Thanksgiving, a lizard in the library, the Ambassadors house, and “Skadel”

To celebrate the week of Thanksgiving, in class, the students participated in the traditional activity, drawing hand turkeys! On the feathers of the bird, the students wrote about what they are thankful for.  We also discussed the complicated history of American colonization and how Thanksgiving is not a happy day for everyone in the United States. We read an excerpt from a speech by a member of the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts who explains why Thanksgiving commemorates tragedy, as well. Here are some photos of the students with their hand turkeys: IMG_5381IMG_5443IMG_5419


On November 25th, we were in the library with a class of students and all of a sudden, everyone started screaming. Several people jumped up on chairs… I thought a rat was on the loose! It turns out it wasn’t a rat, but rather a Biawak lizard. The Biawak is a relative of the Komodo dragon, and while the one found in the library was just a baby, it was still pretty big for a lizard! The picture below shows Pak Dewi, the math teacher who wrangled the lizard out of the library. The lizard had fairly large teeth as it is a carnivorous animal. In the photo, Pak Dewi is demonstrating to me how to properly handle the lizard, and then I gave it a try! IMG_5468IMG_5472


The weekend following Thanksgiving, I made a trip to Jakarta along with several members of my Fulbright cohort for a Thanksgiving supper at Robert Blake’s home, the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia. We were very well-fed and thrilled to reunite with each other and swap stories about the first portion of our Fulbright grants. Here we are post feast on a couch at the Ambassador’s house:IMG_5527

The next day, I flew to Makassar, Indonesia, the largest city of Sulawesi and eastern Indonesia. I was able to teach with a fellow Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Michael, at his school, SMK8 in Makassar (nickname: “Skadel”). The Makassar school is very different from my school. I teach at a Muslim boarding school in a rural area, and Michael teaches at a non-secular, vocational school, in a big, bustling city. His school specializes in professions related to tourism, such as hotel management, and his students are 95% female. I had a great time meeting his students and hearing about their fields of study, cooking, beauty and fashion, hotels, administration, and laundry. We were greeted with tons of energy and enthusiasm in each class that we taught together. Here are photos of us after two different classes, along with Ibu Kasma, one of Michael’s co-teachers:IMG_5578 (1)IMG_5559 (1) It was delightful to spend the day at his school and also share meals with the other teachers at his school, Ibu Mala, Ibu Dinarwati, and Ibu Kasma. They introduced me to several Sulawesi cuisines that I had not yet experienced, Sop ubi and Kapurung. Sop ubi is a meatball soup with noodles, peanuts, limes, cassava (like a potato), and crab rangoon and kapurung is a vegetable soup with tapioca balls, the balls are quite slurpy. Here are pictures of Sop ubi and kapurung, respectively: IMG_0910FullSizeRender (8)


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