As I stepped off the bus into the hustle and bustle of the city street, I was greeted by an overwhelming feeling of excitement. As we began to walk down the footpath towards the cinema, murmurs began to spread throughout the crowd of Year 7 and 8 Indonesian students. It was Friday the 1st of April, and accompanying us were Pak Eddy, Bu Patterson, and Bu Pitcher.

Once we arrived, we were directed to our seats before darkness fell upon the audience. Three spotlights appeared hovering over a group of traditional Indonesian dancers. They soared across the stage, moving at fast paces to the unique rhythm. A pang of disappointment hit me as the music came to an end and the dancers took their final bow. We all rose to our feet in applause, stunned by the mystical performance. As we took our seats once again, the room returned to darkness. The huge screen before us suddenly grabbed our attention as the words, ‘Kulari Ke Pantai’ – ‘Run to the beach’, appeared. Loud music played, waves roared, and a picture-perfect paradise was presented to us as we were sucked into preteens Sam and Happy’s tale of life in modern-day Indonesia.

One hour and 52 minutes later, the credits are rolling, and we are all uncontrollably laughing at the fantastic comedy. Despite the need to read the English subtitles, we all found it such a feel-good and relaxing experience. The film was a one-of-a-kind introduction to everyday life in Indonesia, particularly for Year 7s like me who were only just beginning to learn the language and appreciate its diverse culture.

After a quick break in the foyer, we headed off on a walk to the local gardens, chatting away about our favourite parts of the film. The small shrubs and autumn leaves soon came into view as we approached our destination. We tossed our bags onto the spongey grass, and all hurried to line up for our lunch. As I waited, I watched in amusement as fellow peers stashed their prawn crackers into their bags as though they were sacks of gold in which they hoped to hide from fellow adventurers. I was passed my dish, nasi goreng – vegetarian fried rice with satay tofu. My mouth watered as I gobbled up my tofu hungrily and savoured the flavour of the delicious rice and unnamed spicy topping. For my first Indonesian meal I was entranced, since then trying to cook a meal that captures that wonderful flavour.

We all slowly clambered back onto the bus, not only tired but disappointed that the day was over already. Sampai jumpa Melbourne! Until we meet again!