Archive for May, 2011

So this is the end.

I am sitting in the Singapore airport where we have an 8-hour layover. Given this ample amount of time, I thought it would be a good idea for me to write one last blog post–a farewell. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Indonesia through my eyes for the past 2 months.

Bali was amazing-beautiful-gorgeous-fantastic-relaxing and all around stupendous. I could give you a really long description about the awesomeness that is Bali, but that will take too long, and I am exhausted. See pictures at the bottom of this post.

For my last post, I will try to some up some of the major lessons I’ve learned in Indonesia. I’ll keep the list to the three biggest ideas that I am taking home with me.

1. English is hard! I came to Indonesia thinking that everyone I would be working with would speak English, and for the most part that was true. However, not until I spent time with the students and staff did I come to appreciate what a feat it is for someone to learn English. Struggles with pronunciation, emphasis, synonyms, grammar and mechanics for the past 2 months have just made me more appreciative to have grown up in an English environment. Kudos to the Sampoerna kids for learning as much as they have in such a short time!

2. Different doesn’t mean wrong. This was a tough lesson to swallow. It makes sense in theory. As educators, we are taught that every student has a different background and therefore a different perspective. Every student brings something different to the table, and there are infinitely many ways to approach any problem. Yes, it makes perfect sense. In practice, it’s a little tougher. Only when I was thrown into a culture, a way of life, that is completely different from my own did I really come to appreciate this idea. I found myself saying things like “why on earth would they do it that way?!” or “what the heck?!” in so many different situations simply because something was not done the same way as I am used to. Just because some person/company/group approaches something differently than I would (even if it is incredibly inefficient), it doesn’t mean they are wrong. It just means that we all see things differently, and we can certainly learn from one another while celebrating our differences.

3.¬†Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.¬†In Indonesia, “rubber hour” was perhaps the most frustrating thing to deal with. When someone says “7 pm” that doesn’t necessarily mean “7 pm”. It could mean 7, or 7:30, or 8, or maybe not until 9. The lack of urgency was down right aggravating at times. In Indonesia, there’s no such thing as a waste of time. So when your about to board a plane without a crucial document, leave it to the flight attendant to joke around with his friends and wonder around a bit before giving you necessary instructions on what you must do before you can board. AAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!! But, there is also an important lesson to take from this. In Indonesia, there is no such thing as a waste of time. Sometimes we are in such a hurry to reach our destination that we forget to enjoy the ride. By the end of the trip, I found myself thinking “well, we will get there when we get there.” Who cares if the car ride took an extra 5 hours, we got there eventually didn’t we? Does it really matter that dinner was an hour later than expected? We still got to eat. For someone who generally likes to know the schedule, I am coming back to the US so much more flexible and patient, and I have Indonesia to thank for that.

Well, that sort of sums everything up. Thanks again for reading! Enjoy the Bali/Gili T pictures below. We certainly had a great time!!

The beach at Gili Trawangan (or Gili T as the cool kids say) is amazing. White sand and aqua blue water... magnificent!

Gili T at dusk was so blue. It was amazing!

We ate at a seaside restaurant at dusk... gorgeous view!!

You should go see this for yourself. It's fantastic.

Fishermen work in the evening during low tide.

Notice that mountain in the background? It's Indonesia's tallest volcano, Mount Rinjani. Bali provided spectacular views!

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