Sunset Silhouettes in Ulu Watu Temple, Bali
Bali / Culture / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Religion / Travel

Sunset Silhouettes in Ulu Watu Temple, Bali

Bali is only a few hours from Java, but culturally, it is a whole world away. The people are primarily Hindu, so small baskets of colorful flower petals and incense—and the occasional cigarette—line streets, sidewalks, steps and cars’ dashboards as offerings to the gods. In Bali, I saw no mosques and heard no call to … Continue reading

Bali / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Language / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Religion / Travel

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Kuta, Bali

As Peace Corps Volunteers we are forbidden to travel away from our sites overnight during our first three months at our permanent site. September 15th marked our group’s three-month mark, so we are finally released from our gilded village cages. To celebrate this, 13 volunteers and I headed to Southern Bali for the first time … Continue reading

Becak Ridin’ & the Most Useful Word in Bahasa Indonesia
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Language / Peace Corps / People / Travel

Becak Ridin’ & the Most Useful Word in Bahasa Indonesia

The other day I arrived to my site from visiting nearby volunteers in another city and it was pretty late—meaning after 6pm. It was already dark out and I didn’t feel like walking the several kilometers between the bus terminal and my house, so I decided to take a becak. A becak is basically Indonesia’s … Continue reading

Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Food / Indonesia / Peace Corps / Travel

How to Make Indonesian Fried Rice or Nasi Goreng

Nasi is the staple of the Indonesian diet. Plain white rice is eaten at every meal—breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you didn’t eat rice, Indonesians believe that you didn’t really eat. Beras, or uncooked rice, is the basis of many other dishes too. Lontong, is rice cooked in a special way, so that it makes … Continue reading

Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps Training / People / Photography / Travel

Indonesian Wedding & Preparations

Back in training, I had the opportunity to attend many, many weddings. Based on this, my language instructor constantly joked about how much I like parties—which is true. Yet, an Indonesia wedding isn’t the type of event one imagines in the West. First of all, the actual wedding ceremony takes place at another time and … Continue reading

On the Twelve Months of Islam
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Religion / Teaching

On the Twelve Months of Islam

Though I’ve been a fasting wimp during Ramadhan—unlike many of my fellow PCVs—that does not exempt me from learning about Islam during this important month in my community. Last Sunday, August 5th, was the 17th day of the month of Ramadhan, which is the day known as Nozulul Qur’an. This is the day the Islamic … Continue reading

Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Religion / Teaching / Travel

Welcome to Ramadan

To kick off Ramadan all of the schools in my area participated in a “Welcome to Ramadan” parade, which started at 7am, Wednesday morning. The younger elementary and middle school students led the parade and the high school students— which includes my school—ended it. As a teacher at the school, I was asked to walk … Continue reading

Culture / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Religion

The Culture of Religion

That’s what learning is all about where spirituality is concerned: unlearning almost everything you’ve been taught. A willingness to learn and listen. – Anthony de Mello, SJ It is Sunday and there’s an elephant in the room. It’s because of me—of course—but not because I am “American” or not related to this family or because … Continue reading