The big news is finally here! Peace Corps told us at the beginning of training that site announcements would be made on May 25th at HUB Day. That day has been marked in my mental calendar and before I knew it, it was the end of Week 7 and the day was here! At HUB, Peace Corps staff told us they wouldn’t tell us where we were going until the very end of the day. Naturally, everyone was super antsy. I was actually pretty calm, cool, and collected, but it was hard to listen to people lecturing at us when we knew much more interesting information would be soon coming our way! After lunch I got the results of my language test! I passed, with a score of intermediate medium! I only needed to get intermediate low and I don’t think anyone scored higher than intermediate high. Hey, for 6 weeks of language training (somewhere around 120 hours), I will gladly take intermediate med. Saya senang (I am happy)! 🙂
Finally, at the end of the day, they took us all outside and walked us through campus to a basketball court where they had drawn out a map of East Java with chalk and tape on the ground and they had us stand according to our placements. SO DRAMATIC! I am down south in Tulungagung (say that three times fast). I’m living in a village only 1 km from school. I’m teaching at an SMA, which is a public high school, not an Islamic high school (one of the other choices).
My school has just under 1000 students. The principle has actually worked with a PCV before and then he was transferred to the school I will be at, so while there hasn’t been a PCV at my school, he is familiar with PC. My supervisor says this is a huge advantage. My two counterparts are supposedly highly motivated, and that’s rare. I should have about 30-40 students per class. For extra curriculars, the school already has an English club, journalism, IT club, martial arts, basketball, soccer, a youth red cross, and scouting, but they apparently want me to “set up drama club, choir, and debate club.” Haha, these are exactly none of my strengths. But that’s ok! We will figure it out, and I’m definitely lucky to be placed at a site with excited, motivated students and teachers.
As for my family, I have a 64 yr old bapak (host dad) who is a retired elementary school teacher and a 60 yr old ibu (host mom) who is an elementary school teacher retiring in November. They have a 32 yr old son who lives with them and an adult daughter who is married and lives next door with her husband and 13 yr old son. They have a little fish farm (bapak’s hobby, apparently) and they garden and have fruit trees. The house is supposedly really clean and nice, according to one of the PC staff who visited there. The house set up sounds really similar to the house of the ID5 PCV I visited last week on my site visit, and I LOVED her site so that was encouraging.
In many ways, my site placement isn’t really what I asked for in my site placement interview, but that’s ok. At the end of the day, your experience will be what you make it, so I’m just gonna head into it with a good attitude and focus on doing my best. Peace Corps did a great job placing me with my host family for training (who I will miss so much) and I’m sure they knew what they were doing when they placed me in Tulungagung (I really need to practice pronouncing this).
Oh, and last but not least, I supposedly do have internet at school! And I guess there are internet cafes somewhere nearby? I’m hoping the internet is fast enough for skype, and I’m excited to get into a rhythm of communicating with friends&family back home when I get to site. Thank you all for your patience during these busy 10 weeks. Only two more to go until I’m an official volunteer! 🙂