I’ve taken it upon myself to name this “the tiger moth,” but everybody just called it a kupu-kupu.
This spider used to haunt the gate next to my bicycle, then one day it disappeared, and I went a little frantic while passing through the gate. “Where is it? Where is it?” Thinking it’d end up in my hair, or something.
The toddler who lived next door was all, “What’s wrong Miss Julie?” And I was like, “The spider! Dulu, ada! Sekarang, gak ada!” Trying to be as clear as possible about the emergency. And the toddler’s all, “Don’t worry Miss Julie, it doesn’t bite. My mom told me so.” And I’m like, “Kid, your mom’s a liar!” Except I didn’t say that.
Ayamnya, lookin’ serious.
This was taken the day Anton told me he was “going fishing,” then proceeded to toss his line and hook over a brick wall near this field. Ten minutes later I’m standing there, watching him, and I notice a whole family of village folk queued up beside me. They look like a line of inquisitive meerkats. I’m like, “Haha. You don’t own a pond behind that wall, do you?” And they’re like, “Mampir!” And I take that as a yes, so I wait for Anton to turn his head… And when he does, it’s like a rubber band’s been shot. He bounds across the field, taking big-gulp steps, and dashes into the woods over yonder. The family of meerkats is beaming. “Mampir, mampir!”
Bu Leily and I, at the Sustainability conference. A thousand of these: (:
Tropical fruit party
Them: “Miss Julie, tomorrow we don’t want to have class. We want to have a party where we introduce you to all the tropical fruit, so you can know about all the tropical fruit of Indonesia.”
Me: “But I have been here two years, and I go to the market every morning, so I already know about the tropical fruit of Indonesia.”
Them: “No matter, no matter.”
For the life of me I can’t remember what this lion is called. I’ve asked two dozen times. Also, I never exactly determined what culture this lion-dance hails from. I’ve been told it’s Madurese, I’ve been told it’s specific to Bondowoso. I think my final conclusion is that it’s both: it’s Bondowoso-Madurese.
In the red is Bu Uul, who for two years sold me good fruit, never tried to cheat me, and whom I trusted so much by the close of that second year I ceased counting my change. She looked after me!
Fancy pants roof. It used to be a tarp!
If you turn right at that corner you’ll run into Pak Ali’s shop, where he sells flour and oil and a whole assortment of packaged items. I used to sit in there from time to time, trudging through my ever-worsening Bahasa Indonesia.
You see that blue vehicle? That thing’s called a lin (or angkot), and oh boy am I glad to be free of it. It was my only means in and out of my village, and taking it often meant being stared at for a full hour, sometimes at a two-inch distance. Imagine someone squashed up against you, their eyelashes two inches from your cheek, scrutinizing your face. Imagine trying to chillax for that hour. And imagine being surrounded by plumes of cigarette smoke all the while!
Boy’s like, “Why you be takin’ my picture?” And I’m like, “Revenge!”
One thing that really got me when I first moved to my village was the idea that little kids skip around tombstones on their way to school in the morning. (Those colorful structures are tombstones).
Coconut husks. There’s an es degan (coconut juice) stand here every afternoon. My house was right through that alleyway.
My favorite warung, owned by the mother of one of my students.
Neighbor, who saw me frolicking in the sawah and asked me to come over and take his picture. Every other morning, when I’d finish my run, this man would be out on the street cradling his grandchild.
My favorite place to get uninterrupted headphones time.
“Now my feeeet turn the corrrrner back home”
From the Sukamade trip, in 2012.
The graduation ceremony there is more like a cultural performance. No one walks or is handed a diploma, or anything like that, and parents usually don’t attend.
How it works is, people feed an envelope of money into the lion’s mouth, and the student on the inside feeds a rose back to the giver.
What do you think: How deliberate was his choice of footwear?
The board from a round of “Categories.” I would like it to be known that it was one of the village folk who came up with “Gangster,” not me!
Cicak by my “HIV Awareness” calender.
That time I rode a bus for 6 hours next to a fettered chicken.
The chicken was like: “When I envisioned my life as a wee chickadee, this is not how I saw it going.”
Behind my house, where we cooked (to the left), washed our clothes (on the tiles to the right), hung our clothes, and dried the dishes. This space also involved a lot of chickens.
Sanur monkey’s like: “Aduuuuh! Panaaaas!”
At Prambanan, a famous Hindu temple in Yogyakarta.
Every group has a cuddler, and in this group it was Nafil!
And the cat is *not* liking it.
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold”
Incomplete panoramic of the backyard.
A sign that hung in my X-4 class.
Bu Leily had me take this one out of the rotation, because she said peeps didn’t get it. But like… IT’S SO CLEAR. How else could I have illustrated this?!
Students: You know who you are.
When Rachel and Professor Brian came to visit. For Professor Brian, a second time! My nenek was thrilled.
That time my les kinds threw Rachel and Brian and impromptu birthday party, leading them into the street and bombarding them with homemade confetti.
This is my second favorite picture taken in-country. I love it when the babies self-organize. In the U.S., you practically have to lasso kids to get them to conglomerate.
Outside the mosque, my first year.
Indonesia’s top male model.
From inside a lin. Do you see what’s written on that tarp? I had to snap a pic… Unexpected encounters with the name of my homeland!
That time Melanie and I did that one seminar at that one school.
That time Melanie successfully sniffed out the embarrassing banner she knew would be hanging outside the school. If I’d gone alone, I would have missed it.
Putri, pretending to be bleeding.
The typical birthday or prayer meeting meal. “Nasi kuning” (yellow rice).
That time Yolanda and I built a Christmas tree from mint green gift boxes.
Me: “Yolanda, why do they call these rice lights?”
Yolanda: (examines the box) “Ohh, Julie.”
Yolanda: “Haha, think about it. What does it look like?”
Yolanda: “How long have you been in this country??”
In-Service Training, October 2012
Sama on the fuzz issue, but I’m workin’ on it!
I apologize for the fuzziness. I tweaked and tweaked, trying to get it clear, but with no success. I might be able to re-download when I’m in the States and fix the fuzz.
“Miss Angka” — Because my female students fashioned me a sash of number cards. Basically it’s like Miss Indonesia, except more quantitative.
Mr. Matt! Who kindly upholstered the interior of my treasure box the night before.
“Apa yang akan terjadi, biarlah terjadi.”
Whatever’s gonna happen, let it happen.
“You are studying abroad in Los Angeles, California. You are walking on the beach with a friend. Suddenly, you trip on a rock and fall. You cut your leg on some sharp coral. It hurts! Your leg starts bleeding. You and your friend are far away from your car.
You need to ask for someone for help. Who should you ask? What should you say?”
I had our school’s English club play “Scenarios” at our last meeting. I gave each member a scenario in which they’d have to ask for help in English, and then had them answer questions about it. The scenario above was one of them. This is the conversation that followed:
Him: “I would ask biwatch!”
Him: “Hahaha, biwatch!”
(Thirty seconds of me looking concerned)
Me: “Ohhhh, Baaaay-watch.”
Him: “Hahaha, yes! Baywatch!”
Me: “Ohhhh, lifeguard. You would ask a lifeguard.”
Him: “Yes! Lifeguard!”
This is basically a mini whiteboard I have hanging in the teacher’s lounge. I laminated a sheet of drawing paper so I could use board markers on it. (Shout out to Ms. Nicole Either, who popularized and possibly authored this technique).
The “Ms. Julie’s Sentence of the Week” board lets me progressively feed English lingo to the non-English teachers at my school. It also functions as a great way to gently correct mistakes. No more, “I go home first!” or “You, breakfast!”
I have a board taped to my bedroom door too, beneath my weekly schedule.
Volunteers: Super effective and easy. Five out of five stars.
Right after the video finished I was like, “Kenis! Kenapa? Ada masalah apa??” And she’s like, “Ada masalah.” (Glower, glower).”Masalah BESAR.”
Haha, I love kids. Because, you know, three minutes later she was perfectly happy again, giggling and scintillating during a round of Cops and Thief.
This is how children differ from adults.
There has been so much talk of apple pie and finally, Yolanda and I made our first attempt. Results weren’t earth shattering, I’ll confess, but it was definitely pie and there were definitely apples inside. That’s more than I can say for my last 18 months of dessert consumption, so I ain’t complaining.
Also, for those interested, the solution to our lumayan pie was obvious: More sugar, more butter. (Don’t it always seem to go?)
Yolanda: Oh, I’m texting Kris.
Me: (Turns around) Isn’t he just in the other room??
Yolanda: Haha, yeah, but we always do like this.
Me: Does he want some pie?
Yolanda: That’s exactly what he just said! He would also like (squints at phone) a cup of tea.
Me: (Turns toward room where Kris is sitting) (Amused expression)
Yolanda: What. You want me to make you a cup too??
(We had a little excess dough and I asked Yolanda’s 7-year-old to make me something with it).
When you enter my village from the city outside, you’re met with rows of these banners, advertising cigarettes. If you pass one while walking, the bottommost pole comes to chin level, leaving the sentence above directly in front of your eyes.
The sentence translates to: “Smoking causes cancer, heart attacks, weakening and disturbance of pregnancy and fetuses.”
I sort of feel self-conscious talking about the perils (and let’s be real, fatality) of cigarettes in my community. The biggest crop here is tobacco! For so many people, it’s their livelihood. When I do my morning runs at 5am, I pass small flocks of workers gathering up the tobacco leaves they’ve left out to dry overnight. When I watch the neighborhood boys play soccer, I sit beside racks of bamboo on top of which tobacco leaves are turning brown. Tobacco is everywhere, and an aversion to it feels like an aversion to people’s survival. (Ironically).
Last week I was chatting with some boys at school, and we were talking about the ways America’s different from Indonesia. They brought up cigarettes.
“Ada rokok di Amerika?” (Are there cigarettes in America?)
“Iya, ada.” (Yeah, there are.)
“Ada tembakau?” (Is there tobacco?)
“Iya, seperti sini. Itu menanam di sana juga. Tapi…mungkin ada kurang?” (Yeah, just like here. It grows there too. But…maybe there’s less?)
“Karena rokok…tak enak buat kesehatan, ya?” (Because cigarettes…they’re not good for your health, right?)
(Laughter) “Yaaa.” (Yeahhh)
It’s frustrating to me that people know smoking is detrimental to their health, but do it anyway. It’s frustrating in America too, but there’s so much power behind the anti-smoking movement there, I get less frustrated. I know that when I tell friends who smoke, “Seriously. You shouldn’t do that, you’re hurting yourself,” my comment will be followed up by the comments of others. And we’ve got those thetruth.com commercials on TV, and whatnot. I feel like, in America, people are persistently being ushered towards a lifestyle where they’re not consciously hurting themselves. At least when it comes to physical health. And I like that.
I guess that’s all I have to say. Grrr practices that are scientifically proven to cause cancer. Grrr people’s indifference to the meaning of the word “cause.”
Which in my head I immediately likened to Cash’s “The Man Comes Around.” Don’t ask me why; I was thinking those lyrics for the entire first day of his visit.
Also, what’s my advise to him as we’re kicking off our shoes?
“Okay now don’t speak too much Madura when we go in. Like a word, a couple words. But that’s it, don’t show me up! …No, I’m serious. Brian I’m serious!!”
Brian taught the neighborhood boys to play Uno, and forced them to wash their hands after tending to the call of nature in the bushes. Terima kasih, Uncle B. Was not ready to undertake either of those feats alone.
Aning’s part of my extended host family. She’s the daughter of our village’s RW. Right now, she’s living in something like a high school dormitory in the regency below ours.