Tag Archives: Music/Video

The Last of Bandung

23 Sep

I will tell all about my new placement, but first, I need to catch you all up on some important things in the last weeks of being Bandung! I just got internet a few days ago in Limboto – sorry about the wait!

We had a great session with Ibu Irid, a presenter who got a PhD in Intercultural Studies, for part of the orientation in Bandung. She gave us a picture into what our lives would be like in terms of our relationship to Indonesian culture.  We started talking about the things we loved (the people, the food, the hiking) and disliked (the dirty river, the smog, the “buleh price” which we foreigners are often charged, etc.) about Indonesia so far. Indonesians also talked about what they liked and didn’t like about Americans (in true Indonesian fashion, it was hard to get our teachers to be honest!) Some of the things they mentioned was the heavy use of sarcasm, how Americans can be loud and pushy, and the individualism in our culture as being strange to them. We were also introduced to the infamous “W curve” that expresses the amount of culture shock over time: first things begin positively, with lots of adventure and excitement – then uncertainty sets in as well as fatigue and discomfort.  Then you begin to discover knew things and learn the language and meet new people and things get better! Then you begin to question why you’re here, you see how different you are from others, until you rest and feel more secure in your new life. I feel like I experience this W curve on a daily basis to some extent and am definitely feeling its affects, both good and bad, in Limboto!

Also, some quotes Ibu Irid used were so funny; here are just a few (somewhat paraphrased):

“Yes, it is hot, but it’s hotter in hell!” – a woman in one of Ibu Irid’s stories, when asked if she felt hot wearing a jilbab in New York.

“You look like a terrorist – it’s cultural, not personal!” – when describing how she feels when she gets searched, every time, at airports (she dubbed herself Mrs. Random in honor or all the “random” searches she is subjected to)

“You need to learn two things in Indonesia: how to smile and how to squat.”

Ibu Irid included a Confucian saying in her presentation I liked very much: “Human beings draw close to one another by their common nature, but habits and customs keep them apart.” In my very limited experience with people from different cultures, I’ve found his to be true, and I have definitely let habit and custom keep me from becoming closer to people. During my time in Indonesia, it will be a test for all of us to balance our habits and customs with those of our host community.

I also met an amazing Indonesian woman named Asmi who works at the Sheraton (she said “you can asmi anything in Indonesian!”.  I went to get a manicure and pedicure to relax, and we ended up talking in very broken Bahasa and some English for two hours. She was really funny and amazing and really light a fire under me about learning Indonesian – she learned by talking to clients, listening to music and watching movies! She wanted me to come back and talk to her before I left, but I did not get a chance.

We also went to an angklung performance in Bandung which was really great.  It had dancing and an angklung orchestra! An angklung is a wooden instrument that is made from bamboo – it only makes one pitch so you need a bunch of them to make a full orchestra! We got to play them and at the end we got up and danced with the kids 🙂 Here are some pictures, courtesy of Bethany!


Sundanese puppets.

Sundanese puppet show

Angklung players

The tinyest angklung player ever!

Video of angklung orchestra:

We were also fortunate enough to be invited to our teacher’s house for Idul Fitri.  Idul Fitri is a huge deal in Indonesia – it’s like Christmas in the US (as in most people celebrate it with friends, even if they are not Muslim). It is the celebration of the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting for 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. The day before Idul Fitri (September 9th), some of us fasted all day (nothing passes your lips from sun-up to sun-down).  We started at 3:30am by eating before the sun rose, then breaking fast together around 6pm.  The next day, we went to the house of our teachers, Ibu Vita and Ibu Lily, to eat tons of food. We were also taken to meet various neighbors, see their beautiful houses, and eat delicious food.  Pictures can describe this experience better than any prose!:

Erin, Leif and Demi eating some delicious Idul Fitri grub.


Mark and Jolie!

Rachel, Allison and Me!

Me and the best view in Bandung.

More food!

Mia, JT, Ibu Via's husband, Jack, Luca, Ibu Vita, Kelsey, Adam and Mark at the end of the party!

Here is a music videos we’ve been singing to in Bahasa Indonesia class. I’ve also sung this song at least 3 times every time I tell people I can sing. It’s about forgetting the words to a song, but remembering the chords (lupa means forget, ingat means remember):

Next: my counterpart arrives, I leave Bandung and make my way to Limboto!