Viktorija Panovaite

First days in Indonesia

After I landed in Jakarta I had first meeting with “Indonesia” – taxi drivers just stuck to me suggesting bring me anywhere I want, money exchange ladies were shouting and inviting to change money in their place, oily food smell everywhere, it was terrible hot…

It was hard to find Darmasiswa students waiting spot (even if it was described in information letter). Finally after I found the place I saw many other students standing in the line and waiting for their registration. After couple of hours in airport we moved to Jakarta hotel where the Darmasiswa scholarship opening ceremony was held.

I was totally tired, didn’t want to meet any new people, hungry… just wanted to finish everything quick and go to sleep ;).

Those couples of program orientation days were usual. Long program, many slippages, not enough food for everyone, some useful information, many questions and etc. I didn’t get out from the hotel at all, I just participating in the program and was sleeping :D.

Finally, after meeting with my university program coordinator and other selected students for ISI Yogyakarta, we started our trip to new “hometown”. First the flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta was delay for ~ 6 hours (oh it’s so common here, delay the flights), so instead of coming at day time, we arrived quite late and very tired.

We stayed in hostel for 3 nights and during that time all of us needed to find the place to live. Everyone did what they thought is the best way to find the place – some checking ads in internet, others – already had some places to visit and etc.

First day, me, Slovakian and Greek girls decided just go by foot to university and walking around streets ask people if somebody renting the place. We first met “Indonesian way” to explain the route. When we asked one local how far is the university from our hostel – he told ~20 min. So we were happy to have not long walk. On the way we asked one person – he gave one directions, we asked another – he gave different one. So we decided just to go straight all the time and we will find something :). Finally after walking ~ 1,5 hour on the dusty parts of the road (no pedestrian paths) we reached the university (20 min. to university it would be by motorbike – nobody told us about it, like Indonesians not used to walk, so all distances they calculate by motorbike:)). We met with previous Darmasiswa student looked her place, stayed there for a while, asked many questions, were walking around and decided that on the way back, we will go inside small streets and search for places. Instead of 1,5 hour straight walk to hostel, we took ~3 hours of walk in small streets – but didn’t find anything.

Next day, the university arranges for us a bus to bring to university area, meet with local students (program “buddies”) who helped us during first days – searching places, sharing advices. After lunch I agreed with one “buddy” to take me with motorbike to see the houses. Couple of hours he was driving me from one place to another – but I couldn’t choose the place, like one of them were very dirty, another with strict living rules, thirds near main roads and etc. I saw maybe 6 houses at that time. In the evening we meet with other students and share our experiences. Some of students already agreed who with whom will live; others already had found some place. I was still without the result. And in the evening I got SMS from one member – Hendra (by the way I wrote for ~25 people from Yogyakarta, only 5 replied – I didn’t ask for host just to meet, share advices and etc.:))., that he is near our hostel and maybe I would like to meet for a while. I didn’t have any other plans, so I agreed, I needed to think about something else than “how to find the place”. We had nice couple of hours of talk in one local “warung”. Unfortunately he didn’t have any ideas if anybody rents any place, but suggested his help in a future if I would need to go somewhere or take something.

On 3rd day I agreed to meet one local couple that I met in – Irma and Otong. They came to pick up me in hostel, we went to eat and they suggested to visit some renting places – unfortunately those places were too expensive. We had really nice time together and from that time our friendship began :). A bit later with “buddies” we went to see couple houses near university. I really loved one place – new house, near ISI, totally empty, but till that time it was the best option :). I didn’t just have with who to move in, like house was with 3 rooms. But later I agreed with Hungarian girl (Mesi) to live together and we were missing one more person (other students already had roommates). But we were lucky, like last day of our stay in hostel came one more Darmasiswa student from Poland (Karolina) – who joined us for renting a place. But I got sick – fever, flue and other stuffs. How it’s possible in tropical country? Easy! Outside is very hot, in any inside place all the time works air-conditioner with almost maximum power, changed surrounding, new food and etc. So, my immunity system just “broke” ;).

We moved from hostel on 4th day in the morning with all our stuffs, but really not agreed with house owner about the price. It was a bit expensive – 1 500 000 Rp for 1 year, we tried negotiate – but she didn’t give up. We decided to move in even for such amount, like we didn’t have any other place to move and we needed to stay somewhere. But I felt very bad and couldn’t stay in a place where even wasn’t a mattress to lie down. I asked Irma and Otong, if they could host me for couple of days in their place till I will get better and for them were ok. During those couple of days, I spend almost all the time in a bed, drinking medicine, when I felt better Otong helped me to buy some things for a house and I joined the girls who already stayed there from the first moved day.

First’s days in Indonesia were exhausted but interesting. Even if it was very hot, nobody properly were speaking in English, we didn’t know what to order to eat (everything was written in Indonesian language), I got sick but..I was very excited; everything looked so new, I was wondering and analyzing everything, meeting local people (Hendra, Irma and Otong) and just enjoyed the “new life” :).

Some moments from daily life after I settle in Yogyakarta (sorry, the pictures quality not the best one, like at that time I didn’t have yet my camera) :).


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