Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Cure-All

(Or Suka dan Duka - Part 2)
It's to be expected that, on occasion, this little jaunt still brings with it some low times. Certainly, these highs and lows would be commonplace regardless of my global coordinates, so there is nothing special there. At home or abroad - whether it's a sudden crashing into despair or a slow funk that creeps up, one just has to embrace it. Own it.

Crash. Funk. Own. 

Here, after a proper mourning period for myself, I can usually write or run it off, or an impromptu game with kids in the desa can turn it around. Other times, the lethargy seethes at a depth that only an Amanda Bynes movie can cure. Mostly, though, it helps to keep perspective that somehow I landed myself in a Peace Corps country that values pale skin, regards badminton as one of its most competitive sports, and has over eight varieties of Oreos.

Or, I go to my bag of tricks. Being blessed with an intricate network of phenomenal family and friends, luckily brings with it a killer stock of uplifting ammo. Menudo also helps. Here is a taste:

  • My niece, Emily, has a penchant for memorizing every single word to any movie she's ever seen. Here is her performance singing along with a song from Tangled. Stick in there to the end. It's award-worthy.

  • My host niece from my training village, Naila, here is dancing to some Javanese tunes in her Princesses T-shirt. The more things change, the more they stay the same really.

  • Additional love in the form of some NYC pals and family pulling together a dance video to my favorite song for a birthday. 
Birthday Dancing Video
  • And when all else fails, I go to the masters.

In closing, here is a short story written by my nieces earlier this year on a subway ride to my apartment. I found it in my journal the other day. One wrote a phrase, the other continued, and it alternated back and forth.  

Once there was a rock named George who loved a fish named Maurice. They got married and had a rish named Maurge. It was part rock and part fish so it was tan and could swim. On Friday nights, Maurice and George went to a club called "The don't lean on the door." So that left Maurge home alone. It was not good! So he shook up a bottle of soda and shoved it in his mouth which shot him all the way to China. When George and Maurice got home they said,"Well, we'll get a new kid."
Written by: Kerry Fitzgerald & Katie DiRago
Merry Christmas and love to my fam and peeps!

"There's no vocabulary
For love within a family, love that's lived in
But not looked at, love within the light of which
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech. This love is silent."

- T. S. Eliot 

(sorry for the secular reference, Pa)

Monday, December 5, 2011


Freedom. Independence. It isn’t just for George Michael, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell lip-synching in suggestive poses.

Once I felt comfortable enough with my host sister, Nanda, I asked her what she thought about Americans after watching all of the movies she said she enjoyed (American Pie movies, various horror flicks, etc). She said, “I think it is more free there.” From the way she said it, I asked, “But, not in a good way?” 

“No”, she said.

I’ve had this interaction a few times. Hollywood movies have really taken us down a notch in the eyes of global morality. I can guarantee I would not have had some of the conversations I was forced to have while traveling in India had “Sex and the City” never existed. But, this is part of the culture from whence I come. 

When this topic came up with my current host dad, he asked me which I would choose. I pondered the things that I have enjoyed living here, and I had to take mental stock of which culture truly allows for more freedom. 

One would think America is obviously more free. However, in some ways, living in a non-litigious society like East Java allows for some liberties not available in the US. 
  • For instance, three total strangers from a foreign land (my training village mates and I) walked up to a random elementary school and asked if we could play with 50 or so of the kids for a community project the following day. This was no problem. No permission slips, no background checks, nothing. We didn’t even ask the principal. Totally copacetic. 
  • In addition, in our training village, parties were thrown weekly, blocking off main streets and playing mind-numbing music from 5am until 2am the following day. No permission was needed to do this, and neighbors just had to bear it (actually, no one in the village ever seemed to mind at all - just us volunteers). Any town in America would have had the cops coming to the door after about an hour of “disturbing the peace”. Here, perfectly OK.* This is also in addition to the regular calls to prayer or occasional 2-day, non-stop readings of the entire Koran over loudspeakers. No stamp of approval from the folks in town necessary. It's all AOK.
  • At Bromo, I was standing on the precipice of the mouth of an active volcano with nothing preventing any one of the hundred or so crazy tourists behind me from casually nudging me over the edge to my death. In America, there is no way a place like Bromo would have been open to visitors in its current post-eruption state with its multitude of safety hazards. But I am thankful it’s not in America, and I’m thankful I got a chance to see it just as I did.

No banister, railing or blockade between me and the mysteries of the deep. Please note remnants of prior railing blown by last eruption. Freedom. It tastes oddly of sulfur.  

  • Similarly, on a recent jaunt to Kayangan Api, or a natural eternal flame near my site, I fulfilled a lifelong dream I never knew I had - to stand in fire. I can't think of a public place in the US where I could have checked that item off my list.

Climbing over the railing to get a closer look at the bubbling, gaseous well before us.

So, so far in the tally in America vs. Indonesia – if you want to throw a spontaneous English camp, throw an all-night rager, stand in the midst of burning flames, or get a tourist attraction up and running quickly, Indonesia’s your girl. Where else can you load a motorcycle with 4+ of your family members sans helmets? And where can a 4 year-old exercise his God-given right to handle highly dangerous instruments for igniting fires? Freedom! I mean, don’t we Americans get a little too caught up in the “what ifs” and potential dangers of things anyway? Maybe it’s time we let loose a little.

I was recently rereading "Rivertown" by Peter Hessler to keep me in the Peace Corps mood, and on July 4th he gives his students in China an assignment to write their own Declaration of Independence from the things that enslave them. It got me to thinking about what I would have declared independence from in my life in America: time, money, maybe worry. And somehow, I realized I have gained some of that independence a little here in Indonesia. 

  • Time - For the last 10 years, my life had been overscheduled. I have only myself to blame. I love to create itineraries and calendars and run from one event to the next, sometimes internally complaining about how much I have to do. In one day, I would run a half marathon, shower at a friend’s apartment near the park, stop by work to clear out some emails, jump on a subway to a bridal shower, and then ride the Metro-North to hit a family gathering later that evening. It’s no wonder I catch myself feeling a bit lazy here. But I have to remind myself that maybe this is just a welcome taste of some unscheduled freedom. 
  • Money/material objects -  I am not living in poverty here, but people in my village generally have less money than a family in the US. I can never quite get my mind around the economics of things – how the price of something here would cost four times as much in America, but most everyday items are cheap here compared to US standards. It costs me less than $2 to get from my village to Surabaya, which is a 4-hour bus ride away. I get upset if I have to pay more than 50 cents for an ice cream, but a deck of UNO cards costing Rp 35,000, or less than $4, is a pretty extravagant purchase. The parents of the kids in my village can’t afford it, and that's what keeps the kids coming around - being able to use me for my expensive UNO cards. Anyway, in a certain sense, my volunteer status allows me to forget about money for a little bit as I am able to live pretty comfortably here on the small allowance we receive.
The short time I’ve been here has also made me realize that I have a lot of...stuff. This always seems to be the case. It sort of traps you and bogs you down – this accumulation of things. There is a certain freedom in not having too much stuff – or being able to teach English in a room that doesn’t have a lot of fancy equipment, colorful bulletin boards or props. You just have to get right to the meat of things and use what’s around you. I am still learning this, but, in a way, it can be somewhat liberating. 

    • Safety - Community works differently here. People in the village may not only be neighbors, but there is a high probability they are related in some way. This creates a safety net where kids from age 3 on up can roam around the village, free to run in and out of any neighbor’s house at will as long as they are home for maghrib (the call to prayer at sundown). Front doors to houses are always open unless everyone inside is sleeping. The community here protects – so much so, that it is rare to go to the police with any issues. 
    I may be naïve on this one still, but it also seems to bring an innocence to kids where they are sheltered and protected from things longer than they would be in the US. I realize there are probably a fair share of social issues seething beneath the surface that I cannot yet see, but occasionally, I consider the idea of my 13 year-old niece coming to live out the remainder of her teen years here with the built-in safety that this community provides. Not sure how she’d feel about missing out on field hockey, though.
      With all of these new-found freedoms afforded by my change of life, there are some freedoms in the US that I do miss. 
      • I miss being able to bust out and go for a run at night like I used to in Brooklyn, simply because I felt like it. 
      • I miss not having to tell anyone where I am going.
      • I miss blending in.   
      • I miss seeing the smooching scene at the end of “Enchanted” that has been censored from TV viewing for being too risqué.
      • I miss being able to fight openly with people when we are annoyed or disagree with one another. And I miss the feeling of release and relief that brings once true feelings have been aired openly. 
      • I miss being able to roll my eyes.  
      • I miss quiet.
      • I miss living in a cat-free abode.
      • I miss being able to skip breakfast or dinner if I want. 
      • I miss hugs. 
      • I miss being able to wear a tank top and boxers walking around the house when it is 90 degrees outside. 
      • I miss being able to find a place where I can be outside and be completely alone. 
      I miss being able to do things when I want to do them in the way I want, without anyone watching or judging. The greatest sacrifice of Peace Corps so far, aside from being half a globe away from family and friends, has been giving up these things I didn’t realize I’d miss.

      So, who really is more free? And how would I answer my host dad’s question of which culture’s freedom I would choose?

      I don’t know. 

      Getting my hands on a cheesesteak sure would be keen, though. And maybe some more Swiss Cake Rolls. 

      In closing, I will post some fun pictures from Indonesian Independence Day ceremonies where students reenacted overtaking the Dutch (this occurred back in August, but it seemed fitting to the topic to post now). It was so funny, I cried, causing my standard caking of SPF 45 sunblock to run into my eyes. I’m pretty sure the students around me must have thought I was overwhelmed by the performance.

      Student faintings are standard at any gathering, and here is one of the Red Cross students helping one off the field.

      Dutch flag of red, white and blue is up on the left.

      The freedom fighters come in from the right. The kids playing the Dutch won't know what hit 'em.

      Chaos and flag down

      Man down. The Dutch flag is ripped of its blue and hoisted with the red and white of the Indonesian flag today.
      Fallen getting carried off the field of battle and everyone chanting and singing. Amazing.
      *Actually, these ragers do not exist in my current village. The culture here is different with all parties ending way before sundown. Although, the continuous reading of the Koran through day and night still occurs. In fact, there is a reading from a nearby masjid projecting through my screenless window even as I write.

      Wednesday, November 23, 2011

      I think I’m turning Javanese, I really think so.

      It’s happening. While the odds of fully escaping the bumbling Brody syndrome are still fairly low, I have had some realizations lately indicating that my perceptions are, indeed, slowly changing. For instance: 

      • Sometimes I fish the ants out of my morning hot chocolate, but most days now, I don’t even bother. 
      • A few weeks ago, I was watching a movie, and I experienced a slight feeling of disgust when Jennifer Lopez was scarfing food in an unrefined manner with her left hand. Left hand usage is usually a “no no” considering the bathroom situation, and, after 7 short months of conditioning, I was surprised to catch myself physically jerking at this sight.
      • I felt embarrassed for a guest speaker who recently came to talk to volunteers and was wearing a low-cut dress. After half a year of barely showing my collarbone, it made me feel uncomfortable, and I finally had a glimpse of what it must be like for conservative Indos to see Westerners prancing around tourist attractions in skimpy attire.
      • It is almost impossible for me to make any decisions more than 8 hours into the future. In the beginning, I was supremely agitated over not knowing the full story of things. I would get in a car with no idea where I was going. I could be in that same car for one hour or seven. You could never really tell. Somehow, along the way, though, this becomes OK. Or you learn to deal with it. In my case, I seem to avoid any comprehension that time will continue to exist after an 8-hour period. This works for me. 
      • When I first came, I wondered why my family didn’t just put a couch in front of the TV as that is where they always congregate, but now I’m also partial to squatting on the floor mats and mattresses or plopping down right on the cool, linoleum tile.  
      • Today I went the whole day without ever using an electric fan, and on a visit back to my original training village, I couldn’t stop remarking how cold it was. Not that anyone ever discusses actual temperature, but it was probably around low 70s back in Malang. I would guess it is usually high 80s and 90s at my site during the dry season. I think. I am usually sweating no matter what - so, after a certain point, it doesn’t really matter anymore.
      Aside: Here lies another difference between Indonesians and Americans: the topic of weather in casual conversation. In Indonesia, it’s hot or cold or sumuk (humid). It may be mendung (about to rain) or hujan (raining). And that’s about it. Temperature never comes up, and it has only struck me now, after being out of my own country for almost 8 months, just how much time is devoted to the topic of weather in America. I wondered exactly how many people are employed with researching and reporting weather on a daily basis there, and I found that meteorology as a career was identified by US News and World Report as one of the top 50 best jobs of 2011. Heh. I don’t how many people would be employed with such pursuits here. Maybe a handful? What’s to report? It’s pretty much always hot. During rainy season, it rains. During the hot season, it doesn’t. Not much to discuss. Although, a weatherman’s odds at being correct sure would be a heck of a lot better here.
      • Perhaps the greatest indicator of my progress in integrating is my ability to successfully insert the straw into the commonly-used Aqua water cups. I started out with a poor success-rate, maybe 3 out of 10 tries punctured the straw through the seal. The other times I had to have fellow teachers, principals, religious heads, or their wives come to my aid, usually causing a ruckus during important meetings. Now, I am looking at about an 8 out of 10 success rate. I’m doing it! 
      The successful puncturing of my 1023rd Aqua water cup. My measure of success in Peace Corps service.

      Oh right, and here are pics from my host sister's wedding this past weekend: 

      The make-up room. LOTS of make-up.

      There is a make-up team who brings all of the clothes for the ladies helping serve food and receiving guests. You grab out of the suitcase like a game of dress-up and pin and sew to make it fit. I had nothing else going on, so I joined in.

      My sister and her husband. They were actually already married in the house back in September with around 200 guests, and this is at the reception this past weekend with about 1000 guests invited. I am still foggy on the separate wedding/reception as it doesn't seem terribly common here. I will keep you posted. Here, my sister is preparing to ceremoniously wash her husband's foot.
      My sister flanked by my bapak and ibu.
      My bapak leads the bride and groom to their place on the stage.

      Some of the awesome kids in my extended host family who traveled in. We played lots of Pig and Hangman the night before. Oh, the whole family also got to wear matching batik made especially for the occasion. I was pretty jealous I did not get to join as I live for any reason to dress in matching attire.

      Many items to comment on here. Not sure what is more disturbing - the 8 layers of make-up, my Johnny Bravo hair-do, or the fact that I look about 45 years-old. I also enjoy this for the standard blank stares of my fellow teachers and the completely frightened look of my counterpart's daughter. Awesome.

      With pals, Bu Yani, my counterparts Bu Olif and Pak Saiyfu, along with his daughter

      Extended fam from Jakarta

      My best bud, Adit. We played about 100 rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. He's my biggest fan.

      The receiving line. So, guests basically just line up, shake hands with the parents and bride and groom, get their picture taken, shuffle off to eat food while listening to other guests sing along to dangdut music (no dancing), and then leave. 

      That bowling alley wedding dream is looking pretty spectacular about now. 

      Yeah, perhaps I'm not as Javanese as I thought.

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      Al Adha: Death, the Meaning of Life, and Bubble Wrap

      I was staring at the fidgety cow that, in a matter of hours, would be cut up and divided into black plastic bags and delivered to each family in the village. I wondered if he knew. Did he know he was about to die? And, if so, what was his take on it? 

      It got me to thinking of an episode of Scrubs. Not the one where Turk dances and lip syncs to Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison”, although I do enjoy referencing that one from time to time.  I was remembering the one where JD has to tell a woman she is going to die, and he is astonished when she takes the news calmly and says she is ready. She tells him she’s done everything she wanted to do. He proceeds to make a list of dreams she probably hasn’t fulfilled to try to convince her to fight (go to Asia, learn a foreign language, go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, etc), and, it turns out, she has done them all.   

      It may surprise some, but I think about death a lot. A lot. Not merely because of my phobias of confined spaces, deep water, heights, heavy winds, angry geese, or a more recent fear of being sideswiped by a truck or motorcycle while riding my bike. I often use it as a litmus test to determine if I am satisfied with my life. Would I be content with the way I leave things if it were to end now? Usually, I find I am. No matter what recent scrape I’ve gotten myself into, what lows I may experience, or what deficiencies I still possess - generally, I find I’m happy. I’ve had a pretty good run - thanks to some special folks along the way.  

      I watched two cows and two goats bite it today, on the Muslim holy day of Idul Al Adha, or Eid-al-Adha. While it got me to thinking about life and death, it also made me wonder at the surprising similarities that spring up between the religions. Al Adha signifies the end of the Hajj season (see Glossary), but, really, it commemorates God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son to prove his obedience. Abraham had committed to fulfill God’s wish, and as he was preparing to kill his own son, God revealed that Abraham's sacrifice had already been fulfilled. Abraham’s son would be spared as Abraham had proved his love of God superseded the love of all others, even that of his family. 

      The story is roughly the same one shared by Jews and Christians, although I think the name of the son changes. It was the same story that always freaked me out as a kid, and I found it compelling that this same story I learned in my religion was the basis of a holiday for a faith that, for most of my life, has been totally foreign to me. It got me to thinking about how much we really share. Like, did you know the Koran also has stories of Adam and Eve, Moses, Noah, etc, although the take may be slightly different (based on my poor level of theological knowledge). These stories are shared by three of the world’s major faiths, and, from what I can see, it would seem these three faiths all worship what appears to be the same God. Zooming out and taking a look at what a mess things are today, you’d think this shared history and common commitment to God would really get people holding hands and singing that Coke commercial song around the world. Alas, more often than not, it divides. 

      Obviously, I am oversimplifying a bit. But it still seems worth it to take this opportunity and reflect on those things we share in common. In the words of Sargent Shriver: 
      "Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us."
      In my short time, I have certainly been confronted with many differences between the two cultures, but here are some fun things I’ve found that Americans and Indonesians share in common: 

      • Everyone likes ice cream (South Africans named Susan excluded).
      • Justin Bieber evokes strong responses in tweens.
        • Assembling wedding invitations is tedious in both cultures.
        • Dads cry at their daughters’ wedding.
        • Grown men look like little boys right after they get their hair cut.

        • Bus drivers all seem to know each other and wave as they pass.
          • We love popping those plastic bubbles used for packaging. See my host ibu and niece enraptured below:

          Similar to Jerry Seinfeld’s pleading to “look to the (black and white) cookie” as a means of eradicating racial tensions, I say – let’s look to the bubble wrap, people. Relieve that tension therapeutically - not violently!

          I think back again to that cow before he died. I guess a cow doesn’t lead much of a life – or, I dunno – maybe grazing, eating grass in the open, Indonesian sunshine could be viewed as a pretty good existence. But maybe the fact that this cow represented a religious sacrifice of my community and would provide food to a hundred families is an important purpose also. 

          His death also served to teach me how sheltered we keep ourselves from some of the gruesome realities in life. I’ve eaten hamburgers and steak for years, and this was the first time I was seeing what has to happen for my Royale cheeseburger or meatball parm sub cravings to be satisfied. And the killing, cutting, hacking, skinning – all of it was being done by my fellow teachers and students. They all knew what to do, and I just stood there looking on dumbfounded, getting in the way. I mean, in this day in age in our American service society, who even knows how to kill their own dinner anymore? Come a natural disaster or nuclear fallout, where will be without our pre-packaged ground beef and chicken nuggets?

          Yes, I learned a lot from that cow. I like to think he felt content at that last moment before I learned that real animal blood looks fake - like bright, red paint as it spews forth onto the ground. I hope at the last, he knew he was serving a higher calling. And I thought of his life on this earth and his greater purpose fondly as I ate fried bits of him for dinner.

          Your memory lives on, my friend.  
          Some of my students and the cow with many lessons to teach. I only posted before and after pictures and refrained from showing any pics of the actual killing to keep it PG.

          The cow and goat getting prepped in the woods behind our school.

          How the "h" did I miss out on learning to use a machete before reaching high school?

          All of the students pitching in to help cut up and divide the meat.

          Bu Yani and Bu Anis weighing the portions to make sure the meat is divvied up equally.

          More students helping to bring in more meat to be cut.

          Final goodie bags to be delivered to families in the area and to the poor.

          Saturday, October 29, 2011

          Bros, Bromo, and Badminton

          Standing in the courtyard of the Jaipur City Palace a few years ago, I was plotting. How can I approach these two young, white women and convince them to hang out with me? It had been only a few days traveling in India on my own, and I was already exhausted from the attention of being the only white person in a never-ending sea of Indians (man, there are a lot of Indians!). I found myself disappointed at how quickly I had fallen into the “other” mentality. I was simply starving to swap stories with a fellow Westerner over the barrage of cultural differences I found myself buried under. Luckily, the ladies from Belgium saw my desperation, and I joined them for dinner at their hostel to debrief. I felt like a failure to be immediately drawn to people "the same” as me, and I vowed to avoid it in future travels. 

          Yes, I was going to do Peace Corps on my own. In fact, I was looking forward to spending two years in total seclusion. I had spent 10 years in NYC perfecting my hardened exterior and increasingly judgmental nature. While this made me better at making quick decisions and checking a ridiculously large amount of tasks off my “to do” lists, it had gotten to a point where one of my direct reports at work was found crying in the bathroom due to fear of me. Seeking guidance and consolation, I emailed an old friend out of the blue to confess: “It’s happened. I have grown completely heartless.” Two years isolated in the wilds of a foreign land seemed just about enough time to attempt to revive the dead inside. 

          I was also joining at a point in my life when most people start cutting back on relationships in pursuit of things like careers and families and whatnot, so I was unprepared and sort of unwilling to dust off the friend-making skills, at least with people of the Western persuasion. When I arrived at staging in San Francisco, I knew I’d go through the motions of ice breakers and chatting, but this thing was really going to be done solo. I’d proceed with the niceties and then go off on my merry way after training to my remote village, not caring how far away I was from another volunteer. 

          A few problems with this. 

          1. In an internet age where most people are armed with a cell phone (or two) and a direct connection to their own facebook page, it’s actually pretty difficult to be totally disconnected nowadays. 
          2. I also volunteer on an island with one of the highest population densities in the world (a fellow volunteer quotes on his blog that Java is roughly the size of Florida with 7 times the population). It also has one of the highest amounts of said facebook users. In general, a remote, secluded village is hard to come by. 
          3. Looking back to my India story, after varying amounts of time immersed in a new culture, it is pretty tough to fight the urge to connect with someone who shares your cultural common ground. You need them to assist in sorting through the dizzying array of new experiences.

          So, during PST, something happened. Site placements were announced, and I found myself crying into my Indonesian host mom’s arms over realizing I’d be 6 hours away from her and my training host family. More importantly, I was upset I would be almost 2 hours away from the nearest volunteer from my group. The furthest volunteer would clock in at over 13 hours away. 

          In a matter of months, I found myself needing these people who were once complete strangers. My biggest surprise of Peace Corps came with realizing the path to becoming a nicer person wasn’t one that would be traveled sendirian (alone). These folks, coupled with some significant amounts of down time, helped me remember some important, albeit saccharine, tenets of life: 

          1. Everyone wants to be accepted and appreciated for who they are. If you can create a community where that is the case, it is pretty awesome. And isn’t that what we should strive for in the world-at-large anyway?
          2. And everyone has something to give.
          Or, in my case, I have a lot I need to take. I need to gchat a volunteer when I need bike-riding tips. I need to call PC staff for anything from refilling my bug spray and advising which cab I should take to helping me negotiate school schedules. I need to vent to a fellow volunteer when I feel I am totally useless. I need to steal lesson plans when I have absolutely no idea what I am doing as a teacher. I need someone to hold the hotel key because I will obviously lose it after about ten minutes. Not sure how I thought I could survive two years away with little to no interaction with my fellow PCVs and PC staff. I certainly couldn't have survived the first 6 months without them. 

          Now, I don’t want to get caught up and lose focus on why I am here, which is to try to fulfill the three goals of Peace Corps below:  
          1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women. 
          2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. 
          3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
            I certainly don't want to lose sight of the people I came here to serve or what I am supposed to do. I am still all about searching for ways to promote mutual understanding between our cultures. It does seem worth it, however, to take a moment here. It is penting (important) to recognize this experience would be severely more difficult if it were not for the support and inspiration of an amazing cast of characters I was lucky enough to be thrown into Indonesia with. 

            Here are some pics of some swingin' times with them. PC Indo Staff, ID(4), and IDFLY(5), in the immortal words of Hall and Oates, “you make-a my dreams come true..woo ooh.” 

            Bejoso Goes to Bromo

            Badminton Tournament with PC Staff

            Nicole and Winarto (far right) would go on to take the entire tournament. I think it had everything to do with the matching headbands.

            Maryono and I made it through the first round taking down Hoban and Whitney! Sorry guys.

            We were defeated in round two by the Gables. They had an unfair advantage, being PC Indo's only married couple. Rematch, Paige and Dan!
            After the tournament, we watched some serious badminton playing from PC staff. Mas Tim officiating.

            Here begins a series of Bejoso training village pics. Some are blurry. Still enjoyable, nonetheless.

            From right to left: Runners up, Brianna and Heru, receiving their medals. Nicole and Winarto await their glory.