A Little Glimpse.

Happy New Years Eve from Chiang Mai!

Here’s a little glimpse in to the last few days in my world…

This afternoon I will fly back to Bangkok to see in 2014, then back to Jakarta and daily life tomorrow night – I have mixed feelings about that, obviously. It has been exciting to be in a new place and experience new things and feel like a backpacker again, but I miss my friends and being able to speak at least a little bit of the language, but more on that another time 🙂

Happy New Year everyone – I hope 2014 brings health and happiness and lots of visitors to Indonesia! Xxx

Checking In.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and are suitably relaxed and merry!

I’ve had a lovely few days in Bali – once the weather picked up – and am now checked in at the airport waiting for my flight to Thailand.

Celebrating on the beach with other teachers from Jakarta.

The sunset on Christmas Day.

Visiting rice paddies.

I’ll be back in 2014 🙂 lots of festive love xxx

Christmas In Bali.

I can’t believe that Christmas is finally here! It seems I’ve been counting down the days for weeks!

After a bit of a nightmare journey (on my part) Beth and I were reunited in Bali.

I was of course very excited to see her, but not so excited by the rain that greeted us!

It’s pretty much been raining constantly for the past 48 hours which has dampened the mood slightly (excuse the pun!) bit obviously there’s nothing we can do about the weather!

We have explored malls, got massages and met some crazy Indonesians along the way. One of my favourite parts of visiting a new place is chatting to the locals – something I don’t get to do enough in Jakarta.

It’s not feeling very festive, but we will exchange gifts on Wednesday and have plans to go for a nice meal. The rest of the week is our oyster! It’s lovely just to spend some time together, and I really do need some R&R – just wish it included topping up my tan on the beach!!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! 🎄

Feeling Blessed.

Woohoo, the holidays are finally here! I am currently chilling in the departure lounge waiting to board my flight to Bali, and I couldn’t be more excited about hitting the beach!

Like I said before, it’s been a busy week of celebrations and attempts to get in to the festive spirit. I am not feeling particularly Christmas-sy, but am feeling pretty blessed that I have such good friends after only 2 short months here.

On Friday evening, Emma and I hosted a wine and cheese party at our house, and everyone was in such good spirits! We ate cheese and drank mulled wine and sang Christmas songs, then once the masses had left and just my closest friends remained, we exchanged gifts. The evening left us all on such a high 🙂

The presents (and present fan!) were a hit!

Then came the emotional goodbyes… Yesterday was full of them! I keep telling myself that it’s only 2 weeks and I will be off having an adventure, but 2 weeks is a pretty long time when you spend 24hrs a day together! There’s a general feeling that because we don’t have our own families here, we will become each other’s family, which seems especially important at this time of year.

I guess what I’m trying to say throughout all this rambling is that I’m lucky to have made such good friends and grateful that I work in such a loving atmosphere with like-minded people.

Anyway, enough of this soppy-ness – Bali, here I come!

20.12.2013

Just realised that it is already Friday and I have neglected the blog for a whole week!

It’s been busy in the run up to Christmas – madly trying to mark tests and write reports so they will not be waiting after the holidays!

We had a Secret Santa celebration today at school, and this evening Emma and I are hosting a cheese and wine gathering at our house. What started out as a few drinks with A FEW friends has gotten a little out of control but it should be fun nonetheless.

Only 6 hours of classes left tomorrow (so wrong on a Saturday!) until the big holiday – Bali and Thailand, here I come!

Scenes From The Weekend.

Another busy weekend here – the last day of our Holiday Festival at school yesterday followed by a big night out to celebrate some birthdays last night.

Well, here goes, as they say – a picture says a thousand words…

French class with some stereotypical Middle Ages French moustache-ed men!

Showcasing traditional Indonesian dress.

An uncanny resemblance if you ask me!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend and survived the pre-Christmas rush!

With love from Indo xxx

Holiday Festival.

We’ve been having a big Holiday Festival at school this week, aiming to show the students that there’s a whole world out there to go and discover.

(I sometimes really wish that people asked native staff about slogans – I’m sure we could have worded it better than ‘There’s a world to know’ but anyway..)

We’ve been doing arts and crafts from all over the world with our younger students – origami, paper snowflakes etc – and teaching classes in other languages for our older students. Italian, French, Spanish, Korean and Welsh are just some of the things on offer!

I’ve been teaching French – something my A-level teacher never thought I’d say, I’m sure! – and have really enjoyed it! It’s encouraging that I actually remember a lot more than I expected, and refreshing to do something a little different for a few days. (The nightlight is obviously the by teaching the same thing for a few days to different classes, it means there’s no planning to do! Woo!)

Days like this put everyone in a happier mood (probably due to the aforementioned lack of planning!) and lend themselves to photo opportunities.

A planing meeting – I’m lucky to work with such lovely people 🙂

Taking Batik Wednesdays stateside!

It’s been fun – one week until the holidays and counting!

Party Class.

The one thing that really strikes me about the a school I work at over other places is that the courses only last about 2 months, and so as a teacher you are constantly getting a turnover of new students – which can obviously be a sad or brilliant thing depending on the group..!

At the end of the individual course, there is what’s called a ‘Party Class’ which gives everyone a chance to have a last fun lesson together.

One of my favourite courses finished on Monday and we went to karaoke for our party class.

A few observations:
A) People here get REALLY in to karaoke!
B) As a 16 year old I can’t remember ever having the self-confidence that these kids do – you wouldn’t have found me singing back then!
C) People in the UK should totally embrace these cheesy activities more – I had such a good time! Justin Timberlake – Mirrors was my song of choice, but there was a lot of One Direction floating about and I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved every minute!

It’s Beginning To Look A Little Like Christmas.

One of the things that really annoys me about this time of year in the UK is the over the top Christmas hype. I remember spending the holidays in South Africa and even at 12 years old appreciating the laid back approach the the festivities.

Coming in to this year abroad I had done little to no research and had no preconceptions – I didn’t want to be disappointed by anything and this way everything is exciting! I hadn’t, however, thought about the fact that living in a predominantly Muslim country would mean that a lot of people wouldn’t celebrate Christmas – coming from a place where nothing Christmas related is done by halves, not getting in to the holiday spirit seems like such an alien concept to me.

I’ve realised over the past week or so that I think I actually miss the decorations and sending cards, not to mention the mulled wine and party invites!

At the weekend, I went to one of the many malls of Jakarta and there was a Christmas choir singing and lots of sparkly decorations, and I suddenly felt like a little kid – so much excitement!

I really need some more Christmas carols in my life…

Now I just have the search for an Elf dvd and office Secret Santa to contend with – here’s hoping that I pick my own name out again this year… 😉

Things I’m Thankful For.

And in a follow up to yesterday’s post, here are some things that I’m thankful for (read: things that I couldn’t live without here!)

1) Generic communication technology – whatsapp, skype, hotmail, Facebook – they are such a life line for me here. I find it so difficult to comprehend how people went on big travels years ago when the only way of speaking to loved ones was with a letter that took a month to arrive! I have so so much time for the person who invented Skype!!

2) Aircon! Again, this is a no-brainer.

3) The fruit vendors outside my complex. I will never get bored of eating fresh mango everyday!

4) Happy, respectful, hard working students with a good sense of humour!

5) The fact that I remembered to bring a bag of tetleys with me from the UK. Tea is jut not that same anywhere else!

6) The Heart radio app. It’s a little strange but very comforting being able to hear friends on the radio from 7,500km away! The adverts are still irritating, but what can you do?!

On that note, I’d like to wish a big Happy 21st Birthday to Josh 🙂

Got some interesting things happening at school this week so I’ll be back to tell you about them very soon 🙂

With love from Indo xxx

Things I Miss.

So I’ve need here for 2 months now (can you believe it?!) and although I’m not too homesick, there are things that I wish I had here.

It goes without saying that I miss my friends and family, so I’m not even going to go in to how good it would be to hug my mum right now.

However, there are things that I didn’t expect to miss….

1) Cheese. I always knew I’d miss cheddar, only I didn’t realise just how difficult it would be to get it here!

2) Sleeping underneath a duvet! I never ever thought I’d be complaining about the lack of cold weather here, but waking up in a pool of your own sweat is never pleasant!

3) The no-smoking law! No need for explanation on this one I’m sure, except for I went out one night last weekend and had to leave early because my eyes were stinging so much from all the smoke!

4) Men having normal length finger nails. This really is disgusting! It’s seen as a sort of status symbol here if men are able to grow long finger nails as it generally shows that they don’t have a manual job. People take it to all sorts of extremes though – men shouldn’t have longer finger nails than me!!

5) Weekend mornings at The Villa – sleeping in, a cup of tea in Mum’s bed with Maisie lying at our feet, and brunch at a favourite haunt. If we go for brunch here, it’s rice and spicy things – I miss lounge eggs!

6) Hearing new music. The selection on my ipod is already getting old, I imagine I will despise every single song in another 10months time! Please please please send your music recommendations my way!

7) Living within a stone’s throw of some of the best beaches in the world!

8) British TV. – I don’t have much free time or viewing here, nor do I want to spend all my time inside watching tv, but I would like to have seen the end of Downton Abbey, and the final series of How I Met Your Mother (don’t even get me started on Educating Yorkshire!)

Saturday Seven.

1. This has easily been the longest week (or so it seemed!) since I arrived in Indo. A full teaching schedule (including overtime), my first Parent’s Evening and a lot of test marking has left me feeling exhausted but overjoyed that the weekend is finally here. I am well aware that it will be Monday again before I know it, but 2 weeks from now we will be finishing for the Christmas break so I’m trying to focus on that!

2. We had a charity fun run at school last night.

3.5km in the pouring rain on the first day of proper flooding I’ve seen here – typical! All for a good cause, though I am definitely out of practice on the exercise front!

3. Rainy season: extreme (read: flooding season) has arrived!

4. I’ve been in Asia for 8 weeks now, can you believe it?!?

5. My housemate, Emma, has been away travelling for the past week, and brought me back some oleh-oleh (souvenirs – it’s traditional here to bring everyone you know (it seems!) little souvenirs back from your travels) Anyway, she climbed Mount Bromo and brought me some actual volcano – amazing!

6. Emma has been away travelling because one of her friends from the UK has been visiting, which in turn has made me really want all my friends and family to be here to visit! It sounds ridiculous, but I really want other people to see and understand my life here!

7. I had my first ojek (motorcycle taxi) experience today (Sorry Mum!) and didn’t die – woohoo!

Cramming.

I thought I was over last minute revision and cramming, but here I am, 2 hours before my Indonesian lesson rapidly trying to refresh my memory!

Fingers crossed it’s a talent that I still have! 😉

I am very aware that it’s been a while since I posted anything about my actual life, but the truth is that things are starting to become more normal here and there hasn’t been much to tell!

I am thrilled to be finishing one of my classes here later today. They were the first class I taught here in Indonesia, so it’s a comforting sign that I’ve been here for a while and am starting to get in to the swing of things, but mostly they’re just a massive handful and drain on my energy! It does mean, however, that I have my first set of parent’s meetings later – I’m really hoping that some of the parents speak English as that would obviously make the whole thing much easier!!

A little homesickness has also been starting to creep in, I guess as an almost direct result of settling down here. It’s been a pretty rubbish few days, to be honest, but then I wake up to this….

…and everything is alright again! 🙂