Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Photography

A Peace Corps Fairytale

Peace Corps is not a glamorous profession. There’s a lot of sweat (particularly in Indonesia), hard work and tears, but, if you’re lucky—like I am—certain people come into your life and bless the experience. They make all of this worth it and I have come to love and appreciate them in ways I didn’t know were possible. There have been many of these kinds of people in my life during the past two years of service, but today, a great number of them joined together to give me the greatest gift: beautiful, unforgettable memories.

My fairy godmother, Bu Holif, wanted to give me a parting gift. She and Mas Ridho, the amazing designer from last post, conspired to dress me up in traditional Javanese kebaya—which is mostly used in weddings— and have professional photos taken so that I can always remember this experience. Of course dressing up like this has little to do with my Cinderella-esque PCV experience, but it was nice to have a couple of hours of pampering, outer beauty, and the all-around feeling like a princess. I can’t explain what it’s like to have these people in my life. They are magic.

Act I: Once Upon A Time…

The before photo, taken by Kharisma, of my usual PCV teacher self, hanging with students and texting other PCVs in distress.

Act II: One Day…

One day, my fairy godmothers picked me up in a white chariot (i.e. car) and took me to Mas Ridho’s house so that I could be transformed into a Javanese Princess. And so we began with the make-up.

And on to the hair, and the first time I use hair spray in two years.

Getting my wig on. I felt like I needed a neck brace to hold my head up.

 Act III: The Main Event

The traditional Javanese kebaya with a mermaid cut of the skirt and the tulle Mas Ridho added to his design to make it more modern.

And then come the romantic photos of Mas Ridho’s imagination. (Note that none of these are the professional photos. I’ve yet to see any of those.)



Act IV: The Final Act

With the talented and amazing Mas Ridho, who designed this dress in its entirety, composed the fantastical photos above and transformed me into this Javanese princess. I hope we’ll see each other again someday!

With my fairy god-ibus, Bu Holif, Bu Roro, and Bu Ita. (Mbak Nina should be in this picture, but she refused because she “had yet to mandi.”)

The classic photo with the host parents, Pak Dahlan and Bu Anik.

The classic photo with the host parents, Pak Dahlan and Bu Anik.


And a final #selfie with Adhit who came to watch (and Kharisma in spirit, who had to go home early.)

❤ ❤ ❤

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