So I’ve had issues with this post.
A lot of issues.
I tried to post it the first time after writing the post. It ended up that all the content disappeared and you all were awkwardly left with a blank post.
So, I wrote some of it before being disgruntled and scheduling it for a week ahead. I decided to work on it after a couple days and let it self publish.
Well, I forgot it existed, and it still self published. So you guys got half a post of me complaining.
I took it down and then completely deleted it because it seems to be cursed somehow.
So here is the new “Meeting the Queen of England” post!
Please note that this was around the end of April/beginning of May. Sorry for messing up the chronology of this blog.
Let’s talk college in Indonesia.
All senior year, seniors spend their days studying and going to study courses to prepare for a large test at the end of the year.
Students “apply” to 3 schools and then wait until the end of May to see if the schools accepted them (based on their grades). If they are accepted at this point in time, they can relax and get ready for college. If they are not accepted, however, they have to study for another month.
At the end of May, there is a large national test (the one previously mentioned) to get into college.
And at the end of June, they get their results. If they are accepted, that’s great, and they can go to college come fall. If they don’t, they have to consider private college and other options.
That is the main method used to enter colleges.
My host sister is a senior this year. She applied to her three colleges. In addition, however, she applied through a different application process to Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta.
This process included going to Yogyakarta and taking a test in person. If the students passed the test, they had to perform some sort of talent for the school.
So basically, we made this a family trip to Yogya!
Our first stop in Yogya was De Mata Trick Eye 3D Museum. The whole point of the museum was optical illusions. We had some fun with it.
After, we went to a different part of the museum. I was looking around when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
You can imagine how surprised I was when I turned around to see Queen Elizabeth II.
“Hello,” She said, “I am so pleased to see another bule around here! Would you mind taking a picture with me?”
I was a little surprised that another bule wanted a picture with me, but I don’t normally refuse photo requests. This was no exception.
“Thank you, my dear. What’s your name?” She asked.
“Oh, sorry for not introducing myself! My name is Ruth.”
“Well,” Queen Elizabeth said, “If you’re ever in England, let me know.” I assured her I would and continued through the museum.
I looked for my host sister and found her in the midst of two very familiar men.
They had been previously quarreling over who could take her to dinner that night. My host dad had broken their hearts by staunchly refusing to let his daughter go with either of them. To try and make them feel a little better, I took a photo so they could remember her.
Now, this photo was previously posted on social media:
It seemed to me that it caused quite a bit of confusion amongst my American friends and family. Well, let me explain it to you.
Spiderman retired quite a while ago to Indonesia. Since then, he has fully absorbed Indonesian culture and become a bapak (ba-pah).
What is a bapak?
Well, a bapak is an older Indonesian man. He normally has a bit of pudge or a large belly. He wears some sort of cap, whether this cap
or the one specific to central Java (the one Spiderman is wearing). He will be wearing a sarong, maybe because he was too lazy to take it off after praying. Maybe he’s just flaunting his bapak status.
Click here for a funny video about bapaks.
Anyway, once I saw Bapak Spiderman, I knew that I had to take a photo with him. He really is an example of the fusion of Western and Indonesian culture.
After saying goodbye to Bapak Spiderman, we walked into the next room.
Well, I didn’t expect to find any more Brits in the museum, but guess who I ran into?
“The Queen told me that there was an American on the premise.” He said. “I’m glad to meet you.”
Pleasure to meet you too.
I don’t know where his shirt was, but I didn’t have a problem with the lack of it.
And then he asked for a favor. I complied.
Sorry, Victoria. But how could I refuse him?
We were ready to leave after that, On the way out, however, I found my old friend and had to say hi.
And by old friend, I mean 137 years old.
Oh? You know him too?
Well, he and I, we used to chat a lot. He tried to pique my interest in physics. I’m still not sure where I am in that respect.
We took a photo and then left.
As for the rest of Yogya, there was hanging out with my host parents’ friends, singing karaoke, my host sister’s test, and eating gudeg. It was a quick trip.
My host parents decided to see a bit of Java that I haven’t seen before, so we took the long way home.
Our first stop was Semarang.
We stopped at Lawang Sewu, or Thousand Doors. It was an old Dutch colonial building.
And was aptly named.
The building is apparently haunted. After the 300 years of Dutch occupation, the Japanese took control (during WW2) for 3 years. Indonesians often say that these 3 years were worse than all the years that the Dutch occupied Indonesia. The Japanese were very cruel to them.
In Lawang Sewu, many atrocities took place during this time (or so I am told). And that is why it is haunted.
They had some pretty sweet stained glass windows.
And my sister wanted some photos for Instagram.
The next day, we stopped in Cirebon at the Keraton Kasepuhan.
(psst a keraton is a palace)
The Keraton was built in 1447.
Keratons show up in Indonesia when there are sultanates. Right now, there are sultanates all over Indonesia. They are all under the Indonesian government, however, and don’t really have any power.
Cirebon is a sultanate, but the sultan doesn’t live in the keraton (I think).
They had a little room of memoirs. They had old dutch weapons, old art, etc. And my favorite item?
That is where they put their children.
There isn’t any babysitter quite like a cage.
There was a special well at the keraton. If you drank the water, or washed with it, it is said that you will find your soulmate.
They scoop the water out of the well and pour it into a pot. As shown below, there is a hole in the bottom, and that’s where you wash yourself.
I know what you’re wondering. Did I drink or wash with it?
Of course I did 😉 All of my family did, even my married host parents.
(I’m not really one for superstitions, though)
They had some beautiful architecture as well.
After that, we drove home.
It was a good quick trip.