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Published: July 21st 2012
After only a few weeks away from North America, I have quickly had to adapt to a number of things. Cold water showers, mandi's (squat toilets) and standing out like a sore thumb to name just a few. I knew it would be different and I knew I was going to have to adjust, what I didn't know is just how different it is.
My biggest barrier has been language. It's really quite crazy how quickly you pick up a language simply from lack of any other option. Tyler and I have by no means become fluent in Indonesian but we have certainly learned a lot in a short amount of time. The food words were the first things we wanted to know... when there aren't pictures on a menu it's kind of a crap shoot knowing what you are going to order. Sometimes we would just point to someone elses meal in a warung (hole in the wall restaurant) in hopes it would taste okay. Now we can pretty much read a menu without too much trouble. Me, I'm not a fan of the Kambing (goat), but I'll order Ayam any day (chicken).
Now that we have got the food words under control, we are working on numbers. Knowing how much someone is charging you for food or a souvenir is really important so that you don't get ripped off. Satu, Dua, Tiga, Empat, Lima, Enam, Tujuh, Delapan, Selapan, Supaluh – that's one to ten 😊 Slowly but surely we are getting it! Luckily the currency exchange isn't too bad. It's about 9,500 rupiah to a dollar so we round it up to 10,000rp/$1CDN. I love it when I can order a fresh pineapple or melon juice for 4000rp (about $0.40CDN)!
Next to language, my biggest adjustment has been being the caucasian blonde chick that doesn't fit in. Luckily Bali is much more used to tourists so I haven't been too uncomfortable here, but in Java every little school kid giggled or wanted a picture and people would simply stare when I walked past. The next island we are going to is Lombok and I suspect it will be more like Java. The majority of the other countries we plan on going to will be more like Java as well, so in the words of Tyler I'm going to have to “get used to it”.
Next to those things, I haven't had problems getting used to cold water showers or squat toilets. I've been in enough cold lakes and camped enough times to know what it's like. That doesn't mean I don't love coming across a western toilet or hot shower, just means I now appreciate them more. This I'm sure is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things I will adapt to, things I will learn to live with or without and maybe cause me to take an extra minute in the shower when I'm home. Don't tell my Dad though...
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