Happy April, everybody! March passed by in a flash for me, and now I’m already a week into my eighth month working at EF. Time is passing more quickly than ever! In March, I had a one-day trip into Singapore to renew my work visa, and Josh and I made our way into Jakarta a few times. It hasn’t been much an exciting month for either of us, but we’ve enjoyed ourselves.
Sometimes Josh or I end up with a class that the other has taught before, and usually the students are excited to find out that we are a couple. One pair of 6-year-old girls who found out about our marriage was thrilled beyond belief and ran through the school, yelling, “Cheezus! Miss Ellie and Mr. Josh are married! Cheezus!” In one of Josh’s classes with them, he overheard one of the girls telling the other, “Mr. Josh has a girlfriend, and that girlfriend is Miss Ellie, and they got married in Paris.” We didn’t get married in Paris, but we thought it was funny that they were making up a love story for us.
My class of teenage boys also knew about me being married to Josh, so after one student yelled, “Miss, Miss, Kevin loves you,” one of the other boys immediately decided that, “Yes, Mr. Josh is mine!” This class is one of the hardest for me because they have a very high level of English and they abuse their knowledge by constantly saying inappropriate things (it’s so hard for them to realize how bad some of our English swear words are), but it’s so funny that I have to work very hard not to laugh at some of their antics so that they’re not encouraged to keep it up.
March felt like a very busy month, and most of it was due to having an in-school every morning, and then finishing my classes at EF fairly late. While I still enjoy my in-school classes, it felt like I didn’t have much downtime.
This month is different, however, since the school requested that they be given another teacher as the contract states, so Tuesday and Thursday classes are being handed off to a different teacher at EF, and I am back to teaching only Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the rest of the school year. I think March was probably the busiest month I’ll have all year, which means that things can only get better from here!
I spent the first week of March with an awful cold, but I’ve been healthy since then.
I mentioned above that my schedule in March was pretty full, and it really got to me at times. Mid-March, I wrote in my journal that, “It feels like I have no free time: I wake up before the sun rises, go to my in-school, come home for an hour so I can eat lunch and clean up our room, walk to EF to plan afternoon classes and teach for 4 more hours, walk home in the dark, and eat dinner. By the time I finish eating, it’s 7:30, which gives me two hours to catch up with Josh, online work, additional school work, and maybe some reading before I’m too tired and have to get ready for bed.”
Luckily, I was more optimistic for the rest of the month, especially after I had a few days off to recover. However, I do think it’s important for anybody considering teaching overseas to ask themselves if they’d be able to work split shifts every single day.
Indonesia is not known for being organized, and it’s not unusual for people to show up really late for things. (Sometimes I have students who show up 45 minutes late to a one-hour class.) I got particularly annoyed at being kept waiting a few times after my in-school. One day, EF’s driver was an hour late to pick me up, and another day he was an hour-and-a-half late. And since that time is supposed to be my lunch break during a 12-hour work day, I was pretty cranky at having to go straight to my next class without a meal on those days. EF is trying to get better about scheduling pick-up times, but these kind of goof-ups are always a possibility.
Despite being perhaps one of the most stressful months yet, March was also really good, as Josh and I found plenty of new things to do. During our day trips into Jakarta, we discovered some new areas and tons of new malls that we keep hearing about and finally decided to check out. I splurged on two books by my favorite author (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) at an English bookstore we found at one of the malls. And one of the malls even had a park attached!
We also ate really well this month, as we discovered tons of new vegetarian places and some of our favorite foods from America–Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Mrs. Fields cookies were just as delicious as we remembered! Jakarta may not have much in the way of sightseeing, but it’s a great place to shop and eat!
As always, I’ve enjoyed teaching, though I’ve definitely fallen into a routine, so I don’t think I have anything new to share.
I hope everybody has a great month!
*All photos in this post were taken by Josh.