Another thing that happened at dance


I turn. It’s one of the Australians who I’d stared at a little too long on my way to the bathroom. I always do this when I see a foreigner—expecting to share some sort of instant connection since we’re both not Indonesians.

“Yeah?” I say.

She asks me—in formal Indonesian—if I know where the yoga class is.

I, of course, have absolutely no idea. I don’t even know if the boys’ dance class is going to happen tonight or not. That’s the reason I’m still hanging around the student union at all—I’m playing the sit-around-until-you-see-what-everyone-else-is-doing game. I play this game a lot during dance class.

“Wait,” I tell her in Indonesian, before ducking back inside the dance room to find someone who looks more knowledgeable than me.

I come back out with one of my friends, who names a building.

“Itu dimana?” I ask.

“Belakang,” she says and pauses, before asking what that is in English.

“Behind,” I say.

Apparently the yoga class happens in a building behind the bank. I relay this information to the Australian, who then asks if we know when the yoga class happens.

I look rather helplessly at my friend. “Kamu tahu kapan?”

And, actually, she does. It happens on Fridays.

I summarize all this information for the Australian—location, time—and then shrug. Hopefully she and her friends will be able to find the class.

“Thank you,” the Australian says to both of us, then to me: “Your English is really good.”

“Oh,” I say. If I were actually Javanese, I might just shrug and say thank you, saving the both of us a bit of embarrassment, but I’m not Javanese, and that’s what I say: “I’m actually from the US.”


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