It’s been one of the most remarkable, intriguing and perhaps challenging weeks of my life. Leaving the comforts and familiarity of my modern, American culture and lifestyle, we’ve been ‘roughing it’ for the past week living with a local family and searching for a house of our own.

So what does it look like? We are woken up usually around five by either the morning call to prayer or the roosters, one of the two. We’ve been sleeping on a mat on the floor which actually is quite comfortable. Breakfast is rice, fish and some type of spicy sauce mixed together and eaten with your right hand. Coffee is served- grounds and one spoon of sugar. We take ‘showers’ twice a day which consists of pouring chilly water over your head and body using a bucket. It’s pretty shocking in the morning, but feels great later on in the heat of the day. We just use shampoo for soap.

I’m seeing more and more just how relationship based this country really is. Evenings with our family is very social. After dinner more coffee or tea is served and we all go and sit outside the house for hours. There is something called ‘mampir’ here which means ‘drop by’. People can ‘mampir’ anytime they want, unannounced, stay as long as they want, and this is both common and expected. In fact, if you don’t mampir for a while it communicates that you don’t want to be friends anymore.

Getting back to what I was saying. . . after dinner we usually sit outside and talk for hours- with neighbors, family members, friends, anybody who wants to stop by. Foreigners have never really visited, much less lived with a family in this village, and so people have been ‘mampiring’ much more regularly. They’re all very interested to meet us and are quite surprised (and honored t00) that we can speak their language. They think it’s really funny that we’re interested and care that much about them. The kids love to practice their English with us. They know a variety of basic vocabulary and a few are brave enough to try sentences. The men I’ve met are all really friendly and respectful.

The first couple days with our family were really hard. It was hard to process so much information at once. Sometimes vocabulary from two, three or more languages were being taught to me. It’s like, “If you’re from (People A) you say this. . . if you’re from (People B) you say it like this, and we say. . . ” etc. You get the idea. I had to strain to understand what they were saying. It’s gotten better though. I have a little notebook to jot down notes which helps me remember.

Our family has helped us find a house in their area! We’re really excited to live down the road and mampir as often as we want. It’s going to take a few days to get the house ready, but Kim and I are SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to finally have a place of our own. And not only that, but it’s in a really incredible location too. It’s right in the heart of Anugerah territory. We’re excited to build on relationships we’ve already formed, plus make new ones. We’ll stay with our family till everything is ready.