Grasshopper

It’s hard to believe it’s already March, and that I’m entering my seventh month in Indonesia! February has zoomed by too quickly, but here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening over the past few weeks.

First, Josh and I celebrated our one-year anniversary–though I was sick, we still had a nice time watching a movie in bed and then looking at all of his pictures from the past year. It’s incredible to think of all that we’ve done and seen since we met–we spent time in Disney World and other parts of Florida, we explored Cincinnati and nearby areas of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, and then we moved abroad as TEFL teachers in Indonesia, where the adventure continues. Not your average love story, but it suits us just fine!

E+J

In-school

Since October, I’ve spent Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings teaching kindergarten up to fifth grade at my in-school. Another teacher from EF had been teaching seventh and eighth grade on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he was transferred to another center in Indonesia and I was given his assignment since I already know the school.

My new classes in junior high have gone really well, and I’m surprised at how much easier it is to teach these new classes after having spent the year with younger grades. These older students are great at peer-correction and checking each other’s behavior, and it makes my job go so much more smoothly.

I couldn’t be happier about working every morning of the week. I’m much more of a morning person, and the fact that I leave for the school at 6:20 in the morning means that EF can’t schedule me for any afternoon classes that last later than 7:20 at night. This does mean that I’m still working split shifts–I finish my morning classes at my in-school and have a few hours until I start my next round of afternoon classes at EF–but I like it better than the erratic schedule that I complained about last month.

Pineapple Flower

The Downsides

I spent most of February sick–I was bad enough to spend all my free time curled up in bed, but not bad enough to take a sick day from my hectic work schedule to go see the doctor. I battled severe strep throat with a high fever and insane body pains, and after I bought the $2 antibiotics to cure the infection (no prescription necessary–thanks Indonesia!), I didn’t give my throat time to recover before stepping back into the classroom.

I spent the next week croaking at my students–the only way to cure the laryngitis I now had is to rest your voice, but that’s just not an option when you’re teaching several classes with 30+ students every day.

Despite doing everything I could to distance myself from any other germs, I still ended up with the worst cold I’ve ever had. I’m currently on day six of this awful super-cold, and it finally seems to be releasing its hold.

Another not-so-nice even that occurred this month was a breach in the bug net over our bed. Until this point, it’s worked wonderfully at keeping us safe from the little bloodsuckers. However, we experienced a night when not one, not two, but three mosquitoes somehow found their way inside the net and feasted on Josh and me all night. We woke up covered in welts, itchy beyond belief, and cursing Indonesia.

I also lost my innocence this month: One day while sitting on the toilet, I glanced in the corner and saw one of our bathroom spiders eating one the other bathroom spiders. It was a terrible sight, but I simply couldn’t look away and had no choice but to become a witness to a coldblooded act of cannibalism.

The Upsides

Flower

While February passed in a delirious blur (probably because of the fever), there were still some wonderful moments. I learned some amazing techniques to use in my Small Stars classes to make the youngest students engage more with the subject material. I love my little toddlers, but they’re usually a very big handful, and it’s hard to make them care about speaking in lexical chunks or practicing spelling when they could instead sneakily play with the Batman toy one of them smuggled into class. Luckily, I now feel much better equipped to deal with them.

I had a few small breakthroughs in some of my other classes as well, and it’s safe to say that I love teaching more than ever!

In other news, Josh and I welcomed a new neighbor this month. She’s a bit reclusive, and she might bite your head off now and then–she’s a total bloodsucker–but overall I’d say she’s a great addition to the neighborhood, and a real beauty too.

Spider

Though we never did agree on a name, Josh has made the executive decision that the lovely lady is to be called Sharon. We really are happy to have her here; she’s amazing to watch in all her 6-inch glory and we don’t mind letting her eat all the bugs she wants, especially the mosquitoes.

While the US is currently battling through yet another polar vortex, the rain here in Indonesia has finally lessened and the resulting hot, hazy, humid weather is making me miss a good Ohio snowstorm. I can’t deny that I’m appreciating the first year of my life without winter–a full year of not worrying about wearing winter coats, driving in the snow, ice storms, and car doors frozen shut.

But there is a flip side; instead, I have to worry about wearing ultra-modest clothes in the hot weather, always having an umbrella/bug spray/sunscreen with me, walking to work along the muddy sewer walkway, moldy belongings from the constant humidity in our apartment, and floods. I think I might enjoy my next winter more than ever after my time in the tropics!

Love, Elizabeth