4 things I’ve learned in my first 4 weeks

So first,

I’ve learned way more than 4 things since I got here. A helluva lot more. And it was honestly hard to narrow it down to just 4 things. But I feel like out of everything I’ve learned so far, these are the things I deal with/realize the most on a daily basis. I’m sure I’ll end up writing another blog about the numerous other things there are, but this is what you get for now. You’re lucky I’m even writing this. This is my first day of since I’ve been here.


  1. The mandi (shower; bucket shower, in my case) really isn’t that bad. (I actually like it)

So picture this:

You just hopped off your bike. It’s 85 degrees and the humidity has you dripping in sweat. You take your closed-toed, classroom/PST appropriate shoes off and walk into the house. After a quick chat with your Ibu/Bapak, you head up to your room. You’re one of the lucky trainees that has a mandi connected to your bedroom that’s for your own personal use. You walk into the small 5 ft by 5ft room. You peel your sweat soaked clothes off as you turn the water on to start filling up your bucket. After the little green bucket is filled up to the top, you shut the water off. You grab your pink, heart-shaped gayung, scooping up a big scoop of cold water. You pause, knowing what’s coming, and dump the cold, refreshing water on your head. The first scoop is always the worst – cold, expected yet unexpected. The ones that follow are a little easier to welcome. You leave the mandi the opposite of how you entered – cool, refreshed, not sweating at all.

The showers are different. They’re not like the showers in America/Europe/hotels/etc. I don’t have a typical mandi that most people have either. Mine is just a bucket that I fill up, and use a little scoop to dump it on myself. Going into this, I wasn’t super thrilled about that, and sometimes I still even want a normal shower, but I have embraced the mandi. Which is probably good, because I’ll be using it a lot in the next 26 months. A LOT. (It’s hot and I sweat, duh)


  1. If you haven’t eaten rice, you haven’t eaten.

This has been a lot harder to adjust to. And to be honest, I haven’t. I still don’t eat rice for breakfast, and I eat minimal rice for dinner. Lunch is probably the only time I eat the amount of rice that my Ibu would prefer that I eat. But she’s not even home to see it, so I think she just assumes I never eat it which means I’ve never eaten enough.

Rice is eaten a lot here for obvious reasons, it’s cheap and there’s an abundance of it. I mean, you can even order rice at Pizza Hut, but I refuse to do that to myself. You’re probably sitting there thinking, , “Hey, what’s wrong with rice? I love rice.” Yeah, rice is great. In moderation. But you try eating rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then tell me you still love it. And no, I’m not just talking about today, I’m talking about every day. 7 days a week. For the rest of our life. You probably think you could choose one food to eat every day for the rest of your life and not get sick of it, but trust me, you will. I’ve been here 4 weeks and I can tell you this, I am sick of rice. Luckily, I have gotten away with eating fruit for breakfast. But now I want to figure out how to incorporate peanut butter sandwiches into my meals somewhere. Wish me luck.


  1. Ants will rule your life.

I’ve learned this, I’ve tried to accept this, but I have failed miserably. I thought I could become one with the ants, but the just bug me a little, tiny bit too much. I mean, they’re everywhere. On my floor, in my bed (shouldn’t have eaten those crackers on it), on every wall ever, and even in my food. You probably laughed like “haha she had some ants in her food.” No, not some ants. Like a colony of ants. Hundreds of ants. Needless to say, I didn’t eat lunch either of those days (yes, it happened more than once).

These ants find everything. No matter where it is. I had a jolly rancher in my bag that I was completely unaware of, but the ants knew. They climbed walls, chairs, tables, everything to get to it before I realized why they were so aggressively attacking my bag. The ant struggle is real here. So remember that when you’re all dealing with ants this summer.


*Disclaimer: there were more ants on it when I first got to it, but I couldn’t deal so I walked away for 10 minutes. There was twice as many ants than are in this picture.

But most importantly of all, number 4.

  1. I know people that I didn’t know a month ago that I now would trust with my life.

You’re probably sitting there like “what?!” or “what do you mean, you barely know them?!” And technically right, but you’re also wrong. I might have known any of these people growing up, I don’t know their favorite colors, their mom or dad’s names, or their most loved childhood pet. But I spent the last month going through things with them that most of you can’t even begin to understand. It’s a hard experience to explain and a hard bond to define. But as I sat in an angkot on the way back from the mall and listened to the multiple conversations that were happening between the 10 or so people, I realized that I wouldn’t change these people for the world.

No matter what happens here, I know I have people around me who would drop whatever to help me out if I needed it. And that feeling is beyond amazing.


Ps. Sorry I don’t have pictures with everyone 😦


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