This is a short video I took off the balcony of our new house Saturday night during the call to prayer (or Azan). You can see what the typical weather is like here in the afternoons; hot, overcast, and sometimes the clouds look so heavy and swollen, I want to prick them with a needle and let the rain fall already.
The mosque is a short walk from our house and the kampung down our street, so we often have large groups of people walking back and forth to pray. Ellie loves to wave hello and point out the beautiful dresses and skirts the girls wear. The evenings are the busiest because it means it’s time to break the fast, or celebrate the end of another day of fasting by eating a huge dinner with family and friends. Most evenings include fireworks, which pop across the sky. Ellie and I have been able to catch a few shows on the balcony already.
You can barely hear the call to prayer in my video, but for a clearer version, check out this video. When I heard it for the first time in Cyprus, I found it haunting and mesmerizing. But now I’m beginning to become familiar with and used to the call to prayer every day and night.
Check out the neighborhood in the video. Interesting architecture, huh?
For those of you who voted for the International House Hunters Bogor Special poll, you may be interested in knowing that we chose the mid-range house with a small rent increase, nice floor plan and Chinese influence.
We are all very excited about this new little home of ours. My one minute shower has ballooned to a whole five minutes (with the bigger water heater), Ellie has her own room (now that it has A/C) and we’ve got a real couch! Well, a really old Chinese couch, but it beats wicker chairs.
Seth and the pembantus moved in yesterday and we have fully unpacked now. Oh, it feels so good to finally be able to nest. I think we all feel that way.
And now pictures!
While I’m sitting at my desk in my homeroom, working on my powerpoint for Academic English grade 11 while another teacher is teaching grade 10B in some other subject, I’m jamming to AWOLNATION.
There’s a reason why I’m listening to music; in order to stay focused and not zone out or listen to the lecture.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret… listening to this kind of music feels incredibly empowering. The beat is quick, the voice is strong and commanding, the lyrics forceful and demanding. Everything that this place is not.
Sorry to say it. But, I need the balance. I’ve heard of expats needing to watch Southpark or some other obscene American media at night just so they don’t lose their mind being so culturally sensitive and nice all the time.
And now you know what I’m listening to as I kindly smile to you from across the room. Ding!
A few months ago I devoured the book The Help. The narration and story really held my attention and I continue to think about it, especially in Indonesia.
You don’t have maids in Oregon. Maybe you call the Maid Brigade to clean your house once a month in Oregon. But to have a maid work in your house all day or even live with you is practically unheard of.
Well, you do here. It’s actually expected. And almost every single house has a maids quarters built in, usually consisting of a small room and bathroom with a mandi around the back. (Remember the toilet issue in The Help? I was shocked to see that here.)
I hear even maids have maids here. (By the way, maids are called Pembantus in Indonesia) Why? How I understand it, it’s about contributing to the community. Your money is shared and more people have jobs. And boy do Indonesians know how to create jobs. More on that in a later post…
So when we arrived to the “Meh” house, we were kind of gifted Greg’s old maid. Emphasis on old. She cleaned for a few hours each morning and refused to speak to us. After two weeks of this, we asked our friend if she could recommend a new maid. After a day training this new maid, she quit. We were disappointed because she got along with Ellie pretty well. We found out she didn’t really want to work anyway, so we’re trying not to take it personally. A day later (today) we get a message at 7:00 am that a new maid is coming over to negotiate the job.
Oh boy. With an agreement to clean, launder, buy food from street vendors, let us practice speaking Indonesian with her, and maybe cook for us a little, we locked in a new maid for about 600,000 rupiah a month. (around $60). Not bad. Let’s hope this one works out…
She cried a little when I left her class, but I knew she was fine within minutes. Teachers passing me in the hall reported on her play during recess (“she was running and screaming with her new friends”) and her friend Kira found her class and waved hello.
My classes went well. I started my first two with interview presentations (really to help me get to know the students). And tomorrow I’m looking forward to learning more about the IGCSE Exams and process. My EFL grade 10 students will be taking them, and I have next to no training. I’m hoping to get certified by the end of the semester, but of course, I need to run on the Indonesian rubber time and just go with the flow.