That is the Indonesian Version of Oh my Goodness or Holy Cow and it has pretty much been what I have said to myself over and over again in the past week. It has been quite the change and adjustment as my world has completely turned upside down, quite literally actually. I am still in major shock with the culture, language, food and everything else. I honestly cannot believe what I have gotten myself into. It is quite crazy. But little by little I am getting used to it. Well, I don't quite know how to begin smoothly so I will just dive right in. My first area is South Jakarta, not the most exciting and exotic area of Indonesia, but I figure then the more exciting areas can be for when I am about to go home. My companion is Sister Nababan from Manado, Indonesia on the island of Sumatra. Her birthday is next week and she will turn 31 ... yep, I wrote that right, 31. So there is a little of an age difference and because of that she doesn't quite understand the homesickness that I have had as she has been independent for so long. So that has been a little bit of a struggle but she is a wonderful teacher and a hard worker. She has been in this area for 4 1/2 months now so she knows the area, the branch members, and the investigators. Which is nice. Unfortunately, she also lived in Hong Kong for about 8 years and studied English there. She probably knows better English then I do, that coupled with the fact that a lot of people here in Jakarta know basic English means that I haven't been speaking as much Indonesian as I probably should. It is kind of frustrating because then I can't participate in lessons or talk to people as much. But, I'm going to work harder on that this week. The language will get better.
Culture wise, I don't even quite know what to think yet. The food hasn't really made me sick quite yet but things are a little more Americanized in Jakarta. But I eat rice with every meal, either with chicken, vegetables, fish, or tofu. Yep, I have eaten more fish and tofu here then I ever had in my life before. And so far I am not quite a fan. But overall I definitely won't starve and might actually love the food by the time I come home. The house I live in is nice. It is actually quite huge for Indonesian standards. It has 5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with like 3 living areas. And just my companion and me live in it. 4 sisters were living in it, but the mission is kind of low on sisters at the moment so right now it is just me and my comp. So we each have our own bathroom and our own dressing room. We have to sleep in the same bedroom or else we could also have our own room. One of the bathrooms has a western style toilet, which is nice, and the church does also but pretty much no one else does. Needless to say this is where my holding my bladder talent comes in handy. There is no normal shower or hot water. I bath by scooping water out of a bucket and pouring it on myself. Not quite as refreshing, but other houses I will live in have normal showers so there is hope for one day. Other than the few cockroaches I see in the house every day it is a great place to live. I will most definitely enjoy it.
The area of South Jakarta is huge!! And there is so much traffic basically we can travel for two hours to get to an appointment, teach for an hour of so (we are allowed to teach longer lessons since it takes so long to get there) and then travel for two more hours to get home. Eat. And then have to teach someone closer. Luckily so of our more well off investigators have agreed to be taught at the church, which is about a 5-minute walk from our house. So that is nice. The branch here is really great. It is one of the strongest in Indonesia. We actually go to the Jakarta South Branch and the English Branch. So I got to understand a little bit of church on Sunday, but the rest I could understand the jest of what was being said but not the exact message. Kind of frustrating that the one part of the week where I can get some great spiritual upliftment and I can't understand what is being said, but I can still feel the spirit so that is good.
The visa stuff is taken care of. I don't even quite know actually either, but the other missionaries I came with and I just had to stay near Jakarta for the past week so that we could go to the immigration office on Monday and get our Kitas, which I think are our work permits or something. I don't quite know, but I will have to do it every six months or so. But now all the missionaries I came with are going off to other parts of Indo and I'm staying here. It is kind of hard to see my old companion go and all those who I have come to rely on for the past of couple months leave me. I have really had to rely on the Lord so much as I have seen pretty much my whole support system tumble around me and I have to truly learn to stand on my own.
Sounds like life is good at home. I'm sorry that BYU lost!! But, maybe when I come home they will when. Happy Birthday to mom! I’m sad that I can't be there to deliver the flowers but that is an awesome present. Congrats to Deborah and Jon for moving out. That is awesome. Enjoy living so close to YougartLand. That's awesome. Just remember never have too much fun without me!
I know this was jumbled and I probably didn't answer all of your questions. Good thing I still have about 15 and a half more months to answer them all. But I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father. Even though this has probably been the hardest week of my life as I have adjusted to the new time and the new culture I know I am doing the right thing. I know the Lord will help me. I miss my wonderful family, but I know I am doing the right thing. Please continue to pray for me. I really need it. I just keep thinking back to when I was set apart and how I would be able to love the people and culture of Indonesia and they would become my family. I pray for a fulfillment of that promise each day. I want to love it here and I will keep working until I do. I miss you all and am so grateful for your love and support. Please, keep praying for me. I love you!!!!!