1. I go many consecutive days without spending any money and I still live well, eat well and have fun.
The bad part: Having to spend no money is a big indicator on how much there actually is to do in my very small town.
2. When I treat myself to something non-Indonesian, I go for yogurt or ice cream.
The bad part: Good yogurt is expensive and hard to find—which is very sad for me because it’s my favorite thing—and I’m not the biggest fan of ice cream.
3. Living with a host family is nice, particularly because my new ibu is an awesome cook.
The bad part: Living with a host family is also a challenge and I often feel like a fake adult (well, way more than before.)
4. Eating rice and a full meal for breakfast was strange at first, but now I love it.
The bad part: I usually eat the same meal for lunch and dinner—and it can’t be good to eat this many carbs.
5. Tempeh! Enough said. If you have never eaten it, you’re missing out.
The bad part: I googled how many calories is in tempeh and one source said 325! I’m just going believe the Internet is full of erroneous information.
6. I ride a bike as my primary source of transportation, which is environmentally friendly, healthy and fun.
The bad part: I get to ride a bike as my primary source of transportation, Indonesian drivers are crazy and I biked for not even two hours—at a leisurely pace—and pretty much went everywhere there is to go in this town. Twice. Also, bike helmets are the dorkiest thing in the world.
7. I love the weather. It’s not too hot or humid, which is what I expected. I even sleep with pajama pants, two blankets and it’s perfect!
The bad part: I’m not sure if I have acclimated well or if this is just the “cool” season, but I’m sure I will never be able to live in a place colder than New Orleans in the winter. (For those who don’t know, it’s around 50 degrees.)
8. I’ve met really cool people through Peace Corps Indonesia.
The bad part: I never actually see most of them very often, but rekindling texting as my primary source of communication with friends makes me feel young again. (That’s what I keep telling myself, anyways.)
9. Mandi-ing twice a day is refreshing and I don’t think I have ever been cleaner.
The bad part: Washing my hair with a bucket is a process and I hog the mandi for at least 30 minutes when I have to wash my hair. Also, my hair takes forever to dry without a blow dryer.
10. I never have to wear makeup, because almost no one here does.
The bad part: I like wearing makeup and I miss having opportunities to dress up, but in fact, wearing makeup or dressing up draws too much unwanted attention to myself.
11. The very best thing about Indonesia is the amount of time I have to do anything I want—as long as it’s by myself. I can read, write, hang out, converse with people through texts or the occasional Skype call (internet connection permitting), exercise, visit with people, walk around. Money can’t buy this amount of quality time.
The bad part: This abundance of time comes from getting up at 5am each morning and ending the work day at 1pm, Monday through Saturday. This Indonesian schedule has been the hardest thing for me to adapt to—and I don’t actually feel very productive professionally. (But definitely, personally!)