Wanna know a secret?

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!


First day of school



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.

“Back to School” Shopping and Food

I’d love to present you an eloquently written update regarding our life in Bogor. However, I’m exhausted from writing my lesson plans for the last 7 hours. It’s only 3:00pm, but I’m drenched in sweat (no A/C downstairs) and my jaw is killing me from clenching it under stress.

On the upside: I finally feel ready for tomorrow.

We did our “Back to School” shopping yesterday at the mall. It was about this same time that I realized we had forgotten to eat lunch and were all shutting down. We found a sushi restaurant and inhaled the amazing flavors we know so well. (Sorry, but we’ve already grown sick of the 4 meals you can get in this country, most of which are fried.) We’ve also realized that it’s pointless to cook an Indonesian meal at home when it’s a fraction of the price to have a much better version of it delivered. (Like the gado gado¬†from Cafe Tropical = OMG amazing.)

Gado Gado – The only meal with actual vegetables!

The creature comforts of making mashed potatoes and mustard and salami sandwiches have saved the day on many occasions. It only took us two weeks to realize we needed that. It’s the little things at this point. Thankfully.

Class starts Monday

My classroom is a disaster. I’m trying to be cool about it, since everyone else is, but it’s difficult to look past the broken whiteboards, boxes of crap and dirty walls.

Like house hunting, I’m trying to look at the structure: Big class. Ton of windows. Great view. Ok, not bad…

I’m not prepared for my classes either. I mean, I have a syllabus, but lessons are far from ready. I know I can’t rush this though, so I’m hoping I can get in that head space some time this weekend.

On the flipside, or technically two floors beneath my class, is Eliana’s classroom. I got to meet her teachers today and learn a little about their program. I was a little caught off guard when they asked me what religion Ellie is, and I have to choose from: Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist.


Can she be a little mixture of a few of them? I ask. Oh, the concerned and confused look I got wasn’t very approving. So I asked if they could list Ellie as Christian on paper, but let her sit in on all the religious lessons, and they said ok. Whew. This should be interesting!

Teacher training and school preparation

This week I’m stuck in training. There is a giant stack of papers to my left that I’m told will guide me through the school year.

Currently I am scheduled to teach Academic English grades 11 and 12, EFL to grade 10, ACT Prep, Study Skills, and IELTS/TOEFL Prep to grades 11 and 12. Of course this is not what I applied for, but I welcome the subjects and think they’re actually a better fit for me long term.

On the side, I am picking up batik fabric for Ellie’s uniform. I can’t stop thinking about the dress pattern for her. It’s so cute! I promise pictures of her on her first day, next week.

In the meantime, strong coffee is needed to get through the day.