Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hello Surabaya

Selamat malam, everyone! We are here in Surabaya, and we've been here a little over a week now. Hell, we're practically locals by now.

We arrived Saturday the first, after a two day stop in Singapore. We were met at the airport (I'd always wanted to be one of the people who has somebody waiting at the airport with a sign with his name on it - how cool!) and taken to our new home, where we met our new roommate, Alexis. She's from Florida, so it's nice to be with another Southerner. She's great though. We get along great. And after meeting lots of the other teachers we could've been stuck with, we couldn't be happier. She took us along that evening to a party to welcome us and some other newcomers. It was really awesome and made us feel very welcome. However, I could barely keep my eyes open. My body was in complete shock that I was awake. Jet lag ain't no joke, friends.

On Monday we went into school and started our week of orientation. And here I must make and aside...It is so, so great to have a week of orientation. Know how much we got from our crappy school in Mexico? Zero. We were thrown in there the next morning with no clue what to do...OK, I'm back now. We spent the week going to some of the different schools, observing classes, sitting through training sessions, meeting and talking with other teachers, and finally teaching. It's really overwhelming how much EF is trying to help us adjust and make a smooth transition to our new life.

This week starts our first week of teaching. I've still got a super easy schedule this week, with only a couple classes, plus some tutoring sessions. Sarah, on the other hand, has it a little tougher. She's got two every day. But still that's light compared to what we'll both have next week. We're teaching primarily kids and teenagers, which is completely new to me. It's kind of terrifying to get up there in front of a bunch of kids when you don't really know what you're doing. But I'm getting the hang out of it. And, as long as they're not acting up too much, it's pretty fun. I can just have them draw something for twenty minutes while I just walk around and laugh at their drawings. And then...hangman for fifteen minutes! And maybe we'll end the class with charades.

As for Surabaya itself, there's really not much to report yet. We knew coming in that it would be a big, busy, unattractive city. And it pretty much lived up to that. It's a big sprawling city, with crazy traffic. And noone told me they drive on the wrong side of the road and the driver sits on the wrong side of the car! That is really weird. I'll be lucky if I don't get run over trying to cross the street in the first month. Oh, and lanes? They're merely a suggestion. Seriously, it's crazy here. Cars move side to side while motorbikes fly in between all the cars, everyone jockeying for position, and the result is some big, fluid mass that twists and flows like a river.

But it's our big sprawling city with infrastructure problems now. And we like it.

Soon, we'll start some of the real adventures. This weekend we may join Alexis and some others to head out to Yogyakarta. It's one the places we've been reading about for months, with anticipation. There's tons of music and arts there, which I have am excited about. I can't wait to see some gamelan music in person finally! We'll have plenty of pictures to post. I do also have some pictures from Singapore that I will try to post this week. None yet from Surabaya, but I was thinking maybe a pictorial tour of our new home perhaps. Stay tuned!


  1. Traffic sounds about as crazy as India where right of way (or is that Left of way) is determined by size -- the bigger vehicle just goes and everyone else gets out of the way. Never understood why they wasted time or paint on lane lines.

    It's hard to judge distance on maps but we're guessing the 7.2 and two 6.something earthquakes in Indonesia this past weekend weren't significant events where you are. My mom & dad were worried about you two.

    Have fun!

  2. the gamela sounds way cool, I just looked up examples on you tube. pictures, please, yes! :)

  3. Hey, your blog just deleted my comment so here goes again.
    That is just how I felt about it too, the city, the school, the weird asshole at the singapore Mcdonalds. Did you make it to Jogja? if so did you buy any batik?
    I was hanging out with Laurah Norton last night and your name came up a couple of times.
    Send my love to anyone who knows me (love deserving or otherwise) and I will see you guys in a couple of weeks.
    And post some pictures if you have any.