Life back in Indonesia is actually going well! I am genuinely surprised to say that I’m enjoying it here. The first half of the year I was unable to truthfully say that. That doesn’t mean that it was all awful and I hated every second of it, but it does mean that it was hard, and I would have rather been back in Australia on any given day. It takes time to find your place in a new school and a new society. I had to find friends, and not just people who were nice to talk to, but I had to develop some real friendships. I had to get to know my students. When I started they were all strangers. I love teaching because of the relationships you form, and that takes time. I love seeing them grow and learn, but they need to feel comfortable to open up to you before any of that can happen. I feel like this semester I’ve hit the ground running.
(The top photo is of the main street in Sentani)
This is my house (top floor, right half) and my bike. If I was in Australia I’d say it was a pretty rubbish house. By those standards it is incredibly basic, and things seem to go wrong regularly like constant ants, losing my hot water for 3 or 4 months, getting geckos caught in my toaster, regular blackouts, rotting flywire etc… However, by Indonesian standards, my house is fantastic. I live quite well compared to the average person here. And I have a motorbike. It’s great to be mobile and have my own way to get around.
I just got back from a 3 day beach camping trip with the whole high school (years 9 – 12). What a great experience! It was such an amazing time of getting to know the students heaps better as well as some other staff. Lazing around on the beach, swimming, talking, playing music & singing, napping, reading… what a great few days! However, amongst the good there was some terribleness scattered.
This is our ‘shower’. Not my favourite. As least it was fresh water. Also, no toilets. Booooooooo! Makeshift jungle pit toilets are not my favourite. I thought I had a terrible night’s sleep on the first night; I was super uncomfortable and hardly slept. But… on the second night it POURED with rain! I had decided to sleep in my hammock instead because I’d has such a bad sleep the night before, so I transferred all my stuff to my hammock and strung up a tarp in case it rained. However… the rain was so torrential that my tarp lasted a good 2 minutes and my stuff was sitting in a decent pool of water. The hammock couldn’t drain away fast enough for the incoming rain. Ew. So, I lost all my bedding. It rained from about 10:30pm til 1am, so a bit after 1am I finally decided to try and get some sleep, the kids had all managed to get to some sort of bed by then, even though a number of them had been rained out too so they were sleeping on the sand. I tried to sleep on the sand with just my mozzie net over me, but within the first 10 minutes I had 3 rather decent sized crabs crawl on me, so I gave that up! I decided just to go and sleep in my wet hammock instead. At least nothing would be crawling on me there. It was cold and unpleasant, and I hardly slept, but it was at least somewhere to lie down.
I must say I was pretty happy to be back in my own bed on Saturday night! I slept a good 12 hours! Oh yeah! Below is a photo of our transport to and from the beach. You can’t get there by car, so we took a 20 minute boat trip out there after driving to the coast.
I’ve had a great transition back into Indonesia and I’m actually happy to be here now. It’s taken a while, but it’s finally happened. I think being back in Australia was an excellent mental health break for me. Getting away from all the everyday difficulties for a while really helped me to feel ok again. Plus with so many people away for the school break (and no job) I think I would have gone a little stir crazy if I’d stayed here!
This next photo is my brilliant beach trip group!
I absolutely adore how these kids care for each other. There is such a genuine regard for others that makes my heart sing. I love not only hanging out with them, but watching them hang out with each other. They are so kind and generous towards each other. They are more concerned with others than they are with them selves and that is a true mark of maturity and love. Everyone is welcome and there don’t seem to be the kind of social boundaries that normally exist in schools. For high schoolers, this is remarkable. I have seen this before in students, at my last school I was truly blessed to have some kids like this, but there aren’t SOME kids like this, they’re ALL like this! It’s hard to believe at times. I truly adore and admire these kids. God is at work in and through them and it is obvious to us all.
All in all, things are pretty good now, and I am so grateful. I am grateful to God for caring for me, and for the wonderful people both here and back in Australia who look out for me.