Life in Indonesia

Batak culture, culture, Indonesia, indonesian culture, travel

Here is a image gallery of photos that show a little of what life was like in Indonesia. Most are from Balige and Siantar, the two cities in the province of North Sumatra where I spent most of my time. In 2 of the photos, you’ll notice a pig’s head. Although most Indonesians are Muslim, I lived among the ethnic Bataks, most of whom are Christian, and regularly eat pork. Indonesia is amazingly diverse, and therefore, my life in the region around Lake Toba was different than someone who experienced Java, Bali, Nias, or Sulawesi islands. I hope to make more galleries about different aspects of life there, as well as other places I’ve traveled.

A Visit to the Public School

Indonesia, teaching

Last week I was teaching at Nommensen University again. I didn’t go there in August because they were on semester break, and I was in Balige teaching the intensive English course. Now that the university is back in session, I’ll be going there every month again.

In addition to teaching in the English classes at the university, I had the opportunity to visit a junior high school and enter a 7th grade class. The university students in the English department are studying to be teachers, and a practicum in teaching is a part of their degree. So, I was invited into a class with one of the students.

The young boys and girls were delighted to have a visitor. They asked me questions, I listened as they worked on their reading skills, and then I taught them 2 songs: BINGO and “If you’re happy and you know it”.

Of course the other students at the school were curious about me…For me, it was all a bit chaotic…I greeted many of them with a handshake as they came out of their classrooms. Some of them shyly introduced themselves to me.

Here are some photos from my visit:

Visiting a 7th grade class – Pematangsiantar, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Visiting a 7th grade class – Pematangsiantar, North Sumatra, Indonesia



Sumatra Rainstorm
Sometimes it rains here. A lot—although it should be the dry season now. This was a rainstorm on Monday 9 July 2012, seen from the cozy room of the deaconess building in Siantar.

I am no stranger to soft rain, but this rain—a rain that can last for hours and brings with it a loud rush as it hits rooftops and earth—is an incredible sight. Sometimes the rainstorm comes during the day, and we sit under the protection of a building, waiting for it to stop. Sometimes the rain comes at night, and I lay in bed listening to the beats of heavy raindrops on the roof and plants below and the cracks and booms of thunder, grateful for dry shelter.

Whatever the time of day, I am in yet awe of this common weather phenomenon.

I’m a Radio Star


Well, video hasn’t quite killed this radio star. During my time teaching at the HKBP Nommensen University last week, I made an appearance on a local radio station. The English program runs every afternoon for one hour. When they have special guests, such as myself, a visiting teacher and native English speaker, it is a big deal. So, I graciously accepted the invitation.

It was a fun experience and I really felt relaxed speaking and answering questions (about myself, American culture, teaching…and I even sang the first verse of “Amazing Grace”). Below is a video of me answering a question from a listener, who happened to be a university student whom I met earlier that morning. )Sorry, no video of me singing)

More photos from HKBP Nommensen University

Indonesia, mission

Here are some more photos from the week I was teaching in Siantar. It was a busy week, but a good time. I look forward to returning next month for more:

Above, I’m introducing myself to a English conversation class. This time I was there to observe, but always have the opportunity to say who I am and where I’m from.

I was supposed to observe this class on listening comprehension. However, when the lecturer did not come, it became a time for cultural exchange as I answered there questions and shared about American culture. Then I asked them to sing a Batak song for me.

at the women's dormitory
These lovely students in the above photo, live at the women’s dormitory near campus. The housemother is also a deaconess. Not all of these students are studying English, but they were all happy to talk with me and pose for a photo.