On vacation… again…

by Tabitha Kidwell

Haven’t written for awhile… I was traveling during the mid-term exam period. First I was in Jakarta to give a presentation at the Police Language School, then Jackie, JEss, and I went to Bangka Island, off of Sumatra, to compete in a traithlon and relax on the beach. Then, I spent a week at beautiful Lake Toba before presenting at Medan State University. Then I was back in Salatiga for a quick week of class. And now I am back again in Ubud, Bali, with my sister Katie and her fiancé Chris, who will be spending the month doing research at a hospital in Bandung. That’s right – I’m on vacation AGAIN!

And it’s not going to stop anytime soon. I’ll be in Salatiga to teach every week until the end of the semester in June, but I’ll be away every weekend in May, either meeting KAtie and Chris somewhere, or at the end-of-year fellow conference in Makassar. Then I’ll be in Salatiga for just over a week before I go to Singapore to meet my friend Debbie, who will come back for my going away extravaganza week before we travel to Bali and Vietnam!

So, as you can see, being an English Language Fellow in Indonesia is a pretty sweet gig. I can manage to teach all my required classes and present at extra conferences and still travel to amazing places, like when I got to travel to ACCESS camps during January an dFebruary. I was only able to get all the way to Lake Toba, in North Sumatra, because I was presenting in Medan. It’s going to be rough when I go back to America and have to just work at one job in one place all the time. But that is in the future…

At this point, I’m something of a professional vacationer, and I have learned a lot about what kind of vacation I enjoy. I like to be active – to be able to run, bike, swim, scuba dive, do yoga, kayak, whatever. Even better if I am active for a reason, like a race, a bike tour, or climbing a mountain. I like to eat healthy food with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I like time to read and relax on a comfortable chair with a beautiful view. I like to have internet access. I like eating gelato. I like getting spa treatments. I like cold drinks.

More importantly, I have learned what I do NOT like on vacations I don’t like to walk around when it it hot. I don’t like to be sweaty. I don’t ike insects or rodents. I don’t liek for people on the street to pressure me into taking a tour, eating at a restaurant, or buying a csouvenir. I don’t like hills (I do like mountains.). I don’t like feeling compelled to visit obscure toutist attractions just because they are “famous.” I don’t like to be thursty or hungry. I don’t like too many choices on menus. I don’t like carrying heavy things. I don’t like stray dogs. I don;t like unreliable public transportation.

So, I think that sums it all up for me. I’m glad I figured it all out so I don’t have to waste my precious vacation time in the future carrying heavy things in hot places and being pressured to take unreliable transport to an obscure tourist attraction while being pursued uphill by stray dogs. No, if you will excuse me, I need to go eat some gelato.

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