Turtles & Other Things

A few people have asked me when I’m going to blog again, so here it is!  A new blog post!  Ta da!

Now to actually write one.  Here we go!

The military are practicing (shooting) again today so I’ll be staying indoors for a while!  It’s a good thing Prince Caspian is on TV.

photo-2I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the beach.  Sadly I haven’t been back yet, but I definitely will!  So beautiful!  It’s just the hour long ride on the world’s worst roads to get there that deters me… talk about giving you a headache!  This is a picture of the main road in Sentani.  The road itself is quite good (it’s just all the side roads that are terrible), but as you can see there are massive deep drains that are uncovered.  At least there are some coverings here, some places don’t have coverings at all.  You’ve got to watch your step!

Here is a 15 second video driving down the main street:  http://instagram.com/p/ka2CcvEYEZ/

Here is a 15 second video driving down a side road (it’s rather bumpy):  http://instagram.com/p/ka2HGKkYEj/

If you’d like to see some more of my photos/videos on Instagram you can find me there under the name ‘Ludicrousity’, or go online here:  http://instagram.com/ludicrousity  I update this all the time.

The structure of the town is a long, skinny one.  I can’t remember if I’ve said this before, and I can’t be bothered checking!  The town doesn’t really stop to the west, it just eventually turns into other towns along the road somewhere, to the east it gets rural after about 10 minutes and believe it or not the roads get even worse.  That was the way to the beach I went to.  I live on the school complex on the edge of town (about a 1 minute drive off the main road, that’s how skinny the town is) to the north.

IMG_2883This is the sunset from the front of my house.  Nature is truly stunning here (not that it isn’t in other places).  As you can see I have a big open grassy area opposite my house.  My apartment is the last one before the complex ends and everyone keeps telling me I have the best views.  I don’t disagree!

It’s still hot here (well, the humidity is the real issue) all the time.  I’m acclimatising a bit, but I’m still not there yet.  I’m not sure how long it’ll take.  I usually have 2-3 showers a day.  One in the morning and one at night, and sometimes one when I get home from school.  Occasionally I have 4!  Although in my defence most people here have 2-3 showers a day.  Speaking of being sweaty I joined a social volleyball team.  We play on Tuesday mornings.  It’s lots of fun, but I have NEVER sweated this much in my life!  Seriously, by the time we’re done it looks like we’ve been swimming.  We haven’t been swimming.  Gross.  You sweat just standing outside here, imagine playing sport.  Ew.  Speaking of swimming I’ve started going to the local (not as clean as I’d like) swimming pool once or twice a week to swim laps with some others from school.  That’s been nice.

Here is a panorama of the view from the front of my place at dusk.  The school is to the right, down the hill to the left is the town.

IMG_2972

I’ve started playing piano and singing in a band at church some weeks.  That’s been great.  I always need a musical outlet!  I’m having to learn a lot of new music because they play hardly any songs I know!  A lot of it is American stuff I don’t know.

IMG_2924We have chapel services at school on Friday mornings and one of the cool things is that it’s student lead.  At my last school it was technically student lead, but they just read what was pre-prepared for them and followed a formula.  Here the students decide what to say and lead worship.  I love it!  The band is made up of different students each week and there are all sorts of nationalities, although American is the most common passport country.  One of the cool things about this is that we get songs in different languages.  Yesterday we sang in Korean and a couple of weeks ago we sang in a Papuan village dialect.  It’s so cool to hear how people express themselves in their heart languages!  An international school has a wealth of diversity!

The photo on the left is part of the elementary (prep – 5) school.  We have pondoks (that little open hut thing you can see on the left) everywhere for students to sit under so they can either get away from the sun or the bucketing rain.  When it rains here it really rains!!!

I’ve eaten from roadside food carts a couple of times and I’ve had no food poisoning!  YAY!  And it’s been DELICIOUS!  It’s been food we don’t have back in Australia and some of it is AMAZING!  Some of it not so much…

There are lots of chickens by the side of the road, and sometimes other animals too, particularly dogs.  Animals here really are free range!  Sadly I found out that some of the roosters are sold for cock fighting.  Just awful!

IMG_2886Since I last blogged something incredibly exciting has happened.  I HAVE PET TURTLES!!!  I got 2 girls and a boy, Fran, Manny & Bernard.  Sadly Fran has since died, I think she was sick when I got her.  She always slept a lot and was never very active.  I’m sad that she didn’t make it, but the other 2 are doing quite well.  Manny is a bit crazy, as befits his name. They’re very happy swimming around in their tank 🙂

Nothing here runs on time, or is particularly reliable.  You need to be flexible and just go with the flow.  Punctuality doesn’t really exist and things may or may not happen as you’ve been told they will.  This includes things like flights!  It certainly is different to our western obsession with time.  I am having to learn to be ok with a very lax version of time.  I’m a very punctual person!

One of the things I love about my new school is the student enthusiasm.  One of the things about Australian high school students (not all of them of course!) is that it’s uncool to be enthusiastic.  That’s not a thing here, and I love that the kids get excited and involved in things without having to worry about their image.

Another brilliant thing about this school is a program they have called ‘Outdoor Education’.  It’s sooooooo much more than it sounds!  For 2 weeks all high school students (years 9 – 12) go to internal Indonesia and spend 2 weeks going to 2 or 3 remote villages helping locals with projects.  Sometimes they build things or paint things, sometimes they help with water projects, they do HIV/AIDS education programs, they do kids club activities, hang out with locals their own age, and all sorts of fantastic stuff.  I am so impressed with this as a concept.  It’s been running for a number of years and it’s meant to be unbelievable.  Not all staff go and I won’t be going this year, but I definitely plan to go next year.  It seems like such an incredible thing!  They do lots of hiking and have to bathe in local rivers.  There is a risk of disease and it’s a hard slog, but from what I understand a very worthwhile one.  I think it’s an amazing program.  They leave in a week and a bit, Feb 24th – March 7th.  Things can often not go according to plan and they don’t always make it back on time!  As per usual in Indonesia 🙂

IMG_2953Here is a picture I took driving (I wasn’t driving!) into Jayapura last weekend.  Jayapura is the capital of Papua.  It looks rather pretty, but all those colours on the houses are just mismatched building materials, it’s not an aesthetic choice.  The blue is either tarps or exposed walls, mostly tarps.  There are very few decent houses here by western standards.  My house is very nice by Indonesian standards, but by Australian standards it’s very plain.  Most things work, but it’s a small, basic apartment.  I have ants in my kitchen and my bathroom which I spray every day, and I have geckos in my house, but they’re ok coz they eat the ants.  Also, spiders…

My visa still isn’t ready.  We checked on it again this week and there seems to be absolutely no reason why it’s not ready.  It’s just stuck.  I’ve done everything right and they have everything they need, it’s just sitting there, unapproved.  The problem with this is I can’t work, aaaaaand I have to leave the country soon!  My tourist visa was for 30 days.  You can extend that once for another 30 days, which I’ve already done, so I can’t extend it again.  I’ll have to leave the country at the end of the month and if my work visa isn’t ready I don’t know what I’ll do.  I’m going to talk to some people this week about my options and try to figure out a plan.

IMG_2941I am also still short in my financial support.  I’m only sitting on about 85% of what I need, so if anyone wants to partner with me in my work here by supporting me financially each month I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Life is so completely different here.  Nothing is the same, but I am enjoying the experience of seeing how others in the world live and relate.

Ok, that’ll do for another blog.  Here is a photo of the military jogging down the main street, singing like in the movies.  We drove past them the other day.  Brilliant!

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