by Tabitha Kidwell

I came to Indonesia ready for anything: I had my headlamp, my macaroni n’ cheese, my leatherman, my hiking boots, my sour patch kids, my bike helmet, my clif bars and bug spray and suncreen. But none of this prepared me for three weeks of training! We just finished our first week, and it has been rough!

Look where we have to stay:

And what they serve us for breakfast:

And how I have to spend my evening and weekends:

Okay, I’m done with the sarcasm. Clearly, it is not rough whatsoever. Actually, I can’t think of more than two or three times that I have stayed at hotels any nicer than this. We’re here for two more weeks, and the luxury lifestyle is pretty nice. Us 14 English Language Fellows (ELFs) are here with the 40 Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs). The two programs are operated out of the same office, but this is the first time they have worked so closely together. We are all working on our Bahasa Indonesia, and since we ELFs have all have masters degrees and teaching experience (and the ETAs mostly don’t), we are helping with the teaching training side of the training.

Both the ELF and ETA programs have pretty high standards, and I’m pretty in awe of all the brilliant people at training with me. My piddly teaching and traveling abroad pales in comparison to the people who speak Arabic, Nepalese, Mandarin, and who knows what else, or the ones who researched theoretical linguistics, mathematical biology, or the sociology of genocide. Everyone is interesting and intelligent and full of crazy stories about their travels. Being around so many cool people is directly correlated to how long it has taken me to getting around to blogging! I can’t bring myself to sit up in my room with my computer when there’s fun being had by the pool!

So it is going to be a bit of an adjustment for us to get deployed all over Indonesia and have to cook and clean and go to real work. But let’s not think about that now… i’ll make the most of these next two weeks, and then at least I’ll have my sour patch kids and macaroni to keep me company!

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