Between Freddy, Gordon and Dickens

A tale of my journey in learning (my take on the challenge)


Know what? I’ve never wondered about my history in learning English. Not until of course Brad ( @brad5patterson) set yet another jaw dropping pondering on his new challenge; How and Why we learned foreign language.

I was raised in a house where 2 languages are spoken; bahasa Indonesia and Javanese language. I was pretty much heard those language being used among my big family. Though I’m not a fluent Javanese speaker, I do understand and ocassionaly speak it.

My beloved late grandfathers were both fluent in foreign language. One was fluent in Japanese and the other was fluent in Dutch. Both were also good in English, as well as my father. Til now I have always regretted the fact that I used  to refuse being taught to speak Japanese and Dutch. Because I was already mesmerized by the beauty of English.

Well, not the language itself at first actually. Since I was a child, I have loved music! My father collects a lot of cassettes because he loves listening to them at home. One of the first song that I really love was “Born to love you” by Queen. I was so eager to sing it but I didn’t know the lyric. And as I was (and still) a very clumsy girl, my father has always told me not to mess with his collection, so what I did was I tried to listen to the lyric then sang it based on what I’ve heard. You can bet I made tons of mistakes when I finally get my hands on the lyrics! But that was actually the drive that got me doing it again and again! I was determined to sing all my favorite songs.

One of my late grandfather who was a columnist for a women’s magazine here in Indonesia found out that I love singing and talking in English so he used to get me, my sis and my cousins to record ourselves talking , singing and reading poems though not all were done in English. But it got me love English more! This time cause I had found my first love! He is none other than Gordon summer or Sting. When i was a child, technology wasn’t like now, so of course I couldn’t google his lyrics everytime I heard his new song on the radio. But it pushed me to try to listen better to his words.

But as much as I love using english, I had never had the guts to use it outside my house. Until our school went to the biggest Islamic exhibiton here in Jakarta. We were trying to find out where one of the artifact was exhibited and there was nobody to ask but an old foreign woman, So I collected my nerves and asked her. When she understood my question and answered it, that was the moment when I knew I have to learn more about this language.

So there I was. Eager to learn more. My father asked me to listen to English songs and then tried to capture them then wrote down the words, later on I got to check what I’ve heard on the real lyrics. It was such a fun game for me! I also watched a lot of TV show like “Mork and Mindy” , “ Bonanza”, “The Cosby show”,  “Perfect stranger” and “Little house by the prairie” and tried to understand the story without looking at the subtitle. I  think what got me falling in love with English is the variety and diversity of the language that is so different from bahasa Indonesia.

When I was 14, my grandfather gave me my other love: Charles dickens’ “A tale of two cities”. It was hard for me to understand the whole sentences in the book, but once I got a hold on the story, I learnt that you don’t really need to know all the words to understand the story. And of course got me wanting to read more.



When I was young I had never learnt English other than what I’ve got in school actually. I had never taken any course or lesson. You see, my house was far away from the city. I had to travel around to the other side of the city just to get to school, and back then there wasn’t many good courses except in the centre of Jakarta. But then again, my late grandpa didn’t think I need to, since he believed that he could provide the lesson that I need, and I had great teachers in school too. In fact the course that I’d finally taken was French! It didn’t last long since the French culture office where I took the lesson was far away from my house. I had to sleep over at my aunty’s house whenever I attended the lesson! Yup! That far away J 

But I am lucky now that not only that I get to use English every single day, I get to learn a lot to from my PLN here. So though my English isn’t as fluent as many of those who take this challenge, but I’m still able to communicate with you guys and have got you to actually (hopefully) understand what I’m saying.

 I am proud to say that I am still learning and will never stop. Oh, and sometimes soon, I’m going to try to take that French lesson again 😉 . So thanks a lot Brad for taking me back to those good old days!


Ps: I actually cried typing this as I miss my grandfathers so much now, but happy to have them in my life too.



A little more on Indonesia’s education


a glimpse of my school

Recently I did a guest post on Elinda Gjondedaj’s blog ( )  that got me realize something, that my beloved country has got more than what I’ve written! So, here I try to pour what’s more on my mind about it.

Indonesia is a multicultural country. We are made of many ethnics, cultures, races and religions. Our government here embraces all the differences as we celebrate many special days. From the religious ones, all the way to the national days.

Our school is embracing the tradition on celebrating almost all the big holiday. Since our students are also come from various backgrounds, we like to introduce our rich culture to our students. This will be a one of a good education for them too. To respect others and making them feel like they are belong to this one beautiful community.

The two biggest religions festive seasons in Indonesia are Lebaran or Eid Mubarak and Christmas. And of course we celebrate those two events in school. It is amazing how parents and students are excited to celebrate them even when it’s not their own religious holiday. We will introduce them to the holiday but without trying to push them on one belief. This is exactly what we want them to learn, that no matter their beliefs are, they are part of his school and we don’t see any of them by where they go to pray.

Aside from that we also celebrate their difference in the richness of their culture and races. That’s why we also celebrate Chinese lunar new year and Kartini’s day (which is a celebration of our heritage). In Kartini day, children dress in our traditional costume from their native land. I love this day as all parents will try so hard to make their children look their best! And then we’re going to sing Indonesian traditional and national songs.

Whenever I see my students playing together in the indoor or outdoor playground or during Gym time, I can’t help myself but feeling so proud and happy that they are able to appreciate their differences and seem not to notice that they come from different background. The last time we went on a field trip to Sea World Indonesia, my class walked together through all the journey; talking, chatting, seeing the sea creatures and even taking the boat ride on the open sea together as one unit!

I know that all school in Indonesia are embracing this way too, to teach their students to love our country and all the people in it no matter what their backgrounds are. And our government even has put the character building as one of the main aspect in our teaching plan.

So there it is; Indonesia, one big box of colorful crayons! And I’m so proud to be a part of what makes the next generation proud of our diversity.

Aza aza Colorful!