Wednesday 1st February 2017- Day 2

I got to experience your everyday wet season tropical rain today. Fortunately from the shelter of a car! The deluge was very impressive, and what probably even more impressive is that this just happens every day.

Our hotel upgrade yesterday included a complimentary breakfast this morning, which was a nice way to start the day. It was a pretty extensive buffet, but I just don’t think I’m ready for eating dinner foods first thing in the morning, no matter what the done thing in Indonesia is. I went with fruit and a piece of toast, and Emma went with toast and bread pudding – she is certainly appreciative of sweet Indonesian bread products.

We went to the DMZ Illusion museum this morning. This was basically a series of rooms with art painted on the walls and floors in such a way that it all looks 3D, and you can take photos of yourself in the scenes. Alyssa and Em and I all had fun and took lots of photos, although I haven’t checked how they turned out yet. I really wished Troy and the boys were here for it, because I know that they would have loved it. I’ll have to remember it if I ever get them here.

We went to the next door café for a drink after that, where I sat down and cried. I honestly feel really pathetic to have to admit it, but I’m finding being here is really hard. Everything feels overwhelming. Not because bad things are happening, because they’re not at all – everything has been going quite smoothly, it’s been great. It’s just that I’m way out of my comfort zone, and there’s so much going on and so much to take in.

Anyway, Alyssa and Emma both reassured me that they’re not judging me for being so hopeless, and I felt rather better after crying and talking. By then the rain had also slowed to more of a sprinkle so we went for a walk. I love doing that, just looking at everything there is to see and feeling how different it is here.

When the rain showed no signs of letting up and we’d walked for a while we hailed a taxi and went to the mall. We spent ages there, looking around the hardware store (which was so much more than hardware!) and the bookshop (which also sold stationary, backpacks and musical instruments) and then looking at some other shops.

We bought stuff at the bookshop – I picked up a present for Jericho and Soren, and I continued being total Twilight trash by buying the Indonesian edition of Twilight/Life and Death. The Indo edition of Diary of a Wimpy Kid also proved too hard to resist. I really want to improve my language skills, and I think that reading a book in Indonesian that I already know in English should be an interesting way to do that.

I bought some posters and a couple of colouring books for school as well. One of the colouring books has batik patterns in it, and the other one tells part of the story of the Ramayana alongside the illustrations. I thought those will photocopy well and might be a fun activity for school. The posters have pictures and both the Indo and English words for the topics – I got a couple with food, a couple with animals, one that has the provinces of Indonesia on it, and another one that showed the steps taken in Muslim prayer. Considering they only cost $1 each, I think they’ll do nicely. Although I guess producing things for a dollar doesn’t leave you a lot of money for a proofreader, because on the animal poster the mice are labelled as “mince”.

It’s awesome doing this with Alyssa, because she is so confident and capable and can take care of all the things like talking to taxi drivers and hotel staff and shop assistants! There is another bonus to this that I actually had not anticipated – I’m getting constant language practice listening to her talk, and I can ask her for the parts I miss. I am actually understanding more than I thought I could, which has been a pleasant surprise. I still don’t want to talk, but I love trying to work out what the conversation is about. It’s like I always tell the kids at school, language is like a puzzle and you have to fit the parts you don’t know into the parts you do. So when Alyssa is talking to the taxi driver and I hear the words for weather and rain and then Melbourne, it’s pretty easy to look out the window at the pouring rain and figure out that she’s told him that it doesn’t rain like this where we are from in Melbourne.

I am really glad that I was able to come here with Alyssa this time. I’m learning so much.

We booked a second night at this hotel before we left this morning, so we were able to come back here just to kick back once we left the mall, which is basically where I’m at now. Emma and I Skyped with Troy while Alyssa built her new Lego (6 mini sets of Indonesian street food stalls – so adorable), and then we put Degrassi on while I’ve been typing this. After so much walking around this morning it’s been really nice to just sit here and feel some quiet.

We’re going to go across the street to the market later and look around and get something to eat. It’s so novel the way everything happens at night here.

I am so proud of Emma for the way she is handling this. She hasn’t complained or moaned about anything, and has been really open to the whole experience. She is having fun, and just watching her today I can see her confidence growing. I am so happy that she and I get to experience all this together.

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