It has taken me a while to feel at home in Jakarta. Living and working overseas is a transient lifestyle and while there are many benefits, there is one drawback: I am away from my home and family most of the time. When I think of home, I am reminded of my mom preparing Sunday roast dinner and every Sunday we would sit down as a family and eat and spend time with each other. I still miss home and those Sunday roast dinners but now Jakarta is where I call home. Continue Reading →
The fax machine can never replace the need for diplomatic missions abroad! This was the sentiment of Andrew Key, Deputy Head of Mission for the British Embassy in China who gave the keynote speech at the opening of the 20th Model United Nations hosted by International School of Beijing. Key told the 900 international students and potential future diplomats in the audience, that it was personal curiosity about cultures and countries that led him to a career in the diplomatic corps. Diplomacy is not outdated! With the challenges and opportunities the world faces, diplomacy is needed more so now than ever before. The role of the diplomat is more important now than it has ever been with the increasing role of mass media in our lives and the inundation of information. The diplomat is needed to help make sense of this information in terms of foreign relations. Can a diplomat truly understand a country and its people without ever having lived there? NO! As an international teacher, I would definitely agree with Key. My perspective of who I am and others in the world has changed because of my living and working overseas. Diplomacy like education underlies the need for communication and collaboration in order to understand cultures and our relationships with others in order to build partnerships that bridge differences. This was the message of Key to the students and thus the 20th Beijing Model United Nations began with a roar of enthusiasm.
欢迎到中国来 I left for Beijing, China with 10 students and a colleague for the 20th Model United Nations hosted by the International School of Beijing. The trip to the airport can take up to 2 hours but today was Nypee, the Balinese New Year, and very few cars were on the road so we were at the airport in just over 30 minutes with plenty of time to spare before the red-eye flight to Beijing. Six and half hours later and we had landed in Beijing just as the sun was rising over the capital. Lily, our guide for the day, warmly greeted us. Having had very little sleep and brazing the cold but sunny day, our tour began. Our first stop was Tiananmen Square. Most notably in the Square is The Great Hall of the People and Chairman Mao’s mausoleum. Walking around, I recalled the bravery of a young college student who, in 1989, refused to get out of the way of a tank and stood up to the military might of the Chinese army for the sake of democracy!
When Friday rolled around , I was ready for the weekend! I love my job and I also love the weekends for the opportunities to play and discover what my host country has to offer! This Friday, a colleague and I decided to head out after school for a drink and try a new bar restaurant called Parc 19. There are very few places in Jakarta that can transport me to another world but Parc 19 did just that. Getting there was another story. I was able to charm the taxi company located at my school into giving us a taxi that was on standby for another patron and off we headed into the Jakarta traffic. Needless to say, we had difficulty in getting there and so we decided to get out as close as possible to our destination and walk. Dodging Jakarta traffic and inhaling the exhaust of cars, Ellen and I set out for the bar. Surprisingly, it took us only a few minutes to arrive at our destination. The building looked like it had been plucked right out of New York and planted in Kemang, Indonesia! I was ready for a drink.
Every morning I leave for school, in a taxi, around 6:30 a.m. with the hopes of beating the traffic. The route to school is the same but getting to school is always an adventure. I live in Jakarta where Bhasa Indonesian is spoken. Unfortunately, I only have minimal proficiency of the language which makes for giving directions to the driver a comedy show. However, with what I know, I am able to get myself to school. Driving up Fatmawati, the main road, the taxi driver has to dodge buses, the motorcycles and the Bajaj’s like the one in the photo!
I was watching an episode of Glee the other day and Mr. Schuester was entrusting the Glee Club to Finn while he was going away to Washington to advocate for the Arts in Schools. Mr. Schue was explaining to Finn that teachers are important in making the dreams of their students happen. I agree with Mr. Schue. To use a metaphor, teachers holds up a mirror to the student and reflects back to them the goodness, talents and potential that the teacher already sees. In so doing, the hope is the student will recognize their own self-worth and possibilities that lies within themselves. This is what my 11th grade English teacher, Ms. Petrone, did for me. I owe who I am today in part to her for helping me see all that was good in me. This is the power of the teacher! Continue Reading →
This is the digital debut of my adventures as an international teacher. While having been a teacher for while in the United States, Philippines and now Indonesia, I am just beginning to chronicle my adventures. I have always wanted to write about my teaching journey… Continue Reading →