Thursday, January 10, 2013

6 months in Indonesia

Pool at  Ciputra club
I have now lived in Indonesia for 6 months. I decided since this is my second country overseas instead of blogging about all the little differences I have noticed I would just summarize and put into one post.  I have also made some comparisons between Malaysia and Indonesia.

School-  In Malaysia I taught at a school, using American curriculum, of 70 students (the 2nd year I was there-55 the first) from grades 7-12 with students from 20 different countries. The whole school was only 5 rooms and the second year I was there they brought in a portable building. Although, they are working on building a bigger school with the rapid increase of students. We increased to 9 teachers by the middle of my second year. Plus, the Director of Studies who also taught part time, two secretaries, the owner, a housekeeper and a bus driver. In Indonesia the school is an IB World School using the International Baccalaureate curriculum with PYP, MYP, and DP. They also have the Indonesian program. The school has three buildings and goes from toddler all the way up to year 12 and has 1,100 students total. Most of the students are from Indonesia with a handful of International students. There are about 70 staff members in just the high school alone.

Angkor Wat
Housing accommodations- In Malaysia I was just in a boarding house that was pretty restrictive. No cooking, or people over. I got permission my second year there to do laundry on Saturday.  The first year I had to take my laundry to friend's houses or a dobi (where they do the laundry). There were more rules, but that will give the reader a base for my comparison. In Indonesia I have a house. It is 3 bedrooms and three bathrooms. It is close to the size of my home that I had been living in before I moved overseas. I have a small front and back yard. There is also a washing machine that I can use any time I need to use it. I have a nice, little kitchen that I can with both stove and oven. I also bout a microwave, so I can pretty much cook or bake anything that I can find ingredients for (more on that later). I have a kitchen table and living room so I can have people over, I haven't yet as I have been busy getting settled.
Floating village in Cambodia

Transportation- In Malaysia I used an occasional taxi as they didn't have as many and were harder to get them to pick me up. I had people give me rides most of the time. I also had a lady I hired the second year to drive me to work and back and the occasional errand if I scheduled ahead of time. In Indonesia I have my own vehicle. I can drive myself to and from work, to the Super Mall (which is the end of my comfort zone) and other places around where I live. It is also super easy to get a taxi so when I need to go somewhere on the other side of town it is easy to get a taxi there and back.

In Seoul
Social- This is a larger school that I am working in so there are more employees. In Malaysia my school had two expats. The other expat had lived in Malaysia for 20 some years and was married to a local lady with a family. I did hang out quite a bit with the local teachers. They are all wonderful people and created some amazing experiences and memories for me by all that they invite me to do to learn about Malaysia. There were some other expat families in the town I lived in but most of the women did not work, so many of the activities were done during the day. In Indonesia there are about 15 other expats that work at my school. Plus, just across the field is another International school and not too far down the road is a third International school. I am also still trying to get to know the locals and do things with them. This is a much bigger city so there are more places to eat, movie theaters, malls, shops, etc.

In Seoul
Technology- In Malaysia I had a USB modem that I just plugged into my computer and could use anywhere around town. I was able to pay my monthly bill online with my bank account. In Indonesia I tried a portable wifi but the connection never seemed very good. Plus, it just used a cell phone sim card and I constantly had to run to the nearest mall to top it up. I recently got Internet through the telephone line and wifi. It does seem to work much better.

In Malaysia I didn't have cable television. In Indonesia I have satellite tv.
In Malaysia I had one sim card. I could put three different RM amounts on my phone using the Internet and my bank account and I could use talk for several hours to my parents back home before I had to top up on the Internet. In Indonesia I have a sim card and I have to go to the closest super market or mall and have them top it up or get them to give me a scratch card to put money on my sim card. I have learned to always carry a spare one. I have tried calling back home and will go through a whole Rp100.00 card in 10 minutes. So now I try to use Skype.
Seoul Tower

Help- In Malaysia since I just had a room and bathroom I did all the cleaning myself and once a month the servants would come in for an inspection and clean to make sure everything was up to snuff. In Indonesia, I recently got a pembantu or helper. It was a big adjustment for me. I resisted it for the first six months as it was not something I wanted to do. But as time has gone on I can see how having one can be helpful especially with the language barrier. The lady that I got speaks pretty good English. She is more knowledgeable than I am about where to get things done or how to do things. I think it will make things easier for me and take less time to do certain things. I also learned today how grateful she is to have a job and be making money. So, I am glad I revised my thinking. I still try to make things easy and not create a huge mess for her to clean up or anything like that.

Karanggongso beach
Weather- In Malaysia it was hot and humid all the time. During monsoon season it would rain for days at a time, all day long. In Indonesia it is hotter than Malaysia all the time. Probably because this city is not on the coast. It is not as humid all the time, but during rainy season it is just as humid. It does not rain as much. I might rain for 20 minutes to a couple hours and be done until the next day or the day after. This breeds more mosquitoes instead of getting rid of them.  I definitely get way more bites here. I am trying everything anyone is recommending to keep from getting bit but so far nothing has stopped them. I am worried that at some point I will get dengue, but in the meantime I am still trying to get them to quit biting me.
campsite at Karanggongso beach

Other- For the second time in my life I went camping. The last time I was two years old and it was in the mountains. This time I was on the beach at Karanggongso with students and other teachers for a total of around 70 people. It was an adventure.

I traveled to both Cambodia and South Korea on my two breaks earlier in August and October, respectively.

I went on a tour of East Java that included a botanical garden, tea plantation, Kaliandra and a temple. It was a great way to see some of the other amazing sites outside of the city. I am looking forward to another one this spring. 

I went to my first Sweet 17 birthday party and was amazed. It felt almost like I was on the MTV's show " My Super Sweet 16" only it was in Indonesian.
On East Java Tour

Every break from August 2011- October 2012 I traveled. I loved to travel and I want to make the most of living close to all these countries that I have always wanted to visit. For my Christmas break December 20, 2012- January 14, 2013 but nothing worked out. So for the first time in my life I spent Christmas and New Year's alone without my family. It was tough and I chose not to celebrate them, so I hope that I am not in that position again, but I survived. I didn't do much but relax, sleep, watch movies, read, and run errands. Sometimes it was boring but I had lots of things to think about and it gave me the time to do that.

At Kaliandra
Less people speak English here and more things things are written in Indonesian. It is more challenging in Indonesia to buy things, order at restaurants, etc. Most people in Malaysia spoke English and most things were in English, so it was much easier to buy things, get around and get things done.

At Kaliandra
Both Indonesians and Malaysian are a really wonderful group of people. I am truly glad that I have had the opportunity to live overseas for however long it lasts. I think it has made me a better person. I feel like I was open minded before I moved overseas, but I feel that I am even more open minded now. Media does not always portray the positive aspects of people and places, so I am glad I have seen and experienced many wonderful things and met many wonderful people in both countries.

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