My First full day in Yogyakarta

Yesterday we got to meet the Indonesian students who will also be participating in the program with us.  We went outside to play a little “get to know you” icebreaker game.   The game entailed that we share some basic info about ourselves (name, year in school, hobbies, favorite bands, etc…) and later we were presented with a picture of another person and had to recall what each other said when presented.  I knew immediately that this would prove to be a bit of challenge for me since I don’t have an impeccable memory but thankfully I didn’t embarrass myself too terribly and overall the game was a good way to learn a bit more about the people I will be spending the next month with.

After the icebreaker we were given envelopes containing a picture of a specific animal while the Indonesian students were given envelopes with the names of the animals.  Our job was, based on the picture we were given, to make the sound of the animal in our envelope which then matched us and determined our roommates for the next two weeks.  My animal was a cat and I was paired with Binar! Binar is in her senior year of college at Gadjah Mada and is studying international relations.

Once we got paired with our new roommates we were given yet another envelope but this time it contained a picture of a place in Yogyakarta.  We  were given 30,000 rupiah and with our Indonesian partners, we had to go the location in our pictures and then report to the rest of the group later on.  The goal was, based on our presentation, to make the other groups envy us.  Indra (one of the program coordinators) told us that the group that had the best presentation as well as the first group to arrive would win some kind of reward.   Well…I’ll have you know that me and Binar had an amazing location, we got to go to Gambira Loka Zoo!  At first  when she told me that we were going to a zoo I was a bit worried that the standards to which the animals were kept would not be up to par the zoos with the United States.  And I was worried that the animal lover in me would be disturbed and uncomfortable with the way the animals were being cared for, however, Gambira Loka was quite lovely!

First we went into the Laboratorium Pendidkan Alam which was basically like a little museum that had information about Indonesian plants, insects, crustaceans, and other little critters.  After that we walked around the park and I couldnt believe how beautiful it was.  There were gorgeous tropical plants everywhere and lovely streams and canals to gawk at.  Then we came to the zoo area with all of these amazing animals.  One of the first animals we saw were elephants and it was suuper cool because they were trumpeting and running around and splashing in the water…I love elephants. We also got to see tigers, orangatans, monkeys, crops, tapirs, hippos, kangaroos, ahh the list goes on.  We took tons of pictures and videos from Gambira Loka so I am making good use of my camera already!

It was a bit unfortunate because due to lack of a USB cord, I was unable to upload the pics and videos for our presentation.  However, when it came time for us to present our powerpoint, our enthusiasm as well as the good quality of my little camera allowed everyone to get a pretty good idea of the magic that was Gambira Loka and in the end…we won!  Now what we won was the chance to take everyone else in our group to Gambira Loka on Thursday.  I’m excited because I want to ride an elephant and a camel since I couldn’t do it yesterday because I was wearing a skirt.  So basically me and Binar rocked the scavenger hunt yesterday!

After that the Indonesian students took us to dinner at this fantastic restaurant The House of Raminten.  I had the nasi goreng abon which is Indonesian style fried rice topped with sweet seasoned beef….DELICIOUS.  I seriously love Indonesian food and I wish that someone would open an Indonesian restaurant in Ann Arbor!  Today we are going to have the opening ceremony of our program and will also be going to a lecture of some sort.  I will update later.  So in conclusion Indonesia is pretty darn cool and so is Binar! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for us over the next 2 weeks 🙂

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