water is for wussies
by Lauren Ebersole '07
It has been almost two months since my last email yet I am having trouble thinking of anything witty or unusual to write about, so prepare yourself for the mundane.
Year two of teaching is leaps and bounds easier than year one. First I am not coming up with completely new lesson plans every single time, but am working to tweak them. I understand the Indonesian education system better. Those things that made my blood pressure rise to unhealthy levels last year are only mildly irritating this year. My usual response now to things like, "Miss I need to leave class now to practice marching", is "Of course you do, that makes perfect sense." The first month and a half of the school year is pretty relaxed anyway, filled with many Independence Day events and shortened school days during Ramadan. It's hard to get anything accomplished in a 25-minute period. The second go-round of fasting was also much easier than the first. I don't know what all the fuss is about, who needs food or water?
Hit a bit of a rough patch in the middle of August when another student was killed in a traffic accident and a few were injured. A truck carrying a load of people home from a Bible camp rolled numerous times, killing 10 people and injuring another 30 or so. The mass funeral was a lot to take, but nothing compared to the sound of the sobs of my student's father as he buried his eldest son.
Recently completed my mid-service training—think about that guys, I'm halfway done, actually more than that now. The training focused on teaching best practices and secondary projects. It was simultaneously depressing and motivating. The other volunteers are doing some really incredible things, which inevitably leads to comparisons. Put a group of highly motivated, achievement oriented, do-gooders in a room together and they will each focus on their shortcomings. Does that make any sense? I came away from MST with some good, new ideas and a slight inferiority complex.
In future plan news I've pretty well decided that grad school is the next step, probably for international development/human rights.
Continual entertainment from Indonesia:
- The exact date of Idul Fitri (Eid) never seems to be known. This year I got to watch news coverage from the Ministry of Religion deciding if it was the 30th or 31st. It has something to do with if you can see the moon, still kind of unclear. A list of important people from each province and their Idul Fitri date decisions were read on live television. Then a consensus decision was made for all of Indonesia. Riveting television. Turns out it was the 31st. Big disappointment for most people who were ready to get on with the festivities.
- Recently went to some islands off the north coast of Central Java, beautiful beaches and still relatively un-touristy. Asked the tourist information office for some names of places to stay and the first place we checked out seemed nice, but abandoned. The rooms were clean and ready, but there was no one around. We asked a guy on the beach doing some work and he said, "Yeah I think the owner went home for a little bit, he'll probably be back later." We went to a private beach for the day with a beautiful beachside resort---also pretty much abandoned. There were hints of people being around, a blender with juice remnants, a turned on iron, open doors in the community room, but no guests and no sign that they were hoping for any.
Happy Belated Birthdays to my sister, Rachel and to my Aunt Jo Marie, Aunt Sue, and Uncle Lynn.
Now I am back to school and happy to be so. The two week break was nice, but not particularly exciting. I'm pretty skilled at doing nothing, just ask my parents, but even I have my limits.
Hope everyone is safe and sound from hurricanes, wild fires, blackouts and whatever other things might be happening in the US.
Much love, Lauren