Review of my adventure !
At the beginning, it was difficult to adapt myself to the environment because everything is different than in France. First, the heat because when I arrived we were in the wet season, sometimes it was so warm it was hard to breathe. So, when you have to give class under this heat, it’s difficult. The hardest was in public school because there are approximately thirty students, the class is closed so it’s warm. Also, I felt a bit lost in this new environment because I had no landmark; the first month, I felt bad, I missed my family and my friends, I didn’t feel at ‘home’. Also, I compared a lot with my experience in Barcelona and I knew it will not be the same at all. I thought at that moment that I was never going to feel good there.
Here, the major way of transport is the scooter. The kids start driving a scooter at eight years old, and compared to France, the cars take a great care of scooters on the road. Then, I only travel by scooter, I had to learn how to drive it, the hardest part was to adapt myself to drive on the left of the road. I was surprised to know that if you are engaged in an accident, even if the other driver is in fault, the fault will be on you because you are a tourist and therefore, they assume you don’t know how to drive. I think it’s unfair because they don’t have the same infrastructures than in Europe, the roads aren’t good, the traffic is crazy (if you want to imagine, the traffic here can be the same as the one in India) but there is no highway Code, so it’s dangerous. Also, there are no public transports. Sometimes, there are buses, but you must go to the bus station and wait an unknown time, maybe all day. Only the richest can get a car.
The food surprised me as well. By coming here, I thought I would eat a lot of fresh things as fruits, vegetables, salads and so on, moreover because it’s really warm here. Actually, I eat a lot of fried things, overall fried rice, or fried noodles, all the Indonesians or Balinese meals are hot, the fruits are not that good and there are few vegetables. Sometimes, I really miss fresh food as well as a variety of food, because it’s Indonesian or Western food, which is not that healthy.
Also, how the environment is dirty shocked me. In fact, there are wastes everywhere, but overall along the roads. There are so many, the inhabitants must burn them: that’s creates big toxic fumes for the population. In Indonesia, we find the biggest ozone layer hole. I learned that in three years, if the country doesn’t find a solution, waste disposals will overflow. It’s an important issue here in Bali. I was quite shocked because I would never guess, especially that I live in a country of overconsumption, that Indonesia is one of the most polluted country in the world. And it’s really paradoxical because there is a lot of greenery and preserving nature is a big issue in Hinduism.
The standard of beauty surprised me also. In Western countries, you must be skinny, and tanned. Here, the standard of beauty is to be white: in fact, all is made up to be whiter, or appear white. The shower gels are made in a way to make the skin whiter, the advertisements are retouched, like that actors appear whiter, they dress as if it’s winter in Europe, they wear sweaters and pants even if it’s 30°C outside, and so on. That’s because for them, to be white is linked with the fact you are rich, with an image of developed country where the people are white. It’s quite impressing to see how much the girls pay attention to this, and try to adopt an occidental lifestyle, even the youngest.
About being a teacher, it was difficult to get closer with the students. First, because of the language barrier: they don’t have a good level in English, and sometimes I must translate some words or sentences in Bahasa. Furthermore, the students are really shy with low self-confidence, so they don’t really want to talk in front of the class. In public school, if you ask someone to come to the board, you can be sure its hands will start to shake: it’s a shame for them. The situation is even more complicated because the other students laugh, so we always have to explain them that it’s normal to make mistakes and we will not judge them. It takes time to create a link with the students and I felt quite shocked about this 'mentality'.
A small detail which shocked me at the beginning was that there are gammed cross everywhere on the streets, but I finally learned that it’s a religious signification: the horizontal line means all humans are linked, and the vertical line means that humans are linked with god and nature.
Finally, what surprise me is that inhabitants have a really bad English level, but 50% of the country’s economy is based on tourism.