So! Now a more textual update, as I'm officially, consciously back from Indonesia. The general synopsis of this post is the following:
1. I have a motorcycle!
2. Indonesia was eye-opening.
3. Careers are confusing.
Now, in greater length.
1. I have a motorcycle! I took this picture of it yesterday, in the parking garage that's under my apartment. So that means it's a little dark, but you can still see how manly I am now, without my even being in the picture! More photos to follow soon, hopefully with me riding the motorcycle...but don't know when. And, before you ask, yes, the shocks in the front are indeed new! I just replaced them. That was the only thing that really needed changing upon my purchasing the bike. Oh yes, and the engine is 150ccs.
2. So, a disclaimer: I want to present a very balanced view of Indonesia, while at the same time impressing upon everyone that I had a good trip, and that Tina is an awesome travelling partner. Indonesia is a good place to visit as a tourist, if you like that kind of thing--the parts that I visited were well-geared towards making people from other countries feel like they were in another country without giving them the "fish out of water" feeling that so many of us crave when we travel. I was extremely physically comfortable while there, which is what I wanted from a vacation.
All that said, I confess that I didn't go very far off the beaten path. We went to Lombok at the end of the vacation, and that was super interesting to think about and experience on a commercial level. In most places in Indonesia, there are two distinct groups, which seem to be trying to avoid each other--the natives from Indonesia, and the tourists from the Western world (whatever that actually is). This made me feel uncomfortable, because inevitably I was seeing a lot of desire for comfort, culture, and the natural beauty of Indonesia (which is substantial), but to get it, you had to negotiate with a culture which lives in a totally different way and seems to be principally interested in your wallet.
So, in the end, I think the biggest problem I had there was that I felt guilty about being there--as a tourist, pumping money into their economy to see the sights, encouraging Balinese culture to sell out, in a way (I felt). I've never been on a vacation like that. And the constant concern about how much money I was spending for something while I was there was always stressing me out--the question was always, "Am I being ripped off right now?"
To be absolutely clear, Awan and his friends in Lombok were an oasis of good feelings about Indonesia, and I'd really like to hang out more with him (or in that kind of situation) should I go back. Hanging with Awan was really relaxing and fun. Anyway, first trip in Asia!
3. Careers are mightily wily things. I am now trying to figure out what, exactly, one does with one's life when one is tired of only teaching English and wants to either teach or learn about something else well enough to do it as a profession. The most recent development has been research into Technion's Technology Education department, where I'm investigating the possibility of a Masters. Here's the website for the department, should you be interested in doing any Simon-research!
Oh, and I'm also looking at Haifa Institute of Techology's tech dept. But no email back from them, yet!