i don’t know how much time i’ve got to work with here. the electricity was out today for three or four hours. and it just cut out a little while ago for about ten minutes. our cutoff time in the administration office is 11 pm.
living in padang panjang feels a little bit like some fucked up version of camping and prison. no running water, no electricity. nosy security guards monitoring our movements. but it’s kind of like prison band camp, because i wake up on my metal frame bed to the sound of really out of tune horns blasting autumn leaves (recent development) or the sax solo from that wham song (ongoing.) this happens around seven in the morning.
today i went outside of campus by myself today. this is an event which pitifully enough has only happened one other time… or maybe two.
when i’m on campus and people yell out my name, i feel a little apprehensive because i wonder if the person calling my name out is someone i’ve actually interacted with and if they are, if i can remember their name. but it horrifies me when the same thing happens off campus. i feel a little shattered and creeped out after someone i don’t know – who has absolutely no basis for interacting with me – says my name in an attempt to get me to acknowledge them when i just want to buy some food or some credit for my cell phone.
it freaks me out pretty badly, because it’s like this complete stranger knows exactly who the fuck i am. if they know me by sight and they know my name, what else do they know? considering indonesians are creepily observant and horrifically gossipy. my classmate asked me today if i was going back to my mess to poop. which is kind of funny, because after classes, i take off. it’s not because i want to poop at home, which okay, makes total sense but i’m not one of those people with that particular issue. so i can only imagine that all the times that i’ve taken off after class, my classmates are sitting there speculating what i could be doing alone. and somehow, shit just makes sense.
but i leave so i can just get away from people – which is an incomprehensible idea to the folks here.
people i’ve never met before on campus will just say my name as they pass me by. just to make me acknowledge them. and to test to see if i’m stuck up or not.
when i was massively homesick a little ways back, i skipped classes so i could avoid the walk to class. it was like the more people trying to interact with me, the more isolated i felt. there were some pretty desperately bad moments, but i broke down crying once very pitifully sobbing “i wanna go home.”
i had NO idea that i would feel homesick so early on in the game. i thought this was going to be some kind of vacation, but considering how much i feel my spirit and mind being tested… this is some kind of hazing i’m going through. please, be gentle with me if i come back to the united states a little twitchy and strange.
the status of my visa is currently unknown to me.
the story of my visa is a long one. i wasn’t really sure if i was going to come to indonesia in the first place. i had some kind of a nightmare scenario set up in my mind.
jackie in the beer aisle at qfc, and bumping into someone she knows
friend: “hey jackie, aren’t you supposed to be in indonesia or something now?”
jackie: “uh, ur… ug. um, you have the wrong asian person, uh. gata go.”
and this awkward interaction snowballs into something where i avoid going outside for about a year.
something like this.
my visa was fedexed to me on the thursday before i was supposed to leave late on saturday night. and i was only given a 60 day tourist visa.
when i got here, i asked our go-between when we were going to get my visa lengthened. he said “since you have a sixty day visa, we have two months to wait to do something about it!” my adrenal glands kind of perked up a little bit when he said this to me.
my visa expired on saturday, the 30th.
okay, this is actually a pretty long story. but let me condense it: indonesian bureaucracy is totally fucked. up.
i started sending text messages to someone in jakarta on the 19th of october. and i’ve been to the immigration office in bukittinggi (an hour away) three times. and my visa situation still isn’t straightened out. the level of incompetency is shocking. but because people here aren’t self-conscious, they don’t mind coming off as totally careless and semi-retarded.
tonight i opened up my backpack for the first time in maybe six weeks?
it smelled rank.
my cute shorts that i packed away – because short shorts are a no no in allah country. the cotton kept on taking up moisture through the air and my CUTE shorts (with a button up sailor panel front) had moldy spots all over. formerly expensive. a pair of really cute pair of sandals that i stopped wearing because buckling and unbuckling them was a pain in the ass – also consumed by jungle mold. also formerly expensive.
have you seen my facebook wall? it, too is consumed by some variety of jungle mold. it has been co-opted. and i totally deleted the link to my blog. but it’s probably already been stalked. but online translators are forgivingly insufficient. but to want privacy when i’m posting stuff on the internet is a fool’s dream.
i’ve told some people about the laundry story. have i already blogged it? i can’t keep track of my mind.
anyway, so i was by the on-campus cafe talking to rita. i said “hey, i’m gunna go. i have to do my laundry.”
but later that night when i met with an indonesian friend, he asked: “jackie, why you didn’t wash shirt?”
so he must have overheard from someone else who overheard. and someone who was peeping through our patio must have not seen any of my clothes hanging up. so somehow this was relayed over to my friend i met up with later that night.
but to answer his question: it rained. so i didn’t do my laundry.
the one year anniversary of my dad’s death was on the 25th.
a year goes by really fast. things change really quickly within a year.
and a year from when my father died i had to go to the immigration office and was writing down my place of birth, the place where my father died, the place where my family was going to be gathered for the next few days, the place i was raised, where some of my father’s ashes are scattered. i could smell the desert and feel the dry heat and visualize the moment where the sunset turns everything magenta. the brick floor of my mother’s house.
and this culimated in my sobbing on oliwia’s shoulder: i want to go home.
i’m pretty burned out.
classes i originally signed up for:
- silat (minangkabau martial art)
- randai (minangkabau theater/dance/music)
- rabab pisisir (bowed instrument played while seated on the floor – my violin teacher would not like seeing me do this, i think)
- silang karawitan (silang – cross, karawitan – traditional music. hence, silang karawitan is a cross-disciplinary class, where audio meets visual)
- silang gaya (silang – cross, gaya – style. this is my gamelan bali class.)
- talempong (brass bells – percussive and melodic. played while seated.)
silat and randai ended up dropping off the list because i fucked my knee up in the 3rd week i was here. and it still feels weird.
i took on:
musik tari melayu (semester 3)
muskc tari melayu (semester 5)
oh god i have to leave now. more later.