So, I was not going to blog. But then I started to realize how many emails I was going to have to write in the next nine months if I didn't have one spot to inform people about my life here.
In case anyone out there is unaware, I received a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Indonesia with a very nice stipend and travel expenses. After orientation, which is currently going on, I will be in the city of Surabaya. Surabaya is the capital of East Java (the country's capital of Jakarta is in West Java) and it is the second largest city after Jakarta.
I left the States on August 28, 2009. First, I flew from Indianapolis to Chicago. In the Chicago airport I was able to find a group of Fulbrighters and we chatted before the plane ride to Hong Kong. I lucked out on the 15 hour plane ride. In the last row there were two seats that I got all to myself. It wasn't the greatest 15 hours of my life, but I didn't want to shoot myself either. I left the states at 10:20 am and arrived in Hong Kong at 4:30 pm on August 29.
In Hong Kong, we waited for our connecting flight to Singapore--which is a three and half hour ride. Arriving in Singapore late in the evening, we were taken to a nice hotel for the night. The next morning, it is back to the airport for travel to Jakarta.
There was a brief moment of worry when the Indonesian airline could not locate our luggage. The bags had been checked through to Jakarta. But bags were apparently found and we boarded the plane.
As a piece of information you may or may not wish to know, no Indonesian airplanes are allowed to fly in the EU or US. So, the one point in the trip I forget to take Dramine, I seriously regretted. While climbing to cruising altitude, butts flew out of the seats and there was some serious rocking. But all is well that ends well.
It was amazing to finally be Indonesia. The hotel that we are in is very nice and the staff is extremely friendly. AMINEF (the American Indonesian Exchange Foundation) is in charge of us and has provided for us well. We have had orientation the past few days with general information on security, health, and the importance of our mission here. We have mostly had our afternoons free, so I have seen a great mall, a wonderful zoo, and a neat amusement park that was loads of fun. (I will eventually get the photos posted to Facebook).
It was been a fun few days and I am looking forward to the continuing orientation in the city of Bandung (we travel there tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 4) for language and teaching training. Through the orientation I have become aware of the great potential that lays before me. English is a great skill to possess and I may be able to help someone better their life. I am excited and nervous about teaching, but I will have a better feel after we receive some training.
Well, here is a list of firsts: first time in Asia, first plane ride over 9 hours, first time using chopsticks (not as hard as I thought), first time using a squat toilet (harder than I thought, this could be a blog topic by itself, needless to say I will have to practice my squatting techinque), first time seeing a mouse in the mall (that was in a rather yucky mall we visited), FIRST EARTHQUAKE (didn't realize it was an earthquake at the time), first time on a simulator theater ride (just never did it in the States, but it was really fun), first hot dog pizza (sausage here is really similar to hot dog, it looks and tastes the same, so a sausage pizza tastes like it has hot dog on it), first time I took a 1 million anything out of the ATM (the conversion rate is 10,000 Rupiah per $1, so 1,000,000 Rupiah is only a $100), first time I placed a call over the internet (Skype is amazing, I called my mom, grandma, and dad and talked for almost an hour combined for only a little over a dollar--if you have or get Skype, you can find me with my name), first time I have eaten dragon and passion fruit (they are different), first time I have had to have my bag checked and walk through a metal detector everytime I enter a hotel (it is fine, I feel safe here). That is all that I can think of right now, but there are probably one or two I can't remember.
I hope you enjoy my ramblings on my various adventures. I will blog again when I have 1) internet, 2) time, and 3) energy. Selmat Tinggl and Selmat Malam. (That's Good-bye and Good Night).