The past week has been a jam-packed collection of Bahasa Indonesia language lessons, sessions about the Indonesian Education system, dinners around town, and other cultural/exploratory outings. The best part has been getting to know the other fellows, though. There are 20 of us total, 18 present at the orientation. We go back to our sites all around Indonesia on the 13th, but will see each other again in November, if not before. Here are some highlights from the past week:
I had my first experience of Padang food– which is found throughout Indonesia but comes from West Java. They cook the food about once a day and then leave it in the window and you take what you want. So it’s a buffet: Indonesian style. Rather frightening not to know what I’m eating, but luckily we had some renewers (fellows who have been here for a year or two already) to help us out.
Another highlight was the Talent Show! So quick background: we got here during the final days of the ETA Fulbright Orientation, so we could meet the 50 English Teaching Assistants scattered around Indonesia (two in Palembang!) They were having a talent show, so Tabitha (a renewing fellow) put together an awesome version of Call me maybe, but changed the lyrics to apply to Indonesia. SO the rest of us acted out the lyrics.. (there must be a video somewhere….) Needless to say, we rocked it.
We went on an awesome excursion to Kawah Putih- White Crater– a Volcanic Crater lake about 2ish hours away. We rented a bus for the 10 of us who took our Sunday off to explore. The drive up into the mountains was absolutely beautiful! And once we got to the Kawah Putih, we had to ride a little van (with lots of power) further up the mountain to reach the actual crater. You’re only supposed to stay for 15 ish minutes because of the gases.
We’ve gone out to several Sundanese restaurants. The Sundanese people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Indonesia and are from West Java (where we are now). They traditionally eat seated on mats around a table, and the food is tasty… only occasionally makes you tear up from spices.
On our way back from Kawah Putih, we were in the land of strawberries, so we got to pick strawberries after lunch!