I got another chance to get to the wifi cafe, the internet was down at the school today so we cycled here, getting lost and taking 1 hour rather than 20 minutes, so Im still sweating! (sorry!). So, my home family is quite a change from the homestay/hotel we were in before. It is a lovely building, its really big but there are some things that are unusual to me. The living room only has three walls, one is open to the outside which was quite something to get my head around. There are some pillars and wooden slats, but generally its exposed to mother nature. My room has open bits above the windows too, with wooden poles and slats stopping them being just rectangle holes, but they are holes to the outside none the less!
Its quite nice because you can hear the crickets – and a big geko, which Im assured lives in trees and wont climb into my room! It does mean the mosquitoes can get in, so I put my net up and will be sleeping under that for the next five weeks.
Another major change is the toilet. It is hard to know how to negotiate it because it is up on a step from the rest of the bathroom. It looks to me like it is side on but then that means that you have to stand over it with one foot on the step and the other off or I’m missing something! It’s a none flusher, so you have to take a scoop of water to pour down it, which is no big deal, however, there is no shower so I need to use the bucket and scoop to wash me. This is no big deal either, however, I don’t know how to do it without soaking the whole room, and the walls are wooden so Im worried about it!
Its funny to learn these things. There are no sofas in the house, and the floor is tiled so I was sitting cross legged, but then I remembered about the thing about the soles of your feet so I tried to sit and face them away from Ardi, my host father, but found myself shuffling around a lot because it was not really comfortable!
Assi, my host mother, was surprised to learn my dislike of cheese, apparently thats what most volunteers miss the most, but Im pretty happy with the food here in Bali, lots of noodles, veg, chicken, rice, prawn crackers....its tasty! Don’t think there is any fear of me losing weight here! When I get to Ende though, it will be another story! They eat dog and pig a lot, so I will be saying Harem, which means forbidden...I reckon it is illegal to eat dog in the UK?
Yeah, I do like rice, but I’ve never tried it for breakfast. Assi has suggested she will make her regular breakfasts, which varies from cake and bread to noodles and rice...so we will see how I go with it! She’s very kindly said she will put out fruit too so if I don’t like it I can take it as a snack to the language school! I’m sure the others will be jealous!!!
Which brings me to language school; Where we go to study Bahasa Indonesian, is in a vocational college for teens who want to enter hospitality or beauty. They were so excited to talk to us, practice their English and just laugh at how funny we looked...perhaps because we were oldies at school! They looked so young and innocent, however there was some graffiti in the car park and on some school chairs so I’m sure they are like kids everywhere else!
Our teacher, Bund, is a very nice man, very funny and very interesting. He is a curator for an art gallery who worked for some time for the UN travelling and is also a budding artist and photographer himself.
So my next five weeks will be spent at school and practising Bahasa, except on Wednesday’s when we have a day at the VSO office to do more induction sessions. We have no classes at the weekend either, but we will spend a lot of this time with our host families to practice Bahasa and learn about local customs (another thing I have to learn from the family nanny is how to do my washing by hand!) so we are prepared for entering our placements as these are very remote and not used to tourists so have very little, if nothing, in the way of western amenities.
I shared an initial apprehension with my co volunteers about staying with a family, but we are all settling into it in our own way, and I feel pretty happy and very lucky to be staying with such fun and nice people. I know Sarah is living with a family that have four dogs and a monkey! We have no pets, but there are two kids, one six, Faiz and the other, Raya, just under one. Im looking forward to being able to talk with the son, we already have a common enjoyment of Nemo, Toy Story and Madagascar so I think he can soon become my third and favourite teacher in the house!
We are scatterd around Sanur however on Sunday we got together to welcome the 7th volunteer who is late on joining us due to an ear infection which prevented him from travelling to join us at the beginning of the week. As a bonus, Michelle who is staying in my town was over so we met for dinner and he had a lot of great stories to tell us. I think we will have fun together in Ende, and he will keep me right!
So, a week in and still only just scratched the surface! The serious work of learning the language begins properly on Monday so it will be head down and practice practice practice!
Oh and a parting note, I am sleeping on Manchester United sheets!!! Ha, ha ha!
The breakfast at Yulia homestay, so pretty!
At the office -
My bed, I am shaking my head!
My bathroom...that bucket is the water I use to wash..Ive got the hang of it now, and quite like it!
the view from my room
Me doing my washing...Bali styleee!
A rice field
On the way to school...my proud ibu wanted to take a photo to mark the moment! I felts happy she is accepting me into her family :)))))
Thanks for reading!!!!