Today, besides being my mother’s birthday (Happy birthday, Mum!) also happens to be the six month anniversary of my first day in Indonesia. Thus, it’s a good time to get all introspective and reflective. I am now a quarter of the way through my fellowship, and the first thing I can say is that the time has gone by incredibly fast. Though there are times when I feel like I’m sitting around with nothing to do (and then I go for a walk to the grocery store), most of the time there’s so much going on either with teaching or with outside activities that time passes all too quickly.
During orientation, we were warned about culture shock, and I’m still waiting for the negative parts of that to really sink in. (Which, according to some timelines, should be happening right around now.) I won’t say that that the adjustment to living here has been easy–it’s certainly had its ups and downs–but it hasn’t been as hard to live here as I expected. Yes, there are certainly frustrations, but for the most part these frustrations are the same ones I felt during my first year of college. And I must say, I’m coping a lot better now than I did then.
This is also a good time for me to make another list of goals, this time including some teaching-related ones, because now I actually have an idea of what teaching entails.
Thus, in no particular order:
- Keep writing. Be better about documenting daily events and don’t shy away from writing fiction. Writing fiction never hurt anyone. Random introductions to random stories are nice, but work on the follow-through. If this means that you need to schedule writing time every day, then do that.
- Also keep up with blogging. Maybe try writing about something other than dance? Also practice writing in the past tense.
- Work on the silver thing. Budget your time.
- Also actually keep a money budget and write everything down every day. Trust me, you won’t remember otherwise.
- Figure out how to eat well (healthily) and then do it.
- Write every word that you have to ask about down, not just the ones you write down when you feel like it. Then re-read the notebook and memorize them.
- Write down important dance vocabulary (parts of the costume!) and memorize those too.
- Read and write a little in Indonesian every week. Work on that spontaneous language creation thing.
- Figure out conversation topics and talk to people more. Spontaneous language creation, remember? Don’t worry too much about the Javanese.
- Find time to practice ballet and Bharatanatyam.
- Write down dances. Practice them on your own.
- Ask questions in dance class. Or ask questions after dance class.
- Keep in touch with people. Be better about replying to emails. (This will be easier when you have a computer.)
- Try not to freak out so much about all the socially awkward things that you do every single day.
- Explore more. You did a lot of exploring this summer but then you stopped. You really only know your immediate surroundings. Branch out!
- Now that you have a better understanding of teaching, make full-semester plans for all of your classes. This makes things a lot less stressful.
- Pay attention to how fast you speak English. Also to the vocabulary you use. Don’t let yourself get flustered, because then you start using really big words.
- Consider the informal English club thing. Consider your schedule. Come to a decision about that.
- Try not to freak out about how little time you have left.
- Be friendly.