Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I just came back to Indonesia from Singapore a few days ago.  Before I arrived in Singapore I thought I would finally have a chance to act like any other tourist...but my first day there made me realize that wasn't exactly possible.

What I mean is that I'm a missionary.  I live in a poor rural community in Indonesia where $5 for a T-shirt is considered crazy expensive and anything over $10 for pants is considered ridiculous.  Needless to say that coming from this environment and going to Singapore, a shopper's paradise, was overwhelming and strange.  I felt so out of place in Singapore my first day, like I didn't belong there.  It seemed I was looking at a familiar sight but from a greater distance.  I don't know if that makes sense.

I wanted to buy a few clothes and nice shoes in Singapore because it's virtually impossible for me to find any clothes that fit me properly in Indonesia because most stores there sell clothes made for the typical Indonesian woman who is tiny.  At first I was looking at items and looking at the price from Indonesian eyes.  Thinking that a shirt over $10 was outrageous.  Don't get me wrong, I could afford to spend more but I also felt a bit guilty being able to afford things that were considered expensive where I normally live in Indonesia.  I initially tried to find shirts for $5 but soon I began to realize that I could not apply Indonesia pricing to items found in Singapore or else I would never find anything.  Slowly I began to spend more and more money for certain items and I will not lie, at first it was a bit painful, but soon, like a true American, I got into the swing of shopping and, although, I still checked myself with regard to several items I no longer looked at clothing items though Indonesian eyes but started to use my American vision.  Even by my American eyes certain items were still too expensive (did I mention my eyes are those of a cheap American?) but other things were not so bad.  I didn't go wild in spending but I did indulge in a few things like a Starbucks hot chocolate which I felt guilty about as soon as I paid for it, but it was delicious despite my guilt.  Anyway spending became easier as I was in Singapore longer and as I told a friend its easier to spend money when the people around you have money and have no problem spending it. 

Did I mention that shopping is not really an option but a must in Singapore? You can't not shop there because the government makes it impossible by building over 250 malls in the space of what the CIA Worldfact book says is a country about 3.5 times the size of Washington D.C.  It's no joke that they have a mall like on over block and my guide must have said at least 5 times "That mall just opened..." or "A new mall is opening up there soon."

Anyway enough about shopping.  While in Singapore I went to the Botanical Gardens, which I will admit was kind of boring and hot.  December is not flower blooming season in Singapore, and although, there were some nice orchids and others it wasn't a feast for the eyes.  I still got some decent pics of orchids, though.  Although at the Botanical Gardens I did go into a place called the Cool House and I promise you that get what you're promised.  The Cool House was incredibly cool!  It was made to duplicate mountainous climates where certain wild orchids grow.  The Cool House was an incredible refuge in the Singaporean heat.  My guide will tell you that I was extremely reluctant to exit that glorious place.  Better than AC building, I'll tell you that.

Later in the week I went to Chinatown which was really cool.  I bought 30 mooncakes to bring back to the girls at the Women's Training Center where I teach English.  Those mooncakes were freshly made with red bean past filling-that's right red bean filling.  Sounds gross to one who has never eaten beans in a dessert but in reality it is quite delicious.  There were many shops there with Chinese products and decent prices.  One of my exciting finds was 12 sets of redwoodish kind of chopsticks in beautiful Chinese fabric holders for $10.  Gifts or oleh-oleh as they're called in Indonesia for the Sisters in my community.  Lots of shopping in Chinatown and I also managed to find a nice blouse for $20ish which I was told by my guide was a "very reasonable" price.

In Chinatown I entered a Hindu temple and I observed as Hindus gathered to pray.  It was really interesting because I had never seen people pray like that.  There was a person playing this long thin horn and another beating on a drum and there was the smell of incense in the air and there was a man barechested wearing ankle length fabric holding a metal tree full of small candles in his hands.  He moved it around a statue in a circular motion and the people gathered there either put their hands together in prayer pose over there heads and raised their hands up slowly or simply bowed down on the floor.  It was really quite interesting.  I enjoyed seeing it.

I also went to Little India while I was in Singapore which had a lot of shopping also.  I entered another temple there but no prayer was going on at the time which kind of disappointed me.  Oh well.

Another thing worth mentioning about Singapore is that one of it's main shopping mall roads called Orchard Road was beautifully lit up for Christmas.  The main colors for Christmas this year being purple and blue.  There were many beautiful trees and it was wonderful to finally see Christmas.  Sure Christmas lights are not the true meaning of the season but twinkling lights are something that I have always associated with the holiday and I missed them because in my part of Indonesia they don't commonly have Christmas lights.  I was like a child going down that Road 'wow-ing' as I passed this beautiful Christmas tree and that amazing Christmas light display.  It was special for me.

There's more to tell about my visit but that will have to wait for some other day.  Anyway Merry Christmas to all!  I hope it's a fantastic day for all and I hope we all remember why we celebrate this day.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

3 and a half months later

Okay yes, it's been a long time.  I apologize.  No good excuses just laziness and only weekly access to the internet if even that.  Updates are as follows:

I am alone now.  Mary left me in early June as you who are avid readers of this blog may already know.  No other volunteers are coming to join me at the moment but that's okay.  I'm actually happier than I was last year.  I think its right what they say when they say two years abroad is better than one because after a year you become more familiar with the culture and how to do things in that culture and you also become more comfortable in using a a language, even if you still speak it like a 2 year old, you become a very confident 2 year old.

I am still teaching English at the Women's Training Center and I teach some outside students also.  I am not currently teaching the middle school kids but I miss them so much that I think I will ask the Sisters if they will give me permission to teach those kids again in January.  They are really the sweetest kids ever since they are taught to respect their elders.  I can't believe I'm an elder, I remember being a sweet kid like it was yesterday.  Yes, I was sweet (most...some...of the time).  I think part of the reason kids in America are not so sweet is because they are taught, as we all were, that it is important to be an individual, to question authority.  I don't think it was specified, however, how a kid should question an adult's authority (i.e. in a respectful manner).  Anyway here kids don't really question adults' authority.  I have yet to decide to what extent that is good or bad.  Anyway I'm happy they don't talk back to me and as they don't disrespect me I don't disrespect them, not accounting for cultural differences/misunderstandings.

Anyway my house is constantly a mess as I am much to lazy to clean an incredibly large house that requires constant maintenance.  Screens need to be changed, curtains added, bugs killed and so on and so on.  Oh the other day my house flooded again due to unseasonable heavy rain. 

It should be dry and brown right now but rain, which has apparently not been seen in these parts for many years, is preventing things from browning.  I don't know if its good or bad.  On the plus side, there's still water.  On the minus side, farmers cannot clear and prepare their land for planting next year's rice.

Oh my computer is kind of broken at the moment because I stupidly tried to watch a burned Sex and the City dvd and the stupid dvd did something to my computer.  The punishment fits the crime but as a result I can't listen to music because my music is on my computer and I'm going insane.  I need music! How can people live in silence all the time?  Maybe God wants me to figure something out in the silence but so far I have just focused on how I miss noise.  I think I need to tune in to God but that's not easy.  I have tried to grow spiritually but I think God is calling for more effort.  I wish I wasn't so stubborn, though.

Oh have I forgot to mention, there's a doctor from Jakarta at the Sister-run clinic now.  He'll be there for at least four more months.  He's my age and a doctor already.  Its strange because in the States doctor's don't become full fledged doctors until they're at least 30 years old but in Indonesia it does not take nearly as much time.  The youngest doc I've met has been 24 years old and no he wasn't like an intern or resident.  Anyway Doc (as I like to call him) speaks excellent English.  He also has been kind enough to help with the Guys' band I am in charge.  Actually he's pretty much taken over the Guys' band teaching them religious songs (since he is a musician also).  That's fine with me, since I know nothing about playing instruments.

Canasta night is something new that started when I came back from my traveling around the island these three months.  Every Sunday night I play Canasta with the Sisters.  For those of you not familiar with Canasta, you need to play with a partner.  Every Sunday there are three teams of two.  Last Sunday I played with Doc (who is also included in these games), whose name is Raymond, as my partner.  Our team name being Raylia, a combo of names thanks to the Sisters.  Next time I will insist on Cecmond.  Anyway I like and hate playing Canasta.  I like it because its fun and I hate it because I always lose!  So last Sunday, sure enough my team lost and the Sisters decided to make things more interesting by making the 3rd place team (i.e. the losers) sing an Indonesian children's song, complete with hand motions.  I was not happy because I did not agree to do this before the game began, but my wonderful partner took it upon himself to agree on my behalf so I was stuck.  I was consoled, however, by seeing Doc, was not happy with the situation either.  Anyway we got through it, Doc sang and hand-motioned and I only hand motioned as I don't know the song.  It was still fun, though.  This Sunday, though, I hope to kick some Sister butt, no offense Sisters!

One last thing to add.  I was locked in my bedroom this morning.  I lock my bedroom every night as it faces the outside, motel style, but this morning I could not unlock it no matter how much I tried.  I had gotten all ready for morning daily Mass and was ready to go but my damn door wouldn't open.  What was worse was that I had to wait like 30-45 minutes to text someone for help because the Sisters were all in Mass.  As there was nothing I could do to get out I decided to mandi (bathe using a bucket full of water and a scoop) in my bathroom (thank goodness for having a personal bathroom).  I mandi-ed using ice cold water.  Usually in the morning I heat up my bathing water on the stove downstairs as the water is really cold in the mornings and heated shower water is an unknown luxury.  Anyway heated water could not be had this morning because of the imprisonment situation so I mandi-ed with cold water.  When I was done I considered any other way I could get out, thinking it would be humiliating to text the Sisters that I was locked in my bedroom and couldn't get out.  I figured everyone in the village would hear about the situation and I would be teased mercilessly.  I tried desperately one last time to unlock my door and as if by magic the door unlocked like there had never been a problem to begin with.  Oh life...

One last thing.  Celebrated Halloween last Sunday by giving out candy to the girls at the Women's training center and a few other people.  Halloween is an unknown holiday in Indonesia.  Many people think its funny that adults and children alike dress up in weirdo costumes.  Many think its strange that children go around house to house asking strangers for candy.  One girl asked me if this tradition of children going from house to house to house asking for candy was well known amongst the American people because if she had children coming to her house dressed in strange clothes asking her for candy she would just tell them to go away.  Anyway I made the girls (who are approximately 20 years old) trick or treat for their candy.  I closed the classroom door and told them to say Trick or Treat and if they did not say it correctly I would not give them candy but close the door and make them do it again.  The girls thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world and they could not stop laughing.  I told them they sounded almost authentic except the children in the States don't laugh hysterically when they say Trick or Treat.  I appreciated they played along however.  It made me feel a little better about missing Halloween in the States.

Okay this is a new record.  I have been at the internet for almost 2 and half hours.  Now it is time I go so until next time...Happy Belated Halloween.  Hopefully I'll talk to you again around Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Past Month

Okay, so I was away for a month in Timor L'este.  I am now back in my village but not for long I go away for another month on Sunday, but it is only to a city 5-7 hours drive from here called Kupang.

Anyway about my trip to Timor L'este.  I spent three weeks in the second biggest city in TL known as Baucau.  I stayed with the Canossian Sisters in that city.  I would have normally stayed in the volunteer house except that the house was full with people, Trisha, another American volunteer, the four Timorese teachers she lives with, and Trisha's sister, Alyssa and boyfriend, Greg, who were visiting for a couple of weeks from the States.  Anyway living with Sisters is interesting.  I had my own room in the convent but no privacy.  Although my door would many times be closed the Sisters would walk in (to call me for meals) without so much as knocking.  Mother Merlinda, the Mother Superior of the community would poke me in the stomach sometimes when she felt I wasn't eating enough.  Funny at first and then not so funny.  The World Cup began when I was there and who what of though Sisters were such avid soccer fans?  Well every night we watched soccer and they cheered just as loudly as any men I know when the team they favored made a goal.  I'd like to say more about living with the Sisters but that would take up too much of this blog post.

Anyway during my time in Baucau, I worked on the small library they were trying to set up for the girls' vocational school there.  I also learned how to make soap.  The vocational school has girls who have graduated from there earning a living my making a variety of different soaps.  The soaps are all made with palm and coconut oil.  They have like 10 different kinds such as lavender, lemongrass, Timor coffee, and so on.  Anyway I helped with the process and its interesting and fairly easy.  While there I also joined one of the cooking classes there.  The girls in that class where being trained for restaurant work.  The girls in general couldn't believe it when I told them that I didn't know how to cook and that I didn't know how to sew and that I was basically useless as a woman.  They liked that I tried to learn stuff, though.  I learned a couple of new things through the cooking classes.  Too bad we don't have some of the ingredients in the States that they have on this island.  You know i have seen many a strange fruit and vegetable here.  Well strange to me because they don't grow in the States.  Speaking of food, I should probably mention that I have never eaten as many different parts of plants as I have here.  I eat a lot of leaves and a lot of flowers here.  What's strange is that I find many of the flowers here are delicious.  I wonder what flowers we can eat in the States but don't.

I enjoyed my time in Baucau and kept busy for awhile.  It was relatively peaceful in the city but it can be very tense at times also.  Walking down the street I don't feel comfortable saying hello to strangers whereas in Indonesia I feel perfectly comfortable greeting people and people are always very kind.  I think this is because in the east there are many foreigners whereas in the west, where I live, there are virtually none.  I'm treated as an important person in my community many times just because I'm a foreigner.  This is really strange to me because I'm nobody special in the States.  I'm just a regular person but here people are pleased to shake my hand and treat me as an honored guest.  Its interesting and I'm not too sure I altogether like it.

There's a lot more to tell, like when the men at the bus depot in TL tore my luggage fighting over who got to take me in their bus, but I gotta get going now as I am in the city and have to go to the bank and to the travel company place to buy tickets. Til next time.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


A few things to tell you.

Mary left our village on Tuesday June 1st.  She left Indonesia on Thursday June 3rd.  When leaving our village you have to make several stops along the way.  Usually it goes a bus from Nurobo (village) to Kupang (capital city of the Indonesian province), then a domestic flight from Kupang to Jakarta and then Jakarta to any international city.  It can take as little as 3 days to get home or as many as you choose it to take.

So I'm alone and I feel the loneliness of it.  I am currently in Timor L'este (country on the East side of Timor Island, separate from Indonesia).  I had to leave Indonesia to pick up passport pages because my passport was already full and the American Embassy in TL is closer to me than any other in Indonesia.  I was supposed to leave Indonesia on Thursday June 3rd but got rejected at the border by TL because of some new policy for foreigners traveling by land trying to enter TL.  I was not happy but as bad as it feels to be humiliated and rejected at the border its still could have been worse and I am grateful to all the people who helped me on my way back to my village.

So I was forced to try again on Friday.  Needless to say I didn't want to but I was later informed by Sr. Aurora, whom I called from the border telling her of my rejection, that she called someone and I got special permission to enter again.  Prior to trying to reenter TL I went to my local immigration office in Indonesia to speak with the officer handling my Indonesian visa requests.  He said he got a call from the border from the Indonesian officers stating that a pretty American girl got rejected by TL.  I laughed out loud when he said this because I thought it was funny I was described this way.  Prior to this, the same officer commented on my weight loss and said I looked "pas" meaning perfect (not true by the way, I'm still overweight).  I think its funny how in Indonesian culture calling someone, fat, thin, or pretty is just stated as a matter of fact.  If you were to call someone fat in American it means you are trying to be mean, thin, you are either envious or trying to be mean, or pretty you're trying to hit on that person.  Its not the same in Indonesia, however.  They are pretty direct here at least when it comes to things like looks. Anyway I digress.

I talked to the officer at the immigration office and later headed to the border to try again.  The Indonesian officers told me that the Timor L'este officers said I would be allowed to enter that day.  I was allowed to enter and I was also given a lecture on how I now need to apply for a visa beforehand.  I was not in a mood for a lecture so I cut the officer off by saying "Sudah tahu" meaning "I already know."

So I am now staying with the Sisters in Dili, Timor L'este.  I plan to be traveling to another city in this country to visit the American volunteer here.  The Italians are in Bali and oh how I envy them.  I haven't had much to do.  I came on a weekend so the American Embassy was closed.  I went to the Embassy today (Monday), however, and was taken care of very quickly.  I think its funny how the officers at the Embassy become very relieved and much nicer when I attempt to speak Indonesian with them.  The officers are locals.  Actually all people here become much nicer when a person attempts to speak their language or a language known to them.  I think its true anywhere.  I remember when I was in Italy all these Italian people would be unpleasant and gruff with us foreigners whenever we spoke English but when we attempted Italian even if poorly attempted they instantly smiled and became kinder.

Anyway, yesterday I got a little break from my boredom here.  I joined a procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi.  There were hundreds of people and it was a long procession.  They separated the procession into types of people like students, aspirants, novices, sisters, brothers, priests and all kinds of other groups.  I joined the aspirants as they didn't have a special section for volunteers.  They prayed the rosary in the local language of Tetun (I think that's how you spell it).  I actually enjoyed myself and found myself meditating a bit which always good.  I almost passed out at the end of the procession when we reached the ceremony place because I was dehydrated.  I prayed that I wouldn't, though, and I didn't.

I am supposed to help out in Baucau these next couple of weeks.  I don't know what I'm supposed to do but we'll see.  I just want to be kept busy because having aloneness forced upon you is not the same as choosing to be alone.  Its not so bad, however, and I'm sure this is serving to help me in some way.  It would be nice to know how something is benefiting you as its going on but then maybe it wouldn't be as beneficial.  Anyway that's it for today.  As always I miss you all and to Mary I hope you're enjoying your time back home how I wish you were here to do stuff with me but oh well.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mary's Leaving

I will be officially alone on June 3, 2010 because Mary has chosen that date to leave me. So I will be alone for three months. A new volunteer will not come until this September. I will going to the East side of the island again, however on the same date Mary leaves me. She will be headed to the West and I to the East.

Lately, I have been missing home a great deal more than usual. I miss the comforts of home. I miss not having to translate everything from advertisements to what people say to me all the time. I miss being able to drive my car to the store. I miss not having a 5 second delay in phone conversations with friends and business people in America. I miss fast meals. I miss regular Internet access. I don't miss television, however. I miss deposits in my bank account (I'm tired of just having withdrawals). I miss knowing how to get things done in a system I understand. I miss a lot of stuff.

Even with all I miss, however, I still find many things here I like. I mainly like the people. I love the children and the friends I've made here. I like the sweetness of the middle school children. I love the way everyone raises a child, meaning that here, a child will be watched and taken care of by adults and children who are not related to the child at all. The people are what will make this place difficult to leave but at least I don't have to think about that for awhile.

I've been freaking out about going back home in a year, though. I have no idea what I'm going to do. There are many options but I don't know what the best path to take is. I have been praying to the Holy Spirit to guide me because I'm feeling a bit lost about my future. I think the fact that I'm turning 27 soon is making me really think about my future. I am going to be officially in my late 20s and I don't like the idea of that especially since I have a ways to go before I consider myself an adult. Okay that's it for today. Until next time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Stepping

So this past weekend was entertaining. A group of youth from a religious community about two hours away from Nurobo (my community) came to spend the weekend at our community parish. There was a soccer game on Saturday and a volleyball game on Sunday. There was live music provided by our awesome Canossian Guys' Band. They played many Indonesian tunes. I was asked to sing as I usually am asked to and I responded excitedly with the same response I always give "Ok!...No." They did just fine without my glorious voice, however, so it was no big deal.

I also learned to two step this weekend. Saturday night I got many invitations to dance and I refused many people saying "Saya tidak bisa" or "Saya tidak tahu," meaning "I can't" and "I don't know how." I felt really bad about rejecting these guys so when the opportunity to learn the next day came I took it. Well really the moment was forced upon me. Mary had danced with the sweet young guy who works for the priests the night before and she said he was a good dancer and a good leader and that if I wanted to learn I should ask him. Well Mary and I were at the Pastoral House when Mary came across this young man and she asked him to teach me how to dance. He accepted. I accepted being taught. I felt really embarrassed, however, because I really can't do partner dancing but he was kind and patient and by the time we were through dancing several times I actually think I got better and by better I mean I was no longer really bad just bad.

By the way, guess what? The Italians are coming, the Italians are coming...and one American. Our volunteer counterparts on the other side of the island are coming to visit us. I think they'll be in for a surprise when they realize how much less we have here compared to what they're used to. For example, we do not have canned tomato sauce like they do, we also do not have mozarella cheese like they do so this means no pizza. I wish we had these ingredients because, Francesca, one of the Italian volunteers made some awesome pizza when we visited her in Dili a few weeks ago. Okay well my ride is here so I gotta go.

Oh btw, got rid of the mouse. It took three men to chase out one little mouse. I helped, though, by screaming and climbing on a chair and basically staying out of the way.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Indonesian Toilets and Door Climbing

I have a problem with Indonesian toilets in that they're squatting toilets. Using squatting toilets is no problem for Indonesians because they can squat flat footed on the ground quite comfortably but I am not at all accustomed to this. I cannot, for the life of me, squat flat footed so using squatting toilets can present a bit of a challenge. Luckily for me, the volunteer house, where I live has regular western toilets. This is fantastic when I am near home but when I am not I find myself "holding it" until I get home. Sometimes I have to give in and use a squat toilet but it is not at all pleasant. The bathroom itself is usually always wet because people use water to cleanse themselves and not toilet paper so water is splashed all over the restroom. Every time I enter an Indonesian restroom I have to roll up my pants. While in the restroom I worry about losing my balance and falling which, thankfully, has yet to happen. This whole restroom thing takes some getting used to, it can be quite stressful and I'm afraid I will never get used to it as I simply try to avoid these toilets as much as possible. Its something to tell the someone's grandkids about I suppose.

Oh something funny to tell you about. I was teaching at the middle school last week when I needed to erase something from the chalkboard. I noticed there was no eraser and I asked the children where the eraser was and they said "di atas" which means "up top." I took this to mean that it was on top of the small hill in the school office where school items are sometimes kept. I asked one of the children to get it. Another child got up to join him and I was about to ask why two people needed to get me an eraser when the Martin, the second boy, stood holding the classroom door open, while the first boy, Roni, got ready to climb up the door to an open ceiling board above the door. Apparently when the kids said "di atas" they meant the eraser was up in the ceiling and not in the office like I had thought. I was going to stop Roni when he started climbing up the door. I let him continue, however (I needed that eraser), and just contented myself with saying "Don't die, Roni." As Roni climbed this door I thought to myself, "This would never happen in the States." Roni did not die and he came down quite calmly and gracefully. He and many children like him here are quite agile. I was not too worried about him because of this but if an American kid tried the same thing I think I would freak. Okay well that's it for today. Until next time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Just want to apologize for not letting you people know I was still alive. Yes, Indonesia had an earthquake but no, it didn't affect our island. I am still alive and I was blissfully unaware of anything significant going on in Indonesia until I saw my Facebook full of concerned messages. Thank you for your concern. Its nice to know people care about me.

Now onto updates. I was away last week on the east part of the island in another country called Timor L'este. Timor island is funny cuz half of it is in Indonesia and the other half is a small country. Timor L'este has had a history of turmoil and as I understand it it was occupied by the Portuguese for several hundred years until sometime in the 1970s and when Indonesia began occupying it. The East Timorese wanted to be independent, however, and this desire to be separate from Indonesia ended in a bloody conflict in 1999. Timor L'este (or East Timor) has been independent ever since but it has needed aid and support from many international organizations including the UN. I had to leave Indonesia for visa purposes as I have to do every six months and since TL is the closest country to me I went there. There are also several Canossian communities there (the order of Sisters whom I work with).

I met other volunteers with my program, VOICA, in TL, however. I met two Italians, Francesca and Gionata, and one American from Iowa, Trisha. They're amazing people. I had a wonderful time and for a short while I actually had a social life. I actually got to attend Mass in English! It was fantastic and the priest who presided over all the English Holy Week Masses, Fr. Angel, is amazing. He's from Spain and he's Claretian and, therefore, very funny and fun.

While in TL I met many people from all over the world, due to the many international aid organizations there. I met Spanish people, Australians, Congolese, Brazilians, Portuguese. I enjoyed it very much because of this. I love meeting people from different places.

Dili the city where I stayed is on the northern coast of the island and I spent a few afternoons on the beaches of Dili. It was amazing. The water was kind of warm which was not to my liking because I am used to California cold ocean water but the beach and the view was amazing. I took pics which I wish could post. Someday I will, however.

On Good Friday, I spent the morning doing the Way of the Cross up a hillside. It was a little difficult hike because of the terrain and the heat and humidity but not so bad considering there were thousands of people and we were going at a slow pace. The view of the city from there was incredible also. I liked that I was able to remember Christ's sacrifice in this manner. It was amazing. I liked that no matter where people were standing, on dirt, leaves, or jagged rocks they still all knelt at each station. It was a good way to spend Good Friday.

Easter Sunday was spent at Mass then with the Canossian sisters at two communities in Dili for lunch and dinner. It was nice. I enjoyed my time there. I was sorry, however, that I could not spend Holy Week with my community of Nurobo. I wanted to be there with the people but it was unfortunate that I needed to exit Indonesia the weekend right before Holy Week.

Okay I have to get going now so I will conclude quickly with letting you know that Mary and I have a horrible mouse in our house. I am thoroughly disgusted at the thought. Also while I was gone some birds broke through a rusted screen in the window of my room and built a nest on my desk. I also sat on gum the other day and got it all over my good black slacks. Oh well that's Indonesia anyway. Miss you guys. Until next time. (Apologies for any errors on this blog, I have no time to edit.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Some Interesting Things

So for today's blog I will tell you a few interesting and possibly funny things:

  • Mary got flashed by some guy by in a city near our village. I was walking with her when it happened but, luckily, I have gotten into the habit of not looking when people say "Miss, miss.."
  • When in the same city I was physically assaulted by a mentally unwell woman. I was sitting eating outside, which by the way is a no-no in Indonesia (something we did not know until after we did it), when a crazy woman comes up to me, sticks out her tongue, and then proceeds to hit me on the head with her hand. I could do nothing of course because she is not mentally unstable so I just started walking away with Mary all the while we are being followed by this woman which we eventually managed to lose. Mary figures I got hit because I look Indonesian and the woman thought I should know better than to eat outside. Oh well, you live, you learn.
Also, something interesting to note is that when Mary told the local guys about being flashed they were all concerned for her safety but I get physically assaulted and everyone laughs...whatever.
  • So Mary and I had to go without water for a few days because the water pipes that lead from our water tank were clogged with algae. We had one of our friends named Sefri at the convent clean it for us. Sefri called Mary's cell phone to tell her to meet him outside because he had a question about the tank and needed to show her something. Mary went outside and was looking everywhere for Sefri when all of a sudden she hears what sounds like a fruit fall to the ground a few seconds later she hears it again and realizes that it is coming from the water tank, which is up above on small tower. She then sees a head sticking out of our tank. Turns out Sefri had to climb inside to clean the tank and what she heard fall was the globs of algae he was flinging from inside the tank. I ran up from the house when I heard Mary ask in Indonesian "Sefri, are you in the tank?" When she told me what was going on we both couldn't stop laughing. Sefri was unaware of our laughter as he could hear nothing from within the tank.
  • Rode on the back of a motorcycle that was being driven by a Sister. I don't think its an interesting sight here but in America it might be considered one.
  • Okay other things to mention. Lent is going not as well as I would like it to. I find that my daily rosary praying is not going so well because the daily has turned into weekly. No good excuses except that I'm busier these days and more tired by evening which is when I usually pray my rosary. No good excuses, however, because I could make time to pray any other time during the day. By the way my daily Mass attendance is going okay as I have managed to make it to 5:30am Daily Mass at least 4-5 times a week.
Okay well I gotta go for now. I'll write again when I get the chance. By the way, in case I haven't said it, I miss you all very much family, friends, and sandwiches.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kind of feeling stressed right now as our volunteer house is experiencing a few problems right now such as a leaky roof that might need to be replaced a water tank full of algae and pipes clogged with the stuff and mosquito screens that need to be replaced and my bathroom water spout that needs to be changed cuz a part broke off and water sprays everywhere when i open it.

I've also been busy, busy, busy with teaching. I love teaching the middles school kids but I'm kind of stressed trying to plan lessons for people of such different levels. We have students that are children, middle schoolers, high schoolers, and full grown adults. Some advanced some beginner, some intermediate.

Okay I have to make this blog short as I have to look up games for children. Sorry but at least I'm trying to update more frequently.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Okay keeping my Lenten promise, I am updating!

So what has happened in the last week. Well Mary and I had a visit from a few of the seminarians we taught over Christmas. I was very happy to see them. I'm afraid I appear very clingy with the priests and seminarians from there. Well its their fault for making Mary and I enjoy our time with them.

Still teaching at the middle school and am still surprised that I enjoy it. I enjoy it in the moment that I am teaching but I absolutely HATE preparing for lessons! Its a necessary evil, though, as not being prepared would make me not enjoy my in the moment teaching as it kind of did yesterday when I forgot to translate an English paragraph from a textbook for the English reading part of their lesson. I ended up fumbling through my English-Indonesian dictionary for about 10 min of my lesson. That was not enjoyable.

We visited my Indonesian teacher and his wife in their home yesterday evening. I appeared rude because I spoke very little because I was exhausted from having taught all day. I tried to think of things to say but focusing on speaking and listening to a foreign language when you're exhausted is even more difficult than when you're not exhausted.

I just remembered I wanted to tell you about the electricity in Indonesia. Okay the lights go out practically everyday here. Two to three days out of the week they go out at night which makes making dinner a real pain in the ass. Have you ever tried to make a dinner in the dark? It sucks. The lights stay out the entire night so there's not much to do after dinner except talk in the dark and pray in the dark and then its off to bed. I have tried studying Indonesian in the dark and its no fun. Imagine how difficult it is for students who have no electricity to study every night?

Okay my ride from the internet place is here so I have to cut this short. Until later.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Lent!

I have no idea what to write. I come up with some great stuff when I am at my house one hour away from this internet place but when I get to the internet place I completely forget. I know I know write it down but I'm much too busy and lazy to do that.

So a few tidbits:

I chased a cow out of our front yard the other day in the dark and laughed the whole time I was doing it.

Started Indonesian language classes last week because I'm desperate to learn this language. Its such an easy language and yet its more difficult for me to learn than Italian. Probably because its nothing like Spanish.

Mary and I started teaching at the middle school across the street and I love the kids there...well so far, you know how middle school kids can be. Well you know how American middle school kids can be. Indonesian ones seem more respectful. I'm still trying to remember to pray before starting class (its a Catholic school) but I'm not accustomed to it as I only attended public schools in America and we all know prayer in the classroom there doesn't fly.

Had a visit from our program head a week ago. We told her about our joys but mostly about our pains and she really heard us out and we hope for some improvements in our situation. Its not a bad situation but it could definitely use some tweaking.

Oh I got some Italian Corn Flakes, along with Italian salami and a wedge of Italian parmesan cheese. Absolutely delicious. This is one of the perks of having the program your in based in Rome.

Oh recently had a parish visit from some of my favorite priests, those of the Claretian order. Twelve priests and all are very similar in their manner of treating Mary and me like terrible teasing older brothers would. I affectionately call them "horrible holy men."

Mary and I were trying to think of children's songs to teach of to our young students. We realized that we remember next to nothing and what we do remember we know different versions of. Tip to any future missionaries who can't remember children's songs: do not go on mission with an American who spent her childhood in Germany and to any of those who are with missionaries of other western countries- good luck.

Okay I will try very hard to update this blog more frequently. I will make it a Lenten goal.

That reminds me I'm trying to improve my spiritual life for Lent which means some sacrifice. I got five hours of sleep last night trying to do a Catholic book club discussion with Mary, pray a rosary, and do the readings for the next day's Mass. Mass here by the way is at 5:30 am and I went to sleep at midnight-ish. Oh yeah I'm trying to go to daily Mass five times a week. I expect I'll be on my way to sainthood by the time I leave here...okay don't laugh too hard. Gotta go, gotta eat...what should I have rice, rice, or more rice? I think I'll go with rice. Haha. Just kidding I have come to love the food here.