I know it's still a bit early to wish everyone reading this a 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year", but I'm going to Borneo next week and I'm not sure if I will have internet access there. Another of the English Language Fellows has invited me to spend Christmas with him; he's posted in a city called Pontianak on the west coast. It will be the most out-of-the-way place I've ever spent Christmas. Then on the 27th I'll do a teacher training workshop at his university, for up to 100 teachers - by far my largest workshop audience ever.
After that I may travel around the island - my Indonesia guidebook describes lots of interesting places to see, though I'd stick to the less 'adventurous' ones, which means staying along the south/east coasts with some day trips by river boat or by bus just a bit into the interior. I may also cross over by boat to Sulawesi, another major island in Indonesia, and travel up to a mountainous area called Tana Toraja that is supposed to be incredibly scenic and still 'unspoiled' by too much tourism.
In mid-January I will join all of the English Language Fellows for a few days in the city of Surabaya, in east Java, for our big mid-year meeting. We'll also do some 'outreach' activities going into local high schools to introduce teachers/students to all the English language teaching materials available for free from the Embassy. Then - as of yesterday - I will return to Borneo for several days with another ELF to do some more teacher training and be part of a weekend English camp at Banjarmasin, a city on the south coast. After that I will still have about two weeks to travel - enough to spend time in at least one of the several parts of Indonesia that I want to experience for myself. At the moment I'm leaning towards going to Lombok and Sumbawa, two islands east of Bali that are less touristy but still gorgeous and culturally interesting. Or I might go to Yogyakarta and Solo on Java, mainly to see the ancient temples at Borobudur and Prambanan and visit traditional markets. Wherever I don't go in January I can go ( I hope ) next July before I fly back to the US. I like my travels to be relaxing, which means no rushing from one place to another.
I should say that the January travels and teacher-training will be my first significant opportunities to do these things since I arrived. I will post journal entries if not daily, then at least frequently. I'll figure out how to post photos to this site as well.
More to come....