Sunday, 29 January 2012

Kelas Meeting aka Sports Week

So let's go back in time a bit. The week after remed, before the two weeks of "winter" holiday break, and during my sickness was Kelas Meeting. Aka a week of sports and friendly competition between each of the classes in SMAN 62 Jakarta.
Now I missed the most important days of the week because of my ubi/telur (sweet potato/egg) sickness but I came in thursday (Friday we didn't actually have school sad). Some people didn't bother coming becauase most of the games had wrapped up but I got a little taste of the competitive spirit.
The whole week is really official - they use those brackets to see who's going to play each other and everything. The first final I saw was badminton - pairs. Badminton is a cool game. Birdie is a cool word and everything in the game is light (weight wise) and yes. It seems like a nice game. Watching was ok too -it was between two Kelas 3 classes so I didn't personally know them.

My class played in the basketball finals. They only could play on half a court because our school isnt that big . It was probably the most polite game of basketball I've ever seen. And of course included the tallest guys in my class. We won so Yay!
The shooting one's in my class and the ducking one too.
The next game was soccer. Or more like the next 3 because they played for a while. They were so excited. I actually saw someone waving an Indonesian flag - even though both teams were for sure Indonesians. For a while I was in my school's prayer room watching a movie (not alone with friends too duh) because I don't know I guess that's the hang out spot  but we all came out to see these games.

 It was a kelas 3 class playing against another kelas 3 I believe and then finally against my kelas. The kelas 3 guys won but it was fun oohing and aahing with the rest of the school.

Also the girls had at least 1 game too. Not sure who won or what kelas they were though. Yay girls play too in Indonesia. Actually I was a bit surprised because girls don't usually play when they're not required by a teacher in fitness class. So yaaay.

And that was the 1 day I went to school that week. December turned out to be a month of little school sadly. Also I have a video of this day which will someday makes it's way to my Youtube account. I'm just trying to get all these old events out.

Kwanzaa Garut New Years Bandung

This is my absolute favorite fireworks picture. It's like rain. When it became January 1 it was like standing under fire rain. Serious. 
More of my holiday and vacation too. So I'll just explain day by day. If any of you are wondering whether we like actually celebrated Kwanzaa or if it was all coincidence - it was all coincidence that we just happened to do fun things these days. Kwanzaa's hard to explain in the USA sometimes and even harder to explain here. (Because they don't know the word principles - the closest synonym I could think of was ideals which they didn't know either. Also explaining who celebrates it - not all African Americans do so what random people? and why it is more important than Christmas to me. Those were some problems I ran into.)

December 26th Umoja -Unity: Ok I did nothing but I still have to include it because it's the first day of Kwanzaa.

December 27th Kujichagalia - Self Determination: My host father, one h.sister, and I left for Bandung this evening. Earlier in the morning I also got to Skype with my family which was nice. I talk to them a lot less than you'd expect or less than I expected when I came here. No phone calls, no emails, and this was only my 2nd time skyping with them. So we left for Bandung and got there just in time to sleep because the next day we were actually leaving again for a big family trip to Garut.
Garut and it's butterflies
December 28th Ujima - Collective Work and Responsibility: The ride to Garut was 2 or so hours most of which was spent sleeping or reading. We went staright to the villa where we were staying to drop off bags (and by huge hats like you wear for fancy horse racing or that's where I wear them) and then from there straght to sightseeing.Garut has these amazing mountains and sulfurous hot springs so we went to the place where you can go up the mountains and look at the colorful water. But as you would have it, it immediately began to rain.We huddled into the tour guide’s cabin and drank a ginger drink as we waited out the windy rainstorm.

After the storm we went to a sulfurous river because the longer hike just wasn't going to happen that day. It was a cloudy yellow and warm so I didn't mind just standing in the stream to warm my feet up. You could see the mountains with scraggly bits of grass rising behind the river

    After this we went to a resort/spa/hotel to have a quick meal. It had a lake that you would row to to get to your room on the water.

Then we returned to our villa. By now it was 5pm or so and I became absolutely enchanted with the sunset over the mountains above the flower garden of our villa. I ran to the highest point in the garden and took a crazy amount of pictures. Then (because I was running out of battery) I quickly recharged my camera and went to take more pictures.

I was running to and fro looking at the sunset at all angles. It was crazy amazing. They probably thought I was a bit crazy too. We had dinner and there was karoke too which was funny dinner entertainment.

December 29th Ujamaa - Coopertive Economics : We left Garut this day - it was a nice short trip. I got up early though to look at the sunrise - hoping it'd be equally as good as sunset. It was in a quieter way.

Everyone else was up too and they followed my trail to the top of the hill to look at the sunrise over Garut. After breakfast (actual toasted bread - first time I've used a toaster in Indonesia) we went to a swimming pool place heated by the sulfurous hot springs. I thought it's be one pool instead it was a series of 5 or so featuring different slides and of different depths. As you went to the lower levels it also got less crowded.

Instead of swimming we used the sauna type room. Afterwards we headed back to Bandung only stopping to eat. Caca who had not come along on the Garut trip came to Bandung this day.

December 30th Nia - Purpose: Today we explored Bandung starting with a yoghurt shop that has been there since my was in middle school. Then a trip to the mall which was decorated Barbie Christmas style with an "ice skating rink" that was really just regular skating.

December 31st Kuumba - Creativity and New Year's Eve!
New Year's Eve. There was karoke. There was family and then those family member's friends. There was barbeque-ing. and so so many fireworks. I had fun. I was in love with how the day turned to night and 2011 became 2012.

January 1st Imani - Faith and the last day of Kwanzaa. New Year's Day: I had a plan to skype with my family as it turned their new years which didn't work out for various reasons. So I swam instead and had the best time thinking about how it was warm enough to swim on New Years Day. And I was swimming alone which was also hilariously funny to me at the time - their aunt and uncle came home and were like OH Ankhet's swimming.

January 2nd: Today I actually talked to my family on Skype and my host family "met" my real family. Caca also got a haircut - 'skin' it's called here, when you shave just one side. Later we went to lunch again and h.Papa went back to Jakarta for work.

There was a motocycle in the restaurant. We foto-ed

January 3rd: I swam again. I always swim alone because they don't like to swim when the sun is up but it's often raining or too cold at 8am or so when they do like to swim. I'll have to convince them otherwise. We also might have gone to the mall.

January 4th: We return to Jakarta with the car stuffed with food and clothing. I really like Bandung. It's a very relaxing place. You swim a bit, you eat a lot, and you look out over the town with a nice wind blowing.
Relaxing. Look at that sky

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Holidays

I have been away and before that I was sick and before that busy and before that lazy I guess. But let's start with the most relevant - the holidays - an Indonesian vs. usual american sum up.
I have no personal Hanukkah pics. Why? Cuz I don't celebrate it.
Hanukkah: I am very sorry for not wishing all my home people a Happy Hanukkah and I had what, an 8 day window to do so. I am sorry. I don't actually celebrate this holiday but with many people in my school celebrating I feel the Hanukkah spirit. No Hanukkah spirit here. In fact Judaisim is not one of the recognized religions in Indonesia. The only mention I've heard of judaism or jewish people was my host mom saying the producers of an Indian film were Jewish (they weren't) and that in America there is a large population of Jews (I mean a relatively large number when looking at the Jewish population but looking at the american population - not really) So happy belated Hanukkah, people.

Christmas: Christmas is very much a feeling that starts before the actual holiday - with lights going up and holiday music playing and wearing scarves and special starbucks drinks and santas popping up. And those are more general holiday feelings than Christmas feelings. Here not much of that. Well there was a few holiday drinks in J.Co which is the popular donut/frozen yogurt/coffee chain here - equivalent to Starbucks I guess. Oh and there are actualy Starbucks here too. But otherwise there were a few Merry Christmas and Happy New Year banners but that's it.

    AFS Jakarta decided to throw a Christmas party the friday before so we wouldn't completely miss out on the Christmas spirit. It included holiday msuic, candycanes, mini christmas trees and a gift exchange. We had a dinner at a long table with Western food. It was a bit of a barbeque with lots of meat so I ate salad and 'smashed' potatoes. And there was a gift exchange too. I ended up with a genuine australian lambskin wool duster. What a gift. It makes me laugh everytime I see it. I do love my wool duster.
    Christmas Eve in America is nothing for me and my family. Here in Jakarta my host family went out to eat sushi.

    My actual Christmas in America is getting up early to feed the homeless and then having a simple dinner at my Grandma's house with the rest of my family. We exchange some gifts but it's not one of those special build up open the gift one by one fancy dinners at one long table affairs.
    And my for real Christmas is Indonesia was just hanging out at my house basically just an ordinary day. It just happened that way because one host sister was sick, the other was fasting and so asleep most of the day. My host mom was already in Bandung and my host father was in and out the house. There were a lot of Christmas movies on though and later we ate sop buah (fruit soup) which is one of my favorite treats in Indonesia.

Kwanzaa: So in America I celebrate Kwanzaa and not many people do - but it's still there and to me at least more important than Christmas. Since there are 7 days I'll explain what it means here (to me)and then do a new post about what actually happened each day - because a lot happened. So Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karanga in the 60s. It takes place from December 26th to January 1st.For each of the 7 days of Kwanzaa there are different principles and then an official definition as to how it relates to the improving of ourselves as a family, community, nation, and race. Every day me and my family light a different candle in the kinara and talk about the principle of the day and how we'll try to keep it in mind for our future goals. Then on New Year's Eve - the 2nd to last day of Kwanzaa we gather with our entire family, and friends and celebrate (called karamu). We take a moment to thank all our ancestors who allowed us to be there and go over each principle again. Then each of the children do a little talent portion. I've recited tons of poems, did a couple of dances, and once played the violin. Then we eat. So that is my American celebration.

Here's a video of me at Kwanzaa one year just if you were interested.

It'll take a little longer to go over what actually happened on those 7 days here in Indonesia.

But it's coming soon :)