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Confession Sunday 1.13.2013

13 Jan

It’s not even over yet and I’m already reminiscing. Meaning… I watch this video way too much:

This video was made earlier last year to welcome the new group of volunteers to Peace Corps Indonesia. It’s a nice little peek into what our lives are like here, and I can’t help but get warm fuzzies every time I watch it.

The video is a compilation of short snippets shot by PCVs around East Java and masterfully combined by a Miss Elle Chang.

This is a video I for some reason still haven’t gotten around to posting yet either. It shows a day in the life of an Indonesian village. It was created by a group of volunteers and edited by Mr. Timothy Curtin during our group’s pre-service training nearly two years ago!

Maaf! for the delay but hopefully that gives you some idea of what this experience has been like. Additionally, I will post an actual update here real, real soon. So sit tight folks!

Confession Sunday 12.2.2012

2 Dec

I haven’t done one of these in while. So it’s about time for another confession…

Sometimes I consider going off Facebook. But I worry about feeling disconnected. (Notice I said “feeling” disconnected.) I also wonder what I will do with the free time, and consequentially how I will kill time when I’m looking to kill time and there’s an internet connection.

I'm usually the one behind the camera, but a teacher wanted to play photographer and take a picture of me.

I’m usually the one behind the camera, but a teacher wanted to play photographer and take a picture of me. This is me at school, in uniform and killing time between classes.

Confession Sunday 5.27.2012

27 May

I wear shirts with incorrect English.

In my defense it was a birthday gift from teachers at my school. In their defense, I suppose that is why I am here teaching English. If nothing else, we  can hope for a future with grammatically correct screen printed t-shirts. Now that’s a vision we can all unite behind.

Confession Sunday: 5.13.2012

13 May

I’m horrible with names.

It occurred to me the other day when my neighbor called after her three-year-old son to come home so she could give him a bath. He was playing with my four-year-old host niece in the living room. I was in my room reading, and I perked up. She repeated the name several times. Each time I kept thinking now I’ll finally know his name!  But I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying. Is that an “ei” sound or an “ae” sound. Does it end with a d, s, or an f? And then they went home.

I see this kid every day, and I don’t know his name.

I know his father’s because it’s both the word for dawn in Indonesian and Aladdin’s archenemy Jafar’s name jumbled– Fajar.  I know his brother’s because it’s the same as his father’s, and I can mispronounce his mother’s. But I can’t figure out what his little two-syllable name is.

No one was around, so I sat there. Embarrassed at myself.  Sadly this isn’t unusual.

I used to have what I thought was a clever way to handle this situation:

Illustration by Christie Young and published on

I can make excuses like, welll…. they’re foreign names to me.

Or they’re names are so long! There’s too many syllables for my clumsy tongue to say that the same way every time I hand you back a graded assignment.

I can make excuses like well… Indonesian names don’t follow a familiar pattern in naming convention. No first name, middle name and family name. Perhaps they have one name or maybe they have like five. And then they go by some variation of it or grab a few syllables from each one and recombine it.

I can make excuses like even the name they tell me they go by, they don’t consistently go by. Sometimes Ibu Mei Lusyana Darawan is Ibu Mei or sometimes she’s Ibu Lusy. And no, she doesn’t have multiple personalities (that I know of.) Or sometimes my host sister, Ervin Vani Pemilia, is Mbak Vani which she told me to call her. Or sometimes, she is what most people call her, Mbak Lia.

*note: Ibu, Bapak, Mas and Mbak are all courtesy titles that are used much more commonly than in the U.S. Ibu= older woman, Bapak=older man, Mas=young man, Mbak=young woman. Adik is also commonly used to refer to friends and family younger than you that you consider like a younger brother or younger sister. In general these courtesy titles can be a great substitute for names also.

I can make excuses like they don’t use these real names on their Facebook accounts, which I originally hailed as my salvation to this name dilemna.  Rather, they use some sort of mash-up of their real name and a perceived alter ego or screen name such as: Haidar Rozzan ‘Rezpectorz’ or Princess Dyach Ayyueor or Vnous Putrifarahayuarianti’s Purplepurplelove  or Guntur Aremania CrazyLion or maybe even Uchauphaulfaceweberzodiakpisces Iiankiingindndridlu. All of those are students or friends on my Indonesian Facebook account.

I can make lots of excuses. But the truth is I’m just bad at learning and remembering names.

Confession Sunday 2.12.2012

12 Feb

I’m kind of, sort of excited about Valentine’s Day! This is a confession because usually I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day for the all-too-cliche reason of it just feels so forced and another holiday overrun by hallmark, candy companies, jewelers and the like. And though I won’t be doing much on Valentine’s Day 2012, I’m excited to share a little bit about the holiday with my classes, and I’m dreaming up fun activities for my English club as I type this.

In case you don’t know the origins of Valentine’s Day (or want a refresher), gives a good little overview and some fun facts.

Also while putting together a little presentation on the holiday for my classes I came across these adorable vintage-style Valentine’s Day cards.

Is this one really complimentary?

All adorable Valentine’s cards courtesy of valart2008 via flickr.

Now tell me those don’t make you all warm and fuzzy inside and bring a smile to your face.

In other news I haven’t written a whole lot lately…two reasons I like to keep it interesting and I’ve begun getting into photography a little more lately (or rather just taking pictures more often trying to document my time here). Also sometimes I’m just at a loss for words, and I hope those photos can help in some small way share a little bit of my world with you.

ALSO here’s a fun little video of my class singing Bruno Mars’ “Just the way you are” in class this past week. We were learning about pronouns. Kind of goes along with the lovey dovey theme of this post ; )

Confession Sunday 1.15.2012

15 Jan

I wouldn’t make a very good housewife. This is because I am apparently incapable of satisfactorily performing household chores. I know it’s hard to believe but my Ibu (host mother) can verify this. She laughs when I try to help with householf chores, but it is only in the most endearing way.

And now for proof…

After this little mishap I pitifully watched her iron my clothes. She kindly left a few that she thought were too thick for me to easily burn with the iron so that I could feel somewhat like a capable adult.

Confession Sunday 12.4.2011

4 Dec

Nanowrimo was a fail. It was like trying to do a marathon without having run long distance before and with no training. Creative writing is a lot harder than I thought. However, I’m looking forward to trying it again next November.

My other confession is a bit more obvious. I’ve fallen off the blogging bandwagon. But not to fear, I not only have good reasons, but I’ll be updating with plenty soon. So sit tight friends.

If you are still looking for something to read check out my blogroll with links to other PCVs blogs. They always have plenty of good stuff going on.

Confession Sunday 10.30.2011

30 Oct

I have this compulsion to write, but… sometimes I’m afraid I’ll never be tormented enough or crazy enough (see video below) to write anything of substance.

In order to break free from this incapacitating fear of failing, I’m going to write a novel in one month. Waaahhh…even as I type those words here, I’m regretting it. In the back of my head I’m thinking: But what if it’s really crappy? Well, it will be. That’s the whole point of Nanowrimo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month.

For a little inspiration to start off with and in honor of the late Steve Jobs and all the other crazies out there who didn’t let fear stop them in following their passions:

Confession Sunday 10.9.2011

9 Oct

I have a certain fondness for reading lights (I brought two with me to Indonesia) that I fear is being replaced by my recent infatuation with my headlamp.

Also I think I’m developing a slight insomnia.

Confession Sunday 10.2.2011

2 Oct

I like dancing. I really do. If you know me, this shouldn’t be at all shocking. The confession part of this…sometimes I shut myself in my room, pop in my headphones and dance it out in my room. I’m pretty sure my host family assumes I nap every afternoon. I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case.

Aaaannnd just so there’s no confusion just because I like dancing doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. I just enjoy it. And because I enjoy it I’d like to share two videos that combine dancing with other things I enjoy: traveling and looking good.

This could possibly be a new goal of mine:

I’ve watched this one way too many times: