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Just another update

Friday, July 27, 2012

What's one awesome perk of going abroad?

The SHOTS, of course!

You get to sit in waiting rooms feeling sick to your stomach, and then when you get into the doctor's office you spend another 10 minutes talking about where you're going, the entire time feeling like you're about to puke.

Why? Because you're about to get three shots in a row, two of which are said to be the type that make you feel like you've just been punched in the arm by the angry fist of God.

Over-dramatic 2nd-person storytelling aside, I've been up to a lot recently! Of course I really did have to get vaccinated against typhoid, hepatitis A, meningitis, and tetanus/diptheria/pertussis. Thankfully, the typhoid vaccine was in pill form, I just had to take them every other day.

As for the others, I had to get them all in one doctor visit and I'll just say that I got them about four days ago, and the arm I'm holding up in the photo (which got Hep. A and T/D/P) STILL hurts! So that's not very fun at all. At least shots are less painful than getting the diseases themselves, or so I'm told...

Anyway, I've finally received my visa information. There's looooots of work to be done, including writing a curriculum vitae for myself which I've never done before, getting a letter from the local police department, and of course... waiting!! I have to get my host family before I get to send my forms in to the Indonesian consulate so hopefully I'll be getting it really soon.

Just 40 days until I'm off to NYC, then Jakarta! That thought is so nerve-wracking but it's also so exciting. Honestly, my exchange year seems like a far off dream, especially with lots of other people already being in their countries or leaving fairly soon. But I know that the waiting will be worth it.

Or, hopefully it'll be worth it. Can't jinx things, right?

I'm also SUPER psyched for the Olympics. The opening ceremony is TOMORROW! I'll be cheering for the USA, and for my future host country as well. The opening ceremonies will be interesting to watch, I can't wait to see what Britain does in response to that insane ceremony in Beijing four years ago. Of course, I'll be glued to soccer, gymnastics, track and field, swimming, and table tennis. Watching all these amazing athletes in action makes me wish I had chosen to do something like that when I was younger! But then I realize that the path I took led me to YES Abroad, and you know what, I am juuuust fine with that.

Well, I need to get to work on my online classes, which have sucked so much time out of my summer already. Until next time, selamat tidur (good night) readers!

Notes from the face of the sun

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hallo everyone. It's been only a few days since my last blog post, but it's been so hot here in Boise that there's nothing much to do but stay inside and play around on the computer... or watch endless amounts of bad TV. So I thought I'd tell you guys what I've been up to this summer.

In no particular order and with my usual unnecessary amount of pictures, I've...

Been to a 'rib fest'

Hung out with my family (there's my older brother Taylor, my baby brother Ryder, my dad and me!)

Hung out with my friends

Eaten epic American food

Made gorgeous cupcakes - that's a dolphin by the way

Gallivanted downtown

and been to the Boise zoo!

But of course no summer is without soul-crushing boredom at some point. I also have 3 online classes to complete, and although the workload is relatively light, it's hard to make myself sit down and listen to recorded lectures about the laws of Supply and Demand when there are naps to be taken and toddler pageants to be watched on TV. But I know it'll be worth it when senior year comes around and I'll have two fewer classes to complete.

I've also been working on Indonesian. Although my pace is a little slower than it ought to be, I've started to use a website called 'Memrise' to help learn vocab and it really helps! If you Google it you'll find the site and it has a LOT of languages with preloaded lessons, including Indonesian (or, bahasa Indonesia). Through Memrise I've already learned how to count to 20, frontwards and backwards. But, I really want to step up my efforts so I can at least communicate a little bit when I arrive in Jakarta. I think I'll make some blog posts in Indonesian so I can record my progress with the language, and hopefully by the end of exchange I'll be able to laugh at how bad I was!

On the exchange front... well, nothing much has been happening. I'm starting to get a little anxious about when we'll get visa information but I guess it'll come in plenty of time, otherwise they probably wouldn't wait so long to give it to us! I also have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday to get a consultation on what shots I'll need. I know I need Yellow Fever and a few others at least, and I need to donate blood so I can get it typed, just in case. I'm definitely not looking forward to that. Then again, I don't think anyone would...

In Boise, temperatures are reaching 106 degrees fahrenheit. AKA, my poor little hometown has been turned into a pit of fire... minus the flames, of course. I'm just glad it's dry as a bone here, and not humid like it is back East. If it were humid here I think I'd broil to death just going from the house to the car every once in a while. I'll definitely have fun in Indonesia where temperatures are usually in the mid-80's but humidity reaches about 80% too. 

I'll update soon when I get another genius idea on what to write or if something exciting happens. Until then, stay safe in this ridiculous heat wave and of course, stay fabulous readers!

4 days and 300 pictures later...

Friday, July 6, 2012

And I'm back from Pre-Departure Orientation in Washington, DC!

My adventure began when I woke up at 3 AM on the 26th to get to the airport in time to check in and board my flight - which left at the ungodly hour of 5:35 AM. I can't say I've never been up at 3 AM, but I have definitely never been woken up at 3 AM. We got there before security was even open.

A sight you don't really want to see. It means you're up WAY too early.

My flights to DC were fairly uneventful, and thankfully all on time. I arrived in DC, and got to see the wonderful ladies of SHOCK once again! In case you forgot (or I haven't explained), SHOCK is a group of the five of us who were in the YES Abroad '12-13 Hopefuls FB group before pretty much everyone else. We bonded before and during the IPSE and we're all YES Abroad Finalists, so we've gotten to stick together for a pretty long time! These ladies are all hilarious and of course we're all going through the same process so it's been great to have friends to share things with. 

Here we are in order: Sara (me!), Hannah, Olivia, Carly, and Katie.
Reppin' Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Thailand and Bosnia! 

The orientation in DC was extremely informative but definitely tiring. On the first day, we didn't do much, but Day 2 was full of workshops on topics like how to deal with homesickness, the AFS chain of communication, and awkward scenarios we might encounter in our host countries, and how best to deal with them. Day 3 was the most exciting; we went to the US State Department, the Indonesian embassy and we even got to visit the Lincoln Memorial.

What made this day special however was not all the walking or driving in DC that we got to do (trust me, after sitting in the same room for hours, getting to walk around is a really awesome feeling), it was getting to go to the Indonesian embassy. Although our time there was tragically short, all 8 of us YES Abroad Indonesia students got to meet all 70 of the Yes Inbound students from Indonesia!

The Indonesian students were extremely warm and welcoming, and there were a lot of questions asked between us. We even got to hear the Indonesian ambassador/foreign minister speak, and his speech was pretty inspiring. Because we YES Abroaders had to leave early, we got called up for a 'photo opportunity' which ended up being one of the craziest moments of my life to date: what began as one person taking a picture ended up with nearly all of the Indonesians in the room whipping out their cameras for a picture. We stood up there smiling for so long my cheeks started to hurt and I probably started looking a little like a gremlin in all the pictures...

Or maybe not. I need to find a better-quality version of this sometime!

After we all visited our country-specific embassies, the YES Abroad group met to hear the Undersecretary of State Tara Sonenshine and the YES program officer, Kevin Baker, speak to us. They both had some very interesting things to say and after hearing them talk about the effects of YES Abroad I'm 10x more proud to have been selected for this amazing scholarship. We also got to ask questions to a panel of State Department officers but I gotta say, by that time in the afternoon I was exhausted and ready for a nap. I've unofficially decided that diplomacy just isn't for me; I can't sit in chairs and listen to other people talk for that long!

Inside the State Department!

YES Abroad '12-13 :) Photo by Emily Simpson.

The rest of the orientation passed by in a flurry of more workshops, guest speakers, and of course, learning all we could about Indonesian culture from our group leader, a wonderful lady from Surabaya named Ines. Among the more interesting cultural tidbits we learned were that Indonesians don't appreciate having their heads touched (meaning I'll be forced to break my hair-ruffling habit), that rice is eaten for EVERY meal, and that schools usually start at 7 AM - or earlier.

Although I could have spent much longer just hanging out with the Indonesia group or my other YES Abroad friends, the time came when we all had to pack up our bags, print off our boarding passes, and say goodbye - especially to the India, Thailand, and Malaysia kids who were headed off to another hotel, then ultimately their host countries. After lots of hugs and promises to keep in touch, SHOCK sadly broke off in separate directions to head off to hotels and airports.

Sitting in the airport with some friends from the Indonesia group, some from the IPSE, and some who I just started to get to know right then, my heart was light. Even though I had just said some hard goodbyes, knowing I might not see certain people in person again, I can say I wasn't (and am not) sad, because so much lies before me. I leave for New York City in 60 days - Indonesia in just a couple more than that. There's a completely foreign country for me to land in, a culture for me to absorb, and a year for me to fill with the experiences of a lifetime. I might not be ready juuust yet, but I know I will be, and in the meantime, I'm more excited than I could ever say.

Now, please enjoy miscellaneous pictures from the orientation. After all, I did take about 300 of them.

Indonesia 2012-13! From left to right, there's our group leader Ines, Sabine, Avery, Hamza, Morgan, David, Julianne, me, and Darlene. 

The ceiling at the Indonesian Embassy...
Look ma, I saw the White House!
Due to a super tight schedule, we missed the Indonesian meal at the embassy. So, we had to split two sandwiches and three boxes of granola bars between the eight of us. Most definitely something I'll remember. 
All of SHOCK got these bracelets, thanks to Liv. Mine's in the colors of the Malaysian flag, where Hannah is.
Best part of visiting the East Coast is Dunkin' Doughnuts, of course!


About me

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I'm Sara, the freckled bule, one out of eight of the coolest people in the world. I spent a year in Indonesia as a KL/YES Abroad student but now I live in Boise, Idaho. Welcome to my bloggity blog.


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