Monday, September 21, 2009

Getting Closer to Surabaya

I have survived yet another week of extensive language and teacher training. I have picked up a few words of Bahasa but have not studied enough to be comfortable speaking. The teacher training (while not exciting) went will. I have taught a group of my peers without embarrassing myself.

Yesterday (my Sunday) I went hiking into an area outside of Bandung that has caves the Japanese used during WWII and then hiked up to see a waterfall. It was beautiful but I can feel all those hills today.

Yesterday was also Idul Friti (holiday celebrating end of Ramadan). On Saturday night, a group of us went to Dago Tea House for dinner. It had private huts with a platform to sit with a low table. I had sate ayam (which is grilled chicken with peanut sauce--very tasty). It was located on the top of a hill and we could hear all the city's calls to prayer. The eve of Idul Friti is very festive and we could see lots of fireworks that people set off and the drive back to the hotel was though streets full of families. While I normally see motorbikes with an abundance of people, on Saturday most of the bikes had entire families as people travelled to be with extended family. All night I could hear music and fireworks from my hotel room (don't worry, it didn't keep me awake).

Now, a little more on culture. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, religion is a key component of life in Indonesia. There are five recognized religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity (both Protestant and Catholic), Hinduism, and Buddhism. One's religion is listed on ID cards and while it is not entirely clear, I am pretty sure if you live here, you must be one of these religions (at least officially). Now, if you were living here, you can simply list yourself as whatever and no one checks up to be sure you actually believe such and such. There is also no civil ceremony for marriage here--all marriage must be performed by a religious official and only people of the same religion can marry. We asked what happens when two people of different faiths fall in love and were told that does occasionally happen. The couple must travel outside the country to marry (Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, etc). So, obviously, if you are not fairly wealthy marriage outside your religion is not an option. Conversion is possible, so I guess that is an option.

I didn't do a lot this week (we do get the mall pretty frequently), but here is the continuation of Cassandra's Firsts:
First time I participated in a traditional Indonesian birthday ritual (apparently, children here throw eggs and flour at the birthday boy or girl [it is a ritual for kids only, I think] to celebrate birthdays, I am not sure about the purpose, but one of the guys had a birthday and thought this would be fun, so some of the others did it, I only watched). First time I peer taught (like I said earlier, it went fine and I am pretty sure I can handle a class of Indonesian teenagers, if I say that enought I may actually start to believe it). First time to do "dining in the dark" (A local resturant called Blind offers this experience. We ordered and then were taken to a completely dark dining room. My chicken came pre-cut, so the eating part was not too difficult. It was a neat experience, but not one I would want to do frequently.) Finally, first time I did an Indonesian tongue twister.
For your amusement, an Indonesian tongue twister:
Kuku Kaki Kakak-kakakku
Kaku-kaku Kena
Kuku Kaki Kuda
It translates as:
Toenail Older Sibling
Stiff "Gotcha"
Horse Hoof
I know it makes no sense, I don't think it is suppose to. But there you go. Oh, another interesting piece of language trivia--the slang term for breasts is "buah dada" which means, wait for it, chest fruit or fruit of the chest.
We have tomorrow (Tuesday) off. Idul Friti was originally thought to be on Tuesday. I have not gotten a clear answer on why the date was uncertain, but Idul Friti was not definitely on Sunday until Saturday. Perhaps the moon has to be in a certain position because the Muslim calendar is lunar, but I honestly have no idea. But we still have Tuesday off, so whatever. On Wednesday our counterparts (the teachers we are assisting) arrive in Bandung. We have a couple days of seminars with them and then we travel with them to our sites on Saturday morning.
That's all for now. Have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog. Mine is so goofy and yours is intellectually stimulating. : ) Miss Cassandra, Patron Saint of Packing and BLOGGING!