By Lauren Russell (Semester 29/Aug 2009)
University of Sydney

The wet season in Indonesia has begun in force! At the moment the rain is falling so hard on my noisy roof that it is impossible to sleep. The rain seems to fall with such force here. Like the raindrops are bigger or something. I have quickly been introduced to the difficulties involved with wet season living. Golden rule: do not leave the house without a raincoat! I’m yet to be properly kehujanan (caught in the rain) but its only a matter of time…

Since I last wrote I have had mid semester exams/take homes. Writing exams in Indonesian, competing against Indonesians is very tricky. I’ve only got back one of my marks so far – just passed grammar! The most interesting exam I had was for an anthropology subject called ‘Folklore’. We had to interview an older Javanese person about traditional sayings and riddles. Here’s an example from my interview: When it’s small, it’s a friend. When it’s big, it’s an enemy. (I’ll give you the answer if you make it to the end!)

Each Wednesday I’ve been spending time with what I like to call ‘my Indonesian family’. This family are moving to Perth in February for the father to continue studying petroleum engineering at university. He has reasonable English, but his wife and 2 little girls are still very limited. So I spend time with them teaching them English and about Australian culture, and vice versa for me. They are really kind people and the kids are super cute. They have been taking me on trips to tourist places each week. Last week we went Kaliurang, the town at the base of the volcano overlooking the city I live in. The view of the volcano was amazing! Also we ate a local delicacy of sweet tempe (soy-bean cake) and rice.

I’ve also been getting into some sport. Been doing karate, usually twice a week. A few days ago I bought my uniform (white belt of course!), so I’m pretty much a pro now. Also I’ve been enjoying playing indoor soccer. Girls in Indonesia do not play soccer, so my house mates think its very strange. There are other aussie girls who play, so I’m thankfully not the only girl!

I’ve had a whole variety of church experiences. Just recently I started hanging out with a university christian group called navigators. We went on an overnight retreat where we sang and did bible studies (all in indonesian – which certainly stretched my brain!). A new weekly group is starting up tomoro where we’re going to be studying 1 Corinthians together. Also I have started helping with preschool Sunday school at the international service I’ve been attending on Sunday nights. It’s good to be able to help out with something I love doing anyway.

I can’t believe how many things have happened since I arrived. It seems strange that 3 months ago I didn’t know how to cross the road here!

The answer to the riddle is……..FIRE.