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Posts Tagged:

Homestay

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    [post_author] => 1530
    [post_date] => 2020-03-26 13:07:28
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-26 19:07:28
    [post_content] => homestay indonesia 

The following has been translated by the Instructor Team on behalf of Kat’s host mom, Ibu Suparmi

Let me introduce myself, my name is Suparmi, I am 55 years old. My husband is Agus Hartono, he is 56 years old. I have two children, Adibah (25) and Arwana/Awa (24).

The first time I heard that our family would host an American Dragons student, I felt doubtful and unconfident. I was not sure whether I could host our guest well because everyone in our family has their own responsibilities outside our home. We are a new Dragons host family, and this was our first time hosting a guest from abroad, so we didn’t know what to expect or how we would do.

When I learned that our new family member’s name would be Katherine, I felt nervous and excited. But in retrospect, I shouldn’t have worried because over the last three week we have had a lot of fun and interesting times while hosting Kat (that’s what I called her).

During my first week with Kat, I had difficulty communicating with her. Every time I spoke Indonesian with her, she just moved her eyes and said “I am confused.” However she is a very curious person. She always asked a lot of questions and shared stories. One morning, when she got up from bed, she asked me “Ibu (mom), do you like my hair?” (while she was playing with her curly hair). I told her, “I like your hair”, everyone in the house was laughing. In this first week we learned that Kat is just 17 years old, she is very young, but she is already independent, and she always wants to help around the house.

homestay indonesia I remember one morning during that first week when Kat was in the kitchen. She asked me about the many different types of ingredients that we had there, and afterwards she said she wanted to make her own drinks. I watched her as she made her own ginger and lemongrass drinks. I was so proud of her, she was able to take care of herself. No wonder, I think this was because she had a part time job in a coffee stall in America. Wow! The next morning, while Kat was helping us with the dishes, she made her own coffee and tea. I was so impressed 🙂 And once in a while she would happily help me with cooking (as I mostly bought food from outside, hehe).

During the second week, I didn’t want to waste my time with Kat. We met every morning and evening. We talked and talked about politics (both in Indonesia and in America), about Kat’s family, and a lot of other things. Her stories made us become closer. Saturday and Sunday are our family days and I invited Kat to join me at my work where we had organise activities for “National Garbage Day”. On this occasion we had many activities such as river cleaning, a talk show about the environment and garbage waste, a village clean up competition, and even a flash mob! I could see that Kat had enjoyed those days. She was a celebrity! Almost everyone that she met wanted to take a selfie with her.

homestay indonesia Kat would always tell me about her cooking ISP (Independent Study Project) too. In the morning she would go to the local market and then in the afternoon she would cook alongside her mentor. One evening, Kat brought us some food that she made at her cooking class and said in Bahasa: “Hari ini saya masak lemet dan pisang goreng (today I cooked traditional snacks wrapped in banana leaves and fried banana).” I told her that in my whole life I had never cooked lemet, and I am Indonesian! Kat said ” I am American, and I do cook lemet”. Everyone laughed. And then we all tasted her food.

During our third week, I noticed that Kat was tired. She was busy with the Dragons group. Every time I asked whether she was tired, she answered: “Sedikit (a little bit)”, and then she would laugh afterwards.

For me, Kat is a special person. She is polite, curious, and a fast learner. At our home, Kat is already part of our family, she is my youngest child. Adibah, Awa and my husband always want to invite Kat to eat outside. Last time we went to a Javanese noodle place, then Japanese food, and we even tried Pizza Hut. We also took her to some bookstore here in Jogja too.
In a few days Kat will leave us and I thought, why does time have to go so fast? I had tears in my eyes… I was just getting closer to Kat, and she already had to leave soon. When there is a meeting, there is always a time to say goodbye. “Sampai jumpa lagi, Kat” (until we meet again).
homestay indonesia   by Ibu Suparmi (Kat’s host mom), translated by the Instructor Team.  

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[post_title] => OVERHEARD ON THE YAK BOARD: A LETTER FROM KAT’S HOST MOM [post_excerpt] => A homestay host in Indonesia reflects on her time with a Dragons student. "In a few days Kat will leave us and I thought, why does time have to go so fast? I had tears in my eyes… I was just getting closer to Kat, and she already had to leave soon. When there is a meeting, there is always a time to say goodbye. 'Sampai jumpa lagi, Kat' (until we meet again)." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => overheard-on-the-yak-board-a-letter-from-kats-host-mom [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-26 13:08:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-26 19:08:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 24 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 24 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/global_community/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Global Community )
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    [post_date] => 2020-03-17 15:27:47
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-17 21:27:47
    [post_content] => We wanted to share these recipes from the field to spread the love with some comfort food.

Izzy Arrendell shares a recipe for Kopiak from our Mekong Semester. Daniela Harvey and Adam Marcelo, Andes and Amazon students, chose cooking as their Independent Study Project (ISP) and shared weekly recipes on the Yak Board. A few of which are listed below.

Kopiak

As we continue our journey through China, I have been spending time reflecting on our time in Laos. Thinking back to things that made me love Laos so much. There is too much for me to put in one yak post. So instead I will share something small but valuable during the time I spent in Laos. My host mom taught me how to make Kopiak noodles during our homestay. I became addicted to this noodle soup and sometimes ate it twice a day. There are no measurements so just add ingredients to your preference. You can make it vegetarian if you want or add a different kind of meat than beef. Whatever floats your boat. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do. - Izzy
Cook time: 15 min or so Ingredients:
  • Water
  • Ground Beef
  • Rice Noodles
  • Cilantro
  • Soy Sauce
  • Bullion (Cubes or powder)
  • Lime
  • Fish sauce
Instructions:
  1. Boil Water
  2. Add bullion, soy and fish sauce (go light on the sauce you can add more later)
  3. Chop and add beef (in bite-sized pieces) to boiling water
  4. When froth forms on the top of water, add noodles and continuously stir so water doesn’t boil over
  5. Add extra seasonings to preference
  6. Let cook till meat is cooked through (no pink)
  7. Add cilantro plate and serve with a lime.
*chili sauce goes really well with this dish*

Ceviche and Causa

"Today we started our ISP’s and mine is cooking. Today we made Ceviche and Causa. Adam is writing about Ceviche and I’m writing about Causa. I am vegetarian so I’m writing the vegetarian version. You can put anything in as a filling, what matters is the potato bit. This is for one person." - Daniela

Ingredients:
  • Filling bit (Shrimp, Chicken, Vegetarian, whatever)
  • 3 Potatoes (Yellow, boiled and peeled) for 4 people it’ll be 1 kilo
  • 3 Tbsp Aji Amarillo (Yellow chile pepper)
  • 1 Lime (to taste)
  • 1 12 tsp Salt (to taste)
  • 12 tsp Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 12 Avocado
  • 1 tsp Mayo (to taste)
  • 1 Tomato
Instructions: 
  1. Take the potatoes and mash it
  2. Add salt, pepper, and aji amarillo
  3. Mix until very yellow
  4. Add lime and oil
  5. Peel tomato and cut into 4 slices (like apple slices) and cut out the seeds and guts
  6. Peel Avocado and cut into thin slices, from top to bottom
  7. Take your filling and cut it into little squares. Add salt, black pepper, mayo and mix
  8. Oil the mold
  9. Layer your potato, tomato (leave some for garnish), avocado (leave some for garnish), and your filling and top with more potato. The layering doesn’t matter, it just needs to start and end with potato. Also if you don’t have a mold you can use a bowl or a cake tin, it doesn’t matter.

Ceviche

"For Ceviche the best types of fish to use are whitefish and the worst type is tuna. Salmon can also work but it has a very strong taste. So here is Trucha Ceviche. I hope you all enjoy. 🙂" - Adam

Ingredients:
  • 1 piece of Trucha
  • 2 Lemons
  • 12 tsp Salt
  • 14 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Chile Pepper (small)
  • 14 tsp Garlic
  • 14 tsp Ginger
  • 5 leaves Cilantro
Instructions:
  1. Take your piece of fish and cut it into small squares. After place the pieces of fish in a large bowl
  2. Get your onion, cut it in half, and take out the heart of each one. After cut the onions into small slices
  3. After cutting onions, put in water while you begin to cut the other vegetables
  4. Take your chile pepper and cut the tips off. After filet it and cut the two slices into small squares. Add to large bowl and mix well
  5. Mince cilantro and add to large bowl. Mix well
  6. Add salt. pepper, and garlic to large bowl. Mix well
  7. Grate the ginger and add the juice to large bowl. Mix well
  8. Cut two lemons in half and juice them in large bowl. Mix well
  9. Finally, add onion that has been soaking in water to large bowl
  10. Add to plate and enjoy.
  11. Helpful garnish: Eat your ceviche with plantain chips.

Picarones

"This is my last recipe for this trip it is for Picarones. They are Peruvian doughnuts. So good. Very fried. You can serve them with maple syrup or any sauce like that. It does take two days." - Daniela

Day 1: Ingredients:
  • 1 kilo of sweet potato
  • 1 kilo of pumpkin
  • Water
  • 2 grams anis
  • 1 tsp of yeast
  • 1 kilo flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of anise tea
Instructions:
  1. Gut the pumpkin (deseed it get the weird stringy bits out), take the rind off, and cut into big chunks
  2. Peel and slice the sweet potato
  3. Put everything into a big pot and add 1 liter of water
  4. Add anise and leave to boil
  5. Once all the water is dissolved mash everything
  6. Slowly add flour and mix with your hand, add the egg and tea water (Very mushy and I would suggest cutting your nails first too) Keep mixing with your hand until it makes a batter
  7. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water, pour it into the pot with the batter and mix
  8. Cover it and let it rise overnight.
  9. Helpful tip: for every 1 kilo of flour use 1 egg
  Day 2: Ingredients: You need very little for day two.
  • The batter from yesterday
  • Oil
  • Water
  • A stick
  • Whatever topping you want
Instructions:
  1. Heat oil to fry.
  2. Get your fingers wet so the batter doesn’t stick to your hands
  3. Make a ball of batter into your hands and put a hole in the middle to make a doughnut shape
  4. Gently place the doughnut into the hot oil and take your stick and poke it in the hole and swirl the doughnut and until the hole becomes round and doesn’t close
  5. When it starts to become golden, flip
  6. Take out the doughnut and place it on a paper towel to get extra oil off
  7. Drizzle whatever sauce you have over the doughnut and eat.

Capchi de Avas

Ingredients:
  • 5 yellow potatoes
  • 100g lima/fava beans
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 stem/branch of huacatay or oregano if you can’t find huacatay
  • Oil
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large ostra mushroom
  • 500ml milk
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • grated parm
Instructions:
  1. To start you need to wash and peel your potatoes and cut them in half
  2. Chop your onion into little squares
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic
  4. Once they’re almost brown add salt and pepper
  5. Once they are fully browned add the potatoes and water and leave to boil
  6. When it comes to a boil cover the pot
  7. Wash your beans and add to the pot
  8. Cut mushroom into large squares and add to pot
  9. If your potatoes are taking too long to cook now would be a good time to cut them in smaller pieces to help them cook faster
  10. Add milk and some salt
  11. Mince your huacatay and add to pot
  12. Leave the pot to reduce
  13. Add cumin and salt if needed
  14. Sprinkle parm on top and eat.
 

"This recipe was so good and easy to make although it was a bit time-consuming. Totally worth it though. Today I went back and got the amounts for masamora de quinoa and apple compote that I didn’t have yesterday." - Daniela

  For the masamora you need: 2 sticks of cinnamon, 200g of quinoa, 1 star anis, 400 ml water (double the amount of quinoa), 400g condensed milk, 400g normal milk, 3 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp corn starch For the compote you need: 2 peeled granny smith apples (it can be any type of apple really), 1/2 cup water, 1 stick of cinnamon (plus some ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top, 1 star anis, and 1 cup of sugar.  

Espagettis a la Huancaina

I once again have a new recipie to share to Adam and my mass following of Peruvian cooking enthusiasts. We can’t let our fans down. I am writing about Espagettis a la Huancaina. It serves 1-2 people. I personally thought the sauce was delicious as it had an aroma of different and unique flavors. The fried mushroom I also added to the dish was spectacular as it was fried to perfection. I hope you enjoy this classic Peruvian pasta. - Daniela
Ingredients:
  • Linguini 1/8 kilo
  • Aji (the same hot pepper things we’ve been talking about for the past two weeks) 4
  • Onion 1/2
  • Oil 1 TBSP
  • Salt 1 tsp (plus a little more for the mushroom)
  • Cheese (Andean salty cheese, queso fresco would probably work) 20 grams
  • Milk 1/4 cup
  • Black pepper 1/4 tsp (plus a little more for the mushroom)
  • Mushroom
Instructions: 
  1. Cook linguini
  2. Go to my post where I describe how to make papa a la huancaina and follow those instructions, only the sauce part
  3. Take your huancaina sauce and put it back into the skillet you used to cook the onion and peppers
  4. Put your cooked and drained pasta into the pan with the sauce and toss it. You might need to re-heat a bit
  5. Add salt and pepper to your mushrooms
  6. Egg and bread your mushrooms and then fry them
  7. When your pasta is mixed and the desired temperature put it on a plate
  8. Put your mushrooms on the plate on top of the pasta and enjoy
  9. Adam did shrimp instead of mushroom but you get the idea.
  We hope you enjoy!  

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[post_title] => COMFORT FOOD: RECIPES FROM THE FIELD [post_excerpt] => We wanted to share these recipes from the field to spread the love with some comfort food. Izzy Arrendell shares a recipe for Kopiak from our Mekong Semester. Daniela Harvey and Adam Marcelo, Andes and Amazon students, chose cooking as their Independent Study Project (ISP) and shared weekly recipes on the Yak Board. A few of which are listed below. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => comfort-food-recipes-from-the-field [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-17 15:54:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-17 21:54:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 42 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/alumni_spotlight/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 654 [name] => Mixed Media [slug] => mixed_media [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 654 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [parent] => 0 [count] => 45 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 654 [category_count] => 45 [category_description] => Featured Photography, Videos, Podcasts, Photo Contest Winners, Films & Art [cat_name] => Mixed Media [category_nicename] => mixed_media [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 5 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 5 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, Alumni Spotlight ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-03-06 09:47:50
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    [post_content] => 

Overheard on the Yak Board (Guatemala Independent Spring Experience

Guatemala homestay independent spring experience ISE If you had happened to be walking down 4th avenue in San Miguel Escobar last Saturday around noon, you would have seen me and my Spanish teacher Blanca carrying a massive, scalding frying pan in a Guatemalan swaddling cloth woven for newborn babies. This strange event was only one of many misadventures that day. As my time in Guatemala began to come to an end, I wanted to cook a thank-you lunch for my host family, my instructor and his family, Biz and Nell, and my Spanish teacher. I settled on an overly-ambitious menu of avogolemono (a Greek chicken soup), a massive Greek bread, two salads, and strawberries with cream. I wanted to share a few of my favorite foods, like the Greek cuisine I eat with my grandmother at Christmas, the strawberries I associate with summers in New Hampshire, and the obligatory kale salad I must like as a Brooklynite. Guatemala homestay independent spring experience ISE The adventure began on Thursday, when Biz, Nell, and I went to Antigua to buy ingredients. Our first stop was La Bodegona, a massive grocery store that caters to locals and tourists alike, resulting in an overwhelming maze of food. We found three separate pasta aisles, went on a several-minutes long quest for powdered sugar, and even stumbled into a whole separate building dedicated to clothing, which felt a little like stepping into another dimension. After La Bodegona, with our iPhone translators at the ready, we crossed the street to the municipal market where we spent an equal amount of time finding our way to the vegetable section as we did actually shopping. On Friday, I spent the whole morning cooking the soup, and prepping the other dishes for lunch the following day. My grandmother helped me start the wood stove for the soup, and then watched in horror as I put my chickens directly into boiling water without washing them. She efficiently helped me rescue the birds and run them under the tap, and although a crisis was averted, she and my host mother asked me if I had washed just about everything else every time I added it to a dish. Whoops! Guatemala homestay independent spring experience ISE Guatemala homestay independent spring experience ISE A few minutes after chicken-gate, I ran into soup crisis number 2. In Greek, the name of the dish means egg-lemon soup, and although fresh eggs abound here, it turns out there’s not a lemon to be found in all of Antigua. As I later learned, lemons require cooler temperatures than limes, and are thus not well suited to tropical, warm countries like Guatemala. Fortunately, my instructor Juancho brought me an alternative citrus fruit he grows at home, and combined with lime, I used that to replace the lemons. Satisfied with my soup, I put it in the fridge, and called it a day. On Saturday, I woke up very early to start the bread dough. Guessing roughly how much yeast to add in absence of the rapid-rise packets I’m used to, I got the dough rising right about when the rest of the family woke up. The mornings here are quite chilly, and as a result, I was having a hard time getting my bread to rise. I tried putting it various parts of our patio and kitchen, boiled water to heat the bowl, and finally settled on an elaborate system of heating and cooling the dough on our stove, around the boiling coffee, beans, eggs, and tortillas my host grandmother was preparing for breakfast. Eventually, I was satisfied with the dough, and enlisted the help of my host sisters to braid it.
The lunch ended up being a huge success. The food (against all odds) turned out well, but the best part about the meal was spending it with all of the people who have made my two months here magical. I’m so sad that I only have one more week in Guatemala, but the lunch reminded me that the connections I’ve made here will last a lifetime.
Once the bread was set, my host sister and I carried it down the street to my Spanish teacher’s house to bake. The oven in my kitchen doesn’t work, so Blanca generously volunteered hers. When we arrived, however, we discovered that the massive frying pan we were using for the bread didn’t fit into her oven. Fortunately, she had a larger oven in a different part of the house, and her husband kindly dragged it to the kitchen and connected it to the gas. Unfortunately, however, this oven only had two markings to measure temperature, a plus sign and a minus sign. I took a guess and selected plus, and then told Blanca I would return in an hour. I guessed wrong. 20 minutes later, Blanca texted me a photo of some very crispy looking bread, and asked me if this was what I was going for. I sprinted down the street (my host sister led the way on her bike) and found my bread several shades darker than it should have been. Fortunately, with some scraping, we managed to salvage the bread, and the inside was just as tasty as usual. The final challenge, however, was getting the bread back to my house. Blanca volunteered her baby swaddle, and that’s how I found myself on fourth avenue with a piping-hot Greek holiday bread. Guatemala homestay independent spring experience ISE Meanwhile, a situation was developing at home. Before picking up my bread, I had put the soup on the stove to heat up. As I was walking home, my host mother called me to say that the soup smelled horrible, and had separated overnight. Disappointed, I was resigned to cooking spaghetti as a last-minute replacement, but my host mother would hear none of it. “We’re going to remake the soup!” she declared confidently, even though we had less than an hour until our guests were going to arrive. I tried to reason with her, but she had already fired up the wood stove and enlisted her mother to help us. “¡Manos a la obra!” she declared, and went into a frenzy of buying replacement chickens, helping me chop ingredients, and heaping wood into the stove to speed up the cooking. One second I would see her at the woodpile, and the next she would be stirring the soup side-by-side with my host grandmother who was picking apart chicken carcasses like it was an Olympic sport. And, about 45 minutes later, just as our guests were walking in the door, we had a fully-completed soup! The lunch ended up being a huge success. The food (against all odds) turned out well, but the best part about the meal was spending it with all of the people who have made my two months here magical. I’m so sad that I only have one more week in Guatemala, but the lunch reminded me that the connections I’ve made here will last a lifetime.  

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[post_title] => FEATURED INDEPENDENT SPRING EXPERIENCE REFLECTION: “SUNDAY LUNCH” [post_excerpt] => Guatemala ISE student, Zoe Davidson, reflects on the time she cooked a meal for her homestay family and everything seemed to go wrong. But in the end, "the best part about the meal was spending it with all of the people who have made my two months here magical. I’m so sad that I only have one more week in Guatemala, but the lunch reminded me that the connections I’ve made here will last a lifetime." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => featured-independent-spring-experience-refection-sunday-lunch [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-09 14:20:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-09 20:20:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 675 [name] => The Dragons Journal [slug] => thedragonsjournal [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 675 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Archives of The Dragons Journal (formerly known as the Map's Edge Newsletter). [parent] => 0 [count] => 21 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 675 [category_count] => 21 [category_description] => Archives of The Dragons Journal (formerly known as the Map's Edge Newsletter). [cat_name] => The Dragons Journal [category_nicename] => thedragonsjournal [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/thedragonsjournal/ ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 646 [name] => Alumni Spotlight [slug] => alumni_spotlight [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 646 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [parent] => 0 [count] => 42 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 10 [cat_ID] => 646 [category_count] => 42 [category_description] => Featured Student Alumni and their projects/organizations/visions. [cat_name] => Alumni Spotlight [category_nicename] => alumni_spotlight [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => From the Field, The Dragons Journal ... )
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    [post_date] => 2018-07-12 11:00:16
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    [post_content] => My home in New York. A place where appearance is valued and looking good has been ingrained in me by society since I was young. As I first arrived in Cambodia, I made sure my hair looked nice, my clothes were clean and looked flattering. First impressions matter, and I have always known a world where first impressions are based not on who you are, but how you looked.

Continuing throughout the first day, I felt vulnerable without my usual makeup and nice clothing. Then that evening, my first bucket shower. Standing in the bathroom with just myself, a few buckets of water, and my travel size shampoo, conditioner and travel wash, I had never felt so out of my element. However, after I took a deep breath, and poured the water on my head, the cold water in the warm air, I felt amazing. With each successive bucket, I forgot what it was like in my old shower at home. I began to prefer this one.
As I instinctively turned to the wall looking for a mirror, I noticed there wasn’t one.
As I instinctively turned to the wall looking for a mirror, I noticed there wasn’t one. I had never felt so liberated. I just didn’t care. I didn’t care that my clothes were a little dirtier, for I had hiked to a beautiful waterfall in them. I didn’t care that my clothes were extremely conservative and ill-fitting, because that way I was able to gain the respect of local people. I didn’t care that there was no hot water, for the cold water felt better than my shower at home ever did. And I didn’t care that there wasn’t a mirror, for I had never felt as confident or as secure in myself as I have these last few days. [post_title] => Where is the Mirror? - Yak of the Week [post_excerpt] => A student reflection on a homestay experience in Cambodia: "I took a deep breath, and poured the water on my head, the cold water in the warm air, I felt amazing. With each successive bucket, I forgot what it was like in my old shower at home...." [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => where-is-the-mirror-yak-of-the-week [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-12 11:02:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-12 17:02:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 62 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 62 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/category/from_the_field/ ) ) [category_links] => From the Field )
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    [post_date] => 2018-03-14 08:47:23
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    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_152709" align="alignnone" width="974"] Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Gap Year Program.[/caption]

Many study abroad programs provide a day-by-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) trip schedule used year after year. At Dragons, we keep our programs flexible and dynamic: each itinerary is uniquely designed and implemented by the instructors who lead the program. We believe some of the best experiences can come in the unscripted, serendipitous, and candid moments of surprise. It's a novel approach to travel and best explained by our participants. So here's how our past students define Dragons "flexible" itinerary concept:

“Unlike American life regulated by precise and punctual schedules, life abroad is hectic and ever-changing, which is the beauty of it. Pre-program, I was concerned that the larger and central aspects of the trip may be changed, but this isn’t at all what they meant by flexible itinerary.  Flexible itinerary refers to smaller, more logistical changes. You’ll still get to the end destination, just perhaps by a different route. The itinerary will never be changed in a way that detracts from your experience, but will instead always improve it for you or the group as a whole, whether it is balancing out the hiking days to make it more manageable or taking a quick side-trip to the hot springs to refuel as a group.” - Will LeVan, Peru Summer Student Travel Program [caption id="attachment_152708" align="alignright" width="452"] Photo by Stefanie Daehler, Custom School Program in India.[/caption] “The flexibility allowed my group to turn hikes into classes about religion. It allowed for us to get lost, which then turned into lessons on how not to get lost. We were given the freedom to explore like a traveler, not like a tourist.” - Alyssa Hilb, Silk Road China Summer Student Travel Program “To travel with a flexible itinerary is to travel with an open mind and receptivity to the realities of travel. During my program in Morocco, there were numerous occasions in which sickness, navigational difficulties, or side trips caused unforeseen delays in our daily plan. While ordinarily, this would be a huge logistical and emotional headache, the ease with which my instructors took it in stride and adjusted our plans made all the difference. The benefit of a dynamic itinerary is bypassing the regimented, anxious parts of travel, to embrace the wild, unplanned fun that exploration can be.” - Brett Cohen, Morocco Summer Student Travel Program [caption id="attachment_152710" align="alignleft" width="364"] Photo by Ngun Siang Kim, Myanmar Summer Program.[/caption] “Ultimately, embracing the possibility of candid experiences—those that lead you into the waters of coursing Himalayan rivers and into the corridors of 500-year old monasteries, as mine did during my programs—are what have been most influential in shaping me into the confident, prepared and wise traveler I am today.” - Olivia Sotirchos, North India Summer Study Abroad Program “The most important part of embracing the flexible itinerary was recognizing that our safety was a priority over strict travel and time constraints, and the comfort of knowing we could adjust the plan to fit our needs.” - Silvana Montagu, Eastern Himalayas Summer Student Travel Program “I wasn’t sure what “flexible itinerary” meant at the beginning, but by the end of the trip I grew to appreciate the spontaneity it brought. Our itinerary stayed mostly true to the original outline, but changed in small, beneficiary, ways. For example, we had been staying in a very rural town, Cotzal, where we were doing service projects. We decided to leave a day early, and instead spend the last day at a beautiful waterfall with the homestay families, eating lunch together and swimming. It’s important to let yourself be surprised.”  - Maggie Needham, Guatemala Summer Student Travel Program “The best part about being able to mix up the schedule is that you have the ability to invest your time in areas you are most passionate about. For example, during my trip to China we stumbled upon a shamanism festival with rich colors and new experiences. On the spot, our group decided that spending more time at the festival would be the best for our educational and cultural journey. The best days are those that aren’t 100 percent scripted.” - Liana Flecker, Silk Road China Summer Student Travel Program [caption id="attachment_152711" align="alignright" width="423"] Photo by Nils Skattum, Nepal Semester Program.[/caption] “I’m normally a very planned out person, and was a bit anxious about the flexible itinerary. When I got to Indonesia, I soon realized their concept of Jam Karet there—essentially meaning, "rubber time." People we were supposed to meet, and transportation we were planning to take, often ran late and sometimes never even showed up. This at first drove me crazy, but throughout my semester I learned to “santai saja” (or “just relax”) and just accept the situations for how they were, and everything always worked out. Dragons trips are highly immersive and intensive, and can be exhausting. Being flexible allows the group and its members to get what they really need—whether that’s time to rest, or time to engage and participate longer than the planned amount of time.” - Crissy McCarthy, Indonesia Gap Year Semester Abroad Program “To put the experience into a specific set of bullet points would seriously harm the whole meaning of this voyage in the first place. The world is open to so many possibilities waiting around the corner.”- Will Jamieson, Guatemala Summer Student Travel Program [post_title] => Q&A: What's a "flexible" itinerary? [post_excerpt] => Many study abroad programs provide a day-by-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) trip schedule used year after year. At Dragons, we keep our programs flexible and dynamic: each itinerary is uniquely designed and implemented by the instructors who lead the program. We believe some of the best experiences can come in the unscripted, serendipitous, and candid moments of surprise. It's a novel approach to travel and best explained by our participants. So here's how our past students define Dragons "flexible" itinerary concept... 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    [post_author] => 21
    [post_date] => 2017-04-20 14:10:32
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-20 20:10:32
    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_150979" align="alignnone" width="806"]IMAGE: FIONA SHERMAN IMAGE: FIONA SHERMAN[/caption]

Dragons is a good teacher for the community of Langa. I am a writer, and still it is difficult to find the words to describe my experience with Dragons. Even if I could use numbers, I couldn’t count the ways to say thank you, to express the sum total of my gratitude. Words cannot adequately describe the feeling, the spirit that has been cultivated in the creation of such a masterpiece. I am just a countrywoman who lives in a small village in Indonesia.

I am just a countrywoman who lives in a small village in Indonesia. Our village is called Bomari, and it’s located at the foot of Mt. Inerie, the highest volcano in Flores, which rises above us like a grand pyramid. It is hard to believe that it’s already been four times, four times living with foreigners who we would normally just call “

It is hard to believe that it’s already been four times, four times living with foreigners who we would normally just call “bule,” sharing a life together for two weeks. It all started in February 2015 when Aaron Slosberg surveyed my village and came to an agreement with my parents to use our family as a homestay for Dragons students.

As a young person, I like challenges, however, I was really doubtful about trying the homestay program. It seemed like such an impossible task to host a foreigner.

“Why would a bule want to stay here?”

“Their life is so different from our life here!” “Can they eat rice every day?” “What will they do about the food here?” “Oh, our house is too ugly for them!” “Our bedroom is so tiny!” “We do not even have a nice bathroom.” All this negative energy spiraled in my head. My nerves became so intense I almost backed out of our agreement to host a student, but the support and the spirit of the youth in my village convinced me not to change my mind. I was so nervous when the first Dragons group arrived to our village in April 2015. The students of Rita Sri Suwantari, Matt Colaciello Williams, and Rachel Russell were physically so different from us. These bule had white skin. Their bodies were twice as tall as ours. They seemed really intelligent. There were so many facets to our difference that it made me even more anxious to interact with them. Before they arrived, we had prepared everything. Every home in the village was busy getting ready for the arrival of the students, prepping our houses, preparing to communicate, even consulting “Mr. Google” in case of a communication emergency. Despite all this, we knew most of the time we would have to rely on non-verbal communication. Living in one home with two different cultures there surely would be so many things we both couldn’t understand. However, over time, I came to realize, all these small differences, even though seemingly insignificant, began to deeply affect my way of thinking. Bule always say thank you and show appreciation for everything, even though they may not like every situation. This is so different from our own people. In our society, we feel awkward or shy saying thank you or showing appreciation to others for small things. I believe this is the reason why sometimes we can be held back in our way of thinking. I’m sure when someone shows gratitude to someone else, even if it’s not expressed perfectly, this practice will build self-confidence in that person and improve the quality of his or her work. Lately, I’m starting to see our community show gratitude to others, which has been an amazing revelation. In addition, there is the matter of discipline. Bule seem very disciplined with time, while the local community lacks punctuality. I have come to believe that being aware of timing is very important in leadership. Bule love cleanliness; they won’t just throw trash on the ground. The local people still throw their trash wherever and this negatively impacts our health. Bule also seem very intelligent and like to master their skills. I have learned so many wonderful things from hosting Dragons students, about their country, about their lives, and about myself. I think Dragons is an extraordinary organization that provides exceptional experiential education to young people. Many people in my village lack higher education, and most of us don’t even speak English. There are so many things about our lives that aren’t the way we wish they were. Still, I feel we have something to teach Dragons students. I hope both the good and bad experiences from staying in our village will affect the students: make them stronger individuals, who are better prepared to care for others in their own communities and environments. I hope the students can use our shortcomings as the basis to become individuals who want to create change. As just a simple village woman, I feel so proud to have this friendship with the students who have stayed with us. I’m sure they are not just ordinary students that choose to come to Langa. I believe they want to become part of our family—we become friends to make both of our lives complete. There are so many people in our community who can’t hold back tears when it comes time to say goodbye. Even I will always have tears in my eyes each time I have to say goodbye to my new friends. They may never know this, as it is a secret that as a community we keep. We do not know when or if we will meet again, maybe for the rest of our lives we will never meet, but the students will always be in our hearts. When we think of the students here, when we miss them, we will sift back through all the beautiful memories we shared together. Like family, far away from us, it is all we can do. I hope, as the years roll on, we will maintain a strong relationship with Dragons. I truly believe Dragons is an amazing organization. You have a great mission to make people into human beings, even a village woman like me. I want to thank Rita Sri Suwantari, honestly you are one of my greatest inspirations. Thank you also to Matt Colaciello Williams and Aaron Slosberg, both of you are amazing leaders who have inspired your students to become part of this community and feel comfortable relating to everyone here. Thank you to the students who have become my teachers, my friends, and my family: Spencer Hardy, Eleni Fernald, Benyamin Yih, and Katherine Georgia Comfort. Thank you Dragons, whoever you are, I am your family. (This article was featured in the Spring 2017 edition of Dragons bi-annual Newsletter, The Map's Edge. Each newsletter explores a subject of interest to the Dragons community through the voices of our Alumni, Instructors, Partners, Parents and our International Staff and contacts. Feel free to view our archive of editions of The Map's Edge or even submit a piece to be featured in our next issue by sending an email to [email protected]) [post_title] => YAK OF THE WEEK: Reflections from a Homestay Sister [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => reflections-from-a-homestay-sister [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-20 21:41:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-21 03:41:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.wheretherebedragons.com/news/ [menu_order] => 4 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. 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