For the last week Will and I, and many other trainees, have been learning Javanese. Up until now we learned Indonesian (the language spoken throughout the islands). Javanese is the local language where we are now, and where we will be living for the next two years, so Peace Corps wanted us to have a little bit of background in Javanese before we head out.
We had about 16 hours of language instruction this week, and then a review and a test on Friday. The class was mainly taught in Indonesian, which was a good way for us to practice and hear Indonesian again. At times we had to read a passage in Javanese, and then translate it orally into Indonesian. Our teacher, Apri, was absolutely fantastic and we were all amazed not only at how much we learned in only 16 hours, but in how fun it was as well. On Friday our test consisted of us talking about whatever we could talk about for at least five minutes into a recorder in front of our teacher—in only Javanese of course.
We laughed afterward about how awkward this must sound to a native speaker. I probably sounded like I lack all social skills and I have control issues:
“My name is Amy. I have a husband. His name is Will. Every day I wake up at 6:30. I take a bath at 6:45. I eat breakfast at 7:30. I leave at 7:55. My shoe size is 40 in Indonesia. I bought this shirt at the mall. I have a cat in America. My Dad’s name is Peter. My mom’s name is Debra.”
By the end the sentences were really not related as I struggled to fill the time with the words I knew. But afterward our teacher told us that we both spoke for seven minutes.
We have exactly one week until we leave for our permanent site and we can’t believe it! Tomorrow we have a farewell picnic with all of the ID6 trainees, cultural facilitators and Peace Corps staff at a waterfall about an hour from the University in Malang. On Wednesday all the trainees in Bulukerto are getting together at my house for a goodbye dinner of American and Indonesian food. On Thursday, all of our school principals will be here for a conference which we will also attend. Then Friday we officially swear in as Peace Corps Volunteers and we take the oath from the American Ambassador who’s coming from Jakarta for the ceremony. After swearing in we will ride home with our principals to get our luggage in our training villages, and then head out to Jombang to meet our new host family!
I think we both have mixed feelings about the end of training. We are excited to get to live together again, meet our new host family and learn all about our new village and schools. At the same time we’ve had a really fun time with training and meeting new friends and we’ll be sad to say goodbye to our American friends, Indonesian friends and host families. I am sure our new life in Jombang will have it’s own magic, relationships and fun surprises ahead!