CLS Weeks 7 and 8: Trying and Failing and Succeeding and Learning

When I predicted that CLS would continue to be jam-packed with learning, I was not salah (wrong).

5994df73-6a87-4748-ac46-0382a7c19bceThese past two weeks (the last “normal” weeks in the program before we move into our week of finals and closing ceremonies), have positively flown by. Class has really begun to get fun now that we have covered most of the key grammar points, and we even got to dabble in some  poetry this week.  The highlight, though, was a drama we put on as a class and performed for a few of the other classes.  It was ridiculous and insane and even though I hate performing for a crowd it ended up being so much fun because it was done alongside my classmates, who are some of my favorite people in CLS.

IMG_5611I also got to experience a particular kind of sukses (success) this past week as far as my language learning goes: I was published in the local koran (newspaper)!  Our teachers had everyone in my class write short articles on the topic of our choice and submit them to the local newspaper as a way to practice out written language in an authentic way, and I wrote mine on our batik class, since that is always the highlight of my week.  Writing is what makes me most nervous in Indonesian, as I have really never written in Indonesian prior to the CLS Program, so it was really neat to see my own writing in print.

But if getting my article published was a highlight, a lowlight was my Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).  All CLS participants have to complete an OPI towards the end of their program; it is essentially an interview over the phone testing your spoken proficiency in the target language.  What is cool about the OPI is that we will all receive an official score and certificate because we have participated in this interview.  What is not so cool is that we have to take it very late at night (because the test givers are calling from the U.S.), and as the connection on a call from the U.S. to Indonesia is not the best (making it very hard to understand everything the interviewer is saying).  We also took a pre-OPI exam before beginning with CLS, and I feel very confident that I performed better on this most recent exam than I did my first, so even if I was not being tested under the best of circumstances, I do believe that I will show some signs of improvement from one test to another, and that is enough for me.

Elective classes continued to be challenging and fun.  Things are starting to get more complex in dance class, which is both intimidating and exciting, and in batik I actually got to start designing my own batik piece!

I also got to meet up with a bunch of past students over the course of these past two weeks, which was possibly the highlight of the past two months in Malang.  I met up with some students from SMAN 10 (my Malang school) at the alun-alun (town square), which was not only wonderful because I got to catch up with them and chat about life post graduation, as they both graduated in 2016, but also because the students I met with were actually from two different campuses from that school, and so I was able to introduce them for the first time too.  I was also finally able to meet up with my students from Gorontalo who are going to be starting university in Malang very soon.  I wasn’t able to visit Gorontalo while I in Indonesia this time, something which makes me quite sedih (sad), as Gorontalo is one of my homes in this country, so being able to connect with some folks from Gorontalo, especially from my school, filled my heart in a way that I believe nothing else could.

Two weekends ago we had our final Saturday class excursion, which this time focused on Topeng.  Topeng are traditional masks made only in Malang, and there is even tarian topeng, a traditional dance from Malang which incorporates the masks into the performance.  We learned about the history of topeng, watched a beautiful dance performance, and even got a chance to paint our own topeng.  The mask-making place which we visited was a little outside of the city, tucked back into the trees atop a hill, and spending the morning painting out masks and breathing the cool air was a peaceful and wonderful way to end our class excursions.

0f498bca-2f1d-441a-bfd4-40cc224687b3During our final full weekend in Malang, a group of mahasiswa CLS visited Gunung Bromo (Bromo Mountain), a volcano outside of Malang.  I did not have the chance to visit Bromo while I lived in Malang before, though I did have the opportunity to see a few other mountains, and I have always been told that I missed out, so I was determined to find time to go while I was in Malang again this summer.  Going to Bromo means leaving the city around midnight in order to catch the morning sunrise, and we left the same evening that I took my OPI, so I was worried that I would be too exhausted (both physically and mentally) to really enjoy the trip.  But Bromo was spectacular, and no amount of exhaustion could take away from that.  We watched the sunrise from a mountain nearby called Bukit Cinta (Love Hill), and seeing the sunrays dance across the sea of fog surrounding the crater below us was one of the most magical sights I think I will ever see.  After breakfast on top of Bukit Cintai we were able to go down to Bromo itself and climb up the crater, and I have to say there is nothing quite like standing next to an active volcano.  All in all Bromo was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in Indonesia (and I have had my fair share of those), and I am so grateful that I finally had my chance to go.

Our time with CLS is quickly drawing to a close, and I am already bracing myself for the goodbyes.  But I know that there will be plenty more adventures during our final days, and I can’t wait to see what this next week brings.


Word of the week: This week’s word of the week is luar biasa (extraordinary).  I have uttered this word so many times in the past week, as this experience, for all that it has both ups and downs, has truly been luar biasa.


Persons of the week: As CLS is quickly approaching its end, I am thinking about all the people I will miss when this is all over.  And some of the people I will miss the most will 100% be Kelas Manggis (Mangosteen Class).  I am one of four students in the class, and we have three fabulous teachers who try to help us navigate the twists and turns of a foreign grammar.  I spend a minimum of 20 hours with these folks every week, and I am never bored of them.  They are funny and supportive and clever and kind, and I feel so lucky to be in the same class as them.  (Also, we totally got matching t-shirts.  Do please be jealous.)


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