On Saturday I am off to Holland for 4 days – a holiday on holiday! Woohoo! 🙂
I’ll be heading to Utrecht to visit an old school friend currently studying there.
Yes, I was chubby, and yes he was experimenting with hair! Haha ❤
Anyway, Romin actually moved out to Holland before I set off for Indonesia last October, so it’s been well over a year since we saw each other last.
Here’s my Holland wish list…
1) Take some up-to-date photos! Aside from the prom night classic from above, this is the most recent I could find…..
…and I’m pretty sure it’s at least 4 years old! What can I say? We’ve been living pretty different lives for a while!
2) Take lots of photos of everything actually!
3) Sample some of the links between The Netherlands and Indonesia. I have been to Amsterdam before, but back in the days when I didn’t even know where Indonesia was, let alone anything about the culture etc there. There are hints of Dutch colonialism all over Jakarta – I wonder if the links are also evident in Utrecht.
4) Soak up some European city-ness and traditional markets.I’ve missed that.
5) Chat, drink hot chocolates and watch the world go by!
I am starting to settle back in to the swing of things at home. It makes a nice change being able to sleep in, grab a cup of tea (oh how I am chain drinking breakfast tea!), read my book and hang out with Maisie for a few hour before even starting to consider how to spend my day! It sounds super lazy, and well, it is, but also glorious at the same time – I was so in need of a holiday!
Aside from all the hours spent invested in catching up with Downton Abbey, I have slowly been working my way through so many people to catch up with.
My time has been filled with brunches, G&Ts (not at brunch!) and family time. It’s flipping lovely!
On Saturday night, we had a family outing to see Seth Lakeman on the last night of his tour. He was INCREDIBLE! Such a high energy performance, great music and easy on the eye too 😉
This video isn’t from Saturday but I think it’s awesome so wanted to share. If you’re reading this and you don’t listen to Seth already – check it out!
In other news, my visa is on the way and I will officially be heading back to Jakarta next month 🙂 Good job too as I am missing my second family! ❤
‘How does it feel to be home?’
That’s the first thing everyone asks me. ‘It must be so strange!’ they say, and they’re right, but not for the reasons they’re expecting. At the beginning it was all jet lag and differences in temperature (although thank you, Mother Nature, for keeping it unseasonably warm here!), but now that’s over I’m excited by the smallest things – being able drink water straight from the tap, hot showers, the person on the other end of the phone being able to understand what I’m saying!
I’m constantly surprised by the things that I find exciting and also the things that I’m too overwhelmed to face. Take shopping, for example. Anyone who knew me before I went to Indonesia will tell you how much I love a good supermarket – I genuinely believe that if you can’t get it in Tesco, then it’s probably not worth having. I’ve been back in England for a week now and have been to the supermarket a few times but I end up feeling completely overwhelmed, especially by the cheese and alcohol aisles! (think 3 varieties of crappy Australian cheese and 2 bottles of beer, vs….well,you know….an English shop full of cheddar and gin goodness!)
It’s a lovely feeling being able to understand everything that’s going on around me, but I miss speaking Indonesian. I’m actually pretty worried that my limited language skills will drop while I’m away!
Everything is mostly just a bit surreal – I had expected everything and everyone else to have changed as much as I have in the past 12 months, but that’s just not the case.On the one hand, it feels like I’ve never been away, but on the other, everything is completely different.
Either way, I am loving being back in my own bed, surrounded by my friends and family, chain drinking tea and eating chocolate hobnobs! It’s going to be a good few weeks 🙂
I know I keep declaring this all over my social media, but I am so lucky! I have the best friends ever, as shown by all the plans to celebrate my last few days in Indonesia – the surprises just kept coming.
It all started with a surprise cake at school on Friday – my last day at work.
My housemate, Emma, also made me a book of photos and notes from my workmates.
I only had one class on Friday – generally the group are pretty quiet, but they were surprisingly talkative, bought me some donuts and we had a little party!
At the weekend we had a little lunch gathering – so nice to have all my best friends there – these are the people that have made my year really amazing.
Now I am home and contending with some serious reverse culture shock and jet lag….let’s do this!
I can hardly believe that it’s been a whole year since I started this adventure.
365 days ago I arrived in Jakarta and Asia for the first time, with little to no idea of what lay ahead of me.
I was hit by a massive wave of heat and humidity as I stepped out of the airport, full of nerves about meeting my new workmates. I had no idea that they would become my family here.
I got so lucky. Seriously, of all the schools that could have offered me jobs, I count my blessings every day that it was this one. All of the horror stories that I’ve heard about TEFL teachers going abroad and not making friends were terrifying, but they seem completely absurd to me now – I have the best working atmosphere and colleagues ever!
I don’t know what I can say to sum up this year. It’s been difficult at times, of course, but I’ve loved almost every minute. New friends, new language (complete with hilarious misunderstandings), new places to explore.
Here’s to another year (fingers crossed!)
1) Obviously top of the list, my friends and family, not forgetting Maisie.
2) Winter clothes – wooly jumpers, jeans, boots – come at me!
3) Tescos – the cheese aisle, the wine aisle, the Jaffa cakes, the list is endless..! Mostly the cheese though…
4) Not having to squat around my room killing mosquitoes before I go to bed each night. Seriously, I can’t stress enough how glad I am that Jakarta is a malaria free zone because I would definitely have been hospitalised by now!
5) The smoking ban. Enough said.
If only if didn’t have to pack up my entire life and sit on a plane for 20hours first…
Last week Indonesia celebrated National Batik Day!
Everyday is batik (famous Indonesian material) day at our school, but we dressed up specially 🙂
On Friday I had to say goodbye to one of my favourite classes. I still have one week left at school, but they came to see me anyway. I ❤️ them! Such cuties!
I spent most of Saturday being a tech-geek and backing up a year’s worth of photos and documents.
On Sunday we visited Ancol – in North Jakarta. We rented a golf buggy and rode around Eco Park (so much fun!)
And then we met this little cutie…
There was an adorable black lab that looked just like Maisie – it’s a good job I’m going back to the UK next week – it made me really miss her!
Wonderful company, wonderful weekend – here’s to a wonderful last week!
I’m in a very fortunate position where my school has a class for anyone and everyone, so I have had the opportunity to try every level and every age. I think this is really important for a new teacher. Although I was 90% sure before that I wasn’t cut out for teaching 4 year olds (seriously, stop trying to stab each other with those scissors!) now I know that I will never ever take a job teaching in a pre-school.
However cute they are, I just couldn’t do it for more than 2hours a week!
I never really thought I’d be that in to teaching Business either, and while it’s still not my favourite thing to do, I’ve actually really come round to the idea….especially when my students and I went out for dinner and they just wanted to go to McDonalds – turns out they’re not scary business people after all!
I make no secret about it though. For me, teaching teenagers is really where it’s at, and I know I shouldn’t have favourites but I definitely do – and any teacher that tells you they don’t is lying through their teeth!
This lot, for example – so smart and so much fun. Often not very hard working at all but that’s not too bad when you love the classes.
About 3 weeks in to teaching this bunch it was my birthday and they bought me a cake and played my favourite songs on their guitars – so cute ❤
There is one stand out favourite class though. I used to teach this group on Friday afternoons for my first 6months here. They never failed to make me smile and brighten up my afternoon. I still get pretty jealous when I see them with another teacher every week now..!!
On a few occasions I’ve also been out to teach in local high schools, which is always an experience. Packed classes of screaming kids who have never been taught by a native speaker before. I normally get mobbed with calls of ‘bule’ (foreign person) and ‘hello mister!’ before I even get to the class!
Eeekk, I look so pink!
It’s been a fun year – I’ve grown very attached to some of my classes and I will miss them a lot if I can’t get an extension on my visa…fingers crossed!