Well, for one thing, I’m really glad I’m not heading off to Korea in three days.
Thank you, Dr. Ruebel. That sounds even scarier than Indonesia.
I’m still really scared, though.
My family is a bunch of list-makers. So whenever I’m nervous, I make a list of something: things to be done, things to look forward to, etc. No matter what, it feels good to cross things off. So I guess it makes sense that I find comfort in making a list of things I want to accomplish over the next nine months. It also gives some context to the time I'll be spending there. And that seems like an appropriate way to begin a blog about this trip. So here goes.
Goals for my life over the next nine months:
(in absolutely no order)
1. Take lots of pictures.
Not only do I want to take lots of pictures, I want to post lots of pictures. And I want to make sure I’m taking and posting lots of pictures of everything I want to remember. I’m also going to make a conscious effort to get pictures of myself in all sorts of places, too, as I have a tendency to just take pictures of scenery.
2. Learn to speak Indonesian.
Ok, maybe not fluently. Definitely not fluently. As it turns out, listening to roughly eight seven-minute podcasts on “Learning Indonesian” does not an fluent speaker make. Who knew? So I want to learn the language. We’ll have classes during our month-long orientation, and then I’d like to pay for private lessons once I’m settled in Palembang. Or before I’m settled in Palembang, since it will probably take a while.
3. Eat lots of native food, especially fruit.
I know I’m going to have to step out of my comfort zone here, but this should be one of the easier goals to accomplish. I want to try all the regional cuisines, and definitely definitely definitely eat all the fruit that grows in Indonesia. Which reminds me, I should probably rewatch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations on Indonesia again before I leave.
4. Keep up with this blog at least twice a week.
I’ve never written a blog before. Unless you count a few posts we had to make on one for a class, and I don’t. I’m fairly sure I’ll have decent internet access for the first month while we’re in Jakarta and Bandung, and I know I’ll have wireless at my school and dial-up in the house where I’ll be living. So no excuses.
5. Read all the books I brought.
I’m up to twenty novels. I’m actually really excited about these; Mom’s been awesome—just buying me all these books that look good when we see them. And she’s given me an awful lot that she’s read before and really enjoyed. I remember when I was in Mexico for six weeks in the summer of 2007, reading English words was a huge comfort. Not to mention how good it feels to just slip into some imaginary world when you’re scared or upset.
6. Use my new video camera.
I brought a brandddd newwww video camera this summer just so I can use it in Indonesia. Part of its use is professional; I’m planning to use it as a classroom aid to help my students improve their English. I’m also going to shoot some footage for packages that I’ll use for who-knows-what or maybe never use. I want to film a couple news stand-ups that I might be able to incorporate into a resume reel someday. So I guess this is kind of a four-fold goal: use my camera in the classroom, use it in everyday life, use it for potential reel use, and learn to use iMovie to edit the footage, since I can’t afford Final Cut Pro on my first-ever full-time salary.
7. Find an English newspaper in Palembang.
I don’t even know if one exists. If one does, I’m going to find it. And I’m going to at least read it and visit the office. Maybe I’ll volunteer?
8. Get my nails done.
Catherine Liu, an Indonesian studying at Ball State, told me that Indonesians do the best nails in the world, and they do them for cheap. Hooray.
9. Prepare some authentic Indonesian food from a recipe.
So that means being able to read the recipe, understand the measurements and temperatures, going to buy all of the supplies, and actually cooking the food itself.
10. Track down the rafflesia flower.
In addition to being the largest flower in the world, it smells like a rotting corpse when it dies. Thanks to Jared, for being the first to discover this little gem. It grows right on the island where I’ll be living, which I hope doesn’t mean the whole island will smelling like a dead body.
11. See an orangutan in its natural habitat.
Orangutans only live in Indonesia, which is awesome. Obviously, I must see this for myself.
12. Ride an elephant.
I anticipate that this will be one of the coolest thing I do in my whole life, so I’m keeping my expectations pretty realistic. When my mom found out I was going to Indonesia, she said, “I want a picture of you on an elephant!” I said, “Mom, there are no elephants in Indonesia.” I was wrong. According to Andrea, the ETA in my assignment last year, we can travel to Way Kambas National Park and go elephant riding. I have fantasies of riding along on top while my purse swings from his giant ivory tusks.
13. Keep in touch with people at home.
I have Skype: Bostdorff
I have gmail: Bostdorff@gmail.com
I have AIM: BostdorffKT
(If you can’t tell, I kind of like my last name. Or I just lack originality.) It’s really important to me to keep up with my friends. I’m going to miss being a bridesmaid in my former roommate Stephanie’s wedding, and it breaks my heart. I’m really going to try to keep in touch with friends and family back home through email, sending postcards (I don’t know if this will be a challenge or not), and possibly sending letters or small packages.
14. Stay up to date on US news.
Phil Bremen says when reporters go on vacation, they can read the news as they travel or they can catch up when they return, but either way, they have to know what’s going on. I want to make sure I’m not too far behind on current events when I get home in May.
15. Meet at least one Ball State alum living in Indonesia.
Dr. Ruebel found a list of former Ball State students now living in Indonesia. There are quite a few who now live in Palembang! I have a lot of addresses and email addresses to start with, so I’m going to track some down. I wish I’d thought to buy a few BSU t-shirts the last time I was in Muncie.
16. Travel to tons of places around Indonesia.
All right, “tons” isn’t very descriptive, but I’m not completely clear on the cost of traveling in Indonesia or on our program restrictions. Andrea says they got to visit all sorts of awesome places. She sent me a list of 20 or so cities she saw, and they look very cool.
17. Bring back special souvenirs.
Again, “special” is pretty vague. Too bad, this is my blog. I want to bring souvenirs back for my family and friends that they’ll be excited about, and that will be an accurate representation of some aspect of Indonesia. I hope to get some cool things for myself, too.
18. Learn more about Islam.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world. My only experience with a mosque is the small one in Muncie Barb Stedman took our class to as part of our global experience. I want to know more about it.
19. Get in the Columbus Dispatch travel section.
If you take a picture with the travel section of the paper and upload it to their web site, they might publish it. If they do not publish my first picture, I will send another. And so on.
20. Grow as a person.
I’m hoping this one will work itself out while I check off the other goals on the list. And yes, it’s vague, too. On the Fulbright posters around Ball State they always talk about the “life-changing” experiences. That sounds nice.