I anxiously got off the patas (a nicer and AC bus in Indonesia) bus at the Mojokerto Terminal and was immediately greeted by an older gentleman, whom I’d thought was my Principal (Peace Corps has it coordinated so that our principals would pick us up). I don’t know what he said, but like any other time someone spoke Bahasa Indonesian to me (and I don’t understand) I nodded my head following his gesture. Shortly after I nodded yes, he put on his jacket and gestured for me to get at the back of his motorcycle (which is a BIG NO NO because PC volunteers are not allowed to ride motorcycles) I realized, this older gentleman indeed was not my principal. I tried to tell him in broken bahasa Indonesian that someone was coming to pick me up. Roughly after 10 minutes, I finally managed to piece enough words together to get the message across. Like most motorcycle taxis I’ve had in the past (not in Indonesia, as this is my first time being approached by one) I thought he would immediately say something rude for wasting his time and go on his way to find another customer. To my surprise he smiled, nodded his head and gestured for me to sit down on a bench nearby under the shade. I was off to a great start and spent the next 20 minutes speaking in broken bahasa Indonesian with the older gentlemen sitting next to me on the bench.
Then finally I spotted someone coming across the street waving at me. I’d also mistaken this man for my principal. He turned out to be one of my counterparts and at last, I finally met my principal inside the car. The first thing I noticed was their sense of humor and how down to earth they both were. My counterpart hesitated and apologized in advance if he is being rude by asking me about my ethnicity. (***Keep in mind, at this point I’m pretty fed up with people questioning my identity and wanting me to “prove” that I’m really an American). It was a very kind gestured and I appreciated it very much.
After a couple of hours of touring my school, meeting other teachers, and having lunch with them, it was finally time to meet my new host family. They seemed more nervous to meet me than I was to meet them (since this is my second host family). Not going to lie, I think I fell in love with my nenek (grandma) at first site. She just has something about her that’s so warm and inviting. After 5 days with them, I am so happy and excited to start living with them. I’m very fortunate to have such a lovely little family for the next two years. My little host sisters are wonderful and eager to get to know me. I have nothing but amazing things to say about my new host family. Additionally, I’m very fortunate that I live very close to my school (5-8 min walk).
To top the whole trip off, I was expecting to be dropped off at the bus terminal this morning but instead was taken to a museum and to the Candi Brahu, a temple located inside the archaeological site Trowulan in the former capital of Majapahit. Then after several failed attempts of finding a patas bus back to Kediri (holiday weekend, everybody was traveling) my counterparts told me they would take me to another bus terminal in the next town over. Just as I was thinking about what a long drive it had been I saw a sign that said “Selamat datang di Kediri” which means welcome to Kediri. It turns out, without telling me, my counterparts decided to drop me off just because they’re the most amazing people ever.
I can’t even get over how amazing these past 5 days have been. I feel refreshed and this is the most excited I’ve been since being in Indonesia. I finally found where I belong in Indonesia and can’t wait to start working with my counterparts and my school in June!
This is where I share my journey in the Peace Corps. The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
Hi welcome to my blog. My name is Sia and this is my safe haven. This is a place for me to write, journal, and share ideas.
IG @ ms.sia.chang