Photo of the Week
Photo Title


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Upon stumbling into the program house in Pogung Baru a week ago, we were all given a traditional batik sarong. At the time we all probably thought, "hey cool, some cloth, can I go to sleep now?" but since then they've proved invaluable.

They protected us from the aggresively prickly grass for the many hours spent sitting on the lawn of the Queen of the South during orientation, were cover-ups for mad dashes to the pool, saved us from sunburn when we forgot hats or sunscreen,

served as excellent towels after pool swims or glorious ocean romps, were a cool, cultural, fashionable and gender-neutral alternative to pants, protected our faces from the wind and our lungs from the dust on the 12-hour hike up Merapi, turned us into superheroes when tied under our chins, could be used as a tissue for those (many) of us with colds, and were perfectly temperate blankets.

Now that we're in homestays, I don't know what everyone else is doing with theirs, but mine is hanging in my new room and is infinitely comforting as the one familiar object in the room.

So I'd just like to say, thanks.

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Thanks to Our Sarongs

Lyda Langford,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Upon stumbling into the program house in Pogung Baru a week ago, we were all given a traditional batik sarong. At the time we all probably thought, "hey cool, some cloth, can I go to sleep now?" but since then they’ve proved invaluable. They protected us from the aggresively prickly grass for the many hours […]

Posted On

09/20/12

Author

Lyda Langford

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Selamat Siang!
Indonesia at first seemed like such a different world. The sounds, the sight, the smells, the toilets. But in so many ways the country and the people seem so much more human than America. The smiles are wider and the Indonesians are so patient and willing to talk to you. Even when the little Indonesian you know fails you and the way that you end up communicating is by pointing at things. The past few days were orientation, which we spent at a beach resort called Queen by the Sea in Parangtritis, about an hour out of Yogykarta. The sand at the beach is black and few go in the water because of the fear that the goddess that lives there will take them. Those that do brave the shallow water are fully clothed, which was definitely different from the US. It was sad leaving the resort today because it was so beautiful, but it's exciting to know that that it was only my first slice of this vast and vibrant country.
Hope all's well!
Emily

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Selamat Siang!

Emily Armstrong,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Selamat Siang! Indonesia at first seemed like such a different world. The sounds, the sight, the smells, the toilets. But in so many ways the country and the people seem so much more human than America. The smiles are wider and the Indonesians are so patient and willing to talk to you. Even when the […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Emily Armstrong

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    [post_content] => As I sit on the beach of Parangtritis I observe. I'm sheltered from the sun by a  simple structure made of bamboo and palm leaves. Supporting me is a bench, also  made of bamboo. Down to my left is a hole about an inch wide. A small crab  shuffles sideways out of it, but retreats back into it's hideaway just as  quickly as is emerged. I follow a cart driver and his horse as they move along  the water line. There movement brings my gaze to a woman under a shelter like me  own. She wears an orange headscarf and a pink sarong. She sells refreshments  such as the delicious Kalapa Muda (water from a young coconut). I can't believe  we have to leave this place. Our little haven by the sea. However, I know this  is just the beginning. And if these past few days of orientation have been this  fun, I can't wait to see what the rest of Indonesia has to offer. 

Lauren Harper
Indonesia
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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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As I sit on the beach of Parangtritis…

Lauren Harper,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

As I sit on the beach of Parangtritis I observe. I’m sheltered from the sun by a simple structure made of bamboo and palm leaves. Supporting me is a bench, also made of bamboo. Down to my left is a hole about an inch wide. A small crab shuffles sideways out of it, but retreats […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Lauren Harper

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    [post_title] => Merapi Photos Round 2
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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Merapi Photos Round 2

Instructors,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Instructors

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    [post_title] => Photos Round 1
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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Photos Round 1

Instructors,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2012-09-17 00:00:00
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Dear Family and Friends,

Alyssa, Eliza, Pete, Naya, Lauren, Will, Emily, Lyda, Scout, Olivia, and Cassidy are all safe, healthy, and ready to begin their first home-stay tomorrow. Students are posting Yaks today, so we’ll let them speak even more about the experience thus far.

For now, please enjoy some photos from our orientation at Parangtritis beach and our incredible all-night expedition to the summit of Mt. Merapi (posted in separate yaks). We have spent the first week orienting ourselves to Indonesia, the group, and our personal goals for the course. This orientation phase culminated in a significant group challenge to the top of the highest, most active, and among the most sacred volcanos in Java: Mt. Merapi. We left Jogjakarta at around 8pm and trekked from midnight until the sun rose beneath us at the summit. Watching the sun float out of a sea of clouds and illuminate distant volcanic peaks like islands in a mystical white ocean was surely one of the most memorable sights in my life. All this with a bubbling grey caldera enshrined by cathedral ruins of what used to be the mountain top, looming behind us. It was the closet any of us may ever come to walking on the surface of the moon.

Even more impressive than the scenery was the resolve and camaraderie of our group. We are incredibly proud of our students, all of whom reached the summit after many hours of sleepless headlight-lit climbing up steep sandy trails devoid of luxurious “switch backs.” Students encouraged each other through it all and exemplified the group adat (culture) they had all agreed to uphold during our orientation. It was a deeply meaningful shared accomplishment and one that will serve as metaphor for the rest of our journey as we put one foot in front of the other, sometimes as a group and sometimes alone, venturing into the unknown.

First steps… home-stays in Jogjakarta :)

All the best,

Aaron, Sarah, and Kelli

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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First steps into the dark

Instructors,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Dear Family and Friends, Alyssa, Eliza, Pete, Naya, Lauren, Will, Emily, Lyda, Scout, Olivia, and Cassidy are all safe, healthy, and ready to begin their first home-stay tomorrow. Students are posting Yaks today, so we’ll let them speak even more about the experience thus far. For now, please enjoy some photos from our orientation at […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Instructors

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Hello Everyone!

I have been selected to be the group Pemulung Cerita or story collector. This means I'll be using this yak to post about our groups general experience...here goes!

I think its important to point out that our journey didn't start when we landed in Yogyakarta. In fact, for most of us, it started with the strange and flustering feeling of walking into a room full of your old friends that for some reason you've never met before. The knowledge for us that for the next 90 days we will be connected to each other be more than our country of origin became transparent. We will not only be sharing our experiences, opinions, hopes, and aches and pains with each other, but something entirely more tangible. Whether we are youngest or oldest, male of female, liberal or conservative, we are all here for one underlying reason: to fall in love with something new.


As we made our 48 (and in some cases 36) hour trip halfway across the world, we asked ourselves questions like, "What do I think I'm doing? This is crazy!" and "Am I even slightly prepared for this?". By the time we arrived, we were all kinds of tired, excited and nervous. But as we were greeted by our instructors, Kelli and Sarah, a distinct wave of relaxation came over the group. It was almost as if you could hear the air sigh with relief. And the sigh of relief hasn't yet ended.


The next day we headed to our orientation sight at a town called Parangtritis where we stayed in a hotel call The Queen of the South. It was paradise in a nutshell. When you first arrive there, you walk up steps to an outdoor eating and lounge area with a beautiful peaked and tiled roof and painted ceiling. To your right are rooms, a feild with a fountain and plam trees. Ahead of you is a pool and a pagota, also for eating. And then a short cement wall that looks over the most beautiful beach. The hotel is built on a cluff that spans the length of the beach and reaches high, high up. We were stunned.

The following days were spent doing activities meant to help us get to know each other and prepare us for the upcoming journey. This included playing games that made us shriek with laughter so hard we were doubled over clutching our stomachs and rubbing our cheaks which hurt from smiling so long. We sat in circles and discussed our values and walked down the beach only to be happily bombarded by locals with big smiles and hopes of getting at least 10 pictures of us...each. By the time we would reach town we would all feel like celebrities, so welcoming and kind were the locals.The almost audible sigh of relief moving through us day by day and slowly taking the shape of other things.


We built our group Adat, or community with our most important values as our rules to live by. We talked about our hopes for the future, and our past experiences. We accomplished things that none of us could do without each other. We asked questions and built up our anticipation until we were brimming with excitement of the upcoming weeks.


I only have 5 more minutes of time to write, so I will end this. Our group is amazing, intellectual and hillarious. We are all so full of happiness and anticipation and can't wait to move forward. Tomorrow is our first day of homestays!

The upcoming voyage will be one of the most interesting things that I or anyone in this group will have in our lives.


AMEN!

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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From the group Pemulung Cerita

Eliza Culhane,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Hello Everyone! I have been selected to be the group Pemulung Cerita or story collector. This means I’ll be using this yak to post about our groups general experience…here goes! I think its important to point out that our journey didn’t start when we landed in Yogyakarta. In fact, for most of us, it started […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Eliza Culhane

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Well after finally arriving, we found ourselves on the otherside of the Earth in Yogyakarta, Java. Yogyakarta is a nice sized city with around 4 million. After arriving to the program house late the night of the 11th, we were aroused by the call to prayer at 4:30am. Already I have begun to feel the deep consciousness the people live with here. After the early awakening we rode to the beach town of Parangtritis. Parangtritis has offered a soothing transition place. We have been calmed by the constant soud of some extroardinary pounding surf breaks. I have already grown an affection for kelapa muda(coconut). And rice for every meal has begun to grow on me.


Nonetheless it has been a busy few days bonding with each other. But as for where we are staying, if you look to the left you see some vegetated cliffs dropping into the ocean, below is a drop off to a wide sandy beach that seems to run forever, and to the right is a dinky little town with many restaurants selling the same chicken, tofu, rice, beef, vegetable mixtures.


And right now I am writing this under a bamboo hut covered in palm frawns.
Its pretty special. As foreigners we draw quite a bit of attention though, the first day on the beach a whole pile of young teenagers swarmed us and loved to take lots and lots of photos. Well that's just a taste of the excitement going on so far but we'll have a whole lot more after our Mt. Kerapi summit hike tonight.

Scout
P.S. pictures coming soon

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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From under a bamboo hut

Scout Vernon,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Well after finally arriving, we found ourselves on the otherside of the Earth in Yogyakarta, Java. Yogyakarta is a nice sized city with around 4 million. After arriving to the program house late the night of the 11th, we were aroused by the call to prayer at 4:30am. Already I have begun to feel the […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Scout Vernon

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In Bahasa Indonesia, "adat" refers to the culture of a group, the string of guiding values that they have identified as important and worth living by. It is commonly referred to as a roof over our heads, or a mountain in the mist. The community that is created around these values provides safety, reassurance, and steadiness.

Over the past week, we as a group have been defining out group adat, and are beginning to lean on it in different ways to test its capacity for support. Can we express our fears with thirteen people we just met a few days ago? Can we share when we are struggling with the adjustment of eating rice three times a day, or confide in each other when we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the beauty around us? Can we trust that our words will be heard, accepted, and acknowledged? That our presence is valued, even when we are not the best version of ourselves?

I have proof that we can. Two days ago, we began a hike at 8pm up the largest volcano in Java, and the most active volcano in Indonesia, that would last us until 1 pm the next day. We were each challenged by this hike physically, emotionally, individually and collectively. Each one of us lost our balance in our own personal way, and we took turns picking eachother back up whether it was through singing Celine Dion, proposing a toast to the sight of Jogjakarta getting smaller behind us as we climbed above it, handing out volcano high-fives, reading quotes, or just a silent nod in the night with only our headlamps to show us the way up a vigorously vertical trail. Yes, this was tough. Yes, I wasn't sure if I would make it up the mountain, let alone the summit, in time for the 5 am sunrise. Yes, we all were probably sleep-walking/hiking for part of the way. Yes, we all made it, and we made it together.

Many Indonesians, no matter what religion, will make this trip annually to offer gifts to Mt. Merapi to signify their gratitude for the fertile volcanic soil or simply its powerful presence in their life. One of our challenges for the hike was to carry a rock or stick throughout the climb that we could offer to the mountain once we were at the top, and the significance of my stick changed meaning for me throughout the night. It started as a symbol of a person in my life who I have struggled with deeply in the past, and it would represent my letting go of him when I reached the top. However, during the most challenging parts of the course, when I could feel my body aching for sleep and my throat thick with dust, I could hear our instructor Sarah's words in my head; What does this hike mean for you, personally? How do you deal with hardship? Where does you mind go when you feel like you have nothing left to contribute? When we reached the summit, the sun began to burst through the deep shadow and bleed into the sky, providing this magnificent light that I could feel shinning through my body as if it was coming from inside me. I realized that I needed to realign my expectations of this stick. I saw that in order to push through this hike, I had to depend on myself for strength and courage, and the only attitude that I could control was my own. The group of amazing individuals were all pushing themselves around me, and independent journey was our common struggle. I decided that the stick had to represent the face of my fears, and that I could only take ownership for my part in this relationship, this group, this adat. A group of travelers that are each working to take ownership over their part of the adat is a strong group of travelers.

Although I could barely breathe on the top of Mt. Merapi due to the altitude change, lack of sleep, and literally breath-taking views, when we sat together at the top of our 13 hour hike, at the top of our first week in Indonesia, and way past the top of our comfort level, I could feel our adat emanating from each of us. It felt sturdy and dependable, like a roof over our heads. Or like a mountain in the mist, when hiking in almost complete darkness I wasn't able to see it, but I always knew it was there.

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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A roof over our heads, a mountain in the mist

Naya Herman,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

In Bahasa Indonesia, "adat" refers to the culture of a group, the string of guiding values that they have identified as important and worth living by. It is commonly referred to as a roof over our heads, or a mountain in the mist. The community that is created around these values provides safety, reassurance, and […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Naya Herman

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    [post_content] => I've been struggling with what to write in this yak.  Part of this is because I am indecisive, but most of it is because of the scope  of what we've been up to in such a short time! My own desire to find deep  meaning in this trip is also making the writtin process difficult. I want to  give some sort of profound conclusion on what we've experienced thus far, but  thus far I don't have any. And the Indonesian pop music in this internet cafe is  making forming thoughts difficult. And yes, pop music here is just as annoying  as it is in the States. 

After landing, groggy and sweaty, in Jakarta we hopped on another plane to Jogjakarta where we finally stopped getting on more planes (For those of you counting at home we took four or more flights to arrive)! Sarah and Kelli welcomed us into the program house with a lovely little ceremony and great food! The next morning we rolled off our thermarests and pilled into buses, heading for orientation. They took us to the pantai, the beach. Mom, I give you permission to be wildly jealous. The group grew so much closer in those four days on the beach! We were tossed around by a sea goddess. We tackled each other int the sand numerous times. We laughed as a woman and her four year old son went wizzing by on an ATV. He was driving. We were swarmed by hoards of giggling Indonesians (mostly teenage girls) snapping photos of us and one of us has already been compared to Justin Bieber. We bought our first meal without our instructors and probably paid too much. There are just too many things to write!

I realized though that want we need to remember is that this is a process of terima kasih. Terima Kasih means thank you in Indonesian, but literally it means give and take. So we'll be giving back to this country that is giving us so many new things soon enough! It's a journey of thanks.
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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

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Terima Kasih

Cassidy Schultz,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2012

Description

I’ve been struggling with what to write in this yak. Part of this is because I am indecisive, but most of it is because of the scope of what we’ve been up to in such a short time! My own desire to find deep meaning in this trip is also making the writtin process difficult. […]

Posted On

09/17/12

Author

Cassidy Schultz

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