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Trip Start Sep 30, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Well where do I start...A week into it and it feels more like my new home everyday. I feel like I have already found my place here and I am quite comfortable. They ask me if I am homesick yet, but I'm not. Some have asked if I have questioned myself and my move and said what the hell have I done, but I haven't. I'm sure I might get feelings of missing home soon, and missing my friends and family and of course Zoe, but it also feels great starting a new life somewhere where you have found a place. Especially since I became so bored and washed out with my life in the States in the past few years.

I'm very excited about the job and I really think I am going to love it. The kids are wonderful and full of life. The adults are very kind and also eager to learn. Its a great thing to be involved with all different ages of students and it will be very good for my teaching experience. Today I had a class of toddlers, they were amazing and very funny. They keep you on your toes and take a lot of energy but its a good feeling watching them learn and speak English. The biggest challenge is entertaining them. They bring out your inner child, and if you dont have one or have lost it, you aren't going to have much success with them and they arent going to give you their attention. The next ages up are my favorites so far. I'm taking over one of the classes of 8 and 9 year olds. They are full of life as well and very eager to learn but also have fun. They are very proud when they get answers right and are learning. A mixture of workbooks with games is the best way to keep them going. Some of them are really fun to watch interacting with each other. The teens are well behaved and more serious, but still pretty fun. Its nice to have a mix because you get drained if you teach youngsters and toddlers all day, and the teens show a lot of progression and promise. My last class tonight got done at 9pm, and it was beginner adults. This is nice because the atmosphere is very relaxed and quiet, but they are learning very basic English, so its more conversational in some parts, but I am more on their level in maturity so I can learn from them as well and ask them questions about their culture and such. The school is very clean and well run, and the curriculum is well structured and organized. I am very lucky to be where I am and be teaching here.

I did some more exploring this weekend, as you can see from the pictures. Most of them are still from my neighborhood in Cibubur, called Legenda Wisata. I took a lot of these pictures on my runs and on my jogging trail. I still have yet to see anyone else here running or excersing or working out at the gym, but its also still Ramadan here so they are fasting from sun up to sun down. I dont think I would be much for working out or running if I couldnt eat all day. Next week is Idul Fitri, a celebration of Ramadan being over with and many people go home to their families. Its like Christmas for Muslims pretty much. I gave the muslim staff at my school money for Idul Fitri, they were very thankful. They are pretty poor here and dont make much money. The teachers are pretty well off so its the least we can do. At certain times during the day I can hear chants and prayers from the mosques on the speakerphones, its very cool. Its quite surreal to hear them as the sun goes down and they are breaking their fast. Some nights I break fast with them at the school and try new foods I cant pronounce. I have yet to have anything I dont like either. I dont eat the street food though, as I have been warned to be careful. Its probably a good thing because I have yet to get sick or feel ill since I have been here and they say most people get sick right away. It also helps that I run and work out and dont drink much. They dont drink much here either, there are no bars around and I have never seen any liquor since I've been here, so thats a good thing too. Oh yeah, and I thought I would rub this in...on Saturday I got a one hour massage for 50,000 Rupiah, which is about 5 or 6 bucks in U.S. dollar! Get it? Rub it in? No but really, you know you're jealous because you pay about 60 bucks, and I'll be getting another one this weekend.

That's all for now. I'll be taking more pictures when I leave the hood and travel to a new place. I hope to visit Central Jakarta this weekend if I can and that will be a cool trip. Then on Monday Im going to some mountain that I cant pronounce with my boss, her husband and there friends, Mikal, and some of the staff at school. Its a celebration they do for Idul Fitri where they roast a goat and shoot off fireworks. I was invited so I figure I'll go check it out and learn more about the Muslim culture. Dont worry Mom...I'm not converting Not hating on them or stereotyping them as terrorists like a typical American either....OH, did I just throw that in there? but yeah, it should be a cool experience and I'll take some pictures and write about it of course. I have 10 days off from school, so I might be out of connection for awhile, but that should leave quite a nice long blog when I get back. Until then......PEACE!


p.s. I will try to get some pics of the kids and students soon too, and of course me in my snazzy dress clothes with Lumberg-style coffee cup and dry erase markers....
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