morning to run.
I'm finally catching up on work and getting settled in for real..

Friday, June 24, 2011

A couple videos...

Here are a few videos to catch up a bit... These are totally random and all over the place. I was just happy that I can make the videos small enough to make them watchable. They actually have captions on youtube, but I'll just write a brief caption again.
At the Airport in Taiwan being excited...
Welcome to Asian Bathrooms... a nice one...
By the way, the floor is wet because of the spray hose..
Meet Wimbo and Sara during the snack break. We get a snack break halfway through class where they give us a small plate of snacks.. I'll show you an example next week maybe.. Everyone gets their coffee and tea.
This is a horrible video of the place I live. I was just trying to show you the volcano because it was totally clear that day but I forgot you can't see it from my house. I had just seen it during my run. This house is nice.
Riding on a motorcycle.. I ride on the back every morning or whenever I need a ride.
At the end of our race we got here and ate some delicious food... We drank orange-coconut juice. mmm..
Middle of the night being woken up by the call to prayer..
A video of the Ivory in the Mangkunegaran palace in Surakarta which took 30 years to carve.
A bird in the palace... that I... liked? Random video.. you can't see it well.
This is the place I slept in solo where I woke up and had a swollen face.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Salatiga: Week 1

So. I've been here for about a week now. Eventually some of the videos I took might get uploaded, depending on their size, but this last week has been crazy. So. I left from Semarang in this small bus with about 3 girls. As soon as they found out I could still speak Indonesian they wanted to talk a lot. My Indonesian was not so great because I would forget simple words that I hadn't thought about in a long time, so I would just sit there saying um and looking stupid while the word wasn't coming to me.

It's really weird because you can't even think of the word in English. Once you are far enough in a language, your thinking changes to that language and its not a simple matter of translating English sentences, its a new way of thinking based on your vocabulary. Words are like feelings, their meanings are broader than we realize unless you are in this situation.. okay enough of that..

I gotta learn to shorten this down because otherwise this will be really long. So anyways, when I left Semarang, the guy who gave me a ride was trying to get me to contact the people in Salatiga. Unfortunately the phone number they gave me didn't work and the number for the program director got lost. So I had no way of contacting anyone in Salatiga. The road to get there was really "traffic-jammy" or macet ("ma-chet") as they say here. Google maps definitely gave me the wrong impression about the city. There are so many trees that on google earth (while i was internet-stalking this city) there are only a few visible roads, so it looks really villagey. I can't really describe an Indonesian city so you'll have to wait till I can get some uploaded on here.

So I had printed 4 pages per sheet of the packet of the orientation and luckily on there was the phone number of the program director. I called her and then talked with my driver and found a place to drop me off. The video that I am uploading at the moment is of me sitting at the Hotel Laras Asri, right after I got dropped off. Right after I recorded it the lights went out. There are blackouts here ALL THE TIME. I waited there till some people picked me up. Then we went to campus and they gave me some stuff (it was like 8pm) and I hadn't really slept in 30+ hours. I found out that we were supposed to wear something nice the next day, but I didn't have any of my luggage so I had to go buy some jeans. Luckily they had one pair that was size 33. The pocket broke through the first day I wore them.

Man, this is starting to turn into a journal.. which I have yet to write in. I feel really busy. But bear with me because I'll figure this out.

Funny picture in a bus..
So let me just summarize. Over the past week my Indonesian has been coming back really fast. My Javanese came back too. I can probably speak Javanese better now than before. Each day I reintroduce words into my vocabulary it gets easier. I'm still learning a lot of new words and its really fun. The family I'm staying with are awesome. The first first days they kept asking me whether I wanted coffee or tea but I told them I like drinking fresh juice. They make fresh juice for me every day now. They usually squeeze fresh orange juice (oranges taste different here by the way), and part of the way this family makes money is selling noodles. So I get to eat homemade noodles all the time which are really good. They are strong Christians and I've been very impressed by how well they take care of their children. They have two early teenage boys and a young 3 year oldish daughter. The parents go play with the little girl all the time.

So I finally tracked down my luggage late Wednesday night and ran Thursday morning. This city is all hills. I can only go up or down for long periods of time. I'm still trying to find a flat road  near my house. There is an amazing volcano that I have yet to take a good picture of. I can't see it most of the time. The weather here is perfect. Its... just perfect. Every morning I ride on the back of a motorcycle to get to the University. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Due to something weird that happened in past trip to Indonesia, my body doesn't like hot water. Anything hot like coffee, tea, broth, hot water, hot chocolate, or anything like that makes me sick. It makes my stomach hurt. I could live off fruit though. Unfortunately, I've had to deal with a lot of that here, and I just need to explain it to the family I'm staying with because last night I had some brothy meal called soto and then they gave it to me for breakfast also.

I've only bit down on one pebble so far in my rice. This is so unorganized. Blah. Last weekend I went to Solo. I went with half the group (like 6 people) and we went to one of the palaces. Its not so awesome according to me but they had kingdoms here in the past and I semi-guided a bunch of these whitey people around Solo. It was REALLY boring to be with them because I have been to those places. So after wasting half the day with them and an expensive mall, I walked over to the LDS church to meet a friend named Giri... I think its actually Garry, but.. yeah. I walked pretty far last Saturday. My feet were killing me.

Statue at the palace
Carved Ivory

Close up of the carved ivory. It was amazingly detailed and took 30 years.

I spent the rest of that day learning how to ride a motorcycle and driving all over the city. Its kinda like New York driving and you have to run through traffic and expect them to swerve around you. Its really fun. It was hanging out with all the old friends there, but mostly driving the motorcycle was so amazing that I think I want one. I spent the night at Giri's house. (I baptized his family) They are one of the friendliest families in the world. Bapak Yohanes (the dad) cooks the most delicious fried rice in the world. Its really spicy but somehow doesn't burn. I slept at their house. Their house is a pretty humble place and I used their public shower a few times. I should have taken better pictures of it but its pretty hard to take a camera to the public bath place without being completely creepy.
Bapak Yohanes

Anyways... I woke up and my face was swollen on one side. the whole back of my jaw. It looked funny. It's gone down since then, but it still hurts a bit. I think the tooth I had worked on a week or two ago might be bad. I got and x-ray today, but I don't really want to go to the dentist in Indonesia. Anyways, if it will let me upload some pictures I will do it.. got one crappy video up.. better than nothing.

Giri took this picture, his brother drew this.
I can't deal with all the problems uploading pictures so... these ones for now.

Face was still kinda swollen yesterday..

Out the window of the 6th floor of the building

Kids Flying a kite below...

Sara, Paul, Devin
 wow this is a mess... I dont know how to fix this, but these are some new friends, Devin and Sara and Paul, studying in our study place for studying

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As of Today..

So on my flight to Jakarta I made friends with a guy who was originally from Indonesia but now lives in Taiwan. I talk to him in Indonesian for a few hours. It was a great warm-up for my arrival in Jakarta.

When I got to Jakarta, that nice man pointed me to the wrong line. I had about 45 minutes to catch my next plane and the line to get through customs was horrible. I was the only white person in the line, so I thought something must be wrong. I asked people where to go, kinda panicking, but then each person told me to go to a different place. One guy pulled me aside and was like.. hey I can help you.. you need to get through fast right? OK. Just pay me 200,000 Rupiah. (like 20$ USD or like 20 meals worth of food in comparison).

I instantly told him it was corruption (korupsi haha) and then was saying, what is this, "pajak bule?" (which is kinda like saying "What is this, gringo tax?") So he got scared because you can get in a lot of trouble and I was starting to panic more and more. Nobody would help me. At the end I was getting desperate and still had no idea and finally someone who I had asked maybe 5 times felt bad for me and let me through the pilots entrance (pretty much no line to get through).

At that point I had about 30 minutes to get through customs and get to my flight.. BUT. I still didn't have my suitcase. I did not want to leave Jakarta without my suitcase. After having a 30 minute panic attack searching for my suitcase, I met a few other Indonesians that also came from Salt Lake City a lot earlier than me and didn't have their luggage. I gave up on my flight. I got past that pretty fast and thought I had to buy another ticket. Those people eventually helped me find the office to report missing baggage and I made a report. After making the report I needed to look for my next airline and see if something could be arranged. There was some guy who brought me to the counter and they said I could make the next flight that left in 10 minutes. Somehow he got me through customs within that time (where they really didn't check me) and then we went up some shady elevator.. (there was a sign that said it was for handicapped people.. haha!)

Then I had to get through security again, and I knew I was cutting it close. I got on the plane and it actually was MY flight, somehow magically delayed for me, and we left right after.
When I got to the airport in Semarang, I was looking for the guy that I had arranged to meet. All the sudden I felt a tug on my backpack.. In Indonesia, if you feel a tug, it usually means something is missing from your bag, ...or it was a diversion and your wallet is gone. So I gave him the dirtiest look I could manage and stopped somewhere to check my bag.

Turns out, that was the guy that I was meeting (I confused him with another driver I had met before in Jakarta with the same name -Sam, so I didn't expect him. I recognized him.. he was just messing around with me on purpose. I felt like a jerk, but whatever. We left on his motorcycle, (really fun) and I re-experienced the crazy traffic and weaving and everyone constantly playing chicken, but for some reason I wasn't nervous. I guess I'm used to it. He remarked how other Americans usually freak out and that it was a nice change.

I wanted to go eat but this guy only cared about using English and wanted to give me a mini tour. He brought me to a money changer and we ran out of time. Crap. I have to go now.. will continue later

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Plane ride to Indonesia

I got to the airport less than an hour before it was SUPPOSED to leave, just to find out my flight was delayed 45 minutes. My second flight was moved up to leave 20 minutes earlier, leaving me about one hour to find the way to the international terminal and get through LAX customs. So I spent the time in the airport searching on my phone and talking to my sister Linda to figure it out. So I'm bringing peach seeds, and some actual fruit in my carry on.. Not sure if thats ok..

Anyways, I got stopped at security and a lady was looking through my bag and suddenly stopped and said 'wow' -- right as she picked up the bag of peach seeds. My heart pretty much stopped at that point, until the lady remarked how much candy i had in my bag.. Unfortunately she found a bottle of hot sauce I accidentally put in my carry-on at the last second to save space, so that got trashed. I was bringing it for the family I am staying with, and all the candy is for them too.

I should have taken a larger suitcase.. but at the same time I don't want anything more than I have. So the flight to LAX (happening as I'm writing this) isn't too bad. I have pretty much the best seat in the plane with 6 feet of leg room, and there's an empty seat between me and this guy who works for the Department of Defense. I had some pretty interesting conversations with him and the flight attendant. He was from LA so between the two of them I got an OK explanation of where to go. Honestly though I had no idea what they were talking about. I have SO much time to kill and the worst part is I forgot my sketch book.. I was gonna draw every day to improve my sketching.. oh well unless I can find a new pad.

So at the moment my plane has landed and the pilot just informed us that we have no terminal to pull into. (we ended up waiting for nearly a half hour) meanwhile my flight was ALREADY boarding. I sprinted through the airport and barely made it there in time... and was drenched in sweat. So I enjoyed my 13 hour flight like that. I probably smell horrible. I'm in Taipei now, transcribing this all from my cell phone (which is now useless besides being a great notepad). I fought through security like a champion though. They let me go near the front of the line and I got through so fast. On the long plane ride I watched like 4 movies, stayed up all night, I chose to eat the fish and rice meals they offered. It was one of the fishiest tasting fishes ever. I enjoyed it even though I didn't like it too much if that makes sense.

Here are a few related pictures, I'll put some videos up soon as possible. Notice the toilet brand is HCG so I'm on the HCG diet I guess..

I'm about to board the plane for Jakarta, still 2 flights left, then a motorcycle maybe and a bus.