I realize it has been a long time since I have posted on my blog but I hope this makes up for it. I have been going to bahasa Indonesia class in the morning and Link class in the afternoon learning how to be a teacher while also learning Peace Corps policy. My days begin early and end late. It has been quite tiring so I’ve been spending my evenings unwinding by watching TV shows and getting to know my fellow trainees. I received some great advice from an ID6 volunteer. He said that Pre-Service Training (PST) is our time to get to know our fellow trainees since they will be your allies throughout the two years we will be in Indonesia. Those two years will be good and bad, easy and difficult. I have to learn two languages, integrate into the society, and try to be successful at my job so I will need as much help as possible. You have to strike a balance between spending time with your host family, who you will live with for 10 weeks, and spending time with your fellow trainees, who you will rely on for 2 years. I decided after receiving that advice that I would spend more time with my fellow trainees even if I’m feeling tired and want to spend the day in my bed re-watching episodes of Community. Not having wifi has made this decision even easier since I don’t have Netflix to distract me but I like to think I would have made the same decision even if I had working wifi in my house. It has been great getting to know my fellow trainees and I have made a lot of good friendships during my short time here.
Last week we received our site placement and most of my close friends are in East Java while I am in West Java. I’d been saying I wanted West Java and even in my site placement interview when the regional manager asked me if I had any questions I told him I wanted to make a shameless plug to be placed in West Java. I wanted West because I wanted to be close to Jakarta and there are a lot of sites I want to visit but when I got the news after seeing most of my friends going East I started to regret my choice. As I started to read more about my site, I changed my mind and now I’m really excited to go there. I will be placed in Cibinong, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, which is supposedly an urban city (we will see). It’s really close to Jakarta and about 4 hours from Bandung. My school is a Madrasa high school 700m (less then half a mile) from my house and it has three vocations: farming, culinary arts, and….FASHION!!!!
I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I didn’t even know they had vocational fashion high schools. I think the PC staff saw how I make an effort to be fashionable and took note. Well done PC, well done. We will see how I like it once I get to site. We still have a week and a half of PST before heading to out permanent sites. We will travel by train for 16 hours to Bandung the day after we swear-in to become official volunteers. We get half a day to and the following day we meet our principal and our English teacher counterparts for a conference. They will then accompany us to our host family’s house in our respective sites. I’ve been getting restless during PST. I don’t have much time to sleep or really relax so it has been a bit stressful. I’m looking forward to having time for myself and being able to learn more about my host country. Training is for focusing on becoming a successful volunteer, so I understand why it has been strenuous but I am looking forward to having a break from it. We have training sessions throughout our time as a volunteer about 3-4 months apart. It’s a great way to discuss what has been successful for others, what hasn’t worked for them, and to get feedback/perspective from other volunteers.
I’ve had my doubts throughout PST but the closer I get to site placement and the more I get practice teaching the more confident I am. I’m really looking forward to being a teacher and learning more about Indonesia. Now here are some random pictures 🙂
We were invited on stage with the Mayor of Batu unexpectedly. Crazy night
My group kicked butt in the traditional games put together by our Cultural Liaisons. It was a lot of fun.
We did a teacher assessment for university students that are studying to become English Teachers here. They were really cool