26 October 2012

Early Halloween + Pontianak at 241 years

[From Sunday 21 October 2012]

I had a wonderful weekend. I just came back from the second Sunday Dinners event in Pontianak. The dinner is an opportunity for Jordan, Anna, and me to bond with each other and our Indonesian friends over cooking dinner. Anna, the ELF at Universitas Tanjungpura (UNTAN) came up with the idea. Tonight for dinner we had crab, shrimp, fried sweet potatoes, salad, guacamole, and fruit (mangoes, papaya, and pineapples). The dinners are a good short break from nasi goring (fried rice) and any other food containing peanut butter (i.e gado-gado (green leafy vegetables + bean sprout doused with spicy peanut sauce).

Before the dinner, Willie (a friend whom I met at the first dinner) and I went shopping for the fruits and milk. On our way to the store Istana Buah (Fruit Palace), we stumbled upon a parade on Jalan Gajah Mada, one of Pontianak's main roads. The parade celebrated Pontianak at 241 years. It also served as a traditional wedding dress competition. It was a lovely sight. There were at least 10 couples dressed in traditional Melayu and Indonesian wedding attire. The beautiful wedding dresses overwhelmed me with joy. I was glad we went down that street to get the fruit! We watched the parade for about 45 minutes before we went to Istana Buah.

Parade participants holding wedding gifts.

Yesterday was a busy, but equally fun, day. In the morning, I held the English Club at my school for about 14 students. We worked on greetings and introductions. I instructed the students to work together in pairs after my explanations. The main speaking and listening activity had the students introducing their partners after their conversations. 

After English Club, I hopped on my bicycle and went to the American Corner at UNTAN. Jordan, Anna, and I had to present on Halloween. We decided to have the presentation a week before the holiday weekend because next Saturday, 26 October, is the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. When Jordan and I finished our presentation on the history and main activities of Halloween, we went to our activity stations. We had a station for apple bobbing, mask-making, costume-making, trick-or-treating, and games. A couple of weeks ago, when we were in meetings planning for this, I was not sure how the event would turn out. I wondered about how the event would be received by 20-something year old university students. Answer: They loved it. We had a total of at least 42 participants running all over the place tailoring their costumes made out of newspaper, coloring their masks, and vigorously bobbing for apples. We had a great time. I decided to color a mask as well. I was so into it; I picked my colors carefully and tried to stay inside the lines. It reminded me of being in my high school art class. 

 Dian, one of the student volunteers at UNTAN, was a witch. 

My turn to bob for an apple. 

The bobbing for apples crew.  

The costume-making station. 

The mask-making station. 

What a costume! 

Being Gleeks taking a picture under the Glee poster. 

My favorite mask. 

My mask :).

Jordan with some bobbing for apple participants.

The event ended about an hour and a half later with an impromptu photo shoot and a massive clean-up. Soon after, I met up with two students for English lessons. I had invited the students to my house for an informal English club and Ellen and Prisca were the only ones who expressed interest. I started off the lesson by having them tell me what they did before they came to my house. By doing that, we worked mainly on the past tense. This was the first time I let students into my house. I was worried they might tell everyone where I lived. So, I was happy to open my doors and work with the students outside of the classroom.

Until next time! :-)

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