4-Week Hiatus Pt. II

This blog post originally started with the following:

Since cramming a month worth of Indonesian happenings into a single blog post is more or less daunting, I figured I’d do myself a favor by writing another update now. I won’t talk about toilets as much, I promise.

Seeing as that was written 18 days ago, I have successfully (unintentionally) waited another month to complete a post. Note to self to improve setting personal goals. I will, however, hold to my promise about not discussing toilets as much. I do, of course, have one story.

Anyway, lots has happened! A brief run-down of what you’ll find below: my KITAS (limited stay visa), travel (!), worms.

So, the visa conversion process is underway. I have already made the journey to the immigration office in Wonosobo, a city about two hours from Magelang, several times, as well as the office in Semarang. To be honest, I’m never entirely sure what is going on, despite numerous attempts to “clear things up” with my counterpart and co-teacher. Immigration in Wonosobo has had my passport for the past month, some officers have paid me a surprise visit to my school, we have sent out two packages to Semarang and Jakarta that they prepared for us during one day’s long seven hour wait, I believe my next trip will require a photo shoot. On the bright side, I suppose all of this means that I’m one step closer to not being deported!

En route to Wonosobo

Fortunately, I’ve still been able to do some traveling despite my lack of passport. Pictures say a thousand (+/-) words, so I’ll let those do most of the talking, but I will start by saying these two things: 1. In Indonesia, you can find some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets, and 2. salt water has rejuvenating properties (mix in a few lukewarm Bintang shared amongst good people, that helps).

One fine Saturday I went on a field trip with teachers from my school. Some five hours later we ended up at Suharto (former Indonesian president) and his family’s burial site. I thought: surely burial site and waterfall could not have gotten lost in translation. Did I really endure a five hour bus ride with Indonesian karaoke to come here? I mean no disrespect, but as someone who quickly feels nauseas in bus rides, this was a lot…

Despite my confusion, I still put on my “cheap smile” (I smile a lot and this was the name that I received).

Fear not, Tawanmangu waterfall was our next stop! Phew. I suppose I was very eager about the freedom to move, because my fellow teachers found it hysterical how “super girl” entered her playground as I bolted down the many stairs to the water oasis.

I stopped for a photo to document said stairs that I bolted down.
I stopped for a photo to document said stairs that I bolted down.

Spot the baby
From the long, but scenic drive

A 4:00 AM wake up call brought me to Sukmojoyo to watch the sunrise. It was amazing.

This is NOT edited
I wish this random dude knew I had a cool picture of him…

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I encourage you to laugh at my stance.

My site mate and I were mocking the pointing pose that Indonesians enjoy using, and I ended up taking one of my favorite pictures from that morning.

Ah, Karimun Jawa how I love you. I took a weekend getaway with a few other ETAs to a little island off the northern coast of Central Java. One might ask how we got there? The answer is as follows: A/n (insert every negative adjective that you can possibly think of) ferry ride. In other words, we learned the hard way en route to the island. Lots of Dramamine and gum were used to ensure out safe return. Once on Karimun, we took a smaller boat to our hut which was located among a handful of seaside bungalows on a private island. The salt water was medicinal, the food hearty, and the views indescribable.

Sunset
Sunrise

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Most recently, I went on a hike with some friends at Gunung Andong. As mentioned, pictures say a thousand words, but these don’t do justice.

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Taken by my site mate

Also taken by my lovely site mate

Speechless, eh?

As I said, I do have one toilet story for your hungry ears. Two weeks ago, late Sunday night, I arrived home from Karium Jawa, tired, but content as can be after a pleasant weekend soaking in sufficient quantities of vitamin D. All I wanted was a shower (as I had not taken one since Thursday) and to crawl into my giant bed. I opened my (not so) trusty toilet only to greeted by a thin red worm submerged in the water. He (I have given them a gender. It makes them seem even more invasive) did not appear happy to be there, flailing around in all of his scrawniness, but why should I feel bad? There was a living worm in my toilet, thriving or not. So, I did what any person with a mediocre reaction rate would do: stared at it for 30 seconds absolutely appalled and thinking that my wrath would somehow melt it away, flushed it down the drain when I realized that I was not hallucinating, and doused the infected bowl with toilet cleaner, bleach, and Bagus (the lovely bug spray that I use to kill ants and roaches that scurry about my space). I proceeded with my evening routine, satisfied with my slaughter, thinking that should take care of the issue. Haha, how naive of me. The following morning, I came across nearly microscopic spinning things, I will say things because I am far from certain as to what they are, at the surface of the toilet water. Hm. Of course this prompted me to throw in all sorts of toxic matter to rid of these organisms, although my strategy seemed to be failing. I texted mom and dad, because what else would a 22 year old do upon running short of ideas. Mom thought it could be mosquito larvae that had established refuge in my toilet. Welcome! Indonesians are big on open invites, apparently the insects here are no exception. This issue is still ongoing, however, one must choose their battles wisely, and this is one I’ve decided to forego. I have since found one more squirmy red worm and countless spinning organisms. I used to feel accomplished after a thorough bathroom clean. Now, I disinfect my toilet once or twice a day and see little to no results. I suppose I’m finally adopting the local reasoning: “Haha, Indonesia…”. Sure, that must be it.

I am thankful to be here, really. One of the reasons why I chose to apply to Indonesia was because I was hoping for a challenging and humbling experience. I suppose my wish has been granted. Everyday truly is a new adventure. For example, today I found a baguette. This is big news, people.

Until next time. XO

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