Mad rush preparations for a school year in Surabaya, Indonesia. I am truly my mother’s child. It’s all her fault for giving me the “wait until the last minute” genes. Lucky for me, I get the “what consequences?” attitude gene from my father. Makes for an interesting life.
I’m already seeing a slight lack of communication with my contact in Indonesia, but I’ve come to expect last minute details, especially since that’s how this whole thing came to be. I was an alternate for Fulbright to go there on an English Teaching Assistantship, but in the good old US of A, “maybe” usually means “no,” so I made plans to live in Suzhou, China, teaching in a middle school. I was STOKED to live in China. It was going to be one of those epic adventures to a socialist/communist country like those that I’ve been having and loving every minute.
Just kidding, Dani. Change of plans.
Here’s the scene:
Just after 8 PM on a Thursday. “Business hour” offices are already closed. My cell phone starts its obnoxious screaming. (That’s what you get for $10 from AT&T. A ringtone that never changes.) I had been frantically trying to reset the unpredictable wireless internet from my sister’s bedroom so that I could skype chat with “Echo”, my contact in China who had been sending my resume to schools and found me 3 different jobs. Nice to know I have options!
Anyway, teh interwebs is not always my friend. I was about 15 minutes late for the scheduled chat when the phone started screeching. Well, I couldn’t find it right away, and as I opened it, missed call and all, I saw that the number of the caller had about 6 extra digits. Definitely not American…interesting. How did Echo get my cell number so fast? Then the house phone rang. Mom answered and passed it off. I almost said “Hi Echo,” but the caller definitely beat me to the punch. “Hello Danielle, my name is Nellie and I am calling from Indonesia on behalf of Fulbright.”
I just about had a heart attack right there. Are they going to give me that “thanks for applying, but…no.” gentle letdown? Nope. Not today. I was so lucky to get the “Are you still interested in going to Indonesia?” question. Thank God for that question! Allah and Buddha, too!
Now I’ve been looking at visa stuff… hooray. As long as it isn’t like dealing with the Spanish consulate in San Francisco, which was less enjoyable than pulling perfectly healthy teeth sans anesthetic. I’m trying not to be as last minute this time. And by that I mean I’ll be leaving the country on time on this go-round.
Google search “Surabaya, Indonesia.” That’s where I’ll be for the next year. And I’m going to make it my goal to figure out what everyone is trying to say on the “official” Surabaya city government page (just try it!), and maybe send in some edits. Just ask my bosses at Kyllo’s, I’m the one who points out all the format errors on the menus.
Speaking of food… I was thoroughly distracted by that google search I suggested to you all. “Food in Indonesia” is also a good one. Some of it looks rather interesting. I must say that I’m happy to be on the east side of Java, as it mentions that West Java often cooks things in fresh blood of pigs or goats. I’m up for anything, but I might have to wait a while to try that. It took me a couple weeks to eat the whole shrimp my host mom Nané would cook in the Spanish Paella. Crunchy.