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

A Drive Around Bondowoso

November 15th marked the first day of the Islamic year: Muharram 1, 1434.  To celebrate this, all the students and teachers from my school take a motorcycle drive around Bondowoso every year. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I am not allowed to ride a motorcycle (which is the reason why I was feeling left out … Continue reading

Traditional Ghosts in Indonesia
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / Religion / Teaching / Travel

Traditional Ghosts in Indonesia

Indonesia—like most countries—has many folk tales, myths and dubious characters (i.e. ghosts).  Javanese in particular are very superstitious people, who will often sleep with the lights on to guard away evil spirits. Today, quite randomly, English club diverted into talking about ghosts—though it does fit in appropriately with Halloween and Dia de los Muertos in … Continue reading

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

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

Behind-the-Blog Drama

During Idul Fitri, the biggest Islamic holiday of the year, I had way too much time to think about life and generally, I was having emotional overload with all the new experiences and information. I felt a lot of things that I couldn’t really blog about simply because it just wasn’t very clear. Now, after … 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

Bondowoso / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Travel

(Awkward) Conversations With An Indonesian Ibu

Warning: This topic of conversation may make male readers uncomfortable. I sat at my kitchen table, helping my host mother prepare dinner. I was focusing hard on peeling a cucumber, because since coming to Indonesia I’ve learned that my way of peeling things is unacceptable—but that’s another story. In this occasion, I sat innocently peeling … 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

Random Ways I Remember Certain Bahasa Indonesian Words
Daily Life / Indonesia / Language / Peace Corps / People / Travel

Random Ways I Remember Certain Bahasa Indonesian Words

Tulisanya – write/spell—comes from the word tulis, which means write. Tulisanya usually translates to spell, and it makes me think of tulip lasagna – a totally logical mnemonic. Timon – cucumber – I think of Timon from the Lion King. This is actually logical. Bagaimana – how – makes me think of Benihanas—a mythical restaurant … Continue reading