Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.
Back in the United States
I’m back home. After twenty-six months of Peace Corps and three weeks of travelling around South East Asia, there is American soil under my feet again. Service ended on June 5, and I arrived at the the DFW airport on July 4.
One Month Remains
One month remains in my Peace Corps service. I’m just now allowing myself to start thinking about what these last two years mean as a whole and what it will be like going home. Until recently, I’ve refused to let myself acknowledge that Peace Corps service would come to a close. In fact, it was as late as October when I still thought my COS date was mid-July, not mid-June. I had made myself completely oblivious to the light at the end of the tunnel.
In-Kind Rice Payments
There are still so many things I haven’t shared with you about Indonesia. I hope I can give you enough small tastes of my community to show you what it is like.
Nothing says ‘Indonesia’ more than my teachers getting paid in-part in rice. As a part of their monthly salary, all teachers at my school receive 10kg of rice – packaged (and presumably) harvested locally. This amount of rice costs about Rp 80,000 and will feed a family of four for about two weeks. To show the value of this rice payment, cash salaries at my school range from around Rp 600,000 per month as non-civil servants, to around Rp 2,500,000 per month as civil servants, and as much as Rp 10,000,000 per month as a senior staff member.
Autonomy: A Younger Break in Java
There are so many things I want to share with you about Java.
The teenage years in American culture are a mad search for autonomy. It comes in milestones: the driver’s license, a few opportunities and technical changes at 18, followed shortly by college. It is granted to children sparingly and comes in large, inevitable doses later.