Free Spirited American Volunteers

I always love to have volunteers from the United States of America because I adore the country, the freedom, and liberty. So when American volunteers come, it is very delightful to me to ask them about anything related to their country. The first American volunteer that I got at the learning center is Ian Alfaro from Hawai, but his family is from Mexico so he is also a Mexican. He is a surfer anyway and he brought his surfboard to our learning center, he did surf at Balian Beach.

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Next, I met a couple from Washington, USA. They are Lisa Beck and Daniel Kirkpatrick. They are married with three children, their oldest son is in the same as me. I also asked them to be my American parents, and they said yes. They are very nice and kind. Once they asked me about teaching my sons English then I said that my sons had a speech delay, they cheered me up and Daniel told me a story about some different animal, for example, a rabbit, a snake, a chicken, a bird, a fish, a frog who are taught to swim, to fly and to walk. In the swimming lesson, none of them can swim except fish and frog. Next, in the flying lesson, none of them can fly except a bird, even the chicken is hardly fly. At last in the walking lesson, none of them can walk except a chicken, the rabbit jumps and the snake slithers.

He said that the moral story was every child has his own skill and ability timing, so I shouldn’t worry about the speech delay happen to my sons. It is a very heart-warming story that ever given to me to cheer me as a mom. In fact, Daniel and Lisa are education consultants. So they work to train people, to train students, to set or design a school program and so on. They also run an international school. Daniel also an Aikido practitioner, so he taught the kids and me about Aikido. It is totally a coincidence because I am truly interested in Aikido since a long time ago I watched an actor who practiced Aikido because it is the only martial art that is used to defend yourself not to “attack”. And yes it is true Aikido is the harmony of energy.

Although Daniel and Lisa are old and ugly (hahaha this was Daniel idea) but they are really fun and adventurous! Then after Daniel and Lisa, there was Shannon Breslin from Chicago. She works at California right now. She was just graduated from university when she came volunteering at our learning center. She has a cheerful and positive attitude. Shannon loves to play soccer, she is really sporty. Once I ran with her in the hills and she could keep going running uphill and downhill faster than me. I told her that she’s got log slim legs like a horse! Haha she is indeed tall. When we ran together she was afraid of the dogs barking at us and she used me to cover her LOL!

Thanks to Hannah Spencer from NZ who took this picture

After Shannon, there was an adult volunteer who works as a speech therapist and as a secondary school teacher (I think it a high school). She is not really American because she is a Russian who moved to the USA. Her name is Laura Kovalenko. She is a yoga enthusiast too! Like me. We have the same interest in exercise and workouts, the difference is just she can do difficult yoga poses while I still can’t hahaha. I have ever consulted about my son speech delay and she advised me very well. She is very open and friendly. The way she taught the kids make me learn how to teach better. I even invited her to come to the English lesson of my private student and we played continuing story with the dice. Laura lives in New York! Yeah, New York my dream city. I want to visit NYC someday, I will just call Laura to pick me up from Ellis Island. Laura said that the statue of Liberty is close to her home. Wow!

Who is going to be the next American volunteer that I would meet at the Learning Center Eka Chita Pradnyan? I don’t know, we’ll see. From them, I got many souvenirs. It is funny because Shannon and Laura gave me the same thing: bracelet. Shannon gave me a brown mosquito repellent bracelet while Laura gave me a white bracelet. And they almost look the same braided bracelet! Just in different colors. Daniel and Lisa gave me the most things that I really like: American Magazine! Besides that, they also gave me a foldable magnifying glass and mechanical flashlight (without battery but using our muscle to turn on the light) for an outdoor activity. Even more, Daniel wrote me a credit as an English teacher! Thanks a lot for the gifts, I will keep them and remember you always in my heart.

💕 Intan Rastini

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Having Haircut with Sameeksha from India

There were two volunteers from India, named Sameeksha and Raghav. They were my first Indian volunteers at the learning center. They are students in Singapore and study at a business school. They helped us at the learning center for an internship.

I had the chance to cook Indian food with them. We made ten rotis and heated instant palak paneer to dip the roti in it. I helped Raghav rolling the roti while Raghav and Sameeksha toast the roti on a flat pan.

Kavin was with me to taste the roti and the curry. We ate the Indian roti and palak paneer with the other volunteers from France. The roti was quite hard because of the refined wheat flour. But it was fine. We did the cooking after class, and we ate it right away. I liked the roti and the palak paneer. For Kavin, the palak paneer was a bit spicy and quite strong. We shared the roti together, so we tore one roti for everyone and dip the small pieces to the palak paneer.

Palak is spinach. So it was like mushed spinach and combined with paneer. The paneer itself which is also called as cottage cheese was really similar to tofu. Paneer is made of milk while tofu is made of soy. I have tasted the paneer and I almost couldn’t tell the difference between paneer and tofu.

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Once Sameeksha asked me where she could have her haircut, and then she would like me to take her to the salon at the town. Because of our limited time due to Galungan and Kuningan ceremony preparation and she was going to leave to Singapore soon, she almost canceled her plan to have a haircut.

However, before Sameeksha left, I insisted to take her to a salon… because I had never been to a salon in Bali before and I wanted to see her having a haircut. She said it’s funny that I wanted to see her having a haircut so she agreed to let me see and we arranged an appointment on her last day at the learning center.

I even collected some pictures of hair style that I wanted to have it 😀 I kept them on my phone in case I would have a haircut or just a hair trim.

I took Kalki from school at the break time and we went to the learning center at 9 AM. Sameeksha is getting ready and then we cooked two Indian instant meal for breakfast, Punjabi Choley and Aloo Choley. Choley is chick peas and aloo is potato. The two were almost tasted the same, with gravy or curry tomato sauce.

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We just reheat them in pans

We ate the Choley curry with rice, and Ibu Ketut tried with bread. I added some sweet soy ketchup on my dish. Kalki also tasted it but he didn’t really like it. Then, instead he grabbed a slice of bread and added sugar on it. Both with rice and bread were really great! Poor Kalki he didn’t enjoy the Indian meal.

After having a quick breakfast, I went to the salon at Bajera with Kalki and Sameeksha. Actually I was planning to have a haircut too, then because I got a bonus from Ibu Ketut, I was thinking to take a cream bath too 😀 hihihi.

We arrived at Salon Dea at Brembeng just after Bejera. The owner and also the hairdresser is a mother who had just given a birth to a baby girl. We were the first customers but she handled the Salon on her own, so she did it one by one, Sameeksha first and then me. But there was another customer coming so she handled the next customer before me because the customer wanted her hair to be colored.

Both of us were having haircuts and cream baths. We spent a lot of time there for doing it in turn. Sameeksha only wanted to trim her hair to be an oval and layered but she still had a long hair. And then I had my haircut very short like Susannah Cahalan’s hair on the back side of her book. Yes I brought the book to the salon and showed to the hairdresser. My hair looked quite like this, but it was cut longer by the shoulders.

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taken from instagram.com

After having haircuts we had cream baths with massages on our heads. We weren’t given any warm towel or a steamer. The hairdresser only left the cream on our head after massaging. While I had my hair treatment, Sameeksha was accompanying Kalki. They had a photo selfie together. Kalki even helped me to take our picture while I had a cream bath and Sameeksha had her hair straightened.

Luckily Sameeksha had the after haircut pictures with Kalki, while I didn’t have any 😦

The price for a haircut was Rp 30.000 and cream bath was Rp 50.000. Sameeksha wanted her hair to be straightened so she paid Rp 40.000 more. While I just had a normal blow dry for my hair.

It was my first experience having a haircut and salon treatment in Bali. Before that I had never gone to salon to have any haircut. My husband who always cut my hair. And the cream bath treatmennt was really good although I think still quite expensive. I expected having haircut is about Rp 15.000-Rp 20.000 and cream bath is about Rp 30.000.

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Me and Samey before having haircut

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Me after the haircut

We were through at the Salon almost at lunch time. We had new looks and our hair felt very smooth and light in the air. At that time Sameeksha was really in hurry to catch her flight! That’s why we don’t have our picture together after having haircuts. She needed to pack her clothes and get ready in time!

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Auntie Sameeksha and Kalki on the farewell day

Bye bye Sameeksha and Raghav thank you for the good times. See you soon!

♡ Intan Rastini

My German Friends – Meine Deutschen Freunde

True or False Quize Based on Facts About Germany

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  1. German children get a big bag of candy and toys on their first day of school. (T/F)
  2. The Octoberfest in Germany starts in October. (T/F)
  3. Every shop is closed on Sunday in Germany. (T/F)
  4. It is bad luck to wish someone happy birthday in advance. (T/F)
  5. Every German has to own a Dirndl dress or leather shorts. (T/F)
  6. Germans are always on time. (T/F)
  7. The head of state in Germany is Helene Fischer. (T/F)
  8. 90 percent of all Germans have blonde hair. (T/F)
  9. A German woman gives birth to 1-2 children in her life. (T/F)
  10. A brand of gummy bear candy from Germany, Haribo, is taken from the inventor’s name and his city of origin. (T/F)

 

Bonus

  1. Germans drink more than a hundred litre beer per year. (T/F)

Answer:

  1. Parents give their children a bag of candy and toys on the first day of school to wish them good luck and happiness.
  2. It starts in September until October.
  3. Due to Germans’ religious belief.
  4. It is more okay to say happy birthday to someone one day after even a few more days later.
  5. Only people in the south Germany who wear them.
  6. It is considered as rude if someone is not on time.
  7. Helene Fischer is a singer. Angela Merkel is the actual head of state.
  8. Only 10 percent of Germans that have blonde hair.
  9. On average most german women only give birth to 1-2 children.
  10. Haribo is taken from Hans Riegel Bonn. The inventor name is Hans Riegel, and he comes from Bonn.
  11. Yeah, they like drinking beer.

This quiz was made by Tessa Marks, Alicia Peelen and Lukas Beinhauer for teaching the older kids about Germany. Don’t worry, they didn’t include the last fact to tell to class because it was inappropriate.

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The last volunteers I got from Germany were Lukas Beinhauer in November 2017 and then Alicia Peelen and Tessa Marks in December 2018. Also Delia Fransisco in January but she stayed for a week only at the learning center. And last one was Janin Gantz in February.

Ali writing Facts about germany

Lukas, Alicia, Tessa and Delia were younger than me. Delia has been graduated from A Level and she is going to enter the university. Tessa, Alicia and Lukas are students at the University of Twente, Holland. They go to Holland to study psychology. When I asked why to Lukas, it was because it is very hard to enter the university in Germany to study psychology. Wow, so as students in the university of Twente, they also need to study Dutch because the lectures are given in Dutch not in English.

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Alicia, Lukas, Ibu Ketut, Me, Tessa and Delia during Lukas and Delia’s farewell day

Well, at first I was interested in psychology when I was in senior high school. And then when I met Phil Courts, my English teacher from UK, he gave me some kind of influence to avoid psychology hahaha. It was when I was at my senior year in high school, I was invited for a lunch with Phil and his fiancee. At the restaurant in Sidoarjo we talked about where I was going to continue after I finished my high school. I answered that I wanted to study psychology, and I added that I read Sigmund Freud book about Deviant Love. Then Phil revealed something about psychology and that Sigmund Freud is a drugs addict or something about his crazy thought. I became afraid about that since that time, lol!

Anyway, Alicia and Tessa taught the kids about Zumba dance, and we really enjoyed that. Tessa, Alicia and Delia also interested in yoga so we did yoga session with the kids. I led the Surya Namaskar session and then Tessa and Alicia continued with the next yoga sequence, such as the tree pose, happy baby pose, and warrior pose…. and so on. While for Delia and Lukas it was probably their first yoga session. They were having difficulty to get yoga mats, but Tessa and Alicia ended up using beach cloth as their mat, yes they shared one wide beach cloth for two. On the other hand, Lukas was wearing towel as his yoga mat and Delia was using “tikar”. Lukas was also kind by lending his towel to another kid who didn’t bring any mat for yoga. Before that, he gave a toothbrush to a kid who didn’t bring toothbrush for personal hygiene class. Of course a new toothbrush he gave.

Tessa and Alicia also surprised me by giving every kid with Haribo after the class. I knew about Haribo from Mbak Nella Silaen’s blog. She told on her blog that Ben really loves Haribo. Haribo is some kind of candy, but I didn’t know what kind of candy was that until Tessa and Alicia came up bringing one pack of Haribo and shared it to the kids and to me – wide smile. It is a gummy candy like Yuppi in Indonesia. I think it is like a jelly candy with bear shape. They have different colors for every piece of candy that represent the flavor of fruits. Haribo candy was made by Hans Riegel and he came from Bonn. Hans Riegel Bonn was shortened and became “Haribo”, the name of the candy and as the brand. It is nice to know about the fact behind Haribo.

When my mother and my father came to Bali, I invited Tessa, Alicia and Ibu Ketut to come to my house so I can introduce them to my family. And then I served some snack made of cassava and taro or “talas” in indonesian. We can call it cassava and taro chips with spicy and salty / original flavors. Amazingly Tessa and Alicia liked the chips very much. Alicia like the spicy one and Tessa the salty one. They even wanted to buy the snack again so the asked me where did I buy it. The thought I made it by myself :D.

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taro chips original flavor made by locals

During their visit to my house we were talking about their study in psychology. How much the cost to study in Netherlands and how they pay that cost. Alicia took a credit or loan for studying while Tessa’s parents can afford the tuition fee. Tessa also told us about her experience working at the mental hospital. She said that it wasn’t scary at all to work there eventhough that something could be shocking to reveal.  We also talked about Tessa’s boyfriend, Malte. And Alicia described Malte as “everyone loves Malte.” Funnily, Tessa’s dog name is Monte, and it is quite similar with her boyfriend’s name. Sometimes she was mixed up to call her boyfriend as Monte and call Malte to her dog, LOL!

Once I had asked Lukas to cook a German food because he likes cooking but on the day when he did cooking, I was absent because of having a sorethroat. Next I asked Tessa and Alicia to cook German food like what Lukas did before. They cooked me hashbrown and apple sauce. I ate the hashbrown with Kalki. They told me to eat the hashbrown with the apple sauce bacause it was the way they eat the dish. I think the savory hashbrown doesn’t match with sweet apple sauce, so it was kind of weird combination for me. However, I did try that way. Oh yeah, hashbrown is made by potatoe. They have  a lot of dish made from potatoe. Lucky for me, I love potatoe and hashbrown has been added to my potatoe recipe collection.

After Lukas, Tessa, Alicia, and Delia there came Janin. Janin works at softwares company. Her education is business administration. She is older than me and she is very nice. She helped me with the printer matter, filling the ink and trying to connect the printer to anothe computer that still works. When I got shorethroat, Janin sent me a short video of the kids during the class wishing me to get well soon. How sweet….

On Monday February the 12th, one day after my birthday, Janin brought me a cake with some candles on it. She asked me to make a wish and blow the candles. She was so kind remembering my birthday and giving me some birthday presents: a pack of Haribo candy, a sketch book (knowing that I sketch some volunteers faces on white board), and a pencil. Plus she gave me a Brain on Fire book (that I wrote the review here). She said that book Brain on Fire is not a birthday gift, she just gave it to me because she wanted to share the story with me and she noticed that I like psychology 🙂 sweet.

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A psychology book from Janin

With Janin I haven’t got the chance to learn how to surf because she can surf, and she was willing to tell me the basic of surfing. She even asked me to join her yoga session at Balian beach. She said that the cost for a yoga session at Balian Beach villa was about Rp 125.000 and they provide yoga mats. Wow, I couldn’t afford that but Janin said that everything seems more expensive to international tourists in Bali. That’s true in some way.

Once I helped Janin to wear “kamen” or Balinese Saroong and Kebaya, when I wrapped her hips with the Balinese saroong, she told me about how to tie the apron of dirndl, a German tradional dress. If it is tied in front or on the side of your hips or at the back, it will show your status. It could be a symbol that you are single, widow, or a maid by where you tied your dirndl apron. Surprisingly when I asked Janin to fill my book with her bio, she could read my russian letters on the first page of my book as ‘hello’. Then I asked if she could speak Russian. Yes she could, because she had ever stayed in Russia for working and her ex-boyfriend was a Russian. Wooow! I just leant Russian from Masha and The Bear animation and I think that’s hard to learn the special letters.

Janin stayed for only three weeks or four weeks? I forget. She told me a little bit about Wanderlust. It is popular in German as fernweh. The desire to travel. But what Janin explained to me was something a little different about the meaning in German. I was confused to understand that hahaha. She likes to travel, her instagram is full of traveling photos and she also write a blog about her traveling experiences. Because we are the same bloggers and blog readers, she shared with me the information about an app that enable you to subscribe all kind of blogger friends’s blog although the use different blog platforms. It is Feedly. Sure I downloaded into my smartphone although my kids are dominating in using my smartphone right now.

On Alicia’s and Tessa’s last day, I was given a denim jacket by them as a gift for me. They were really nice considering that I wouldn’t feel cold anymore using this denim jacket. Not only that, I also got Alicia’s white sneakers + shocks, printed and plain tees and shorts. Well, I like all the gifts they gave to me. I am wearing the unicorn printed tee right now :D. And from Janin, besides of my birthday surprise gifts, she also gave me Ricola to soothe my throat when I had sore throat and a mustard-colored tee. Janin really cared that I often got sore throat so she gave me Ricola, she also knew that my favorite color is yellow so she gave a yellow tee. Later then I eat a few of Ricola before my tonsillectomy surgery. For the rest of the Ricola, it was my husband who took care of them.

There is a booklet about “Things To Do in and around Bali” especially at our learning center at Samsaman village. Later on I was told by Ibu Ketut that it was Janin who made that. The booklet consists of some useful information about what kind of activities we can do in Bali also some advise about nice places to go and tips how to get there. I think it was meant for the other incoming volunteers and it was written based on Janin experience complete with photos to support each list. The content is very comprise and practical, danke Janin you have a such good point!

That’s the story about my German friends. Why I am interested in Germany? Because I had learn German for a year in my high school. And I learn about German history too. Such a pleasure to have a German friends to know more about their country. I think German people have a strong characters and ethos. Well, I need to spend more time with German people to prove it, but I believe that’s true because although Germany lose in World War II, they could still build their country back and become well-developed.

I got so much fun with my German friends. I hope I can meet them again.

Haribo, anyone?

Haribo from Janin

(again) Haribo from Janin

Bis spater!

♡ Intan Rastini

 

My Foreign Friends

The worst part of my job is saying goodbye to the volunteers who have spent the amazing time with me and the kids in the learning center.

After Monique and Marijke from Netherland, Matti from Finland… There are coming another ones from all part of the world.

Natasha, Mette, me and Lizzie after the class

In the end of May, we welcomed the Scandinavian girls from Denmark, Mette and Natasha. Then Lizzie from UK and next Isabelle from France. But Lizzie and Isabelle only stayed for about 2 weeks. It was a short term but they were really nice. Lizzie told me about her family, about her younger brother, Sam. She showed me about England through Google map so we could see Buckingham Palaca in London and her home in Doncaster.

Isabelle taught me about French a little bit. Because her mother comes from Java, Indonesia, she can speak a little Indonesian too. She has an Indonesian middle name as well as her brother. Her name is Isabelle Sinta Larere, while her brother’s name is Olivier Indra Larere.

Mette and Natasha, the Danish girls will stay for 5 months. So it will be a long time until we can say goodbye to each other. We have ever gone fishing together to the local fishing pond in Angkah Pondok village, the neighbor of Samsaman village.

Kalki was fishing with Mette, Natasha, Ian and his mom

The next new volunteer in June was Ian from Hawaii. And then one week after Ian, came Lisa and Clem from France. They have spent their time teaching the kids at the learning center more than 2 weeks. Ian stayed for 4 weeks while the French girls only 3 weeks. On the day I first met Lisa and Clem, they asked for jogging after class. So we went jogging together with Ian, Mette and Natasha.

Our afternoon jogging was very nice. We ran downhill to the south until Angkah Tegeh village. Afterwards we had to run uphill on the way back and that was so tiring! We also went to the nearest waterfall with the kids. We did hiking to go there but it was worthy.

After Isabelle left, I was happy because I could still learn French from Lisa and Clem. Lisa and Clem taught me how to play Ligretto too. That playing card is really fun. I enjoyed playing with them during the break time and after class.

Because one of the volunteer had birthday on 22th of June, we made a surprise celebration for Ian’s 29th birthday. We smashed eggs, flour and water to his head so he became a birthday cake dough hahaha. We also let him blow a candle on a birthday cake. Then we ate the cake together.

Natasha, Clem, Ian, me and Lisa

The kid was having some fun with him!

On last Thursday, we went to Bali Botanical Garden and Ulun Danu Temple. Clem was really eager to see the temple on the lake. I invited Kalki to join our trip. Before we went back to the learning center we stopped by the Coffee Break to taste the Luwak Coffee. There were many taste of coffee and tea. Like cafe au chocolat, I mean chocolate coffee. Because I kept learning French with Lisa and Clem at that time. And then there were vanilla coffee, ginseng coffee, rosella tea, curcumin tea, ginger tea, mangosteen tea, and so on.

That was my last day with Lisa, Clem and Ian. We held a farewell party for them on thursday, so everyone could say goodbye. Lisa and Clem are sisters. They will go to Java to see Ijen Crater and other beautiful things in Java before they go back to Paris.

Lisa, me and Clem, sisters from French

I have felt the sadness of the farewell party about 4 times. The longer they stay and the better memories they left make it harder to say goodbye, you know. Then I have to get used to it, because it will happen again and again and again unless I quit my job or they stop the voluntary work at the learning center.

Some are leaving but some are coming. There are 4 more volunteers who have spent 1 week at the learning center. They are Shubhangi from Italy and the Spanish girls: Bianca, Sara and Carla. The Spanish girls are so young, about 18 years old. They will study in the university. On the other side, Shubhangi is a teacher in a private language school.

You will never know how happy I am when I get friends from the volunteers who come to the learning center. Because practically I don’t have intense friends in this village. The first volunteer I met was Monique and Marijke. Monique is like my mother while Marijke is like my grandmother due to their age, we had talked about this once. The next volunteers are still young and almost in the same age as me. So I feel compatible to hangout with them.

Me, Marijke, Monique, Oma Trudy and Mrs. Ketut

This is a quick cycle of meeting new people and saying goodbye to them. Just after they left, I miss them so bad. And then I believe I’ll be fine.

Teaching English with Matti From Finland

“Can I write you on my blog?” I asked.

“Can you.. What?” He replied.

“Can I write about you on my blog?” I repeated.

“You write about me on your blog?” He confirmed.

“Ya, may I?” I asked for permission.

“Ya…. You can. Write only the good things, okay?” He laughed after saying it.

“Haha… Okay. I’ll write it neutral.” I also laughed.

“You write a blog?” He asked me.

“Ya.” I replied.

“It’s uncommon people write a blog here, right?”

“Yeah.. But I write.”

That was an afternoon chit chat with a volunteer from Finland. The country itself is called as Suomi. I’ve just known about that from the cards he had given to the learning center as educational tools before he left Bali.

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Souvenirs fromMatti Aho

So, in May we had Matti Aho, a Finnish man, who came to our learning center in Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan as an English teacher. Although we had only one volunteer for that month, we really enjoyed it as a wonderful and colorful month!


He came to Bali with his family, his wife Saara Aho and his daughter Ella Aho. They stayed at the hotel near Balian Beach. So he went to the learning center from the hotel by motorcycle. He was formerly an ice hockey player. He also has ever worked as a teacher for the kids who are taken care by the government because their parents are not able to do that. And then he started studying something like pedagogy in the University of Turku.

When Mrs. Ketut told me that there would be a volunteer from Finland who came with his family, I thought that he would be probably an old man. But I was wrong. He is not that old. He is 34 years old. His wife is also in the same age and his daughter is 5 years old – she is very cute and sweet.


In our first talk, he said, “this is all so interesting.” I thought it was like… Whoa wait, we even haven’t started yet?! And he said that he couldn’t wait to learn from me. Later on I found out that he was really enthusiastic to teach some lesson at the learning center. We didn’t have any difficulty to communicate, he is talkative enough and very supportive. He praised me for speaking English very well.

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Matti is a friendly person. He is very nice and friendly to the children at the learning center and to my sons. He gives compliment easily. He has ever said in the class that the boys’ handwriting are very good. Way different with the boys in Finland. Wow. Hahaha. He also said that what I write on the board is beautiful. When he heard one of the girl singing, he murmured spontaneously, “good voice”.

We learnt from each other about how to teach. He gave a lot of ideas of sport games for the kids. And I show him the way I teach English to the students. He taught the kids for making slideshow using computers too and how to search information from the internet. Not only that, we also watched Shaun The Sheep video together using the projector in the computer lab. And the kids worked in small groups to tell the story about every scene they watched. Because it’s a funny animation, mostly we laughed at the video.

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He could play the guitar too. So in the class we sing “The Wheels on The Bus” with the children and with him playing the guitar. He also made some prints out about vocabulary and by the help of Saara and Ella, they made cards for memory game about some verbs. What a pleasant thing they did!

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He asked me how I find topics for the lesson plans. I told him that I mostly searched it first from the internet, and I found it easier from Facebook. Next I would write it down on my notebook and prepared some exercise for the students. Then he told me that I could find out more ideas on Pinterest. He sent me a link to my Facebook about the example of English lesson idea from Pinterest.

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I also wondered how come he got a lot of sport games? So, this is how we worked together: 1 hour for the English lesson in the class. For vocabulary, grammar, writing or speaking. And then we got 15 minutes break. Next, Matti invited the kids to go to the volleyball field to play some games, sometimes using ball. And he had many different games to play, indeed.

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For me, one of the best game + lesson that we played was “telling direction”. First, he taught the kids how to tell direction, the easy ones, such as… ‘Turn left’, ‘turn right’, ‘take one steps’, ‘take two steps’, ‘take a big steps’, ‘take a little steps’, and ‘jump’. Then he asked the kids to play in small groups consist 2-4 kids. One of them had to close her eyes and the rest of the group members would tell the direction on the yard with some path ways that Matti has drawn with colorful chalks.

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Where he got these game ideas? He told me from BBC.co.uk. Yeah… I had ever learnt Italian, German and French too from that site. And I told him about that. We also tried to learn each other maternal language. What I remember, ‘kiitos’ and ‘nahdaan’. Which they mean thankyou and bye bye in Finnish. He told me that the pronunciation of Finnish is different from English. They pronounce the exact letters as they are. So, it is the same like Indonesian. But in Finnish there are different vowels for different pronounciation.

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Matti is also a funny person. When I asked the kids to mention the differences between Matti and Koming, the student there.. It was mentioned that Matti had a ‘pointed nose’. Then he said, “It’s good for me as a teacher, so I can do pointing at the student like this” He use his nose to point at the children, as if his nose was very long like Pinocchio!

When I showed him that we have many flash cards, he also laughed at the picture of the cards. What made him laugh was the depiction of feelings and emotions, such as “sick”, “nausea” or ” tired”. Yep, dunno why those cards were so funny for him :D. Because I already saw those cards before and I didn’t laugh at the picture of the cards at all! Ha ha ha. Maybe I was too serious.

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I notice the unique things from him:

  1. He always points to something that close using his middle finger, but if it is to point to somebody he uses his his hand not his finger.
  2. When we talk, we almost never use the word “yes”, we use “yeah” or “ya” instead
  3. He wondered what we do when I said to the students, “let’s pray together” after the class. I guess he is not a religious person. The next question from him amazed me. It’s like “Do you pray to God?”, “what is the name of your God?”, “what for do you pray?”, “do you ask something to your God?”, ” what do you ask?” ummm something like that. Because in his country, he said that people don’t pray really often. People can pray at the churh on Sunday, but not many people do that. He told me that the religious ceremony is for newborn baby and funeral. So, yeah… We talked about religion and different culture of ours.
  4. His name is pronounciated as “Mat-ti”.. However in Indonesian it sounds like “mati” which means “dead”. When I say his name or call him in front of the students, I knew we feel a strange feeling hearing his name, sometimes we laugh because it’s quite tickling-our-ears to say his name. When I asked about what his name meaning, he couldn’t tell anything becuase it doesn’t have a meaning! Okay, I got it, it’s just a name. I have ever told him that his name sounds that same as a word in Indonesian that means ‘dead’. He just answered, ” it’s okay. I’m alive.”

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Finland is in the Scandinavia, northern Europe. He confirmed me that he is a scandinavian. Unfortunately he couldn’t tell me about the Vikings. Because the Vikings is more to Sweden, he said. He lives in Turku, I forget how many kilometers from Helsinki. He said that the weather in Finland is always cold. Never as warm as in Indonesia. However, he is a warm person and very helpful. I feel much gratitude having the chance to teach with him and learn a lot from him. We always discuss our lesson plan before and after class and then we can talk about anything. 🙂

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Matti, Saara and I had some talk about how different Indonesia with Finland. They told me that it is very colorful in Indonesia, the sun shines brightly here and the people are friendly. Saara told me that in Finland people don’t say hello to each other when they meet on the street. And Matti said that it is like boring because in Finland is very cold and they get nothing to do. Even there is a time that the days are almost always dark. Like a sunset.

Yeah that’s what I heard about Scandinavia. And also about the midnight sun. In Finland they pay high taxes so they can get medical and education services in low cost. Some people in Finland speak Swedish too besides of Finnish. Matti himself speak Finnish, Swedish and English.

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I have ever came to the learning center with Kalki and Kavin. But it was only Kalki who got the chance to meet Ella. And Kalki was being shy to say hello to Ella. On the farewell party for Aho family, finally Kalki got the willingness to give a goodbye gift for Ella. 🙂

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♡ Intan Rastini