Settling In

photo 1Well I’ve actually started teaching now!  I took the photo on the right walking into school on Thursday.  I’ve had 2 days of year 12 Psychology and so far so good!  The students are really nice and polite and they seem really interested in Psych.  They ask lots of questions and I’ve even got a few laughs.  Psych is last lesson every day (2:15 – 3pm) so I’m not really doing a whole lot of work.  Although I have had to write the curriculum for it, so that’s taking a bit to time and tweaking as I go, plus the usual lesson preparation.  I think this semester will be a bit of a trial run to see how much I can fit into one semester.  I have a pretty good idea, but it’s still guesswork because I haven’t taught Psych over one semester before.  I’m trying to learn the students’ names at the moment and I’m looking forward to getting to the point where I actually know them.  The thing I love about teaching is the relationships you form with the students, but at the moment these kids are just strangers.  I miss my old students 😦  I’m sure these ones will be wonderful too once I get to know them.

photo 2

This is my depressingly bare lounge room.  My house really doesn’t look like anyone lives here, although it did come furnished.  My luggage is all here now so it doesn’t look completely empty, but I didn’t bring much house stuff with me.  I’d like to get a few things to make it feel more like a home because at the moment it doesn’t feel like a home.

I also seem to have the world’s most uncomfortable couch.  Ok, that’s not entirely true, but it’s hard and after about half an hour it becomes very uncomfortable.

I don’t have a TV, something I think I want to rectify.  There’s an Australian channel here apparently, so that’d be cool.  I also bought a bunch of DVDs with me which I can’t actually watch!  I don’t have a disc drive on my laptop so that’s no good either…  I’m doing lots of reading though!

photo 1 copyI’m feeling a bit bored and lonely.  I don’t really know people here yet and I don’t have a lot to do.  I don’t have any transportation either so I can’t go and do things in town.  During the day I’m hardly working and everyone else is working so I’m not seeing people much.  I had dinner with my next door neighbours the first night I was here, and I went shopping at the market with some people this morning, but apart from that I haven’t really been seeing anyone.  I don’t like it.  Although this afternoon I’m going to hang out with some people I met at the conference in Bali.

The market I went to this morning was massive.  Full of fruit, veggies, spices, meat and some other things.  It was mostly a food market.  I got heaps of things and it all cost me less than $20 in total.  Things here are extremely cheap.  The tropical fruit here is unbelievable!  Pineapples, mangos, and weird fruit I’ve never heard of and can’t remember the names of.  This morning I got some sort of red fruit with long red tendril things coming off them.  They’re like sweet lychees or something.  Very yummy!

photo 3 copyI’m glad I’m a vegetarian because there is no way I’m eating the meat from these markets.  They’re covered in flies and out in the open (not pictured here).  I usually eat seafood, but I won’t eat the seafood here either.  I’m sure I’d just get sick.  And I’m not a big fan of preparing fish from scratch, which is what I’d have to do.  They even sell live roosters & chickens at the markets.

The photo on the right is a very small part of the markets.  It’s a good thing I’ve learned to count in Indonesian so I can understand money and ask for how many of each thing I want!

That’ll do for another blog.  Hopefully I make more friends and find things to do soon.  There is no way I could handle life like this long term.


2 Replies to “Settling In”

  1. Megan,
    I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet you while we were in Sentani. My wife Naomi and I were just there for a week, but I didn’t discover your blog (via your twitter account while searching for #sentani) until after we’d left. We’re in Bali for a week now, and it’s been interesting to read your blog.

    Naomi graduated from HIS in 2006, and I from Ukarumpa International School (over the border a ways in PNG) in 2002, and we’re just back on a trip to visit friends and see old familiar places. Would’ve been nice to meet you and see some people closer to our age there in Sentani.

    Looks like you’re starting to settle in, but I just wanted to encourage you that it gets better. You’ll make friends, learn how things work, and get comfortable with the people and language and new experiences soon, and you’ll look back and wonder where all the time went. Not sure your particular reasons for wanting to teach overseas, and everyone has different things that motivate them, but keep focused on what brought you there, and learn to laugh at yourself a bit, and engage with not just the students and teachers at HIS, but with the people of Indonesia as well.

    The experience of being an MK is a bit different from going overseas the first time as an adult, but in many ways it is similar, so I feel pretty confident telling you that you’ll look back on this part of your life as one of the brightest highlights ever. I haven’t been back to PNG in ten years, but it’s still such a huge part of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything despite having my fair share of ups and downs while I was living there.

    If you ever have any questions for a couple of older MK’s about teaching at an international school, life in a third-world country, etc, just let us know. You should have my email address from this comment, and you can contact Naomi through


    Anson VanDoren

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