Photo of the Week
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    [post_date] => 2013-08-10 01:43:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-10 07:43:12
    [post_content] => The group has arrived Safely in LA! All students who were planning on leaving tonight have made it to their gates. The others are at the Hacienda hotel with Annelies until their flights tomorrow.

 

Welcome Home Indo!
    [post_title] => The group has arrived safely in LA...
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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The group has arrived safely in LA…

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

The group has arrived Safely in LA! All students who were planning on leaving tonight have made it to their gates. The others are at the Hacienda hotel with Annelies until their flights tomorrow.   Welcome Home Indo!

Posted On

08/10/13

Author

Sarah Byrden

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-08 17:50:28
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    [post_content] => Hello family and friends- I just received word that the group is on their way to the airport in Jogja, headed to Jakarta....

They will be boarding their flight in Jakarta in about 7 hours and beginning their journey home...

 
    [post_title] => The group is beginning their journey home...
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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The group is beginning their journey home…

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

Hello family and friends- I just received word that the group is on their way to the airport in Jogja, headed to Jakarta…. They will be boarding their flight in Jakarta in about 7 hours and beginning their journey home…  

Posted On

08/8/13

Author

Sarah Byrden

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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-08-06 16:32:38
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-06 22:32:38
    [post_content] => To all my friends and family (and whoever else happens to be reading this)

 

I had a different experience from the rest of my group. Due to visa troubles and lack of flights, I ended up having to go to Jogjyakarta after one night in Sampela and did a homestay with Rita's (the instructer's) family. I know I missed out on eating raw sea cucumbers, running around directly over the ocean, and going in a boat a minimum of once a day, but I still was able to experience the culture of Indonesia (which is a bad term because there are MANY cultures of Indonesia.)

Jogjyakarta (or Jogjya) is an urban jungle. So many people have moved to one of Indonesia's biggest cultural and economic centers for jobs that the city has sprawled out in every direction. Just going out on the street in the morning is an adventure, with the swarms of moterbikes everywhere, and becak drivers trying to get your attention to see if you want a ride. The people (who are everywhere, you cannot find a street without a person traveling along it) are generally friendly, but not as forward about it as the people in smaller population centers. However, whenever I talked to anyone, for directions, buying goods, or just to make conversation, everyone was willing to talk and was very curious about everything in my life. Where I was going, why I was in Indonesia, what I liked about Indonesia, when I was going back home, etc.

This friendliness only was multiplied inside the house. My homestay family (and all of their friends and relatives who visit most days of the week) are genial. Any time I try to do anything myself, there is always someone who is willing to do it for me, from picking up my laundry to making tea. So much food was offered to me, I am completely convinced that everyone just wants me to be a round meatball.

Family life was one thing, and that was expected, but the immensity of Jogjya and the amount of culture (historical and modern) that was present on the streets was incredible. Just the other day I was walking down the road with Ganda (my psuedo-guide/friend/parent) and we happened upon a synchranistic buddhist/confucian temple. Directly off of one of the main streets of Jogjya, once inside the sounds of the city fell away and I was in a completely different atmosphere, even though I knew conciously that I was in the middle of a city. Another amazing experience was walking down the Malioboro street and just watching everyone and everything that went by. I saw huge batik stores (I bought some great shirts!) vendors selling trinkets, street performers dancing for small crowds, electronic stores, and many, many carts and small restaurants selling different kinds of food from all over Indonesia. Even though I have been in Indonesia for almost six weeks now, I will still see something new every day that will surprise me.

Going back home will be a shock in terms of everything I can and have to do (preparing for school, many electronic distractions, family) but it will also be a shock because of the lack of things I can do. Just the difference in lifestyle from the various places in Indonesia (Bajau people, Indonesian cities, jungle/mountain villages) is so distinct from anything back home.

Now I have to go enjoy my last full day with my homestay family before the rest of the group arrives and swaps tales of excitement and terror.
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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Wrapping it all up

Gabriel Bird,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

To all my friends and family (and whoever else happens to be reading this)   I had a different experience from the rest of my group. Due to visa troubles and lack of flights, I ended up having to go to Jogjyakarta after one night in Sampela and did a homestay with Rita’s (the instructer’s) […]

Posted On

08/6/13

Author

Gabriel Bird

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-06 16:30:21
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-06 22:30:21
    [post_content] => I just received an email from the group from sea! (miraculous). They are nearing hour 40 of their Pelni journey and nearing the coast of Java. Once there, they will be hopping in mini busses and making the drive back to where they began in Jogjakarta. You can expect to hear from us once again before the group boards their flights home....
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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Almost to Java

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

I just received an email from the group from sea! (miraculous). They are nearing hour 40 of their Pelni journey and nearing the coast of Java. Once there, they will be hopping in mini busses and making the drive back to where they began in Jogjakarta. You can expect to hear from us once again […]

Posted On

08/6/13

Author

Sarah Byrden

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-08-06 13:30:07
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-06 19:30:07
    [post_content] => In my rush to complete a yak yak, I forgot some important things.

Though I couldn't really hang out with my family that much because my homestay dad was in prison I still had tons of fun. Sampela is completely on the water and the ocean is their trash can, bathroom, and cooking water but don't worry...we had special cooks that only used sanitary water. We participated in many shaman rituals to spirits including placenta and crocodile spirits. After much debate over what service project we would complete, we ended up building 2 soccer nets for the kids out of some old wood, fishing nets, nails, 2 saws, and 1 hammer.It was awesome seeing the kids immediately take the nets and begin playing on them.

We took multiple trips to Hoga for some snorkeling and some time with the kids of Sampela just playing soccer, volcanically, and frisbee, as well as building sandcastles. I unfortunately lost my lifeproof camera along with the last 4 days of pictures in the ocean, but I know that even without those pictures I will never forget my experiences there in Sampela.

I will use this next travel week to bond even more with this amazing group of 11 other kids and reflect on the most incredible summer of my life.
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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Some stuff I forgot to mention

Sophie Higdon,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

In my rush to complete a yak yak, I forgot some important things. Though I couldn’t really hang out with my family that much because my homestay dad was in prison I still had tons of fun. Sampela is completely on the water and the ocean is their trash can, bathroom, and cooking water but […]

Posted On

08/6/13

Author

Sophie Higdon

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-08-05 16:48:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-05 22:48:40
    [post_content] => Dear Indonesia Students & Families,

This weekend marks the end of our Indonesia program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you.

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays.

We wish all students a great trip home. Please leave us a voice message on extension 30 if you are not able to reach us during office hours. We will be checking our messages throughout the evening.

Sincerely,

BoulderAdmin

To check on the status of the group’s international flight, please refer to:

http://www.china-airlines.com/en/schedule/s_check.htm

The students are traveling home on the following China Airlines Flight:

Returning Flight:

Returning Flight:

August 9th, 2013

China Airlines #762

Depart: Jakarta (CGK) 2:00pm

Arrive: Taipei (TPE) 8:25pm

August 9th, 2013

China Airlines #008

Depart: Taipei (TPE) 11:50pm

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 9:25pm

 
    [post_title] => Return Flight Information
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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Return Flight Information

Dragons Admin,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

Dear Indonesia Students & Families, This weekend marks the end of our Indonesia program and students will soon return home to share tales with each of you. We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day and we will be in contact if there are any suspected delays. We […]

Posted On

08/5/13

Author

Dragons Admin

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 90011
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-08-05 16:48:07
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-05 22:48:07
    [post_content] => "Di America, punya ini?" my sister asked, pointing to an object on the floor. The questions came like rapid fire, one after another. It was early afternoon, and I was sitting on the bamboo floor of our humble home with my family; momentarily that consisted of my nine and twelve year-old sisters, Mama, and several others of whom I'm still not entirely sure how I am related. That's traditional Sampela style for ya: children and homes are more or less communal, as became my flip flops the first day I arrived in the small village of maybe 400 Bajau people living on the sea. (Literally. The community is ON the ocean--there's diddley squat for land. The houses are built on dried coral and stilts. I know right?)

Nearing 45 minutes of speaking in Indonesian, our conversation had turned into a curious inquisition of American life. First it was snow, then baseball. Now they wanted to know about more serious topics, like money.

So far, I was as intrigued by their reactions as they were by my words. When I handed my sister a mechanical pencil to write something down, her eyes widened with interest, then confusion. Her face silently spoke the next question: what? In a manner I hope didn't give away my surprise, I took the pencil, clicked it a few times, then handed it back. This time she did it, giggled, then pushed the lead back in. Click, push back in. Click, push back in. Click click click click click cliiiiiiiiiiick, push back in. Everyone erupted in laughter. She was fascinated and I was equally fascinated by her fascination. After all, it was a mechanical pencil! Talk about capturing the epitome of living simply.

Now my family was pointing to a rupiah, the Indonesian currency, and asking what money in America was called. A thought occurred to me. I pushed my initial doubt away as I went to retrieve a one dollar bill from my bag. I hesitated at first to show them because, like my every action here, it would convey a message about my homeland, intentional or unintentional, that held equal opportunity to be misinterpreted and stereotyped as it did to be accepted and true. Really, it all comes back to the concept of privilege: how is it that I can pull "bare-essentials" out of an expensive travel backpack in the middle of their one-room home on stilts that, despite its underlying warmth and welcome, displays a visually "less-than" appeal? How is it that a mechanical pencil back home is considered a basic, while here in the Bajau village of Sampela, Indonesia it is apparently unheard of?

Nonetheless, it felt like a safe space and I had nurtured a deep enough connection with my family that it felt only right to share the truth with them about my life and my possessions, even if that was painful, embarrassing, maybe even gulit-ifying at times. I showed them the dollar. They went berserk. Not surprisingly, it took my aunt?/cousin?/friend? all of ten seconds to say that she didn't like the Indonesian rupiah; she liked the green face of George Washington staring up at her.

This was the same reaction I received on a daily basis in regards to my skin. When the women of the village saw me, they would grab my arm and put it next to theirs, pointing to my pale white skin and saying, "good," then pointing to their own, darker skin, and moaning, "not good." If I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase, "I want to be white" leave their lips...

What is it about our presence that causes the people of Sampela to so hastily defy their own cultural heritage in a vain effort to be western-like? The traditions of the Bajau people are so rich, so vibrant; they are the traveler's sought treasure to experience. Why don't the people take more pride in expressing them?

In retrospect, I realize that I offered my family that day the ultimate introduction to western life: the American dollar. In his essay, "Why We Travel", which our group read at the beginnings of our Dragons course,(BRILLIANT piece of work by the way), Pico Iyer writes about the struggle of sharing American liberties with the rest of the world. Do we agree with their perhaps unrealistic ideas of the American Dream so as not to crush a potential hope of theirs that such land really exists? Or do we honestly admit the same struggles that face all of humanity devour the so-called "Dream Land" as well?

It's true that those pretentious thoughts prevail here, as evident on every street corner selling merchandise branded with American slogans and British flags. P!nk and Bruno Mars blast from the occasional car that passes by, and everywhere locals shout "Mister (Meest-air) Mister!" in hopes for just one glance their way. In fact, I've seen with my own eyes the way westernization has plagued Indonesia to the extent that foreigners travel halfway across the world here to only be disappointed when they discover a recycled version of their own culture. Admittedly, I have felt this way when driving through rice paddies in a German automobile blasting Katy Perry. It's simply not right.

Naldo, our guide and endearing friend that our group came to admire and cherish during our first home-stay in Masihulan, put it this way: we are the ambassadors of American life to people here who will most likely never step foot outside their own village. Never more have I felt the truth in this than when showing my family in Sampela an American dollar.

Our time together that day deepened the immense gratitude I feel for well, everything. It sounds so cliche to say that we take so many basic privileges for granted in the United States. It's one thing to be grateful by principal, however, and quite another to understand the meaning of that gratitude after witnessing--or moreover, experiencing--life without those privileges. Cliche or not, it wasn't until I witnessed the significance of one mechanical pencil--an international symbol of education--that I could fully appreciate my own schooling.
The conversation with my family also reminded me of the responsibility I have as a traveler to represent my homeland with integrity, while maintaining the sense of global citizenship that Dragon's so loves to emphasize. It truly IS a privilege to be here in Indonesia, to spend that time with my family, and to grow both internally and collectively as we share our culture, one conversation at a time.
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

View post

Gratitude

Madi Lommen,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

“Di America, punya ini?” my sister asked, pointing to an object on the floor. The questions came like rapid fire, one after another. It was early afternoon, and I was sitting on the bamboo floor of our humble home with my family; momentarily that consisted of my nine and twelve year-old sisters, Mama, and several […]

Posted On

08/5/13

Author

Madi Lommen

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-08-04 15:28:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-04 21:28:46
    [post_content] =>  

We are back in Bau Bau after a mind-blowing experience living in homestays with the Bajau sea-gypsy community of Sampela and spending time snorkeling around the tropical island of Hoga in southern Sulawesi.  This morning, during our debriefing about our time spent in Sampela, in a circle of gratitude, it was very clear that each of our students took so much away from spending time in that extra-ordinary  sea village that was nothing alike anything we had ever seen before, it kind of was truly a different universe all together.  A very lively universe, with houses built on stilts in the middle of the ocean, wooden walkways with boats going underneath them, lots of welcoming, smiling people with their faces covered in white and yellow rice-paste to protect them naturally from the sun, lots of noise and music during the day and night, lots of fish and sea-cucumbers and most of all lots and lots of happy children screaming our names from early in the morning and who seemed to be the happiest when being soaked wet.  We spent time fishing and collecting seafood from the ocean floor with our local hostfamilies, taking trips to the nearby Kalidupa market,  snorkeling amongst colorful fish and corals and there were also moments of deep sharing, star gazing, and getting more insights in the Bajau culture through visits to the local health care centre, breaking the fast with the local youth, and through several rituals with the local shaman for the ocean spirits Kka (placenta spirit), Tuli (Octupus spirit), the Crocodile spirit and the protecting  Ocean Grandfather spirit, Mbomadalao.

When we came back to Bau Bau last night, we had a nice celebration dinner, everybody looked tired but also very happy and very grateful that we could sleep in a real bed again.

Tonight we are hopping on our cruise ship that will take us back from Sulawesi to the island of Java. From here, on our journey back to Jogjakarta, we will keep pushing our students to reflect on their world, themselves, their values, the people they want to be and help them to prepare themselves for their journeys back home after an intense learning experience.

Once again, I want to mention to you as parents, family members, Dragons, (because I can't say it enough) that I feel very humbled and honored to have been given this opportunity and the trust by you to be able to be here in this incredible place, able to share this journey with this amazing group of students and co-instructors here in Indonesia. I am fully aware of how special each of them is to you as family members, they all have made it to a very special place in our hearts as well.  Soon they will be back with you to share everything with you and to continue their journeys of life. Until then I will keep enjoying their presence here with us.

You may all expect another Yak Yak of ours once we arrive to Jogjakarta before we fly home.

Peace,

Annelies
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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Hopping on our cruise ship and preparing for the journey home

Annelies Hammerlink,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

  We are back in Bau Bau after a mind-blowing experience living in homestays with the Bajau sea-gypsy community of Sampela and spending time snorkeling around the tropical island of Hoga in southern Sulawesi.  This morning, during our debriefing about our time spent in Sampela, in a circle of gratitude, it was very clear that each […]

Posted On

08/4/13

Author

Annelies Hammerlink

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    [post_date] => 2013-08-04 07:22:56
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    [post_content] => I am currently typing on the keyboard in an Indonesian KFC, which immediately makes me think of home again and how things will be different once I go back. These past 6 weeks have been a truly unique and intense experience, and thinking about my thoughts and worries before the trip compared to where I am now is such a weird comparison to make.

Before coming on this trip I was immediately worried about the language barrier and how it would be to live with a whole new family for a week. Now that I have experienced and lived through my worries, they are simply a thing of the past, a different version of myself that had never gone that far outside of my comfort zone before.

This trip is quickly becoming a part of the past, which is weird because it had been my present for 6 weeks. I was told that a lot of dragons students are always concerned about their limited amount of time and whether or not they will get to experience all the cool, difference things that they want to. I would agree, but I would also say that that is simply part of the fun of it. It forces you to get out there and to push yourself to new extremes and to create new memories.
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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Then and Now

Jane Ellen Ehrbar`,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

I am currently typing on the keyboard in an Indonesian KFC, which immediately makes me think of home again and how things will be different once I go back. These past 6 weeks have been a truly unique and intense experience, and thinking about my thoughts and worries before the trip compared to where I […]

Posted On

08/4/13

Author

Jane Ellen Ehrbar`

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 89929
    [post_author] => 19
    [post_date] => 2013-08-04 07:22:11
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-08-04 13:22:11
    [post_content] => Did that really just happen? I asked myself that question probably a couple times a day during the Sampaela homestay. We arrived to Sampaela by boat, and greeted our families a week ago.  My family was made of a mom, dad and their 3 kids. To be totally honest, my mom was a little nutty in the head...but my dad was super cool. Their house was over the water, the floor was made out of bamboo planks. Since the house was right over the water I bet you can assume that EVERYTHING goes into the water. Trash, poop, pee, excess food...everything. The house obviously had no toilet or shower. When I asked for the toilet, my dad pointed to the hole in the middle of the kitchen. That's right, I went to the bathroom in the middle of the kitchen. In front of my family, into the ocean. I also took a shower in the kitchen, I poured cups of ocean water over my head while I stood totally bare over bamboo planks. And yes, when I say "bare", I mean it. Not to mention that my family was intensely staring at me. But hey, that is how they do it there...so that's how I did it too! I experienced some pretty out there things with my mother, she screams a lot and also just stares. Almost every time I would wake up in the morning I would see her sitting in the doorway waiting for me to wake up. Truthfully she did many things like that, that were beyond creepy. At first I dreaded going home to my homestay family. But when you looked into her eyes, you realized that she is just a simple village woman who let a white girl stay in her house. When she screams, its not intentional. She knows no other way. Every time I just took a second to look at her with compassion, I also felt affection.
On the first night that I was there, I sat with my sisters in silence. They were so cute and innocent. They played with my hair as well as put bracelets on my wrists. Just the simplicity of the Sampaela village lifestyle, is admirable. These people, go to school usually up to second grade and that's all. The normal day for them is to fish, "jalan jalan" and sit. To "jalan jalan", is to just go. Literally just leave. Kids here just go walking around the docks that connect the houses together for fun. While at home I would consider that boring, here I really don't think it is. When the children hold your hands and simply just walk with you, you get a sense of love that can't ever be recreated. One of the days I was staying in Sampaela, I went gathering out at sea with my sisters. We went to gather sea urchins and sea cucumbers. They held my hand the whole time, making sure I knew what was up. When we went back home, we gutted the sea cucumbers and ate them raw, there on the spot. So yeah, I caught my own food and ate it 5 minutes later.
In that homestay I survived; fearless rats, cockroaches, screaming village women, mean cats, creaky wood planks connecting the village together(If you know me on a personal level you probably just have a feeling that I stepped on a weak wood plank and fell through. I did).
I realize now how thankful I am to have the things I do. And also, I am beyond thankful for my real family. All of the things they have provided and taught me. Not only material things, like running water. But really just the being I am now, I wouldn't have done this without my family who supports me no matter what. They are the people who taught me to be open minded and accepting of...everything. Now I have other people to support me throughout my life, the people I met on this trip. I wouldn't trade this experience for ANYTHING. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
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Indonesia Summer 6-week

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did that really just happen?

Jordan Friend ,Indonesia Summer 6-week

Description

Did that really just happen? I asked myself that question probably a couple times a day during the Sampaela homestay. We arrived to Sampaela by boat, and greeted our families a week ago.  My family was made of a mom, dad and their 3 kids. To be totally honest, my mom was a little nutty […]

Posted On

08/4/13

Author

Jordan Friend

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