Curhat.

Curhat is one of my favourite Indonesian words – it literally translates as ‘pour heart’ – or to pour your heart out, in all matters concerning your life.

I’ve been trying to decide for the past few months whether I want to spend another year here in Indonesia. Before I left the UK, I only ever planned on coming here for a year and then moving on to somewhere else, but I guess I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the place as much as I have.

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I mean seriously, what’s not to love about this?! 🙂

Really though, a year is a long time to be away from my nearest and dearest and it took some serious consideration. I mean, I have changed a lot over the past 10months and I am convinced that change has been equally as fast paced at home (and that I’m missing out), although I expect I will return and realise that this is not the case.

A friend told me recently ‘you’re doing things I could only dream of and more’ – Yes sure I am having a great time, but in terms of actual grown up life, I’m not making that much progress. I can navigate day to day life in a different culture, but I am not in a long term ‘career’ job. I can (half) speak another language but I’m not saving any money….the list goes on.

So all of this aside I finally decided to suck it up – I know that if I were to give this up right now, I’d be miserable – I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet.

In light of all this, my visa is being processed as we speak but Indonesia has had its fair share of political instability lately so nothing is certain. All we can do it sit and hope…in the mean time I am very much looking forward to a ‘holiday’ home!

Snapshots Lately.

On 17th August, Indonesia celebrated their Independence Day (59 years independent from the Dutch) and there was lots going on to celebrate.

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There was so much fire breathing, and the whole area around the National Monument stank of petrol but it was pretty impressive – definitely good entertainment 🙂

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There were lots of kids out celebrating in our Kampung (village) too – they always want to take photos with us, it’s a bit creepy actually…

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We had a multi-cultural lunch date at the weekend too – at a beautiful old Dutch restaurant in the city. It was filled with beautiful antiques and old photos, but more importantly they served mashed potato 🙂 🙂 🙂

After lunch I went to see ‘Grace of Monaco’ at the cinema. I love going to the cinema here, it’s so cheap! The film was a biographical story of Grace Kelly’s life – it was great, go watch it 🙂

Saturday Coffee Date.

Oh my gosh, this has been the longest.week.ever!

You now those weeks where everything seems to take forever, and however productive you feel you are being, your ‘to do list’ just doesn’t get any shorter? Yeah, it’s been one of them!

But Saturday is finally here, and I have a stack of DVDs to get through, some gin to drink and a lunch date to occupy myself.

So if we were meeting for coffee today, what would be up for discussion?

I’d probably start by rearranging our date from coffee to sunbathing – I am very much feeling the pressure to get out in the sun so that I can get maximum tanning time in before I return to the UK in 8 weeks (can you believe it’s been 10 months already?!)

That would lead on to the fact that I’m constantly on the verge of exploding with excitement at the prospect of coming home and seeing my friends and family (for anybody who’s wondering – 12,000km is a long way and a year is a long time!) but also super stressed about the fact that I haven’t booked any flights yet. Add that one to the never-ending to do list!

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Can’t wait to cuddle this face again!

We could chat about the new Indonesian president – it’s the done thing here at the moment, then have a whinge about the fact that my extension visa still hasn’t been processed (more coming on that another time).

Before we parted I’d also have to tell you about one of my new classes. They’re one of the highest level classes in the school, only 8 students, but they are all 13-14year old boys, It’s insane! On the first day, they asked me what gender I was. During the second week they asked me the difference between ‘boob’ and ‘breast’. Week 3 – I arrived at the class and 2 of them were physically beating each other up!!  We’ve been studying personality types and at the end of the unit there is a project for them to work together and put what they have learned in to practice – in this case, the task was to write a personality test (yes, you read that correctly) and then try it out on your classmates. I was dreading the lesson, I’d looked at the work and thought it was difficult myself (this is coming from someone with a Psychology degree) so who knows what they were going to think/say…..

I decided to give it a go anyway….and I was pleasantly surprised! They wrote some really great questions (even if some were a little too imaginative) and really got in to their roles – it was great 🙂 If only every class went that way….

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What would you have to tell me?

Bukit Lawang.

Well, I’ve been ordered to blog more often to brighten up the summer holidays so here goes…

After a few days in Lake Toba we made the 9hour journey to Bukit Lawang – a a little jungle village.

It’s difficult to explain just how beautiful this place was – we were staying right next to a river (which became our shower for the next few days) and all you could see was miles of jungle in every direction. It was incredible.

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Now we only had one full day in the jungle (stupid holiday not being long enough!) and my friends were set on doing a trek. I was in 2 minds about it – there was absolutely no chance that I was going to stay out in the jungle over night (I’d read in the Lonely Planet that there were bears…!) but we settled on a day trek.

I was super nervous – I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it. We had to hike up the river for 6 excruciating hours and then float back down in rubber tubes (that part was fun!). Some parts of the trek were so steep we were literally holding on to unsteady branches and pulling ourselves up cliff sides, and at one point we even had to abseil down a hill relying on only a dangling tree root for support! We saw orangutans, one of whom had a super cute baby, lots of other monkeys and crazy insects, and just being out in the jungle was beautiful. In hindsight, I’m struggling to comprehend just how old and tall the trees were!

I’d be lying if I said there were no tears or ‘oh f*ck, what was I thinking??!’ moments but we all survived and I was super proud of myself!

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These jungle crowns were a present from our guide upon completion! 🙂

So that was our day in Bukit Lawang! There were just a few hours left for beers and card games at the hostel (one of my favourite ways to pass time) before heading back to Medan for one final night and flying back to Jakarta. It’s strange, I have never called this place home – as far as I’m concerned, home is a little place in Devon, close to the beach and surrounded by my friends and family, but I was actually, dare I say it, excited to be back? The comfort of knowing how things work and seeing familiar faces – it’s a nice thing.

And just like that another holiday is done and dusted 😦 so many places….so little time….

06.08.15

Good morning everyone!

Yes, that’s right, I’m still alive! I’ve been meaning to blog again for weeks now, but it’s one of those things, the longer I leave it the more overwhelming it beccomes, you know? There’s just so much to talk about!

Let’s start with more holiday news…. Last week marked Idul Fitri – the biggest Muslim holiday and the end of Ramadhan, so we had a week off school. With a few friends I headed to Sumatra – one of Indonesia’s main islands that I was yet to explore.

We left super early on Monday morning and flew to Medan, where we hopped straight on a bus to Lake Toba. It was a local bus – super cramped, hot, smoky and a rather unpleasant 5 hours…

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(Yet another moment when I wished I had shorter legs…!)

We finally made it to Lake Toba just in time to catch the last ferry of the day over to the island where we would be staying. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world, and although I had done some research beforehand I was not prepared for jut how vast (and beautiful) it was going to be!

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We’d come off the back of a busy few weeks at school and a lot of travelling so spend the first few days relaxing. We swam in the lake, read books, drank beer and ate delicious foods (including lots of pork! Sumatra is a Batak area, so predominantly Christian).

We also hired motorcycles and went exploring for the day. I was under the impression that we’d be able to circumnavigate the entire island, but turns out it’s actually the same size as Singapore! We rode about 100km and only made a small dent in the distance! We found some hot springs and had a little adventure though 🙂

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Our time in Toba flew by way too quickly, and it was soon time to move on to our next destination in the jungle, Bukit Lawang!

To be continued…