Be Awesome

Look, our forefathers died for the "pursuit of happiness," okay? Not for the "sit around and wait of happiness." Now if you want, we can go to the same bar, drink the same beer, talk to the same people every day or you can lick the Liberty Bell. You can grab life by the crack and lick the crap out of it.
--Barney (HIMYM)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indonesian Embassy Independence Day Celebration

The Indonesian Ambassador, his wife, and his DCM shook hands and greeted every attendee.
Yesterday, I attended the Indonesian Independence Day celebration at the Indonesian Embassy.  Indonesia declared independence on Aug. 17, 1945; however, they were only now celebrating their Independence Day due to last month being the month of Ramadan, in which a formal celebration would have been inappropriate.  Note, Indonesia is the most populated Muslim majority nation in the world.

The Indonesian Ambassador to the US, H.E. Dr. Dino Patti Djalal.
My Indonesian class was invited to attend by the Indonesian Embassy as we will all be working in Indonesia next year.  The event featured traditional Indonesian dance performances, speeches by the Indonesian Ambassador, and four officials from the US (Asia Bureau, Commerce, Education, and DoD).  I think the four speeches by the US was a bit too many and would have preferred just the Indonesian Ambassador speak and maybe one official from the US with just mention of other esteemed guests, but it was still all ok.

The Embassy served a variety of hors d'oeuvres and refreshments including wine and mixed drinks.  They also had a full meal served cocktail-style including Indonesian fried rice, salad, satay, and other Indonesian dishes.  I was too famished at the time and neglected to take a picture of the food spread :P.

The inside of the embassy was very impressive.  I think I may have come into the embassy during the Passport DC event earlier, but I'm not sure since I saw so many of them.  Would have taken more pictures but didn't want to appear too much of a tourist at my first representational event.

I'm very glad I was able to attend to the event and it was good inspiration for me to work to get my Indonesian to a level where I can capably converse!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Language Training Begins

I started this week at the Foreign Service Institute taking Indonesian.  I'll be attending classes here for the next 6 months (24 weeks) though I'm planning on beating that by testing out in 22 for personal reasons.

I was surprised at the large number of people they had starting classes this week.  I think the number 800 was put out there of students beginning language studies.  That number though includes FSOs, who make up the largest amount of that number, Eligible Family Members (spouses of FSOs, typically from State Dept., who are allowed to learn their post's language), and a handful of DoD and other agencies.

So far, I've been very impressed with the method of instruction and have good expectations for the future.  They push us at an aggressive pace to build our understanding of grammatical construction and vocabulary and the instructors are very personable and knowledgeable.

When contrasting it to my previous experiences in formal language training, I think this is the most impressive.  The teachers seem well-trained and quickly adapt to the needs of the students.  They also prepare much of their language materials and books themselves to specifically address the needs of the Foreign Affairs professionals which they mainly cater to.  I'll need to dedicate lots of time to studying..
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