Earlier this month I had a week off from school as students took their examinations. With a spare week and no other plans I decided to visit some nearby PCVs, enabling me to get out of my desa and see more of West Java.
As the second year of my service begins I have made a goal to visit as many other volunteers’ sites as I can during my free time. So far some of my best memories (but also quite a few bad ones, too) have been while traveling around Java so I’m trying to see as much of it as I can this last year.
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.
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.
As I write this it is Saturday just after 11 PM somewhere near the border of East Java and Central Java. I am on a train headed to Bandung, West Java with about twenty other Peace Corps trainees. We landed in Surabaya one month ago and we will be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers in one month. It is amazing to think how much I have learned this past month and daunting to think of how much more is left to do. PST has been exhausting while simultaneously exhilarating. This past week in particular has been challenging because it was our first week of teaching practicum. I have woken up at 4:30 or earlier each morning this week and often don’t make it to bed until 9:00 in the evening. Despite how grueling this week seemed there was a special motivation to trudge onward. Site announcement and site visit.