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SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION


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    [post_date] => 2017-05-01 07:36:03
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    [post_content] => 

Indonesia is the pungent aroma of ‘kopi manis’ steaming on the table as your Ibu gently scolds you to ‘makan dulu!’ yet again, as you sit on the porch watching the village of Langa wake up in the early morning light ...

Indonesia is the hot, smoky taste of sambal chili paste puckering your tongue in delight as you dig into a bowl crowded with tempe, crispy ‘ikan bakar’, steamed vegetables and of course, lots of ‘nasi’ ...

Indonesia is the regular orchestra of small bings, bangs, bells, whistles and chimes that radiate from the alleyway beside the program house in Jogja every afternoon as small vendors ply their wares through the neighborhood ...

Indonesia is the cool caress of salt water enveloping your body as you bob over kaleidoscopic coral gardens and plunge over steep reef walls spearfishing with your Bapak in the Wakatobi Islands ...

Indonesia is straining your neck to gawk at troops of monkeys, giant hornbills and shaggy red orangutans foraging for fruit in the improbably high branches of a massive fig tree in the steamy rainforests of Sumatra ...

Indonesia is gathering around as a group to ‘check in’ about our separate, but shared experiences each morning as we stumble through the intricacies of wholeheartedly embracing another culture not as a tourist, but as a traveler ...

For all of us Indonesia has been an experience. We’ve ventured from steamy tropical jungles to bustling urban jungles, trekked up enormous volcanos and snorkeled impossibly beautiful coral reefs. In all of these places we’ve forged connections with local people who have welcomed us like family into their homes, while also forging connections with one another as a family of kindred spirits on a shared journey.

From all of us as an I-team - thank you all for such a memorable and amazing experience. We are truly grateful and will be reflecting and looking back on the memories we’ve created for a long time. I hope you'll keep the memories we made this year close as well, using them to grow and launch into new opportunities, directions and future adventures.

Know that we miss you guys and are thinking of you still, chuckling about funny stories and speculating on where you will go from here. Whatever you get into, remember to embrace the journey and spread your wings wide.

Thanks again for everything and please stay in touch. Sampai jumpa from all of us in Bali!

Jesse & the I-team

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Indonesia is …

Jesse Lewis,SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

Indonesia is the pungent aroma of ‘kopi manis’ steaming on the table as your Ibu gently scolds you to ‘makan dulu!’ yet again, as you sit on the porch watching the village of Langa wake up in the early morning light … Indonesia is the hot, smoky taste of sambal chili paste puckering your tongue […]

Posted On

05/1/17

Author

Jesse Lewis

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    [post_content] => 12 remarkable individuals, one stellar group.

 

 
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    [post_content] => And they're off!

 

Zayn, Mahalia, Paul, Anju, Eva, Elena and Anna are flying back to the usa

 

Marissa, Maya and Callum should have landed in Sydney by now.

 

Emily and Marion are in Bali :)

 

These three months passed by so quickly and tobe honest, it's a bit weird being alone. Thank you to all who supported our journey. We are all so grateful for having the privilege to travel, explore and grow.

 

Team Indo.

 
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Group flight on their way

Instructors,SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

And they’re off!   Zayn, Mahalia, Paul, Anju, Eva, Elena and Anna are flying back to the usa   Marissa, Maya and Callum should have landed in Sydney by now.   Emily and Marion are in Bali 🙂   These three months passed by so quickly and tobe honest, it’s a bit weird being alone. […]

Posted On

04/30/17

Author

Instructors

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-24 13:29:14
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    [post_content] => My bapak here in Sampela started fishing full time at age 12 when his father was presumed dead after he didn't return from sea. He fishes for anything mainly, but his biggest catch is normally pipefish; a small, long, thin fish that looks like a combo of a barracuda and a sword fish (but without the mohawk).

The reason that he catches so many pipefish isn't because they're the most abundant, but because they are the easiest. To catch pipefish, the fisherman in the village use a line-fishing technique and with a mess of fishing line at the end. The pipefish have many needle-like teeth, so when they bite down on the line, they become stuck.

My bapak has also notice a decrease in fish in the past 10 years is quite worried. He is unsure as to when exactly the fish will disappear. He says it could be 10 or 5 years, or even tomorrow. His main worries lie with the fact that even though he has many skills, they all involve fishing.

Anju's bapak has been fishing since he was 15. He went to Malaysia to seek adventure. He received a good and steady pay of 900k Rp (roughly $90 USD) per month. But on the flip side, it was very hard work and he was constantly paranoid that that the police would arrest him since he was an illegal alien. Which is why he came home after 20 years. His 3 month stay in prison was absolute hell. He is now very happy to be home because he can be with his family and watch his son grow up.

My 30 year old brother Jerok fishes for squid near Sampela and can relate to both the previous stories. Jerok has led the village twice to find his own path and to explore -- first to Malaysia and then Singapore. Over that time period he has been married, unemployed and then divorced. He doesn't believe that it's as good on the outside as many young boys in Sampela may think.

All in all, each man has agreed that the ecosystem is changing with the damage to the coral and the mangroves as well as poaching, and that it's not worth it to leave the village.

Sincerely,

Paul Cruikshank

P.S. it's day number 8 or something. I lost track after 2. No sign of land (if you don't turn your head). Spending most time laying on the from porch reading, day dreaming, sleeping, sweating profusely and waiting for any breeze no matter the strength. It rained for the first time yesterday since we got here. Our snack rations are running low (send more, we only have coconuts ((actually scratch that first request. The thought of coconuts is soothing))). Hoping all is well state side, and we will definitely be home before Christmas. This is me signing off.
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SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

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ISP #2: A Fishing Society

Paul Cruikshank,SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

My bapak here in Sampela started fishing full time at age 12 when his father was presumed dead after he didn’t return from sea. He fishes for anything mainly, but his biggest catch is normally pipefish; a small, long, thin fish that looks like a combo of a barracuda and a sword fish (but without […]

Posted On

04/24/17

Author

Paul Cruikshank

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    [post_content] => Pak Dedi, Anna's host father, cuts the engine and we coast for a few seconds before stopping on the water. Dedi looks like a Melanesian sumo wrestler with his wide frame and meaty limbs. His face is wide and round, his chin disappears into his neck. At the bow is Pak Gabar, my host father. He's short, 5"3 at most, with dark skin blackened by the equatorial sun. His arms are ropes twisted around each other and the muscles on his torso ripple like the waves around us.

Pak Dedi ricochets off the boat first, leaving the rest of us trying to balance the boat that is furiously rocking from his weight. Pak Dedi doesn't bother to bring his spear gun.

When I look down into the water again, Pak Gabar is already there with his spear gun treading water. Without a sound, he swims away from the boat, parallel to land, his snorkel disappearing sporadically as he dives to check out the coral below.

When we catch up to him, he points below to a small opening in the coral and says, "Rumah Octopus" -- this is where an octopus lives. "Tidak ada octopus?" Any octopus there, we ask? "Tidak ada" No.

And then we go on. Mahalia, Eva, Anna, and I snorkel as we slowly follow Pak Gabar -- pointing out lionfish, pufferfish, parrotfish. We dive down to catch eel in their caves and to touch the sticky leaves of the feather star coral.

I have so much wonder for what's below. To share that wonder with others only magnifies the beauty. There is so much joy coming from eyes behind the fogged up masks of my friends.

At a certain point, we bump into another group of us that had gone out to sea as well. We chat with Emily, Marissa, Jesse and Marion who had watched the sun rise from the water.

During a lull in the conversation, I look to see where the fathers had gone. While we were chatting, Pak Gabar had gotten away. Only his snorkel pops out of the water from a distance. Anna and I start booking it to catch up. For 20 minutes, we are side-by-side furiously matching each other with freestyle. I would occasionally look up from the ocean floor to see Pak Gabar veer slightly left, prompting me to change course, probably bumping Anna in the process. Despite the ferocious current hitting us full force in the face, Pak Gabar is swimming deftly with one hand holding a spear gun and the other doing a quasi freestyle stroke. He had maintained a consistent three meter lead on us.

At several points, I stop for air and snorkel tweaking to lock eyes with Anna. One look and we were sent into fits of breathless laughter.

What the hell were we doing following this man relentlessly? Where were we going???!

Eventually, Pak Gabar calls off the octopus hunting mission with no prize to show. He goes on to focus his energies on spear fishing without a word as if he hadn't just swam directly against the current one handedly for thirty minutes. Anna and I are left to calm our racing hearts and recover for the next unexpected marathon.

-------------------------------

Maya Jotwani.
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

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The Octopus Marathon

Maya Jotwani,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

Pak Dedi, Anna’s host father, cuts the engine and we coast for a few seconds before stopping on the water. Dedi looks like a Melanesian sumo wrestler with his wide frame and meaty limbs. His face is wide and round, his chin disappears into his neck. At the bow is Pak Gabar, my host father. […]

Posted On

04/24/17

Author

Maya Jotwani

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-19 16:20:00
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    [post_content] => Dear Spring 2017 Indonesia Semester Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):

Monday, May 1st

Cathay Pacific #898

Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 9:30 am

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 7:45 am

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078. We wish all students a great trip home! Sincerely, Boulder Admin [post_title] => Return Flight Information [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 153526 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-19 16:20:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-19 22:20:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 598 [name] => SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION [slug] => indonesia-spring-2017 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 598 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 595 [count] => 67 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0.1 [cat_ID] => 598 [category_count] => 67 [category_description] => [cat_name] => SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION [category_nicename] => indonesia-spring-2017 [category_parent] => 595 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/spring-2017/indonesia-spring-2017/ ) ) [category_links] => SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION )

SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

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Return Flight Information

Hilary LeBlanc,SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

Dear Spring 2017 Indonesia Semester Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for […]

Posted On

04/19/17

Author

Hilary LeBlanc

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2017-04-19 11:07:16
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    [post_content] => Upon independence, President Sukarno was very keen to keep his fledgling nation whole. The Dutch had conglomerated a random assortment of islands in their colonial endeavors, clumping together disparate groups who had few similarities tying them together. We have seen this diversity of humanity on our travels thus far, from the dash-of-Arab Acehnese, to the dark-skinned Asiatic Javanese, to the pseudo-Melanesian Floresians. This baffling array of ethnicity formed a substantial part of my desire to come to Indonesia, and it was this array that Sukarno had to placate (or subdue) upon taking power.

Sukarno set about propagating the notion of the "Indonesian", and ensuring that local autonomy was effectively non-existent to achieve his aims. Also out of this bout of nationalist vigor came the country's motto "Unity in Diversity." I have been contemplating over the course of this trip whether Indonesia has achieved this unity in diversity or whether it has settled on simply one of the two, or, indeed, neither. I thought this would be an interesting question to explore.

It is true that Sukarno was, to a large degree, successful in keeping Indonesia whole, in maintaining that unity. In fact, Indonesia is now larger, in terms of territory, than it was at independence. But unrest bubbles up from time to time. The black-skinned Papuans of the western half of New Guinea continue to resist "Javanese rule" wherever possible as they strive for their own state. Yet, their actions seem increasingly futile as West Papua's demographics have shifted decidedly against the native Papuan's interests - now non-native Papuans (primarily Javanese) comprise 50% of the region's population. This shift is by no means a fluke, it is the result of a conscious effort by the central government to dilute Papuan separatism with Indonesian nationalism through the mass exportation of Javans across the archipelago. This is not a new tactic, but one that has been utilized by countless regimes to quell the ambitions of an ethnic minority (such as putting Han Chinese into Tibet, Moroccans into Western Sahara, or Israelis into the West Bank). This method is devastatingly effective because it can't be denied that these new migrants also have a stake in the land, and, therefore, how that land is governed. It is considered an arcane concept that a person cannot have a voice in a given territory merely because he originates from outside said territory -- we accept that as wrong and so must accept that a Javanese Papuan has the same stake in Papua's future as a native Papuan. It is because of this that the notion of a West Papuan state seems unobtainable at this moment. Thus, Indonesia remains unified, but wracked with separatist tension.

It might be said that Indonesia has been more open and friendly to its diversity over recent years through the devolution of powers. Though, this is slightly misleading. After the fall of Suharto in 1997, powers were devolved in what is referred to as the "Reformasi", but the architects of this devolution were convinced that they could not devolve powers to the provinces. They instead transferred some authority to the districts and regencies as these sub-national entities were too small to viably secede from the Republic. Thus, little empowerment of ethnic and religious minorities took place, as the government (even a half decade after independence) was still consciously attempting to prevent the nation from being torn apart at the seams. The extent to which the devolution process failed to alleviate ethnic tensions can be seen in the current state of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations.

There is an ongoing struggle in the capital Jakarta regarding its gubernatorial race. The incumbent, Ahok, is being demonized by many Jakartans for insulting the Quran. Has he insulted the Holy Book of Islam? It's a dubious claim - Ahok merely questioned whether his opponent was justified in citing the Quran to sway voters to his own side. This seemingly modest question was portrayed as a blasphemous attack by the Islamic right as a way to turn the electorate away from Ahok. The scheme was conjured up, and has been successful, primarily because Ahok is both Christian and Sino-Indonesian. The Islamic hard-liners saw race and religion as an easy way to gain popular support - and it has worked thus far. The fact that this "tribal" conflict has emerged in 2017 in the country's most cosmopolitan and worldly city paints a dreary picture for ethnic relations in the country as a whole.

It would appear that the Indonesian motto so proudly cited is rather optimistic. The country has yet to, 70 years on from independence, rally all of its people under the same flag, simply because many non-Javanese feel like they don't have a hand on the steering wheel. Concurrently, Islamic ethnic-Javanese feel like there isn't enough room in the country for the opinions of the jumbled assortment of minorities, and feel that the only way to keep the country together is through the homogenization of all corners of the republic through the transplantation of Javans - thereby eliminating diversity. Both sides appear to think of the nation as a Javanese Empire. And both sides appear to imagine a trade off: unity, or diversity. And based off the current trend in Indonesia and who holds influence in the country, it seems that unity (at whatever cost) is first on the agenda, to the benefit of the Javans and the detriment of all others. To quote Egen, our exceptionally jovial Catholic instructor from Flores: "Being a minority in Indonesia sucks".

Yours,

Callum Zehner
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

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Unity in Diversity?

Callum Zehner,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

Upon independence, President Sukarno was very keen to keep his fledgling nation whole. The Dutch had conglomerated a random assortment of islands in their colonial endeavors, clumping together disparate groups who had few similarities tying them together. We have seen this diversity of humanity on our travels thus far, from the dash-of-Arab Acehnese, to the […]

Posted On

04/19/17

Author

Callum Zehner

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 153416
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    [post_date] => 2017-04-16 19:09:17
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-17 01:09:17
    [post_content] => How do we confront death in America? How do we size it up, face it, succumb to it "at home" as we say here? I alone cannot answer such a broad question, but I can speak to how it was approached here, after the night of April 29th.

My first and last encounter with my neighbor Pak Marcelino was on his death bed in Bajawa's hospital. The hospital complex was a collection of dorm-like one story buildings connected by covered passage ways lined with potted succulents reminiscent of a retreat you might find in Ojai. One exhausted doctor was running from room to room and nurses wheeled gurneys, oxygen tanks, and partitions around us sluggishly. Pak Marcelino was in room 3 in the last bed on the left. The room was off-white, the windows were cracked, and the two small ceiling fans were broken and hung with brown filaments. Bapak was hooked up to a glucose IV and a feeding tube, and was assisted by oxygen from a giant rusting tank by his left side. Apart from these three things, the room was empty. All around him, his family stood watch, holding his hands and stroking his face as his empty eyes searched for something deep in the blank wall to his right. His young son sat next to him, studying his father's face in silent tears. The collection of people had visited his bedside each day since his hospitalization a few days previously. They spent their days shuttling back and forth from the hospital to home in Langa, trying to connect with a man who seemed to be hovering somewhere between life and death.

I left with too many questions to ask and no one who could answer them. Comparing this hospital to one in the United States is impossible. There was no sanitation, no medical notes, no one in the halls besides a few leather-clad men smoking and laughing behind the front desk. Where were the nurses and the machines? Where was the AED? Was he really getting better as I had been told?

A few days later, I sat with Maya and Callum packing my things, the news came.

Came is the wrong word for what happened. The news swept. It burned and invaded, it was a storm cloud smothering the community. It was as if, all at once, the playful and ceaselessly energetic quality that was this living and breathing community was blown out. This darkness was accompanied by an inhuman wail that emanated through my wall and jumped down my throat. This sound of pure human pain came from the man's mother, and it proved ceaseless until our departure 12 hours later. I walked outside in a daze. How had this man who had supposedly been improving suddenly died? My heart clenched at each cracking howl from nenek (grandmother). The streets were deserted. The children that had been playing together just before had scattered, the various women weaving on their porches had retreated inside, and groups of teenage boys usually gathered around their motorbikes had driven away, leaving an eerily silent ghost village. Mama Imel (my Ibu a.k.a. mother) broke the silence by opening the door and pulling me into the house as my brother Santos looked at me solemnly and told me to pack quickly, we had a lot of work to do.

Behind the facades of all the silent houses was the action of a community coming together, not falling apart. I was swept into making tea and coffee for twenty visitors who were talking quietly in the kitchen or tossing rice in the backyard. Anna, whose Ibu was the sister of the deceased, joined me to help Mama Imel face the influx of visitors arriving to help prepare for the following days.  As we washed dishes, we witnessed an incredible display of selflessness and a perfect example of how Langa acts as one big family. From three to eight we did just as Mama Imel asked as the community prepared to help Pak Marcelinos family face their mourning. Then, like the news of the death spread, another silent call swept through the town and everyone around me stood up and went outside.

Stepping outside again was stepping into the opposite from a few hours previously. The air hummed with dampened energy as hundreds of bodies pressed together in rows around our neighbors home. A few minutes pass, a few more cigarettes are flicked onto the asphalt, and nenek is helped outside and into a seat on the porch. The purpose of our waiting becomes clear as two vans followed by an ambulance pull into the square and between the waiting crowd. I can hear his wife's screams from a mile away. She exits the ambulance and runs to the back of the van as the body of her husband is carried out in a white coffin and brought into the house. The people around me bow their heads and allow their presence to be felt as she stumbles inside followed by her family, the sobs muffled by the walls around them.

In Langa, the community comes together as a unit to support the family of the lost soul. They visit the body for days following, praying and singing around the women and men who fall broken over the coffin. During our visits, shrouded in a black sarong, the grief spilled over me. Never in my life had I been exposed to such human suffering before. However, the  outpouring of generosity towards the family was overwhelming.  They were not alone. They were never alone.

There is so much more I can say about that night and last day, but I will end with this. In America, we are so focused on being alone, being an individual. When someone passes, you might make food and pass it on to the family, or you might send a card. But unless you are very close to them, it's likely that you will simply send your condolences through the air waves and keep them in mind for a few days. When you are in the family, you put on a strong face. You stay inside, you cry in private, you don't show your pain in any way that may make those around you feel uncomfortable.

Death is skirted around, it's avoided and feared. People are scared to face it and don't want to see it in other's lives. You say "They need time to mourn" or "they probably don't want us coming around." In Langa, I saw the opposite. The family does not fear their pain, they allow it to cover them. They allow the monster that is their sadness consume them without fear of making their village uncomfortable. The village in return never leaves. They come and visit, they tell stories, they sing and they pray. The death was a tragic end of a life, but the community made clear that the remaining family would never be truly alone.

-

Eva Laxo

 

 

 

 
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

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Mourning

Eva Laxo,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

How do we confront death in America? How do we size it up, face it, succumb to it “at home” as we say here? I alone cannot answer such a broad question, but I can speak to how it was approached here, after the night of April 29th. My first and last encounter with my […]

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-14 10:06:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-14 16:06:23
    [post_content] => Growing up with a piano teacher for a mother, the presence of music in my life was somewhat non-negotiable. I plowed through four piano teachers in the early years, each one rolling their eyes as I slammed my head on the keyboard and claimed "it sounds better that way" after every mistake. Eventually, it was my mom herself who was patient and flexible enough to be my teacher, although practicing still felt like a chore. Every time I whined, though, she would simply say, "one day, when you're older, you'll thank me." At the time, this vague statement was met with a scoff and a stomp of the foot.

My musical endeavors eventually evolved to eight years of cello, ten years of piano, and sprinklings of choir. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it, but somehow it wasn't until my homestay in Langa, Flores that I came to fully appreciate all that music has to offer. My host family (like most others) spoke limited English, and due to my own limited Bahasa Indonesian, there was an inevitable language barrier. As soon as Bapak Titus would sit down with his guitar, though, this barrier would dissolve.

On the night of my 19th birthday, it was communicated to Titus (I suspect Maya was involved) that music would make the night special, so after cake was served, out came the guitar. For the next two hours, the cool Langa air was filled with singing, laughing, and gentle guitar strumming -- I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. By the end of the night, we were dancing to "La Bamba" with our homestay siblings and making up lyrics to the verses we didn't know. After everyone had left, I sat (and was later joined by Maya), and sang along to familiar melodies, and simply listened in a trance as Bapak Titus plucked the strings and sang traditional songs. This was the first of many nights that would end this way -- me sitting cross legged on the floor, absorbed by tunes that drifted in and out of familiarity, each more beautiful than the last.

The draw of music and singing often kept my family, and whichever friends chose to drop by, up until the early hours of the morning. Sometimes we sat in the traditional Adat room, sometimes it was simply on the concrete floor of the large, open part of the house. These moments are ones I will cherish forever, as they are the ones in which I felt completely accepted as a part of this musical family. Before the night was over, I was always lulled to sleep by a traditional lullaby, the melodic tune sweeping over me like a soft Langa breeze and causing my eye lids to droop.

I was told by a neighbor that "everyone in Langa can sing," and this was proven to be true over and over again, as we sang in unison to melodies known by all , from Hallelujah and Ave Maria to world famous pop songs. Music is a force that unites -- a school child in Langa can sing along with a student from Connecticut, and their voices intertwine into a common, beautiful tune. It puts people of all ages and nationality at same level, no one can help smiling as 18 month old Giovanni dances along to the music.

Bapak Titus was also the local choir director, and there were a few evenings in which Emily, Maya, and I found ourselves wandering slowly up the hill with a crowd of villagers to rehearsal. What we found there was a scene all too familiar to me -- a choir practicing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. This is a song that I spent hours upon hours rehearsing with my own choir in high school, and I couldn't help but smile as Titus gave the same critiques as my own director, and the group struggled with the same lines. I got the same overwhelming feeling of joy when the piece finally came together as it did for me three years ago -- the only differences being language and location.

In the end, all of these anecdotes culminate to the message that it doesn't matter what type of music it is -- it will always bring people together. It lets people laugh together who can't understand common jokes, it lets three "bule" from America rehearse with a choir of Indonesians. It may not have been scales and arpeggios that gave me the necessary bridge to connect with my new family, but a history of music gave us a common thread for which I am forever grateful. So mom, I suppose now that I'm "older," the time has come to thank you for the piano lessons.

-Anna Buchanan

 

 

 
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SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

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Why Mom was Right about Piano Lessons

Anna Buchanan,SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

Growing up with a piano teacher for a mother, the presence of music in my life was somewhat non-negotiable. I plowed through four piano teachers in the early years, each one rolling their eyes as I slammed my head on the keyboard and claimed “it sounds better that way” after every mistake. Eventually, it was […]

Posted On

04/14/17

Author

Anna Buchanan

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    [post_date] => 2017-04-14 10:03:14
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-14 16:03:14
    [post_content] => 1. Know that you will not encounter anyone your height or taller for the duration of your stay in Indonesia

2. Have a masseur prebooked for when you get back home, in preparation for the tight neck you will have due to the copious amount of times you bend down to greet people

3. When your homestay sibling says she'll introduce you to the villages tallest man, he is still miles shorter than you

4. Bring a short stool to use at tables so you are able to fit under them

5. When in a van ride make sure there is a roof rack so you may attach yourself to the roof

6. Clothing stores will provide you with crop tops and skin tight short shorts, neither of which are culturally appropriate to actually wear. Just note that all dresses will be substantially shorter on you than on the average Indonesian woman as well.

7. Meticulously groom your hair in preparation for Sunday mass, as your head will be a landmark in the sea of small, dark haired churchgoers.

8. Get accustomed to being a beacon in crowd settings as well as a scout for loose dragon members.

9. Lay diagonal on bed to attempt full body coverage

10. Be prepared to spill out into the airplane aisles, causing quite a hazardous and tense relationship for you and the flight attendants.

11. While on such aircraft, wear shin guards to protect your legs from a battering inflicted by flight attendants who kick your legs every time they pass in the aisle.

12. Transform into a hunchback to ensure your ability to "comfortably" sit in the bemo (a ten person taxi van)

13. Purchase a hard hat to wear when walking through houses, to prevent concussions from hitting your head on low doorways.

14. When on a stroll with an Indonesian, either adjust gate significantly to match that of someone with legs twice as short as yours, or rent roller blades for your friend.

15. Prepare to relive every insecurity you ever had about your body when strangers commonly ask you how much you weigh before asking your name.

16. When taking a selfie with Indonesian friends, take three steps back and squat to appear normal sized.

17. On long bus travel days, arrive early and bogart the best legroom. Pretend to be asleep when your short friends crowd past you to pile in the back.

 

 

 
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Indonesia for a 5’10″+ Traveler

Marion and Mahalia,SPRING: INDONESIA: COMMUNITY, CULTURE, & CONSERVATION

Description

1. Know that you will not encounter anyone your height or taller for the duration of your stay in Indonesia 2. Have a masseur prebooked for when you get back home, in preparation for the tight neck you will have due to the copious amount of times you bend down to greet people 3. When […]

Posted On

04/14/17

Author

Marion and Mahalia

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