This past weekend my friend from Jogja came to visit me in Paciran. It was the biggest news of the weekend, it felt like! It was absolutely amazing to have someone come here and share the limelight… but in the end, I’m not sure how much limelight was actually deflected off of me; I think I misjudged and my friend’s visit actually made me more popular! AH! Last night I slept 10 hours, I was so exhausted from the visiting.
After living in bigger cities (Toronto, Montreal…), I think the biggest thing for me to get used to here is the fact that my personal business is everyone else’s business. This is normal in a ‘community sense’ here — it’s shown by even the greetings. In Javanese spoken in Paciran you say to someone as they are walking by, “ape rendi?, where are you going?’, or ‘teko ndi?, where are you coming from?’. Then, if you actually stop, then they MIGHT ask “piye kabare? what’s your news?’, although I feel this is kind of rare. So the first questions you ask are not “how are you?’, but about the things you are doing.
And then this ‘community sense’ is exacerbated because I’m in a village. And then it’s even more exacerbated (if exacerbate can be a degree term) because I’m a bule hanging out in a village. So my personal business is REALLY exciting. I still don’t think I’m quite used to it, nor will I ever be all the way used to it.
People who I don’t know at all actually know many things about me. Sometimes it’s kind of nice, like when I’m walking down the road and some lady is like, ‘aduh, ono bule, Woah, there’s a white chick’, and then some random will tell the lady that I’m from Canada, and doing research on Javanese, and I live at Pak Suwanan’s place, and I met their child in Canada before coming here, and 27 years old and I’m not yet married, but I have a boyfriend, he’s from Canada, and… And I don’t even have to say Hi! I just keep walking, and the neighbours do the talking. So that’s kind of sweet, because I have gone over that conversation just a few times.
Other times, it’s just weird to me. Once I went over to my friend’s house, and I was telling her how my day went — I went swimming in the morning, then I had lunch at Pak Suwanan’s, then I did some work and had a rest, and then, hang on…what did I do after that? And then she finished my story for me! Okay! Or the time when my friend and I went to the apotek (pharmacy) to buy some medication, and then in the evening, I get an sms from my other friend – so what medication did you buy? Apparently her friend had called her to let her know that we came to her store earlier to buy some medication. HEADLINE NEWS: Jozi and her bule friend bought some medication (if you didn’t already know)! HAHAHAhahahha.
But then this kind of headline news can be kind of useful…. APPARENTLY there is another Canadian, who is a guy, with a strange name (my friend actually said that), who’s living in a village about 20 minutes away by car, and he’s doing research there. COOOOOOL! I’m now tracking him down with my amazing network of gossip. You don’t know how exciting that news is to me. WOOT!