Monday, April 30, 2007

i m good.. no worries ;)

Just 30 days left in Padang. Its really strange, tomorrow will be May already. I m 26 and still a year away from graduating and that is if everything works out perfect. Still need to finish those papers soon, before I go to Korea and hope they will all be accepted… I m currently thinking too much about that, but oh well. Everything should be fine. Ok, back to more interesting things.

I just read Luke´s blog, yes the whole 3 months…Took me a while..LOL.. For those that don’t know Luke, he is currently on an AIESEC Internship in Tunisia and is originally from Canada. Tunisia is also a muslim country and he is experiencing some of the very things I experience, although I must say in some ways it has hit him way harder than me.
Just to state some facts. There are times when he doesn’t shower for 6-7 days and cant change his clothes during the same time span. He doesn’t have toilet paper..go figure…I just got around that actually, because normally people here don’t either.
He is in bigger cities so he got lost a couple of times and he was “harrassed by a transvestit”
I guess that’s some of the major differences he has been going through which I ve been just getting around.

Ok so I want to tell you some of the things I have to cope with, although some things I have already stated at earlier times, but I want to list them again here :

No warm water
People starring at you like you re an animal and not leaving you alone
People trying to charge you 3-4 times the price of things because you re a foreigner
People begging for money pretty much constantly on markets, in buses, in restaurants or just on the street.
Jokes about my culture, language (pronounciation) – might sound silly, but if you re trying to learn a language that is not very motivating and religion
Constant miscommunication – at least that is what we are told ;P – probably just changing plans
Having a meeting start 100 minutes (yes 1hour and 40 minutes) after it was schedulded and this is not a single occasion, meetings normally start about 30-45 minutes late, so you cant really make a follow up schedulde.
Stolen shoes
Very little privacy – even in my room, well I guess I m happy to have a room.
Padang is pretty much dead after 930 pm
Corruption everywhere, you have to pay “local taxes” all over the place and sometimes sketchy people collect money at certain places.
Streets are the garbage can, if you know what I mean, people just drop all their garbage walking anywhere. (adam´s help is needed here..i ve tried to explain, but they just mock me for that)

Actually yes this is not bad at all.
I still live in a very developed part of Padang and I m very lucky, sometimes I feel like I live way more luxurious than in Germany. For example I have a maid washing my clothes. We have a security guard, we have someone cooking for us. I have an Airconditioned room and I have my own bathroom with a western toilet. I have my own desk, cupboard and all that. Everything is provided for me. And the AIESECers or other people always help me if I need there help. Fortunately I can pretty much do all by myself, but it was good that I had someone help me with immigration the other day or if someone knows someone you get things a lot cheaper ;P
Also they have taken me to the more remote places, if you can even call them that, because they are still kind of modern.

Sometimes I even wish that I had more of a developing country experience, but I guess I got the message about most things. So you see you don’t have to worry about me, although some people might think I live kind of a risky life, walking across the city at 10pm, once staying at the beach overnight or just walking around the city and going places, although my Indonesian is not fluent and some others have been robbed, but I guess I look kind of intimidating, because I m rather big for Indonesia and not to foreign either, especially at night, people cant figure where I m from. And Padang I think is not that dangerous after all, but maybe that’s just my image, I don’t know, doesn’t seem that dangerous.

Ok enough about that. On other news. I met my current profs (Nothofer for those who know) student, who know is a lecture herself. That was pretty cool. I wonder if he remembers her at all.

Today I was really full for the first time, because I was outside all day and I had Bakso (some kind of meatball soup) and roti bakar (pretty much toast with jam) and when I got home I got Nasi goreng (fried rice) and martabak mesir (some kind of egyptian pancake with meat and vegetables in it. All of that within 4 hours, so then I was really really full.

Speaking of food, Wednesday was the first time that I refused an offer to eat an uncommon food, but at the sight of cow brain I thought no. Actually I thought about trying, but then no one else ate it either, so I didn’t myself.

Anyways, what else did I do, today I spent another day at the beach after hiking to the top of two mountains, at least that’s what they are called. Its more small hills, but because they take the mini bus even if its only a 5 minute walk, some of them were really exhausted after and were constantly asking me if I wasn’t tired..LOL… kind of funny… I had a good time, finally something active after a while..Oh I cant wait to do some stuff in Germany. Baseball or Basketball e.g. .who is up for the challenge ;)
Nothing else going on..some people have noticed, I ve been online a little more, not too much though, but we have dsl at work now…although I m not sure if you can call it dsl…I guess its like a isdn connection, but at least better than dial up and faster than at the internetcafe where it took me 2.5 hours to upload 8 pictures.
So I hope I ll be able to answer your emails fast now, but then again I m almost on the way home. Only 4.5 weeks left…strange.

But for the other 2 dutch trainees it will actually be time to say goodbye in a couple of hours. I m still prewriting emails, so this will be online Monday, while right now it is Sunday morning 4am and yes I m not sleeping, otherwise I couldn’t get up to be at campus 630. yesterday I got up at 6, this is really killing me… I need my nightlife back ;P

Anyways yes they are leaving now and I finished a presentation for them. I ll upload it to youtube once I m back in Germany, so you can see what we did during our time here.
It will be strange without them, because Gijs and Nienke I saw almost every day at the office, but I ll probably see Ivette 2 or 3 times a week to hang out for a bit. And soon my sis is here in less than 3 weeks.

Also the new EB was finally elected and they ll be going to Conference next Saturday. And they want me to create their rolldance, because I did one for our welcoming party. So I hope I can manage to do it, this afternoon. Also need to finally correct the rest of the homework.. Really need to finish that, because I ve been pushing and pushing it for a week now. I corrected some, but some of it really takes a long time and I m just too tired.

Anyways…. I m probably boring you already….but I will attach another file if you would like to read my impressions about the pbox event , if you don’t care about pbox you can jump to the end there is a review about our life in Indonesia.

Hope you enjoy it.

Take care everyone =)

HIV/AIDS Pbox Padang 2007 Review

The following couple of pages will try to explain the situation for the trainees from abroad as well as some difficulties in the organization of the events and seminars. In the end I want to give some suggestions for future exchanges and projects in the structure and organization of the project, as well as some things you have to take in consideration thinking about a multinational project.

First I would like to mention some general things. The OC was definitely too big. If you think about a “small” project like this Pbox, probably an OC of 5-6 would have been more effective and more structured, also if you look at the main idea of an OC, being taking responsibility, then the bigger the OC is the less responsibility everyone is taking on. This OC had 10 + “3 trainees” + the steering team (Megi, Aan) + VP Projects (Tumi, who was almost non existent/ VP Projects-elect (Rusty) + LC EB Involvement (mainly Dina). Counting altogether you almost have an OC of 20 people running this. Let´s not count the 20, but the 10 + 2 Trainees. How often did all of the OC meet together. I mean not having a meeting, but also having all 12 people attend the meeting. It almost never happened, because if you have a big OC like this it is almost impossible. That lead to a mix up in job tasks, because you could only give tasks to people that were also there.
Also the bigger the OC gets the more blurry the job descriptions are and no one feels responsible anymore.
Also the bigger the OC is the harder it will be to find conclusions, because there is too many different opinions. Of course many opinions give you more options, but if that takes forever to decide there are more important things and OC members can still ask for advice from others.

A big OC also leads to some problems, if the people come late, which has more problems, which I will come to later. First of all the whole OC has to wait for a person to arrive, especially if the person is important for the current situation (e.g. programmer). The smaller the OC is the smaller the chance that the person will be late.
Also sometimes meetings started and then people kept coming late and they made comments that had been made before, or they had no clue what the discussion was about, therefore the whole situation had to be explained over and over again. I remember one meeting, where the same topic was explained five times, so the meeting which had started at 5, did not actually get to talk about the topic until 6.
Also some meetings were schedulded at 5 and did not start until 6:30, because some people were late and they were important.
There should be fines for the people that come late. I want to come back to responsibility for a second. If you are responsible for your job than you should be on time and should not hold up the meeting, because every person being late holds up a meeting. Yes this might be a cultural thing, but AIESEC is an International Organization, which stresses development and some of the AIESECers want to go to the developed world doing a traineeship. If you want to do that, this is your time to learn it. It can not be like this forever.
Also sometimes people found excuses or they just didn’t do there tasks. This is not part of being responsible.
Sometimes when some of the members did not attend it even escalated to the point where there had to be a next meeting, just because the person wasn’t there.

This also carried over to the program preparation, because everything was always late and to relaxed and in the end everyone stressed out and was not ready. People have to see the long term impact of things.

For example the meetings sometimes werent prepared or structured, so therefore they took up to 3 hours, while the actual things we talked about were only worth talking about 15-30 minutes.

Talking about structure. I would like to talk about the job descriptions. It seemed like no one ever knew what to do and they had to have the meeting to get new tasks, so sometimes there were like 3 meetings per week. How is it taking responsibility if all you do is fill tasks. You should look for things yourself and get them going. You have to be creative and innovative and make proposals instead of waiting for someone to give you orders. That is what a VP position is truly about. Being independent, but also being able to work in a team.
Another problem about preparation and structure was that there was never a fixed schedulde. Meetings were moved from one time to another sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Even for externals sometimes appointments were moved around all the time and that does not give a good impression.

Punishment is not always bad, sometimes it is needed for improvement, that is how people will learn. The finesystem for example. If people are on time, there is no punishment, if they are late of course they have to pay. Some of the excuses were, they do not have the money to pay. That is not an excuse, because if they are on time, they do not have to pay.

I want to come back to the OC size for a second. Of course at times some of the OC members are really busy, but then on the other hand OC members did not have anything to do, sometimes some people were really busy in the beginning and then did not have anything to do until the end. While others had free time in the beginning and then were busy in the end. You can combine this position. Sometimes I was asking myself, how bad did people really want their position, because in the end they were complaining about having to do another person´s task. But an OC is a team, mabye there should be a bonding at first, a trip together to a beach or something to get to know each other. Maybe this will raise the motivation for people to want to work together for each other, to help out each other.

Also because sometimes people didn’t have anything to do they distracted the actual meeting playing around with their cellphones, listening to music or just talking with each other, giggling around. This is also a reason of a big OC, if you have a small OC, normally everyone has something to do. If you have a big group people will be busy doing other things and distracting the important discussions.

If you are asking me, how is all this supposed to be possible. I have been OCP before and it is possible. We had one meeting per week, which lasted about 1 hour and we still got everything settled. Yes it was a one day event, but just to give you some numbers, we did marketing to University, companies, stores, supermarkets totalling probably 50-60 altogether. We send invitations and then followed up with phone calls about 200 people + newspapers, radio and posters.
We had a buffet there. We had 2 guestspeakers, who were as high as the top person from the state, who needed security. We had a coat check at the door.
So yes this was a one day event, but it doesn’t mean it was less to organize or less tasks and yes all of us were fulltime students including masters students, who were busy and had a job besides university or had other student organizations or clubs they had to work for as well.

Yes it was in Canada, yes it is a different country, yes it is a different culture. But stop finding excuses. All of you want to be succesful and follow the good things. Indonesia wants to be a modernized country and that starts with all of today´s students, because today´s students are the leaders of tomorrow and AIESEC always talks about the Culture of Excellence, stop talking…do it!

I want to leave another general comment here. Lots of AIESEC here I found unfortunately very superficial. A lot is happening on the outside. The election process takes forever with the results being so small. People that are not dedicated to their position are getting the job. I have to ask a lot of the people that are in positions, how bad to you want it. If I hear that filling out a booklet is too much effort. Are you kidding me? And yes I have actually heard that comment. Some of you will take a position for one year. And then everyone starts filling out there booklet within the last 2 days? There are typos in the booklets like AISEC or It is not useful to choose me. And so on. People do not answer questions with a lot of thought.
None of the members can really read the booklets of the candidates, because while the booklets are distributed the candidates are doing their presentation.
Have the booklets put online or distributed a week before, otherwise you don’t need the booklet at all, because no one is really able to read all of it and well the candidates only fill it out in 1 hour before the deadline anyways, so who cares.

I have to ask you, how bad do you want this position. Or let me put it this way, how bad do you want the tasks, the opportunities and the chances that come with the position, because it is an opportunity after all. It is your chance to lead a young group of people that can make a difference, a chance you might never get again in your life. And you should be aware of what you can achieve and you should only apply if you really want to do that.
Again for the LC, yes I think the EB is to big again. Just look at Exchange. 3 EB for Exchange? And still how long have you been looking for Trainees to come here for Cemara, ELS and I don’t know what else. I know for Pbox you were unable to match until just before the Pbox, They didn’t even get here until the start of the project. I recently checked for Trainees online to go to Cemara. It took me 5 minutes to propose 3 students from Africa to them, who had background in HIV and were DT Trainees. All of them speak english.

Then again what is the VP Projects good for, if he doesn’t supervise the Pbox, one of the biggest AIESEC projects here in Padang?
If you wonder, why I think a smaller EB is better look up my comments about the OC.

To finish off the Pbox, I want to propose 1 or more or less 2 topics that are very global and you can find in the newspaper or on the news everyday. There are tons of conferences and still it seems like no student in Indonesia really cares about it.
Global warming and Climate change. You think this doesn’t affect you? Think again, what do you think was the cause of the Tsunami, all the earthquakes, the floods? Yes exactly global warming is part of it. You have to watch your environment. This is your life, this is your world and you only have one. If everyone keeps living like they do now, Padang will be gone in 30 years, because the sea level has risen so much that Padang is under the Ocean and yes it affects the developing countries and the poor the most, because the rich countries can protect themselves, while the south doesn’t have the money to built protection.
Maybe some of you still don’t believe me. I have a movie called the inconvenient truth. It was made by the former Vice President of the United States. I have it and Nicky (some of you know here) have a copy, so if you want to see it feel free.
But please spare me your mocking laughs, if I tell you again to not throw garbage on the ground.
So I would suppose Environment or Global Warming, Climate Change is a good topic to educate people about. Yes you can find it in newspapers, but who really reads them? And it is an important topic.
Now I would like to tell you some of the problems that have to do with the trainees in particular.

First of all, this is a project based on exchange. So people that are in the project should be aware of the fact that they will have to speak English and because it is multinational the meetings should be in English or you have to get trainees that can speak Indonesian, that is somehting you can put in your job description and although there are not a lot there are a few students out there that can speak indonesian. This is hard to describe and maybe only possible for those that have been abroad yet. How do you feel if there is conversations going on around you and you don’t understand anything. You sit there for hours and nothing happens.
Or sometimes you do understand something and then you see that people make jokes about you and find it funny that they can do it right in front of you, without you understanding.
Sorry guys, we might not speak indonesian that well, but we re not stupid and sometimes we do understand what you are saying and it is not very polite.

Also I heard the job description was not what it sounded like. I can only speak for my own job description and yes it is very different from what I am actually doing, because actually I am an English teacher and not a member of an NGO, that works in Environment, AIDS, human rights, accountability and so on. So I wish it had been a little different, but its ok.

For the other trainees, the ones that were especially here for the Pbox I always felt kind of sorry, because they were really bored, they didn’t have a lot to do, sometimes they felt their trip here was wasted because they couldn’t do anything, maybe you can figure something out that gets them more involved and less dependant on the other OCs activities, because that is what they did.

Some other things, besides the language. Trainees here feel like animals in a zoo. You might ask yourself what I mean by that, but just think about what happens when you walk around with us. People calling you names. And starring at you. If you take an angkot for 15 minutes they will be looking in your face for 15 minutes as if you were an Alien. Yes we do feel like animals in a zoo sometimes, like a tourist attraction. I have one AIESECer who constantly calls me john and finds it very funny, even after I told him name is not john, he keeps calling me john all the time.. .must be funny… well for him, not for me.
Also it is difficult for people from western countries to adapt to the slow motion activities in Indonesia, because everything is just slower, you can not make a schedulde here, because everyone is late and then you will be late for your next meeting if you have one after.

One more thing. I recently had a discussion about a christian ritual and some people found it very funny that Christians for their communion eat some kind of candy and drink red wine. It is representing Jesus Christ´s body and blood. Then some Indonesians were making fun of it, by saying they are eating Jesus and asking, which part of Jesus is this.
Would you find it funny if I made a joke about Mohammed or about the Islam? Well maybe some of you, but I think most of you get my point. I am not saying you have to believe in it, because that is up to you, but you should respect it.
Same goes for some of the other problems we have encountered. If the trainees were moody are had a certain attitude or didn’t want to do something. If they were tired or felt sick, some of you are fast too judge and talk about the arrogant westerners and make jokes about us. I m not saying you have to understand, just respect it.

I know this might sound strange because I m writing this huge critique just now. And I know you will not change from one second or another. I just want you to get a different perspective on things.

I actually want to come back to the Pbox one last time.

I think it is really important that you get the students interested in the topic and make sure they pay attention, because I saw students do their homework, read comics, talk with each other and things like that. If that happens then the Pbox is worthless and all the effort you put into it is for nothing. I know there will always be people like that, but try to pay attention to it and show them that they can not just leave class if they want to, sit in a group outside the classroom just talking. That s not the idea of the Pbox. Try to get them even more involved.
Maybe have a better selection of students? Although I don’t know how to do that.

Also for the AIESECers, the AIESECers themselves were a distraction a lot of times. Only have those AIESECers in that really want to listen or are helping out with something. Make sure they do not come in and out whenever they want to or talk and laugh, because all of that is distracting.
Maybe you have to let them turn off cell phones. If not at the seminar at least during the meetings they should!
They are not only a distraction, but they also give a bad image to AIESEC about externals, because it is not just the teachers or the head of the school that sees it. It is the doctors, the NGO´s and all other kind of external partner and you also never know, who the students parents are. If they talk bad about AIESEC then maybe the parents wont sponsor next time.
Be aware of what is out there. Also make sure that people know AIESEC is not an English club, because lots of people still think that way and it is just not true. And that is probably the most important part, people need to know what AIESEC is.

One last “negative” thing. You should not make fun of people trying to speak Indonesian, even if they have an accent, after all they are willing to spend their time learning your language, which is part of your culture, so don’t make fun of them for trying. None of us make fun of your English either.

Just to clarify. I am not speaking about everyone here and I know some of you do not agree with those things themselves. I am just saying that we, the trainees have encountered all those things and this is not meant to criticize you, it is more like a feedback, supposed to give you some insight on how others feel and how you might be able to improve upon some things.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not have problems with anyone personally. I like all the AIESECers and I think they are very kind and helpful. And I enjoy Padang and my traineeship a lot. Padang is very nice and the cultural differences are the reason why I am here and I don’t mind it at all. I just hope that sometimes there is more respect to other people.
My traineeship is also fine, it is just different than what I expected.

I am having a good time here and I cherish it and I would always do it again. You have to realize what some people are going through though. For some of the trainees it is the first ever experience in a different country away from their parents and on their own and then it might not be one big thing that bothers them, but it can be a lot of small things that add up to be bigger than they might seem, but if you put everything together then it can bother people.

To finish this report I want to tell you the good things as well though. I think the AIESECers have done an awesome job, providing us housing, airport pick-up and delivery, touring and guiding us around, trying to solve all the problems we have encountered. Helping us to shop and bargain or just accompanying us. All of us really appreciate it and we can never say how much we are thankful for it, but it really means a lot to us. And all of us would be really happy to see some of you visit us in Europe or wherever we might end up in the world one day. It has really been a pleasure staying in Padang, discussing different cultures and attitudes and also sharing experiences. Lots of you have been eager to learn or share and this is what makes life interesting and this is what we are living for.
This is just a short note about the positive things, there is so much more, but then I could write forever ;)
Also for the Pbox, a lot of those problems have been improved throughout the process, but the next OC will be different people, so maybe they

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

5 little trainees went on a world trip, 3 didnt want to stay

Well Gijs has already left and Nienke and Elke are still here, but they already had their farewellparty and they will leave this coming Sunday. Time flies. I ve been here for 9 weeks now, yes over 2 months, crazy eh.

I m leaving Padang in 35 days and will go on a road trip around Southeast Asia before hopefully getting back to Germany on June 7th. At least that is the plan for now.

Well we ll see how that goes. Anyways, yes all 3 of them had their farewell parties and the more and more I stay here I get disappointed in some people. They are very friendly on one side, but then they are taking behind your back a lot and they saying they will miss you and all that, but then when Gijs left, noone even looked at him leaving. I don’t know what it is, but for me except for 3-4 people I will not remember too many of them. It is kind of sad, but I guess it’s a different culture. And then they make jokes about you, right in front of you, because they think you don’t understand and they are talking about our bad habits (western habits) without having ever been to another country.

Also there AIESEC structure is based on rules and regulations. Their VP Election process takes several days, but in the end it seems like its all fake and noone cares anyways. Its all about getting the position, not about doing the work.

Also if you re a “ white foreigner” you can feel like an animal in a zoo sometimes, because everyone keeps staring at you and wants to talk to you and it seems like you re from outer space.

That’s for some of the things we trainees have to cope with everyday ;P

Actually we ve pretty much adjusted to that and we just go with the flow now. Smile when they make jokes about you… ignore people when they stare at you. Don’t build a close relationship with the people. So for now its working out pretty good.

Other news (LOL)

I was really excited to hear about my baseball team back home. New players, 2 impressive wins and everything seems to be rolling there. Cant wait to get back.

We got dsl in the office now, only 2 hours a day for all office though, so I probably still wont have to much access to it, but maybe I can save some money through it. I m actually trying to survive on the money I have, which right now for the 35 remaining days gives me an average of 2,75 Euro per day to spend, which might not seem like much, but the last two days together I spent 1,50 Euro. So I think it will be possible, although when my sis gets here I might have to spend some more.. haha. Oh well… for my sis I will… LOL

I m currently still at 81 kg, and I didn’t work out for a week, because I was really tired everynight and just felt like falling into bed, but still had to do some work, but yesterday I started again.

Also the dance with Ivette I think is going to be really cool, if we can get everything together, because right now its about 12/13 minutes long, but we ve already practiced all parts, we just need to improve on them, but time is running out, so we ll see about that.

Also the new EB is elected and they are ready to roll at conference in 2 weeks, one week after nldc.

I wish I could be at NLDC, but oh well, you cant have everything, right?

Anyways, that’s it for most of the news as I have a tight schedulde now. 14 classes a week if I have to hold all classes, but normally some students don’t come or its raining to hard for students to come to office or the rector isnt in padang or students have a make up class at university…so blablbala… normally just about 10 classes I guess.

Hehe…alright… keep me posted, I m still waiting for emails… LOL

Take care°

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

padang so empty now

Its crazy, everyone is leaving now.

Gijs, Nienke, Elke, the 3 dutch trainees and then also Jurman, he graduated and Dina the LCP will go to Jakarta for transition. We are pretty good friends, because I think we can understand each other better, because she has also lived in the US for a couple of years. All of them are currently gone already, although they will be back for the weekend, but then soon gone for good.
Its crazy, seems so empty now.

Anyways… the event on Sunday started out really cool and a huge crowd joined the aerobics, which was pretty nice. The rector, my landlord even danced. That was cool. Also some other funny things were going on and it was nice to finally stay up longer than 12, or at least stay out of the house longer than 9 or 10. And there is a nightlife in Padang. So that was pretty cool. Had some fun staying up all night, but so tired the next day and still tired.

Unfortunately a lot of people left the event early, but it was still good and now the project is over.

Other then that, there is not too much going on. Currently waiting for my visa extension and should get it tomorrow, then will have to extend it one more time. Also my sister now is coming for sure. So that should be cool, just trying to figure out what to do.

Also trying to plan my trip after I leave padang. I will try to leave here on may 30th or 31st depending on the plane ticket price, but have to ask for permission, because actually my internship ends on the 31st. so will need to get 2 days off. Hope that is possible, because its only 3 classes.

Other than that I will go to KL, Manilla and Singapore after and hope to be back in Germany on june 8th or 9th. So that’s whats going on right now…

This week is kind of low key, because everyone is having exams and the trainees are on vacation, so besides work, really not much going on. Oh about work. I have 10 classes now, so I ll be more busy, but that’s fine.

Ok enough talking, not much interesting anyways…..

Have a good day,

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Another day, another year….

So I ve reached the half way point. 50/100. And I have reached another stage in life. I m 26 and I m getting closer to real life everyday or am I there already? You never know.

A movie says. “This is life, this is it…..”
If this is life, is that really all there is? Well I m still waiting for what is behind the next bend, behind that mountain, lying in the village, waiting for me to find it and follow it.

I really cherish the experiences I was able to make, living in different countries, meeting so many people from different nationalities, doing different activities, while still being healthy.

I do cherish all the sorrow as well, because that enabled me to feel the joy. On a day like today I really want to thank all the people that have shared my path, that have inspired and shaped me. Some of supported me, some have criticized me, some might not even have spoken to me, but still made a difference along the way.

I hope I was also able to leave an impression to some of you and hopefully in a good way. I know there will always also be bad things and I m really sorry for every harm I have ever done.

Anyways, back to reality in the here and now.

I had a crazy birthday. I was covered in cake and eggs mixed with water. I had some surprises, some special presents, some nice emails, some disturbing emails. So it was a crazy day getting phone calls from at least 4 different countries, so strange.

I had a good time though, even though it ended in a bruised toe. Haha, but that’s all good. Talking about feet, my shoes got stolen at the internet café the other day. Really strange, I guess I have the thief`s shoes now. Its only my flip flops, but they were pretty nice, but oh well, I m not really thinking about it anymore.

So as told before I will be a fitness instructor on Sunday at 615 in the morning, but we have to stay at the venue over night, so no sleep for us. That should be really fun and I m announced on the poster as Mr. Richard, trainee from Canada. LOL.

Oh yes one more thing, I was thinking about applying for OC 50th, because I ve been on the working group for quite some time. Actually I really want to apply, but the application is only for people living in Canada, so I don’t think it is possible for me. Grrrrr… oh well.

Anyways, so the departure of the other trainees is coming closer and closer and I think after that I will definitely find some time to finally start my papers and I think my lifestyle will be even cheaper as probably we wont go for western food and for trips that much, as I ve already seen most places.
But I ve also decided to do a dance together with Ivette the only remaining trainee, we re trying to combine all different kinds of dances in one big one and I hope it will be a really good dance in the end. Will be difficult though, but should be fun and if it works out I think it would be an awesome thing.

Anyways, that’s it from me now. All of you out there, take care, ok?



i got some emails from people i really didnt expect, which was great... =)
made a great day....
some people forgot...haha.. oh well.. i do too, all the time, so who cares....

anyways...getting ready for my night at the beach and its raining...grrrrr...LOL

Monday, April 09, 2007

almost reached the halfway point

Another week is over, now it is only 52 days until I leave. Crazy, time is flying. Gijs will leave in 11 days, Nienke and Elke in 19 days and then it is only Ivette and me. And maybe no more travelling as I ve seen pretty much all the places in West Sumatra. I could go to Mentawai or Jakarta, but I don t know if I want to and I will definitely try to go to Kuala Lumpur, Manilla and Singapore after, so that should be fun, maybe together with Ivette if she gets off work. Other than that, not much is going on. My baseball team is having their first game next week and I can not be there. Strange feeling. I wish I could be there. It is the first season opener I have ever missed I think. Strange.

Anyways, here everything now is back to normal, laptop working, cellphone working and after 3 hot night Aircondition is working again. So I can cool down some. Seems like everyone is busy these days as they are having midterms, but that’s cool. I hope I can recharge a little bit myself as I have to prepare classes, write an evaluation report and I should start some of those termpapers for Germany, haha. I ve been sitting on them for a while now.

I heard the semester in Canada is over as well, at least classes. Strange some things just go down like this. It seems weird I can t really contact people that much. And it made me realize that I m not really addicted to the internet, I just use it a lot to keep in touch with everyone and to keep up to date. Although the Jakarta Post is helping me at least a little bit about the world news.

What else is new. Oh yes, we went to Sikuai Island and saw some Iguanas. The others also tried to swim over to the next island until our boat driver told them to turn around, because there could be sharks in the water. Scary thought. I got another sunburn and by now some people say I really look Indonesian and I got a lot slimmer as I only weigh 84kg now, so that is 8kg less than I did when I first got to Padang. I hope I can make that 80.

What else am I doin these days? I saw the dutch trainees perform a traditional plate dance, which looked pretty cool, they did a good job. I wish I could learn one myself, but probably don’t have time for it, but oh well, you cant have everything, haha.

Also right now we re planning the Expossure of the HIV Pbox and we are having some problems, so we re having a meeting every day, so that’s taking up some time, but we hope it is still working out.

Speaking of working out, I will take part as a fitness instructor for that event. That should be hilarious, trying to get 200 Indonesians to do fitness on a Sunday morning at 7.

Ok I think that is it from me now. Not much else going on. I ll keep you updated.

Take care!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Frustration sets in

Sorry guys, but today I ll have to write down some frustrating things. but dont worry overall i m good.
sometimes just gets the best of me...all of a sudden my laptop is not working anymore and yes if i was in germany i could probably get it fixed within a week, but here maybe not and then some people might say, you and your laptop....yes i know, but then again all my music, all my pictures are on my laptop... all the memories i have from germany and canada. also the movies i watch here every other night i did on my laptop....

my work i prepared on my laptop and i used it in class. i also was going to write my thesis on it, now that i have the weekends pretty much of...more to that later.

it is also my storage for my pics from indonesia. so if i dont have my laptop i cant take to many more pictures and i cant do presentations and all of you know how much i like presentatinos.

okok enough about that...

also i wont be able to go to singapore or malaysia before the end of my traineeship for visa regulations, kind of s### but oh well.

Also I m getting kind of tired of the food. its good and I dont mind eating it... just every day i wish for other food more and more, because there is not a big diversity...i eat like 5/10 different meals all the time, which is fine for a certain time, but sometimes i wish i could eat something different, pretty much it is rice with chicken all the time and then sometimes something else added to it,
but its ok...will try to find a chinese store to cook some food..hihi

also a little frustrated about work, because other than english teaching i dont really do a lot, which was fine, if i had classes everyday, but only 3 days a week and even then sometimes there is only 2 people in my classs... sometimes its 10....still not a lot.... but every morning its like a suprise how many people will show up....sometimes not too good, because i wish i could plan more, but well i ll get over it. i just feel like i m not doing anything ...

and then even after work there is not much physicl activity... I cant play sports here or anything. well i could play tennis with the rector, but oh well... maybe not....haha
but i m trying to work out in my room now. with the help of a water bottle a chair and a bed....sounds funny eh... but there is not much i can use.

I miss baseball a lot, especially playing but also watching baseball, football, hockey, basketball... especially now its playoff time and the wild made it in..... adam you read this ;) LOL

I only check stats once i week while im in the internet cafe.

also sometimes i get frustrated with everyone speaking indonesian or better minang and making jokes on me and i know the joke is on me, but i just smile... minang is a dialect and i dont understand it yet... so oh well... sucks, but what can i do... also if they speak indonesian really fast i will still not understand... but i m trying to learn more and more everyday... now will probably have more time for that as my laptop doesnt work and
i come home around 9pm every night and then dont know what to do. even on the weekends...
yes it can get crazy boring, but oh well... i ll find something...

another thing that bothers me is that i dont really get close to any of the people not even the trainees, yes we talk a lot, but its not on a personal level, because there is always like 10/15 people around. i think i only talked to people one on one like 3 times so far for an hour....and thats really not a lot and then when you do that...there is tons of gossip...blablabla....

yes there is no bars or pubs here, ok actually there are 2 i think in the big hotels, but they are pretty far and not like a western club or pub, its all good... i ll survive.

haha ok enough whinning for today... i guess this is what you call crosscultural experience... and I ve expected most of it before and its not a big problem for me. some of the other trainees have more problems. just today it was annoying me, but most of the time im really having fun...tonight i ll give the rector and the vicepresidents another english eh...

anyways to finsih this off on a good note...

everything here is crazy cheap...meal in a restaurant (less than 1 euro)
a chocolate bar (10 cents)
textmessage 3cent
bus 15 cents
just some examples and thats not even good ones, but cant think of better ones right now.
so i live in luxuary..haha. but i m trying to save as much money as i can... i think usually i spent about 2,5 euro per day, maybe even less.

people are really friendly and trying to help. especially the aiesecers....if ever there is a problem they will help and they always worry, especially because i got thinner they wonder if i m yes my diet is working...yiha.....also i got a lot darker, even though i ve suffered my third sunburn, but thats all good...hihi...i ve almost reached indonesian "chocolat" level...LOL

there is really beautiful places here... some of you that have seen my pics on facebook might agree.. no those pics are not edited...its for real.

also i think i m improving my indonesian quite a bit... at least now i understand what i m saying lol....
just kidding.... i really hope by the time i leave i ll be able to have a normal conversation.

this thurday i will have been here for 6 weeks, 8 more to go. so almost reached the halfway point...crazy time is really flying....

last but not sis is probably coming to visit me....yiha.......

ok this is it for today....sorry bout all the whinning, but i hope this will also give you a little impression of a life in a developing country....

take care,