A DAY IN THE LIFE

Weeks two and three, as anticipated, seemed to pass a lot faster than the first.   Although there really is no “typical” day when you’re living in a foreign land, there are patterns.  While I wouldn’t call it smooth just yet, life in Oro Oro Ombo definitely has a rhythm of it’s own and I’m learning to follow the beat.  Here is what my days have looked like thus far.

On the way home

More often than not, I’m up at anywhere from 3:30-4:30am and am treated to a concoction of rooster cock-a-doodle-doos, motorbike mufflers and prerecorded (I think) Islamic prayers broadcast in Arabic from crackling megaphones at unhealthy levels.  Lucky for me, each area in the village has it’s own “Masjid” (Mosque) with it’s own set of ghetto blasters, so you get a bit of a mix.  Not your image of a sleepy little Indonesian mountain town?  Mine neither, but by this point I’ve learned not to expect anything.

“Kartini Day,” or Creepy Child Beauty Pageant?

After wiping the sleep from my face, I hit the streets for a little fresh air and look for a place to do some exercise or just sit and listen to music.  Most recently, my favorite spot has been a soccer field that’s just down the hill from me.  If I’m not there, I’m most likely on my family’s front porch skipping rope for a few minutes.  (*I wonder what was gong through my host dad’s head when he first caught a glimpse of the pale faced stranger in running shorts whipping a licorice rope around his head in the predawn hours?)  In any event, I relish my mornings here.  They have become non-negotiable for me, because they are the only time of the day when it’s quite and I am truly on my own.

My family’s extended family

I’m usually back at the homestead before 6am and then it’s time for the first of two daily “mandi(s),” or, as I like to refer to them, shock therapy.  I really have to work myself up for these, because, unless I’m engulfed in flames, I prefer a lot more temperate water to bath in; it’s FREEZING!  Everyone has their own technique for taking a mandi, but personally, approach it like I’m going into battle.  I’ll wet the floor down first, just to get some balance, but after that, I throw the rules out the Plexiglas window!  I’ll forcefully chuck the cold buckets of water all over myself, usually starting with my face. (*Incidentally, this technique recently resulted in a blow to the forehead)  I’ll then soap up, shave if needed, and then, just as forcefully as the soak, rinse myself off.  There is no time for rubber ducky play during morning mandi.  Want to close your eyes and think about the possibilities that lay ahead?  Tough!  Mandi(s) are all business, all the time.

One more note on mandi(s).  As much as I try, I am still wildly inefficient with mine.  I had to laugh when I read my friend’s blog about her own experiences in this pastime.  She wrote that her family is in and out of the mandi in three minutes, tops.  I can confirm that fact, about my own family, not hers.  To give you a little perspective, it takes me the same amount of time to take my britches off without getting them soaked on the bathroom floor (not as simple as it sounds).

A little group therapy at Katie’s

After my mandi and a little breakfast (rice with some fried sides), it’s off to “school,” which doubles as the village government office, or maybe it’s the other way around?  Anyway, there are seven of us recruits in total, add one more for the teacher, in a, let’s call it cozy, room.  We have a nice big window that you can crack open at least 2.5 inches, so you don’t get much of a breeze.   The view however, is pleasant.  (*Thanks to Maurice, we just got a fan in class it has changed everything!)  We study Bahasa Indonesian in that room from 8am-3:30pm, Monday-Friday.  From 3:30pm until around 5pm we have a another session with our cultural facilitator, which varies from day to day.

We have strict orders to be back home by 7pm.  Apparently, it’s taboo to be walking around at nite, especially for a woman, so the P.C. doesn’t budge on this one.  Once I’m back home it’s mandi time once more, followed by “makan malam” (dinner….more rice, more oil) and ALWAYS in that order, except for the nite I rocked the boat and reversed it all; pure chaos.

That’s pretty much it.  I’ll put in a little face time with the family while I eat dinner and then hit the sack by 8 or so.  I know that sounds a tad extreme, but by that time of the evening, I usually have had enough.  My days are long, full and mostly enjoyable, so I can’t complain. Plenty of other events/activities are squeezed into my schedule, but I’ll elaborate some other time.

Until then….

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14 thoughts on “A DAY IN THE LIFE

  1. lol. Sounds like Paradise !!! You really are living the dream, man! Just livin’ the dream !!! Haha. Miss you !!!

  2. Hey Joe. As always loving the posts. Only just caught up now for some reason wasn’t getting the updates to my email but you popped up in a dream last night so thought I would see what you had been up to. Sounds like you’re throwing yourself right into it as always. Looking forward to hearing more and seeing some pics. Now, off to have a nice long, hot, shower 😉 xox take care

      • Not really, just as I got in Ella woke up screaming and Travis opened the door holding his ‘Horton Hears a Who’ DVD asking me to get out and put it on form him. So although it was hot not long at all. Lol.
        Just saw the pics and you look really great and like you’re reallly enjoying it. I’m still into making photo books and think you should defitinitely pull all your together one day and publish them. Great way to look back on the memories. Looking forward to the next post.
        Take care xox

      • Sadly, that made me feel better, so a big thank you to Ella and Travis! 🙂 I think your photo album is a great idea and I would love to do something like that, with a bit of editing of course. Good God, some of those photos are classic! I’ve got to run, but I will be in touch again soon. I’ll see if I can’t get myself into more awkwardness. xo, Joe

  3. Judging from the contented smile on your face it appears that you are feeling more comfortable with your new life. The picture with the small children is, ofcourse, my favorite. I can’t say that I am crazy about your bathroom but I guess it serves its purpose!!! Looking forward to your next post and more pictures. Keep smiling!

    • Ms. Martin, plenty to smile (and laugh) about here! I truly with you could see some of the situations through my eyes. As always, thank you for your support!
      I hope you and the family are well… Here’s to more smiles!

  4. Dude you are the man, Captain Adaptable. The way you can focus your mindset on a totally unique situation so quickly is something I admire greatly. One second we are eating at crispers and throwing a football and the next second you are in indonesia talking cold baths, hearing music blaring from street microphones, waking up before the roosters and squatting ( though if anyone can produce a ten in that environment, you can my man). I gotta visit this place at some point. Sounds like a trip( no pun intended). Keep on keeping on brother.

    • BJ 5000! What it is, amigo? Thank you for the kind words. It would be awesome if you came visit. So many funny things to report, but my internet use is very limited at the moment. I don’t know if it will be better or worse when I get to my permanent site, but I’ll do my best to keep you posted. I can’t have any visitors until somewhere around September or October, but after that, shouldn’t be an issue. What happened with that Rebok thing!? Get back to me when you can!

  5. Joe! Love seeing the photos. You look great, even with the shaved head once again 🙂
    The mandi sound intense; I guess there are no onsen in Indo then.
    Get some earplugs for those roosters! I can even send you some if you want!

  6. Pingback: Rainbows of the Week: Give Peace a Chance | A Rainbow In The Clouds

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