bule – “boo-lay” commonly used word in Indonesia to describe a foreigner.
Finally back in Ngampilan after three days of orientasi at the Universitas Gaja Mada (UGM). Our room at the University Club Hotel was nice, but located on the third storey – reached only via stairs and despite many offers, leaving our seven kilo dead weight (Jack) at reception on the ground floor was hardly appropriate. Easier, but inappropriate. We did leave the pram.
Orientasi for the ACICIS students was an intensive and draining affair. We were fingerprinted, registered with the police and had our passports taken off of us (for up to two months). There was a placement test (Jas was on the cusp of the advanced group), group meals and city tours. There were volumes of information and death by PowerPoint – Jack and I dipped out once the going got tough and took up walking around the campus. Around 29 people and one New Zealander are studying with ACICIS this semester; with a definite mixed bag of personalities, language abilities and ideals. It was good to meet such a large number of bules, keen to see some of the real Indonesia, not just the Bintang-soaked dross of Kuta and to make come contacts with similar ideals.
Jack was officially the favourite member of the ACICIS group, garnering a large following of adoring fans, obsessed with being granted a smile. It’s fair to say, he’s a bit popular. As key holder of the adored blue-eyed babe, just getting from one point to the other can be a challenge. Jack also got to meet the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia and raise a few points on foreign policy with him. It was a shameless photo opportunity, but as the youngest accompanying minor in 16 years of ACICIS, Jack is making some history.
As part of orientasi , each bule was assigned a pendamping (student helper) to assist with arranging accommodation and things like phones and the internet. With our accommodation taken care of, we were able to just hang out with our pendamping and have kopi! We did get some help with setting up our mobile phones and are now sorted out with new phones, numbers and the internet. Jas then managed, within 24 hours, to lose her phone on the steps of the hotel. Through an impressive act of honesty, Herman, a hired car driver returned the phone, refused a reward and was an all round nice guy. So if anyone is looking for a very honest driver while in Yogya, we have Herman’s number!