I’ve been in Indonesia for one year now, and I have become pretty good at doing things the “Indonesian way.” Indonesian culture can be quite different from American culture so, for the people who don’t have a year to figure out how to blend in, here are a few tips on how to act like an Indonesian.
Cellphones are ubiquitous in Indonesia. If it seems as though everyone has one, or two, that’s probably because they do. As one of the strongest symbols representing the modern age, cellphones provide a lot of common ground for people from all walks of life to stand on. Still, with all the similarities this collective “cellphone culture” propagates between Americans and Indonesians, adjustments to that culture in Indonesia have taken time.
Hard to believe I’ve written fifty posts for Here to Make Friends. But it also isn’t hard to believe at all, because I’ve spent countless hours brainstorming, drafting, writing, editing, revising, and formatting all so this weblog can be at least halfway decent.
The phrase “typical Tuesday,” as immortalized by Taylor Swift’s hit 2009 song You Belong with Me, is somewhat of a fallacy as no individual day can really be an accurate representation of all like-named days. But in as much as any day can be said to be “typical,” I suppose this Tuesday was as good a use of that word as any other day.
One of the more common projects Peace Corps Indonesia volunteers put together is an English Camp. Camps can differ significantly but they usually last for one or two days and include a series of short, focused English lessons. The weekend of January 21st I helped with an English camp organized by ID9 Lisa in neighboring district Majalengka.
A little less than a month ago my parents came to Indonesia to visit me. Much of my father’s career has been spent abroad, often in developing countries, so they are not unfamiliar with the conditions most of the world lives in but I was still hesitant to have them come to Indonesia.
In late October I was asked to serve as a judge for a storytelling competition at a school in my district. Like most things Peace Corps or Indonesia I tried to limit my expectations and assumptions but was still surprised by many aspects of the event.