Riding my Scooter

Volunteers Blog

Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Summer 2014 (By Avi Goldstein June 30th- July 7th)

The primary difficulty that I have been dealing with these past couple weeks is finding a dance studio that we can get a bona fide commitment from.


After being told that we couldn’t use the first studio (Dance Asia) we had to immediately start perusing other possibilities. Not only that, but we had to find places that would offer us a free space. After locating a few fitness centers, we found a place called Fit Club that seemed to offer us a good space at the time that we wanted for free. We were super thankful for the space, and I was able to give some classes there, but because of the location change, not as many people were able to make it to the classes. There was one funny moment though when a new person arrived for the class. We were all sitting around waiting for more people to come, and then she says (keep in mind she’s sitting right next me), “So who’s the teacher?” When everybody pointed to me, she had this confused look of slight astonishment on her face, waiting for the words to come out of her open mouth. It humored me. On top of that, after the second class, I was told by one of the fitness instructors that we couldn’t use the space anymore. Just like that. Out of the blue. Apparently there was miscommunication among the hierarchy of the employees at Fit Club, so it turned out that we never really had the space at the time we wanted like we thought. We were left to look for another place to host the classes yet again. Luckily, we were able to communicate with the owner of Dance Asia, and we were granted permission to use the place, but we had to pay a fee for each session. It was less than optimal, but at that point it was really our only option, and I think it’s better that we are back there. Other than that, the workshops have been going fantastic. The pace of the class is going a little slow, but they are diligent. Soon we will move onto our second piece of choreography, and my goal is to have three pieces by the end of my time here.
This week I had my first solo session with the YAPPA Muslim female orphanage. As I have noted from past experiences with these girls, they seem slightly obsessed with beat boxing. To appeal to their desire, I decided to lead a session on the basics of beat boxing as well as rapping. It was incredible to see how much the girls invested into the session. As far as beat boxing went, most of the sounds were new to them, but despite that, they remained eager to learn and open to try. After teaching a short and simple rap in English, I split up the room into two groups, and had one group rap, and the other beat box so that they all worked together to create a cool little hook.
I am finally getting used to driving a scooter. The traffic doesn’t bother me as much; in fact, I kind of like the rush. It’s a fairly sharp contrast to the traffic I am used to in America. Here the rules are easily bent with no foul. You would think this would result in several accidents frequently. I never saw an accident like the accidents I see in America in my entire time spent in Bali. Anyways, there’s this concept in Indonesia known as Jalan Jalan, which I believe literally means walking, but it has the connotation of “I’m just going to go drive around.” After having my scooter for a few days, I decided to go jalan jalan. I hopped on my scooter, and just went. I didn’t think about where I was going, I just drove for about an hour. As I was driving, I pointed things out along the way thinking, “Oh I’ve been there before,” or, “So that’s where that place is!” The first half of the journey was great, but then I had to find out how to get back. Throughout my time in Bali, I found that it was not as hard to find places, but getting back from those places was a great challenge. I eventually found my way back, but it sure did take a while.
I was invited to go surfing for a second time. Of course I agreed. Unfortunately, I failed to inquire about the size or difficulty of the waves before embarking on the 30-minute scooter ride to Batu Bulong beach. Even the waves right at shore were strong enough to knock me down if I wasn’t paying attention. But, I figured I’d give it a go. The water was very deep, there were a lot of experienced surfers, and I sort of just sat on my board and pretended like I knew what I was doing. I eventually tried catching one wave, and as a result, I was tossed like a feather in a windstorm. I guess it takes one to know one. Stepping onto the beach afterwards was such a refreshing and relaxing feeling. I like land, I really do.
This week was also my first 4th of July that I spent not in USA. So I took the American flag that I brought with me, and I went outside in our neighborhood and had my own photo shoot to ensure I could display some patriotism.

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