I seem to have overloaded a bit on extracurriculars! I’m hoping this will help me keep busy and stay positive this year.
I’m teaching newspaper and debate club each once a week. I’ll finally start taking Bahasa Indonesian language classes twice a week. And I kind of fell into joining a teacher softball league that plays on Fridays.
Today we played against the best team in Bogor… and lost. But I hit the ball and got a run! Not bad for my first softball game. Ever.
I wanted to write a reflective piece on the year we’ve spent in Indonesia. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wasn’t interested in that year. I’m far more interested in this year.
Now don’t get me wrong, this past year has been one amazing, albeit challenging year for our family. But I really do think that all that hard work will pay off. We now have a car (Seth can fill you in with the details later on), a trip home next month to celebrate a family wedding, a savings plan, excellent professional opportunities and development, and new expat friends in the neighborhood. Things are looking up in this part of the world.
What’s next? We plan to enjoy the fruits of our labor for the next six months, and then we’ll need to make a decision. Stay? Go home? Whatever it will be; it will be extraordinary.
Amed was pretty spectacular. My last post however missed a few important points from the weekend.
One in particular was the 5.4 earthquake in the Gilis and the shakes we felt on the beach on Saturday. It was pretty crazy to hear all the villagers shout “pinuh!!” (Meaning: alive) while the earth rolled back and forth. We all looked out to sea for a moment, and then I realized Seth was out there…
At 2:00 Seth was diving and heard some loud rumbling, as if a large boat was passing overhead. He had a visual of the surface and saw nothing, just listened to it groan for a good 15 seconds.
Fast forward to Sunday and our slow efforts of leaving Amed. We snorkeled again in the morning, lunched and showered and even did a detour through Kintamani. Crazy thing on the windy roads up there was the jeep in front of us missed a turn and drove straight into the rice paddy! Seth jumped out and helped the poor shaking Balinese kids out of their muddy car before we raced off for a quick dinner and then Seth to the airport.
Today things were much calmer… Ellie and I played with friends at the pool and hung out in downtown Sanur in the afternoon. We had dinner with friends tonight, which will probably be the plan for the rest of the week.
Eliana is finishing her first year of preschool in Indonesia this week. In July she will be begin Prep, which is essentially Kindergarten. But I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the school curriculum here. Ellie started the year knowing her phonics in English and Spanish (carry over from her days at Aprende Con Amigos in Portland) and is ending the year understanding basic Indonesian, reading three letter words in English and Indonesian, writing letters and numbers, basic computer skills, piano basics, intermediate swimming abilities, and overall enhanced motor skills. Not bad! Here are some pictures shared with me from the school. Enjoy!
Puppet Show: The 3 Pigs
Puppet show: Goldilocks (Ellie really doesn’t get the whole peace sign thing here)
House visit and storytelling by Seth
Wayang (Traditional Indonesian puppet show)
Hindu temple visit
Buddhist temple visit
Sawah (Rice paddy)
Sawah visit… is that a water buffalo?
Yearbook photos in traditional Indonesian clothing
So we’ve been to six hash runs since moving to Indonesia. The family hashes are usually the last weekend each month. We’ve missed the last few because of travel to Thailand and Krakatau, so we were happy to get in on this one.
After five runs you get a hash name. Ellie was donned Princess Slow Poke, as she usually brings up the rear. However today we were the second group to finish! We hiked Rainbow Hill in Sentul City and naturally the pictures don’t do the view much justice.
As I’m writing this, lightning claps the skies in Bogor and rain is pouring. Eliana is at a friends playing because I feel too ill to really give her the attention she wants right now. This is frustrating.
I’m sick of feeling sick all the damn time. This isn’t exactly a fun topic, but I feel it’s necessary to be honest on this blog, especially for those readers who are currently or who are planning to expatriate. The thing is… It’s not all travel wanderlust. It’s popping Imodium and Panadol and vitamins all the time hoping to feel normal for a while. Because I can’t remember what that feels like.
We have been feeling pretty home sick these last few weeks, Seth and I. Ellie? I don’t know. She’s really involved with her friends and school. She loves to give gifts to new friends and she really listens to them. This can be good and bad, especially when they’re critical, such as saying her peanut butter and jelly sandwich smells. (Naturally her lunches are a bit different than theirs and she gets a bit of flack about it.) So the next day she says she hates sandwiches.
The good thing is that I caught her class BFF sounding out words to her from a book. Whoa wait a minute, you’re reading?? Ellie was stunned. Me, thrilled. This was the perfect motivator to get her started. And it’s working!
Anyway, I suppose my point is this. Eliana is continuing to adapt amazing well here. This positive growth keeps us sane, but I’m not sure it’s enough to keep us here too much longer.
Let’s be honest here, it’s not easy coming home from an excellent vacation. Especially when your home isn’t really… Home. And even more so when you bring home a virus. Seth and I have been struggling with a pretty nasty virus for over a week now. Was it Thailand, the plane, or Indonesia? Who knows when you’re traveling in Asia.
While we’ve laid low, we’ve been able to enjoy the new kittens a bit. We’ve given them tentative names: bear is the big black one with a long tail, pig is the female black kitten with a curly tail, and tiger is the tiny tabby. We have no idea what we’re going to do with the kittens, but for now, they’re pretty damn cute. And Banksy will be spayed… ASAP.
Banksy, our 7 month old kitten, had kittens. I know we’re terrible parents, (grandparents?) but she got out a few times and apparently the stars were aligned. We estimated the conception was mid-January and were really crossing our fingers we’d be here when she went into labor so we could witness it.
Boy were we naive.
You see I came home at 4:00 today to Ellie and our maid in the bathroom. She said Banksy’s water broke and she was meowing a lot. (Side note: Seth and I watched a few cat labors on YouTube to get an idea of what to expect.) I knew we were close, especially since I could see her pant and actually try to push.
After about 20 minutes, she got up and tried to walk around. It was when she crawled between my legs that she BIT my leg as she birthed her first kitten. Two more followed about 10-15 minutes later.
If you’ve never experienced something like this before… Well, I’m not sure I would recommend it. It was fascinating and Ellie was really excited and intrigued. But I don’t think she fully comprehended what was happening, like when the cat ate the afterbirth and… And… Oh it was gross.
Sorry. Birth is beautiful. And gross.
Anyway, I’ll show you some of the non-graphic bunch of the pictures and video I took. The kittens are really cute and Banksy is thankfully very maternal. They’re all passed out now… and to be honest I’m pretty damn exhausted myself just from watching.
Eliana had her parent teacher conference this morning. She timidly presented her work to me with a very heavy Indonesian accent. It’s pretty funny to see how differently she speaks around me versus around her friends and teachers.
She showed me her art with mixed media and on the computer. She explained basic math equations to me and then read two syllable Indonesian words, such as roti, susu, nasi, sate…
It was really cool to see her show off her note-reading for piano skills. She explained the names of the notes, then played them on the piano. So proud!