Monday, May 23, 2011


I went to Yogyakarta to come to a language school. This is a VERY intensive language school. They follow the theory that if they teach you hundreds of words a day and just talk in full sentences, you will eventually catch on. I don't know why it is working, but I have learned a lot!

I haven't done much besides study, but I took the weekend off to go explore. First I went to the sultan's palace and then his water palace.

After that I went to Mt. Merapi with a disaster preparedness and recovery worker I met on couchsurfing. Tatang was an amazing guide because he could explain how the process of living on the worlds most active volcano works. We stood in an area that was completely devastated by the eruption last year. I can't emphasize enough how striking it is to see an area that was
hit only by smoke and ash and yet
everything both natural and manmade is completely destroyed. Yet people have lived on this volcano for eons and have all their property and lives there. So they leave when the government says go and they come back when they are allowed). Last year they left only one day before it erupted.

I ended up joining two other couchsurfers Karri and Fina on the next day. We drove out to Dieng Plateau which is a fascinating and beautiful place. It is another place where the earth does interesting things like cause bubling sulphur pits and lakes that occasionally change colors. On the way back we visited Borobudor which is the worlds largest buddhist temple (although this appears to be a somewhat contested title). It has a series of levels with the bottom ones depicting earthly images such as wars and animals and the images becoming more and more religious as you go up. It breaks out at the top to a main dome surrounded by 72 stupas with buddha statues inside them. This temple is so large I couldn't even get a photo with the whole thing in it!

First Post!

I decided to make a blog so that I can actually tell you guys a little about what I have been up to -since I'm too long winded for facebook status updates. ;)

First things first, Susan tinggal di Indonesia = Susan stays/lives in Indonesia.

For the first week and a half I stayed in Jakarta getting the visa sorted out, visiting with people at the University of Indonesia
and generally getting my bearings and getting over the jet lag. This process was greatly helped
by how nice Indonesians are from the professor who has helped me in every step of the visa process to the canteen workers who had great fun showing me all the varieties of Indonesian food. The picture shows the "UI Hollywood sign" when I caught it in front of a nice sunset.

I generally stayed around the university most of the time, but my major adventure was my train ride to the center of the city (I was particularly inspired by the riders on top of the train). I went
up the national monument"Monas" which provided great views of the (huge) city and a convenient two hour line in which to strike up conversations with strangers.