Those that have read my blog in the past will have gotten a sense that I love one country over and above all others. It’s a strange love affair I have with Indonesia that even I don’t understand, despite the interludes being frequent and varied. Next month I will once again visit my beloved with a mission to learn a bit more about her.
I can already speak Bahasa Indonesia, the single unifying language of a country that has more than 700 active languages and which is spoken by more more than 200 million people. I currently speak at a level that allows me to go to the markets and buy whatever I need, ask where buses are going to or coming from and discuss the generalities of daily life. But I want more. I know my language skills are deficient when I hear news reports or two friends speaking to each other, only picking up the odd word or two – most of the time I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. And this probably means that I’m only able to communicate with people because they are speaking slowly and simply so I can understand.
So I’ve been in contact with a school in the Javan city of Bandung called IMLAC. It’s a Christian school used by missionaries before they head off around the country to do their work. For me, it’ll be about the language aspect and I hope to advance from a basic speaker to a fluent speaker. Bandung is a city located in the hills about 2 hours from Jakarta. A friend of mine lived there for 18months and raved about both the school and the city and ever since I’ve thought about actually doing it myself – and now I am. The plan is for 3 months of full time study and I hope to get myself a nice little house in what the Indonesians would call the kampung – the village.
At some stage I’d love to learn some other Indonesian languages such as Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese. A staggering 80+ million people speak Javanese. True. That’s probably got something to do with over 130 million (!!!) people living in Java. They pack em in, but still you can find solitude. I can’t wait.
Oh yeah, I want to climb a few volcanoes there as well. Anyone with hot tips for Java?