Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wrap up and Review: ELFship 2010-2011

Ten months came and went as fast as I imagined it would. At the end of it all, I'm very happy that I've extended for another tour in August. I miss my family, friends, holidays, driving, and sarcasm, but the new relationships, experiences, and challenges made it an easy decision to make.

To tie things up properly until the next time, it only seemed fitting to review the goal list I made back in August. So, if I may:

1. Learn Bahasa Indonesian - Meh. I did learn some, but overall a disappointing performance as far as effort and retention go. I feel confident in my ability to direct a taxi, shop (but not bargain - this has nothing to do with the language, though), and make polite conversation about personal information (Where are you from? How long have you been in Indonesia? Where do you work? Where do you live? Are you married? Etc.). So, beyond this and a small list of high frequency words, I got nothing. I am determined to work on this one in the coming tour, though. Living in Jakarta certainly doesn't require it, but connecting with and building on relationships, does.

2. Visit the other ELF sites - I hit another disappointing 5 out of 13 sites, and this includes Michael's site in Jakarta (Julianne, Jonnie, Jonthon, Michael, Cary). To my credit, though, I was warned not to come visit some places, and schedules simply didn't allow for others. So, I'm not taking this one too hard.

3. See/take classes for Traditional Dancing - See, yes. Lessons, no. I still have only scratched the surface on all the dance styles in Indonesia, so we'll extend this goal another year.

4. Find ballroom/social dancing in Indonesia - I found salsa, and with it the crazy and frustrating practice of 'booking' partners. Despite the fact that there was salsa dancing in walking distance from my apartment every week, I rarely went. Swing dancing is more difficult, but I recently learned that there is another swing aficionado in Jakarta somewhere. We have yet to meet, but I'm confident it will happen soon. I also have plans with the American cultural center to teach some lessons, so things are looking up in this category. Also, I take consolation in the fact that I have danced lindy in Singapore and Turkey now. :)

5. Running - Check and double check. Between the Jakarta Free Spirit team, IndoRunners, and hashing, I've got running in spades.

6. Road bike - Not even once, unless you count Bali. I did, however, find a bike crew, so there is still hope.

7. Orangutans - Nope. I will not leave Indonesia without seeing them, though. I did see Komodos, so one outta two ain't bad.

8. Stinky flower -Belum. (not yet)

9. India - Not yet....maybe Christmas break next year. But I did cross off the Philipines, Singapore, Malaysia, and Turkey.

10. Food - I'd give myself a C+ in this category. I did try most things that were placed before me, but I didn't go out of my way to sample new and exotic cuisine. I'm fiercely proud of the fact that I can now order and eat from an entire fish on my plate with out getting too many bones, and that I can do this with my bare (right) hand.

Over all an underwhelming review, but I give myself a little wiggle room considering I had no idea of what to expect going in. Besides, there's always next year...