check out a map of the island of Java. My school is in depok, just south of the capitol city of Jakarta. Map
Greetings and Selemat Malam,
I just wanted to send a quick email, at the end of my first day as a student here at Universiti Indonesia. I was so surprised, passing through the insane streets of rush hour Jakarta on my way from the airport, to arrive in this green, quiet village next to the campus in Depok, south of the capitol Jakarta and north of area called Bogor. My professor at the university of minnesota has friends here, and I have been so lucky to arrive in a new, strange place to find a family waiting for me with delicious dinner, a soft bed, and a lively one and a half year old curious about every aspect and piece of luggage that came with this strange and towering orang bule. some of the nicest people i have ever come across.
More later, much more, for I can already feel whatever it is that is floating around in the air of this island soaking into my pores, a raw edge that challenges one to put forth the challenge to just try and comprehend its complexities, all the while chiding you to seek comfortable refuge and hide from the chaos and heat and masses of people speaking a different language.
this is the biggest university in one of the biggest countries in the world, so i suppose i shouldn’t have been so surprised by sheer mass of the campus. and a beautiful campus it is. tensions within the society are not hard to find, and people are hardly in denial about it. there is a strong christian enclave here, and a very strong culture of Islam, of course. I’m just amazed at what i see as an eagerness to be politically active with so many people. I am going to enjoy exploring this. a new friend told me about the role of the students is changing the governemt before, and how the campus was moved outside the city, “into the jungle,” by the government in response. even now, she said, if there is word of political activity on the streets of the capitol city (not entirely uncommon), you will still find armed soldiers at the train station in depok, preventing students from making their way towards jakarta.
ok, time for me to balik rumah and join my temporary family for some ikan asam manis and some kankung tahu. I’m sure i will get some homesickness when i actually have a moment to sit down, but for the moment i’m quite enjoying being busy. talk to you later.