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Saturday, January 28, 2012

My home

It's not really mine but it's the closest I have to a "home" right now.

The front porch with the new gate.

The fancy living room where we only sit if company comes to visit.

My bedroom with the mosquito net over the bed and all my family & friends photos fixed to the net so that I don't make nail holes in the wall.

Me, my host mother and my host father - both many years younger than I am. He's a retired policeman. They were on their way to have their pictures taken for an official photo.

My daughter and I washing clothes when she came to visit.

The bathroom with the squat toilet and the "mandi" tub of water. The dipper is for bathing and washing up after using the toilet.

One of the students who also is a boarder at my house, ironing in the hallway outside my bedroom.

The outside kitchen where all the cooking takes place.

Laundry drying outside my room.

And my nearest neighbors, the alarm clock chickens who live 8 feet from my bedroom window.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fried Goldfish

Maryellen and I at Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, after we washed with the holy spring water and were anointed with salt/rice.

Maryellen, Nicole, Colleen, Mike (Erin's brother) Erin and Brianna with traditional Balinese dancers.

Erika was not enthusiastic about the monkey on her and I doubt she really liked the buxom statue next to her either.

I took the picture with Nicole's camera of my Peace Corps friends: Brianna, Nicole, Maryellen & Erin jumping in the air on the beach.

But Nicole took most of the others and the Bromo ones I took off the internet. But I wanted you to see what a super vacation in Bali and Bromo Mountain in Java look like.

At the base of the steep steps you can see ponies that bring people to the crater edge. And in the plains there is a Hindu temple because this mountain is considered to be one of the most sacred mountains and the father of Mount Agung on Bali. We walked from beyond the temple to the top of the stairs. The picture is deceptive. It really isn't far.

All in all it was a super wonderful vacation - from the beaches of Bali to the top of the world at Bromo crater!

And then back to normal life... Yesterday all the students and teachers returned to school and we had a "stand at attention" ceremony to mark the beginning of the new semester and then NO teaching.

My counterpart explained that it's an Indonesian culture thing - when you come back from vacation everyone likes to chat for 1/2 a day.

Then all 50 teachers piled into cars and rode motorcycles to go see the new baby that one of the teachers had given birth to on Dec. 24th.

Have you ever been in a car with a butterfly? There was a huge black and gold butterfly that came with us to see the newborn. All the teachers were chatting about what they did for the 2 week vacation but I could hardly keep my eyes off such intense beauty!

And today: NO SCHOOL. A surprise extra day of vacation so that nationally certified teachers can attend a meeting in a nearby town.

And that brings me to: FRIED GOLDFISH

Before I tell you this story I want to tell you another story. Six and a half years ago I had a pond in my yard. Goldfish from finger size to 12 inches long swam in the recirculated water. I named all 20 of them: Big Mama, Goldie, Streak, White One, Spot, etc.

Then one day the fish started disappearing. About a week later I saw what was happening. A snake had grabbed one of the goldfish by its mouth and was dragging it out of the pond. I stomped on the snake but it would not release the goldfish. Finally I stopped so much that the snake died and let go of the fish. The fish lived. I cut up the snake and fed it to the turtle.

Then I did some research about snakes in New Mexico which eat fish. There is only one species. And I have forgotten the name but I found out that these snakes mate for life. And sure enough, a few days later I found another snake in the pond. This one I scooped out and put into a cardboard box and drove 5 miles to the nearest stream and released it in the water.

I felt bad about killing that snake but mostly I felt very protective of my little batch of goldfish.

Yesterday we had goldfish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I did not eat them at breakfast, nor at lunch but when they were still one table for dinner I took a fairly large one and ate it all, head, tail, bones....all of it. Then I took another one and ate that too.

Goldfish here are food. They are a source of protein and calcium. It was hard looking at their eyes and remembering my little friends but I am in Indonesia. So I eat fried goldfish and I sit in the teacher room while the students chat. Maybe the teaching and learning process will begin tomorrow…