We continued working on the mural today, and we will do so every Saturday until it's finished. I worked with Jaffa again. We finished our master piece! Well actually, Jaffa took the lead today; finishing off the final details himself. He was confident, he knew what needed to be done, and he did it. He was proud of the finished piece and I was proud of him.
The Mural has an Islamic pattern as the background. This is because the boys come from Afghanistan, and the pattern is supposed to recall the patterns from their home. The paintings are inspired by Afghan truck art and include pictures that are important to the boys. We added portraits of important figures to the boys including a famous Afghan football player. They also added the Indonesian and Afghan flag to pay homage to their home country and their country of refuge.
Since Jaffa was so independent this morning, I was able to work with Abdula. He is eleven years old like Jaffa. I think that Abdula felt more comfortable to join in on the painting after seeing Jaffa work so successfully. He painted a komodo dragon (a type of giant lizard found only in Indonesia).
Most of the boys are in their teens, and a lot of them have natural talent for painting. Some boys like painting the pattern background, others prefer to paint a picture.
In the center of the mural they painted the dove of peace. A hopeful symbol of peace for the future.
It's the 31st of March in Indonesia, but it's still the 30th in the US. That means I still have time to get my Day 30 slice into the forum.
It's 7am in Indonesia right now and the cut off time for Day 30 SOL is at noon Indonesian time. Yes, I have a total of 12 hours extra. So on a day where I'm feeling tired and out of ideas (like yesterday), I can postpone my post until tomorrow because it will still be yesterday in America. It's an advantage of living in the east!
It also means that I can't post my slice before noon if I slice in the first twelve hours of a day. What I mean is, if it's 10am on the 30th in Indonesia and I've written my Day 30 slice, I can't post it until noon in Indonesia because it will still be the evening of Day 29 in America.
Even with these extra 12 hours, I still haven't managed to post every day. I missed a few days here and there. I decided to look at it the way I look at exercising - baby steps, I'm a beginner so I can go easy!
My next post will be the last day of the SOL challenge. I think I'll write about the mural again. I'm gong there later on today. When I come back from working on the mural, it will be the afternoon here which means it will be the early hours of the morning in the US - which means it will be day 31 both here and there.
Introvert or extrovert? Which one do you think is better?
That's the question my lecturer asked us in our second year psychology class. He wanted to test out his hypothesis on us; a class of four hundred students. We were asked to raise our hand in response to the one which we thought was better.
"Raise your hand if your think it's better to be an extrovert." I kept my hand lowered.
"Okay great, now raise your hand if you think it's better to be an introvert." I raised my hand. So did my friend Miriam sitting one row in front of me. I'm kind of a nerd (as is Miriam), so as nerds do, Miriam and I were sitting in the two front rows of the auditorium. When we raised our hands, the lecturer looked right at the two of us.
"Yes," he said, "my hypothesis is correct; the majority of people will always assume that it is better to be an extrovert."
I was surprised. Why is he looking right at me? My hand still hanging in the air, I looked behind me at the other students in the auditorium and I realised that mine and Miriam's hands were the only two raised; we were the only two people in a class of four hundred that could see merit in being an introvert.
As an introvert myself, I pulled my hand down very quickly when I realised that everyone was looking in my direction!
My lecturer went on to debunk this common misconception that extroverted people are better. He explained that the common thought is that extroverts are confident, fun and happy but that introverts are shy and suffer from low self-esteem. I know this not to be true. I'm quite, yes, but shy, no, and my confidence peaks and dips depending on different factors (which I assume is the same for everyone...right?).
Extroverts, he continued, pull their personality from outside of them. An extroverted personality is a reflection of its external environment. Whereas introverts, due to lots of thought and introspection, pull from within to find themselves.
This means that extroverts are really good at parties, they fit right in. Extroverts are adaptable to lots of situations - they can basically read the room and fit the requirements of that room. Introverts, on the other hand, are not so adaptable. They will be the same version of themselves no matter what the situation, no matter where they are.
I have to be honest. This summation made me think: Yes! I'm right, introverts are better! The way I saw it, introverts are more true to themselves and know themselves better and so, we win!
Hmmm. Not so fast.
My lecturer then went on to say - as arguments like this one often go - that when it comes to extrovert vs introvert, balance is best. The adaptability of the extrovert is a good life tool. As is the introspection of the introvert. Most people are not an extreme version of one or the other, but somewhere in the middle.
So I can take a leaf out of the extroverted book by pushing myself a little in situations that require me to step out of my comfort zone. Try to adapt to situations that don't exactly match my personality. I can do it. I know I can because I have. But I will say this: its kind of exhausting. When I do push myself in those moments, it takes a lot out of me and I need to recharge my batteries afterwards!
I think the important take away here is empathy. It's not a competition, it's about understanding one another, but I do often feel the need to stick up for the introvert because of that common misconception that my lecturer uncovered during our psychology class.
We're not shy. We're not lacking in self-esteem. We're not quiet because we're afraid to speak. It's basically because we're thinking; deep in thought and loving it.
I'm very consientious about sun exposure. I had a few incidents as a child where my parents left me out in the sun for too long - that was a lesson learned. A few bad burns and a case or two of sun stroke, it's pretty clear that I'm not built for the sun.
So what are you doing living in a tropical climate so close to the equator? You might ask. I'll tell you what I'm doing: hiding in the shade most of the time.
As I said, I'm very careful about exposing myself to the sun. So when I noticed an angry patch of fiery red down the outside of my left leg yesterday afternoon, I was perplexed. How did I get that? I've been so careful. Was it from my five minute dip in the sea? Was it from walking back and forth between the cabana and the bungalow? Which, by the way, is not even a two minute walk.
It doesn't take me long to burn. Ten to fifteen minutes in strong sun can do some serious damage. Even with factor fifty. So when did I get this burn? I wondered.
I had to think about it. And then - it clicked.
The toilet. I got sunburned while sitting on the toilet.
My lovely beach bungalow has a traditional open-air toilet. The toilet/shower is enclosed with walls all around, but there's no roof overhead. It's quite novel to shower open-air style - being one with nature and all that, but you can't let yourself forget about the perils of sun exposure.
It must have been during one of my longer visits to the toilet - a ten to fifteen minute visit. It must have been that morning. In the morning time, the sun shines at such an angle that it just skims the left handside of the toilet bowl, so that when I was sitting there browsing on Facebook, most of my body was probably in the shade except for the outside of my left leg. I hadn't noticed it. Who considers sunburn while sitting on the toilet? Not me.
Well now I'm suffering. The hotel staff have been very kind, they blended up some fresh aloevera from the garden which I've been applying regularly. I've stored the aloe goo in the fridge so that it's extra cooling on the burn. Hopefully it will have cleared up by tomorrow.
Another lesson leaned: beware of open-air toilets.
Next time bring an umbrella!
One early morning flight, a two hour car ride, a short boat trip, and we've arrived on Gili Air. As soon as I stepped off the boat and onto the dock, I felt myself relax. Holiday mode. I've got a week off and I'm going to make it count.
Gili Air is much more built up since the last time I was here. Business is booming. Still no cars though. It's wonderful to leave the traffic behind in Jakarta.
Fortunately, we managed to find a quiet spot on the other side of the island from the dock where I am now laying out on the beach under a cabana.
I'm feeling grateful for my life here in Indonesia and being able to enjoy easy escapes like this.
Tammy blew us all away today. Such talent! I've already commissioned a set of batik paintings since I saw her last four, big, beautiful tableaux in the lobby. She painted over those dull looking roses and turned them into vibrant, bright and shining - but also dark and luxurious peonies. She had purpose. I saw her size up those tired, fussy, old roses. She mixed up some deep red and hot pink, and she immediately got to work on her make-over. We couldn't believe how fast she turned it all around.
Her effortless mixing and blending inspired me. I wanted to try it. She took her prominent place in the center of the mural. I found my corner. My favourite; the corner, no one will notice me there, and I can do my thing without an audience. I started sketching. Lines. Symmetrical lines in the style of Afghan truck art - Elizabeth showed me. Yes. I had purpose. I've been helping out with the mural for five weeks now. Usually I people manage. I help with organising the resources, enlisting kids to paint and tidying up at the end. Today was different. Something clicked and I wanted to paint.
Once I finished sketching, I realised that I could make this a team effort. I saw Jaffa drawing a picture of a peacock in a sketchbook. So intent. Only eleven years old but his observation and attention to detail let me know that we'd be a good team. I finally convinced Jaffa to join the mural (I had been trying to get him to paint on the mural for five weeks now!). Once I showed him my sketch and the photo of the truck art, he was in. We worked together for two hours. Jaffa on the left. Me on the right. I tried to encourage Jaffa to talk despite his lack of English and my lack of Arabic. All my major Ronaldo and Messi fun facts ran out pretty fast (I have no clue about football), and after that we worked together on our joint painting mostly silently. Only breaking the silence to discuss colour options.
Two hours later and we were feeling pretty proud. Jaffa and I had received a few compliments on our work. We're not finished yet, but I'm looking forward to completing it next week, and I'm pretty sure Jaffa is too.
On the way home after saying goodbye to the other painters, I was struck by the colours. Suddenly I was noticing specific shades of colours. That ancot is the same shade of blue of our background pattern. That warung is same shade of green as the leaves on our peonies. The yellow outline on Elizabeth's frames is the same as the yellow stripes on the Trans-Jakarta bus. Traffic is not so boring when you look at it with the fresh new perspective of a painter.
I'm glad I've stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. It's been so great! Can't wait till next week!
It's 5am and I'm awake. I'm going to enjoy this early morning because it's Saturday, and I have nothing to do until 10am. That's five hours of blissful 'me time'.
First things first - a cup of tea. I always drink Barry's Tea in the morning. I stock up every time I go home for a visit. Actually, whenever I fly home to Ireland, my suitcase is packed with gifts for friends and family, and on the return flight, packed with all my favourite Irish products that you can't get in Indonesia. There's never any clothes in my luggage - just goods. Anyway, the clothes that I wear in Indonesia are very different to what I wear in Ireland because of the two very different climates, so it would be pointless to pack clothes. Packing my suitcase with Irish branded tea might seem a bit ridiculous to some considering I'm bringing it into a country that is already awash with tea, but in my defense - I've grown up with my Irish tea, so it's warm and comforting on quiet early mornings like this one.
Next - a morning slice - not of toast! A slice of life. I'm feeling particularly clear this morning and the writing seems to flow. Maybe it's because it's the first day of our end of term break, and I'm starting to relax. It's been full on this term, especially the last few weeks, so this week of rest is much needed.
I booked a last minute flight to Lombok on Sunday. I decided that the best place for me to get a good quality rest is on a small beach island in the middle of the Bali Sea. From Lombok I'll catch a public boat to Gili Air - a tiny island with no cars or any form of transportation except for bicycles and horse drawn carts. I'm hoping that this relaxed pace of life will rub off on me and slow me down.
Now I'm starting to get hungry - an impossible distraction. Time to log off and get some breakfast!
My favourite word is freisin. It's an Irish word. Pronounced: 'fresh-in'. It doesn't have a great meaning. Actually the meaning of freisin is quite unremarkable. It's not even a noun or a verb. It means 'also' or 'too'. Like 'me too'. In Irish that would be 'mise freisin'.
Sometimes when people tell stories about their favourite word, they talk about the sophisticated meaning of the word, or they love it because of its phonetic appeal. My word is freisin because of a memory that I like to recall; a memory of when I was in primary school.
Freisin was on my spelling list when I was in the second grade. I found this word very difficult to spell. It was the 'ei' in the middle that threw me off. I regularly misspelled freisin as friesin.
I had built the spelling of this word up in my mind as impossible feat. The word stressed me out. How was I going to spell this right? Like a lot of mothers of second graders, my mam was right there with me as I toiled over my spelling homework. She saw me go through the ringer with this one. I paced up and down the kitchen trying to remember the spelling.
But I hung on in there. I kept writing and rewriting, reciting and re-reciting until I could spell freisin. The persistence paid off; I got a gold star in my spelling test that week. Victory! I did it!
After that, I would come across freisin every now and then with mam, like when I read my class reader aloud at the dining table. I would look up at her and she would look down at me, and we'd smile because we both knew: I can spell that word.
Last night I had to do some online banking with my account back in Ireland. It was one of those times when they send a verification code to your phone. The problem is that they only send the code to an Irish mobile phone number, but I don't have an Irish mobile number, so they send it to my mam's number. My mam is not the most digital savvy person - this is the conversation that ensued when I called her on her mobile to get that code while she was on the train on her way to Kerry to visit relatives.
"Hi Caoimhe, I'm on the train."
"Okay, did you get a six digit figure sent in a message to your phone just now?"
"Yes, I did."
"Can you read it out to me? It's for my online banking."
"Okay, I need a pen....let me ask this man for a pen....excuse me Sir, do you have a pen that I can borrow?...Thank you....Okay, Caoimhe, I have a pen. I'll check my messages and I'll write down the number. And then you can call me back in a little while, and I'll read out the code to you"
3 minutes later.
"Hi Mam. Do you have the code?"
"Yes, here is it, are you ready?"
"No, that didn't work"
"Okay here's another one: 091089"
"Nope, that didn't work either. Mam are you sure you looked at your most recent message?"
"Hmm, let me check again. Okay, you hang up and I'll check my message and then you ring me back in a little while. Where's that pen?"
"Actually, Mam...You don't need to hang up. You can check your messages while I stay on the line. I'll be here on the phone the whole time."
"Well, how do I do that?"
"Just press your middle button and I'll stay on the line and you can check your messages as usual."
2 minutes later.
"Mam? I'm still here. Are you still there?"
"Excuse me Sir, can you help me to get back to my phone call? My daughter's on the line."
"Mam! I'm here! I'm still here!"
"Hello Sir, can you put my Mam back on?"
"Hi Caoimhe, you're back on the line now. Shall I read out the number? I wrote it down."
"012980...Did that work?"
"Yes that worked."
"Okay great. Bye Caoimhe, love you."
"Love you too. Thanks Mam."
I should probably give my Mam a lesson in how to multi-task on her phone...But hey, at least she tried her best to help me out!