Monday, August 29, 2011

Beginning Again

I don't regularly announce my life details via social media outlets, but I smiled to myself this morning when Facebook informed me of my status this day one year ago: "Celebrating small victories."

I can remember the day and the event that prompted that particular status. It was during my first few weeks in Indonesia, and I had finally found Carrefour, the local grocery store. After many, sweaty and frustrating attempts to find the basement-level store through a maze-like mall, I wanted to share my triumph to the (fb) masses.

Two weeks into my second tour in Indonesia, I'm celebrating small victories still, just on a different scale. Ok, ok...from my 5-star hotel in the cool, mountainous region of Bandung, life isn't really what I'd call 'challenging,' but sharing orientation and language training with 50-odd, young, intrepid Fulbright teachers brings to light a whole new set of anxieties. At 20-something, many of my new cohorts have already seen the world, learned five languages, and drafted a treaties on world peace. I wonder where a year of teaching English in the high schools of Indonesia will fall on their scale of life experiences. Where ever they may fall, and no matter how intimidated I am by their casual use of large words, I'm happy for this opportunity to share the year with them, and hope that some of their wanderlust will rub off.

As for my own experience, many of my goals for this year are continuing on from last year. Perhaps this year, they are a bit more tangible since I have a better idea of what is realistic.

Yang pertama, is the language learning. Bahasa Indonesia is now considered a critical language by the US government. I don't know how this could affect career prospects down the road, but I'm interested to find out. Also, I hope to deepen relationships with my Indonesian family, friends, and students in a way that only language will allow.

Yang kedua, as the prospect of job hunting looms ahead, I want to continue developing professionally in my English teaching and teacher training. Especially, I want to build on my knowledge and experience with English for Specific Purposes (ESP), so that I can continue in the field of English for Law Enforcement, Peacekeeping, and/or Military. With all the wonderful opportunities I have to meet with State and Justice Department folk, I want to really focus on my networking skills, and see where that can lead me.

Yang ketiga, is the category of travel. In country, I still have to see the funeral ceremonies of Toraja, the orangutans of Borneo, and the beautiful, untouched parts of the Eastern islands. I'd love to throw in some volcano hiking, waterfall diving, and batik painting for good measure and great blogging. I also hope to continue exploring the surrounding countries; in particular: Thailand, India, and Bangladesh.

Yang keempat, I want to keep up physically with the Bali Triathlon, various road races, and maybe even join a road bike team in Jakarta (now that I know one exists). I hope to get in on a few more hash runs...for the landscape, not the beer. I was able to join a family hash my third day back in Jakarta that included swimming through the clearest water, diving into a waterfall, and bouldering over rocks. It looked like this:

Yang kelima, I want to keep up spiritually. My relationship with God admittedly took a backseat to job and exploration last year. This year, with the help of some new-found believers, this is very possible.

Off to a good start. Got to go to the service with some of the Fulbright ladies.
Keenam, I want to introduce American swing dancing to Jakarta via the American Cultural Center. I have a plan and some folks interested, I just need to invest the time to come up with a pretty awesome program. 

Akhirnya, and not in the same category of importance as the others, I'd like to get a tattoo to commemorate my time in Indonesia. I already have the parlour, and the the idea...but I'm waiting for the perfect Javanese saying to come along and inspire me.

Seven seems like a good number, and all those goals are within reach. Here's to a new year of victories, large and small, in negaraku, Indonesia.