This past week has been busy; not only did I cram the weekend full of physical activity, but we also started practicum at local schools!
Futsol, Coconuts, and Fun Bike
I started Saturday off with my normal early morning run, but decided to tack on a few extra miles as I got caught up exploring some of the villages further down the hill; probably not the wisest choice as the weekend would end up leaving me sore for my first day of teaching. After my run and a couple hours of language class, a few of the other trainees and I met up with some of the trainees from another village along with our language and cultural facilitators for a game of futsol. Futsol is basically indoor soccer with a smaller, heavier ball on a basketball sized field.
Although I’m usually not one for team sports and surely lacking as far as my futsol skills are concerned, it was great to work up a sweat and hang out. Plus the futsol place had showers, that’s right, those things where you turn a little knob and water rains down on you like magic. After futsol, we stopped by the pasar besar (big market) and picked up a few sports drinks on the side of the road. Coconuts! Coconut water is a great way to keep yourself hydrated. When you finish sipping it down, crack it open and enjoy eating the rest.
The next morning we made our way down to the University early in the morning for what our cultural facilitator referred to as “fun bike”. Not really knowing what to expect, I guess I had a leisurely bicycle ride around the campus in mind. Wrong! As we arrived, we took in the sight of thousands of cyclists getting ready for the race. And although it was definitely a lot of fun, it sure wasn’t leisurely. The bike course took us down busy main roads with cars and motor bikes whizzing by, just inches away; through small villages with crowded streets, bicyclists pushing one way and regular traffic pushing the other; and up, up, and up some more until finally in the last quarter of the race we were allowed a long steep downhill, picking up enough speed to pass any car that might be sharing the road in your direction. After the ride, most of the male Indonesian cyclists could be found still in their uniforms, dancing around a large stage as a live band played.
And Practicum Begins
Monday morning, I woke up sore, blistered, but excited to start my first day of practicum at an SMP, one of the larger middle/highschools in Batu. The six of us from Bulukerto B arrived at the school around 6:30 and were brought to a small room where we met the English teaching staff along with the principal. Afterwards, we each took a walk around the school, saying hello to students and introducing ourselves to the rest of the faculty. Split into pairs and assigned to an Indonesian counterpart we started our class around 9:45. As my partner and I were both from California, we briefly introduced ourselves talking about the diversity of California.
Our next day of practicum was on Wednesday, but instead of classes, we had the chance to visit a variety of competitions celebrating Kartini. The two most prominent were a fashion show and a flower contest. The fashion show was the main event with a runway set up in the front courtyard, where students dressed in traditional attire, showing off to their giggling peers. Inside, students worked in pairs or groups to assemble some very beautiful flower arrangements. By the end of the day, we were all carrying around bouquets given to us by the students. Other competitions included music, painting, and storytelling; although I didn’t have a chance to see them all.