Been in Indonesia for about a week and Peace Corps (PC) has kept us quite preoccupied. Training starts at 7am and ends at 5pm every day, except for Sundays. Language classes will begin in a couple days.

The house of the host family that I live with isn’t big or grand, but the people living inside brings joy to my stay. Ibu Yuli (Ms. Yuli) raises her son on her own most of the time while her husband works in Surabaya. Her love for Finza, my younger host brother, can be seen through the additional tutoring classes she schedules for him – improving his math skill and English proficiency.

Ibu Yuli is very active in her community. She attends gender equality groups, participates in We Indonesia, Change Maker, and she hosts various recycling crafts classes with other women in the community. Did I mention she also teaches cooking and skincare classes, too?

On the weekends, we explore the hills of our town, Sidomulyo. Sidomulyo is known for their flowers and shipped nationwide. She introduces me to influential figures of the town and cooks traditional Indonesian dishes for me to try.

Although there’s a language barrier, she inspires me. Her active involvement in the community and her kindness in opening up her home to me – an American stranger – humbles my heart.

I may not have a two-level house like some volunteers do, a western toilet with a shower, or a large bedroom, but Ibu Yuli’s kindness, passion and smile are more than I could have ever asked for. And her nasi goring (fried rice) and bola tahu (tofu) are lezat (delicious)!

Upon the first day of my arrival, she smiled and said to me in a combination of English and Bahasa Indonesia, “Lisa adalah anak saya sekarang dan keluarga saya.” It means, “Lisa, you are my daughter now and my family.” I cannot wait to master my Bahasa Indonesia so one day she and I can converse about everything that inspires us both.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views or opinions of the United States Government or the Peace Corps.

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