Stepping into the car, I waved good-bye to my PST host family as I was about to move onto my new village. I felt a bit like Michael Landon as I hummed the “Highway to Heaven” theme song to myself and looked around for signs of an Indonesian Mr. Edwards. However, different from the popular television series, I didn’t actually help anyone at all during my village stay like Jonathan would have done. I mostly just ate their food, confused them with my beginner’s Indonesian, and left behind sheets that needed laundering. At the time I was departing, I was also awkwardly carrying a PC-issued bicycle helmet and a Garfield pillow given to me by my host sister, so that also slightly detracted from any Messiah-like departure. Nonetheless, I survived the 5-hour car ride home with my principal and counterparts and have moved onto the next episode.
My first day in my new village was promising as I could understand most of what my principal said in Indonesian, and I heard ABBA’s “Fernando” beckoning from a house as I walked to catch my first site of the Solo River. The first day I arrived, I was bombarded with 15 or so people in my house, most of whom I am sad to say I may not remember if I saw them again. You will be happy to know my new family introduced me to someone they hope to be my future husband. His name is Norman, and he works at the local bank. So I’ve got that going for me.
I spent the first few days meeting extended family, local village leaders (RW and RT), the village head (Kepala Desa), heads of Police, Regional Head of the Office of Religion, 200 students, 350 parents, 30 teachers, 1 local religious leader, and countless bewildered village folk. As a result, I took a lot of naps.
Here are my new digs:
|My bedroom. It is awkwardly the largest and nicest room.|
|Please note Care Bears laundry basket. This was here when I moved in. A sign that my new home will be a good fit.|
|TV room and where I eat my meals (I didn't take a picture of the table in the corner)|
|Kids who arrive on my doorstep each day wanting to play|
|With teachers at my school|
|The parents of the students at my school. I had to give an unscripted speech (in Indonesian) to them as well as to the students and teachers in separate sessions before this one.|
|My counterpart, Ms Olif and I at an event at the masjid. I love her. I am pretty sure there is a wild side deep in there somewhere, and I have two years to find it.|
|Some of my family. Ibu, Bapak, my niece, Ila, and her mom. Still working on getting a picture of my sister.|
|Solo River - a 2-minute walk from my house|
|Ayu and Ratih - two of the village posse who sometimes run with me|
|Across this bridge is Central Java. I run here most mornings.|
|On run home|