And just like that, my first week of Pre-Service Training (PST) is done. There were so many events that has happened during my first week here. It’s actually kind of overwhelming, I am surprise that I haven’t had a meltdown…yet. As fun as this whole week is, it is also physically draining. Since I have arrived here in Indonesia, I haven’t had a good sleep and it sucks because I like sleeping! Everyone who knows me know that. But I already anticipated this so I am not surprised. Anyways, here’s a breakdown of what my first week looked like!
Sunday March 12
We arrived in Surabaya around 9:30 in the morning. After hours and hours of traveling, we were expected to be dressed up by the time we get off the plane. Everyone looked tired but at the same time everyone managed to looked business casual. After all first impression is important! When we got off the plane, we were greeted by Peace Corps Indonesia staff, literally the moment we got off. It was definitely overwhelming because they were so nice and definitely excited to see us! The weather in Indonesia is very similar to the Philippines so it wasn’t that bad. Nevertheless it is still very hot here! And I will complain a lot! When we got to our hotel we were greeted by delicious selections of food for lunch. I have three words for you my friend, Carbs; Carbs; and Carbs! After lunch we briefly met (yes, even after a long travel we still had to meet) for some logistics and expectations. It wasn’t bad because we got to know our Peace Corps Indonesia support system, but I was definitely sleepy! What’s funny is that even after that meeting I didn’t sleep right away. Instead I jumped into the pool! What can I say, I love swimming! After swimming I ate dinner THEN got a massage! That was a good deep tissue massage, and it cost me 250,000 rupiahs for an hour and half. So about twenty US dollars. I went back to my room, showered, and passed out ready to for the next day! (Time of sleep: 10:30pm)
Monday March 13
FIRST FULL DAY IN INDONESIA! Unfortunately I didn’t have a nice sleep. I woke up around 2:30 in the morning and was up until it was time for me to get ready. I wish I can say that we went sight seeing, but nope. This is Peace Corps (PC) after all, so we did what we do. More training! Although we’re packed with trainings, I must say that the PC staff made sure each session is fun and engaging. So that really helped! There’s nothing really I can tell you about this day because all we did was training after training! I don’t want to bore you with diarrhea and squatting toilet conversations we had–and there were a lot of them. What I did like about this day is that I got to see my friend Natasha! She lives close by so after work she came to the hotel and took me to a restaurant that specializes in East Java dish. YUM! Of course I asked her to check out the mall with me. I got two batik button up shirts for 300,000 rupiahs (score!) and my favorite donuts, J.Co (a bigger score!)
Tuesday March 14
Why can’t I get a good sleep?! I slept at ten at night and woke up at three in the morning. SO LIKE WHY. Anyways, we traveled from Surabaya to Kediri where we would be spending the rest of our PST. On our way to Kediri, we stopped in one of the biggest muslim boarding school here in Indonesia where one current Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) is teaching. I must say that that was the best part of the trip so far. When we arrived at the school, each volunteer were partnered with a student. My partner was Luthfan–what a cool name! He’s really cool and was very excited to have his school host us even it’s just for lunch. The school literally put on a show for us. There were singing, dancing, and some sort of mime act on the stage. I don’t know, I was very confused about that whole mime thing. I left that school with a smile on my face and determination. We arrived in Kediri around 4:30 in the afternoon. Again, we met more welcoming PC staff at the hotel. EVERYONE WAS SO NICE! We got a tour of the hotel (very nice hotel btw!) and ate dinner. There was nothing to do and I was pretty tired so I just went back to my room after dinner. (Time of sleep 10:00pm)
Wednesday March 15 – Friday March 17
Two words: Bahasa Indonesian. From Wednesday to Friday that’s all we did. Intro to Bahasa Indonesia. From 7:30 am to 5:00pm. All day er’day. I don’t know what I would tell you about this one. Nothing really special. So I’ll keep this part short I suppose. Before the class started, we were grouped into fours and each trainee (we’re actually called PC Trainee, not quiet a volunteer yet) had to take an oral test. This is to see how well we’ll improve over the course of the next couple of days. Since Bahasa Indonesian is very similar to my native tongue, Tagalog, I didn’t have trouble during the pre-test. There were a lot of words that are similar and reading Bahasa Indonesian is just like reading Tagalog. Our guru, Johan, was more than excited to have us and is really funny! When he introduced us to the word “keju”, which is cheese, he went “Cheesus Christ”. At first I was confused but I literally busted out laughing because that was the funniest thing ever! The way he delivered it. Oh Johan. My guru. Anyways, on Friday, we took an oral post test. I have been studying for this. This test will determine which language cluster we’ll be put in. Each cluster is different level of the language class. I was not really worried about the language class because I have taken French, Tahitian, and Tagalog so learning a new language is not new to me. What I was really worried about is getting put on a cluster that’s different than my friends or that I’ll be far away from them. Hopefully I’ll be put in a cluster with my friends. Continuing on, the night of Friday surprised us with a heavy down pour of tropical rain. It literally was pouring, the type of rain that pounds the roof. It was during dinner when it started. After eating dinner, one of my friends walked me to my hotel room–my room is not connected to the meeting hall–because she has an umbrella and I really wasn’t trying to get wet. BUT for someone reason she and I ended up jumping into the pool! I guess I didn’t need the umbrella after all. It was so nice to swim and just relax in the pool. Enjoying the last night at the hotel. Enjoying the tropical rainfall. It reminded me of the Philippines. After swimming I walked back to my room, took a shower, packed my belongings, and then I slept. (Time of sleep 10:00pm)
Saturday March 18
Today is the day! I woke up at 2:30am today and I went straight to the meeting hall where there is wifi. Around this time the wifi is pretty strong because no one else is connected but me. I called some people letting them know that today I am moving with my host family. I am very excited to see them. I do not know anything about them yet because they haven’t told us what cluster or village we will be in. I am also nervous because what if my host family doesn’t like me? I am sitting here in the hall right now (3:20am) enjoying the quietness of it all. Soaking it in. This is it. Today, Indonesia will be my home for the next couple of year.
*Finished writing this post on Saturday March 18 4:30am.