Wow, what an interesting few days – my feet literally haven’t touched the ground since I got here!
I think I may have already encountered one of the most bizarre experiences of my year here – on Saturday morning I went to an Indonesian funeral!!
When my housemate Emma and I woke up on Friday morning they were setting up outside in our street for what appeared to be some sort of celebration or ceremony. We didn’t really think much of it and headed off to school hoping that it may still be going on when we got home that night..which it was! When we got home there was a lot of commotion and noise coming from our complex, and one of the security guards explained that it was a celebration of death – I assumed he meant something similar to Remembrance Sunday in the UK, and he asked if we would like him to show us what was going on so of course we said yes!
We walked down our street and there were lots of flowers, as well as people outside drinking and smoking and singing. At this point we still had no idea that it was a funeral! We stopped to talk to a few local families and finally got in to the house where there was a coffin with a dead body! I was totally taken aback and shocked, and really struggling to get by because everyone was crying and I felt really bad because I couldn’t speak any Indonesian! It was very sad but we were invited back to see the actual funeral ceremony the next morning and decided that we may never get this opportunity again so we has to go for it!
Funeral flowers, Indo style.
So we got up bright and early on Saturday, put on our ulos (a beautiful handmade scarf – type of traditional dress) that a very generous neighbour had given us, and headed out to pay our respects.
The ceremony was beautiful, but I felt very awkward throughout, especially when Emma had to leave to go to school – this wasn’t what I had in mind for my first solo experience in Indonesia!
I spent the rest of Saturday relaxing, and then we headed out to Jakarta in the evening. We went to an amazing club on the roof called ‘Lucy’s in the sky’ surrounded by skyscrapers!
On Sunday there was a spelling bee at school, which I was invited to come and watch. It was pretty American, but the winners of this round get to go to a national competition next month. I was so impressed with their spelling – I didn’t event know what some of the words meant! (Dragoon?!?)
Spelling bee winners, and the other school staff.
We spent the rest of the day chilling next to the pool, in preparation for my big first day at school today! Wish me luck! 🙂