Lacking In inspiration.

To be honest, I’m totally lacking in ideas about things to share with you today, so just a little life update πŸ™‚

I’m finally back in to the swing of life at school – my planning schedule is pretty hectic as my timetable is full of courses that I’ve never taught before. My favourite group are a conversation class. I was horribly nervous about this – the focus obviously needs to be on the students talking, but I’m always paranoid about spending the whole 2 hours talking at them! My fears were pretty unfounded though – we’ve been having a really good time. Last night, the class was all about small talk. Small talk and chit chat are something that I didn’t realise my life was lacking, until I returned to the UK and was able to talk about silly, everyday things to anybody (my shopping experience here is very different ‘do you need a bag?’ – ‘no thanks’ – ‘okay bye’ – ‘bye’!!) We spent 2 hours pretending we were at fancy parties or business meetings – they assumed characters and everyone was giggling away πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ IΒ  was pretty nervous about this lesson beforehand, wasn’t sure if they would understand or appreciate the concept of small talk, but it worked perfectly. I love it when that happens!

On Sunday we went on a school trip to Kidzania, in Central Jakarta. It’s a play centre based around helping children choose a career – they can try out being a doctor, fireman, DJ! (Also, selling petrol, making noodles and answering the phones for a taxi firm!)

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It was a fun, albeit completely exhausting, day out!

I’ve spent most of the day today trying to organise our school Christmas party for next week. My housemate, Emma, and I want to plan an award ceremony – it’s only a bit of fun but we’ve asked every member of staff to vote for different categories (person with the messiest desk, person who consumes the most coffee, office agony aunt etc) – I know it’s going to be great but the organisation is a bit of a nightmare! I also have no idea what to buy for my Secret Santa present! #festiveproblems!

Q&A.

It’s taken me a longer than planned to put this post together, but after spending a while at home catching up with everyone, and popping back to the school where I did my teacher training to meet the current trainees, there are a lot of people asking a lot of the same questions, so here goes – a little lowdown on the finer details of my adventures.

Where did you find your job? I applied for a ton of jobs on tefl.com. It’s very straightforward – you can set up an online profile that easily enables you to submit multiple job applications daily, and schools are also able to contact you directly through the message box. There’s a lot of rubbish on there, but it’s worth sifting through all the adverts, and a good place to get a better idea of what’s out there.

What are the students like? Generally, I love my students. The school that I work in runs a variety of courses –Β  the youngest students are 4 years old, and we also have conversation and business classes for adults. Of course we have some issues, they are people after all, but as a sweeping generalisation, my students are very polite, hardworking and keen to please. You can read some more aboutΒ  my students in this post about who I taught in my first year in Indonesia.

What are your working hours? Obviously this varies greatly from school to school, but I teach from 4.00-8.30 during the week, and 10.00-1.00 on Saturdays. I normally try to arrive at school by 1.00pmin order to plan….and chat with my co-workers and go out for lunch!!

How did you did somewhere to live?
I’m very lucky and my house is actually provided as part of my contract package. This is not unheard of with EFL jobs. I have my own bedroom with ensuite bathroom, and share a living room and kitchen with housemates.

What do you miss from home?
My friends and family, of course. In addition to this, lots of food – cheese, Jaffa cakes, a good curry! There are easily enough pros to outweigh the cons though!

Have you learnt the language? Do you need to?
The area that I live in is in the outskirts of Jakarta and not many people speak English. I spend all day at work with English speakers so it would be easy I get by speaking very limited Indonesian, but I have been taking lessons and learning (or trying at least!) because I really want to be able to speak to everyone! As long as you can pick up a few lines – numbers, food, basic directions – you’d be fine!

How do you make friends?
Ummm I’m not going to lie – it’s difficult. That being said, I have a wonderful group of friends at school – they’re more like family – and have a really settled life here. I have met other English teachers through friends and work events, and made Indonesian friends in bars and other activities in the city. If you’re will in to put yourself out there, you will easily make friends!

I hope this has answered some questions….although it is a massive step and I’m not planning to stay here forever, moving to Jakarta really is one of the best things I’ve ever done. All the worries that I had before I came about not making friends or being able to speak the language were completely unfounded, and to everyone that says ‘oh I wish I could do what you’re doing’…..YOU CAN!

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Project 365: November

To start with, it was really difficult to remember to always take a photo, but I’m starting to get in to the routine now…

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1. Leaving LHR – 2. On the plane – 3. Meeting baby Jack – 4. Roma’s Wedding – 5. Holiday planning – 6. Fresh mango – 7. National Teacher’s Day – 8. Birthday Eve – 9. Etam’s birthday dinner – 10. Homemade crumble – 11. Jakarta Blues Festival.

Strange Happenings.

Some weird things have been happening lately.

I should preface this post by telling you that everyone in Indonesia is obsessed, and I mean totally crazy about, ghosts and urban legends. They believe 100%, and everyone has their very own ‘sighting’ story to tell!

Anyway, I digress! Last week my housemate Emma put a flower in a tiny bottle of water next to her bed then we left for the day at school. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened, but when we got home that evening, the rose was laid out on her pillow yet the water hadn’t been disturbed.

Spooky hey?

We thought it was a little odd but forgot all about it until a few days later when I left some mango on the table and when I returned, it was outside my bedroom door at least a metre away.

Now this time it really freaked me out – I know deep down there must be a logical explanation (on both occasions, nobody else had been in the house) but how did these things move on their own?

The next day I was speaking to some Indonesian school friends about it and they told me this: Legend has it that ghosts live in trees, and when a tree is cut down the ghost or demon can escape and move in to the closest house. Well, while I was away in the UK, the papaya tree was cut down in our front garden!

Does this explain these strange happenings? Probably not, but what a coincidence! I would have never even considered the idea of the house being haunted in the UK – isn’t it funny the effect that a culture can have on your beliefs!

Life Lately.

1) Have you heard about the new app/game, Heads Up?! I only learnt of it yesterday, but it is my new favourite thing to do! Basically, it’s an electronic version of charades or articulate – you play in teams and have a minute to act/describe as many ‘things’ as you can to your teammates (you hold your phone up to your forehead so everyone can see the item but you). ‘Things’ include songs, animals, famous people, random nouns. And to top it all off, while your team mates are yelling away at you, your phone records everything! Hilarious! I can’t wait to play it with my students next week!

2) Talking of fun things in class – we watched some of The Lego Movie this morning. It’s amazing how much emotion they can convey on the face of a little plastic man!

3) I just successfully had my hair cut! The language barrier makes this whole situation hilarious. I am the girl that has only been to the same hairdresser every 8 weeks for the last 8 years of her life because she is so bad at explaining what she wants done. Now I just have to take a picture and hope for the best!

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4) I can hardly ever remember my dreams, but this week I did 2 nights in a row. On Thursday I dreamt that one of my teeth fell out. According to the dream dictionary (and a website – teethfallingoutdream.org haha), apparently it’s an anxiety related dream and is a call to look at your support system more carefully. The other dream was that both my mother and I were pregnant at the same time! (Interpret away people!)

5) I’m off to Jakarta Blues Festival this afternoon. It’s pouring with rain (I don’t know much about it but hopefully it’s inside!) πŸ™‚

Happy Saturday everyone!

5 New Year’s Resolutions (Sort Of…)

I mean resolutions for my next year in Indonesia… For the past few weeks my mind has been full of things I want to accomplish over the next few months – as if I’m magically going to have more free time this time round!

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So here goes….

1) Project 365 – I read an interesting article a few months ago about how completing various 30 day challenges will help you recall that time period in years to come, as the challenge will make the time stand out as different. I’m hoping this will be a yearlong version of that!

2) Improve my Indonesian language skills – There is nothing that I want more than to be able to talk to people in the street and be able to understand everything going on around me!

3) Be better at keeping in touch – emailing friends from home… texting my Jakarta friends to make plans more often… not being so forgetful and rubbish about skype dates!

4) Even more travel! – So little holiday time,still so many places to see… Seriously, open this link and watch the video – so so beautiful!!

5)Β  Go to the market more often and buy more vegetables – I need to shift this cheese belly somehow!

Back To The Concrete Jungle.

The few days since I arrived back in Jakarta have been a blur of jetlag. The flight was okay (LOVE Emirates!), just long and boring.

I’ve spent the past few days sleeping until 3pm (oops!) and catching up with a few people. It’s so lovely how pleased everyone is to see me!

On Saturday night I went to a friend’s wedding in the city. Indonesian weddings never stop surprising me – they are just so different to in England. Alcohol free for starters, over by 9pm and literally the most elaborate thing you’ve ever seen!

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My favourite part, however, is checking out everyone’s fancy batik!

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And the photobooth is always good for a laugh…!

Yesterday was the last day of my holiday, and it was an extremely lazy one – trying to kick this sleepiness once and for all! I spent the afternoon lounging next to the pool, and although we’d planned a trip to the cinema in the evening I just didn’t make it (mostly out of laziness, if I’m honest!)

Back to school with a week of new classes today…. It’s funny, I’ve only had 6weeks off school but this is the longest break since I started teaching and I feel so out of practice!

Happy Monday everyone! Let’s do this πŸ™‚

Introducing Project 365.

There’s a project floating around online that I’ve wanted to complete for a while called Project 365. It involves taking a photo a day, every day, for a year. I have tried (and failed, obviously) a few times before, but I think it’d be a really fun way to celebrate my 2nd year in Indonesia.

So here goes, I’m trying to make myself more accountable. Let’s go!

So Over Saying Goodbye.

Okay, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m miserable – saying goodbye sucks. I can’t believe I’ve been at home for a month already! Why is it that time really does fly when you’re having fun?! You can be sure that time really will pass as slowly as humanly possible when I step on to that plane later on today (Can you tell I’m psyched about spending 18 hours on a plane?! Yeah, I thought so!)

I don’t know how to sum up my feelings today, but when in doubt refer to Pinterest and find a cartoon quote! Cheers Pooh Bear! 3

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Weekend Recap.

I’ve spent my weekendΒ  trying to tick every remaining item off my ‘to do at home’ list. It’s been pretty successful – I still haven’t managed to see some people that I desperately wanted to, or spend enough time with others but hey…there’s always next year!

I started the weekend by having brunch with my friend Alice (you can read her great blog here πŸ™‚ ) at a new place in Plymouth called The Dock. Excellent pancakes, delicious peppermint tea and great company – what’s not to like? Alice was even kind enough to donate some books to me and my friends in Indonesia – I feel under so much pressure to choose books that everyone may want to read! She wrote little messages inside them all – imagine if one day in 20 years time the book makes its way back to her?! The world is a very small place, after all!

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Sunday was much busier. One of my favourite things to do at the weekends at home is to go for a walk on the beach. I can’t believe I hadn’t made it to the coast yet, but was determined to squeeze it in on my last Sunday (weather permitting!) Unfortunately the tide was in and there was no beach left, but we had a nice stroll along the coastal path and took some silly photos (complete with whole family car selfies….an excellent photo bomb from Maisie I think you’ll agree!)

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Yay for family time! ❀

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The afternoon was lazy but fun-filled – pasties for lunch, an early in the year but still amazing viewing of The Holiday (our family tradition at Christmas) and roast lamb (so delicious!) and vienetta for dinner. I woke up at about 3am on Sunday morning dreaming about Vienetta – I probably haven’t eaten one for at least 10 years – how random is that?!

Now for the last few days – I have so much to do! I haven’t started packing or shopping for Western supplies yet, and am completely unmotivated to do so! For me, it’s all about the family time and jaffa cakes!

Bon Voyage Celebrations.

On Sunday we had a little party at home – a Bon Voyage before my second year in Indonesia and my little brother heads off to Australia.

I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year since the last goodbye gathering. I was so anxious about what lay ahead of me – all the well wishes were actually very daunting and all I wanted was to walk around holding my Mum’s hand for 2 weeks! (I still kinda do want that..!)

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It was lovely to have so many of my favourite people in the same room. It’s funny how much of a small place Plymouth is – put 20 of my friends in a room together and leave them to their own devices, and people will always find someone that they know!

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It was a perfect Sunday afternoon – full of friends and chit chat (and dogs and prosecco and A LOT of cheese!!)

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(I put my culinary skills to good use- woohoo!!)

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A Holiday On Holiday!

I’ve been trying to make the most of my time at home – so at the weekend I jetted off to The Netherlands to visit an old school friend.

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It was wonderful! I know I sound typically British here, but we got SO lucky with with weather!

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Romin is based in Utrecht, so we spent Saturday exploring. The best part was all the cheese!!

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Part of me is honestly worried about returning to Indonesia and leaving the cheddar-y goodness!

Everywhere was so picturesque and traditionally European – I loved just walking around the city and soaking it all in.

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On Saturday night we sampled some local beer and stayed up far too late discussing everything that we’d missed over the past few months – I love being reunited with old friends!

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Despite all the beer that needed to be drunk, cheese that needed to be eaten and gossip that needed to be shared, we still managed to squeeze 2 day trips in…

Day #1 – The Hague.

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The Hague is the old political part of the country – I didn’t really know what to expect but we packed the bikes on to the train, and it was beautiful.

There was so many places that I saw and thought ‘wow, I really want to live here for a little while!’

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We even made it to the beach! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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It was so much fun to explore other parts of the country.

Day #2 – Amsterdam, and the Rijks museum.

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The most interesting part of the museum was all about the Dutch invasion of Indonesia. Check out the batik and gamelan!

There was also a great exhibition that reminded me of Humans of New York, by a photographer that was interested in how varied the Dutch population was, so he started taking pictures and recording the subjects’ date of birth and professions.

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I also had a picture taken outside the museum, to match one that I took when I visited Amsterdam 5 years ago!

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Left: Boiling in 2009. Right: Shivering in 2014!!

And there you have it – just a little snapshot of a wonderful trip πŸ™‚

Holland Wish List.

On Saturday I am off to Holland for 4 days – a holiday on holiday! Woohoo! πŸ™‚

I’ll be heading to Utrecht to visit an old school friend currently studying there.

IMG_4926-0.PNG 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…..

IMG_4927.JPG …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!

 

Checking In.

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!

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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!

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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 πŸ˜‰

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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 πŸ™‚ Good job too as I am missing my second family! ❀

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