Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / iGLOW Camp / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Teaching

Indonesian Girls Leading Our World – iGLOW Camp 2013

My decreased blogging has not been in vain. Over the past three months, five other volunteers near my area and I have been working incredibly hard to organize a leadership camp for 10th and 11th grade girls held at my school, MAN Bondowoso, from Thursday, March 28th to Sunday, March 31st. Since November of last … Continue reading

Rhymes On Paper Hearts
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Language / Peace Corps / People / Photography / Teaching

Rhymes On Paper Hearts

For a multitude of reasons – some of which are admittedly strange – elephants have been on my brain. So when I encountered this poem back in January, I paid extra attention. This poem then led to an entire month of English Club focusing on poetry, which culminated in some pretty decent rhymes (for the … Continue reading

The Weight of A Cultural Difference
Bondowoso / Culture / Daily Life / Indonesia / Peace Corps / People / Teaching

The Weight of A Cultural Difference

The following was written before in-service training in Surabaya. I am standing in front of the mirror in my room, analyzing every curve at every angle. Am I fatter? I think to myself. I don’t look any different. I try different clothes on to check. Nothing looks different, but after one-too-many comments on how I … 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

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

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

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