Sunday, April 22, 2012
Today is Monday. I write this sitting in a hospital room with my Ibu. She is getting her sore shoulder treated. After this we are going to the salon together.
Yesterday my ayah had the day off from working at the hospital. In the morning my Ibu and I woke up at five and went running/ walking. Then we all three ate breakfast together. I enjoyed oatmeal and soymilk. Later around noon we went to this graveyard complex called San Diego Hills. They drove me around the complex and showed me the various hills for each of the five recognized religions in Indonesia. Then they showed me their plots. We ate lunch at the scenic Italian restaurant that overlooks the pool. After lunch I went swimming in the scenic blue pool that overlooks the rolling and landscaped hills of the cemetery acres. Some a Japanese expat family showed up started playing in the pool too. It was interesting to hear them speak a mixture of Japanese, Indonesian, and Sundanese (the local language). After I swam around for a while, my parents took me by some of the factories in Karawang. Karawang is a city but it is rather vast & a lot of it is rural, the other part is factories. Ever wonder where your Toyota, Yamaha, or Barbie product comes from? Those are just three of the many products that come out of Karawang International Industrial City (KIIC for short). Who would have known that the Barbies I played with when I was little already connected me to my future home... We passed by lots of motorized scooter parking...the place where the factory workers park if they have a motorized scooter. We passed by tour buses used to transport the factory workers that don't have their own transportation. Then we were passed by three or four truck loads or new cars coming out of the Toyota factory gates. From there we stopped by a traditional Sundanese restaurant and had afternoon drinks and fruit. The restaurant overlooked a lake and we sat in a traditional Sundanese gazebo made of bamboo and thatch-looking material for the roof. Getting back into the car, my parents took me to see the complex where the factory owners live and stay. Almost all the factory owners are exclusively foreigners....all from India, Japan, or Korea. We headed home and relaxed in front o the TV, my parents watched the news and I read a book on my iTouch.
The day beefforre that, so Saturday, was wild! I was in the MTQ regional parade...so that's the equivalent of a state-wide parade. I'm not sure what MTQ stands for, but I think it's an abbreviation for something in Arabic. I will find out. Anyways, it was kind of a parade to celebrate Islamic arts and culture. It was a festival with competitions for reading from the Qu'ran, religious music, etc. There were real live camels, men on stilts, floats with children playing Arab instruments, young women dancing Jaipong (traditional Sundanese dance), and various organizations all marching in the parade. The head of the tourism department at the office of culture and arts asked Andrew and me to be in the parade. They dressed us up in traditional clothes and did our make-up. I really regret not taking a picture because I swear we looked like we were going to get married. That was because both of our outfits were mostly white...and my hair was done in an up do and I had a veil...like a wedding veil pretty much. I will try and hunt down one of the thousands of pictures that were taken of/with me...
At the last minute Andrew couldn't participate in the parade, so I ended up walking as the lone bule through the streets of my town. I swear to bob, it was wild. I guarantee that more than half the people there had never ever seen a white person before. When I walked through the streets next to the provincial flag and provincial sign (which were held by some school friends of mine), I literally had to have police escorts because so many people would try to rush me and get a photo or touch me. It was wild. I'm pretty sure that I can now forever sympathize with celebrities. It was wonderful to have people cheer, wave, and smile at me; it was intimidating to be called Barbie, be hollered at by teenage boys & men, and have so many people try to take pictures of and with me...without even asking people would get up in my face and get a picture with me. I just smiled through it. A little intimidating but they didn't mean any harm.
Now I'm at the salon with my Ibu. :)
In about two weeks my Ibu is taking me to Bali! I am so excited! I've already been once but only for a few days & it flooded so we didn't get to play at the beach or do water sports.
I need to back track to about a month ago and explain a major event. Ive switched host families for various reasons. Not the kind of story that I want to post on the Internet as I still want to be sensitive to the privacy of my first host family. I am thankful for my first host family's hospitality and for the fact that they were willing to let me stay in their house. I'll take home some good memories from my time with them. That said, now I'm living with my contact person's family. My ayah is an ear, nose, and throat doctor and my Ibu does not have a professional career. She is very active in the community though. I have three host siblings but none of them live at home; the two oldest are already married & I actually have a nephew :)
My contact person/now host sister is in her second year of college to become a doctor & she is an alumnus of the YES scholarship to America.
With about two months left until departure, I am trying to enjoy every moment. I am so excited to return home and start college, but I know I will miss my host family.
On the third of May I am going to participate in my class's graduation ceremony & wear a kebaya. It will be fun & I am going to get my make-up done with my friends.
Two or three weeks ago I went to Kalimantan on an AFS organized trip that last four nights & about five days. It was a whole deal. We stayed with short term host families in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, and we met the governor of Sou Kal and the mayor of Banjarbaru. On ojek we rode up the mountain to see and swim in a waterfall. I almost got washed down the falls because the current was so strong! But some nice Indonesian men pulled me out before I hit too many rocks & fell down the waterfall. On bamboo rafts we braved rapids and more strong currents. I even got to help steer! We saw a floating market in Banjarbaru by riding on police boats to the market harbor. It was a fun trip but difficult for vegetarian as the people of Kalimantan really like meat. One night we also saw a Dayak tribal dance. Mainly it was fun to be reunited with so many of the other AFS students. Most of the Germans, all of the Belgians, all the Americans, and one Japanese came on the trip.
Suggestions for blog posts are as always welcome. I've already got a to-do list of things for college that are due before I get back! Can you believe it!
I really miss recycling & having a rigorous academic schedule. I also miss all my Mother's life anecdotes & practical advice. To say it all, I miss home. But that doesn't mean I'm not having an enriching life experience here!