Thanks

Things to Be Thankful For
PC Service
Month 24
  • Talking to my friend before she boards her flight home from Indonesia
  • My new Exxon pals
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Scandal with Kerry Washington
  • Finally getting over the fact they made the love interest from Adventures in Babysitting a professional killer in Scandal
  • Running into my LES pals getting ready for the Hari Pendidikan celebration
  • Not going to class
  • Skype with Pa
  • Resume help
  • NY Regional office help
  • First stage of cleaning out my teaching bag and cubby
  • Job offers. Even if I don't want them.
  • Chat with Krystal
  • Edwina getting me Beck tickets. This making me realize I will actually be home one day.
  • Emails from Taylor
  • Promises from Rezza
  • Skype with Ma, Mikey and Andy
  • Gchat with Codes, Nicole
  • Phone chat with Nicole
  • Badminton at the SLB
  • Calls to Trish from church
  • Finally resolving on the give up
  • Booking flights
  • CapitalOne cooperation to let me book flights
  • Meeting Ms O for juice/ice cream date at Bravo
  • Going through my stuff and realizing I will need all month to sort through it
  • Finishing reading The Host
  • Getting job applications in
  • Making bracelets on the porch with Ayuk, Ila and Lea
  • Failing at two consecutive long runs - thankful for opportunity to work through the demons
  • Boats! That are moving. 
  • Getting to Madura to see my db pal, Taylor
  • In time to get a PC ride with her to the hospital
  • Dengue photo shoot 

  • Brianna riding her bike to school on a red day and then texting me about it
  • Donuts
  • Showering
  • Working it out
  • Texts from Ata
  • Listening to the old ID5 Intro playlists
  • SMP LES chats about boys, how many kids they want to have, describing themselves and friends. Chill. 
  • Thanking and motorcycles
  • Calzones

  •  Ramayana!!!!!!! 
 

  • "Head of the Class" and "Ice Castles" on cable
  • Cereal
  • Getting books
  • Bakpia 
  • Mandis after 7-hr bus rides
  • Mother's Day/Granny Bday chats with Ma, Col, and the aunts
  • Last Jombang-Batu bus ride
  • Misty, chilly Batu
  • Aspirin
  • Katie and Kayla
  • Betsy, Sultan, Puji, Ayu, Rere
  • Ken and the way he always brings candy
  • ID7!!!!!!!!! You're so awesome! 
  • Britteny
  • DL and Nelsine 
  • PC Staff pics

  • Hanging with Rachmat, Ayu, Ning, and Ishom
  • Angkots
  • Beji
  • Pregnant Nanda! 
  • Beji fam
  • Hanging with the boys from Semeru
  • Jonathan's Birthday Indian dinner

 
  • Bojos. Old school. 









  • Nice texts
  • Tantris
  • Ryanisms
  • Realizing after Jay dictated my speech to me that I had the copy of it the whole time
  • Jon Krasinski's lip-sync
  • Graduation, speech, and karaoke complete! 
  • Gifts from each of my classes. Current tally: scarf, batik, sarung, windchimes and pencil holder, jilbab pins, fan, and six stuffed animals.


  • Shedding tears at the following: 1) Luqman from class XI-IPS1 giving me his scouts sash and a school cap on which he wrote "I Love You". 2) Peni, my Muslim student from class XII-IPA, giving me a set of rosary beads. Bringing it together, PC.
  • Indonesia jacket from Ms Olif!
Don't worry. Just sat on the motorcycle for picture purposes
  • Rp 5,000 haircuts
 
  • Making it through 3 days of travel to Bojo
  • Fruit basket from visiting a school
  • Checking out the pondok
  • Pitch Perfect
  • Making it through MGMP
  • Emotionally recovering from my worst PC moment. Got it in under the wire. 
  • Texts from Wawan 
  • Ride home from Bu Indah
  • Being alone
  • Berpisahan chats
  • Hanging at Bu Har's and eating mie
  • Pagi texts
  • Vira
  • Hanging with Ila and Ayuk all day
  • Riding through the village, handing out kenang-kenangan cards
  • Skype with fam before Cooperstown
 Month 23
  • Getting up at 4:30am to skype the fam on my 3rd and last Easter away from home

  • Ipod shuffle on buses to Sbya
  • Getting the language test done
  • Tay's bday with the gang
  • Rolos
  • Catching up with AFenn
  • Practicing "The Confrontation" with Brianna
  • The Host! - "Allrighty then...", "STORE"
  • Getting up to run
  • Skype with the aunts
  • Breakfast buffet w/ Robert
 
  • Getting the dilly-o of Bondowoso IGLOW from Nicole and confirming she is a Wonder Woman
  • Dentist, lab excursions with Tay
  • Somehow making it back in time for travel to my site and being the only one in the van
  • Eating the rest of the Swiss Cake Rolls for dinner
  • Caramel Cadbury eggs
  • LES back on with Izzul, Faul, Ila, and Marta
  • Giving Ila the grade she should have gotten on her English test (removing all errored or ridiculous questions) = 77%! 
    • Example: One question was "The Kristens have Kristmas on _____________." How exactly is asking a Muslim child the date of Christmas testing her English?
  • IPA -1 actually studying for their English test. Only 5 remedials! We're doing it!
  • Sleepy texts
  • Running with Feny back on. We shot for 4 miles and she stopped at 1.5. Baby steps.
  • Senam back on. And getting to watch Pak Sukar, Mr Edi, and Pak Patoh shake it in the new routine.
  • Kesha showing up for senam in her pink cowboy boots, mini-shorts and jilbab. Here she is after the jilbab came off:

  • LES with Ayuk, Ika, Faul, Ila, Izzul

  • Gathering all class 11 girls to fill out IGLOW applications. And the following petition from them to use a number system for the essays to make sure the selection is anonymous. Check out that democracy at work! 

  • Making plans
  • Running I think, 14 miles? I just don't know anymore and washing clothes before heading out
  • Making friends at the track
  • Finally finding out how long the track is
  • Water from track neighbors
  • Chafing and blisters - at least I'm doing something
  • Anticipation
  • Finally getting to ice cream joints
  • Thanking
  • Toast and chocolate milk
  • Surprising AFenn! 
  • Running into Kayla
  • Eating McDonald's and watching TV with AFenn
  • Buying, what may be, the last Snickers in Indonesia. I give thanks that my stay in Indonesia overlapped with that of the Snickers bar. You got me through some tough times, old buddy. Now that you're leaving....well, it's time....

  • Scottish novels from Tay
  • Another successful travel experience
  • SLB visit

  • Getting stuff done
  • Long calls to Trish 
  • Pain relief
  • BABY Nia! 

  •  My first flood. A few houses hit, but all were OK. And lots of playing in the streets.

 
 
  • 2gether
  • My niece Emily getting annoyed at me for calling on her birthday. Good to know distance does not bring any false affection. 
  • Remembering about "making the gas"
  • My pal crossing the Boston finish long before any trouble
  • Surviving the Yogyakarta/Solo trip with the fam
    • Playground picnics!
    • Merapi! 
    • Waterfalls!
    • Bakpia! 
    • Not having to be crammed in the backseat
    • Riding behind the Susuki SUV with the motto "Total Assy" emblazoned on the back
  • Bouncing back from Siaga mode
  • Ila doing all her homework by herself correctly
  • Hang with Ila and Ayuk on the porch
  • Treating myself to Rocket Chicken and running into the SLB crowd
  • Batik lessons
  • Side car salvation
  • Molly's first journal entry of her Disney trip
  • IGLOW Magetan!
  • After walking the worst stretch of sweaty, hilly road, Rachel's kepala sekolah randomly picking us up and driving us all the way to the bus terminal
  • Sleepover with AFenn, Liz, and Martine
  • Chatting development with M
  • IGLOW Meeting Kartini stories
  • Indomaret jaunts

  • Watching New Girls with AFenn
  • AFenn buying me those wheat, chocolate cookies for when I get home
  • Having a roommie (and manual laborer) for a week. Love you, AFenn!
  • LES games with the kiddies

  • Not killing that kid who ran into me on his bike. Although my glasses didn't make it. 
  • Raffi, Leah, and crew invading the porch
  • IGLOW Bojo
    • Getting the workbooks done
    • AFenn's name tags! 
    • Working through the principal-wanting-us-to-ride-a-bus-for-4-hours-for-no-reason problem
    • Working through the ghost-in-the-library problem
    • The Bupati not coming to the IGLOW opening
    • Everyone else coming to the IGLOW opening
    • Yoga with MEBs
    • Basketball with Martine, Candra, and girls
    • Candra

    • Ci'ut
    • Scavenger Hunts and Team Builders
    • The level-headed reasoning of Liz
    • Not crying during "moments" during the camp
    • Except for when I said good-bye to Bu Mary
    • Rebounding from Talent Show
    • Bu Olif, Bu Yurike, Bu Prapti, Pak Cipto, Bu Atik, Bu Fitri, Bu Indah, Candra, Nisya, Liz, Martine, MEBs, AFenn
    • Lovely ladies of MAN Padangan, MAN Babat, SMK Ngasem, SMA Kalitidu, SMA Grabagan, SMA Sugihwaras, SMA Dander, and SMA Sumberrejo
    • Bed
    • Fan
  • 5-hour naps
  • Red day invites
  • Making bracelets with Ila and Ayuk
  • Ila coming to me the next day with her bracelet in one huge knot (at least she tried)
 Month 22
  • Peace Corps Day! (I don't care that both of these pictures are of horrible quality. They represent the PC moments - and the fact that I forced the participants to pose for these pictures several times over when they were less than excited about it).
  • Train snacks
  • Slapping away the roaches
  • Jumping off trains
  • Finally seeing old friends!!
  • Learnin' 'bout volcanoes



  • Observatory hikes

  • Getting saved from the leech
  • M&M sharing with M, MEBs, and Jay
  • AM run with MEBs toward Raung

     
  • MEBs surviving her fall ("ERIIINN!" : ) 

  • Hutan hikes and not getting dengue
  • Sarung party

  • Bedtime chats with Vira
  • Train chats
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Texts with Martine
  • Lunch and Indomaret with DP, MEBs, and Jay 
  • Getting passed a note at lunch
  • Running the track at UMM with MEBs
  • Turning in early watching Independence Day
  • My ID5s friends not being phased by my new Brendan Frasier from Encino Man hair
  • Getting Nicole's story
  • Washing clothes
  • For the first time ever getting a PC hotel room by myself
  • AM yoga
  • Roommie shirt twins

  • COS friends

  • Ms O presenting at COS!!!
  • AFenn presenting at COS!!!

  • Team Padangan!!! We are aMAZing!!!!

     


  • Final bus ride with all ID5 to check out our COS paradise

     
  • Food coloring fight with AFenn
  • Mountains! Or volcanoes. Whatever.
  • Being cold
  • Those luscious villa comforters
  • ALV's ID5 COS cake
  • "Who brought the coke (referring to the soft drink)?"
  • Walks with Brianna
  • PC Starfish Activity
  • Homecoming
  • Coup d'etat signals to Taylor
  • ID5s getting really into medical jeopardy
  • Visit to Batu fams and subsequent naps there

  • ID5 half-assed talent show
  • Hotel breakfast 4 times in one day
  • Ryan's "thank you" video prep
  • Jumping in the pool with MEBs

     
  • Skype with Ma & Pa
  • Nap
  • Catching the last buses home
  • Sleeping with my mouth wide open on each and every single bus
  • Bangkong until 11am
  • Eating Honey Bunches of Oats
  • Running alone in the rain 
  • My CPs willingly updating the IGLOW invitation and proposal
  • Loving XI-IPS
  • X-3 boys coming up to the board
  • Bu Yurike driving us all the way to Bojo to stalk Dinas, Kemenag, and the Bojo Radar to get approval/money for IGLOW
  • Successfully fixing my screwups
  • Hanging with Lea and Tammy
  • Strawberry oreos
  • Sushi with Taylor
  • Getting Gina at the airport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • And going straight for the Dunkin Donuts
  • That strawberry jelly donut at Dunkin. Converting from the frosted to the jelly. Peace Corps does crazy things to you. Or maybe I'm just old. 
 
  • Loot from fam and Trish and Gina: Cadbury eggs, Reeses, Rolos, Swiss Cake Rolls, One Direction CD, Girl Scout cookies, underwear, Tshirts for teachers, Granola, freeze-dried mangoes, crafts supplies.
  • Panorama Cottage meals

  • Reading pop culture magazines and learning so much. Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes!!?? Jennifer Lawrence not with the guy from "About a Boy"? Oh, how much I've missed. 
  • Boats!
 
  • Running on a new island with no one around
 
  • Sulawesi sunsets

  • Snorkeling
  • Not scuba diving

  • The Belgians and Liya
 
  • Sunset yoga
  • Naps
  • Skype with Brian and Sissy from paradise
  • Team
 
  • Luis
 
  • Singing songs with Chloe on the boat
  • Swimming through schools of fish
  • Mashed potatoes

  • Pancakes with chocolate sauce
  • Gina withstanding the onslaught of the angry German and MEBs getting us an angkot in the rain

  • Pecel
  • Slumber party with Gina, MEBs, and Jdub
  • Backpack and Hp contact number systems
  • Poorly ACed bus trips
  • And subsequent texts
  • Team Bromo
 

  • Corn at Bromo!
  • Michael Cera and Girl Scout cookies at Bromo! 
 
  • The Taiwanese Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords
  • Cozying up under covers with hot tea....and every piece of clothing I brought
 
  • Hot shower
  • JHo driving the conversation
  • Singing songs to make the sun come out at Bromo: Paula Abdul's "Promise of a New Day", "Yellow Sun", "Black Hole Sun"
  • Becoming Indonesian bules and always showing up late
  • JHo not falling into the crater on his volcano rim walk
 
  • That truck taking the angkot mirror down 
  • Welcome drinks at Majapahit
  • Them accepting us even though I somehow screwed up the reservation
  • Pool
  • Sandwiches and in bed by 9pm
  • Precision packing
  • Overcoming sudden, temporary breakdowns
  • Mus and the security guards still talking to me even though I acted like a moron
  • Chatting with Drew in the office
  • Gchats with Bart, Brianna, ALV, Jdub, Sweet John
  • Life's great questions texts from Vira
  • Vira calling me "homey"
  • The following text from Ila: "I miss you. You miss me?"
  • Making it back to the village in a record 5 hours
  • Our baby now smiles, laughs, and can roll over. How the h does this happen in one week? Parents, never leave your children. 
 
 
  • Hugs from Ila and then listening to a One Direction album together
  • Carefully constructed 50-word essays sent via text message
  • Compartments being flung wide open
  • Cadbury eggs
  • Ila learning the Single Ladies Dance with me
  • Cranking out 13 miles in. Slow. With water breaks. But 13, nonetheless. 
  • That groundskeeper giving me water from his house nearby when I ran out
  • Stretch session afterward with Ila, Deva and Rengga on the front porch
  • Skype with Mikey
  • This guy: 
 
  • Teacher Bus Trip to Bandung and Jakarta!!!! Only I didn't really see much of Bandung, and we never made it to Jakarta. Still pretty A+!

  • Being able to sleep during the 15-hour bus ride
  • My bus friends
 
 

  •  Hot springs! 
 
  • MAN Family photos - this is how I spent about 35% of this trip

  • Bu Ama and fam


  • Sleeping Beauties 

  • Bandung graffiti


  • Seeing a revolt first-hand 

  • PCBL #1 - Seeing Ms O without her jilbab for the first time in 2 years!!!!! We did it!!! Good job everybody!
  • Sleepover with Ms O, Mbak Nur, and Mbak Ira
  • Uno with Bu Yurike's girls
  • Uno and 1-2-3 Pass beside the buses as we wait to get into Trans Studio
  • Rides!!!!!
  • Cotton candy!

  • Hearing my favorite song (Putih Abu Abu) performed by the Trans Studio rock band. As I eat cotton candy. 
  • This is, hands down, one of the best decisions I've made recently: 

  • Ms Olif riding the roller coaster with me! Although her recovery afterward took some time. 

  • Spending my 3rd Easter away from home like every girl should: 
    • waking up cuddled up in my sarung after 10 hours on a bus
    • watching the action in the alun-alun as everyone prays Subuh

    • playing cards with the kids on the bus
    • eating breakfast at a place that made balloon animals and had fun places to take pictures. Notice Pak Sukurs magic table
 
    • finally mastering the art of mandiing in public restrooms after doing it for 4 straight days (Java, PLEASE! All you need to do is add more hooks in your bathrooms. A hook would do. Thank you). 
    • after drinking those 2 liters of water, jumping off the bus in traffic, using the toilet at our local Catholic Church (Happy Easter!), and then running to catch up with the bus
    • the teachers on the bus being amazed I could run 300 meters
    • eating cadbury eggs
    • nap
    • running to Cepu and seeing my host aunt, my student, and a couple of teachers
Month 21
  • The nightly fight in Javanese with Ila over who will mandi first. "Kuwe disik!" "KUWE disik!"
  • Conveniently hitching a ride back to site with Peace Corps, Wawan and Isom!
  • The most productive 24 hours in Surabaya ever: hash with a random Dutchman named Arnold, getting books for the MAN library, Indian food complete with lots of dipping, getting new show files, purchasing Sulawesi tickets, booking Bali race, getting new books to read, finally checking out the local library, QT with MEBs-the-light-fantastic and ALV, and a beautiful lunch of pecel, strawberry juice and chocolate milk. TCB - Taking Care of Business - just like Elvis would have wanted. 
  • Seeing how the other half lives at the Shangri La
  • Only falling once during the muddy hike at the hash
  • Kolak, beer, curry, kacang hijau and a hike between volcano views with some lovely Chinese-Indonesians at the hash - all for only Rp. 5000 
 
 
  • Teaching my young hash partner many colorful swears in English as I constantly slip and try to avoid falling
  • ALVs chocolate chip cookies
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Site visit with Wawan and Isom. I heart site visits. 
  • Catching up with the gurus at SMK Purwosari 
  • When my ibu says, "Lailatul Faizah!" when Ila does something wrong - just like an American ibu would
  • Liz's support of my One Direction fascination
  • Instantly getting filled with joy over text messages
  • My baby friend
  
  • New Girl, Season 2
  • Been awhile - but popping in on my fav desa granny and her daughter
  • Chatting with Brian and Kerry on their bdays
  • Catch up call with Betsy in the Bronx
  • Meeting up with the IGLOW ladies - Liz and Martine - in Bojo
  • Emailing random people about fundraising ideas or how to make blogs, and them always responding to me kindly
  • Catch up chat with AFenn and making plans to meet up at camp in NY!!! 
  • Family road trips - even if they're not my family
  • Kids standing on road trips. Who needs car seats anyway?
 
  • Rambutan and durian! 
 
  • More caves! 
 
 
  • Unexpectedly enjoying the Blackberry ice cream cone handed to me on the road trip. Not what I would have chosen for myself, but a really pleasant surprise.
  • A phrase I never knew I'd get to say: "I've still got grasshopper stuck in my teeth."
 
  • Wanting to run
  • Finishing the last of the Dove caramels (thanks aunts!)
  • Random LES with Alma and Afit

  • Finally running to the athletic center I was told was too far (maybe like 2 miles) and running the track with some of my LES kiddies practicing. 
  • Running home and running into the following, all on motorcycles: one of my favorite students, Sufa, Bu Ama and fam, Putri, one of the volleyball ladies I played with before, and a family I apparently met before looking for me to translate an English bank statement. A PCV is never off duty, really.
  • Marathon email #1 out
  • Reading anger journals from XI-IPA1
  • Creating compliments envelopes for X-1 
  • Seeing X-1 open their envelopes of compliments from their classmates
  • Daily star rating updates
  • Texts from my favorite host cousins
  • Calling Col in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep and getting the updates
  • These guys: 
  
  • Reaffirming my love for ID5
  • A busy Friday: teaching, reading journals, English speaking group, presenting IGLOW at Darma Wanita with Ms Olif (mostly Ms Olif), and cutting out early to prep to head to Surabaya for the family wedding

  • Surviving the car trip to Surabaya - no wipers or lights in pouring rain
  • Ila handing me Oreos during the trip
  • Thinking nice thoughts during the trip 
  • Loads of rambutan and manggis at the house we stayed in 
  • Giving Sweet John assignments for his solo Bali excursion, and him completing them
  • Jay promising not to join the military
  • Oatmeal
  • Being told we weren't going home as promised and somehow sitting with it and accepting it
  • There's nothing like being in a room of naked ibus to make you feel comfortable with your own body
  • Reading a book at the house in Surabaya and looking up to see this (heart swell): 
 
  • Taking some liberties with my first 10-mile run:  running slow pace alongside my new pals at the track, stopping to minum and ooze sweat all over an ibu's stoop near the bridge, chatting with other ibus near my house as I stretch
  • Running into Leah and Trisa at the Imlek celebration (they refused to be photographed)

  • Spotting that rusty staple in my rice before I ate it 
  • Rushmore
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Emma Stone
  • Keisha channeling Bono

  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Skype with Ma&Pa and the Stamford Fitz's. Sorry I was a bit cross. 
  • Remembering that I can really like long runs
  • Walking
  • Catching the National Susu guy on my way home to score a nice cold, cup of chocolate milk
  • Sambal terong
  • Kacang hijau from my ibu
  • Feeling strong
  • Getting a chuckle over the following journal entry about Annoyance or Anger: 

"I feel annoyed when my friend borrow my book already some time. Doesn’t return my book and then there is book be able record important. I frustrated. Finally, I feel angry, and I will hate you."
  • Ibnu speaking up in class XI-IPA2 about what he thinks is the #1 problem in Indonesian high schools
  • Class XI-IPA2, in general
  • Ikuting prayers for Pak Rizani's mother
  • Blog accomplishments!
  • Learning to make batik with Bu Amalia and baby Aira
  • Riding and running around Cepu now like its my town. Once so daunting.
  • Running into friends all along the way: Bu Juari at the juice stand, Pak Choirul and fam on motorcycle, Bu Yanti and fam on motorcycle, the corner becak guys
  • Running at the track with my LES pal, Nanda, Mbak Nur's fam and other randoms
  • Mbak Isna from class 6 catching up with me to run home from the track
  • Setting up home base meetups with ID5s
  • Lia and Kausa - how will my heart go on without you? 

  • Inadvertently missing class due to the new schedule as I ironed all of my clothes
  • Wiwid making up her own funny sentence for Expressions of Surprise: "My father is a watermelon."
  • 2nd successful meeting of MAN Bojo MGMP!!!!!!  

 
  • Final package from the folks: running pants (the safety pins holding up my other ones can get a reprieve), cereal, flash drives, stickers, CADBURY EGGS!!!!!!!!! Nice work. 
 
  • Successful DIKNAS meeting with Martine and Bu Prapti
  • Getting a free ride all the way home from the meeting
  • Walk to MEBs' place

     
  • Tempe tacos and sleepover with Paige

  • IN YO FACE!!!!! (Video forthcoming)
  • SLB Senam!

     

 Month 20
  • A nice night's sleep after a hellish day of travel
  • Getting organized
  • Successfully fighting the urge to eat ALL of the poptarts
  • The Amazing Spiderman
  • Andrew Garfield
  • After being in Peace Corps for a year and a half finally watching Volunteers. It all makes sense now. 
  • The following text from Brianna: "A terrible night's sleep and the first thing I do upon arrival at school is walk face first into a spider web.. Go semester 2!"
  • Ms Olif asking the following: "What's wrong with your face?" And how totally un-flustered, I can now patiently describe that white people sometimes get freckles when they stand in the blazing sun for flag ceremonies.
  • Runs with the madrasah gals (video forthcoming)
  • Coming out of the dark
  • Chatting with AFenn
  • Bu Prapti successfully presenting at MGMP today! 
 
  • A nice BRI mug from Pak Totok
  • Getting to use the old "The start of something new brings the hope of something great" quote in first classes today. The kids were all debbie downers because the students were all switched to different classes. 
  • Long email updates and graphic photos from Lorene (sonograms of her baby and x-rays of our friend's broken arm)
  • Speaking appointment with Pak Saiyful and chatting about resolutions 
  • Hanging with Wawan and Isom on site visits
  • MEBs talking me down from the ledge in week 1
  • Being a big girl and responsibly teaching 4 hours of class alone that I was not scheduled to teach. And IPS 1 and 2 really coming through for me with their imaginary holiday journals:
On holiday I went to Korea. I saw my favorite boy band Super Junior. I met the singer and danced. After that, I flew in an airplane to see the Great Wall of Brunei Darassalam.  – Naim


On holiday, I went to Madrid, Spain. I saw my favorite football player Cristano Ronaldo. I met and greet together. And I played football with him. After that I flew in an airplane to see the Great Sea of Raja Ampat Papua. – Imam Ahmadi
On holiday, I went to America. I want to see White House in Washingtin DC. I visited Barack Obama. I can talking talking with Barack Obama. – Shafa
  • Catch up chats with JDub
  • North & South (not the Patrick Swayze version) 
  • Pick up sticks on the porch with Ila and Ayuk
  • Setting up Ila's email account to practice typing and prepping for Operation Homebound  
 
  • Nanda in LES finally getting how to tell time
  • When you got the PC blues, the LES kids and SLB kids will knock it out of you with a one-two punch
Photo taken by Adi, student at SLB
  • Randomly attending a KKG for SD teachers on my way home

  • Chatting with Bu Eki, Zainal and a few students hanging out after class
  • A record four packages in 3 days from my fam. Thanks, Ma &Pa, Tesa, Ellen& Maryann, and the Stamford Fitz's by way of fellow NYC PCV, Mas Bart.

 

  • Finding out what happened to Nikki Tewari from high school
  • Skype with Ma and Pa
  • Skype with Trish (sorry I was so grumpy)
  • Skype chats with Andy in Islamabad
  • These guys: 
 
 
  • Baby Nia is really starting to fill in her I Love NY onesie (thx Trish - I might need another shipment of these soon)

  • Convincing myself that eating all the oatmeal Mrs Fields cookies is healthy because they have raisins and nuts in them
  • Knocking out 4 miles with my student, Feny

  • And then playing ping pong with Pak Yusuf after. I was totally crushed. To think, I once held the title of #2 non-Asian female in my high school's ping pong tournament. 
  • Finishing up my second to last VRF 
  • Showing Pak Sukar and Pak Kusnan pictures of homeless people and rural poor in America after they said everyone in America is rich
  • Hanging out habis maghrib with the random inflow of folks wanting to speak English - a university student on break, a local hotel worker, a nurse at the local hospital, a retired Freeport tram operator
  • Skype with the Stamford Fitz's, Ma, Kerry and Shannon
  • Riding my bike out for the day to mampir to Bu Juadah and Bu Meicha's houses

  • Running the sawah and the ladies promising to teach me how to plant rice
  • Calling Col
  • Skype with Pa
  • M&Ms, poptarts, and cookie binges
  • The last 5 minutes of North and South
  • The following text from one of my CPs: "My body health is being down. I wanna 2 your house...but this body can't compromise, sure, I don't want to make you 2 b disappointed."
  • Singing One Direction's "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" with six times in one day with class 11. For my job.
  • These guys: 
 

  • Serenity - even though it didn't meet expectations
  • Commuting home with a couple of my students - taking a little boat across the river and biking to their house 
 
   
  • Skype chat with Jdub
  • Hanging with Mbak Nur and Mbak Ira during senam
  • Getting beaten once again by Pak Yusuf at ping pong
  • Learning gamelan!!
 


  • Learning the hard way that eating a huge donut and then langsung running 4 miles with students is not a great idea. Really - what the h is wrong with you anyway, Erin? 
  • Not throwing up during or after the run 
  • Running into one of my old students home on break from studying in Madura
  • Biking uphill to Bu Yanti's house and contentedly watching train cartoons in English with her daughter in front of the fan as I eat tempe
 

  • Biking downhill
  • Meeting Alfian from the SLB on my way home and chatting for a bit. And giving all the kids at his house bananas that Bu Yanti gave me.
  • Biking in the rain with no one outside
  • Warnet with Ila and Ayu to practice emailing
  • Another speech competition completed

  • Walking home from school and, like a pied piper, picking up followers from the Penkok village posse 
  • Akbar - one of the Penkok village posse
  • Ducking out of the rain at Mbak Ina's 
  • The possibility that a Bojo MAN MGMP meeting might actually happen once before I leave
  • The possibility that a Bojo iGLOW might actually happen before I leave
  • Adding more things to the PCBL (Peace Corps Bucket List) than I am checking off - but still checking off quite a few
  • Getting an annual Thanks email out to the fam
  • Eating a whole sleeve of Reese's
  • 30 Rock Season 7
  • PC Staff: Sari, Vivin, CC, and DL
  • Taking an unplanned nap for 2 hours and waking up, feeling like someone knocked me out cold. I definitely need more greens. And maybe fewer Rolos.
  • The great winds of rainy season!!!!
  • The plethora of butterflies around all the time. I don't remember this last year. 
  • Long chats with my American kakak-ipar, John
  • Long chats with my sister
  • IGLOW Bojo discussion, general catch up, and jus alpokat
  • Impromptu sleepover with Martine
  • The story of the hand
  • The opening scene of Happy Endings where Penny wears the helmet 
  • Hitting a local TK I had promised to visit and learning new English songs (video forthcoming)
 
  • Feeling like I've come a long way
  • Silver Linings
  • Hanging with the sisters
 
  • Getting to Pak Choirul's house
 
  • Texts with Robert
  • Running Cepu and accepting an invite to join a women's volleyball practice from a woman on a motorcycle driving past me as I ran
  • Getting totally dehydrated at volleyball and stopping at a local hotel to ask for water for my run home. Having no money and them kindly giving it to me for free. 
  • Connecting in a weird way
  • Argo
  • First ever MAN Bojo MGMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • JHo making the trip for bule backup at MGMP and LES
    

  • Having loves to text during creepy times
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Scandal with Desmond from LOST 
  • Friendship. And snacks. As Brianna would say. 
  • The following text from Ryan in regard to me saying I want to meet his parents one day: "Well, they're pretty awesome. I took the best from both. Which pretty much says it all." 
  • My new friend, Candra
  • My new friend, Christian
  • Reconnecting with Ms O 
  • Oatmeal in the morning
  • Wheat cookies
  • Let the Great World Spin
Month 19

  • Eating upwards of 100 fun-sized candy bars in the last month, compliments of Sr. Annelle and the DiRagos. Yes, I suppose I could have shared them.
  • The resulting fleshiness that came after eating said candy bars and the weird fact that I was sort of proud of my new candy girth - up until I realized this new girth creates more surface area and, thus, more sweat. 
  • Riding to school and those three little girls in yellow jilbabs in the front of the becak giving me a wave
  • Having fellow PCVs call me in the midst of me licking chocolate from Twix wrappers
  • Ila making labels to hang around my room to study house vocab
  • Ila getting totally competitive that there was another LES students who knew more vocab than she did
  • Speaking Javanese for 1 minute with the MAN running posse
  • Running and the two little girls walking to school along the railroad tracks hand in hand
  • Phone calls to Stamford Fitz’s and Col and John
  • Liz sleepover – bike ride for milkshakes, meeting the man who wants to be my Indonesian husband, checking out the students’ work painting their classrooms
  • 3-hour naps
  • Falling in motherly love with my student trying to teach me how to play guitar
  • Help from JHo for our MGMP extravaganza
  • MGMP presentation with Liz a success! At least I thought so.

 
 
  • Getting my hands on multiple servings of jus jambu at the MGMP
  • Riding the bus home with my neighbor and finally taking time to get to know her
  • Getting abruptly pulled out of my last classes to travel an hour to sit through a seven-hour food arrangement and prayer for new baby competition. Not so much thankful for this as I am that I can roll with this now.  
  
  • Hanging with Bu Yoan 
  • Trying to bounce back from the disappointment my student has in me in not improving in guitar playing after 2 lessons.
  • Ila cracking up over this line:
Wayhu: [quoting a song] “Di mana hatimu (where is your heart)?” Me: “I don’t know. Mungkin ketinggalan (maybe I left it somewhere)”.
  • Biking home in the rain
  • Hanging with the ladies at the arisan and having them laugh at everything I say (“Bu Tin mencari apa?” as she touches every single piece of krupuk in the krupuk bin before finding one she will take and eat)
  • Catching up with Betsy
  • Chatting with Erlin, Dr. L, Ananda, CC, Megan, Vivin, Shindu, and Wawan
  • Catching up with Julie
  • Celebrating Brianna’s Bday – tacos, Breaking Dawn, cake, watching that scene in the New Girl over and over, and slumber party
  • Commenting and guffawing all through the movie with some of my fav PC pals
  • Aro's crazy laugh
  • Flu shot
  • Natasha and Elle rocking iGLOW meeting
  • Watching Disney films on my laptop with Ila and Ayuk
  • Playing guitar with Ila
  • Sleepover, including pizza and a movie, with AFenn
  • Cuddling with AFenn, Elle, and Nicole and no one getting harmed
  • Delaying departure home to ngobrol with Elle and Nicole
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Hanging with pals at the zoo: 
 
 
 
  • Javanese lessons with Mbak Nur
  • Thankful I'm not living like these guys: 




  • Or am I?!!!

 
  • Caves!
  
  • New baby! My new roommie, Kania!
 
  • And the weird placenta shrine outside my window

  • Package from the aunts: 4 giant, golden Caramello bars!
  • I'm not sure how I keep forgetting to mention the package from my parents which came quite some time ago: Rolos, candy corn, and UNDERWEAR!!!!!! Just as my sturdy collection had begun to take a turn for the worse. 
  • Helping prep for the aqiqoh to celebrate the new baby. It could be argued that my skills at preparing food boxes far outweigh my contribution as an English teacher here. 

  • Papan tulis comics for narrative and the determination with which Nidhom drew his section of the storyboard
     
     
    • Judging a cooking competition at my school 

    • Visiting Pak Patuh's baby and getting to see where I thought I'd be living before I came to Indonesia: beautiful sawa, remote, and simple houses. Alas, I came to my happy, modern metropolis. 
    • Mary hanging in there with me in Bojo for the 3+ hours it took to purchase the Kalimantan tickets
    • And then coming over for a sleepover once she missed her last bus home
    • The bus enjoying listening to Mary try to explain to her ibu that she was not coming home
    • Lying in bed listening to Mary and my Bapak discuss coffee in Indonesian 

    • Chatting with MI and MTs kids to prep for Bojo MAN Expo. I don't have a pic with them all, but here is a bad pic of me with two of them. Heart.
     
    • Balloon launch and opening ceremonies before the Olympiade and speech competition 

     
    • Finishing listening to 50 English speeches 

    Some of the poor junior high students waiting hours to deliver their speeches
    • And then finishing listening to 12 more speeches 2 days later at a different school
    • Hanging with students at the Jalan Santai
    • The English Challenge at school finally launching. It was equal parts ubershambles and delight, but it's a good base. 
    • Class 12 students introducing the English Challenge activities in English for Class 10 and 11
      
    • Hitchhiking to my mf, Martine's site
    • Some good eats while taking in a multiple wife drama at her friend's house 
    • Getting a ride in a truck down the mountain from M's site and convincing them to let me tag along all the way to my village! 
    • Sharing snacks with the truck guys
    • Listening to my ipod the whole way to Surabaya
    • Braid twins. And Nicole. (Please disregard my bald spots).
     
    • Getting invited to the Consulate General's house and eating cookies. And pie!!!!! 
     
     
     
    • Sweet John not getting angry when I shoved him out of the way to get to pie
    • Hot tubs and swimming pools
    • BMintey trying to teach me how to swim
    • Eating yogurt and a hamburger, watching iCarly and then taking a nap. Holiday bliss. 
    • Cereal
     
    • Sleeping 11 in a fancy hotel room. Thanks ALV!!!!! 
     

    • Christmas Eve night in with Bri - channel flipping, pizza, cinnamon buns, and joy
    • These lovelies hitting the Christmas Eve bash
     
    • Skyping with Ma, Pa and Mikey on Christmas Eve
    • Holiday morning runs and watching TV while running
    • Getting trapped in the bathroom on Christmas morning and for some reason having my cell phone to call people to get me out 
    • Skype with all the fam at Christmas Dinner and singing Christmas carols
    • Skype with Rob Euell and fam in Slovakia
    • Skype with Edwina and Eric
    • The Ryanisms beginning strong in the cab ride to the airport: "Give me someone who's NOT a smooth talker, I say."
    • Deciding against spending a lot of money on the Andrew McCarthy biography. Sigh. One of the greatest temptations I had to fight off in the remaining days of 2012. 
    • Ryan starting the trip out right 

    • Erin Fitzgerald and Party
     
    • Ryan's socks 
     
    • Boat food! 
     
    • Let's hear it for Team Kali 
     
     

    •  Thinking things over on the boat
       
       
       
      • Rough day for Siswi, the orangutan
       
      • Cokes on a boat! 
       
      • Headlamps and head nets! 
       
      • These guys: 
       
       

       
       
      • Vine swinging 
       
      • Cake for dinner
      • Hiking at Sweet John's site
       

       
      • Candi chats with my Beji bro 

      • Not dying on the way up and getting ice cream for the walk back down
      • Half price Korean tacos for lunch
      • Britteney showing us the ways of the Equator
      • Catching the end of HSM 3 on New Year's Eve
      • Celebrating 2012 and the coming of 2013! 
       
       
      • Drinking way too much and my fellow PCVs still seemingly wanting to be friends the next day
      • Cookies for breakfast
      • Lying around watching cable TV for hours including the ball drop in NYC and Miss Universe
      • Chatting with Pa on his bday
      • Skype with Trish, C, Ryan Van Fleet, Michelle, Christian, Jacquie, Aaron, and Kat and Cameron in NYC for New Years
      • Sleepover in Madura at Tay's site - magazines, pets, and babies 
       
      • Walking through Beji in the rain
      • Seeing I made it into the official wedding album
      • Hanging with Naila and checking out her new English songs 
       
      • Beji TEMPE!!!!!
      • My Batu Bros, Fafa and Dodot
      • Chalet Girl. Oh, that Chuck.
      • Surviving the 7 hours and 4 buses from hell home
      • Poptarts
      • Seribu sari kedalai at the Jombang terminal from the guy who always remembers me
      • Not having to teach tomorrow!
      Month 18
      • Running through the tall, green grass of the sawa
      • Chatting with the bird yellers - or the guys and gals who stand in the fields for hours just yelling at the birds to go away
      • Joining in for a few yells
      • Singing "Tomorrow" from the hit sensation Annie with Ila in my room as I try to review audio scripts
      • Ila asking me how to say "kelihatan" in English and then coming out with,"Ms Erin is old, but she looks young."
      • Skype with Mikey and the Fitz kids
      • Skype chat with Nicole, Natash, and my brother Brian
      • Packages from Sr. Annelle and the DiRago fam arriving on the same day. Booty includes: Kit Kats, Reese's, Snickers, Milky Ways, Twix, Caramel Chocolates, Swiss Cake Rolls, Biotin. Job well done, family and friends.
      • "Cheap whiteboard" vocab review working in all classes
      • Giving Ms Olif a hug in the teacher room
      • Meeting new friends on my bus rides: MTs girls from Babat ("Good-bye Mbak Erin!"), Alex and Rezza from an MTs in Jombang, that SMP kid who let me follow him to Kandangan, the old guy who started singing a song to me in English about a catfish when I got on the bus, Rinda - a wayang kulit singer on her way to a performance, the same bus conductor to and from Babat, the bus guys to Bojo chatting to me in Javanese. 
      • And a little reminder of home: 
      • Making the last bus out of Jombang
      • Tim, my ID5 bro, letting me crash with his fam and chatting into the night
      • monks
      • Bus rides through Batu paradise
      • Coming home to Batu
      • Bunda's tempe goreng
      • Naps 
      • My first siraman
      • My little sister, Nanda, getting hitched
       
      • Pernikahan or no - still need to FB

      • Naila speaking English, "Good Afternoon" and "I'm fine, how are you?" 
       
      • Beji saudara! Rindu.

      • People directing me where to go
      • Catching up with Sweet John while snacking on fried shrimp and onde onde
      • Onde onde
      • Broccoli!

      • Rapping with the Beji dads and Mas John

      • Being able to get a comb through my hair again
      • Cold sari kedelai on the bus trip home
      • "Accompanying" my students to catch the boat across the river to get home
      • Chatting with MEBs, Natasha, ALV, Mary
      • Dinding-inspired phone calls  
      • Bring It On
      • The East Compton Clovers having a black leprechaun as their mascot
      • Beji PCV connections/texts
      • Uplifting texts from AFenn
      • Any text from Brianna
      • Doing a card trick with the kids, and Deva unquestioningly passing on my explanation of how it's done: "Caranya, MAGIC (with dual hand wave)!"
      • Making it home before my running pants fully self-destructed
      • Ngoko "Go Fish"
      • Indonesian/Javanese only weekends
      • Figuring out the meaning of life. Again.
      • Labeling body parts race in LES
      • Jilbabs coming off at SLB outing. All it took was an hour walk uphill in the blazing sun and an additional 2 hours of practicing long jump. Jilbabless!


      • Skype with Trish in BK, Brian in CT, and Andy in Pakistan
      • Making a new Indonesian nun pal
      • Firefly episodes 1-5
      • Discovering a birthday note from a long-lost pal in my junk mail and confirming all is awesome in his life 
      • Clarification on the great Freaks and Geeks question 
      • Discovering new running territory on our school's jalan sehat
      • Baby motorcycle shade protection

      • These guys: 





      • Under the Banner of Heaven (shiver)
      • Islamic New Year resolutions: speak Indonesian/Javanese, journal, run, lead, get out there, don't be an asshole
      • Advice on future from Eileen Ryan 
      • Javanese with the running crowd
      • Finally working up the gumption to try to long jump
      • Phone calls from former students now working in Surabaya
      • Teacher English sessions chatting about: Die Hard, mobile homes, Samin people, and two-party systems
      • Thanksgiving surprise party thrown by XI-IPA1
       

      • Eventually cleaning out all the confetti that was thrown at me. With a sweaty body base, it felt sort of like being tarred and feathered

      • Eating candy bars until sick. Oddly, the sickness hasn't happened yet. So, I'm probably still eating them as you read this. 
      • Losing at a ball relay game with the SLB kids
      • Making it to Bu Tutik's house to visit her coming back from the Hajj
      • Skype with my fam during their Thanksgiving dessert
      • My Indonesian Thanksgiving meal: pecel and fresh mango packed by my ibu
       
      • Finally giving all the gurus their NYC T-shirts
      • Eating cookies and candy bars with MEBs
       
      • Catching up with BLTs - Mary, Martine and Alex at the English Camp
      • English Camp antics

      • The students' transport to English camp. They crammed 22 bodies into a 15-person van. And Angelina and Paris were somewhat of a weird addition.
       
      • Finally being able to peel two layers of olahraga from my body and mandi langsung
      • Kicking MEBs in my sleep and her still wanting to be my friend the next day
      • New class X speaking groups
      • Finishing Firefly
      • Text messages with Sweet John about Firefly
      • The "Find the Answer in the Pile" Review Game working in classes 
      • Anytime I get Nidhom's English journal below (he is a boy): 
       

      Month 17
      • For the hard work and friendship of Pak Mifta. Your PC Indo family will miss you.
      • PC Indo Staff 
      • My brother, Sean, sending this pic of my niece, Eileen, with her new glasses! Oh man. Sometimes it's hard to be away.
       
      • Successfully fixing my bike with a paperclip
      • "Moonwalking with Einstein"
      • Learning the hard way that eating an entire sleeve of strawberry oreos directly prior to running is not the greatest idea
      • MANGOOOOOEEEEEEESSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       
      • RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       
      • Skittles from Liz. Thanks!  
      • Sitting on the porch with Ila and Ayu waiting for the rain to come
      • One Direction
      • My heroes - from left to right - 5th, 2nd and 1st place in the Bojo 5000 meter race. All from my desa!!! 
       
      • iCarly
      • While practicing prepositions of place (on, in, under, in front of, etc) with Ila: "Where is Mbak Ayu?" Ila answering with such pride, "She is....in my behind!"
      • The power coming back on!
      • AFenn letting me vent 
      • Making snackboxes for arisan. At least I'm good at something. 

      • Connect 4
      • The fact that Michael Burns won a free trip to Buffalo from a contest commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812. Who else would this happen to?
      • Teaching solo
      • The daily kresen search across the desa (the keresen is a little berry that the kids go crazy for)
       




      • Chats - Burns, Elinor, Tim, JW2, Elle, MEBs, Krystal S.
      • Finally satisfying my commitment to give motivation at a neighboring MTs and the resulting daily texts from girls from there
      • Texts that promise to make me happy
      • Good LES and celebrating Ila's birthday with snack boxes! 

      • Using my mom's old party game - putting objects under a blanket and then lifting the blanket to give kids only a few seconds to write down what they see. Solid. Thanks, Marge!
      • Practicing traditional dance at the SLB (video forthcoming)
      • Siang bike rides in the sawa alone
      • The power coming back on again after a sweaty day of hanging, prepping, and napping
      • Stopping to play soccer with the Pengkok kids on a run home
      • Throwing out "I want to go home" in Javanese to one of my students and his friends on a run home and the resulting hysterics that caused
      • One of my SLB kiddies inviting me up to a rooftop on a run home
      • My SLB kiddy not falling off said rooftop
      • Desa improvements....none of which had anything to do with me. Progress is coming, people. In addition, a new railway is being built (I say "railway" now), and the pothole I hit every day on my way to school has finally been filled!!
      Road through the sawa finally getting fixed.
      Artwork from local SMP students drawn on the trees. It just brightens up the whole way!
      • Hanging in the porch reading as Ila reads a book too!
      • Zainal's class XI speaking group -  hearing where my students met their best friends
      • Roby's class XII speaking group - topics ranging from why we prefer being alone to future dreams to what chit-chat can be used on the Exxon Mobil foreigners a few towns away
      • Skype with Mikey
      • Being in my house for a golden 15 minutes all by myself until the kids became the wiser
      • Checking up on baby Aira, the girl with a thousand faces
       
      • Skype with Stamford Fitz's and Ellen
      • PC Visit and almost tackling Vivin when I saw her
      • Having friends who will pay my travel when I forget to take out money (thanks Brianna and Taylor)
      • ID4s
      • Roommies: Tay, Martine, Josh, Brianna, Mary
      • ALV being able to locate in less than 30 seconds the episode of the Gilmore Girls where Kirk makes that awesome movie
      • Catching up and connecting with ID6 at a "dive"
      • Cereal! French Toast! 
      • Nap attempts in the lounge
      • Doorway, windowsill, and stairwell chats
      • Vegan Chinese food with Bri, Natasha, Mary and Alyssa
      • Grilling ID6ers on important info like favorite breakfast cereals in Mary's room
      • Brianna letting me sing "Santa Fe" from the popular musical Newsies in its entirety. A true friend. 
      • Mary finding her bag! 
      • Taking a nap for 6 hours, waking up to eat dinner, and then sleeping another 7 hours
      • Skype with MEBs

      • Sydney White
      • Grind starring Adam Brody
      • Skype with Lorene, Trish, Ma, Pa, and Tesa, Stamford Fitz's and Mikey
      • Gchat with Rach and Krystal
      • Getting into the Idul Adha action this year and slicing up some meat
       
       
      • Skype with Christine and her teaching me of the wonders of Google Effects
       
      • Making matching earrings for me and Ila
      • Coaching Ayu from a local SMA on her first speech contest and her making it into top ten out of 115 participants
      • New Girl, Season 2
      • Downton Abbey, Season 3
      • Working on prepositions of place in LES with the ol' scrabble tiles
       

       
      • Calling Katie for her 14th birthday
      • Walking to an old train depot for senam with the SLB
      • Not having to get married when I was twelve
      • These guys: 
       
      • Spending my birthday as every girl should: 
        • Getting my birthday sleepover wish and shacking up with Bu Ama's fam
        • Cruising to the river and taking in the local tobacco fields on a classic Phoenix  
        • Eating my breakfast for the second year in a row off a banana leaf
        • Picking some keresan and jambu air from the neighbor's trees
       
       
        • Taking the train home 
        • Coming home to no power and these guys

       

        • Birthday loot from the LES crowd: 2 pens, 3 pencils, 3 erasers, a sharpener, a wallet, a bracelet, and a jilbab pin
        • Catching up on the Downton crowd while eating Snickers
        • Having the whole school surprise me with a cake and a birthday song during our Monday flag ceremony
        • XII IPS 2 giving me a framed photo we took together
       
        • Bu Yoan making me a frame out of paper
        • Visiting my old principal who just came back from the Hajj
        • T and C choreographing an elaborate facebook video involving an armadillo, a bathrobe, and Grover
        • Various well wishes, texts, calls
        • Realizing that I prefer birthdays from here on out to be celebrated with no pomp or attention. I'm old, people.
       Month 16 
      • Skyping with Trish and discovering her hatred of blue whales
      • Slumber party with Ila
      • Soy milk
      • Finally meeting the Papua kids in town
      • At 8:30pm (when I usually go to sleep), some of the kids asking,"Ms Erin, do you want to see Ketobrak?" "I guess." Then walking half a mile to an elaborate stage that had been set up in my village. How is it that news of this reaches me a half hour before?
      • My neighbor performing in the Ketobrak
      • Teacher conversation meetings and learning that one of the teachers considers me to be her best friend
      • News of Adam Brody from abroad. You always know how to make me feel as if I am still in BK, Lorene.
      • I taught Ila how to hug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • Catching Tesa on her bday
      • Riding the desa
       
      • A few months ago, Bu Ama was writing a note to Trish, and she asked me to spell the word "catheter" for her. Just remembering this today was enjoyable.  
      • Swearing freely in texts to other PCVs to release aggression
      • Edwina and Eric saving the day by skyping in during an uncomfortable conversation
      • Skype with Mikey
      • In "10 Things I Hate About You", Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles are supposed to be such badasses. Then, cut to scene of them in paddle boats. Then to scene of them in coveralls playing paint ball. Badasses, indeed. Man, they just don't make 'em like this anymore.
      • The coast being clear for the PC kids traveling and running in Jakarta. What, me? Worried?
      • The restraint demonstrated in Indo in the first round of protests 
      • People who try to understand viewpoints different from their own
      • Non-violence
      • SLB kids enjoying playing photographer with my camera
       


      • Finally being able to break free from my Beji uniform. RIP, good friend. 
      • Actually yelping when Bu Olif presented me with new olahraga. Should I ever get asked to marry, I need only be presented with adidas sportswear wrapped in plastic in lieu of an engagement ring. And perhaps a tube of cookie dough.
      • Escaping the plea for the "orang Belanda" to sing karaoke at a wedding. Unfortunately, this involved me pretending I don't understand Indonesian, running, and then hiding. 
      • Handshakes with Ila
      • Falling in love for 10 minutes at the wedding 
      • MEBs quote on starting a music club with zero instruments: "So we're gonna watch Stomp. And then just go from there."
      • My pal, Ayu, coming into my room and handing me jus jambu her mom made for me. Love. 
      • Calling Annie for her birthday while she was at hibachi. "You know, 9 doesn't feel any different," she says. 
      • Finally visiting Bu Anis Syafia's baby
      • The little kids who now wait each day to give high fives as my students and I run laps through the village 
       

      • Skype with Ma&Pa
      • Birthday lunch for Bu Nuris

      • Watching the Gerak Jalan with the gang 
       
      • My school rockin' the gerak jalan (pics forthcoming)
      • Visiting my old principal before he sets off on the Hajj 
      • Happy belated MJ!
       

      • After 18 months in country finally accepting that any flip flops I purchase immediately become communal property of the desa
      • Surviving my second run-in with a motorcycle. Again, my fault. 
      • Taylor reminding me I had Teen Witch and then texting back and forth as we both watch it in our respective desas - she on an entirely different island
      • Characters named Brad. Whatever happened to them?
      • Under the Banner of Heaven
      • Malam minggu cards with the kids in Javanese
      • Rocket Chicken jus alpokat and chicken burger
      • Ruang guru chats with Ms Olif
      • Making jilbab pins at the SLB 
       
      • Martine and I hitching a ride to Ngawi with Bu Anis Syafia and fam
      • Ngawi bros

      • Getting sick from pancakes
      • The wonderful work of Elle, Natasha and Betsy at a meeting I totally flaked out on. You guys are pretty spectacular, you know.
      • Runs with students

      • Being OK with showing up to class and finding an SD/SMP speech competition set up in the classroom. And then these guys:
       
      • And then getting this note passed to me from the girls above. I haven't participated in notes like this since St. Mary's. "Do you like me? Yes or No (Circle one)". 
       
      • Twinkies! Couples in matching attire is a sure-fire way to brighten my day. I am considering getting some made so that if I am down in the future, I can make someone come over to put on the matching garment.
       
      • Catch up calls with Beji Bros and MEBs
      • Learning that jilbabs are multi-functional as demonstrated by Bu Yanti!

      Month 15
      • Welcome home party in the PC office 
      • Sleeping more than 18 hours in one day upon returning to the desa
      • X-MEN First Class and James McAvoy
      • Brianna's detailed background info on X-Men cast and characters provided to me via text 
      • Sahur text exchanges
      • Not dying during the Independence Day ceremony
      • The excitement of the kids as they ignite explosives and watch the Jalan Raya parade celebrating the last day of fasting 
         
       
      • Hanging on the porch with my aunt, uncle, ibu, Ila and Ayu late into the night
         
      • Hanging in the mushola as some of the kiddies take turns singing prayers over the loudspeakers
         
      • Waking up on Idul Fitri, walking straight to my candy stash, and eating fudge at 5am for breakfast. I think it's how Allah wanted it. 
      • The sadness and appreciation that comes with my last sahur and Eid prayers in Indonesia

      • My guys in their patriotic baju baru, or new clothes. Special thanks to whoever left this shirt in the PC lounge which served as my own baju "baru". 
       
      •  Visiting my favorite neneks on Idul Fitri
      •  These guys: 

      • Playing cards with all the saudara kids passing through on Idul Fitri
       
      • Celebrating my friends Edwina Hay, Jacquie Johnson, and Rachel Valesco's birthdays by walking straight to my candy stash and eating two giant Momofuku cookies as a 9am snack. I think that's how they would have wanted it.
      • Ramona and Beezus
      • ALV
      • The small sense of accomplishment that comes with having everything swept, cleaned, washed, ironed, folded, brushed, flossed, cut, organized and charged – all by 9:30am 
      • Parks and Recreation, Seasons 2-4
      • While eating breakfast, having a fellow PCV show up on my front porch!
      • Walking the village with Martine and meeting new LES prospects 
      • My students pulling over on their motorcycles to say "hey" after seeing us walking around
      • Scientific testing of a theory that anyone can get bored even if she is doing exactly what she always dreamed of doing. In my case - sitting in my pajamas, watching Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon Levitt films, eating Reese's Peanut Butter cups. Theory officially disproven. 
      • BLT (Bojo-Lamong-Tuban) meetup is a rousing success
       
      • Realizing I had the lost 6 episodes from Season 3 of Parks and Rec all along!! 
      • The way Rob Lowe says the word "literally"
      • Rob Lowe dancing
      • Afternoon runs with the students - even if they barely talk to me
       
       

      • I like your hat," becoming the catch phrase of Gang Dua. I said this once to one of the neighbor boys months ago, hilarity ensued, and it came up again today while hanging out by the big pile of sand in our street. Hours of enjoyment. My goal of becoming a desa legend has finally come true. 
      • PC BFFs
      • Skype with Jacquie and Aaron. And Doc. 
      • Knowing that if you have a snake in your ditch, all you need to do is alert the neighborhood 9-yr-old boys, and in a matter of minutes, the problem will mysteriously vanish. Special note that PETA should not be alerted in these instances.
      • Morning runs
         
      • It taking me a full day to realize that having "a snake in your ditch" could a be misconstrued phrase 
      • Running on the path for the new railway


      •  These guys:

        • Successfully planning for a full week of class! 
        • Chatting with Lea
        • Running on the railway and hearing from a random mushola 500 meters away, "Tante Erin lari!!!!" And then a swarm of children emerging trying to chase me down.
        • Teacher English speaking meetups
        • The way Brianna always says "goll" like she is living in the 50s
        • The dengue connection with Kayla and her totally showing me up by toughing it out at home. No hospital stay, no IV, no ice cream. You are a champion.
        • Feny running the full 4 laps with me (about a mile) after school without stopping
        • SD LES back on. Pencils with English words on them for everyone! Adil (class 2):"It is yellow pencil."
        • Baby Tom Sprouse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • Discovering I am clairvoyant in knowing E was in labor
        • Play by play via chat from Bill in the waiting room
        • Calling Trish to tell her I'm psychic. Oh, and that E was in labor. 
        • The joy of one day skyping to see Baby Bump Tom before, and then seeing pics of baby after


        • Finally admitting to myself I may need to cool my jets on the new baby a bit. Not your baby, Erin. You guys remember how excited I was at the Sonic Youth engagement, though, right? Yeah. It's a problem.
        • Visits to SLB back on (videos forthcoming)
        • Jus alpokat
        • Pop tart plans
        • Chatting with Mohan, Lauren, Aaron
        • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 1
        • "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"
        • The gang is back on the road! 


        • Skyping with DiRagos, Ma&Pa, and Mikey
        • Skype with the aunts
        • Somehow explaining to my ibu that I had to all of a sudden leave for an emergency test in Surabaya, and her barely batting an eyelash
        • Successful mobilization of BLTs (Bojo-Lamong-Tubans) to Surabaya
        • Discussing the depth of JayZ
        • Chocolate Cheesecake from Harvest
        • Enjoying it with AFenn and ALV
        • The mystery of the missing Snicker Bar
        • Giggling boys having a slumber party next door
        • Sbya run with Liz
        • McDonalds for breakfast and then again for lunch
        • QT with ID5s - Elle, Taylor, MEBs, AFenn, Josh
        • The successful mobilization of BLTs back home - even if AGems had the flu, Liz had to bike 17k after she got off the bus, and I mistakenly left Martine and Mary stranded with no way home in Bojo. So, sort of successful.  
        • This guy I met on the bus. Solid.


        Special Edition Thanks: Life on the Other Side (Visit to US)
        • Airline food! 
        • Having so much TV, music and movies to choose from, I worry about finding time to sleep during my 21 hours in the air
        • The stern immigration guy at JFK caving and just letting me through with my huge box of undeclared cookies from Indonesia. The Friendly Moron tactic works universally, it seems.
        • Answering good questions about Indo from my parents
        • Raiding the fridge and lying on the couch as my Ma and Pa watch TV
        • Going for a run around the old block 
        • Lying on the couch flipping between Boy Meets World and Center Stage... as I eat cheese
        • My niece, Molly's 6th bday party
           
        • Molly reading me a book before she goes to bed 
        • Asking Molly, "So, is it weird at all that I've been gone a year and a half, and now I'm in your house?" and Molly just looking confused. Guess not!
        • Big sandwich and birthday cake! 
        • Lying around with Stamford Fitz's and Mikey and napping intermittently 
        • Driving a car!!!!! And satellite radio
        • A 2-hour run through the woods and only seeing a few people
        • Driving range with Pa
        • Bowling outings with the Fitz and DiRago kids
         

         
        • Target and TJ Maxx
        • Taking 2nd place at pub trivia
            
        Some of the Wapp Falls kids back in action
        • Checking out all the DiRago kids' artwork from the last year
        • Making up fun jumps off the dock in the lake with Annie and Katie
        • Hitting up some fishing in the lake and John's Little League game
         
         
        • Being one of three people on a 3-hour bus ride - with AC, no musicians, and being able to read the newspaper cover to cover in English
        • Having no cell phone and asking random strangers if I could borrow theirs at various point in my stay to contact friends/family. Said strangers always kindly obliging.  
        • Wine
        • A tailor having pity on me and agreeing to take my bridesmaid dress in 2 full sizes in time to get to Philly
        • My pal, Laurie, marrying the love of her life, James - and me being there to see it
         
        • Wedding reception dancing
        • Reconnecting with St. Joe's and John Jay folk 
         

          
        • Morning run through Philly to catch the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and running into George Washington (and crazy guy with gun)

        • Philly cheesesteak and Wawa
        • Welcome Home pho with the Nguyens
         
        • My brother-in-law flying home from Dallas with a box of Sprinkles cupcakes for me and freezing them so I'd have them for my visit home (only to find out that a Sprinkles store opened in NYC 30 blocks from where he works. Doh!)
        • Driving down to Brooklyn and taking in all the changes
        • Patti Smith reading from "Just Kids" at Brooklyn Bridge Park
         
        • Iftar at NYU with Saba (post forthcoming on Ramadan in America)
        • Late night chats in the hood with C
        • Dropping by the NYC PC Office and getting my prom pic taken with the "PC Director"
         
        • Giving someone directions as I head to the subway to meet my family at California Pizza Kitchen
        • Gallivanting with the girls in the city

         
        •  And rowing boats in Central Park as we sing One Direction songs
           

        • Meeting some of the NYC gang at Barcelona Bar - feeling like I never left. And Big cookie!!!!!!!!!!
           

          Nothing like an Arrested Development reference translated into Indonesian and written in frosting across a giant Mrs. Field's cookie. Nothing. This cookie = love. Thank you, friends. And that is why I ate two thirds of it.
          • Bloc Party concert with Bri
          • Late night dinner with Samir as I hear his take on What's Happenin' and tattoos
          • Drunk spamming ID5
          • Hanging in Prospect Park with some of the crew 
           
          • Lunch w Bri at Meatball Shoppe and then running into Amy Adams on the street
          • Chatting with Yan
          • Meeting some of the gang at Blue Owl
          • All-you-can-eat Indian buffet with Casey
           
          • Splashdown with the kids - even if the park did close down due to a downpour a mere 5 minutes after I put on my bathing suit
          • Bronx Zoo with Stamford Fitz's and hitting everything on our list including stalking Samantha Bee and Jason Jones in the Reptile House
           
           
          • Making it in time for Romeo and Juliet at Boscobel
          • Chatting with Diem
          • Summer Party! 
            
           

           
          • And Baggo! 

           

          • Making whirlpools
          • Just Dance 2
          • Borrowing pajamas wherever I stayed
          • One final yoo-hoo before airport check-in back to Indo
          • Getting upgraded to business class 
          • Foods consumed during stay: yoo-hoo, pepperoni, blueberries, cheese, peaches, Cheerios, Eggos, orange juice, big sandwich, birthday cake, burritos, french toast, bacon, "items" (ice cream sandwiches), Panera bread bowls, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sunday at Pizzeria Uno, bagels, Wawa chocolate milk, Philly cheesesteak, funnel cakes, chocolate lava cakes, filet mignon, pho, eggrolls, salty meat, onion rings, meatball sandwich, Mrs. Fields big cookie, cupcakes (Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Georgetown, Sprinkles), all you can eat Indian buffet, salad, brownies, cold milk, kati roll, cheeseburger. 
           Month 14
          • Futsal and games of tag with the desa kids (it's probably only slightly weird that I can be seen chasing 6-year-olds through the desa jalans)
          • First class of my second year
          • Feeling at home in school and working the new student crowd
          • Readying the kantor guru for a visit from the Office of Religion

          • Talking with a 4-year-old Indonesian genius in English as if I was talking to a 20-year-old American. Darrell: "No, I don't like studying English. I prefer studying bahasa Indonesia." 
          • Coming home to these guys waiting for me on my porch: 
            
          • Hanging in front of my house on a typical afternoon: 

          • Making it a new goal to make Ifan's dreams come true - in exchange for him teaching me that trick where you flip a soccer ball into the air
          • Confirming once again that my 11-year-old best friend, Ayuk, is the coolest kid around
          • Figuring out who took my shoes 
          • The following statement from my brother, Michael: "Well, it only took me 15 years, but I finally figured it out" (as he holds up an origami butterfly ring he made)
          • Calling T
          • The self-gratification that comes with knowing that if I do go bald as a result of having dengue, once again, I'd go down in history as the first PC Indo volunteer to do so
          • The increasing regularity of 3am texts with PCVs (during sahur)
          • The surprising improvement of the drumming from neighborhood kids waking up the village at 2am. As I texted my pal, I saw them practicing earlier in the day and I think it has everything to do with my presence here. Another PC success! I'm adding to my VRF (volunteer reporting form)
          • The New Girl, Season 1
          • Trusta, one of my 4-yr-old pals saying in Javanese: "I want to come play at your house."
          • Packing for a visit home! 
          • Dirty Dancing Havana Nights becoming a Ramadhan fasting tradition
          • BUKA PUASA!!!!!!!!!!!!
          • The fact that Brianna had to climb out her window wearing a headlamp to go to the bathroom in her house
          • Chatting with Elle
          • Proclaiming to Sweet John that I am 83% Data and 17% Chunk from the Goonies
          • Trying to think up non-running or biking activities for the kids during Ramadhan. Paper bead-making! 

           
          •  Wendy's with Wawan and Dark Knight Rises with Josh
          Month 13
          • Hanging with ALV
          • Snuggling up with PCV pals
          • And singing "Call Me, Maybe"
          • Watching Swearing-In as a spectator
          • Checking in with ID6 and confirming they are more awesome than we are
          • Going back home to Batu
           
           

          • Playing SpongeBob Memory with Naila 
          • Walk to UMM w/ Taylor
          • Getting taken out to lunch by DP's parents
          • Bursting Brianna's bubble about Jimmy Fallon
          • Those peanut butter ball things Elle made
          • Realizing I can ride a bike for three hours
           
             
          • These guys: 

          • Skype with Pa for Father's Day
          • Badminton with Ila
          • Syukuran success
          • Jogya Trip with Class XI



           



          • Snickers
          • Battlestar Gallactica Season 4 
          • Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (thanks T)
          • Hanging with Nesha and Nia
            


            • Real Cakes!!!!!

            • Meeting up with part of the Bojo-Lamong-Tuban cluster (the BLTs) for pizza. Thanks Liz and Mary! 
            • Collecting a crowd for badminton: Ila, Agil, Anga, Rezza, Trusta, Krisna, Riva, dll. 
            • Making it to 25 consecutive badminton hits with Ila 
            • Meeting up with Ohkee
            • 4th of July in Pacitan - beach, veggies, Guinness, and fireworks!  
               

             
             

            • Apple pie and mac and cheese
            • Phone call check-ins from Ila
            • These guys: 
             
            • Beach sleeps
            • "Ketinggalan Poohku!"
            • Abandoning the Borobudur dream seconds before boarding the bus we waited 40 minutes for
            • Calzones! 
            • Nia teaching how to play chess as we eat cake
            • "Have you ever heard of this show called 'Amazing Race'?" 
            • A lady using my camera as if she was aiming for a moving target and then proudly stating in Indonesian that she took the picture. Result: our blurred heads in the lower corner of a shot of the ceiling. Magic.
            • Fishing for a free ride and getting one
            • Pasta, salad, and guacamole
            • Reading books somewhere other than my room
            • Looking at old maps
            • Run to Kraton/Malioboro
            • For some reason, handing over a ratty bag full of half eaten food to be held at the hotel desk. "Can you please watch my dilapidated bag full of trash?"
            • Randomly running into my Javanese teacher on the side of the street
            • Sticker chess 
            • Bus chats
            • MST D&D - Thanks Josh!
             
            • First PC dentist appointment - no cavities! 
             
            • Watching "Girls" with fellow PCVs while waiting for dentist
            • Taylor: "I've never carried my poop anywhere before. Peace Corps has given me so many firsts." 
            • PC Indo Staff: This week especially - Betsy and Tanty.
            • Skype with all the fam in Ocean City!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • Bu Olif presenting at MST!
             
            • Karaoke dance party 
            • Hotel chats
            • Coming home and going to bed at 7pm

            Month 12
            • The evolution of my niece, Ila's defiant rejections of wanting to pray or study. 
              • "Moh!" - Javanese, when I first came
              • "Tak mau!" - Indonesian, she kindly translated to Indonesian so I would know what it meant, around month 3 at site
              • "I don't want to!" - she learned how to rebel in English around month 10
              • "No way!" - this came out of nowhere this past week. I am not even sure where she picked it up. 
            • Package from Trish - Mrs Fields, candy, book, toys for the kids
            • Carefully stowing away Mrs Fields and candy into plastic containers for a time when I am in need. Discovering I do not have enough container space and suffering through the ordeal of eating eight Mrs Fields cookies straight away. Sacrifices.
            • Random LES Pelangi - realizing we were all wearing a different color of the rainbow as we tried to teach adik colors in English.

            We are beauuuuu-ti-ful like a raiiiin-bow.
             Mendung bike rides through the sawa



              • Coming home to these guys: 
               



              After this photo was taken, Rafi kindly carted the unfortunate kitten around by its hind leg, swinging it around from time to time.
              • Finding out my Javanese birthday - Sabtu pon
              • Hanging at Bravo by myself
              • Getting back into the business of making goody-bags
              • Cleaning up my laptop desktop
              • Checking in on the progress of baby Aira 
                 
              • My brother Brian's mission to ensure I do not go Rafe-less for two years
              • Finally realizing after a year that my friend, Bu Yoan's, house is only a 15 minute bike ride away - not "terlalu jauh" as was always suggested
              • 3-hour naps
              • Hunger Games with visiting ID6ers
              • Feeling I belong here
              • Skype with Stamford Fitz's, Mikey and Trish
              • Finally getting to the SLB (Sekolah Luar Biasa) and the kids teaching me sign language
                 
                • All 3rd grade students of MAN Padangan learning today they passed - and the resulting tears and saleeming. Gets me every time.
                • On a daily basis, Mr Agus casually carrying on conversations from behind his bandana as he comes in off his motorcycle or is about to go home. Our own personal bandit.
                  
                • My package getting to the US in record time
                • Neil DeGrasse's Pluto Files (again, thanks Edwina)
                • Package from Sr. Annelle - Rice Krispies Treats. Gold. 
                • Surviving karaoke at graduation and my school finally realizing that I have not been lying and truly cannot sing. There were no calls for an encore. 
                • Seeing my students act in an amazing theater performance. Dialogue included some English and a reference to me. Easily one of the greatest honors I have ever known. 
                • Finally clarifying how the heck to set up speaking groups with the help of Truong and Tim! 
                • The first groups going splendidly well
                • Riding my bike to school in the morning and seeing Seerly, a 5yr old who used to be afraid of me, light up, jump out of her seat waving and shouting,"MS ERIN! MS ERIN!!!!!" And that starting a chain reaction down the line of all the kids riding or walking to school behind her. "MS ERIN!!!!" Priceless. These are the moments, folks. 
                • Biking to the next village where a PCV will be and scouting out es buah stands
                • Finally admitting to myself after more than a year I actually don't like rawon or anything of the asam variety
                • My first Travel experience ending in a near-riot of ibus as the van broke down - but I was the only one who would be dropped off safely at my destination
                • Beverages at the Italian place with MEBs, Maggie, Tim, Taylor, and Elle
                • Hanging with the bro as rats take over the lobby 
                • Last Indo times with ID4s
                • McDonalds - #2 with a Coke and a sundae
                • Finally seeing how batik is made (pics to come on the Culture section of this blog)
                • Final ID4-ID5 Bojo cluster meetup over pizza and jus....and grillz!!!
                    
                If you can't tell, with the "O" of the Pizza&Pasta sign, we are spelling out "Bojo". Obviously!
                • Going for a "run" and having 8 kids follow - one being a large 8yr old who looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Quickly turned into a lesson in jog-walk -jog-walk method, how to relieve cramps and the wonders of walking and stretching after exercising.
                • Trying a new game on them LES crowd and them eating it up. Heard them playing as I was napping one afternoon. 
                • 3-hour naps
                • Getting to see a couple of my SLB guys, Dadong and Abdil, strut their stuff doing traditional Javanese dancing at a local festival

                  • Sky High - going on 3 viewings since I got it from Taylor and Brianna
                  • Empathetic texts about the unfortunate events surrounding Michael Angarano's love life
                  • Reading the Hunger Games (yes, AGAIN - it's just so soothing)
                  • Riva finally saying,"I like ice cream." I've been trying to teach her that one for weeks. 
                  • Construction of a new railroad track which has now opened up a new, flat dirt road where I can run through the sawa with treasured intermittent seconds alone. 
                  • Skype with Trish and a proud Mr. Tchume wearing his Indonesian batik

                    • Catching up with Krystal S. on the phone before she goes to work at NYL
                    • Mbak Ira and Pak Novi's Wedding
                    • Discussing superstitions with Bu Amalia and Bu Yoan
                    • Chatting with Bu Eki and Pak Ngain
                    • Elle's awesome video
                    • Phone date with Allyson before she visits America
                    • Getting hit by my first motorcycle and surviving (my fault of course)
                    • Making it to the end of a rage day
                    • The hospital visit going well and getting backup when I needed it
                    • Choosing wisely to take buses through Jombang to get to Batu
                    • Batu scenery
                    • Making it to the meeting on time
                    Month 11
                    • Night out with Bu Olif! 
                    • Josh Hutcherson
                    • Meeting a local artist
                    • Attending an excursion with some amazing teachers who started up there own SD - half day in English, half day in Arabic. AMAZING. 
                    • Discussing Indo school system with them
                    • Bridge to Teribithia
                    • Giving motivation at an all-boy SMP, checking the promise to do that off my list
                    • Hunger Games bootleg from Bri
                    • Clearing agenda items with J
                    • Power outages
                    • "give my love to the Bu's" msg from Trish throwing the teachers into hysterics
                    • 2-hour naps
                    • Therapeutic release
                    • Being able to hole up in my room for half a day when needed
                    • Ayuk calling me to go fishing
                    • Flat Michael Cera - the healing salve needed to cure a rough week
                    • Fam and neighborhood curiously embracing flat Michael Cera
                    • Agil and Ila learning to use a camera
                    • Ila, Deva and Ayuk practicing using a laptop 
                    • Hanging out on the porch as Leah and Kausa call out as they go by, Teresa and Rafi wander in with their fists clutching their 2000 Rp bill, Ifan learning to ride a motorcycle, Riva crying, and Agil stopping by to look on as Ayuk and Ila play UNO beside me
                    • Drawing people and playing 20 questions with 7th grade LES
                    • Actually checking things off a list
                    • Booking my flight for a visit home
                    • Bu Anis requesting "Baby Can I Hold You" as the next song we review in Teacher English Club
                    • Bu Juada trying to take notes on how to have a conversation with me
                    • XI IPA and XI IPS1 killing their anger and annoyance acting scenes - amazing
                    • Afif, Dain, Tauqim, and Ihka coming out of nowhere with their performances
                    • Hanging in X-2 ngobroling
                    • XI-IPA giving a round of applause after a review lesson
                    • Not dying even if I felt like I was going to
                    • Brianna miraculously calling me when I needed her
                    • IVs
                    • Cable TV
                    • Snickers
                    • Plain crackers
                    • "Suck it NERDS!" "What happens in Croton-on-Hudson stays in Croton-on-Hudson"
                    • "Bossypants"
                    • My pal traveling hours on a bus to visit me in the hospital
                    • Visits: Jay, Scott, Taylor, Angela, Tim, Betsy, Ken, Robert, and Ms Olif
                    • Pasta dinner with Allyson, Sarah, Josh, ALV, MEBs, Taylor for Angela's last night
                    • Convincing Taylor and Josh to stay another night in Surabaya with me - SLEEPOVER!
                    • Avengers in 3D
                    • Skype with Mikey, skype with Stamford Fitz's
                    • Free ledre
                    • Leah, the 5-yr-old next door....is definitely my idol
                    • "A Walk in the Woods"
                    • Season 1, Season 2 AND Christmas Special of Downton Abbey completed in a record week. I am not proud. 
                    • My special guy, Kausa - American Hero....with goggles. I hope he will wait for me.

                    • Boys in the hood racing to make English words with home-made scrabble letters




                    • The girls typing letters in English to my nieces
                     
                    • Skype to Ma and Pa
                    • Jalan Sehat (Healthy Walk) - everyone marveling at me being able to easily walk 3 miles while others drop like flies around me
                    • The Jalan Sehat winding through my hood and waving to all my peeps like I am in the Thanksgiving Day Parade (as I tower a good foot above everyone else, so I was hard to miss).



                    • Stopping for a bite while on the Jalan Sehat - hmm, doesn't seem to be in the spirit of the thing, but who doesn't like pecel!? OK!! (My entire school passes by sweating and panting as I refresh on tempe and cold water). "You're doing great guys! Keep it up!"
                     
                    • Proctoring actually getting easier
                    • Class X-2 cheering when it was announced who didn’t have to do the remedial test
                    • Calls to Mumma and aunts on Granny's bday
                    • Holing up in my room to nap and read all day
                    • Sleeping for a total of 15 hours on Saturday - I'm still recovering, people
                    • Mendung day - perfect for a bike ride exploring Cepu
                    • Feeling like I live here
                    • Jus jambu for 1000 Rp
                    • Taking a break from my bike ride to get a Kacang Hijau ice cream
                    • Checking things off my list 
                    • Realizing for the first time I can see Mt Lawu while running through the rice paddies
                    • Two grannies walking with me when I couldn’t run anymore 
                    • "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" 
                    • The inexplicable and sudden happiness that comes with seeing couples wearing the same clothing - matching batik, T-shirts, or what have you. Our Beji pal, Andria Barberi called them "twinkies". Whatever you call them, they bring me joy. I hope to continue this tradition in the states. Any takers? 
                    Month 10
                    • The Bu Yoan/Aaron Johnson connection
                    • Finding where I can get juice for 1500Rp
                    • BABIES!! And people who are having them. 
                    • Chatting with some girls who flagged me down on a run
                    • Making it through the 5-mile loop again
                    • Wheat bread
                    • Making that goal while playing with the village kids
                    • Heart to hearts with ibu
                    • Dance parties
                    • Bryson
                    • The Hunger Games the second time around
                    • Wind/breezes
                    • Phone calls - Anthony, Col, the aunts
                    • Onde onde
                    • W
                    • Tasting one of each of the treats in post-test snack boxes, so I can finish with the one I like best
                    • Getting a whiff of BO while proctoring and being 99% sure it wasn't mine
                    • Robert Pattinson
                    • Tempe kering
                    • Ila being OK after her bout with dengue
                    • Skype with Ma & Pa
                    • Skype with Stamford Fitz's
                    • Kelvin from Putih Abu-Abu
                    • Duku
                     
                    • Ledre-making lesson
                     
                    • Julian from Putih Abu-Abu
                    • TRISH HERE!!!!!!!!!!
                    • Hunger Games movie with Trish, Brianna, Angela B and Andria
                    • Looking over at Brianna midway through the movie and conceding the Peeta casting may not have been as atrocious as I presumed. 
                    • BRI payments for airline tickets going through
                    • PC office dance party for Andy's bday
                    • Getting to sit in the back of an uncrowded bus
                    • Chatting with bus guys
                    • Catching Bu Lilik in time for her to tip us off to the direct bust to Sbya
                    • Hill at Lizard Bungalows
                    • Jule - even if he tried to gouge us on snorkel gear
                    • Finn and Ollie (heart)
                    • Graham
                    • Not getting sucked out to sea on a paddle board
                    • Borrowing a squirt of sunblock from a random Belgian after reaching another island
                    • Pineapple juice on Meno
                    • "Just Kids" - Patti Smith (thanks Lorene)
                    • Guinness
                    • cheese
                    • butter
                    • cereal
                    • Ayuk and Ila calling me while I am away to tell me they miss me
                    • Bu Amalia telling Trish her brother looks like "Poof" Daddy
                    • Bu Amalia having a healthy baby girl
                     
                    • Calls to Fitz's for Sean and Shannon's bdays
                    • A surprise duster for Trish from my ibu! 
                    • Runs around Gili T
                    • sunrise/sunset on Gili T
                    • Momofuku cookies and pizza stickers shipped around the world from Edwina and Eric
                    • Texting Allyson to assist with hotel searches
                    • Breaking into a hotel unknowingly at midnight (Me: "Did I just break in?" Some European guy on his porch: "I think so.")
                    • BLUE water!
                    • salad
                    • cracking that grumpy waiter into being my friend
                    • Angie and Ed on Rinjani
                    • Angie and Ed in Senggigi
                    • waterfalls
                    • Ipin
                    • Finally admitting it's time to retire the second pair of Indo rubber ballet slippers that were being held together by rubber bands. You had a good run, girls. 
                    • PC Prom
                    • ID6!!!!! Airport, bus, dinner, ice cream, human knot, chats, walks to hotel. You can do it, and you'll be great!
                    • Rooming with W, Bri, A, and Taylor ("Anna Karenina - don't booother.") 
                    • Roast beef sandwich
                    • Second Annual Easter skype with fam (only 1 more left, guys)
                    • Josh
                    • Cadbury eggs
                    • Bejoso Prom dates
                      





                    • Skype with Bri
                    • Skype with Ma and Pa
                    • Skype with the aunts
                    • Skype to Shannon's Sweet 16 - Happy Birthday Shannie!!!!
                    • 3rd Grade LES
                    • Hanging with the neighbors
                    • Working on a quarter a bag a day habit of Dove caramel chocolates
                    • Texts with MEBs at the right moment
                    • iCarly
                    • Hang with Bri, MEBs, and W
                    • Cha Cha slide with W
                    • Debating Boy Meets World with Bri
                    • Meeting Allyson for half an hour on the side of the road for a quick chocolate milk and chat

                     Month 9
                    • Language Camp
                      • Natasha's brownies
                      • Trying to learn the guitar
                      • Trying to learn how to juggle
                      • Morning runs in a foreign village 

                      • Learning I have the weirdest co-worker stories
                      • Getting to see John's sign dancing and foray into the world of juggling
                      • Chillin' over juice with Ellie
                      • Juice alpokat, juice sirsak, and juice jambu 
                      • Walking along a busy road catching up with Krystal
                      • Tim sharing about his student journals
                      • Making fun of Jay's meticulous sign making and learning his least favorite Indo word is "dinding". His most favorite word - "I already TOLD you!" Eek. I still forget. 
                      • Nicole sharing that she learned the word "uncle" from The Lion King

                      • Skype with Ma, Pa and Chau
                      • Skype with Bri, Sissy and Molly to see Molly's first lost tooth
                      • Explaining what we do in America when kids lose a tooth and my host family being totally perplexed by it. They then proceeded to tell me the kids in my village throw their teeth on the roof after they fall out. Moral of the story: We're all pretty weird. 
                      • Spending Mardi Gras like every girl should - getting caught in the teacher room having a skype dance party to Katy Perry's "Firework" with Rachel in Switzerland
                      • Skype with Mikey and learning the teachers love him more than they love me
                      • Putih Abu-Abu (Indo cinetron)
                      • Package from the DiRagos! Including letter and gift from Annie to Ila: 

                      • English Conversation Board Game - gold in English Club, LES, and Teacher's English Club
                      • 3 packages from the aunts - Dove caramels, Milky Ways, Twix, magazines
                      • Eating all of the Dove caramels in two sittings
                      • Being able to go right back to sleep after cat falls, calls to prayer, or my bapak's seismic sneezes
                      • Udang (shrimp)
                      • Soy milk from Bu Amalia
                      • Jus jambu from Bu Yani
                      • Hearing Bu Olif say, "I really don't care," in response to my question of how we were instructed to put the speakers back by an annoyed teacher the day prior. Indo sass is here!
                      • "the US goes, Courtney stays"
                      • Chatting with departing PCVs
                      • Cadbury eggs
                      • Riding in the odong odong with Ila and Ayuk to drive a crying 2nd grader home from studying English at my house
                      • English Desa Scavenger hunt with 3rd graders
                      • Kerasan Crew meeting
                      • Succumbing to the jeers of my fellow PCVs to break my no sweet rule to partake in Girl Scout Thin Mints and Paige's delicious choc chip cookies
                      • Chatting with RPCVs
                      • Skype with Dena in Afghanistan
                      • Skype with Highland Fitz's
                      • Skype with Stamford Fitz's
                      • Skype with Ma and Pa (seriously no way i could ever do this without skype)
                      Month 8
                      • Skype with Ma & Pa
                      • Skype with the aunts
                      • Codes
                      • Dr. Leonard
                      • Happy Endings (the TV Show)
                      • finishing my stash of Swiss Cake Rolls
                      • finishing my stash of Mrs Fields cookies
                      • Skype with the Stamford Fitz's
                      • iCarly
                      • my English Club teachers teaching me an easier way to remember the number of days in each month and how to teach students AM and PM
                      • setting up a date for 3rd graders to come by to practice English
                      • and those 3rd graders asking to come again the next day
                      • one of the little girls on my street saying my name when she sees me, or "Eh-ee" - close enough
                      • Teaching about the wonder of S'mores on our day off
                       

                        • bus rides through the rice paddies
                        • the workers at the Ngawi terminal all knowing who I am and making sure I get on the right bus
                        • getting sick from eating chocolate chip banana pancakes with syrup with the Ngawi bros
                        • and then eating them again for dinner
                        • emails with ID6ers
                        • having a stranger pay my bus fair just so I wouldn't get overcharged at the bule price
                        • surviving a presentation to 47 teachers
                        • skype with Betsy and Ed - and meeting baby Ryan for the first time!
                        • Valentine mail from Noel
                        • Package from Lorene arriving- Kids Discovers, Just Kids by Patti Smith, T-shirt, candy, cadbury eggs
                        • Anne of Green Gables
                        • Eating 3 sleeves of Oreos in 3 days and then going on a no sweets fast (until that donut from my student for her birthday)
                        • Skype with Trish, Rachel and C and them riling up the teachers in the teacher room over what American football is
                        • Them kindly answering when my friend Mr Edy asked them what their favorite Indonesian food was even though none of them have ever had it
                        • The teachers getting excited to see their friend, "Mas Mike" on skype
                        • Hanging with my homies, Bu Olif and Bu Amalia after hours
                        • Surviving 3rd graders showing up at my house at 2:30pm for a set 4pm English lesson and due to a storm having to appease them and entertain them for 3 hours
                        • Advanced 7th grade English group at my house who were happy to play BINGO
                        • 3 of my Grade X students coming to visit me at home
                        • 27 kids showing up to Grade X English Club (although I'm pretty sure my counterpart bribed them in some way)
                        • Happening upon an Imlek (Chinese New Year) celebration 
                        • Apparently "Seize the Day" is an Avenged Sevenfold (a band that all boys here like) song, so when I tried to reference "Carpe Diem" in class all Grade XI boys' ears perked up
                        • Skype with Bri for his 40th Birthday
                        • Getting to chat with my big sister when I wished I was home
                        • Feeling inspired by teachers sharing experiences at a local teacher meeting
                        • Standing on a bus wedged between a sleeping family and a man playing the guitar for money and feeling completely content
                        • Making Grade X-1 write each other compliments and then having them read out loud in class: "I am brave." "I am kind." "I am smart and cheerful."
                        • Walking home from school through the village and everyone accepting that it is not weird from me anymore
                        • JHo coming to my school on his day off and teaching 8 hours of classes with me
                        • One of my students telling JHo his name is "Alec". It's Rifki. 
                        • Going out for a run and hearing all the pre-schoolers calling my name. Rifa stopped crying long enough to say, "Tanta Erin, ADUH (Ouch)!" and show me her cut on her chin. 
                        • Making it home alive after getting caught in a torrential rainstorm and dodging falling tree limbs while running
                        • Games of cards under flashlights during power outages
                        • My ibu busting a gut after I acted out what cheating was when I couldn't remember the Indonesian word for it
                        • My host niece busting a gut when it took me 3 exchanges of cards to realize we were playing Go Fish and not UNO (in my defense, we use the same cards)
                        • The same host niece reminding me as I was eating dinner that today is my niece Kerry's birthday in America. I had almost forgotten.
                        • Anne of Avonlea
                        • Christine's NYCares video
                        • Chocolate Cheesecake at Harvest (2x)
                        • Getting to travel to say good-bye to two awesome folks. I'll miss you Cody and Jenn! But I'll be stalking you on email, so it's all good.
                        Month 7   
                        • Students and teachers here clapping their hands and saying "YAY!" like when we were 5 years old
                        • What should have been a 3-hour bus ride turning into 2 buses, 1 minivan, and 1 rollercoaster becak ride over the course of 6 hours. Luckily this was traveled with the most easy-going of traveling companions. Way to be MEBs.
                        • Taking in the Blitar sights 
                        • Christmas Eve
                          • Brianna's homemade winter wonderland and batik Christmas stockings 
                           
                          • My Batu Bunda's cooking
                          • Napping in the cold
                          • My Batu host brothers playing guitar
                          • Visit from Mawan
                          • Cards with Naila
                        • Christmas!
                          • Eating breakfast of chicken and fish with my hands
                          • Skype with Ma, Pa and Mikey
                          • Christmas morning with volcanoes and angkots
                         
                          • Dolly Parton playing in the car to bus terminal
                          • Meeting our boyfriends on the bus from Malang to Surabaya
                          • Cheese, cereal, and chocolate chip cookies at Betsy's
                          • Hats from Turkmenistan
                          • Successfully forcing the party to sing the PC Indo 12 Days of Christmas
                          • Skyping or calling most of the fam
                          • Train forts
                        • Finally buying that comb
                        • Hindu blessings and getting a car home
                         
                        • Hotel egg sandwiches
                        • 5 PCVs in one room seems to be the lucky number
                        • The Pirate Place
                        • MIKEY HERE!!!!!!!!!! 
                        • Along with bro - never nude shirt from T, Mrs Fields choc chip cookies and book club book from Jungstarr, stocked external, Alf, Saved By the Bell, Yo MTV Raps AND NKOTB trading cards from Edwina, MJ buttons from Tiffany, Swiss Cake rolls and marshmallows from Col and the list goes on...
                        • The Balinese dance that uncomfortably went R-rated
                         

                        • The monkey not getting Allyson's other leg
                        • Oma Colleen throwing herself in front of attacking monkeys while me and my brother pull a Costanza and try only to save ourselves 
                        • Colleen's extensive knowledge of Bali routes 
                        • Tuna fish 
                        • Buying "Breaking Dawn" for roughly $1.80
                        • Meeting of the bros - biological and Beji
                         
                        • Big mugs at Brewers 
                        • Devil horn implants NOT being a deal breaker
                        • Video Killed the Radio star dance party with Sweet John
                        • Lying around watching movies
                        • Indian dinner on beds
                        • Getting our girl there on time
                        • New Years fireworks on the beach
                        • Dancing Nicole
                        • Switching back and forth between Step Up 3 (the second time in the trip) and Honey
                        • Proclaiming 2012: The Year of the Dance
                        • Chatting with Trish New Years Day
                        • Javanese cabbie who charged me the actual rate to the airport
                        • Running to the hotel from the airport in the rain 
                        Granny Fanny Nestleroad. 
                        • Being able to call all my family and having my big brother here

                        • Milkshakes in the pool
                        • Donuts and sunsets
                        • This super rain gear. Not sure why Mike didn't want to wear his (little did I know my camera was sitting on the Burger King counter as this was being taken). 
                        • Ata
                         
                        • The good people of the Bali Burger King for locating and calling me to say they had my camera
                        • Luke for going all the way back to pick up my camera
                        • Coming home
                        • Badminton with the gurus
                        • Skype with all the fam with Mikey here
                        • Ikan bakar and friends
                        • Getting our Granny messages in on time
                        • Cards, hangman and bike rides with the kids
                        • Ila not being malu (shy)
                        • Embracing what I don't want and proclaiming a new motto - 2012: It's not about me
                        • Desa crowd gathering to say good-bye to Mikey in front of my house
                        • "Baby, Can I Hold You" playing on radio in car ride to Surabaya
                        • Watching planes take off at Juanda Airport with fellow teachers
                        • The simple fact that one of Ben Foster's greatest contributions was his performance in "Get Over It" alongside Sisqo and Vitamin C
                        • Getting reacquainted with my Ghostwriter pals - Jamal, Alex, Tina and Gaby
                        • Birthday package from Stamford Fitz's - mailed in October and arrived January 2nd! Some keen, real people shirts and loads of candy. 
                        • Christmas package from Ma and Pa 
                        • Princess Diaries
                        • Ibu unexpectedly gifting me two pairs of batik shorts that are da bomb
                        Month 6
                        • PC Indo staff - this week in particular, Betsy and Wawan
                        • English Club back on!
                        • The fact that my counterpart is comfortable enough to tell me when I have black whiteboard marker all over my face (this happened in three separate occasions during class today)
                        • Seeing a hoard of junior high kids plotting as I pedaled toward them on my way home, and then, in unison, all 15 chorused "How are you MISS?" as I rode by
                        • When you ask Indo high school kids who their heroes are, they pretty much always answer their parents. No Miley Cyrus or Derek Jeter. Sometimes, Indo is really refreshing. 
                        • Pulling "All Around the Mulberry Bush" out of my rear to get kids to remember phrases for daily activities.  
                        • Receiving my first flower picked by a student. 
                        • Pride and Prejudice - Joe Wright version 
                        • Running in the rain
                        • Singing TV theme songs with the Bojo Bros in Luke's palace
                        • Package from The DiRagos! - Milky Ways, Snickers, Reese's, and a special birthday surprise that will wait until after Thanksgiving
                        • A shipment of aceh from my pal, Daniel's family, passed via visiting PC vehicle
                         

                        • Explaining the difference between sarcasm and swear words to teachers after one asked, "Can you teach me sarcasm?" and then proceeded to drop the F-bomb
                        • My favorite ruffian, Bagus, tormenting a neighborhood kitten and other children by throwing the kitten onto the back of kids' bikes
                        • Said kitten has a patch of black under its nose making him look like a feline Groucho Marx
                        • Perusing my host niece's new English Dictionary to find pictures of Adam Brody, Keanu Reeves, and some of the Twilight cast (as well as various errors in spelling and terminology)
                        • Teachers' English Club
                        • Swiss Cake Rolls
                        • Throwing back 3-5 Nestle Crunch bars a day
                        • Battlestar Gallactica Season 3
                        • Newsies! 
                        • Skype with T and C
                        • My first non-PC staff visitor! And my host parents not being able to get over the fact that Daniel uses a fork when he eats.
                        • Everything seeming hilarious while in a delirious state due to lack of sleep
                        • Realizing that somewhere along the way I lost the ability to listen. Better get on that.
                        • Lord of the Rings, pecel, and JKim
                        • Korean tacos
                        • Starbucks chocolate cake - 2x
                        • Although this would be a curse at any other time of my life - going to 3 malls in one day here is something, as it turns out, I am thankful for
                        • Hanging on the roof 
                        • In a weird twist of events, discovering my "hardiness" is off the charts while my "interest in initiating and maintaining relationships" leaves something to be desired
                        • Napping in beds that aren't my own
                        • Once again affirming that all Indo PCVs are cool
                        • Sup jambu
                        • Bus rides with bules (or in this case, MEBs)
                        • Hanging with Allyson and Hannah
                        • Coming home
                        • Finally choosing the bus that leaves the terminal first! I did it! 
                        • Sarah, the little 1 yr old in my village, saying my name
                        • My host ibu and bapak texting my counterpart that they were lonely when I was away. 
                        Thanksgiving Weekend - Special Edition 'Thanks'
                        • Skype with Mike, Bri, Sissy and Molly and seeing that the deck is nowhere near finished
                        • Skype at 4am with Ma, Pa, T and fam
                        • winning my 2 badminton matches with fellow teachers at school 

                        Teachers playing on my school's court
                        • teacher aerobics
                        • Pak Rosyid
                        • riding bikes home side by side with Mr Yusuf and not getting killed
                        • seeing my regular bus guy for the 3rd time in a week and giving him a Reese's
                        • arriving at Bojo terminal at the exact same time as Luke and Noel
                        • Real World-like entrances into the PC office
                        • #3 at McDonald's
                        • 5,500 Rp hot fudge sundae - 2x
                        • Jus Alpokat - 2x
                        • Hot shower
                        • Reunions at the mall
                        • Breaking Dawn - completely living up to my low expectations
                        • cheese and crackers
                        • sleeping 5 in a room
                        • shoving Taylor in her sleep and her still, seemingly, wanting to be friends the next day
                        • pancakes
                        • going to the mall by myself
                        • painting at an orphanage - even if it was a little quick and odd
                         
                        • THANKSGIVING DINNER at US Consulate General's house!!!!!!! - turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry, PIE!
                         

                        • Tantris rooftop
                        • Taylorisms 
                        • Inching Brianna off the bed onto the cold floor and her still, seemingly, wanting to be friends the next day
                        Month 5
                        • Dunkin Donuts at Purabaya Terminal
                        • Mangoes
                        • Hanging at Gio’s
                        • Discussing Catholic dogma walking back from Bromo
                        • BROMO!!!!!!!!! All of it! 
                        • Hanging in Brianna's room, stealing all of her Jane Austen and getting all the dirt
                        • Having an artistic designer for the creation of my badminton birdie costume (thanks Jay!)
                        • Cody cutting a Halloween cake with dental floss
                        • Laughing so hard I fall into the bathroom and Jay not realizing everyone was laughing at him
                        • Fighting with Allyson over covers
                        • Real pasta
                        • Wendy's
                        • Toast
                        • McDonald's hot fudge sundaes for only 5,000 Rp
                        • Peanut butter and Ritz crackers for dinner
                        • Seeing Annie play the violin over Skype for John's bday
                        • Skype with Sprouses and Jon Comlay
                        • Skype with Trish
                        • Skype for Mumma's bday
                        • Birthday sarung from the Beji Bros (heart)
                        • Ila (my host niece) constantly looking through the picture book my family made me and quizzing herself on all of the names of my nieces and nephews
                        • Skyping in for the Big Guy's anniversary
                        • Coming home after two weeks of training to the following: 
                          • Halloween package from Sister Annelle
                          • Halloween/birthday cards from Granny and the aunts
                          • Package from Ma and Pa 
                          • Post card from Mikey
                        • Spending my birthday the way every girl should: 

                          • eating breakfast from a banana leaf
                          • enjoying the Indo, low-key attitude toward bdays
                          • eating a Baby Ruth
                          • cutting my nails
                          • swimming in a long-sleeved shirt and pants and doing my first pool flips in possibly over 10 years


                          • opening packages I saved from my granny and the aunts (candy, index cards and Star magazine) and my parents (hair things, candy, sneakers, and Wawa paraphernalia including a name badge holder and cap)
                          • skyping with Ma and Pa, The Stamford Fitz's, Trish, and attempts at others
                          • receiving the following note from Diva, one of the village posse: 
                            • I love my family
                              One n one i love my mother
                              two n two i love my father
                              three n three i love brother sister
                              one n two n three i love - my family.
                              I love Errin 
                          • settling down under my mosquito net in full Wawa uniform, reading the last chapters of Jane Eyre I saved to enjoy on this special day
                          • staying up until 11:30pm watching the recent BBC version of the story (thanks Brianna!). Wild Indo nights.
                        • Skyping to the Jungstarr pasta party 
                        • Emails from long-lost chums and the satisfaction of knowing people you'll always love are rocking it out there in the world
                        • All my peeps finishing NYC Marathon! Wish I could've been there.
                        • Lessons that work out
                        • Time to write
                        • Amanda Bynes' movies 
                        • Signing over 50 autographs for hoards of students at the pesantren (in pencil). I was not thankful for it at the time as I was oozing sweat and wanted to go home, but in retrospect...
                        • Eating 7 consecutive packages of peanut M&Ms
                        • ID5 VAC 
                        • "Krakatoa" by Simon Winchester
                        • Discussing life and the world with Bu Olif, Bu Amalia, Bu Anis, and Pak Rosyid
                        • Hanging out at Bravo with Bu Amalia
                        • Having Bart and Sam to interpret the roughly 10 hours of Indonesian we sat through
                        • Narrowly escaping the pee of a cow spraying toward our car from a truck up ahead. Luckily, Pak Blego is experienced in reading the signs of impending danger. 
                        • The following text msg exchange -  Lauren: Thanks for taking care of my ibu [after my principal gave her a ride home from a conference]. Me: I took a 2-hour nap in the car with my mouth wide open. I think she enjoyed that. Lauren: Well, who wouldn't?
                        • Getting my first email from an ID6er!
                        • the "bad" kids
                        • Penelope 

                          Month 4
                          • Finally getting to see Wayang Kulit (pics in Culture section forthcoming)
                          • Battlestar Gallactica Season 2
                          • Jane Eyre
                          • 3-hour naps
                          • Finally being able to run to the bridge again after a month off for fasting
                          • Mike Chang
                          • Counting the following on my morning run: approx 73 chickens, 13 ducks, 5 goats, and 2 geese
                          •  Answering the following over 15 times: "Sendirian!?" (alone!?)
                          • Having our badminton game interrupted by a runaway goat charging us in the street
                          • Dads and grandfathers holding babies in the AM while moms sweep the house
                          • Skype with my original bros at home
                          • Reaching a new record of followers on our bike ride - Ila, Diva, Friska, Putri, Izza, Ika, Alma, Daffa, Ais, Berta, and two other girls we picked up along the way
                          • Little girls named Alma 
                          • Mango!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                          • The Safety Dance number from Glee
                          • Finding a run where I am alone for five minutes. Glorious! 
                          • Finally coming to terms with the fact that eating a candy bar directly prior to running probably isn't the best way to lose the junk in the trunk.
                          • Receiving the following compliment: "You are brown and fat." I actually do enjoy hearing this, as to an Indonesian, it just means I am adjusting well.   
                          • While I suffered a blow in my host sister bringing home a pet cat, being delighted to see that my host bapak enjoys tormenting said cat, especially after it does things like jump on me during dinner or try to run into my room. 
                          • Although I am not sure it is medically sound, my host bapak running out to get me a "hamburger" at any point I have a minor stomache ailment. Not sure spicy mystery meat and hot sauce are what the doctor ordered, but it's the thought that counts. 
                          • Consulting with a fellow Bojo Bro on my current condition = "I am not sure if I am sick, depressed or just lazy." Nonchalantly, he responds, "It's probably all three."
                          • The Indonesian man embracing pink. Hot pink bikes, cotton candy-colored motorcycle helmets = joy.  
                          • Somehow escaping lice for the 3rd time this year as it was revealed my host niece had a bad case right after hanging out in my room and touching all of my things.

                          Month 3 
                          • Diego Luna
                          • Feeling like the president as I was flanked by an entourage of 7 teachers on motorcycles escorting me home on my bike
                          • My host ibu asking if there are peanuts in America and my bapak immediately explaining in Indonesian that Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer (love love love him)
                          • Jus alpokat
                          • Party Down - Season 1
                          • Getting a package from my sister's family!!! The kaleidascope and jax were a hit!

                          • The Elaine-style jump roping by neighbor, Diva. I almost bust a gut seeing this. 
                            video
                          • Seeing Emily and Eileen’s (my nieces) “My Little Ponies” on skype
                          • A closet full of clean, ironed clothes. It only took two mornings!
                          • Things that Bagus does: My local fav 4th grader provides some good entertainment. This week:
                          • He lied on a school questionnaire asking if kids were fasting (he said he was, and he is not)
                          • He pulled a chair out from under our friend Ayuk as she tried to sit down causing her to fall on the floor and everyone to laugh and laugh (including Ayuk, thankfully) 
                          • While his sister, Ratih, was in the shower, he stole her towel, so she had no way to walk out of the bathroom without being naked 
                          • and lastly, each time I glanced over at him at his house he was either setting things on fire or slicing up rubber flip flops with a dull blade. Ah, kids.
                          • Getting free cookies 
                          • Party Down - Season 2
                          • Having our card game interrupted by a runaway goat charging our porch
                          • Battlestar Gallactica Mini-Series 
                          • VAC
                          • Riding in the back of a line-up of village posse on their bikes as friends try to hold hands while riding next to each other
                          • Watching as two fighting chickens ran straight into Ayuk's bicycle wheel while she was riding - no one was harmed 
                          • Package received from strange address in Jakarta turned out not to be a bomb, but an Idul Fitri package from Sister Annelle (thanks Annelle!) 
                          • My niece, Ila's, new obsession with wanting to translate everything to English
                          • Battlestar Gallactica Season 1
                          • Surviving my host sister's wedding
                          • Making pancakes with the Ngawi Bros:
                          John and Daniel making pancakes

                          Walking to the store near Daniel's house
                          Taking a mid-day swim
                           
                          • Chatting while sitting on the sidewalk of the Bojonegoro alun-alun with the Bojo Bros
                          • Seeing my host sister, niece and dad from training waiting for me as I arrived back in their city 
                          • The end of my 7-hour bus journey
                          • Enjoying a cold beer in Surabaya
                          • Shopping with my pal, Allyson, in Surabaya
                          • Snickers
                          • Brave New World
                          • McDonald's breakfast with Whitney and Allyson (even if it doesn't include a biscuit or sausage)
                          • Cookies/candy from my aunt Sister Tesa
                          • Card from my aunt Sister Tesa
                          • Package from my aunt Sister Tesa (you've really outdone yourself this month, T)
                          • Dancing out in the open for everyone to see! 
                          • Playing soccer in sarongs with the lovely ladies from my school
                          • Taking second in the soccer/sarong/dancing competition
                          • Joining scouts at my school
                          • First meeting of English Club was successful
                          • Slowly running again 
                          • Skype with DiRago's - Happy Birthday Annie!  
                          • The formation of Bejoso - the merger of Beji and Rejoso villages
                          • Going down the water slide with Naila 


                            Month 2 
                            • Already picking out ladies I hope will be my friends at some point in the future
                            • Being able to discuss differences between the Indonesian and American education system with teachers in Indonesian
                            • My host dad bringing home a "pizza" for me
                            • Not being able to remember what life was like before salak and tempe
                            • Asking my host niece, "How was school?", and she finally remembered how to answer
                            • Testing out new Go Fish cards sent by my mom with the village crew
                            • My host family thinking I am the funniest thing ever 
                            • RAIN! (I will eat these words later, I'm sure) 
                            • Going for a run as my favorite 11-yr old rides her bike along with me 
                            • Going for a run the next day and looking back to find 9 kids on bikes riding with me 
                            • Getting bike-riding lessons via gchat from a fellow volunteer (thanks Cody!)
                            • Eating at least 2-3 different types of delicious fruits a day – currently we are on a rotation of papaya, starfruit, and salak 
                            • Almost running a full half hour to my spot along the river without having to talk to someone 
                            • The ladies I want to be friends with at school preparing questions in English for me so we can talk. They included: Do you wear make-up? What soap do you use?  
                            • One of the teachers wanting to discuss a place she saw on TV in Bucks County, PA – Ringing Rocks Park. I had never heard of this place and had to come all the way to Indonesia to find out about it even though I went to school about an hour away.  
                            • Bus rides to Bojo 
                            • Days that are full 
                            • Watching my fav village kid like a proud parent as she plays the xylaphone in the school marching band 
                            • Clocking in about 14 hours of UNO a week
                            • Senam (aerobics with the teachers) 
                            • The “naughty” kids in class. Somehow they are always my fav.  
                            • Sitting with my counterpart outside class chatting when he all of a sudden springs, “Do you believe in ghosts?”  
                            • Teachers always bringing me snacks 
                            • Washing all of my clothes 
                            • Exuberant neneks (grandmas) 
                            • Leaving school as teachers karaoke over the school’s loud speakers, and it not occurring to me until later that four months ago, I would have thought this odd. No longer. 
                            • Eating a bag of Milky Ways from home 
                            • Little boys named Bagus. They are the best. 
                            • Afternoon bike rides with the village kids
                            • Excitedly looking forward to receiving my ear flushing package from Peace Corps. Yes, I know this is weird. 
                            • Carving out some reading time
                            • Nangka
                            • Breakthrough!!!! It only took 2 months of harassing them, but today the once frightened 2-yr-olds on my block came to hang out on my porch and saleemed me! Yay!!!! We did it! Good job, everybody!
                             

                            • The 1-yr old on my block walking past in her sandals that squeak each time she takes a step (she just happens to be wearing a chicken hat in this picture which only increases the love)
                             
                            • Dreaming of cupcakes during my afternoon nap
                            • Connecting with some of my fav PCVs
                            • Remembering how much I love Radiohead
                            • I want to marry this song: Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People (thanks again, Daniel!)
                            • My host ibu schooling me at bekel (like jacks)
                            • Pizza Hut! 
                            • Seeing Harry Potter on the big screen (educational too as I could learn Indonesian through the subtitles)
                            • Bonding with Indo 4
                            • Free haircuts (thanks Sam!)
                            • "Rivertown"
                            Month 1
                            • Running on flat ground
                            • It was close, but not being attacked by that shrieking goose
                            • Heart to hearts in Indonesian
                            • Pecel
                            • Tempe goring
                            • Little girls wearing sunglasses at night along with their jilbabs
                            • Seeing the intricate process of pinning jilbabs in fancy ways for a performance
                            • Sunrise over the Solo River
                            • My host dad reading aloud from my Javanese book:"Sugeng siyang, Mas John."
                            • Already having a running joke with my host mom about all the crying in Indonesian telenovelas
                            • Indonesian telenovelas
                            • Shade
                            • Eating an entire sleeve of oreos
                            • Naps
                            • Ditching my 10th- grade escorts and walking alone for the first time in my village
                            • Asking my host dad how to say things in Javanese and my host mom correcting him
                            • Forgetting my cell phone at the warnet and the kids from the village finding it for me
                            • The following phrase I found in one of my bahasa Indonesian books, "When did you escape?" and feeling like that actually might be a useful one to know. 
                            • My host mom giving me hot chocolate every morning and every night
                            • Driving on a bus two hours away from my village and spotting Andy, a fellow PCV, sitting on the side of the road. Somehow, he was looking up as we passed, so he was able to spot my glaring, white face in the crowd and throw me a wave.
                            • Being cold in Sarangan!!!!
                            • Compiling a Javanese dictionary with my host parents
                            • Watching my host parents debate about the correct vocab in Javanese
                            • Finally having that extra time to devote to flossing and tending to my nails
                            • The “Book of John”
                            • Receiving an actual letter
                            • Donuts baked fresh by Noel! 
                            • My host mom bursting into laughter twice in one day over different things I said or did and declaring, "Mbak Erin lucu!"(Erin is funny)
                            • Even though I am half a globe away, feeling close to home
                            • Successfully teaching my first week of classes

                            Pre-Service Training 
                            Weeks 8 and 9
                            Rest assured there was plenty to be thankful for in weeks 8 and 9, but I lost the files detailing those items when my laptop contracted a virus after trying to download a Justin Bieber song for our community project video. So, thanks for nothing, JB. 

                             Weeks 6 and 7
                            • Running downhill
                            • Getting away with holing up in my room all day reading and writing

                            • Having my host fam help with making posters for English camp
                            • 50 kids showing up for English camp
                            • Watching the paragliders over Batu with my host sis, her boyfriend and the Beji Bros
                            • Learning “Herman the Worm”
                            • Freshly-made mango salsa and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at our Indonesian teacher’s house
                            • My host dad picking us up from our teacher's house so we didn't have to walk all the way down the mountain to get home
                            • Learning about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s marriage breakup and Macho Man Randy Savage’s demise via skype with Betsy
                            • An inbox of new emails. This used to stress me out, and now I LOVE it.
                            • Magnum ice cream bars
                            • Successfully avoiding crushing my roommate, Allyson, in her sleep as we share a bed at Gio’s on our site visit
                            • Fruit for breakfast!
                            • Ipod playlists for bus ride home
                            • Cold mandi water after returning from the warm water in Probolinggo
                            • Neighbor who kindly gave me a glass of water on a run even after I mistook his house for a warung (store)
                            • Getting an email from a work mentor at a strategic time. I am posting below:
                            True Meaning  of Stress
                            A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'..... she fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?", she inquired with a smile.

                            Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

                            She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to  carry on."

                             "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night... pick them up tomorrow."




                            Weeks 4 and 5
                              • The following card accompanied by a Batik shirt from the students of our practicum school: “I hope this will be a beautiful moment that you can always have from Batu city and don’t forget all student beauty skin senior high school and I hope you can back again to Indonesia.”
                              • Today, the 1-year-old who goes bonkers when I walk by took my hand and pressed it to her cheek to saleem, and I just wanted to grab her and throw her up in the air. 
                              • Catching an angkot direct from school to our village instead of having to switch at Batu Terminal (even if it did cost Rp 1000 more)
                              • The teachers at our practicum school giving us new lunchboxes
                                Beji gets new matching lunchboxes from the practicum school teachers!
                              • Kamar tidur dance party
                              • After having to draw people based on our descriptions given in bahasa Indonesia, Jay shows his pen drawing of a woman with a square head and four strands of long, curly hair, and asks, “Is this the man you’re looking for?”
                              • Getting on an angkot equipped with a TV and rocking out to Justin Bieber on the way to school
                              • Telling my Beji bros I love them after experiencing language class without them
                              • Walking into an elementary school unannounced, asking in very remedial Indonesian if there was any way we could use the grounds for an English camp in 4 days – and having them offer the grounds, 100 students, and 4 teachers on the spot. No parent permission required. I love Indonesia!
                              • All 100 students above saleem John, Jay and I before leaving to go home. (pics to follow at a time when I have free internet)
                              • Morning runs (even if they are mostly spent walking uphill)
                              • James McAvoy
                              • Sunday walks with my host fam
                              • Skype! Happy First Holy Communion, Annie! I could almost taste the baked ziti!  
                            Week 3
                                • Finally learning how to go to the bathroom with my pants on
                                • Reeses Peanut Butter cups from home (especially when they are melted into one solid block)

                                • Having enough handle of Indonesian to understand my mother telling me the reason she wants me to shut my window at night is b/c she is worried about someone passing by and putting snakes through it. I laughed and laughed, but she still thinks this is a valid fear.
                                • The Beiji Bunch
                                • Creatively incorporating the Indonesian words for bodily functions at least once every language class
                                • Playing ping pong at my practicum school
                                • Quick naps during bahasa Indonesia class ("Tiga?")
                              Week 2
                                • Finally learning how to go to the bathroom
                                • Finally learning how to cross the street
                                • Ear plugs and melatonin
                                • Never understanding any instructions provided but always being reassured that no PCVs in my village understands either
                                • Being reassured that I am not the only one who cannot differentiate when Indonesians say the  the letters "b" and "p" ("bpaaaayyyy or bpaaaaayyy")
                                • Overcoming my claustrophobia in the back of an angkot