Trip Start Jul 05, 2011
Trip End Jul 29, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Jakarta Raya,
Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's crazy out in Kuta tonight….I landed here after Ubud….headed out to Java tomorrow…thought I’d get one more night in at the beach. But this is the craziest part of Bali….so in contrast to the serenity of Ubud…my yogic self is jostled in the streets and disturbed by the pulsating music and the reveling Australians.  What on earth was I thinking?  Kuta is the place that was bombed by an extremist group in 2002  It was pretty much leveled and hundreds of people were killed….from all over the world…lots of tourists.   There’s a big monument of remembrance in the center.  The economy suffered a bit hit for years…but now they’ve rebuilt and the streets are vibrant.  Plus tomorrow is Kuningan, a Hindu celebration time (to the level of Christmas for Christians).  But I think the wildness out there has more to do with young Aussie style drunken revelry.  I didn’t mean to be in Kuta at all; but that shuttle dropped me dead center and I didn’t feel like walking far for a place to stay… but it is sort of fascinating in its exaggeration of self.  Young women dancing to Katy Perry blaring in the streets with fireworks going off all around them.  Quite a scene.  Enough of Kuta.

I’ve had a great time in Bali.  I even, for a fleeting moment, envisioned myself as a bamboo-shacked, barefoot in the rice fields, self absorbed expat myself….I think it was for a moment in Ubud when my yogi was talking about squeezing my heart, ridding it of all its gases and toxins (I squeezed but I think it was really just my abs).  Anyway, I know expat status is not in my blood.  I’m more of an indulgent voyeur / experientialist.  So I’m going to say goodbye to Bali and start thinking Java….and go into my teacher mode….time for a whole different culture (Java is largely Muslim while Bali is Hindu).   I’m ready for it.  Let’s hope for some wifi so we can continue to connect.   

After an impossible nights sleep that didn’t begin until 6 AM (so much noise!!!), Garuda air is carrying me over volcanoes on the island of Java.  On my way to Jakarta and then the western part of the island; the town of Cimahi …the nearest big city being Bandung if you want to check the map.   I’m excited to be there…don’t exactly know what to expect….my host teacher and I have exchanged a string of emails…I’ve prepared assorted and adaptable lesson plans….not sure of the technology Ill have access to….or how the language difference will be facilitated.   Not really sure about what I’ve really got to offer…. or is it more that I will be the one that benefits most from the exchange?   My thoughts revolve around the importance of bringing girls into the world of science…and student-centered learning,…and developing critical thinking skills….promoting student problem solving.   But can I really convey my thoughts in some useful way in this exchange?  To people who know nothing about me and who look / live so differently than me?   I’m totally open to whatever the experience brings….it’ll be a very different way for me to be part of another culture….to be actively involved…with a voice and a role to play.  And I get to spend time with loads of teenagers…from Java no less. 

I get off the plane and see three bright smiling faces there to greet me….and my name on a piece of cardboard….my favorite way to arrive.  I can feel a vibe of shared nervous / excited.…immediately feel welcome / connection / sustenance…it’s all going to be perfect. 
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