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Salatiga week 5

The penultimate week here in Salatiga has gone very quickly! It has mainly been taken up with language lessons although I did manage to explore a massive market, play traditional Indonesian music and explore the surrounds of Salatiga by going for long runs.

On Sunday morning I went to the local market that I assumed was going to be a fairly small affair but it turned out to be huge with kilometres of stalls, all on the side of what is usually a busy highway. The locals are not deterred by this though as they spill out in to the middle of the road and force a 3 lanes of traffic (in each direction) down to 1 very slow lane of traffic. There was an amazing variety of goods on offer, ranging from live animals through to motorbikes.

Salatiga market

In our culture class this week we learned Angklung (an Indonesian bamboo instrument). I am not particularly musical but this instrument just involves shaking it at the right time and so even I can manage that!


So, there is just one more week of study left here, which is probably a good thing as I feel that I have reached the limit of the number of words I can learn in a set period. We are supposed to be learning around 1000 words a week but the reality is closer to 100!


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Salatiga Week 4

Another week down in the tropics. This week I finished the first unit of this course and also demonstrated the skills that I had learned in pencak silat (Indonesian martial art) at the “graduation” ceremony.

It was great to finish part of the course although the thought of moving on to a more complicated use of the language is a bit intimidating! I am suppose to learn around 3000 words in the next two weeks. I don’t really think that is going to be possible and so I am just going to do my best and hope that I can pass the exams!

Not a lot has happened this week although I have continued to explore the towns and the surrounds and enjoyed the different pace of life and different priorities of Indonesia. The focus here does not seem to be on efficiency but more on how much they can get away with. For instance, they have four people working in the local corner shop which is so small that it seems crowded with just the staff there.



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Salatiga Week 3

There has been lots going on this week. I had a busy week with classes, had an excursion to Yogyakarta and also experienced some interesting food with my home-stay family.

Me at BorobudurOn our trip in to Yoyga we visited the Buddhist temple of Borobudur. It was built around 800 AD and is carved from volcanic rock. (The sarung is not a fashion statement but a requirement for the temple)

We also went to the Water Palace of the previous Yogya kings (there is still a king who rules Yogya).

IMG_0542Finally we spent the evening shopping and eating in Yogya. It is an incredibly busy and bustling place… unsurprisingly, a very Asian city but it seemed there was more room to express individuality.

Earlier in the week I went with my home-stay family to eat out at one of the popular roadside stalls. They asked if I would like to try a local delicacy which turned out to be snails on a skewer. It was quite rubbery but ¬†didn’t taste too bad!

I finish the first half of my course this Tuesday and then move up a level for the final two and a half weeks of my stay.



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Week 2 in Salatiga

It has been a tough week here in Salatiga. I have learned 300 words in 10 days and had the flu.

The language course has been incredibly intensive with each lesson lasting 100mins. I think I would liken it to being to told you have to go for hour long runs when you have only just started to get fit. There is not much concerned paid to optimal learning times or strategies here, they just hit you with information and hope some of it sticks.

Not that it has been a waste of time, I have picked up a lot of Indonesian but after 2 full on weeks, my brain is starting to rebel and does not want to learn any more words!

There is going to be a real challenge this weekend as we have to write 1500 words in Indonesian on a topic of our choice. My topic is “why is Indonesia rubbish at football”.

Today I went to the markets. There are so many stalls and variety of things here. Apparently you can buy dog meat but fortunately I have not seen any yet!

The view of Salatiga's main street

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The problem with people who understand language, writing a language course

The problem with people who understand language, writing a language course is that you get left with explanations like this:

A reflexive verb is one in which the subject of the verb does something to itself

Is that supposed to help?!

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First week in Salatiga

I have been in Indonesia for the last week studying as part of my ANU degree. We arrived in a very busy Denpasar airport before finally catching a flight to Yogyakarta and a shuttle bus to Salatiga.

The week has been spent getting to know the university, our home stay family and getting a real emersion in to the Indonesian language.

It was a real eye opener of how much I need to learn when in the placement test I got 10% (of which probably half were lucky guesses!)

As it is the wet season here, it has been raining every day however this has not deterred the locals from their usual program. This is a football game I saw yesterday… one of them was even playing under an umbrella!

Wet football

Today there was a traditional competition to climb an oiled pole with the people who get to the top getting the prize. I was there for 45mins and they didn’t come close to getting to the top!

Pole climbing

In the Indonesian language a lot of the writing is done in the passive voice and so as homework, we have to write 150 words about the pole climbing, all in passive. After being marked down for even thinking in the passive voice at ANU, it is a big change!

Last night we had our first of eight Indonesian martial arts lessons. We went straight into the moves and by the end, I had absolutely no idea what was going on! I think I am supposed to punch and kick but beyond that, I am not sure!

I am going to be here for another 5 weeks here and so by the end, hopefully I will have a better idea of both language and martial arts!

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Back in the UK

I am over in the UK for a couple of weeks in order to attend Ben and Heather’s wedding and also to have a bit of a holiday.

So far I have spent a day in Bristol and am currently just North of Salisbury. The wedding is this Saturday and a lot of people are making the trip across which is fantastic.

Today we are heading into Bath for a bit of R & R before the final preparations for the wedding (although I have not been particularly helpful)

Salisbury Cathederal
Salisbury Cathederal