Amy Tanner is currently on a SkillCorps Trip in Indonesia. She is a Behavior Consultant and Under 6 Program Manager at the Monarch House.

As we wrap up our first week in Jakarta and somehow the midpoint of our trip has come and gone, there are two questions: How have we possibly fit so much into just 1 week? And how has one week passed so quickly?

Just over 1 week ago, 3 BCBA®’s, one Clinical Psychologist and our awesome Team Leader arrived for orientation at the Global Autism Project office in Brooklyn, with very little idea of what would unfold before us.   It was during the first day of orientation when we created a shared vision for our trip, which read something like this:

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We came from all corners of the continent with only our passion for ABA, our love for working with children and our adventurous spirit tying us together.  (Passion for ABA may be an understatement, as the majority of our dinner conversations and taxi rides have been dominated, by choice, by all things ABA).

Two packed days flew by in the big apple and we were left with the anticipation and excitement of a young child on Christmas Eve as we prepared for our departure to Indonesia.  Twenty-four short hours of travel later and we had finally arrived in Jakarta, all with a similar sentiment about our travel experience which was “That didn’t seem so long”.  After traveling literally half way around the world (in Coach) this was not a usual sentiment, but it definitely speaks to the fact that we were/are just “pumped” to be here.   Although it was kind of hard not to have arrived “pumped” when we were picked up in a hot pink mini-van with Selena Gomaz playing. Jakarta was off to a good start.

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Breakfast the next morning helped me realize why so many of the children I work with in Vancouver (of Asian descent) struggle with sorting breakfast and dinner foods: their breakfast is literally made up of our dinner foods. (I guess it shouldn’t be an error when a child puts fried chicken and rice in the breakfast pile, because that’s what’s for breakfast). Additionally, a chicken porridge station is also a staple at the breakfast buffet, which I have grown to love. Just kidding, I loved it from the beginning.

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(1st day breakfast: Amazing Indonesian coffee with steamed coconut milk, fresh papaya, some pretty awesome curry potato -things, other chicken and fried things, and a bowl of chicken porridge).

After an awesome day of sightseeing and more delicious food, we were ready to get to work.

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More delicious food.

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(And work: Skillcorps Team just 24 hours after arriving in Jakarta)

Two days later I led my first workshop ever with a translator (which was beyond cool) and an amazing translator and co-leader she was. Love you Shinta!

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And seeing the staff and participants engaged, participating, and learning was just as rewarding as watching our little ones learn something new.

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Tomorrow our SkillCorps team is off to Yogyakarta for a weekend excursion to see some temples, make some pottery, bike through rice fields and catch some fish for dinner. If we can get so excited by a pink minivan and chicken porridge, I’m not sure how we we’ll handle Borobudur. Wish us luck!

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” ~ Paulo Coelho.

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