After dinner, I watch TV with my host family. I’ve become quite enthralled with the national sensation Anak Jalanan. My language skills can’t quite keep up with the drama, but there seems to be an old silver fox juggling two young women who are fighting over him, and somehow the hero of the show is a boy named Boy whose connection is still unclear to me. Oh, and they’re all a part of a motorcycle street gang—and in high school. 

Part of the nightly tradition is my Ibu and Bapak saying I don’t eat enough, and trying to push more food down my throat. Snacks constantly litter the table and appear on my bedside table, and it’s not uncommon for them to try to force me to eat a second dinner. 

 Tonight, my Bapak asked me something, but he speaks incredibly fast with a Sundanese accent that makes him sound like he’s mumbling and makes it difficult for me to understand him, but in the phrase I heard the word “sakit” sick, so I responded proudly “belum” not yet.  

 He asked me again if I had blah-blah-blah-sakit here yet, so I again said “belum, tidak sakit” not yet, not sick. He asked if I had blah-blah-blah in Kediri, so I continued with “tidak, saya tidak sakit,” getting a little annoyed and hoping he’d get bored of me and continue watching TV. 

 No chance. 

He moved on to ask if I blah-blah-blah in America, so I, very confused now, shook my head and said “Tidak Pak, saya tidak sakit.” 

 Now Ibu and Bapak were confused and called in my host-sister so we could all be confused together. My host sister asked me the same question and I frustratingly told them all NO. All three of them commenced shouting at me then. The same word over and over. Finally, I got my dictionary to see what this crazy word was they were so concerned about: poo. 

They were asking if I’d pooped in Panawangan yet, and I told them no. 

 They asked if I had pooped in Kediri, and I told them no.

 They asked if I had pooped in America, and I told them no. 

 It was one of my more embarrassing moments in life, and, based on the laughter that followed, the funniest thing to ever happen in my host family’s house. They then proceeded to teach me the words of different bodily functions in both Bahasa Indonesia and Sundanese all the while laughing hysterically. 

 To explain pee, my Bapak put his hand between his legs with the pointer finger outstretched moving back and forth, and I genuinely don’t know the last time I laughed so hard.

 As we were sitting, cackling, and learning these odd (but apparently necessary) words, the power cut out as it’s been doing every night since I arrived, making us all laugh even harder. 

 The boundaries here have officially been erased. Welcome to the family: we talk about poop here. 


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