Sunday, 29 January 2012

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

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