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

1 comment:

  1. awesome! I love hearing about your experience. It makes me miss traveling. I need to get out of the U.S. and go somewhere. I am dying to go to Peru and meet Justin's family. anyway. I LOVE YOU!! stay safe.