same same, but different

Caltex International School is one school with two campasses, Duri being the northern brother. The kids were so excited for a day of poetry, they managed to sit through two one hour sessions — one hour with me presenting and one hour with them writing. Ideas were just spilling out all over the place. After our poetry day the teachers participated in a workshop, then the day ended with a family night. It was a jam-packed day, more than I am used to, but after surviving that bus trip up there I had more than a little extra adreneline. In between school sessions I was treated to lunch and dinner at two different teacher’s homes. It is cool having school and home so close together that everyone can go home for lunch, even the teachers. Margie, the librarian, was so on top of things that by the time we had finished writing our poems, she had them laminated and posted. This morning it was back on the bus, lunch again with Rita and Lyle Molzan and then a short flight to Singapore. Tomorrow is the marathon 17 hour flight home.

Things I learned in Southeast Asia:

Don’t brush your teeth with the tap water no matter how many stars the hotel has.
Don’t pick up the fluorescent orange golf ball on the bathroom floor behind the toilet, it’s a moth ball, the odor is soap resistant and it will make your hands funky for a long time.
Doorways do not come one-size-fits-all in Thailand; when in doubt, duck.
Ants are more interested in non-food items than you would ever imagine – hair brushes, computers, earrings come alive if left on the wrong counter during rush hour.
Every hour is rush hour for insects in Indonesia.
Obeying traffic lights, lane lines and one way street signs is for sissies.
A smile and a nod goes a long way when you don’t share the same language.
Having a butler means having breakfast made and on the table at 7 sharp, having your bags carried to school and your bed made and a snack ready after school. I recommend one for everyone.
Teachers who teach at international schools are humorous, down home folks posted far away from home. The students are eager, class sizes are small and parents are involved. In a phrase, international schools rock.

3 responses to “same same, but different”

  1. Expat Nomad says:

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed the life and culture of Indonesia – a strange place if you have never travelled there before.

    As far as the international school teachers, you’ve pretty much nailed it on the head. We do enjoy having a good time and so do our students. We just get to do it in a place that we don’t normally live.

  2. I explored your blog. I was encouraged by the story of the student activism at the school in CA. I don’t know the facts in the matter, of course, I’m just encouraged that they managed to overcome the currently popular “whatever” culture to speak up for themselves and how their school is run. Thanks for writing.

  3. mudhoney15 says:

    i used to go to caltex american school in the 90s when there was no wall aound the school and there was no security anywhere in duri. im glad to hear that the people there now are like the people that were there when i attended. i dont know if you noticed, but are the big painted cement tubes still in the playground?

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