It’s been 2 weeks since I last posted. Sorry friends! I’ve been wrapped up in resumes, cover letters, and job applications. With any luck, I’ll find a job for next school year. It’s been difficult to try and get everything done while overseas, so I’ve been relying on my loving father and Cindy to print and mail things. Thanks guys!
Okay, I’ll do my best to recap the past couple weeks without writing an entire novel.
And the bule will provide the entertainment. (Boot Camp – March 28-30)
The admission team at Sampoerna Academy has been very busy going through applications for next year’s new cohort of students. About 1000 kids applied for around 100 spots. They narrowed the field down to about 200 students, and invited those chosen few to campus for a “Boot Camp”. During boot camp, potential future students were put through tests (psychological and academic) and had an interview with a panel of judges. It’s quite a rigorous process. Throughout the day, the students have some down time. Our principal came into our office and told us that the new students were in the hall. “Go entertain them,” she said. Alright? So we arrived in the hall just in time to be introduced as the bule (“foreigner,” remember?) who come from America. After we introduced ourselves and told everyone what we teach, they asked us to do something with the students. Elisabeth led a camp song (a tooty-tah for all you former campers… it’s a good one!), then I taught the Cupid Shuffle, and we ended with Elisabeth leading a stomp. The students had fun learning some American dances, and we had fun teaching them! On Wednesday, Boot Camp ended, and the future students left. It’s very sad knowing that some of them came so close, but will not be able to attend Sampoerna Academy. On the bright side, it’s wonderful to know that 100 of them will have the opportunity to get a great education!
At first I was afraid, I was petrified. (Karaoke – March 29)
Ah yes, this is indeed a reference to the famous Gloria Gaynor song. More on that later. During boot camp, a bunch of people from the foundation were at school because they are the ones who interview the students for admission. We all decided to go out and have a fancy dinner. The restaurant definitely didn’t disappoint. We had fish and crab and prawns that were so fresh, they must have just been caught in some pond nearby. The gentleman who did the ordering asked if we would like a “bird”, so we said sure why not. When the “bird” came out, they told us it was quail. “Alrighty!” I said, “I’ve never had quail, so I’ll try it!” Turns out, it wasn’t quail. Yep, it was definitely pigeon. Hmmm… it wasn’t bad, but I think it’s safe to say that I’ll never order pigeon in the future. Definitely glad I tried it, though.
After dinner was over, Joe (the ISU student who teaches music) got guilt-tripped into doing karaoke. It didn’t take long for all of us (the 4 ISU students) to go up there and do a song together. Can you guess which one? Yes, we belted Gloria Gaynor’s famous hit, I Will Survive. It was one of the only songs we recognized from their selection. About halfway through our “performance”, Daryl, the Australian gentleman from the foundation joined in with us, and it was quite the show. It’s safe to say that we had a ton of fun just being ridiculous. When we were done, we told the people in charge (we’re talking about important people in Indonesian education) that it was their turn. So we got them to go up there and they sung a wonderful rendition of some Indonesian song that I’ve never heard. All in all it was a great night, and I had a lot of fun!
Oh yeah, we have school! (Class – April 1)
On Friday, we had normal class. All I did was go over the answers to a quiz that the students had taken 2 weeks prior (before the jungle camps and boot camp). While going over the problems, I made a mistake on the board. Whoops. I tried to make it a teachable moment, asking a student to explain why my method was incorrect, and it sort of got worked out. Obviously the culture here is very different than in America. Here, when you make a mistake, someone tells you that you’re wrong and then you change your answer. As a teacher, I don’t think there’s any instructional value in that method. I’m learning to adapt to a different school and a different working environment which I know will make me a better teacher in the end. It’s certainly been a challenge, but I’m looking forward to learning more and improving my skills as an educator!
Miss Becca, would you like to play volleyball with us? (PE Day – April 2)
Every Saturday, the students have PE and sports clubs. We decided to go and join the clubs. When we arrived, the students were doing calisthenics, so we joined in on that. We had fun practicing some aerobic bollywood-type moves with the students. I was really looking forward to the clubs because the students told me that there is a volleyball club. When I first arrived at Sampoerna, I told everything that I love volleyball, and they invited me to come play with them right away! Side note, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but students here call teachers by their first names. Strange, right? I’d just gotten used to hearing “Miss Fillbach” and now I’m Miss (or ibu – pronounced ee-boo) Becca. I had a ton of fun playing with the students!
You want us to WHAT?! But we don’t even know them! (Wedding – April 3)
Last Sunday, we had the opportunity to go to a wedding. This was maybe one of the coolest things that I’ve seen since I’ve been here. The couple getting married are friends with several of the teachers here. Indonesian weddings are more of a community event than American weddings. Anyone and everyone is invited. We were some of the first people to arrive, so we sat near the front. As we entered the tent (yes, it was outdoors), we were immediately sent into shock . Up front, sat the most ornate, majestic scenery that I have ever seen in person. The bride and groom sat in plush chairs with their parents on either side. We didn’t get to see the actual ceremony (it was at 8 am that morning), so we were there for the
“reception”. This included a grand entrance (a parade complete with a drumline) by the bride and groom and their families and then photos of the couple with all of the “important” guests. We were shocked to find out that the happy couple considered us, the bule, important guests, and therefore we were brought on stage and asked to take a photograph. Wow. All of this aside, for me, the most interesting thing about the wedding was the headdress that the bride wore. It was a beautiful golden crown-like hat. What’s interesting is that she has to wear the headdress all day. Oh, and it weighs up to 10 kilos depending on which region of Indonesia you’re in. For those of you Americans who don’t speak metric, there are 2.2 pounds in a kilo. 10 kilos times 2.2 pounds per kilo = 22 POUNDS!!!!!!!! That’s 22 pounds on your head ALL DAY LONG. Talk about being exhausted on your wedding night…
Alright, that pretty much wraps up week 4 of my 8 weeks of teaching. Stay tuned. I’ll recap week 5 tomorrow. Thanks for reading!