A Few Notes From the Last Year

By Will

We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, and holiday season!

As we near the end of 2012, it is hard to believe that we have been living in Indonesia for nine months. In little more than three months we will have been here for a year and there will be 60 new members of Peace Corps Indonesia joining us.

It has been an incredibly enriching experience so far. We’ve met so many amazing people, from our fellow Volunteers to the PC staff to the Indonesian people we live near and work with. It has also been a really wonderful experience for our marriage. I always wanted to join Peace Corps, but now I can’t imagine doing it without Amy.

Here are our highlights and review of the past year and in a few days we’ll have some of the stories that didn’t make the blog this year.

2012 in Review:

January: We started the year as we have for the last eight, in a beach house on Folly beach near Charleston, SC, with friends from college. A few days later, we received the email from Peace Corps with our official invitation to serve as English teachers and we soon found out that would be in Indonesia. A whirlwind followed as we gave notice at work and began planning our exit from DC and home.

March: We packed up everything from our apartment, said tearful goodbyes to our friends and cat in DC, enjoyed a fantastic party thrown by our close friends and drove a U-Haul to Kentucky with help from Amy’s parents. During our two weeks in Kentucky we had a number of going-away events, celebrated Amy’s birthday and kept going back to the store to buy things as we prepared and packed for this two year adventure.

April 1st-4th: We flew to DC to meet the other PC Indonesia volunteers for the first time for staging. After a day-long conference and a final meal with some close DC friends, we boarded the plane in DC on the 2nd, headed for Indonesia. Well, kind of. Over the next two days we flew from DC > Tokyo > Bangkok > Jakarta > Surabaya. At some point while we were traveling over the Arctic Circle, Kentucky beat Kansas to win our 8th national title. 

April-June 15th: The 10 weeks of training felt like an eternity as we learned a new language (and a little Javanese, too), adopted to a new culture and begin scratching the surface of what our two year service would hold. I had a brief, but passionate, love affair with Indonesian fried chicken, until I had it for 12 meals straight.

June 15th: Everything changed again as we left the then familiar surroundings of Batu for our new home two hours away, Jombang.

July 9th: School started! We had both volunteered teaching English in DC, but this was our first time in front of an actual classroom. A little intimidating, frightening and exhilarating all at the same time.

Late July-Late August: Ramadan and Eid ul Fitri! Amy and I participated in the fasting custom during Ramadan. I’m not sure whether we will do it next year, but it was a good experience and gave us something to bond over with our new friends and coworkers. Eid ul Fitri was a wild day in which we visited with many parts of our huge host family. Another highlight of Ramadan (though it was actually part of the Independence Day celebrations) was the night of community games played at the mosque in our village. Amy and I fared pretty well with our Tug of War teams, my team ultimately winning the competition.

September 5th: Amy and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by eating at the nicest restaurant in the town near our village…which meant that we spent about $7.

September 15th: The magical date when PC Volunteers were finally allowed to spend the night away from site. We made the most of this new privilege a week later when we went to Bali with 12 other volunteers.

October: We were reunited with the entire ID-6 group during two weeks of training in Surabaya.

November 2nd: Election day back home. People here are still excited and I have a few students that continue to chant “Obama!” when I walk in the classroom. Not sure why they do it, but I like it.

December: The semester wound down, testing started, we proctored tests and fought cheating in the classroom (which sometimes felt like a game of “whack-a-mole“) and we began obsessing about our upcoming vacation. We also made lots and lots of paper snowflakes and Christmas cookies while listening to Amy’s abundant Christmas music.

Here’s looking forward to another year of excitement, adventure and fun!

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3 thoughts on “A Few Notes From the Last Year

  1. Fantastic summary,Will! Again our Thanks and great admiration for our two beloved Ambassadors…much love to you both!!
    G/G and B/G

  2. My gratitude for you two and your service wells up each time I read one of your marvelous posts. I felt your longing for Christmas with family, and I tried to invest my own precious time with our grown children and tiny grandchildren with extra attention and appreciation in honor of what your service required you to give up this year. I send every good wish for a splendid 2013 to you and your loved ones, both home and away.

    Plus – Go Cats! As I write, the Louisville game is 45 minutes from beginning….

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