Thursday, June 5, 2008

T Minus 2 Months

I'll leave for Indonesia in just under two months and the planning and excitement is already in full swing. On approximately Aug. 25th, I'll arrive in Indonesia for a 10 month assignment teaching English in the city of Banjarmasin on the Island of Borneo. Why? Funny, I keep asking myself this question now that it gets closer (I'm just a teensy bit scared). Four months ago I would have said to have a little adventure and to understand the world and another culture a little better. This is still true but as I near departure, I'm looking around a lot more and noticing my own culture and environment, the things I'll miss and the routine that I'm used to. Maybe it's good to do this now, to kind of say good bye (or at least a "see you later") to San Francisco because Indonesia will be vastly different in many ways.

To give a little background, after graduating this year with my MA degree for teaching English, I applied for the English Language Fellow Program, a program that is run through the U.S. Dept. of State. This program places English Teachers in countries all around the world for a 10 month period where we will teach English, English teaching methods and share American culture.So, I'm going to Borneo, known in Indonesia as Kalimantan. It's the third largest island in the world with one of the most diverse species population in the world. So what's so scary about going to this exotic place (besides the comforts of home)? I can name plenty starting with malaria, dengue fever and other tropical diseases. I anticipate culture shock and, oh and did I mention, it will be hot and humid? To begin preparing for these exotic diseases and also to be cleared to leave with a clean bill of health I've turned myself into a human pin cushion (vaccinations and tests) and will have to be a pin cushion once more in another six weeks to get some follow-up vaccination boosters. YAY! Lukily I'm not the 'afraid of needles' type and the U.S. Gov has lots of information about international travel online including recommended vaccinations, warnings, visa info. etc. AND if anyone is worried about me traveling to Indonesia (or you coming to visit) Indonesia was taken off of the U.S. travel warning list earlier this year.