Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy Christmas everybody!

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What a wonderful day and how lucky I was to be able to spend it at home with my parents and family. Delicious food cooked by always amazing Mum and Dad made us giggle so much when he put on a winter hat he had unwrapped and looked suspiciously like a pixie. LOL. Sitting now enjoying chocolate treats … great day. Watched the Ab Fab special on BBC1. I thought it was good although mum wasn’t so keen. Got some wonderful gifts including a fab black and pink watch and some really nice makeup πŸ˜€

Last year was not such an occasion. I was in the Philippines travelling for 2 weeks with my friend, Angela at Christmas time before I moved to Indonesia to take up my new post. Angela is a great friend who I met in China a few years ago when we were both teaching ESL at the same school. That last holiday was actually pretty great ! Boracay was super gorgeous, a really nice place to spend a few days. We climbed a mountain overlooking Lake Taal and also spent a few days in Puerto Galera. We actually did our first scuba dive there! It was pretty exciting! The beach in Boracay was so shallow so you could wade out in the blue beautiful sea for ages and still be able to touch the bottom. It was a great great beach holiday. On Christmas Day, we were in Manila at a nice B&B owned by a French couple. I remember we ate at Jollibee on Christmas Day itself, quite a different feast from today’s delicious roast turkey dinner πŸ˜€ Jollibee is The Filipino alternative to Burger King or Maccy D’s. It was okay I guess. I remember the only gift I got last year on Christmas day was a nail clipper in a pot luck present giving organised by the owners of the B&B. I remember I felt a little shortchanged since I’d put in a whole bottle of Gin!

Anyway, this Christmas has been wonderful, sharing this wonderful day with my family. Watched the Queen’s speech with Grandma. Oh she was so cute watching it. I liked it too actually. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful family who love me so much. I truly love them and miss them each when I’m away teaching. I feel so lucky that they are understanding of my ambitions to pursue my teaching career overseas and I love coming back to see them because I do truly miss their company and love when I’m away for a long time. One of goals this year coming is to keep more up to date with people, especially emailing friends and family. I’m also hoping that continuing this blog will enable them to feel more connected with me πŸ˜€

My new camera has arrived … Excitement!

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Wow, I only ordered this camera yesterday and it’s already arrived! Thank you Amazon! Amazing service. I love this camera already. I’m no expert but the photos I’ve taken already are so sharp. I’ve spent lots of time fiddling about with it, checking out functions in order to try to work out all the settings, googling stuff. I’m definitely excited about learning more about photography and I hope this camera helps me do that. I’d gotten so fed up of my old camera that I’d had for about 3 years, I had actually stopped taking pictures. Now I’m going to catch up on 12 months of Indonesia, totally unphotographed.

Here’s a photo of the amazing piece of machinery I just bought! It looks so sleek!

My new camera!

Gili Trawangan, where I’m heading for my holidays! I’ll update with photos from my exciting new camera when I get back πŸ˜€

Gili Trawangan … Images from Web

The white sandy beach of Gili Trawangan, Images from Web.

Actually I think I’ve seen something about a photography walk in Jakarta. Maybe I’ll scout something out when I’m back. I can’t wait to get out and about more in Indonesia. I’ve got a weeks holiday in Gili Trawangan/ Lombok booked for my return to Indonesia. Definitely needed to get to a beach before school starts again. Gili Trawangan, close to Lombok is serene. I really love it. I’ve been there a few times now and it’s definitely one of my favourite places that I’ve been to in Indonesia. I can’t describe how relaxed I feel there except to say that one occasion whilst I was there, I suddenly realised how slowly I was walking and how relaxed I felt both in mind and body. I live such a busy hectic lifestyle in Jakarta that relaxing in the sun on holiday is just heavenly and allows my body time to breathe and rest. Go Vitamin D! I think when we go this time, I’ll do a little diving πŸ™‚ lots of swimming, eat at nice beach bars for breakfast and have big bowls of fresh tropical fruit and head to the nice Italian restaurant for dinner. I’ll play lots of fun card games and watch the sunset sink beneath the bright lights of the illuminated boats from the wooden pier πŸ™‚

Jakarta Traffic

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Imagine Jakarta now, in your mind. It’s definitely crazier and more frustrating at times than you’d imagine. It’s also become to me, a fascinating place where I can amuse myself over the idiosyncrasies of Indonesia. It’s become a sprawling hot mess I am starting to learn more about, albeit it from the passengers side of a car. Would I trust myself to drive here? No. Never. Well unlikely. Only by force or emergency. Traffic here is crushed to say the least. From where we live, in a suburb of West Jakarta it’s an almost statutory hour to town if not more. Once when we drove the Taman Safari, we literally didn’t move for over 40 minutes in a queue. Turned out they closed each side of the road alternately to allow the huge backlog move from one side. However for 40 minutes or more, one side is at total gridlock. Not the ideal situation.

Jakarta traffic - Image from web.

Jakarta traffic. Image from Jakarta Post

To drive here is to accept danger, know many people do not care for the road rules as I do and thatΒ  red lights just starting are signs to continue right through them for another minute. People here, generally seem to have no fear of danger when it comes to the roads. Huge heavy trucks are everywhere blocking the roads and gradually destroy and create huge chunky potholes. Police intervention has been to pull trucks off the road for an hour when they see them. You also have to learn to deal with the busy bee swarms of motorbikes and scooters full of entire families, babies carried in their mothers arms. Scooters ridden late at night along a long empty road by youth full of courage and bravado, screaming their scooters in dangerous stunts. Scooters which will at every point in your journey irritate you when they weave effortlessly through the traffic whilst you are yet again stuck behind heavy traffic. The only consolation I have had to this irritation is that now it is Monsoon season, I can smugly sit in the car, dry and cool watching giant puddles splash furious motorbikes. The motorbikes are ubiquitous and noisy.

I parked a car here once, once we were in the parking lot. I could deal with that. No crazy roads. It was a much bigger car than my Ford Ka though and I did find it a little harder to handle. Everybody here seems to have an enormous car! Would you believe it, there are even cars with automatic slide open doors. Wow thats pretty flashy. Ha and even more hilarious is that in every parking lot there are signs for ‘ladies parking’! I was wondering the other day what would happen in the UK or the US if a company introduced a ladies only parking spot with larger spaces and closer to the door. I imagine the cause of feminism would react furiously to the suggestion they could not park as well. There would be indignation. Here, it’s convenient and a total non plus!

That reminds me of a time in the Philippines when I was persuaded to drive Darryl’s car back to the house. I met Kerry and Darryl in the Philippines with their two gorgeous kids, Chloe and Keaton. What a wonderful family and I know after all the experiences we have shared including our daring escape from the Philippines, we will remain wonderful friends for a long, long time. It makes me giggle now thinking about the time I drove this car. So basically, it was a rented car that Darryl had hired for the day from a guy at school. We went swimming at this hotel in town (wait for it, Angeles City) and basically Darryl asked me to drive the car back. I was very reluctant. I did not want to drive on the roads of Angeles! However, finally I was persuaded and in the dark of night I drove the car back luckily without accident but with pure trepidation and fear of driving on the crazy roads! I did feel a little daring but will not be repeating this experience again unless as previously said, in emergency!

A true journey every day moving around in Jakarta.

Hello world!

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Hello World! It’s definitely time for me to begin a blog about my experiences as I live and teach overseas! Several years almost out of date but I’m sure I can play catch up now. I’m actually just beginning my journey into teaching overseas since graduating from my teaching degree in July 2010. I currently work at a beautiful International School in BSD City, Jakarta, Indonesia.

I teach K1, students aged 4 turning 5 … which I just love. What a simply wonderful age to teach! Curious, intrigued and highly motivated students. My biggest goal as a teacher is that my students enjoy school and I love to see just how excited they are at school and how engaged they are in their learning! I see such confident and successful students and I really feel confident in saying that they do love school! So I feel extremely fortunate to be blessed with such a wonderful class and my amazing, colourful life out here in the hectic life of Jakarta. Even though we are only 5 months into the year, I see such amazing progress in all of my students and I’m so happy for them! Some have progressed hugely in their spoken English language skills having come into the class in August only speaking Chinese and now they are putting together some great sentences and are confident doing so! Some have made such progress in their confidence I almost don’t remember them anymore as the shy boy who rarely spoke at the beginning of the year! Some simply shone during letters and sounds work, ready for the next bit as they discovered their new and exciting ability to read! Wow, what an awesome inspiring event to be involved in!

One of my gorgeous boys always says to me ‘Miss Kielly, I can do it!’. I love to hear him say that! Yes you can! There’s no such word as can’t. My kickboxing instructor at home, a really great guy always said that and I love that ideology. Positivity. Don’t give up. What an inspiring attitude.

I just came home from Indonesia at Christmas and I simply love being here, sharing this family time at Christmas with my loving family and friends (an experience which never makes up for the time I spend away from them … and I wish could). But I also can’t deny that the gray skies and bitter, icy winds aren’t a little miserable. I’ve moved into slow mo at home recently and not done an awful lot since I got back and I’m certain the fact it’s so dark outside both morning and evening depresses my overall mood quite a bit. Yesterday I woke up at 6am and waited almost 3 hours for the skies to lighten so I was sure it was morning and my watch hadn’t just stopped. It was a long time to wait. Finally the gray sky lightened and another gray day began. Then there’s the icy cold. My feet have never warmed up since getting off the flight in Newcastle one chilled morning. When I stepped off the plane, I actually gasped with cold and shock. It’s almost indulgent to say it but I simply love being in a hot sunny climate.There’s something to be said for sunny, hot days every day! I can’t deny that looking up at the sky everyday whilst I live in Asia gives me a thrill that I am here, in life, right now enjoying such wonderful, colourful skies with their heavy drenching monsoon rains which soak in seconds and turn roads into muddy and puddled messes. A sunny life indeed.

I love my job and I love Indonesia. What a fabulous country, full of culture and wonderful, welcoming people and communities. I feel a strong connection, almost an affinity with Indonesia and Indonesian culture shaped by the experiences I have had in my time here, both professional and personal and the journey over the last few years which took me here. One tradition I love the most is the Wayang shadow puppetry. I simply love the Wayang shadow puppets and have spent numerous hours (!) scouting out wonderful traditional Indonesian household things or gifts at Pasar Raya in Blok M. I am also fortunate enough to have kind friends who give wonderful gifts of Wayang to decorate my sparsely furnished house! Minimalistic chic at its best.

Wayang Shadow Puppets - Image from Web

Balinese Wayang – Image from Web

I really hope this site will allow me to share my life overseas with family and friends back home. Despite photos and emails, without visiting, it’s hard to imagine what it’s really like. Until my family come, which I’m really hoping they do (!) then I’ll try to share more of my current life with them via this blog. I really hope I make this blogging a regular thing. There’s a huge IT initiative in my school which means everybody will be producing class / subject blog pages in order for our school to fufill its ambition of creating a ‘digital community’. I’m really happy about making my own blog for K1, it’ll be so exciting to share what’s going on in our classroom. I hope I’ll learn enough with this blog to hit the ground running when I start my blog for class. Different departments have different dates to start their blogs, a phased introduction. At first I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t do my blog earlier but actually perhaps it’s been a blessing. Last term was a very long and tiring term.Β  Already just a few days into the Christmas Holidays, I feel relaxed and revived, if a little cold back home in Newcastle, UK. Now I feel excited and motivated to do this whole ‘blogging’ thing as well as my other goals for 2012! Feeling excited about the adventures ahead πŸ˜€