A little suggested reading as well as some common questions and their answers. If there’s something you’d like to ask or let me know, please feel free to use the contact form at the bottom of this page.
First time here? I’d suggest reading about the time I almost cried when my first host mother basically asked me “what’s up?” Or that time all I wanted to do was get a haircut and ended up taking a selfie with an angkot driver named Freddy Mercury. Or maybe you should check out the post where I talk a lot about diarrhea. Speaking of diarrhea, maybe you’re curious as to how the toilets work in Indonesia (spoiler: they’re nothing like American toilets).
Now the questions.
Q: Why did you join the Peace Corps?
A: I joined to make friends! But also for lots of other reasons which are difficult to explain. I wrote about it a little here. But I didn’t join to help.
Q: How long is Peace Corps service? When will your service end?
A: The traditional Peace Corps service is 27 months long. That includes three months of pre-service training, or PST, followed by 24 months of service. I arrived in Indonesia during March 2016 so my close of service (COS) will be in June 2018.
Q: What do Indonesians eat?
A: Rice. They also eat other things. But mostly they eat white rice.
Q: What is Indonesian culture like?
A: Indonesia is an extremely diverse place. It may seem homogeneous from the outside but with a little closer inspection there are clear distinctions among the more than three hundred ethnic groups found across the archipelago. It’s a “mixed culture,” of sorts.
Q: What language do people in Indonesia speak?
A: Most everyone will speak at least two languages. First, their regional ethnic language. Second, not surprisingly, Indonesian or “bahasa Indonesia.” Indonesian is a standardized form of Malay. It’s fairly easy to pick up the basics of communication but it’s a language which is completely different from English. There are no tenses as there are in English and affixes are used to modify the context of words. If you want to know more you should read Bahasa Indonesia.
Q: How’s the weather in Indonesia?
A: The archipelago of Indonesia straddles the equator so temperatures (as well as the number of daylight hours) are fairly consistent throughout the year. There are only two seasons, a rainy season and a dry season. The areas close to sea level are pretty much always consistently hot and humid. The areas up in the mountains are can be much cooler though. Typically the average temperature of an area decreases by one degree Celsius for every 90 meters it is above sea-level. My village is 400 meters above sea-level so it’s pretty nice, but Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java, is 768 meters and it’s much cooler–though the air suffers from a little more pollution than in a village.
Q: What’s transportation in Indonesia like?
A: There’s a lot of traffic. Java is the most populated island on this planet Earth and it’s not even all that big of an island. I wrote about my primary mode of transportation, and a few others, in a post called “on angkots.” Peace Corps volunteers aren’t allowed to ride motorcycles, which is how over 80% of Indonesians get around, but I have yet to have any major transportation difficulties because of this restriction.
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