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.. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Like a boss

On Sunday evening Jackie came over to help me make a veritable feast. I had been craving Mexican food for days and while I sat complaining Jackie rose to the occasion and said well why don't we just make it? After a bit of research I came to realise that making tortillas is incredibly easy. So on Sunday evening I began making tortillas and guacamole while Jackie made the black beans and steak. We mixed it all together with plenty of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cilantro. We had quite a few tortillas left over so I will probably make some more tonight which I am really looking forward to.

Jackie had to go to Singapore to finally pick up her Kitas but I was a bit worried because I wasn't going with her so even though she is a smart girl and can take care of herself the language barrier can be quite troubling. Unfortunately she did face some problems... The Taxi driver took her to the wrong terminal so she tried to take another taxi to get to the correct terminal but took an unlicensed taxi driver who took her a long way and expected and unbelievable rate. She ended up arriving 20 minutes before her flight was due to depart.. The airport only allows you to enter if you arrive 30 minutes before the flight... The result was that she missed her flight forcing her to purchase a new flight. The problem being that she had a noon appointment at the embassy to get her kitas started and all of the morning flights were booked. Not only was she forced to purchase a new ticket but since it would now take an extra day she would be forced to purchase a new return ticket and an extra day at her hotel as well as missing a runway show that she had already booked back in Jakarta. She ended up arriving in Singapore and paying an extra few hundred dollars to have her kitas expedited. Pay a few hundred extra so as not to have to spend a few hundred more. It was a nightmare and I feel so awful... She returns tomorrow afternoon and I can't wait to have her back.

 I miss her already

Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekend

I am very excited for today... Its weekend, Jackie and I are making homemade tacos, and I don't have to go to Singapore. Much needed relaxation begins now.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stop. take a breath. stand amazed

Yesterday was a rough day for me. It all started off well enough but due to some miscommunication and a foolish employee I was thrust into a difficult situation where my character was called into question. I came home from work very angry and with a very short fuse. My Fiancé came over to have dinner and I couldn't even be in the same room with her. I was too angry... I knew that I would say something rude or snap at her even though she had done nothing wrong. She cooked a nice dinner while I emailed and communicated with those involved in the situation until it came to a resolution. I emerged from my cloud of anger and frustration to a beautiful dinner and an even more beautiful fiancé. She had even gone to the store earlier in the day and bought me a pair of jeans that I had been looking at the last few weeks. Suddenly my anger seemed trivial and pointless. I calmed down, took a deep breath, and stood back in awe of what God has been doing in my life. I have found the most perfect woman in the whole world for me. And starting next summer I will be spending the rest of my life with her.

After a few more emails and a couple phone calls I was able to sort everything out and the issue became moot. Jackie and I sat back after dinner and watched the Hobbit and ate popcorn. I look back on yesterday as a glowing example of mans foolish nature. It is so easy to get caught up in our own problems and shortsightedness... God has been doing many amazing things in my life and I am beginning to see the fruits. I am a lucky man. Blessed indeed. Oh and she just did a photo shoot for Cosmo magazine... Amazing



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flu

I've been having bad allergies or a cold for the last 2 days now. Its not that much fun and it makes work all the more difficult.

As of last night I have finally confirmed my status at work which will take effect next semester. My Kitas will be sorted shortly in conjunction with a business visa. Also I should have a car sometime next week. I am very ready to have a car again and am also very ready to have confirmation as to the terms of my contract which as until last night was still up in the air.

I am ready to move on to the next step and whatever comes after that.

Update: Once again my kitas has been a point of contention and my character was called into question. I am beyond furious, I am being blamed for someone else's incompetency. Indonesia....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No rest for the weary

I have the same schedule most days now. Wake at 5am, arrive at work just after 6am, leave no later than 4pm, return home to cook/do laundry/clean, prepare lessons/grade quizzes, then sleep by 10pm. Every now and again I sneak in a trip to the grocery store or go out for dinner but for the most part that is my weekly schedule. I hardly have time to spend with my fiancé and I have hardly any down time. My only free time comes on the weekends but unfortunately Jackie usually has to work those days so we are not seeing each other as much as we would like...

Still I am enjoying many aspects of my time over here. I usually get a few hours in the weekend sitting by my pool in the tropical sun which really recharges my batteries and allows me to take stock of how many blessings I have in my life right now.

I am still facing many difficulties at work and am constantly frustrated by the realities of a third world country but hopefully that should be changing and at least moving forward within the next few weeks. Always wait wait wait.... We shall see

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lice

Last night I got frantic calls from my fiancé asking me about lice. She had found a little bug in her hair and was freaking out. As it was late I was already asleep I didn't really think much about it and assumed some bug had just found its way into her huge mop of hair. She then called me again today and explained that she had found larvae and had spent all night combing her hair free of the bugs...

Most likely she had her hair brushed by a stylist that was already infested with the larvae.. As far as I know I don't have any as I haven't seen Jackie since before she found out. I'm freaked out that I might. I've never had lice before and am really grossed out about the possiblilty of little bugs growing and crawling around on my head! As soon as I get home I will buy some lice shampoo. This is some serious 3rd world problems....

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dragging along

Its been a long drawn out day. I have been in the office all day working on grading, preparing for a presentation, and researching my lectures for tomorrow. I'm trying to think of anything interesting to say but I can't really. Its a slow boring day, such is life. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Catch a break when you can

Every weekday since I started working has been stressful ball of hard work and early rising... however that is real life and so its hard to really complain. Unfortunately the past few weeks my weekends have also been so packed and lacking of sleep. I hadn't realised how stressed I was until this last saturday when I was finally able to take a break. I relaxed and hung out by my pool laying in the sun and not replying to emails.

I'm back at work now and stressed at all the things I have to do but I can look forward to this coming weekend...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Surprising calm

On thursday schools were dismissed early, businesses closed early, and people stayed home anxiously... All due to the perceived threat of riots. There was to be a judicial decree that presidential hopeful Probowo's case would be struck down.

There was a large presence of demonstrators around the constitutional court in anticipation. The whole business district was on lockdown. However the courts did a very smart thing... They read out nearly 300 pages of the documents over the course of 6 hours. The demonstrators wanted a quick answer, yes so they could celebrate... no so they could riot. The court took its time and slowly ever so slowly they gave the news that they would uphold the election and that Jokowi had in won leaving Probowo nothing but regret. The crowds just slowly dispersed and it was all over. The end!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

A test of Democracy

Today is another big day in the unfolding democratic legacy of Indonesia.

 After the July 9 Elections Jokowi has been declared the winner and next president of Indonesia. However his rival Probowo who left the election moments before the announcement in "protest" has been contesting the election ever since. He has hired more than 1000 lawyers to show that he was robbed of the election claiming massive fraud. All evidence has been to the contrary and has only shown that in fact it was he Probowo who had tried to steal the election by bribing anyone and everyone he could with the money he and his brother gained by being involved in the corrupt former government of Suharto. There has been a laughable case brought before the court including false witnesses being outed as his supporters, documents that were cut and pasted as well as some data just left blank, as well as ample evidence of Probowo's defeat...

After all the hullabaloo the courts decision will finally be announced this afternoon. Probowo's team has been shipping in young men since yesterday, feeding them and preparing them to riot if he were to lose. There is great fear that once again Jakarta will be thrust into unrest and demonstrations once it is once and for all determined that Probowo has lost (as he has for the last 4 elections).

All that being the case school will be released early so I should be home sometime around lunch time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Time to observe

I will begin observing teachers today... I'm not going to lie when I say that stresses me out a bit. I have been hired to be more than just a teacher and that "more" begins now... I will evaluate the teaching staff and make suggestions when and where I can. Many of the teachers will require little to no help at all. My fear is how to deal with the teachers who do need lots of help. Will I be any help to them at all or will I create strife?

I didn't sleep too well last night and 5 am came too quickly so I am struggling this morning. I will try to be productive but my brain just wants me to stare blankly at BBC news and the like.

In an unrelated note... I really miss quality Mexican food. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekends are never long enough

This past weekend I finally had a chance to slow down and relax a bit. I hardly did anything and finally took advantage of my new apartments pool. It was well needed but unfortunately the one thing that would have made it better would have been to have spent that weekend with my fiancé... Unfortunately she has finally started working properly. She finds out about most of her gigs the night before so we make plans only to have them dashed. I work all week in the early morning until early afternoon and she has been working in the afternoons and all weekend. Hopefully next weekend we can spend some more time together...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stumbling through

I had to give a morning devotion to the high school today followed immediately by a two hour lecture.

Unfortunately I was not on my best form and it felt a little discombobulated and disjointed. I stumbled through both lessons and am more than glad to be finished with them. It happens to every teacher be it from lack of sleep or lack of preparation there are just some times when you know you don't teach well. Thankfully they are often followed by the days when you know you have taught well but the days when you are teaching poorly often seem to never end...

I have 3 meetings today as soon as finish my regular classes. Then a long day tomorrow followed by a proper weekend.

Jackie has finally started working but unfortunately she is working on a different schedule from me and will be working occasionally on weekends as well so it will be difficult to us to spend as much time together. I am just happy she is working again though as nothing is more frustrating than sitting around doing nothing. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Now? No not yet

Today is wednesday which in the coming weeks will be the day set aside to observe teachers in their classrooms. But for now I am frantically preparing for tomorrows morning devotion and then a full day of classes. I am still adjusting to waking up every morning at 5am and have by no means "gotten into the swing of things" but that will come in time.

I am still coming to terms with the death of my Grandmother as well. It seems so far away.. so distant.. another world away...



I'm just waiting for 3pm to occur.. Its been a long day and I'm ready to go home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

RIP

My Grandmother passed away yesterday, peacefully returning to meet my Grandfather.

It is sad and and I am still wrapping my head around it but I know she did not suffer and that she is in a better place.

Its been a rough couple of days...