If you come to Indonesia as a Peace Corps volunteer you will not be allowed to drive a car and you can’t use a scooter or motorbike as either a driver or passenger for the entirety of your service. That’s a pretty big limitation considering how over eighty percent of Indonesians cite motorbike as their main mode of transportation.
There are many intersections between Islam and traditional Javanese culture in Indonesia. Tahlilan and yasinan are great examples of one of those intersections. During PST I was fortunate enough to attend nearly a dozen such cultural events with my bapak. My original goal, as my goals so often are, was too ambitious. I had hoped to explain exactly what tahlilan and yasinan are, how they’re different, where they fit into indigenous Indonesian traditions and modernist orthodox Islam. However; even after having queried my community liaisons (CLs), my host family, and many other volunteers about this subject I still find my knowledge about these subjects lacking and my understanding short of what it should be.
I was messaging a stateside friend recently and at one point during the conversation my friend described Peace Corps service as “glamorous.” Of course I immediately listed out many of the unglamorous aspects of being a Peace Corps volunteer in Indonesia—wouldn’t want anyone thinking we have it too easy over here. But there actually are many “glamorous,” or “posh,” things about being a PCV.