Friday, December 21, 2007


We found out yesterday that we have a house in Jogja. The situation has been a bit complicated, largely because our positions are not entirely settled. Where Lori will work has not yet been settled and my position is new to UIN so they aren't sure what to do about me. However, we found out that a house formerly used by MCCers was available so we took it. We then had a choice to either move Dec. 24 or wait till later in January. We decided to move on Christmas Eve, which isn't an ideal time.

The house is on a compound owned by a Javanese Christian denomination in the middle of Jogja. It looks to be within walking distance of UIN and Duta Wacana, the Christian university Lori may be working at. The house is comfortable with room for the kids to play. We will post pictures of the house once we move in.

Last night we decorated Christmas cookies. Tonight we will be celebrating Christmas with MCC staff and workers. This marks the end of our time in Salatiga with several other MCC couples. One other couple will also be moving to Jogja where one of them will be teaching at Gadja Mada. Two other couples are moving to Papua. One couple is working on developing an educational program for HIV/AIDS while the other are teaching at a Seminary. We have developed some good relationships here and it will be sad to leave.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Trip to Yogyakarta (Jogja)

This past weekend we traveled to Jogja, mixing a bit of business with pleasure. On Friday we visited the International School that Katie will be attending in January. The school is much smaller than the school in Salatiga but unlike Katie's current school, it is not a Christian school. There is a mix of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu with most of the kids being the children of business people. Another big difference is that the school is comprised of several converted houses and so very different from the school environment Katie is used to. Because it is a smaller school, the grades are mixed so Katie will be in a class that has younger and older children. We met Katie's future teacher who was very nice and excited that Katie would be joining her class. She was a teacher in Alaska before deciding to try something different. The school seems to have a very good learning environment.

After visiting the school, we got down to the business of vacationing. After having almost three months of language classes six days a week, this was our first holiday break. Due to some confusion, we ended up staying in two different hotels over the weekend. The first hotel was much like hotels we are used to but attached to a larger mall. The hotel was in the north of Jogja, which has most of the universities as well as malls. Our second hotel was in the south of Jogja, which has most of the tourist sites including Malioboro Street and the Palace (Kraton). This hotel was a group of converted houses with a small pool in the middle and beautiful gardens. The rooms were comfortable. The hotel seems to cater to tourists and backpackers. We didn't do any tourist stuff but spent most of our time either at the pool or shopping. It was hot (34C) and humid.

We are trying to find a house for January that is close to both of our universities. The process of getting a house has been complicated but we hope that the situation will be settled by the end of December. This coming semester I am scheduled to team teach a course on Justice and Human Rights. My Muslim colleague will teach the first half so I won't really begin teaching till April. There is a chance that I might pick up another course from another university.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of my university but I just posted some pictures of the campus from the outside road. The universities are on break and closed so we couldn't go in. The buildings are very new because the old ones were destroyed in an earthquake two years ago. The classrooms are air-conditioned with most of the electronics one would find in universities in N. America.

I am teaching in the graduate department of UIN (Universitas Islam Negeri - State Islamic University) Yogyakarta. My students are all Muslims with some being women. I met some of my future students and their English is relatively good. They seemed bright and looking forward to working with me. I am very excited at this unique opportunity to be teaching in an Islamic university.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Conference in Jambi

December 8-9, I attended a conference in Jambi on the island of Sumatra. The conference was organized by IAIN Jambi, an Islamic university. The topic of the conference was the importance of Islamic higher education for Islamic society, and the topic given to me was 'Interconnection between Western and Islamic Philosophy'. The organizers had expected about 150 participants but on the opening day, over 200 people showed up. Participants were primarily Professors and teachers of Islamic studies.

The presentations dealt with Islam and its relationship to a variety of topics including secular legal systems, global warming, terrorism, economics, and science. All the papers struggled with finding a place for Islam in the modern world. I was impressed with the thought that had been put into these issues.

The organizers were very gracious hosts and I developed some friendships I hope will grow over our time here in Indonesia.