Thursday, December 31, 2009

Masuk Angin

Masuk Angin. Is AWESOME. Not at all. It quite possibly one of the most uncomfortable predicaments to be in. They describe it as a bad wind that enters your body. Masuk means enter and Angin means wind i believe so it translates to something like the wind enters or the entering wind or something. You get the picture. Anyway, for the past two holidays I had a rather nasty case of Masuk Angin making Christmas and New years eve a tad unpleasant. Most Americans would probably just call it gas but here its Masuk Angin. It's the crazy thing that you dont really understand cuz most indonesians dont know how to describe it. At first I was under the impression that it was something to do with nausea and throwing up. Well no frankly, it is air, wind and gas that builds up inside you because (as I have heard) you missed a meal so your stomach is empty, therefore it fills up with this nasty wind sent from Satan. It can even make you throw up as I experienced. Do not throw some mediocre cheese and bean burritos from a extremely expensive mexican restaurant ontop of some pre-existing masuk angin. It will create for some nasty stuff later in the toilet. But there is hope! In soda! Soda does what, it makes you burp therefore making for an easy and effective way of getting rid of all the wind.
Anyways, that was my little rant on Masuk Angin.

As for me myself I have been good apart from Masuk Angin and a little cold. I am on vacation right now which is very nice after several months of very long school days everyday. The weather is pretty much the same as it was. Still in the rainy season. The hot season doesnt start up again until...maybe june? maybe? i forget. Anyways break, break consists of what a normal school vacation would be like actually. Of course i got sick on the first few days of break, got better and then hung out with friends, explored a bit, bought a new pair of shoes and went on a very random trip to Jakarta. I pop down to the small school where the two Germans in Bogor work at, Jascha and Stephan. They teach English at a very small school for poor children. I go down there, grab some food hang out or play some futsal with the boys. Usually afterward i follow Jascha and his friend to the local gym and try and get a little exercise. its pretty crazy trying to get there. One has to navigate back alleys, small rivers and narrow walkways to get the the place. I like it, the alleys, the winding twisting paths that lead up a hillside. And that is only on place in Bogor. The gym. Its very tucked away and if you didnt know it was there, you probably would never spot it. All the fellas there are extremely friendly. It is like a ritual to go around and acknowledge everyone in the gym before you begin your business. I like it, makes it feel more friendly. A interesting tidbit from the gym.
More to come later. Using someone else's computer. Can't use it for too long.

Selamat Tahun Baru Semua! Happy new year to all!
Watch out for Masuk Angin.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I have alot of things in my head. Images over the past few weeks, and even months are whirring about my head and my lack of blogging isn't helping me put them into words to satisfy my need to do so. So here we go.

We were driving today. North Jakarta I believe. On a freeway but one of those high up ones on pillars and everything. What are they called again? freeway i guess is the only name. anyways i saw these things in the air. they looked like slips of paper being battered about in the wind. I leaned forward in my seat and asked Heru in the front what was going on. I imagined a truck stuffed full of the things losing a few on the way to it's destination. Heru looked around for a bit trying to find what I was talking about.

"lihat! itu apa?"
"oooh. They are kites!"

Of course they were. But they were plastic. Made out of blastic bags it seemed. As we drew closer I could see the strings attached to various ends of the bags. The strings led down under the overpass (is that the right word?). The highway curved and I could finally see the source of the strings. At first all I saw was a filthy futsal court and piles of rubbish. But then I saw people. Children, running about the pillars that supported the moving metal animals above. Some were playing ball and some had the kites, watching them get bumped about by the passing cars. Then I saw more people, food carts, vendors small shops shacks, a minature world from this distance. And some of those people might stay only in that world, have no means of going anywhere else. that is where they live what they know. Their world. A strange concept not to know what other places look like or feel like. It's probably the case for many many many other people in this world.

The mountain. Shit it's big. Like the watcher of Bogor, a sleeping one at any rate. It's a inactive volcano. But it could become active again. The last time it erupted was sometime in the era of ancient kingdoms and wild mystical gods that hovered around the clouded mountaintops, such as the mountain I am discussing now. Most of the time you cant see it. It stays hidden in the clouds most of the time, unseen. Or you can only see the bottom of it, it's jagged peaks invisible. But on some mornings, the sky's are clear and you see it, bold and forboding. It's so big, you really got the scale of just how big it is. I stare in awe everytime I can see it in this state. My face is glued to it. My friends think its funny. Yeah its the mountain, it's big so? Well I guess in PT I live next to the water. Yeah i live five minutes from a bay. So?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I find that simple things here can be so much fun. Like cheering on your school team at a Futsal competetion. The place was gretty grungy. Trash was everywhere and it stank of sweat and ciggeretes. Flickering lights lit up the makeshift Futsal courtt. It kinda reminded me of a boxing ring oddly enough. A fair amount of students showed up to watch our team play. When it was finally gametime we clapped and cheered and bellowed the YPHB song. The ringleaders of the moral support had us stand in organized rows and clap. I sang and cheered, trying to sound like a actually knew what I was saying which I didn't of course and I was too lazy to ask. It was a blast, cursing when they scored and whooping when we did. Sure we lost, but that didn't stop us. Danar and the other players jumped up from the court to the stands and joined in, shouting at the top of their lungs despite the defeat. No matter. We still got spirit. We're YPHB. And we will be coming for you next time around.
That is if we get our act togeather and start training seriously. I've got alot of kinks to work out in my playing. Jadi latihan, latihan latihan! Practice.

Lunchtime again. Sorry that they are sooo short. Its all i have time for.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Superman SUCKS!

The argument was intense, but not in a bad way. We were grinning and laughing through the whole thing. I had a slight advantage. I could swamp him in fast english sentences which weren't even that good in supporting my argument but made him feel as if I had better reasoning. I could see his of it too but we were looking at the whole thing from different angles. His was from the physical prowness and strength aspect while I was arguing as if we were talking about the entire concept, how intresting it was and the complexity level. The density of it. Batman vs Superman. We should have been doing our assignment. Translate some words from Sundanese to Bahasa but no, this was far more important. Yuri is a funny guy, the fellow student I was having the debate with. He's a goof. A crazy good musician, magician and artist. He's clever but I can't say I like his music tastes to much despite his skill with the drumkit. Bad pop can get old sometimes.

On somedays Bogor reminds me of Washington. Only when it is cloudy, windy and overcast. Or raining. But the rain here is intense. It feels like a hurricane at times, watching palm trees in the distance flap and bend in the storm. Lighting and thunder is a regular occurence. Wild stuff. Me and a few other students were trapped at school once because it was raining so hard. None of us wanted to brave it walking or even on a motorcycle. We waited and waited, eating food and snacks until it calmed down enough that you could see. So then I walked to the bus station and rode it home tired and wet. You somehow get wet even if you are sheltered from the onslaught. I like it though. Zipping through traffic on the back of a moped with the rain in your face is quite the experiance. Something I will miss.

Yet again school is out. I should go. The internet works again in my house. I'll try write more and complete. For now I have to go. After school buisness calls.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Getting home was crazy. Not that Indonesian streets aren't crazy anyway. It was night. Malam. I was riding shotgun with Dimas and we were heading home. There was traffic and a big grudgy yellow truck in front of us. The going was slow. Barely a crawl. Then there were kids. Dozens of kids and children, mostly boys running towards the truck. They mobbed it and began grabbing whatever they could to get aboard. Most of them made it inside the bed of the truck but some were still dangling off the sides when the truck started moving again. Some of the kids hadn't even gotten on and were chasing after the quickly accelerating vehicle. The boys were urging their pals on from the truck but they were going to fast. Me and Dimas passed by the rest of the bunch, most of them exhuasted after running after their friends. It happened so fast that I took me a little bit to make anything of it. But afterall, stuff like that happens everyday. Eventually its normal. Odd but not out of the ordinary. We go on, straight straight, under the overpass. And then, a rolling motorcycle in the middle of our lane. Dimas begins to try and turn but realizes its too late and straightens out the wheel. The helmet disappears under the hood of our car. Theres a thump from beneath but nothing else. We continue on. I look for the helmet behind us. I dont see it. Strange. Then we hear it, a kind of scraping sound from beneath my seat. We look at eachother. Could it? No...but..really? it keeps up. Dimas pulls over and I get out to check. Sure enough trapped under the car is the helmet, smashed to bits but caught on a pipe. I dislodge it from the car and we go on. Crazy. Almost home, Yasmin (our neighborhood) is in sight. Bam! A truck changes lanes suddenly and almost collides with a motorcycle, the driver of it braking just in time. The truck driver seems infuriated though and sticks his head out of the window yelling in Indonesian at the motorcycle. Damn motorcycles, hes probably thinking. They are reckless and crazy but then again, maybe the truck driver should have checked his mirrors before turning. We go on. We get home. I shower and do my homework. I fall asleep listening to the sounds of some Indonesian talk show. I understand a little but I'm too tired to care. That was tuesday evening.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fast English

A friend of mine is staring over my shoulder. Its funny, I'm typing so fast in English it amazes him. I'm not sure he understands. But I think he does because everyone just laughed.
This is computer class. Maybe we'll learn how to log on to the school website but mostly we just mess around on Facebook and the like. But its kinda hot and these Batik uniforms we where dont really help. Somehow they seem so thick and heavy. Mine is a little oversized making it baggy and loose but its still slightly unpleasant. No matter. Class will be over in a few.
There was a demonstration yesterday. Not so much a demonstration, just a huge crowd of angry students surrounding a single teacher in a circle. I'm not sure what it was about but friends told me it had something to do with them protesting the ridiculous amount of rules YPHB has. I also heard that it could have been because the teacher broke the Futsal ball.
Maaf maaf the bell already rang. I will try to finish.
Maaf lagi. haha

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Adventures of Maxie

I was walking. Just gotten off the bus. And it was raining. Really raining. I waited under the bus shelter for a while with the other people for a little while, wondering if the rain would ever stop. It didn't. It was getting dark. Time to go home. I cross the street. I'm soaked already. But I don't mind too much. The Indonesian's never want to get wet it seems. They say you will get sick if you leave your head uncovered in the rain. I could see something like that happening. But it hasn't happened yet, so for now I am perfectly comfortable with leting the water run down my face.
But now it is raining harder. And it's cold. Actually cold in Indonesia. I regret not bringing a jacket or sweater. Shucks.
I pass by the vendors by the mini-mart, their wares protected by the overhang. One of them calls out to me, to come over, to get out of the rain. I agree and they offer me a seat. It's the girls, one of them is the small quiet one who I alwasy buy DVDs from. The other two sell cell phone minutes from a glass case. Not too sure how it works.
They ask me my name. I tell them. They ask me more questions assuming that I know at least a little Bahasa. I reply and give them a confused smile when I don't understand. Laughs all around. They get a kick out of talking with me, trying to speak English and trying to make me understand what they are trying to say. It's fun. One of them asks me how the previous DVD I bought was. I told her it was good. I would have said more but I'm not sure I could with what I know of Bahasa. She tries to pronounce the name. Mon-gool she says, kinda slowly and with an accent. She laughs at herself and everyone laughs with her. I decide to buy another DVD. I chose one and handed over the money. 60 cents for a dvd. Ridiculous in America. A tad bit over-priced here. Raka says you can get ones for cheaper over in Jakarta. I have yet to find a cheaper price in Bogor.
The rain lays off a bit. I'm pretty cold, my wet shirt sticking to me. I say goodbye and step onto the puddle riddled street. I'm off. Back to home. I'm content. Made some new friends. But I forgot their names. Gaa I am a bad person. But I guess it's okay. One of the security guards who I pass by everyday thought my name was Maxie which me and my friend thought was pretty funny. Maxie. It's not even close to Josh. I wonder where he got it from?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bad Internet

I dont know what happens. It will last for a couple weeks and then something will happen. Something screwing up the connection. My host brother said it was something to do with the tower. I guess I'll just have to wait. But internet isnt the only important thing. In fact I dont need it. I've gotten used to not needing it. It's a shame though when I cant share some photos that I really liked or something comes to mind that I really want to put somewhere. I could write it down, but I am a lazy person who doesn't have the patience for writing as sad as that sounds. Though I do like to write. I meant the physical thing. Plus if I start writing in my journal again i will have left out almost two months worth of experiances. Hmm.

Wake up, by host mom or maybe the maid but she doesn't do a very good job of waking me and Dimas up. She doesnt turn the light on. But that's no her fault. She shouldn't really have that responsibility. Anyways, get up, grab my clothes and stumble into the shower. The rancid taste of first waking up is still in my mouth. Shower, get dressed, maybe take a look in the mirror and realize how half-asleep I still look. Grab my bag, proper books and all that stuff. Downstairs, breakfast, fast breakfast, sometimes just a few bites. Depends how fast I am. In my host brothers car. Tie my shoes (I dont usually have time to do that at the house), pick up Habib on the way to school. School! study, sleep in class, attempt to learn from teachers who know a few words in English, eat lunch, have laughs with friends, go to the library and do this! lunch, study, study, school is out! what should I do? Well today after school I think I am gonna hang out and watch the futsal game. class vs class. These are the final games, the championships. Sadly my class already got beaten out of the league. Hmm. Maybe after that go home, hang out with some friends or go home, grab a movie or food beforehand. Shower, dinner, then study, watch a nice pirated dvd or just fall asleep on my bed. This is the usual routine for a Monday Tuesday or Thursday. My school gets out at 4 so there isn't a whole lot of time for anything after school. You are too tired anyways.

Indonesia is surprising. Nothing like I imagined. Expections get abolished. Sometimes I am confused. Why am I here? What am I doing? But then I remember that I wanted to be here, and I still want to no matter the crazy in the moment emotions that I am feeling. The days have been good and bad, up and down. I have had some of the best days of my life here and some of the hardest. The language is frustrating and delightful, the heat terriable and wonderful. And now I need to eat stuff with Sambal (like spicey sauce). It adds something to everything.
I'm not sure where I am going with this. I dont have much time to write this. Anyways. Hope the internet works again so I can add to this blog more. There aren't a whole lot of actual experiances in this segement. Maybe some other time. But for now, da-da (cya, sorta. In Indonesia)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Speeding motorcycle Futsal thugs

I haven't written in forever. A few weeks I think. Or maybe it was a few days. Time flys here. I feel like I've been here for a few weeks but its been two months or so.
I went to the first Futsal practice yesterday. It's an extra-cirricular type thing after school on whensdays. Not much really, just a bunch of students getting togeather and kicking a ball around. I think there is a coach but he wasn't there today so it took forever to find a decent ball seeing as he had the key to the sports equpment room. Some of the kids even have uniforms with their names on the back and everything. The colors are wierd though. YPHB colors are yellow and green but for some reason they decided to make the uniforms the odd combo of blue and yellow. Didn't like them too much. Neither did my friend Husna. But what are we gonna do. They still look official and nice with YPHB Bogor within a large Y on the front of the jersey. It wasn't an actual game that day so only a few kids had em. Most were in T-shirts and shorts. All of them were really good. Totally makes one feel dwarfed when playing with these guys. It was all godd fun though. We played, I tried goalie and decided to never try it again and then it was over. The team captain told me that there was a futsal competetion of sorts within YPHB on thursday. Im not sure if I can play yet. I was also told that instead of Dimas coming to the school to pick me up he would meet me and Husna at Heru's house. Excitment! Yes, riding on a moped again. Sometimes riding in cars can get boring. Husna gave another kid a ride as well making it a total of 3 kids on the machine. I probably wasn't built to handle that much weight. We had to help it up the slope of the driveway from YPHB.
Bam, traffic, weeving in and out of cars and over-burdened trucks. I smell exhaust and food from street vendors. I feel a rain drop. It starts to rain. We keep on going making our way towards our destination, slowing down to barely a crawl for jaggedly protruding speedbumps. Those things are everywhere and get a little annoying. They aren't made to have a good transition from concrete to the thing it self. Just a small ridge in the middle of the road. Makes for quite the bump.

Lunchtime. I'll finish it later ya?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back again

First off I apologize for the lack of updates. My host brother's internet isnt working all too well lately. I'm using a school computer right now. Mostly everyone is in the Mosque. Prayer will be over soon though and school will be out for the day. This will probably be short.
I have alot of catching up. There was Lebaran, then the first few days of school.
Lebaran. Breaking the fast. The after Ramadhan celebration. Everyone goes home or "pulang" (go home/back). Everyone is on the road with their families trying to get places. And when that happens hundreds of people die in traffic accidents. They do. a tally is recorded every year. I forgot the final amount but its at least 300. I suppose its a good time not to be on the road. Which I wasn't. I stayed in Bogor. My family is from Bogor, well at least my host mom. All her family is here. My host dad's family is from Sumatra but I guess we will visit them some other time. We did go to Jakarta for a couple days and meet up with Dini my host sister who goes to school in Solo central Java. It was awkward at first. But then jokes, funny incidents like Dimas accidentally breaking the handle of Dini's suitcase broke the ice. It was fun having a new face around. Only around for three days though. She flew home the day me Dimas and his uncle's family went camping up on some mountain (I forget the name). I guess it is a park but not a typical park you would find in the U.S. People are everywhere, along with trash. Not really the get in touch with nature kind of deal. Though the roads are pretty rugged. Imagine one of those cartoons of a car putting down a road bouncing along. Well it was like that, the car actually bounced, two wheels off the ground as us and the machine drove over yet another protruding rock. Quite the adventure. Quite the get togeather. There was a whole new set of faces waiting for us up at the campsite. I had never seen any of them before and I am still now not sure what their relationship was to Dimas's uncle. Probably family and family friends. I wasn't sure. It was fun. But more on that later. I have to go. School is out.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Who are you? Are you family or a family friend? I have never seen you before. What are you doing here. The man was small. He looked friendly though. He had tatoos on his arms. He was sitting in the maid's house watching TV. The maids are back at their homes for Lebaran. I had some dirty clothes that my mom had told me to put by the washer. I poked my head through the doorway.
He smiles. He seems nice. A brief awkward moment. I don't know how to say what I want in Bahasa. He points to the clothes.
I struggle to find some words that would remotely make sense.
"Iya. Ini di mana?"
He points down the room towards the washer and says something. I get the point though. I set up on the rack next to the box-like machine. He stands there grinning. He looks like a good fellow look despite the tattoos. If he was shooting for the tough-guy look he couldn't really pull it off. I still don't know his name. He goes back to watching TV. I went back upstairs. I later asked Dimas who he was. He said his name was Didi. Who is he? He didn't know how to explain his relationship with us. I asked if he was family, friend or like a servant? He said no to all of those. He couldn't put it into words. Didi the mystery man. For now I'll call him the friendly person who lives across the yard from me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mac D? At school?

The last day of school for two weeks was on Saturday. Normally YPHB doesn't have school on Saturday's but this was special. We started late, round 9:00 I think, and then hung around watching speakers and more videos. They also announced which groups of students had won all these contests for various things like best song, speech, music prayer. Stuff along those lines. Some friends of mine won which was fun. A lot of cheering and whooping from our end of the room. I also went to go see all the King and Queen of Bogor competitors give their speeches. It's Bogor's version of Mr & Mrs Universe. Does such a thing exist? I think it does. Anyway, you get the idea. Some of the kids competing were from YPHB so we went to cheer them on. It was fun, causing a raucous but in a good way. There were some other kids there that I knew. They are from my school but because they were working on organizing the event they didn't come today. They are pretty cool those kids. Most of them can't speak very good English so it's a fun challenge talking with them. I'll ask a question in Bahasa and they will respond and I will try to understand. I get the general idea. Most of the time. Haha.
The language is coming along. At this point I can understand more than I can say. Bits of a conversation between my host family finally makes sense! I looked back over my journal the other day and found a list of vocab words that I had written to remember. They all seemed so basic and fundamental. I felt a little sense of accomplishment.
Anyways, we stayed at the school till buka puasa. And guess what they served us at school? Some good American food. Mac D. Well actually it isn't all that American. they serve rice and chicken mostly instead of the beefy burgers we are used to. Imagine that. enough Mac D to feed the entire school. that's alot of the stuff. after that everyone cruised outta there. school is out, for two weeks. whoop! but you already knew that. me and Dimas went home after that. gave another kid a ride home. I've forgotten his name though. That happens too much. Me forgetting names and everything.
I felt pretty sick on Sunday morning. I woke up and knew before I even tried to stand up that I was gonna puke. Which I did. and i did for the whole rest of the day (I apologize for the lack of proper capitalization of letters and stuff. the keyboard's shift key don't work too well). it was a blur of sleeping, puking, sipping on tea and my host dad telling me not to push myself. the next day i was better. Apparently it had been from me not eating enough and then eating alot. I guess my stomach doesn't like the fasting schedule too much. Or maybe I didn't drink enough. Who knows? Anyways Im fine now. Though I would like to get out of the house tomorrow. I have been resting and getting 100 % better again inside and the only time I went out was to buy a movie, some coffee and a bottle of water. Mostly cuz I was restless. It was nice, walking around my neighborhood to get to the store. The security guards are friendly, as well as these funny men who were sitting on the side of the road. As I walked back from the store one of them began talking to me in Indonesian. I found I understood him and we had a very short brief in-motion conversation about where I cam from and where I lived in Yasmin. I like it here. Indonesia. I like it.

Friday, September 11, 2009


The exchange student experiance is quite ride. A wild crazy ride which you don't have much control of at first. New things, tastes, smells and ideas are thrust at you by dozens of hands. You try and deal with it. You're excited and exhausted at the same time. You want to do everything and be everywhere but you need to learn that you are here for a year. You have time for everythng. For now you can relax. I lay on my bed one afternoon, debating if I wanted to get up and do something. I was so tired but I still feel like I'm wasting time if I'm not doing something. I didn't want to get up. I decided in the end that I would sleep now so I would have energy later. mmm. Dinner. I look forward to it. And the delicious sweets and food that we eat just after we break the fast. And with some food on my mind I fell asleep.

About sleep. Apparantly I talk to crash cans. Dimas said I stood up and began talking really fast mumbled English to the little blastic bin. Dimas tried talking to me but I gave him a similar response and then proceed to declare that I was sleepy and pass out on the Fandra's (Dimas cousin) mattress instead of my own. When I woke up in the morning I couldn't remember any of it. My host family thought it was hilarious. So did I. I love things like that. My host mom said we should lock the doors just in case I try and wander out into the street. I wasn't sure if she was joking or not.

Did you know there are rats in my yard? Big ones too. Like huge and fatty things with tails. They only comeout at night and chase eachother around the fish pool. You can hear them during dinner. They don't come into the house or near us for that matter. They stay in their area, we stay in ours. It all works out. Everybody's happy.
Here is some irony. My last blog post. Funny how I went from talking about fancy apartments to begging children on the street. Indonesia is like that though. Contrast is everywhere. Thriving Jakarta skyscrapers tower over slums and shacks. That kind of stuff you see everyday. And you get used to it. Sometimes I stop and think about it though.

Photography class was a blast. I probably wouldn't call it a class. It's an extra-cirricular activity offered at my school. My friend talked it up and said I should try it. I agreed. Plus I enjoy photography. I decided I'll see how it went.
It was pretty fun. Pretty much a group of students that I already sem-knew (plus my friend) hung out after school until this professional photographer showed up (at least I think he was pro. He seemed like it). He then proceeded to teach us some new tricks that we could do with our cameras. After that we were let loose around the school campus to try out our newly gained knowledge. It was a good experiance. I made some new friends and got to know people I had already met previously. Got names straight and stuff. I'm terriable with names. I hear a name and it goes straight out the window. But I'll remember the face anywhere. I should work on that. Anyways, photography was goofy, fun and great. Well, maybe not for some of the girls. At YPHB on fridays and during lebaran week the girls are required to wear their headscarves (it is an Islamic school afterall). These were the ones who normally don't wear them during the week. They got caught with their scarves off by one of the teachers and she made them run a couple laps around the basketball court. It was all fun though. They laughed about it and no harsh words were exchanged between them and the teacher. Well I don't know. I can't speak Bahasa.

Tommrow I've been asked to go to the English club and help out with whatever they do. I'm not sure what I will do. Besides help them with pronuciation and stuff. Besides from that just talk in English. I guess I'll see tommrow. Afterwards me and Ika are going to hangout. Should be fun. Maybe Dimas my host brother will come along. I haven't asked him yet if he wants to. Ha! I just remembered, school is almost out for two weeks! Just today (I am writing this at school). Today's going to be long though. All the students are breaking the fast here and I guess the school is providing all the food. But we have to hangaround unil then. I have no idea what we're gonna do all day. No one does. My friend Yuri said in response to my question of "what are we gonna do today" "sleeping"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Apartments, rain and kids.

Here is something I didn't know (and you don't either). My family actually ones a rather nice apartment in Jakarta. I went with my family's driver, Mr. Udien to pick up my host dad at the airport in Jakarta today. He had been off on some business trip on some island (I forget the name) east of Java. Afterward we stopped by the apartment. It's actually two, which I was a little confused about since there were enough rooms in the first one to house the entire family, plus my host sister who lives and goes to school in central Java. It was pretty nice. very artistic, modern furniture and room design but with a warm flare like the Manchester United bed sheets in my host brother's room (they are obsessed with M.U down here). To top all of this off, it is on the ground floor of the ridiculously tall complex and a moments walk away from a pool complete with fountains and everything. Being a doctor and doing government work most pay off (my host parents jobs).

I love it when it rains here. The Indonesians probably think I'm a little odd. Everyone goes inside to sit it out but I always wanna go out in it. I think one of the maids was giving me kinda funny looks when I was standing out in thick of it. It's so heavy here. One time me and Dimas were at his elementary school reunion and the atmosphere dumped everything it had down on Bogor. The restaurant where the reunion was at was up on a hill at the road up to the place was like a river. We could see down to the actual river and it had become a mud bath. Not that it was flooding just that the once solid dusty riverbanks that had supported the odd rickety house and the like weren't looking too solid anymore. Nothing happened though. Everything was fine, no collapsed huts or anything. The roads become filthy sometimes when it rains though seeing as how dusty they are as well as a lot of wet dirt and mud along with garbage. Haha, I must be giving you a great image of Bogor. Don't believe what you might think, Bogor is great. The combination of reddish/brown tile roofs and dazzling green trees are fantastic. It's also not flat either. There are these odd intriguing ravine-like places where neighborhoods are clustered.

That's a little something about rain. It rains alot for being the summer season right now.

There are these kids that jump into the Angkot sometimes. These ones were pretty young. Maybe 7-8. I was with Riska and we were on the way to meet my host brother at a mall. One of the boys (two of them) played a small grungy guitar while the other passed out little slips of paper to put money in. He gave us all pleading looks. I've seen dozens of pairs of kids like these. Riska says they don't get the money that we give them. It's like something from Slum-dog Millionaire except its right there. She says they have to give the money to someone who lets them sleep somewhere and gives them whatever food he sees fit. She said she never gives them money. Instead she reached into her bag and pulled out a bag of chips that we had bought for the movie earlier. She handed the kid that instead. At the next stop after collecting nothing except for chips they jumped out and wandered elsewhere.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Communication is everything. Almost every problem has something to do with miscommunication or a lack of communication. Things get fed through a wire and become warped until they are totally different than what it originally was. People get fed by their own emotions which are a result of these misinterpretations and make situations worse. Confusion. Gaaah. Let's all be friends.

Some craziness. wow. Tension is no fun. Especially between people you know at a party, which is supposed to be fun. Sheesh. 

I had an interesting day. I got told I practically flunked a test, was being made fun of right infront of my face and that I was being forced to practice Islam (which I am not). Again misinterpretation. Frankly I was hot and wanted to wash my face which happens to be what Muslims do before prayer. And as for the test, the teacher's words were (summerized) "you didn't do well at all. good luck this year." Well fuck thanks for the encouragement. Maybe it is just me, but it came off as if it was a goodluck that wasn't meant for some that succeeds. I might be confusing. Maybe I am just doing exactly what I talked about, more misinterpreting. I was so tired by the end of the day that I had no energy for anything. I'm afraid I might have come off as irritable. Which I was to some degree. Hopefully that didn't put anyone off.

What a crazy confusing week. Looking forward to the weekend and cooling my head. Mentally and physically.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Those random things that come to mind

Some kids were doing push-ups on the side of the road. They had been at it for a while I think. Sweat was pouring down their faces and each push-up took more and more effort. A police man stood over them, watching them toil in the dust of a Bogor city street. Some on-lookers laughed and giggled. "Why are you doing push-ups" I asked to the general audience within the car. "they were racing. Illegally." I thought that was funny in a sense. Instead of throwing the law, and technicalities about what is legal or not onto the teens, the cop made them do push-ups in front of everyone. Just thought it was interesting. And slightly humorous. I don't think I've ever seen a cop in the U.S use their authority in that sort of way.
Well, here I am, trying to summarize the past three weeks. I haven't touched on my entry into Indonesia (except for that warm greeting sign), first week in Bogor, LOC or school, the key component to this exchange program (my visa depends on me going to school so school basically enables me to live here for the next 11 1/4 months). Maybe I'll start with Indonesia itself, Jakarta and my first week in Bogor.

Indonesia is a vast, Jakarta is sprawling and Bogor is a small. After the first week or two I knew a very vague general layout of the city. Of course there are still areas I haven't been to. Every time I climb the stairs at school to get to my classroom I see this flat expanse of city that is unexplored. It's hard to think that I'm on one of many islands in vast archipelago actually. I didn't see the ocean at all in Jakarta, and Bogor is inland. That's not to say I dislike it here. On the contrary its been a blast. Within my first two days in Indonesia I ate cow tongue and squid. Not too fond of the tongue. A rather unappetizing texture. The squid was good though.
The initial orientation camp was an interesting experience. All of us Americans were jet-lagged, being bombarded by a new language and culture, and tired as fuck. Some of us slept through meals. It was fresh though, and new. I was excited despite my disoriented self. Indonesia surprised me. I half-expected it to be like Thailand. Which it isn't at all. The language for example, it has no distinct Asian tone which I expected. Chinese, Japanese, Korean I think and Thai have very distinct and classic Asian sounds. But Bahasa (Indonesian) sounds different, not typical. I don't know how to describe it. It still sounds Asian but not distinctly. It has underlying tones that are very different and unexpected. Hmmmm. I have too many ideas bouncing around. My writing might be a little bit ramblish. But I am pretty sleepy. Ramadan and fasting really takes the energy out of you. Sleepy all the time and you never get angry or upset cuz frankly, you can't. Anyways, I will write more so read if you like it so far.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Impressions

Well, I'm writing here again. I haven't touched this blogspot account for over three months I think? I made it for my exchange to Indonesia and I'm here now (and I've been here for 2 weeks so I have alot of catching up to do) so I better start writing. Enjoy.

"Welcome to Indonesia. Death to drug-traffickers."

Those were Indonesia's welcoming words to me and the four other Americans arriving in Jakarta that day. it's right there, on the great big sign that hangs over the hallway before you reach customs. Such a contrast. We thought it was funny. Some of us took pictures. We all laughed and joked and got the message. Taking hits from the bong is just not acceptable here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Hi, hello and welcome to Josh Kelety's blog of my up and coming Indonesian exchange experience. I don't have alot to say right now except for that I am a YES Abroad finalist and got one 35 full-ride scholarships to go to a Muslim-dominated country and study there for a year! Thank you to everyone who helped make that possible (such as last-minute teachers filling out last-minute teacher recommendation forms). It is very exciting news.
Oh, so for everyone who didn't know, I am a YES Student not AFS, despite the fact that YES works in partnership with AFS or something like that. I don't know the full details but I was told that I should refer to my self as a YES Abroad Student.

I'll write more when I feel inspired but here you are for now. Enjoy.