…..So, I think I have gained ten pounds. Ah, yes, it is the question everyone wanted to ask. You go abroad for a year, and chances are you are going to gain weight. There are many that say AFS stands for “another fat student”. But, notice how I only say "I think". Scales aren’t exactly my style. For me, they’ve always been extremely inaccurate. Since muscle weighs more than fat, when I was at my most fit, apparently I was also at my heaviest. My weight naturally fluctuates depending on what time of the day it is, what I have eaten that day, if I have worked out or not, and the weather. Basically, I could go up or down about five pounds in a week without changing my lifestyle. To me, scales are like those mean popular girls in school : they tells you lies to try to make you feel bad about yourself.
Anyways, over the past few weeks, I have noticed my body begin to change. I have been slowly but surely loosing the muscle tone that I had worked so hard to build up- especially around my stomach and thighs. At first I would look down and frown. It bothered me that for the first time in my life, I was out of shape, and there were parts of me that were becoming flabby. But, then I looked in the mirror and noticed little to no difference. Sure, my pants were tight, but I was the only one who knew that. And besides, the clothes that I wear here would cover it up anyway. But, then I did begin to notice my body did look different slightly. And, at first that bothered me. Then I realized that I too had fallen victim to the western standard of beauty. Here I was in the country with the highest Muslim population on earth, and yet I was not able to learn their simple concept about a woman’s beauty. In Islam, all women are special, no matter what shape or size. God has given them the gift of outer beauty, but they can choose to cover themselves so people will know them for their inner beauty and personality. Was I a good person? Was I happy with myself? That’s all that matters. .....And, well, Beyonce is curvy, and she is an international symbol of beauty. So, yeah. Maybe I can be like her.
But, I should also mention that I am ten pounds happier. If I was ever going to gain weight, I am glad that I gained it in this fashion. Here are some of my favorite reasons for packing on the pounds.
Outside the house:
|Baso (Indonesian meatball) and mie (noodles). A typical lunch at school.|
|Spicy snacks at school that make my eyes water EVERY time I eat them.|
|Menu of drinks at school. There are a lot. All sugary, fruity and delicious.|
|My favorite street food meal: sate (meat on a stick with peanut sauce) and white rice.|
|Little Indonesian candies.|
|.....more drinks and snacks at school. It should come as no surprise I spend most of my time at school in the cafeteria.|
|More delicious, somewhat spicy street food noodles and vegetables.|
|A cute, fruity tea drink from a trendy little cafe. Indonesia has a lot of intricate, delicious non-alcoholic drinks.|
|Zoupa soup: A pastry-covered creamy soup that is a great example of how sometimes the East meets the West in Indonesian food.|
And when I go home:
|So, this is what my kitchen table looks like between meals. Basically you can eat whenever you like, buffet style.|
|Every meal starts here, with white rice. This rice never runs out. It's magic.|
|The tea and coffee are infinite here too. So is the sugar.|
|...and so are these crunchy spicy things. In Indo they are called "krupuk" and a staple in an Indonesian diet.|
|Indomie. (aka Indonesian ramen noodles) If you don't like Indomie, you aren't human.|
|Chicken (In Indonesian, "ayam") is very popular here and prepared in many different ways, all delicious.|
Those are only some of my favorites that I have had the patience to take a picture of. Indonesia is a great place to be if you like to eat, because the food here is AMAZING. And, don't worry friends and family back home, I am learning how to cook here, so in a few short months, you will have the privilege of tasting all of this.