Monday, November 24, 2014

Taxi woes

Last night jackie and I went out to run some errands which requires the use of Taxis... After running around all day we finally headed home and waved down a taxi. When I arrived at my apartment he suddenly demanded I pay him more than triple the amount on the meter. He made up some excuse about a standard minimum rate of rp 40,000 if the taxi is called i.e. reserved by phone. However since I had just waved him down off the street this was completely bogus. I refused to get out of the taxi and had to argue with him for several minutes before he begrudgingly gave me back my change. This morning as I was trying to go to work I walked outside to the taxi queue as I do every weekday and although there were around 9-10 taxis waiting none wanted to give me a lift. They all just shook their heads and turned away from me. When I finally convinced one to take me he admitted that taxis don't like to take white people and that none of the other taxi drivers wanted to take me because I am white. He said white people do not speak Indonesian and often get mad at the drivers... Well maybe if you didn't try and rip us off at every turn we wouldn't get mad! I am so fed up with taxi drivers over here. It is a constant battle just to get a fair rate.

When I lived here before I hardly ever dealt with taxis because I had a motorcycle and then a car... I had no idea it was this bad.

This week is review week and then next week come mid terms. So very soon yet still so far away...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Coming to a close

This is the last week of regular classes with next week set aside for review to be followed by exams and then... beautiful wonderful Christmas break. This semester has gone by so quickly it is hardly comprehensible. It feels like ages since our last break (which was before the semester started) but in terms of classes it seems like it has only been a few weeks.

Jackie has been working out a lot lately which has put me to shame and encouraged me to get back into working out. Its hard though to get into the habit as I've hardly ever used gyms. I much prefer to use physical activity or sports to gyms but Jakarta is not really a place that lends itself to outdoor activity. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Same problems different day

Yesterday Jackie and her friend Elisa intended to accomplish two tasks. Open bank accounts and repair the screen on a phone. Seems easy right? Set aside 2 maybe 3 hours right...? No, here in Indonesia one must set aside 5,6, up to 8 hours to accomplish simple tasks. First there were problems with Jackie's visa because it did not show her address. Then the real problems started when they tried to get the phone fixed. After agreeing upon a small price of about $10 to fix the broken screen they returned an hour later to a new inexplicably inflated price. Nearly 80 dollars... to fix a cracked screen! I arrived and spoke to them in Bahasa Indonesian to the shop owner who swore up and down that it was always that price. I demanded that they give me the phone back in its original state then walked around the corner to a different shop where I was able to fix the phone for half the price. The first shop however, angry with the loss of business took their sweet time in returning the phone so hours later Jackie was finally able to use the phone. After all the problems and concerns she and her friend went back to Jackie's Apartment where I had made fresh tortillas to go with some soup Jackie had made the night previous and we all sat down to a nice dinner with some red wine.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sleep wanted

Two nights ago I hardly slept. I had a lot on my mind and just could not sleep. I was surprisingly awake all day finished the days work and went to bed at a reasonable hour. Yesterday on the other hand was misery... I was a zombie for the majority of the day. I struggled through each of my classes and by the time I returned home I could barely stand. I napped off and on for the remainder of the day and finally succumbed to sleep at 9pm. Thankfully I am feeling much better today thankfully but it is a constant reminder that even the smallest change to my sleep schedule can ruin my week. I am often asked to go out to a movie or something which might make sleeping at my regular time more difficult. I rarely do for this reason alone. I might be okay the day after but maybe 2-3 days later as the lack of sleep builds upon itself I am crushed and can hardly function.

I was just looking at the schedule and it looks like I only have about 2 weeks until review week and then finals! Only a short time more and I will finally get a decent break. I will be relaxing on the beach enjoying the sun and be free from 5am mornings... 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Back in the habit

For whatever reason I have been lax in regards to this blog as of late. I need to get back in the habit of writing nearly every day. I have been very busy of late. I am in the middle of reorganising the structure of discipline at the school and more importantly enforcing said rules. Very often rules and decrees are made with little to no enforcement in Indonesia.

This week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the revolution for Indonesian independence from the Netherlands so we are celebrating Indonesia and its diversity throughout the week. Yesterday I was part of a play where I needed to speak entirely in Bahasa Indonesian. I was busy all week and always had meetings when rehearsals took place so I only had about 1 day to memorize my lines. Unfortunately my abilities are only just when it comes to speaking Bahasa. I can communicate well and understand quite a lot. However I am by no means proficient. Indonesian has a formal language which is far from the informal speak that is more often used in everyday life. Very often I receive formal papers at my apartment or at the school that even my Indonesian friends cannot understand. That is how far removed formal Indonesian is from everyday life. I understood the vast majority of my lines... but there was certain words which I could hardly pronounce much less understand.

Lets just say at the last minute I had some doubts and decided to have a little help....



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fly by

This week has absolutely flown by which is odd considering how slow last week went. My stomach isn't feeling fantastic but such is living in a third world country...

Jackie just returned from Surabaya and though she worked hard and came back exhausted she did well and made some money. It can be a very frustrating thing to be over here in the middle of (seemingly) nowhere and have nothing to do. Her work schedule is such that it can be very difficult to make plans as she never knows what she will be doing the next day until the night before.

I have no plans for this coming weekend but of course I am looking forward to getting some extra sleep. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Back to school back to work

This weekend was a short one though relaxing. I hardly did anything at all aside from read and swim. Jackie is in Surabaya for work and had been busy all week due to Jakarta fashion week. Not much else to report. Im just sitting in my office grading papers and dreaming of christmas break. I'm sure it will be here before I know it. But still.... can't wait!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Good with the bad: Ikea and Puncak

Last week somehow stretched on and on. Usually the days fly by but not last week for whatever reason. So I very much looked forward to the weekend I think I went to sleep at around 8pm on friday night... I am such a party animal.

On saturday Jackie and I went to the new Ikea in Alam Sutra Jakarta. A friend let us use their car and driver which made the trip a lot easier. I couldn't believe how crowded it was... packed to the gills with people using common Indonesian "courtesy" so it became very uncomfortable. The food court was so over crowded and the lines so long Jackie and I pushed past our extreme hunger and finished shopping to eat afterwards. We found all sorts of great plants and things and had a great day although I became frustrated when I reached the checkout only to find empty aisles. The vast majority of shoppers were there only to look around and to eat.

Yesterday Jackie and I still had use of the driver and car so we decided to go to Puncak again. We set off in the morning to head into the mountains to go for a hike amongst the mountains and fresh air. However after stopping for lunch we were faced with the reality that the road had reversed... You see in Puncak the main road going up and down the mountain only allows one flow of traffic at a time. On normal occasions the traffic reverses every 1-2 hours. Yesterday, they decided to reverse flow every 5 hours. So for 5 hours you could not go up the mountain... only down. Then for the next 5 hours you can only go up. We drove all the way to Puncak, had lunch, then had to return home... we then spent 2 1/2 hours stuck in traffic so all told we drove for 5-6 hours for lunch. Once again we were forced to take the good with the bad in regards to life in Indonesia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wed-nes-day

I had to give the morning devotion today but the rest of the day should be less stressful. I have to consult some teachers and give a short performance review as well... but I think I will have lunch outside of school just to take a break. I have to give the devotion tomorrow as well... Not a lot to say about this week so far. Just work work work. I also have an amazing fiancé.. just saying.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is It Christmas yet?

I've just discovered that the planned fall break was canceled... I am doing okay right now but mercy what a difference an extra day off would do.

Last week was a tough one, I had meeting after meeting on top of my usual work schedule so I did little more than rest all weekend. My meetings all went well and there was some progress made in regards to my position at the school.

Jackie and I said goodbye to Bagheera as well this past week which was very sad. He was too feral and began attacking the other cat to the point that we had considerable fear for her life. I gave Bagheera back to the family that had originally given him to me where he can play with 6 other cats. The new kitten is much better suited to a small apartment and makes little fuss. She is calm, quiet, and friendly.

This week is also a pay week so I am very much looking forward to that. I will begin planning a trip for Jackie and I over Christmas. We are looking at a couple different options.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Feels like Friday

I had a long meeting last night that lasted well past my normal bedtime so waking up this morning took some extra effort. For the first time this year I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep. I slept in an extra hour and arrived at work with 1 minute to spare... Maybe I've been going to work too early...

Today is an office day and it is going by painfully slow. For some reason today feels like it should be friday. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Waiting to end

I very much am looking forward to this day ending. I didn't sleep well last night which made 5am seem extra early... I led the morning devotion when I arrived at work then taught a few classes. I am now working on a presentation I will present before the board about my work up to date. The meeting is later this evening but its right when traffic is at its worst so I have to leave very early in order to be on time. It will be stressful yet hopefully fruitful. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

1 year anniversary

Today is a very special day.

Its the one year anniversary of the best decision I ever made. One year ago today I asked Jackie to go to the Nashville zoo with me. We had spent a lot of time together the previous weeks and months sometimes in groups sometimes alone. But I was very hesitant, I had just returned from Indonesia and planned to go back. I had also ended a toxic relationship months previous and had no intension of starting a new one. However, I couldn't shake this beautiful blond girl who was so intelligent and kind.

We went to the zoo and then out to dinner at a local Ethiopian restaurant. I was smitten... something was special about this girl. I could tell from very very early on that she was different from any other girl I had ever met.

Now here we are one year later... engaged, living in Jakarta, and happier than ever.

We have faced some difficulties and struggle at times living in the third world. Yet every day I fall more in love with her.

Last night we celebrated by going to a romantic dinner at Pepenero Italian restaurant then exchanging gifts.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Good get away

Over the weekend I went off to Singapore to deal with my visa, and at first I was annoyed that I had to go... eventually though I saw it as a free short vacation and treated it as such.

I left early saturday morning and arrived a few hours later in a hotel near the airport. It was right by the beach and the hotel gave me a voucher for a bike rental so I took a bike around the beach and relaxed in the clean Singaporean air. Across the street from the hotel was a hawkers stand which is one of my favourite things about Singapore. I had subway, then an authentic proper Turkish kebob, Indian curry, then more kebob. I also had some good wine for the first time in months.

I came home refreshed and relaxed..



Friday, October 3, 2014

Long and short weekend to come

This week has flown by as has the month of September. I can't believe it is October already... 

Slowly but surely I have begun to make influence at the school. Over the last few days I have made some major changes to the way we hold meetings and the attitude surrounding them. For the 3 years I was here previous meetings were an intolerable bore of philosophy and theoretical speeches. They were little more than sermons of advice and basic wisdoms. Efficiency was thrown out the window long ago. After a few meetings and our first trial run things are running much more efficient and effective as well. 

I leave for Singapore tomorrow until Sunday so even though its just a short trip I will sneak in some good food and enough bacon to clog a blue whales arteries. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Great getaway

This last weekend Jackie and I set out from Jakarta to Bogor which is about an hour south into the mountains to go to one of the best zoos on earth. A friend let us use their car and driver so we were able to sit back and enjoy the clean air, tropical forests, and amazing animals. Afterwards we went to a local plant market and bought some amazing bonsai trees for less than 20$! Then we walked around a local tea plantation. It was a beautiful day and much needed. When living in a polluted and bustling city like Jakarta its necessary to get out now and again to be reminded of what Indonesia really is.

Also over the weekend I adopted another kitten... Poor little guy was dying on the side of the road. I don't know if I will keep it or give it to a shelter. I may also give my other cat over to the shelter... I haven't decided yet what to do but for now am enjoying having a small zoo of my own. So for now I have a Bagheera and a Mowgli.











Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day of rest

Two nights ago Jackie and I made a leftovers meal. Thrown together veggies and meat from my refrigerator as the Chicken I had planned to use had gone bad. Well apparently something else in the mix had gone bad too because I felt a rumble in my stomach and didn't feel well all night. I took the day off as I had no classes and I was able to get some much needed rest. Sometimes the body just breaks down and needs rest.

Today is a pay day so its a good day regardless of the meetings I have and the lessons I have to prepare. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Never enough rest

Sometimes the weekends just go too quickly... On occasion I feel like I've rested well and even though 5am monday morning is no welcome sight I can still rise quickly to tackle the day. At the moment though I just feel like the weekends hardly exist.

Jackie and I had a frustrating mall experience on saturday night. We rarely go to one of the big malls and even more rarely on the weekend. Foolishly we decided to do so on Saturday... after sitting in traffic for 45 minutes (usually 5-10) we arrived to a massively overcrowded mall. After dinner we attempted to return home but were thwarted again by crowds. The lines for taxis were incredibly long so we strolled down the street to grab a taxi before it arrived. However taxi after taxi rebuffed us only to pick someone else moments later. It can be very frustrating being white here sometimes. They just don't want to deal with a white person who more often than not doesn't speak bahasa Indonesian though sometimes I think they just don't like white people. We tried over and over to get a taxi before finally walking back to the taxi line where we waited another 45 minutes to finally get a taxi. We both felt annoyed and fed up with taxis. More often than not they take advantage of the fact that most westerners do not speak Indonesian or know directions or even have a complete understanding of the currency. Nearly half of all taxis will attempt to cheat you in some small way by taking you a longer way, "not having enough change" or speeding up their meter. It can be awfully frustrating when you are already having a bad day.

Jackie and I treated ourselves to some Outback steakhouse yesterday which I think was enjoyed as much for the food as it was not having to cook and clean up afterwards.

I'm struggling to be motivated right now and just might be procrastinating...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Middle of the week doldrums

Its the middle of the week and I'm stuck behind my desk daydreaming of a vacation.. I still haven't been able to take Jackie out of Jakarta yet and I can tell I need too. Living in a loud dirty overpopulated city gets old for people who grew up around nature. Its also tough knowing that there are beautiful mountains all around yet unseen due to the pollution. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lovely day

Upon arriving to work this morning I was informed that due to rolling blackouts in the area school will finish at 10am. In short time I will be back at my apartment and watching football highlights... I couldn't be happier.

Over the weekend I went with Jackie to a Scandinavian furniture store called Jysk. Its the best place shy of Ikea in these parts and I was able to find all sorts of cool stuff from lamps to canvas pictures all at a reasonable price... a very rare thing in Jakarta when it comes to furniture.

Jackie and I also celebrated our 11 month anniversary by going to Sushi Tei and catching a movie. Next month will be 1 year since I first worked up the courage and asked her to go to the Nashville  Zoo with me..