Menunggu means waiting in Indonesian, which is something I’ve become a pro at since starting the research visa process. I was originally going to post about the perils of getting the research visa today, but I’m slightly paranoid/superstitious about publishing that post until I actually have the visa in my hand. So for now, suffice it to say that I should be getting the necessary official letters next week, after which I can book a plane ticket and take the paperwork to the embassy to get the actual visa put in my passport. It’s going to be interesting to see if I make it to Jakarta in time to meet the volunteers, especially since I just realized today that the NYC embassy will be closed on the 4th of July and that might be a problem. I’m trying not to stress about it since I don’t have any control over anything, but that’s obviously easier said than done. Luckily there are a few of us researchers who are in the same boat, so we can commiserate via Facebook while we wait. Shoutout to Mark, if he’s reading this, for all his hard work to get us our visas as soon as possible! I know it’s been a huge struggle this year (I think obscene is the word you used to describe it), but it’ll pay off soon enough.
In the meantime I’ve been taking a lot of bike rides and catching up on fun reading, something that I haven’t been able to do since I started my Masters. I always finish a lot of books when I’m in the field, so I guess I’m warming up for that. I’m currently reading A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sabolsky, which is about a behavioral ecologist who followed a bunch of baboons in Kenya for his dissertation. Baboons are one of the most vicious animals I think I’ve ever encountered, so I’m continually impressed by the descriptions of his work. See the picture below (not my photo, one of my Kenya classmates took it) of two baboons fighting as evidence for that statement. Sabolsky also has some interesting stories about life in the bush, some of which I can totally relate to and some of which I would prefer never happen to me (hitchiking across Africa with a bunch of Somalian truck drivers? Too scary). Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today, I have an exciting afternoon of crossword puzzles, folding the laundry that I did two days ago, and watching the rain lined up ahead of me.