My strange saga with EF continues… if all had gone according to plan, I would be going back to the United States this week to begin training as an English Language Fellow. Instead, I’m gearing up for another 6 months of online classes. Ah, the winds of life.
I took my usual jog down Mayjend Sungkono today. After I passed the Shangri-la hotel, I heard somebody shout “Hey you!” at me. It was a university student out for a run as well. He said his name was Shondry and asked if it was okay if he ran with me for awhile to practice his English. So I had some company on the second half of my run. We took off up past the Fairfield Marriot, then passed all the cinder blocks and dirt lining the road. I asked Shondry, “Bangun apa?,” or “What are they building?,” but he didn’t understand me. He pointed at the Makam Pahlawan, which is the cemetery where all the soldiers who died in the Battle of Surabaya are buried, (this also happens to be my favorite spot in Surabaya because of the flowers) but I don’t think they’re building anything there.
I couldn’t believe it, but when we got in front of Ciputra World Shondry said he needed a break. I’ve been feeling a little bit old lately and was surprised this young university whippersnapper needed a break before I did. But we sat down on a bench and talked a little bit. In a strange twist of fate, he told me he is from NTTP, the very place I was going to do the English Language Fellowship. I asked him if he knew UNIKA, the university I was going to be assigned, and he said he played volleyball there. Then he took out his phone and showed me his plane ticket home. Apparently the universities here in Surabaya are closing up shop until next year because of COV-ID 19. Shondry is flying home at the end of August.
This coronavirus is really something else, affecting lives and changing behaviors on a scale I don’t think I’ve seen in my lifetime.