On Thursday a few weeks ago, about 20 minutes after arriving to school, I got a call from the Peace Corps. They informed me that we were having a consolidation drill and that we should report to our assigned consolidation point as soon as possible. A consolidation happens when there is an emergency in the country and Peace Corps consolidates volunteers until they figure out the extent of the threat. This was just a trial run. I notified my school and host mom, hopped on my bike and headed home to pack a days worth of clothes and the necessary documents with a huge smile on my face. Will met me at home about 20 minutes later and we met up with another volunteer near the bus terminal in Jombang and headed toward Surabaya together.
We had to sit through about two hours of meetings, but then the night was free and we were staying in a hotel in Surabaya, compliments of the Peace Corps. Given that we have not been allowed to stay away from our sites until last week, this was very exciting for the ID-6 group. The ID-5s showed us a fantastic Italian restaurant within walking distance of our hotel and we had a wonderful meal of tomato soup, caesar salad, pizza and pasta (and a few cold ones). It was really great.
The next day we went to a gigantic mall, walked around and ate cheeseburgers at Wendy’s for lunch. We headed back to site around 2pm and arrived around 6pm. It’s definitely not how we expected to spend the middle of the week, but it was a welcomed surprise reprieve from village life!
Here are a few pictures. I apologize for the quality, I only had my cell phone with me.