Alumna Blog: On Assignment in Indonesia
by Lauren Ebersole '07
I ate kaki sapi ... cow's foot. The first two pieces went down ok, but man that third piece was chewy and I don't mean chewy like bubblegum. My host family laughed at me and offered something a bit more palatable to my American taste buds. My host family seems to be laughing at me quite often, which is ok because I am used to that from my actual family.
I attended my first ibu-ibu PKK meeting, which is a local women's organization that seems to exist in almost every village. Once again, more laughing by the 25 or so women I introduced myself to, which for the life of me I can't understand because my language abilities are pretty much flawless. And since the time I started writing this email I attended a second PKK meeting.
Also played in my first village volleyball game where I was one of the least talented players. I think the other people felt sorry for my terrible spiking ability, but they continued to be encouraging after my umpteenth try. On a random note umpteenth does not come up on spell check, who would have guessed.
So I was watching two geckos in my room the other day and while I am making gross assumptions into the thoughts and behaviors of geckos, here is what I think happened. Essentially it was a game of cat and mouse between two geckos ... one, obviously the female was not so interested in the male gecko that continued to follow her around the room. She hid under the molding in my room, he slowly stalked her, he went under the same molding, she came out farther down the wall, and then hid again. Anyway I have a fair amount of free time right now, so forgive me for that story.
More on my new location: It is hotter, more humid, there are more bugs, both mosquitoes and ants, and some of my belongings are molding. But all in all it is very nice. My host family is incredibly nice; I have English study sessions with my host mother almost every evening. They threw me a birthday party with a cake and candles and sang Happy Birthday. A few of my host sister's friends from school even came over for the festivities. The teachers at school wished me a happy birthday, asked how old I was, and then promptly told me it was time to get married.
Test number one of becoming a teacher: learning the other teacher's names, and guess what their names are not Kathy and John. I can't even imagine learning my student's names yet. The teachers are very welcoming, but it is always a little difficult to fit in when you don't understand the joke. The students just finished taking semester tests, but now there are remedial tests and a myriad of other activities before the break actually starts near the end of June. I plan on spending my time re-learning about gerunds and the present perfect tense. There are plenty of excellent teachers in this email group, so any tips for my first foray into teaching would be much appreciated.
I think there is a distinct possibility I could cause a traffic accident and it's not because of my good looks. People do double takes on their motorcycles when they pass me and I was definitely the center of attention as I walked through the market the other day. Such an odd experience.
Thanks for the birthday wishes, except to those of you who did not send me birthday wishes and for that group of people this will be your last message ... Bercanda (remember what that means?)
Much love, Lauren
PHOTOS: On Assignment in Indonesia