Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You Know You've Gone Native When...

Greetings and hello from Indonesia! To start of this post I would like to wish Indonesia a very dear and happy four month Anniversary! four months ago right now I was landing in Jakarta's International Airport, and headed off to be a great adventure! Thank you for the lovely four months this far my dear Indonesia, I can't wait for the rest that we have ahead of us!   After living in such a place for a few months, you start to change, adjust, feel normal! You're no longer shocked at strange things every five minutes, and in fact a lot becomes routine at times! The following bit is a wholeheartedly wonderful post my fantastical Surabayan friend Sara (Go Read Her Blog! Do It Now! Right Now!) whipped up with a jolly bit of contribution from Yours Truly. Its heaps accurate and and I wholeheartedly agree with its goodness and give it my stamp of approval!(except for the eating meat bit, [cause I don't do that no mo'] and the bit about wearing jilbab of course).

Hey! It's your (not so) loyal blogger here... I am slowly losing my grip on the English language, which is why, despite my New Year's Resolution being to 'write in my blog more', I haven't made a post in like a month. Life just happened to happen, I guess, and writing in my blog has fallen to the wayside. What can I say - my life here feels normal. Ubloggable, if you will. I have a routine, I have friends, I have a basic command over a completely foreign language. It's around the middle of my year and I can't believe I only have about 5 months to go. Craaaazy how time flies!
Along with all my AFS-approved adjustments, I've started to take on the mannerisms of and begun to form myself to better suit Indonesian culture. And I thought that today I might let you guys know what that entails:
You Know You've Gone Native When...
  1. The very thought of putting butter in your rice, as you used to joyously do in America, makes you vaguely sick
  2. Kalau belum makan nasi, belum makan! (If you haven't yet eaten rice, you haven't yet eaten) - that meaning, you need to eat rice at every meal just as much as the Indonesians do
  3. Eating chicken around all the bones isn't a particularly big deal anymore 
  4. Bones in chicken doesn't just mean the leg or the thigh, it means ALL of them - even the spine, ribcage, and head
  5. Eating with your hands feels completely natural, and you can't even remember why Western culture looks down on it
  6. The thought of eating rice with a fork makes you cringe.
  7. "Apa?" is your automatic response to everything
  8. You can tell the difference between Indonesian and Javanese language - when people speak one, you can understand about 70%, and when they speak the other, you get maybe 10%
  9. You know that people who automatically speak simplified Indonesian to you are absolutely the best in the world
  10. You see a bule in the city and are just as shocked and amazed as your Indonesian companions, despite technically being bule yourself
  11. You marvel at bule when you go to a tourist destination. Their shorts are so short! Their hair is so blonde! Their women are so tall!
  12. Using water and a hand instead of toilet paper is much more practical, and you even kind of prefer it
  13. You breathe a sigh of relief when you see a public toilet is the squat type - it's much more hygenic!
  14. You feel washing your hands with tap water sans soap is all you really need!
  15. You get the questions in English class wrong
  16. The thought of not making salim to your parents and teachers in America is just strange, and in Indonesia you make salim without a second thought! Salim being the practice of touching an elder's right hand to your forehead/cheek/nose/etc as a sign of respect
  17. You've given up on the idea of ever finding American foods in stores outside of Jakarta, and instead resign yourself to waiting for packages from home to tide over your Pop Tarts and Goldfish cravings
  18. Having more than 10 mosquito bites at one time isn't even anything to complain about anymore, you just slather on the minyak kayu putih and get on with your life
  19. It's not particularly strange to socialize with teachers like you might with your classmates, and it's normal for teachers to touch students (in a friendly way) too
  20. A girl and a guy are sitting together, alone? Ciiiieeeeee~ !! 
  21. You don't even have to think about not making much physical contact with the opposite gender, it's just automatic by now
  22. You watch a movie about high school in America and cringe at all the PDA
  23. You've gone out in public wearing jilbab more than once, and love to do it
  24. You respond to 'assalamu'alaikum', even though you're not Muslim, because it's awkward being the only one in the class who doesn't (and you DO wish peace upon other people, right?) 
  25. Your English is atrocious and you know that some things are just easier to say in Indonesian, which makes it hard to talk to people who speak English only
  26. You get really into it when there's a spontaneous massage train
  27. Seeing how much boys freely touch each other doesn't amaze or shock you anymore
  28. Gangnam Style is EVERYWHERE and EVERYONE knows how to do the dance!
  29. You know that the Chinese malls are the best places to go for a good deal - malls with real brand names are just for walking with your friends or family
  30. There's no mall without a grocery store in it
  31. Traffic jams. Traffic jams ERRWHERE. 
  32. It's completely normal for your car to screech to a stop just a few inches away from the bumper of the next car, and close calls in traffic barely make you blink anymore
  33. Everyone has their phone out and are texting furiously while at dinner
  34. You know how to operate a Blackberry despite not owning one because you've had to use your friends' so many times
  35. Taking pictures everywhere with everyone isn't annoying, it's just a part of life
  36. Showering by scooping water out of a basin with a plastic hand-held bucket isn't unusual... it's refreshing and convenient!
  37. You realize that taking two showers each day isn't just a national quirk, it's really kind of required if you don't want to be stinky and gross
  38. You take longer getting ready to go to a wedding reception than you actually spend there
  39. You don't have to worry about forgetting someone's name - any young man can be 'mas', any young woman can be 'mbak', and men are 'pak' while women are 'ibu'. Perfect for forgetful exchange students!
  40. The thought that you once wore shoes (and anything but pajamas) inside your home is horrifying
  41. You no longer have to hold on to anything while riding a motorcycle
  42. Four people, one motorbike? No big deal! Small infants and toddlers being loosely held by their parents? Ehh, they're tough, it's no problem!
  43. The thought of wearing anything but long pants when out in public is an odd one
  44. When not wearing a jacket outside you get a chill, and you can nearly freeze to death when the AC is cranked too high
  45. You start to believe that when you're sick, masuk angin may indeed be the cause. You thus avoid winds of any kind
  46. Walking anywhere is soooooo kampungan, it's always better to take car or motorbike even if the distance is short
  47. Having 5 people smoking within a meter of you at all times is now accepted as a part of daily life
  48. Being able to stop a bus at any time is normal! So is the concept of it never stopping while you get off
  49. You're much more animated in your speech and freely insert words like loh, dong, kan, lah, kok, and other random ones you pick up from your various Indonesian friends
  50. You can't imagine living your life in only a Western country. Indonesia has overwhelmed, broken down, and rebuilt you from the foundations of your being up, and you know you'll never be the same, no matter where you are or where you live. 

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