Monday 6th February 2017- Day 7

I feel like my head is bursting with everything I’m learning at the moment. Words and phrases and the way language is used in everyday situations, as well as millions of little cultural differences and similarities. I ask Alyssa hundreds of questions every day and listen to everything she says in bahasa. I have been really surprised at how much I understand – it makes such a difference to have the language in context. I love it so much, I wish I could spend six months here working on it.

After a night of solid sleep here in the Pop! hotel (you have to love names that include exclamation marks) my spirit was quite restored today. We were up in time to go downstairs for the free breakfast and hand over a garbage bag of the most vile smelling laundry to be washed, and then we headed out.

Yogyakarta is where Alyssa spent her exchange year, so this is really her place and she loves it. It’s so funny to see her so happy to be here, and I love hearing about what she did that year and how things have changed.

The biggest change to the main street was that all the motorbikes that used to park along one side of the street are gone, and the space has been paved and made into a seating area. It looks great, but it does the raise the question that we’ve been unable to answer- where did all the motorbikes go?

It’s also interesting how differently street life is here. There are a lot of stalls that don’t seem to open until mid to late morning. The lovely seating area was really not being used during the day either, because it was in the sun and it’s too hot to sit out in the sun. But when we went out for dinner tonight everything was open and all the seats were occupied, there were street musicians, and lots more food stalls and even pop-up restaurants.

I can’t remember the name of the pop-up restaurants, but they have mats on the floor and lots of low tables so you sit on the ground to eat. We went to one for dinner, and although I didn’t order anything exotic (actually ordered plain rice, completely dull) Alyssa ordered a little selection and I tasted most of that. I also tried hot ginger tea, and a weird drink that involved fermented cassava or something like that. Emma ate a piece of fried chicken and tasted a couple of things, which was good. If given the choice she has mostly chosen western style fast food, but she doesn’t complain when she’s given something else. (Although when we went to McDonald’s today I ordered the fish and fries, which is a piece of battered fish and chips, and it was actually really good).

I love the shops here. There seems to be so much choice – there are multiple brand options for everything, and there is always like a total rainbow of colour choice. Minimalism in merchandise is definitely not where it’s at. They also don’t seem to have the same item in multiple sizes, so you can’t just see something you like and then look for one in your size.

They also have the usual small/medium/large sizing, but they’ve added an extra category – ‘jumbo’ size. Yep, no self-esteem issues here!

I saw lots of things I want to buy, both for myself and for the school. Apart from a couple more educational posters (that all cost between $1 and $3) I didn’t buy anything else for school. We’ll be doing a lot of browsing and looking around while we’re here, so I thought I would wait and think about what would be best. I don’t have quite the same sense of restraint for myself- although I did resist the very strong lure of the puppets, I could not stop myself from buying the complete set of Malory Towers books in Indonesian.

I have been thinking about how best to get stuff back home too. Between Emma and I we do have a 40 kilogram luggage allowance, and when we left we were only using up about 20 kilos, so we’ve still got quite a bit of weight before it becomes a problem. It’s more the space that it takes up that I’m concerned about! I’m thinking of buying a cheap bag that’s around the maximum size for carry-on baggage and cramming a bunch of stuff in there, since the sling bag I used on the way over really doesn’t fit that much in it.

We just got our laundry back. It cost $13, and we would have had five complete outfits washed and pressed without me having to do anything, so it’s really well worth it in my opinion.

Emma wanted Maccas for lunch, so we sat in the mall and ate there. (Interestingly, the Maccas here separate counters for buying dessert, and actually little dessert bars down the street where you can only buy sweets.) While we were hanging out there we all turned on Pokemon Go and took over a nearby gym. We only lasted a couple of minutes before we were all kicked out, but for a brief, glorious time our little Australian contingent had control!

That scaly, itchy rash has come back on my hand, which has to be the most inconvenient timing. It’s happened before and some cortisone cream fixed it up pretty easily, but I might just have to put up with it for now. Hopefully it doesn’t get too bad.

I think Emma is having a good time. She’s very quiet and doesn’t give much away though. She’s really tired- I need to make her go to bed.

Tomorrow we move in with Alyssa’s Indonesian family. Hopefully it all goes well.

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