Watching Spongebob in Jakarta

30 08 2009

My parents would be so proud!  Hey, I’m practicing my Indonesian, though!

This morning, we had one of the most turbulent flights I have ever experienced. For a bit, I honestly thought that Nicole was right, that we were going to be on CNN. We would be on CNN because our frigging plane was going to crash and we were all going to die! Just imagine the headline: “32 American Fulbright Scholars Die in Last Leg Flight to Jakarta.” It would be like Lost, we would end up on some island with the others and polar bears.

Well, thankfully that wasn’t the case. Jenny Z. and I were each other’s support through that awful flight. Just as my knuckles were bleached white from a death grip on the armrests, she asked me if she could hold my hand. She was just as scared as I was! It was definitely a bonding experience for us all. I’m pretty sure we all had our stomachs a little higher in our throats than normal at least twice today.

Once we were in Jakarta, we were taken to our hotel and sat down in the lobby with a stack of paperwork. More visa papers, press release approvals, and more assorted government documents. I was shocked to see that my placement address was different than I had originally thought. Public schools were listed as SMA schools, while the Pesantrens were labeled differently. Well, apparently, this specific Pesantren is labeled as an SMA school in Surabaya.

You’re probably wondering what a Pesantren is. Well, I honestly don’t know a whole lot about them or how they work, but it is an Islamic boarding school. According to my address, I’ll be living at the boarding school. I have nothing against the Islamic faith, but I really would have packed differently had I known my school setting would be different. More long sleeved light shirts, I would have brought my scarves, and I definitely would have brought more pants!


Seriously though, I must admit that I am a little bit (lotta bit) nervous about working in a Pesantren. We’ll see more, learn more when I get there. I hope that it will be smoother than I’m imagining it. Think positive thoughts!

Today is a big day, but tomorrow’s even bigger!

28 08 2009

Last night was a blast. A few friends took me out in Forest Grove for a good old “last hurrah” before taking off. I had to explain to our regular bartender that I hate “despedidas,” or “goodbyes.” I was a blubbering idiot when Donald and Mychaela were saying goodbye.

It was tough to put it all together that a lot of those people are going to be in places far, far away when I come back to the States, but at least we had a lot of fun together!

And in happier news, I GOT A NEW CAMERA!
It’s a Canon Powershot SX10IS, translating to “perfection with 20X optical zoom.” I love it and I’ve only had it a day.

Well, we’re loading everything up and flying out in the morning, so this is the last you’ll hear from me until I’m overseas somewhere… or using the free wireless at PDX tomorrow.

Something very critical arrived.

19 08 2009


I’m leaving on time this time!!! I had everything shipped to Kyllo’s so that someone would be there when my passport arrived with my visa. It was like someone slapped me with a big ol’ “Dani this is really happening” reality check. It kinda knocked the wind out of me in a way. In a good way, really, but at the same time, it scared me! I had prepared myself for the reality/stress that something might hang up and I’d have a hard time getting there like I did when I left for Spain a month later than I was supposed to due to visa issues. I told myself that nothing is for sure until I have the visa in my hands.

Well guess what..

It is currently sitting pretty next to my phone charger. Not in my hands, per se, but propped up against the Victoria’s Secret bag that houses all of my Fulbright papers. Who knew that their smaller bags hold manilla envelopes perfectly? It’s like a file cabinet for transients.

As it always does, bliss has its limits. I also got a letter from IIE saying that I either have G6PD deficiency, meaning that I’m very, very vulnerable to malaria, or they never got the form. I’m a little worried, so I’m going to be heading over to my doctor’s office to check that out. Let’s hope it’s the second option. Wish me luck with that!

After that, I’m heading to Forest Grove to drop off a birthday present and see some people before I take off… IN JUST OVER A WEEK. Holy carp!

In the midst of waiting…

15 08 2009

I really wanted to keep this as more of a travel blog, updating family and friends and whatnot, but I really want to share something completely unrelated to anything involving travel or Indonesia…

There are so many websites devoted to failure or how much somebody’s life sucks. I thought that reading some of those would make me feel better about my little screw ups, and in reality, it kind of did.  Some of those are absolutely hysterical. However, I’ve found a new website that is entertaining and not overly negative.

Seriously, read some of it.

With some of them, I’ve swapped “average” for “awesome.” MLIA.

Now the fun part…

8 08 2009


I received the last of the documents last night for my visa to Indonesia. I am SO excited that things are coming together nicely. That never happens for me! Spain had visa issues, Belgium wouldn’t let us leave on time (Ryanair is cheap for a reason!), Cuba was always up in the air… Mexico had zero plans whatsoever, so that went well, but that doesn’t count.

It was a huge weight off my shoulders dropping that priority mail envelope off at the post office. Still a little nervous because I mailed my passport, but hey, not in my hands anymore. The ball is rolling, and the reality is really starting to sink in.

There are still a lot of things I have to take care of Stateside before I leave, but most of all I need to spend some time with my family and friends.  I think I might tell Pam that I need a few more days off, but in reality, the people at Kyllo’s are almost a family to me as well. (I also profit from the time I spend with them, haha!)

The end of the summer is going to come way too fast, I just know it.

On the bright side, I’m moving somewhere where it’s basically always summer. DOUBLE BONUS!

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