It’s Not Always Easy

** Let me preface this post by saying that I have shied away from going into major details about my current ‘job’ and living situation to avoid wrong impressions, misunderstandings, and bias opinions, that and I am required to attach a disclaimer to anything I write about it… which becomes a bit annoying… but that being said, please know that the writings and ideas in this post and blog in no way reflect the views and opinions of the United States government or Peace Corps. They are mine alone and should be viewed as such.**  

After college I went through a very LONG phase where I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, I didn’t understand about the real world, and things that presented a challenge were easier to run away from than deal with. Then at age 27, I found myself single, living on my own, with a list of employment history that had nothing to do with my college degree. I had just been laid off for the third time in three years and hit a downward spiral of depression and confusion. I was unhappy with my life and myself because I was not doing anything the benefited anyone for the greater good. My contributions to society were nil. I thought about joining the military, but was way too out of shape and had a BMI way too high to even be considered… and the thought of going to war didn’t sit very well with me (I have never been much of a fighter).  So one day I sat crying in my bedroom not knowing what was going to happen to me, when I remembered a Peace Corps seminar I had gone to my freshman year of college. I went to the website, read everything I could, and then decided… “What the hell! You only have one life to live.”

After a very very long application (complete with essay questions and an aspiration statement) that took about a month to complete, I was granted an interview with a recruiter in Atlanta. My interview went great and I was passed to go onto the next part of the process… Medical, dental, financial, and background clearance.  I was deemed acceptable except for still having my wisdom teeth. So at the beginning of 2011 after 7 months of starting the application process I was invited to join the Peace Corps and serve in Indonesia… (Pending the removal of all 4 of my wisdom teeth by 30 days prior to my departure). I would leave in April… over a year after I started the application.

Before this I had never been out of the country.. hell I had never been off of the East Coast. Now I have been living in Indonesia for almost a year (April will be one year). I can say with all honesty that I love this experience. I spend my time teaching in a Muslim High School, and my students mean the world to me. They are always happy to see me coming and

Scenery While Walking

always have a smile to share with me. I live with a host family who is like a real family in every sense of the word… we fight, we annoy each other, we fight over the remote, and who gets the last brownie on the plate! I have visited places and seen things that I would never in a million years have imagined that I would have the opportunity to see. And I can say with all honesty that Indonesia is absolutely beautiful.

But to say that this is easy would be a horrible lie. It is hard as hell. I am living in a country that doesn’t know English. Every day I have to communicate in 3 different languages that I

Flower Lady

barely have a grasp on and try to teach my students English when they don’t understand a word I am saying. I have to mingle with my village and community and try to understand their beliefs and culture. Every day I learn something new about Muslim beliefs and practices and Javanese culture. I don’t always agree with the things I learn but I respect them and follow them when it is required of me. Everyone wants to take my picture. Everyone asks me a million times where I am from, where I am going, what I am doing. etc. Honestly there are times when escaping to my room is necessary. But then I sit back and think about everything I am learning from this experience (about life, people, and myself), and everything I hope that the people I come into contact with are learning from me…. it is enough to keep me going.

But it is not like this for everyone. Since arriving in Indonesia with a group of 30 people. I have said goodbye to 8 friends.  8 people who for different reasons have decided that Peace Corps service and / or Indonesia wasn’t the perfect match for them for their 27 months of service. I have been very sad to see these people go, some of them I was very close to… it has even raised questions in myself about if I am doing the right thing by staying. I got hit by a truck. I miss my family. I have three gorgeous nieces that are growing up without me. I went from seeing them every week to having to send them postcards in the mail so that they don’t forget who I am. I have a sister and a mother who mean the world to me, and they are getting on with their lives without me. I miss my friends. I miss food! I miss TV…. and I know that if I just say ‘enough’ I could be on a plane and back in the United States by next week… But then I think about how far I have come, how much I have learned, and how this is the first time in my life where the need to run away from something difficult is not overwhelming my every decision.

Misty Mountain Field

Am I changing the world? No, probably not… but I guarantee that my host family and my students will remember me for the rest of their lives… They will remember the crazy American who lived with them and taught them for two years. They will remember how Miss Angela pushed them to give their all in class and never settled for second rate work when she knew they could do better. I am not saving the world… but I am changing lives (even if it is just one or two people)…. what about that should be easy?

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141 thoughts on “It’s Not Always Easy

  1. Hey! Where in Indonesia are you? I am an Indonesian too 🙂 No worries, it can be really frustrating sometimes (even for Indonesians themselves), but in the end it would be worth it and you’ll miss everything, even the bad experience ;).

    • I am living on Java. I have not been able to explore past the island yet, but I hope the trips to Bali and Kalimantan will happen shortly. If you have any travel recommendations I would love to hear them.

  2. I agree that people have this romantic idea of living abroad and most of the time they don’t realise how tough it can be. I left my country ten years ago and have lived in different countries since then. It hasn’t always been easy but I wouldn’t change for anything all the people I’ve met along the way, all the places I’ve seen and all the things I’ve learnt. Being part of another culture is a wonderful experience. Keep positive and receptive and they will change your life too. Best of wishes for the remaining of your stay in Indonesia…

  3. Wonderful experience!!! Loved and enjoyed reading it. You are a brave individual and I hope I can do something for the society I live one day.

  4. I wish Canadians had something like the Peace Corps, I think I would have done that after graduating from Uni. Changing even one life is an accomplishment, some don’t even do that. Enjoy your time there.

  5. I am inspired by your post – I don’t purport that I’ll have the same courage and determination that you have, but I hope some day I’ll be able to initiate a little positive change at a time – even if its only for 1-2 people. It’s not always easy – it never was easy.

  6. I have a few friends who have done Peace Corps or considered it and it seems it is always complicated, something like loving and hating but a little bit more than that too.

  7. Brilliant Article! I love what you are doing and I do understand that it is not always easy to take the job of helping others when you have to leave your loved ones. I believe that the world is still moving only because of the beautiful minds like yours is always thinking of helping others. A well deserved article for being freshly pressed.

  8. i really liked to read this…it’s like the saying that goes “we can’t do everything, but we must do something”… and i do think the bravest people are the ones who follow their heart even when things get hard. kudos to yoou. 🙂

  9. It’s a very brave decision to go and do something completely different and outside of your normal comfort zone but it sounds like your having an amazing experience that some people will never get! I think everyone should do something that pushes them to grow which scares them once in their life. I’m still deciding what my experience will be but I hope I also get to help people and learn more about myself too! Thanks for your lovely post, it got me thinking! x

  10. I do not know you, but I am proud of you. I was a study abroad failure- I just could not handle being away from my close family. It is hard. And we never know where our lives will take us, but I am glad that you have found some sense of peace in the new world around you. Stick with the hard – you will thank yourself!

  11. A failure of my life was not volunteering for the Peace Corp when I had the chance. My cousin and another dear friend volunteered and I just wish I could have made that much of a difference. A wonderful and interesting post, thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Angela,

    Thanks for the very descriptive post.
    I really admire Peace Corps volunteers and understand their nature.
    I have had opportunities being with them; very professional and
    very dedicated individuals.

    Cheers to you!

  13. I think you made a good decision. Many people (who are of course voters) do not understand what our country is about and how we fit in with the world. You now at least will serve out your time and when you walk into your local grocery store, you will understand how much we really have here.

    I understand the langauge issue as well. I frequently visit a part of a country that is only now understanding the importance of English. So I too must force myself to try to communicate. People in the U.S. think that people should roll in from Nepal or Ghana and magically learn English in 90 days like a Rosetta Stone commercial. It is far from that easy. They also do not know what it is like to have the shoe on the other foot. That is to feel the uncomfortable feeling as you butcher a langauge.

    Enjoy your stay!

    • Its funny… my students are very shy to speak English with me. They are so afraid to make a mistake. I have started using Indonesian in my classes just so they hear how bad I butcher it… hoping it will give them a little more confidence. But I will tell you, when one of my students told me it might be easier if I just went back to English, I felt really bad.

  14. Great post- thanks for sharing! Sometimes I think that if it isn’t at least a bit scary and/or challenging, it’s not worth doing… Your story is inspiring!

  15. Man, I admire your courage, you’ve chosen a great and fulfilling path. =)

    I’m currently in the midst of writing an ebook on traveling to Singapore! Was hoping you (and your readers if you guys don’t mind) could share with me on what you’d like to know about Singapore if you plan to travel here (or anywhere for that matter)

    Here’s the link to my post, would be really grateful for your inputs and comments, cheers! http://themanwhodoesntwork.wordpress.com/ebook/

    • I have been wanting to visit Singapore.. it would be great to know places that are worth seeing, picture worthy destinations, foods that should be tried, places to stay that are affordable, and maybe even traditional merchandise we can find there. The best ways to get around and even things to be cautious of while visiting would also be good to know. 🙂 Good luck with your book!

      • Thanks for sharing Wench! thanks for the inputs, we’re writing the book as I type this, and it’s looking good.. Will definitely keep you updated and take into account what you’d like to know about the book!

        cheers, and looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  16. My brother is teaching English in Thailand right now (also from the East Coast) so you’re basically a stones throw away (compared to a 20+ hour flight). He had studied abroad in Spain and Italy and spent some time in Tunisia and France but nothing compared him for the culture shock of a totally foreign culture and belief system. He is loving it now but has watched friends give up and his ex girlfriend who is also in Thailand hate every minute. They are only there for a year and are currently on their break, but its been a long year for everyone involved. Good luck to you and if you see my little brother tell him Jeff says hi!

  17. This is so wonderfully written and it seems like such an amazing experience. Congratulations on finding your path and making in difference in the lives of your students and also being courageous enough to try something so new and different. Last, but not least, congrats on being freshly pressed and thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts!

  18. Amazing post!! and i have to say about your question of if you are changing the world, i believe you are, you are affecting the lives of your students and your host family, so you are changing the world in your way small way.. i really enjoyed this post.. 😀 please do check out my blog when you have the time.. 🙂
    http://chicwithwords.wordpress.com/

  19. Props! I truly don’t think I could ever pack up my life and move to another country where I don’t know the language or culture. I have had several friends who have done it though and I think it is well worth it. I am sure you will come back a changed and much more appreciative human being. Good luck with your ventures!

  20. Damn, woman. I hate cliches but every avalanche starts with a handful of pebbles.

    Well, okay, except the ones that start with dynamite.

    Right, my point being – you change the world just by existing. Just because you yourself haven’t started an earth-shaking event doesn’t mean you aren’t changing things every day, and one small change can lead to a thousand big ones.

    I also went through depression – I didn’t even know what was wrong with me until two years ago, and now – well, I’m still living where I’ve always lived but even here I’ve realized just how much I affect my own world by what I do in it. I think it’s tremendous that you have tried this and I think that if I had an aunt, daughter or sister who was part of the Peace Corps, I’d be proud to have something so special as a part of my family history. Nothing wrong with saying “enough” if it’s not for you, mind – but if this is something you want to do, I say stop fretting about what you ‘should’ be doing or ‘could’ be doing and remember that what you *are* doing is more than what you *were* doing when you were 27 and heading downward!

    Okay, I think that’s enough ‘doings’ for one comment.

  21. I think you are changing the world, in the best appropriate way: Education and courage. I can only imagine all the joy and confidence you convey to your students, which will linger in their minds and hearts forever, of what it means to be a caring, loving human on earth! That will carry on and affect the way they in return perceive the world. Great job and nice photos!

  22. I’m a new reader of your blog and look forward to reading about your life in Indonesia (and all your memories of other times in your life, of course).

  23. Very, Very Nice, Girl. My Chairman asked me to join the Peace Corp for the experience, I said I would have loved to, but they wouldn’t accept me with three children in tow. He was outraged that Peace Corp had changed their policies — he and his wife had three children while living in Chad and Afghanistan in the Peace Corp. I understood it though. Not many people can go the distance on their own, little lone with kids on their own.
    I’m proud of you, and all that will grow inside of you. Your nieces will cherish the post cards and hearing all your many stories when you return. You will grow fearless, and accomplished and never lie with regrets. Stick with grit and love it! And you can ride the top of the “W.” 🙂

  24. indonesia is truly a beautiful country. and am always proud to be one. wish i had a native english teacher when i was in high school. believe me, you mean a lot to your students.

  25. Reblogged this on Under an Artichoke and commented:
    This brings back so many memories of when I served in the Peace Corps in Eastern Europe more than a decade ago. So many days, particularly in the first nine months or so, were filled with the nearly constant ups and downs of navigating another culture, things I’d taken for granted in growing up and living in the U.S. There were days during service when I’d stand at my window, fighting back tears and wondering how much further I could bend without actually breaking and heading home. But after about the first year, I began to make some dear friends on-site who made all the difference, and after more or less settling into a routine and learning enough of the language to get by—and working on projects that my counterparts were excited about and I felt fulfilled in doing—the second year was so much better for me. One of the great things about teaching English to these kids is realizing how much they take what you bring to them to heart, even years later. I’ve had former students find me on Facebook and be all, “Do you remember me?? I hope so, because I remember you.”

  26. Lovely piece about change and growth. I, too, spent nearly 2 years abroad during a critical moment in my life and it has forever changed me, saved me, and been the one moment in time that I point to and say, “THAT is when I became me.” You captured a lot of what I was feeling at the time.

  27. I really don’t know what to say. What an amazing blog entry. You certainly grabbed life with both hands and yet you say you’ve previoulsy spent plenty of time running away from the hard things. You’re doing an amazing thing that will change you for the rest of your life and you’re right, the people you work with, live with and teach will have their lives changed by knowing you. You must be exhausted a lot of the time. More power to you and bucket loads of good luck, good health and stamina. Looks an amazing place to be – enjoy yourself and thanks so much for sharing this,

  28. Getting to know folks from other cultures can be just mind blowing! I am so happy Miss Angela you have received this fantastic gift. I’ll be hoping the very best to you and all of yours.

  29. Thanks for sharing and telling the truth instead of what people want to hear. Sounds like you are living a GROWTH experience and when you get to the next step of your journey you will be ready. In my 20’s I had 13 jobs in 12 years so I know what you are talking about. It wasn’t until I was 32 and started my own business that I finally felt grounded (and that was juggling life, a husband and 3 small babies). Best of luck. By teaching you are always moving someone forward.

  30. Stubmled upon your blog through Freshly Pressed (congrats) and I just wanted to tell you that you ARE changing the world. Even if it’s just ONE person, that person could make all the difference.
    You are inspirational! ❤

  31. I loved your write up!
    About your conundrum: Are you changing the world? I’d say, yes. In your own whatsoever way! 😀
    I wish you everything you aspire for! Cheers 😀

  32. You forgot something at the end :).You’re not only changing the lives of the ones around you, you are changing you! And that’s the hardest part. If you can’t change just a bit, those are the ones that go back home after 8 or 9 months.

    I lived in Osaka, Japan, for 5 years, and experienced many of these ups and downs. No it’s not easy to live in a country where they don’t speak your language but it is so enriching in many ways. I wish you the best!

  33. Amazing post. Thanks for sharing. Your reasons and actions currently are worthy ones. Keep at it and be proud of yourself =) You are making a difference and a good one too.

  34. So, glad to see people sacrificing to help others. We need more doing the same. If we did, many of our minor conflicts — and possibly even a few major ones — would be resolved. I encourage you to stay with it, as one person can truly make a difference. This Easter season is a reminder to us all of that. Prayers for you and yours.

  35. I hope you can stick it out. Your life will continue to change you in ways you probably never considered. And your nieces will have such an extra-cool aunt! I’ve never heard that bit about wisdom teeth in the Peace Corps before, wow. Best of luck to you.

  36. Love the photos and it sounds really interesting … and challenging. i am sure you have changed the world, each thing we do does, for better of for worst and in your case I think for better 🙂

  37. Wonderful. It says it all. You are doing what you should be doing. You actually live. That is way more than many people can say for themselves. I recognize the feeling. My road is different but also similar in some respect. Asia changed my life. No, it changed me and I will never be the same again. For you it will not be different.

  38. Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog post and hearing about what you are up to. You remind me of a dear friend who left London to work in Palestine and has remained there ever since – 5 years ago. I think it is important to see and experience other cultures, it gives us a greater understanding of the bigger picture. Your family and true friends will be there for you when you return one day and in the mean time you are properly living life as opposed to sleepwalking through it. Good on you.

  39. Did you not miss your family? I am a student at a fully residential school and even though we are allow to go home once a month I still miss my family.

  40. What a thoughtful post! For what it’s worth, friends who have travelled through Indonesia also tout the friendliness of the population. But they rave about the food. Would you consider a posting on the cuisine?

  41. I’m teaching English in South Korea and feel the same kinds of hardships as you. Hang in there! The traveling and difficulties in communication will make you a much happier and richer person in spirit and life experience. 🙂

  42. Why did you have to take your wisdom teeth out?

    It is an awesome thing that you are done! I would love to see more pictures and read more about it!

  43. I don’t usually read many of the Freshly Pressed posts, but I liked your blog title. God bless you and your efforts in Indonesia. That was a bold decision you made, and look at your reward; as you said, you’re changing lives! Good for you.

  44. Wow! Angela I am honored to have found your blog. Such an inspiration about pressing on and never giving up, when giving up would be so easy. I would love for you to share more of the “food aspect” of Indonesia with me. I am a chef that would love to learn about the food culture in other countries. growalabamachef@aol.com is my email. Hope to talk soon….H

  45. Quite a journey! Changing lives is contributing to saving the world because it starts with the people. Sound like they changed yours too.

  46. Hi Angela,
    I’m Imel and I’m Indonesian.
    Nice story, hope u get along better by now 😉
    I am a teacher too and English is the main language I use to deliver the lessons, so I know how u feel when the students just give us blank stare for not having any ideas of what we’re talking about 😀
    Oh, if u have questions about Indonesia, ask away, perhaps i can help, on behalf of teacher’s profession 😀

    – Imel –

  47. Lovely story, I am sure your friends and family back home will appreciate the person you have become through your journey. Hang in there, you will know when the time is right to be going back home 😉

  48. HI Angela,
    Thanks for writing this piece. I am also a PCV living in Azerbaijan, a Muslim country to the north of Iran, south of Russia, and east of Gerogia and Armenia.

    Your post if very poignant to me in particular because I can relate to much of what you say. Looking back on the last 1.5 years of my service I see that I have created relationships and planted seeds, but in terms of creating sustainable projects I’m not so sure. It feels frustrating at times to be here and feel like nothing will ever change (I mean the org I work for asked me to work for them, yet they hardly ever engage me). But of course, that is silly because life in any circumstance is not stagnant, but always changing. So, with that thought, I am comforted to know that I and the rest of my cohorts here in Azerbaijan are planting seeds of change. Not that we are showing them how to live like Americans, but that we are showing them that if you desire to make a change in your life, your culture, your position, over time, maybe even over generations it can happen. I mean, isn’t that why there is so much immigration from south of our border into the U.S.? Those people don’t want to leave their homeland, but they do it so that they can offer future generations more stability.

    Anyhow, you are doing great work planting seeds abroad, nurturing seeds that have been planted within you that you get to take back with you and cultivate.

    Keep up the great work and congrats on being freshly pressed!

    Glendene

  49. I loved your post! I almost applied for the Peace Corps when I was in university. I got offered a job teaching English in Belarus and went on my own. There I met my husband (a Pakistani) and am currently living in Islamabad, Pakistan. I know what you mean about life being beautiful and challenging at the same time…but I wouldn’t change anything! Hats off to you and all the other people that go off and explore the world…I found that I have learned as much about myself as I have about those around me!

  50. Not a lot of blogger sharing about their experience in Indonesia like you did. I am from Indonesia and thank you for sharing this lovely posting

  51. Admire is not a word that slips easily from my lips, but I think it applies here! I think it is amazing what you are doing and feel privileged to hit the “Follow” button. Thank you for your post.

  52. I just movied to Korea, Seoul to be exact. I’ve been teaching ENglish here just over a month! Your post reminded me that its ok for this to NOT feel like “omg this is the best experience I’ve ever had”every single day!

    🙂

  53. Hi Angela
    I found that I’m so interested with your story. It reminds me at the first time I stepped my feet in Congo. Anyway, I’m Indonesian. As you are, I had never been out of my country to live in. At the beginning, life was so hard, everybody speaks French but me, and I kept thinking in my mind, “What am I doing here?”
    I’m doing voluntary works with one organization in peacekeeping program. Some people out there always thought that how lucky I am. Living abroad often seems as luxury life or whatever it is. They don’t know how tough it can be. They don’t know that I was so frustrated when I didn’t understand what people are talking about. They don’t know how difficult to start mingle to the people with different cultures, beliefs, languages, etc. And they don’t even know how lonely I was, living far from family and best friends to be with.
    Anyway, It’s a great step, Angela. Being part of other cultures is wonderful experiences. We didn’t change the world. But at least, we’re doing something to make the world better with our small contribution.
    KEEP SPIRIT..

    cheers,
    Nurul

  54. You are a wonderful gift. The fact that you are doing so much, and working so hard to make contributions that really matter… Well, that is so much as it is. But then, sharing your experience here takes it to another level. We all need a little inspiration, and I think you delivered. I do a lot of thinking and writing about finding your path in life, and admire you for being honest with your experience. And it’s so beautiful that you tried something that was such a stretch, such a change. You are truly rising to the challenge. Thanks for inspiring us all.

  55. Thank you for your honesty, Angela. I spent a month working with homeless people in Honduras last summer, and a lot of what you have to say definitely resonates with me. Though, of course, your term of service definitely dwarfs mine! But it sounds like you’re doing great work–keep it up and remember that even just your presence in that community speaks volumes about how much you care. I write about a lot of travel/service topics on my blog, adventuringwithjesus.wordpress.com, so feel free to check that out if you get a chance.

  56. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Of course you have CHANGED THE WORLD.
    1) You have changed so you changed the world.
    2) You have Acted……”an ounce of action is worth tons of preaching”.
    3) You saw Good in People and you have helped them. They’ll remember Miss Angela.
    4) You are true to yourself (your post explains how you really feel) and so you are true to the world.
    5) You continue to grow and evolve and as you do this you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the World and thus…..You change the world.

  57. Nice post. I can relate to the struggles you face in the classroom; trying to get through to your students, teach them English while they don’t quite understand the language. I’m a teacher in South Africa–while we do have almost a dozen official languages here, the school I teach at is completely English-speaking. And yet… I struggle to get through to my learners. The English they speak would have you believing they’re speaking a whole other language. I guess teaching is a struggle, period. But it is certainly a great joy, too. I wouldn’t give it up for anything else right now. And I love how you express that love you have for your students–transcending the language and cultural barrier, the relationship between student and teacher can be an amazing one.

    Lovely post. Enjoy the rest of your stay there. Keep learning and growing–and changing lives (yours and theirs). And, by the way, you ARE indeed changing the world. Every student you teach is your contribution to the world–consider it changed.

  58. When we push ourselves past our point of comfort we learn most about what we are capable of. What you will walk away with after this experience will make every uncomfortable / doubt filled moment worth while. Don’t give up – you have much to teach many! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself in this post, I enjoyed learning about you and your adventure 🙂

  59. I really enjoyed reading your story! It’s so inspiring! It’s nice to break out of your shell and be taken on a ride where you expand your world, learn about a new culture, and “find” yourself in the process, eh?

    I’m in a similar situation with desiring to find my place in the world. It’s been quite the thrill so far, and it’s only the beginning.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Nothing’s more worthwhile than personal journey’s of self-discovery. In those moments of time is when we truly find ourselves.

  60. Inspiring and very interesting story!
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    I am curious…. why did you have to have your wisdom teeth removed? (Excuse my nosiness but I am having a wisdom tooth trauma of my own at the moment!)

  61. I completely relate to all of this. Also went/am going through that very LONG period of not knowing where life is going and also went to teach English in Thailand, but only for 6 months. It will be worth it in the end. Everything always ends up working out 🙂

  62. Hi Miss Angela,

    Apa Kabar? Terima kasih banyak untuk blogpostnya…hehehe

    Why don’t you come to Borneo. I’m in East Borneo (Kalimantan Timur), Balikpapan City for the exact.

    God Bless You!

  63. What a great life experience! I am jealous! Joining the peace corp is something I have always thought about doing. Enjoy your time there, you will learn so many life lessons. That’s funny how everyone wants to take pictures of you – the same thing happened to me in India. People would even snap pictures as they walked by – I am probably in tons of pics I don’t know about!

  64. Hello from Jakarta!
    Your students are very lucky to have a native English speaker as their teacher. When I was growing up I had to learn English partly from Sesame Street/western songs/hollywood films! English was taught in the classroom but the teachers taught it using Bahasa Indonesia. So, you can imagine how hard it was to actually apply it in real life. 🙂
    When you have free time (school holidays, etc) you should (MUST) explore the island – and other parts of Indonesia. This would be the 2 years+ of your life you’d never forget.
    Good luck and have fun teaching!

  65. This is a truly amazing story! I would be so afraid to move somewhere foreign and where language is a barrier. But it’s not the number of people you inspire and help it’s who you help. One or two people is better than no one at all! I hope to one day teach people or inspire people as you have me.

  66. Oh my goodness! I want to thank EVERYONE for the wonderful responses to both my blog and this post. I am pleasantly overwhelmed from all the support that I have felt from you. I will start to respond to comments, but wanted to first say ‘thank you’ to everyone so you know that your comments and support are very much appreciated.

    • Peace Corps makes sure that everyone who is accepted into service is healthy and able to complete their 27 months in the best health possible. Wisdom teeth, even if they are not bothering you, can cause flare up and pain at any time. They can become infected and cause illness due to our bodies coming into contact with germs and bacteria it is not normally exposed to. In a third world country, dental care is not always easily accessible so they were required to be removed as a precaution.

  67. Hello,
    im 29, and i think im just finding my feet. thank you for letting it all out. sometimes to read about someone else’s challenges makes you realise that…. hey i am not alone.

    you have a fan in me.

  68. Thanks for this blog. I’m a few weeks from graduation and have no idea what I’ll do with my life. This blog helped me feel not as alone.

    I hope you’re able to stick it out and continue learning and thriving in Indonesia. It’s an an incredible opportunity.

  69. A very inspiring entry! I admire your strength in what you do and where you are right now despite being separated from your family. It is always a romantic notion to serve for a cause or work to earn in a foreign country. Just the idea of living overseas presents endless idea of adventures and experiences and there are times that it would be tough.

    I wish you the best of luck! 🙂

  70. What a beautiful post about the challenges and blessings that come along with doing something of this nature. Very inspiring for a person who is going through college – a little unsure of what exactly I want to do, and having the courage to take risks.
    Thank you for sharing!

  71. Pingback: Kreative Blogger Award! | KatieInColor

  72. I think I am going through what you have been through when you finished your college. I am yet again depressed and have no direction in life, meaning, I don’t know what to do again with my life. I don’t know where to start again after my job in Singapore. Now, I am back home but nothing to do. However, I just see it in a good way thinking that I am able to spend time with my family and my niece, who is by the way growing too fast. When I have been to SG, I also had a wonderful time and experience but I also had a lot of downfalls. And what is so frustrating and scary is that I was alone to face them all because my family is not around to help me.
    I worked in a nursing home where the elderly are aged 50-90+. That means, they don’t know how to speak in English but their native language which is Chinese with a number of dialects. I have been struggling with communication there too. But I was able to pull through. Sometimes, I try to learn a few words and apply them or try sign language.
    But at the end of the day, I contemplate, I just wanted to do the work I am passionate about which is to work in a hospital preferably but helping the sick people or elderly to rehabilitate is better than none at all and yes…to change a few lives. But sometimes in then end, it is them who change my life.

    • I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up… what comes after Peace Corps… my mom just gave me the best advice… you can do anything. The only failure is not trying.

      Don’t get discouraged. There is no shame in having a lull in activity. Just don’t be afraid to get back out there. I wish you the best of luck and if you ever just want to chat feel free. 🙂

  73. That sounds fun and fascinating! I considered joining the Peace Corps prior to getting married this past year. There is nothing better than engaging and seeing the world and other cultures in their own backyards.

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