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    [post_date] => 2011-04-05 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Hello All,

This is just a quick note to let you know that the group arrived safely in the Bandas in the wee hours of Sunday, April 3rd. On Monday morning, they headed out by longboats to Hatta Island, renowned for its stunning coral reef and pristine forests. They will spend three days there, exploring the small villages and marine life, and will return to Bandaneira on the afternoon of the 6th (Wednesday).

As the one internet place in the Bandas rarely gets a signal, it is likely that updates will need to come through me...

I should also note that they are now with Naldo, a native of Maluku, who will join the group as an instructor for the final chapter of the program in Maluku, along with some additional “guest” instructors.

I will be sure to post as soon as they return! In the meantime, I have attached a few photos from my last trip to the Bandas...

Best regards,

Jamie

PS: Happy Birthday Langdon! Hope you had a blast on the Pelni ship celebrating!

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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In the Bandas

Jamie Woodall,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Hello All, This is just a quick note to let you know that the group arrived safely in the Bandas in the wee hours of Sunday, April 3rd. On Monday morning, they headed out by longboats to Hatta Island, renowned for its stunning coral reef and pristine forests. They will spend three days there, exploring […]

Posted On

04/5/11

Author

Jamie Woodall

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    [post_date] => 2011-04-01 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => Langdon Thaxter turns 20 on April 2nd and his parents want to wish him a happy birthday yak yak. During this great adventure he is on we want to make sure he also has a great Birthday!!! Love Mom and Dad
    [post_title] => Langdon's Birthday
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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Langdon’s Birthday

Pete Thaxter and Mary McCann,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Langdon Thaxter turns 20 on April 2nd and his parents want to wish him a happy birthday yak yak. During this great adventure he is on we want to make sure he also has a great Birthday!!! Love Mom and Dad

Posted On

04/1/11

Author

Pete Thaxter and Mary McCann

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    [post_date] => 2011-04-01 00:00:00
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Hello Mister!

At first, being called Mister over and over again on my moring walk to the market in Bau-Bau was more than just unsettelling, it was down right offensive. Me? MISTER? You must be joking. I refuse to respond. Soon enough, the shock of being called a man wore off and I was able to go about my business, quickly muttering "hello" in response to this culturally confused greeting.

Another component to the frustration of being called "mister" comes from our recent stay with the Bajau people in the town of Sampella off Kaledupa Island in Southeast Sulawesi. The town was comprised of nearly 300 families living on stilted houses built on dead coral reef hanging in the middle of the ocean. At fisrt glance, it's easy to recognize the things that never quite made it to Sampella-- toilets, a proper health clinic, fresh running water and the concept of birth control just to name a few. The town was teeming with kids with enormous grins and chubby waving hands screaming "HELLO TOURIST!" over and over again at every possible chance-- at least at first. After about 3 days in town, everyone knew us by name. Neighbors who I had never met before, women working in the one convenience store and the grand-paks playing billiards at the local hangout (which more often than not felt like somewhat of a gentlemans club) were greeting me warmly and casually. We were the local celebrities for the week and these people were certainly not a shy folk.

As a matter of fact, the Bajau were so un-shy that I would go so far as to say that they were down right aggressive at times. Whether it was passing by someone you had met once before whilst walking around the boardwalk or a kid you had met teaching English for a day at the school, the reaction always lingered somewhere between embracive and abrasive though never with a cruel intention. Most things down to the very way that they performed everyday tasks can be described as such. A perfect example presents itself in the form of fishing. True there were the more passive ways of throwing a line in the water, waiting for a bite and reeling in your booty as common to us westerners. My personal experience on the other hand was more true to the Bajau lifestyle in regards to aggression.

I had been bothering my family for a few days about going fishing with them. Everytime I asked, the response was "sudah" meaning already. Great. Of course the option of doing my laundry was NEVER off the table-- everytime I would come home, laundry seemed the thing to be doing. Perhaps they were trying to tell me something...? Anyway, after endless amounts of washing, I finally asked to fish at the right place, right time. Sweet. Not only was I finally going to catch some grub, but I was going with my two homestay brothers who, to be blunt, were incredibly sexy individuals. I figured we would just head out, throw in our lines and see what happened. OH how wrong I was. We suited up, jumped into the dug out canoe and headed out to sea. After about 10 to 15 minutes of paddeling in combination with a tried and failled attempt at make-shift sail using a tarp fashioned to a bamboo shoot, we arrived at our desired destination where the goods were plentyful. Until this point, I hadn't noticed the tools sitting in the bottom of the canoe, namely the two homemade spear guns lying next to the patheticlly exhausted sail. My "brothers" casually picked up the devices, strapped on their goggles and jumped in the water to hunt. Slightly confused and a bit hesitant, I jumped in after expecting only to observe- never to to attempt. Wrong again. After watching them spot, aim and shoot with success a few times, they shoved the gun contraption (which was bigger than I was) into my hands, encouraging me to give it a go. This is going to be so embarrassing. And it was. The first few attempts I successfully speared 1) under-sea plant life swaying only slightly with the current 2) water (shocking) 3) the coral itself that practically devoured the spear whole. My bro's were having a field day. Nearly ready to give up, I decided a new tactic. Sneak attack. Brilliant! Now all I have to do is grow lungs of steel and I'll have this whole spear fishing business in the bag. I took in a huge breath and dove for the kill. Spotted: purpleish black fish at about 10 o'clock swimming due East. Camouflage status: optimal plant life position. Now to wait. One second, two second, three and BAM the trigger was pulled. It took a few seconds to sink in. I had to get up nice and close to the poor wriggling thing before i realized that I had done it. I had speared my first fish about the size of my hand in length and the adrenalin was pumnping. My brother came over, siezed the fish, released it from the hook while still holding it tight and jabbed the spear into its eye to make sure it was good and dead. Slightly tragic, but overall a winning experience. I swam back to the boat with a huge grin on my face that remained there until we arrived back home where I presented my homestay mother with the riches to which she responded "kamu pintar!!" "your clever!!" How incredibly gratifying to hear the same thing from my hot homestay brothers as well. She quickly skinned the kill of the day and proceeded to cook up dinner while I went off to shower, blood still pumping like crazy. I was no longer the incompetant American blonde who couldn't even do her laundry. I was now Emily the "pintar," Queen of the sea. Score!

Now if only the people of Bau Bau would stop calling me Mister and instead greet me by saying "Hello! Emily, Queen of the Sea!" all would be right again in the world.

All in good time--

Love,

Emily the Pintar, Queen of the Sea.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Bring Your Own Spear

Emily Chambers,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Hello Mister! At first, being called Mister over and over again on my moring walk to the market in Bau-Bau was more than just unsettelling, it was down right offensive. Me? MISTER? You must be joking. I refuse to respond. Soon enough, the shock of being called a man wore off and I was able […]

Posted On

04/1/11

Author

Emily Chambers

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    [post_date] => 2011-03-31 00:00:00
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1. Always check your bed for bed bugs, lest the phrase "don't let the bed bugs bite" acquire new significance for you.

2. Indonesians have no concept of pronouns leading to an assault of "Ello Meesters" wherever you go.

3. While eating 5 mangoes in 1 day may seem like a great idea at the time, your bowels might feel differently later.

4. Cramming 15 people into a room meant for a solitary hermit will lead to a rough night of sleep, but a lot of quality bonding.

5. When your laundry requires 10 rinses, you know you are experiencing rugged travel at its finest.

6. Rats can be energetic sleeping companions.

7. When you've learned more about the economy of the U.S. and the world while outside the U.S. than while at home, you know you've got a great teacher on your hands.

8. Things are "tidak bagus" when the Pop Mie's are poppin' out into the sea.

9. Smiles are the currency of the Indonesian people.

10. When you've been called beautiful more times in one month than in you're entire life it's hard not to start to feel a little cocky.

11. For the Indonesian cockroach, the world is their oyster.

12. There are three staples in Indonesia: rice, sugar and tea. The concept of salt on anything is strange and slightly disturbing.

13. Who would have thought that sarongs would become the hottest fashion trend, even for the boys?

14. When an Indonesian native is filming 12 Bolehs trying to catch fish with their bare hands in a rice padi, you start to doubt who really is the tourist in the situation.

15. Coffee beans straight off the tree are not meant for immediate consumption.

16. Another pisang goreng. Classic.

17. A word to the wise: always bring a permanent bailer on a Sampella fishing expedition.

18. When you end a 15 hour boat ride, still on a the boat, but singing a rousing rendition of "Here Comes The Sun" group dynamics are in a good place.

19. Appropriate response to any Indonesian inquiry: Bagus Sekali.

20. Indonesia is the bomb.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Indonesia: Up Close and Personal

Melissa Kolano and Anna Porter,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

1. Always check your bed for bed bugs, lest the phrase "don’t let the bed bugs bite" acquire new significance for you. 2. Indonesians have no concept of pronouns leading to an assault of "Ello Meesters" wherever you go. 3. While eating 5 mangoes in 1 day may seem like a great idea at the […]

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Melissa Kolano and Anna Porter

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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More pictures of Sampella

Instructors,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Instructors

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You have not lived until you have lived like a sea gypsy.

Even after enduring the nauseating trip to Bau-Bau, which included an unexpected slumber party on the boat, I still carry a lifted mood resulting from the Sampela homestay... In a strange way it felt like going home after a long, long time away.

The "sea gypsies" we stayed with were the bajau people, a large ethnic group that is traditionally ocean-based and nomadic. Sampela is a Bajau village built on a shallow coral reef in the ocean, completely separate from the nearby island, within which the buildings are connected by narrow, precarious wooden walkways. I lived in a small hut which was perhaps 9 feet by 16 feet, with an older couple and their newborn baby, one-year-old, and 6th grade son. Although the Bajau live with so little, they seem to be much happier than the average American affluent family.

I spent much of the first few days hanging out in a central house which had 2 billiard tables and a space to play cards. I first arrived there anxious to get some games of 8-ball going with the dudes there, but I soon realized that they were playing a game i had never seen before, involving 3 to 6 people, a hand of 6 cards for each person, and an ante of 1000-5000 rupia each, with the winner taking all. I studied this game, intent on mastering it and besting the indonesians in their own court. I did eventually learn the game, but besting the Indonesians proved to become an utterly fruitless endeavor.

Eventually I got around to teaching a few guys 8-ball, and another common game involving 3 people. These sea gypsies don't mess around when it comes to billiards. Needless to say, I got my ass handed to me a few times by a man in his 60s with 3 teeth (whom i affectionately nicknamed "whitebeard"), and once by a man with a mutilated finger.

When I wasn't playing pool I was hanging out on my family's tiny bamboo porch, usually with approximately 17 neighbors. I found myself often joking with the bleached-mullet-wearing characters Lauda and Adi, about Mr. La'ballo next door and how every woman on television is his wife, he has children by the hundreds, and he has been to the moon. This soon became a nightly occasion.

My last day in Sampela was undoubtedlty the most well-spent. Shortly after breakfast, Isaac and I set out fishing with my homestay-father Layor, and Lauda (whom I nicknamed "Swims with the Turtles"). Isn't your typical rod-and-reel excursion, and it's far from the tameness of a net: With our homemade spearguns cocked and loaded, we dove into the ocean fearlessly.

Swims with the Turtles was racking up the good fish, meanwhile Isaac and I finally caught a few small fish and were more than content (it's harder than it looks). We returned to the village, smiling, proud of our achievements. After lunch, I went home and found a random dude on the porch playing guitar, and La'ballo drumming on a large empty water jug. I sit, and soon the entire neighborhood is there.

I then engaged in aimless wandering about the village until I find Langdon and we set out on a canoe, intent on aimlessly wandering around the outskirts. A random child decided he was going with us, but he soon and without warning he jumped out of the boat and swam to another canoe which was piloted by an even younger boy. Nonetheless, Langdon and I came across another canoe with three other kids. After a quick shark/monster check, we all jump in and swim around for a while, and then it's time for a canoe race. We (barely) won.

After dinner, I go back home and exchange gifts with my host family. I am presented with two shirts from Layor, and cookies and soda from neighbors. In return I give them a deck of Alaska-themed cards, and two Alaska-themed children's books. We decide it's a good time for me to learn the local card game, and around this time Isaac comes over to see what's up. It's a jolly good time so far.

My host dad tells me to go get La'ballo, so I walk out and yell "La'ballo, come over and play some cards and make some music" in Indonesian. I soon find myself with the neighborhood on the porch again, making percussion with whatever items we can find, and la'ballo playing a homemade mandolin which I believe was strung with fishing line. Lauda, the neighborhood jester, comes over dancing, dressed in a woman's blouse and glasses, and a sarong wrapped around his head. I duck inside and come out with my sarong about my waist and a bandana on my head, which gets quite a few laughs.

The music goes on and everyone is urging me to sing, so i spit out a few verses here and there that translate into things like "Lauda swims like a turtle and wears women's clothing, Every woman is La'ballo's wife and he is also friends with Barack Obama," among other things. I stand up and begin to punch-dance karate style, and an old man with a long grey beard gets up and joins me. A long and epic slow-motion battle ensues, and our audience is pleased.

After this, Isaac and I with a few others go to hang out at Lauds'a and watch TV. A smoke-ring contest ensues, which includes a lot of blaming the non-existent wind. I can't stop laughing at what's playing on the tv: think super-cheesy 80s action film, indonesian-ninja themed, with the worst special effects you have ever seen.

We say our goodnights and head home, and as my loving host mother sings her crying baby back to sleep, I can't help but nod off myself.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Speargun Fishing, Billiards and Impromptu Drum Circles

Keenan Troll,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

You have not lived until you have lived like a sea gypsy. Even after enduring the nauseating trip to Bau-Bau, which included an unexpected slumber party on the boat, I still carry a lifted mood resulting from the Sampela homestay… In a strange way it felt like going home after a long, long time away. […]

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Keenan Troll

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Pictures from Sampella

Instructors,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Instructors

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2011-03-31 00:00:00
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This is a song that I wrote about these past few days…It is to the tune of “Traveling Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks.I wrote it to this tune because I am known to sing this song in the group (mainly because it is the only song I memorized all the words to…)

Song Title: Mangoes only cause minor irritations on the mouth that are less pleasurable than when you actually eat it

Two days past Sampella

I was waiting for a shower in sweaty clothes

Sat down on the bed, lying there

Hoping bed bugs wouldn’t bite or there’s lice in my hair

I was a little tired, so I waited a while

Before walking through the market “Aisles”

And contacting home, I was feeling a little low

But I rested a while, and then was ready to go

So I walked down, and tried, with Monique

To find an Internet cafe for the week

I got some people to send a letter to

You can bet that I sent one back home to you

I tried, looking so long for a mango stall

Too hard for me I told them

Waiting for the perfect time to buy ‘em

This trip, won’t see an end

Cause we’ll all be forever friends

Never more to hear, “Hey Meester”

When the visa says, Traveler’s going home

So the letters came from an Internet cafe in Kale Dupa then Bau Bau

And they tell you all how I might be loving everything that seems so hard

I say when I’m getting kind of physically ill

I restrain from eating my stomach’s fill

And I close my eyes

Ain’t no Doctor for miles

And don’t worry but I won’t be able to write for a while

I tried, looking so long for a mango stall

Too hard for me I told them

Waiting for the perfect time to buy ‘em

This trip, won’t see an end

Cause we’ll all be forever friends

Never more to hear, “Hey Meester”

When the visa says, Traveler’s going home

This Thursday night, as 15 Orang (‘People’ in Indonesian)

We’ll share some yaks, and I’ll sing this song

Diego will talk, about these months and anything else that he wants to share

Crying as a group and waving goodbye

We’ll give him our smiles and flash a peace sign

So this is the night we wish you good luck

And hope to see you on the other side.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Mangoes only cause minor irritations on the mouth that are less pleasurable than when you actually eat it

Alex Green,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

This is a song that I wrote about these past few days…It is to the tune of “Traveling Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks.I wrote it to this tune because I am known to sing this song in the group (mainly because it is the only song I memorized all the words to…) Song Title: Mangoes […]

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Alex Green

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Tall, intertwining, roots lacing together, squeezing, supporting, holding up. In Bali, we learned that towns are often built around Banyan trees, only the biggest and most gnarled though, because they are viewed as a sort of magical aberration in nature.

That was two months ago. Wow.

Today, for the first time I can remember since Bali, I saw a Banyan tree standing stubbornly thick and tall, composed of all the individual pieces, roots winding and twisting, endless shoots of strong tree spiraling upwards. Complicated, intricate, and layered. One root piles on top of the next, expanding and growing.

And now as I sit here, the air cool and damp from the most refreshing rain that brought with it a satisfying release as well as a reprieve from the oppressive heat, I realize how much I, how much we have changed since I last marveled at a Banyan tree.

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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A Reminder

Marjorie Isaacs,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Tall, intertwining, roots lacing together, squeezing, supporting, holding up. In Bali, we learned that towns are often built around Banyan trees, only the biggest and most gnarled though, because they are viewed as a sort of magical aberration in nature. That was two months ago. Wow. Today, for the first time I can remember since […]

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Marjorie Isaacs

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Gap-toothed smile

Big brown eyes

Sticky little fingers

Gripping mine

Tide pulling out

I Know I'll let go

To that hand, to that name

When the boat leaves the dock

Wooden canoe

Rolling on the water

All of the sudden

The world seems much smaller

A world that reaches

Only as far as the eye

Coming up short

When the sea meets the sky

Tears falling down

A face i've abandoned

The thought of my leaving

Never imagined

How much can I give?

Is it ever enough

To fill in the spaces

That keep us apart

Gap-toothed smile

Big brown eyes

Always the one

Staying behind

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Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

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Puja

Melissa Kolano,Indonesia Semester, Spring 2011

Description

Gap-toothed smile Big brown eyes Sticky little fingers Gripping mine Tide pulling out I Know I’ll let go To that hand, to that name When the boat leaves the dock Wooden canoe Rolling on the water All of the sudden The world seems much smaller A world that reaches Only as far as the eye […]

Posted On

03/31/11

Author

Melissa Kolano

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