Indonesia Morning

Posted on July 23, 2012 by

Sitting in my western style hotel room, sitting in a comfortable bed sipping coffee and watching CNN, I might think I’m at home in America.  Then I hear the faint strains of the morning prayers broadcast outside, and am instantly clear that outside this window is a completely different world than what I’m used to.

After only 76 hours in Indonesia I’m beginning to understand some of the systems.  The Indonesian people are all about hospitality and helpfulness, even when they don’t speak my language.  I’m having a hard time learning Indonesian phrases – for some reason, they don’t hit my ear correctly and I cannot memorize even the simplest words.

I’ve learned not to take photos in a grocery store, to use my hand in a downward flat palm position when I need to push through a crowd (personal space is very limited), and that cold Bintang beer tastes great after a day hanging out with a Komodo dragon in the 91 degree humid weather

I’ve learned that teachers in Indonesia worry about many of the same things we do in the US – how to celebrate and teach diversity, how to engage students who are more interested in social media than school, and how to preserve their cultural identity, all on a salary of $150-$300/month.

Today I begin teaching in a religious boarding school.  I’m hopeful that I make easy connections with the students and can understand what we can do to make our world a little bit better by working together.  I know the Indonesian people are as eager to learn from us as I am from them!

Please follow my adventure on travels with mamawolfe – you’ll realize that we’re really more alike than we are different!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Comments: 6

  • Brahm

    December 24, 2013

    Hi Jennifer. Well, I think it’s OK to take photos in a grocery store. As far I know, there’s no such rule in Indonesian local cultures. I don’t know why the guard forbade you. Maybe it was just personal, or specific reason.

    By the way, I wouldn’t have courage to take a photo like you did. Wow, you’re brave!
    Brahm recently posted…Book Writing for Executive BrandingMy Profile

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      December 24, 2013

      Thank you, Brahm! I wonder if I did something else that made the guard upset; sometimes traveling in countries so different from our own can be very confusing. Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know! ~Jennifer

  • Kenya G. Johnson

    July 23, 2012

    My son who is standing over my shoulder was mighty impressed with your photo. I have to say I am too! Goodness! So I may have missed this if you mentioned it before, is it disrespectful to take pictures in a grocery store?

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      July 23, 2012

      Hi Kenya,
      The Komodo dragon is named Annie, and she was pretty amazing! She was getting tired of us touching her, so we left shortly after my photo. Yes, it is some kind of a rule that we cannot take photos in the supermarket, but I had no idea until the guard told us to stop. Some things are very different here!

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