Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Hari Guru

Teacher's Day also PGRI. This took place the day after Thanksgiving. There were no classes instead we stood for a very long ceremony. The teachers were handed flowers a poem was read to salute them. It was about how if there wasn't any teachers there wouldn't be a president and other important people and so on. They sung in the ceremony and raised the flag. It was quite amusing for us all to see them doing what is usually the student's responsibilities. At the end a sign was unfolded and confetti was dropped and all the teachers were handed a rose.

      Then the games began. Well there was a long wait in between. But finally I saw one teacher wearing both a dress and pants go and adjust themselves and I was like oh female teachers are going to play soccer too. No. No. This was a cross-dressing soccer match between the male teachers and guys in different classes. They had fun with that, not only did they cross-dress but they had this musical chairs things going - so music would come on and they'd have to dance before beginning again.I think the students won both games - but who's counting.
I very much enjoy this picture of the teacher's dancing.

It's good he's wearing pants.
      Then the female teachers played musical chairs. Eventually they started playing dirty - sometimes ex-players would drag the chair away. Current players were instructed to make the dance circle bigger because they were all jockeying for the front space. Who won? Well I think it was actually an ex-player who just ran and sat in the chair when the music stopped.

      Next was bakiak race. I don't know if I've spelled that right but bakiak is the name of wooden sandals. The ones used in the race were long pieces on wood with 3 pairs of cloth straps. Sandals for 3 people! 3 teachers would get on and then race the other teams - equivalent to a 3 legged race basically. There was some falling down. It looked really fun actually. I'd want to try but this day was for the teachers.

      After this the games were basically over - some of the boys and teachers played more soccer. I headed to the local mall for wifi and got to skype with my family. It was Thanksgiving there - so I guess I gave them a pretty awesome thanksgiving present if I say so myself.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Indonesian Wedding

A few weekends ago I went to an Indonesian wedding. Yaaay. Now I've met a lot of family members but I had never met this one. But that's ok because neither had my two host sisters. And we still didn't meet her at the wedding.
Truly don't remember what was happening. Me being me I guess but at a wedding.
So that Friday I spent a while getting dressed. Weddings you have to dress up. I would say that I ended up middle fancy - there were some people there in jeans and others in long incredible gowns.
    The wedding was held in Taman Mini in a huge building. I guess we only went to the celebration part. The wedding was a huge room filled with food. The truest way to describe it. You walk in and sign the guest book handing over your envelope of money. I think its the norm to only give money as gifts for weddings. Then you roam and eat roam and eat. It was buffet style so you could wander over to the Dim Sum section of the Indonesian food section, the bread section, the dessert section. Sometimes my host parents would stop to talk to people they knew, otherwise it was like just eating.
Didn't try this. Feel like it had meat in it.

    The outfits though. The bride and groom were dressed in dazzling traditional wedding outfits. The bride had this headpiece with glitteryness and things dangling off. Their job the whole night was to stand there on display as different family members came to take pictures of them. They never sat. I never saw them eat. This was really 'It's all for our guests and family and the beauty of it wedding celebration'.

Some of the quests wore more traditional outifits too. I saw a couple of men with sword type things walking about. Or maybe just the case. My family was more modern - I guess. Well they didn't wear traditional outfits.
Not entirely pleased with this picture.  
Obviously I love Indonesian weddings now. You eat and look at cool outfits. My host sisters don't like to go often because they say you'll get fat. That's truth though.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Eid Ul Adha - Warning Within Text

Ok I'm adding a Pre Warning Warning too because the pictures are pictures and I don't want anyone to be surprised by how real they are (because they're pictures). But first cute picture:
He didn't survive the day. But very cute.
Finally November - just as it's over too. So the very first weekend I returned to my hmom's house in Bandung to celebrate Eid Ul Adha. I was there the whole weekend but this is just my explanation of the holiday which we celebrated on Sunday. The holiday comes from the part where God told Abraham to kill his son and Abraham was about to but then God was like 'Nope Test Kill this animal instead' and so he did. That is probably a gross summary but I hope it does it's job.
      They started off the holiday with a visit to the mosque. What I didn't know before was they have a family mosque on the grounds. Other people can visit too but wow that sounds really nice. I started off my holiday by eating. We ate, watched tv, all the family asked how my Bahasa Indonesia was (they still like to talk in English though so they can practice). Then the cow arrived.
      Eid Ul Adha's main celebration activity is the cutting of a cow and several goat's throats in representation of the son's life being saved and that animal's life being offered up instead.
Coming down from the house.

The whole family went outside as they felt like it. Caca and I went earlier to take pictures with all the goats and the cow. Caca had a goat there. Apparently it was purchased and raised for her and even named after her and this year was it's time to be sacrificed. It was cute and let me pet it.

      The atmosphere was not what I expected as you get ready to sacrifice 7 or so animals. Everyone was joking and laughing. One of the goats pulled out it's post and my hpapa did a dance around it trying to put it back in. Kids maybe 4-6 in age were there being afraid of the goats and running around.
Fair Warning: You might not want to read this if you don't want to hear about animals dying this way. And there's pictures too.
      Then it was time. The cow went first. It was quiet for this part or people would mutter a few prayers/prayer type statements. They made it lay down over the hole they dug for it's blood. They pushed back all the neck skin and then they cut it's throat. I always imagined it to be a quick process - like a gulliotine. The head would just be off and it would be dead. No. It was a long process, not one easy cut. And it didn't just die. It's blood spilled out and it could still moo for a while. After that it just looked around as it's heart beat out all the blood.

      Next came the goats. Because it would take a while for all of the cow's blood to drain out there was another hole for the goats. The goats were quicker and less noisy. As they were being killed  people started chatting again. The kids started roaming again. Some would go take close up looks at the cow.

When Caca's goat was sacrificied she was called so she could go and watch. After the goat's throats were cut  they'd move them to the side so it could finish dying. They would kick and move and I don't know - is it to stop dying? They're throats would be cut and their blood on the ground but they're feet would still be going crazy. Once they were finally dead they were hung up so they could cut them up for eating.

      Then we gradually went back up to the house again. Some people cut the animals up themselves I think but the workers did that for us too. As we went home we got a bag of cow meat and goat. The rest of the meat goes to those who cant afford it. Perhaps the homeless or orphans or someone. It's good to know that it's not wasteful.

The area where all this went down. View from the house is crazy. Only dark because you can't see anything if I made my camera normal.

It was so surreal. To Muslims it's a meaningful holiday - they do good they're feeding the hungry. To them it's holy, it has some greater meaning or purpose. To me, a non-Muslim the only way I can describe it is surreal. Life was just as usual afterwards. I can't really judge - that's not why I'm here. I haven't come to any big religious conclusions either. People will do a lot for their beliefs.
Host cousins. I like this photo. Sums up the holiday and the family dynamic for me

I am glad I got to experience it though.
(There are extra pictures from after on my tumblr Links on the side too.)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Oo America. Oo do you like how the lights gleam off my head like a bald sweaty person.

Finally I can finish up October and get on with November. But I've been waiting for pictures from friends. thank you friends. Halloween was a 2 part event for me - great I know. But it was very different. There was not a ton of candy that I could hide in my closet for the next 6 months. There was no nature themed costume this year (after flower and cloud I was running out of ideas too).

      So first I skipped out on the end of Bulan Bahasa day. By skipped out I mean I was granted permission by the gate guards at my school to go attend an educational function as equal in importance as school. So yes with I couple of classmates I attended a Halloween event held at their English First class in the mall. It wasn't even the 31st by the way. I ate choki-choki this chocolate paste that can be addicting. Some of the teachers and students wore costumes. I saw a vampire, a pumpkin, and perhaps Frankenstein. There was face painting. And that took up most of my time. Deciding what I wanted, then getting it. Flower headband - keeping in with my past nature themes. It was cool. Thank you classmates for inviting me.
Two of us chilling beforehand. Costumes! well not me. 
Now that Sunday (also not the 31st) AFS invited us to a Halloween event too. An Indonesian singer was going to be performing at @America for an Indonesian tv show - Dahsyat. We could wear costumes too! So what did I get dressed as - that's right the easiest costume in the world black cat. Nathan went too but he was the karate kid in his penchak silat uniform.When we got there the party was in full swing. The singer was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and had the ambassador and other people from the embassy dancing up on stage. Good times. I will probably never see something like that again.
Us and embassy person. 
Indonesian students were also at the party. They were very interested in us. They were total strangers but came up and asked for pictures and to practice they're English. So we took pictures with them. They  dressed up too which I love.
Random person yaaay. Costume awesome. Don't I look crazy tall? She's wearing heels too. At least 3 inches.
The rest of the day was just mall wandering, food eating. I hope people enjoyed the cat girl walking around their very fancy Jakarta mall. I did. It was fun.
I miss my American Halloween fun but I do believe this was a one of a kind Halloween.
Oo Oo Woot Woot Yeeaaaa
So late I know

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Istana Bogor & Kebun Raya Bogor

So this post is kind of out of order but oh well. The Sunday after my @America powerpoint session I got a chance to go to Bogor and tour the presedential palace. Fancy fancy. So fancy I couldn't wear any of my own clothes. I ended up having to borrow my sister and mom's batik jacket and skirt. In Bogor we met up with all our exchange student friends. 3 Germans that live and volunteer in Bogor, Andrew and Amy came down from Karawang, Nathan from Bekasi, a lot of AFS people and me.
      We started with a tour of Istana Bogor. It's the presidential palace from old times. It's European style very white but there's Indonesian wood carvings and style. I kind of spaced out on the history lesson that was all in Bahasa Indonesia so I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. But I could not take pictures inside so I guess I'll have to describe that part.
The pointy part is a flag. And Micha from Germany is the person. Don't the clouds look nice.
Right beneath the flag inside is a small hallway with two huge mirrors reflecting back on each other. So you saw a million of yourselves. There were some Inception jokes. Of course.

Inside the palace it was very white just like the hallway you see above. But the art was amazing. A lot were portraits. Funny thing, you know how royal or presedential pictures usually have the men very stern and unsmiling. Well here not so, not so. There'd be a picture of an old man maybe with hat or something on giving the hugest grin. they all looked like nice grandfathery type people. Old people are just so cute - in theory.
But my favorite was a picture of a mythical battle. If you imagined a war between ice and fire and earth then you'd be close. It was huge and their faces. It's probably some Indonesian story. I'd be interested in hearing it. Oh and I loved the portraits of the daughters and wives of the royal men (?). They actually were the ones not smiling with beautiful traditional clothing on. It was very regal in a dreamy way - they were looking off into the distance.
Look at the green and the clouds and the chandelier! It's a nice palace.

These are the grounds surrounding Istana Bogor. Strewn with statues of naked people.
There's also like a lake and possibly a moat.

Hello unclothed crouching lady
Next we went to Kebun Raya Bogor aka Bogor's bontannical gardens. This was just a nice stroll. A nice stroll with ...

 A river!
Indonesia's San Francisco Bridge. Let me tell you, this bridge had a 15 person maximum. And it's a bridge. It swayed like it was made out of rope. I don't look afraid in this picture but that's the tea in the cup talking.

I was frightened by the 10 or so kids approaching me on the max. 15 people bridge.
 The plants were nice. It was green. There was another lake. I was talking a lot so I can't describe each plant species that I saw.
What an amazing tree. Trees I love you.
Our group. thank you facebook friend for uploading this
 After our stroll we went out to eat of course. I don't know the name of the place. I ate some vegetables - (sayuran) shared with Amy my fellow pescatarian here in Indonesia. It was raining afterwords as we said goodbye. Because we all live in different cities here in Indonesia.
I just like this picture. I thought all my non facebook friends should be able to see it. Generous of me, yes? It's on a street somewhere in Bogor I think.

Burger Queen hehe.
Teman-teman di SMAN 62 makasih untuk membaca blogku.And other friends, family, and random people you too - thanks for reading :).

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Bulan Bahasa Activites

So I mentioned how October was Bulan Bahasa dan Sastra in Indonesia in my last post and there were actually more activities to celebrate than just Festival Musikalisasi Puisi. Bulan Bahsa dan Sastra is Literature and Language Month for all y'all who can't speak Bahasa Indonesia.
Classmates (well grademates actually except for the girl in front), sign, our school's batik.
    So the last Thursday and Friday there was a big event. It included competitions about the 4 languages offered in my school - French, Bahasa Indonesia, English and Japanese. The slogan went something like - Uniting Language and Fun in Youth. Very noble. Thursday started out with a ceremony - flag raising but they had on fancier outfits. I wish I could have taken pictures but I was saluting and what not. Then began the bazaar. Each class had a table and sold what they wanted. I don't actually know where the money goes to but that doesn't matter. I hung out at my class' XI IPS 2 table (that's our name which means we're the second of 3 classes in grade 11 that studies social. The other 3 study science). We sold Maichi - a spicy snack from Bandung, pudding cups, and spaghetti (and by spaghtti I mean cold pasta with a meat sauce that looked more chilli-esque) They kept offering it to me. No thanks guys I'm cool. Vegetarian remember.
Ok so this might not be the greatest foto for the people in it. But it's our table! And my classmates! And food!
    Our booth was pretty hot. We sold out very quickly (oh except the pudding). I walked around and saw others selling drinks - es buah which is a syrupy drink with bits of fruit in it - the best and another syrupy soda like drink but with jelly (?) covered seeds. There were sticks with chocolate on it, key chains, meat pocket type snacks, cupcakes. I throughly enjoyed this food portion. It was a bit like being back at my school at home - food is kind of a big deal there. After the bazaar I spent the rest of the day in the nurse's office - not because I was sick but because that's the hang out spot. We practiced Tari Saman and Tari Riau. At the very end of the day it was too hot in there and we went to the library. I read The Witches - Roald Dahl and in Bahasa Indonesia. Then home.
The name was Prakars462. I still don't know what that means. A booth though
    The next day began with a bazaar again. Beautiful food eating again. Today I actually wanted to watch the contests. So I went and watched the Bahasa Indonesia Debate Contest. It was very intense about whether students should be allowed to listen to music and wear earphones in class or not. Or that's what I got when I was listening. I knew the one of the members of the team that was winning and I was surprised by how tough she was. This reminded me of my debate days where they were tough and will rip into you while doing those condescending debate gestures. Then I happened over to the English Debate room. Totally different. There was long pauses and a lot of repeating but I was really impressed. I think I made them more nervous though and caused a bit of a commotion.
English Debate arguing that traditional dialects aren't useful to learn in school. The girl on the far edge mentioned globalization and I was super impressed
Other team receiving comments from the teachers. I sat behind the timer people hence the shoulder in my foto.
By the way I was a newfound celebrity these two days. All my younger schoolmates would stop and talk to me. I got called Kakak which is the coolest feeling ever. It only means like older sister/brother but to me it's like being called 'Older Wiser Master who We look Up to and Adore'. I showed off with my California-ness. I was stopped and asked to take pictures at least 6 times. I pretended to be embarrassed in front of my classmates but really it's my new favorite hobby.

After the contests I did a little wandering because I could not just sit for any longer. And here's an Indonesian culture difference. You can not just walk off anywhere by yourself. It's always 'Where are you going?' 'Oh to the bathroom two feet away. I guess that's ok because I can see you from here but don't be too long or I'll worry.' When leaving during class you also go in pairs. This goes for guys too. But I like to wander and on this day wandered into a french crepe cooking class alone.
French teacher cooking up the crepes. They looked crazy easy to make.  I don't know. I'm not a cook.
I was scooped up by some of my younger classmates who were again amazed at me having come to the worksop alone. I talked about my California life again in English and Bahasa Indonesia because they are equally impressed by both. I ate a crepe with banana - it wasn't too bad even though it was made out of the worst fruit in the world. I ended the day early because I was invited to a Halloween party by some classmates. Another story though.
Sorry about still being stuck in October.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Festival Musikalisasi Puisi

Sorry to interrupt my schedule telling (just kidding no one cares about my school schedule) and my fun weekend telling (yea this is really out of order) but this past week (aka 2 weeks ago while still in October) I got to experience musical poetry interpretations created by high schools in Jakarta.
They used traditional instruments such as the gamelan and that huge gong and that drum business
      That Wednesday I tagged along with my school's musikalisasi puisi team to watch them compete against other schools with their original musical poetry interpretations. It took place at a local university as a part of Language and Literature Month (in October).There were a total of 50 schools competing, all doing their own version of one of the pieces of poetry. They used different instruments traditional and modern, had on traditional clothing, and were really interesting. They ran the gamut, from good singers to too quiet to really creative to bore making. It was a very long Wednesday from 7am to about 4pm. I kind of feel asleep towards the end. But after almost completely falling out of my chair I shamed myself into staying awake.
Think they were 2nd in regionals. I don't know

I love this one look at his cheeks and ears.
    In addition to Wednesday our school was so good they went to the finals on Friday and I tagged along again. Yeah I missed two full days of school. A real tragedy I know. I was very impressed by my school. Not even out of solidarity or that other word when you like them the best just because it's your school/country/ whatever. The poem was by Chairil Anwar and I'm not sure of it's exact title something to do with Bung Karno. Here's a link to what might possibly be it. Anway, watch below and see how good my school is - yea I made a youtube account just so you could see it.

Then what do you know, SMAN Jakarta 62 won regionals and went on to the nationals the week after this, also a Wednesday.
Starting from the left - the first third fifth and sixth are in my class. If you thought I was gonna say their names or something - ohwell hahahaha. I crack myself up sometimes.
Oh yea so above is them posing in the winner's circle. On to Nationals! Nationals was held at Taman Mini (remember with the houses and culturalness) and it was for all of Indonesia. ALL not just Java the island I'm on. Each of the 11 teams performed 2 poetry-songs one of them was the same the other their choice. I didn't bring my camera because I didn't know I was going but I'll still give shout outs to some of my favorites.

  1. Semarang in Jawa Tengah (aka Central Java) were the first up. And I was like woah very rock-ish and the singers did that dance where the guitar and bass players play and they just have to move around and shake a bit until it's time to sing again. They had it down. Also they had a cowbell - and I was like - I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell. Go Semarang.
  2. Sulawasi and Aceh had amazing voices. They must have been crazy amazing because I only wrote down that their voices were amazing.
  3. Bali ooh Bali everyone was waiting for you. I mean you're BALI, different religion and culture probably one of the most famous places in Indonesia. And you did not disappoint. Very modern soft rock (I'm not really sure what that means. But it sounds like the right description)
  4. And I wrote down Sumatra so I don't know. Some other group from Sumatra was great. Yes I took notes during the show. And it was for you all - that's love.
So that was my Musikalisasi Puisi experience. I think my school came in 6th in Nationals which mathmatically makes them so-so for all of Indonesia but I really was very impressed. Everyone asked me if we have this in America. I don't really know but we should - it's so creative and interesting.
Just to show I was actually there. this was friday with classmate and two teachers but of classes I don't take.
Love you alls. I'm about to be 3 months in here and am heading into holiday season. Talk to me I'm probably a bit more awesome than I used to be - which is saying something.
Also whoever gets my quote they get sooooo much more love. I'm counting on you.