Monday, April 30, 2007

Blog A La Nederlanse... Finally...

So weer eens tijd voor een Nederlands Blog. Zoals je mischien weet of gelezen hebt zijn we met Unit 7 begonnen dit betekent dat we nog maar 3 maanden hebben voor dat we naar Papua verhuizen. In de afgelopen maanden is er veel veranderd, ook onze kinderen veranderen.

Hoe kun je zien dat je zoon of dochter voor een langertijd met Indonesiers omgaan?

Marc en Brynne willen enkel eten wanneer ze spelen.
Brynne vraagt “mau susu” of “mau juice” (mauw soesoe / joes) wil melk / juice
Marc vraagt “I want mau susu” Ik wil wil melk
Brynne zegt als ze klaar is “Habis”.
Marc houdt van Nasi “dat is witte rijst”.
Christiaan antwoord “Nama saya Christiaan” wanneer een Indonesier zijn naam vraagt in het Engels.
Aidan is een papagaai die Indonesisch praat maar niet weet wat hij zegt.
Mikah begint te verstaan wat wij in het Indonesisch zeggen.

Wist u dat er 3 veel gebruikte woorden zijn rijst er is een vierde woord maar dat ben ik vergeten en wordt niet veel gebruikt.
padi (dit is de rijst dat wordt geplant)
?? (geoogst rijst voor dat het gedroogt en klaar is voor verkoop)
beras (dit is de rijst voor het gekookt is)
Nasi (gekookte rijst)

Rijst is hier de belangerijkste stapel. De mensen eten het drie keer per dag en als ze het nog niet hebben gehad, vinden ze dat helemaal nog niet hebben gegeten.
Zo hadden we vrienden over voor lunch toen we later met ze waren winkelen vroegen ze of we niet hongerig waren? Zij waren wel hongerig aangezien we ze geen rijst hadden gegeven voor lunch.
Dit fenomeen betekent dat je wanneer je een McDonald’s menu ordered niet moet vergeten dat je om patat moet vragen aangezien de menus normaal met rijst komen.
De Sundanese mensen hier koken niet veel voor zich zelf ze kopen hun eten langs de weg of de deur aan deur verkoper komt langs met hun favoriete eten BASO dit zijn gekookte vis of vlees ballen in een soort soep. Ik heb he teen keer gehad mat vondt er niet veel smaak aan zitten. Ik heb liever Nasi Goreng Kambing een matig hete nasi met geite vlees.

Wij houden van Indonesisch eten wat het eten hier goedkoper maakt, aangezien aardappelen, groenten en vlees nog al duur zijn. En he teen stuk moeilijker maakt voor Erica aangezien zij moet uit leggen aan de pembantu hoe je dat dan moet koken.

Alle kinderen zijn weer zo goed als gezond na een week van de een na de ander een soort buikgriep te hebben. Het maakt je altijd wat zenuwachtig als je ziek wordt. Je vraagt je af of het Typhoid, hep A, Dengi fever, of iets anders is.
Vorige week waren we wezen site seeing een dag later was hij in het ziekenhuis met dengi fever dit is een ziekt waar je witte bloedcellen omlaag gaan en je dus zeer moe en uitgedroogt wordt. Hij moest voor een week in’t ziekenhuis liggen. Hij had een van de duurste kamers Rp 650.000 per nacht zo’n €60.-. dat zal een stuk goedkoper zijn dan een nachtje GMS (he Luuk?)
Na een week in het ziekenhuis moesten ze Rp 6.500.000 betalen dit was de overnachting en de medicijnen, verder had hij bijna altijd een zuster dichtbij al was dat waarschijnlijk omdat hij a Bulai (wit persoon) is en omdat hij een DVD speller had.
Maar de zorg was goed en het ziekenhuis is dichtbij.

There's Aidan sitting in the big birthday chair all proud...

Today Aidan made it to school although he wasn't feeling 100%. He really didn't want to "miss" his party... We had a fun little party with his classmates, who were all amazingly well behaved, and we played pin the tail on the donkey.
This afternoon, the woman who had come selling candy and who had previously lied to us, came back. Even though I purposely stood in the doorway, she still managed to worm her way just inside our house (all the while casing the joint). This behaviour is incredibly culturally improper as I did not invite her in. I thought she would come back selling candies like yesterday only this time she tried to sell me an ugly black purse and a pair of boots... yes, boots... I said to her,"Ibu, first of all, I'm moving to Papua, when would I wear boots there, and secondly, look at my feet, they are really small and those boots are big (there was no way I was going to put my feet in them to try...)." Then she told me that she really needed rice did I have any rice in the house. I said to her,"Ibu, I feel, well, you've already lied to me before, so I feel..." Then she says,"Offended? Sad?" I said, "Yes, I'm sorry, I'm not going to help you today." This woman is infamous in our area and is called the "Lipstick Lady" because she likes to wear this rather vibrant shade of pink lipstick. She is a notorious liar and has rather successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of numerous expats that have lived in this area. I'm not inclined to help those who lie. But from what I understand, Muslims are allowed to lie to infidels, Christians or other non-muslims, and it is not considered a sin.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Aidan is 6!!!

The latest craze in kids toys here... It's Megablocks....

I can't believe that it is already six years since I went into labour 3.5 weeks early, completely unprepared, to have Aidan. Aidan got to open some presents bright and early and then after church he got to open some more and we had cake (after getting all the ants off it) along with our friends from Canada. His favourite present is a cool little remote control car. Unfortunately Aidan went to bed with a fever, so don't know if the planned class party will happen tomorrow or not. He's the last of the kids to fall victim to the virus that is making the rounds. So far Hugo and I have not gotten sick.... yet....

Love that grin!!


When living as an expatriate in a country such as Indonesia, your life changes dramatically. I’m not just talking about not having a yard and eating a ton of rice, there are other huge differences. Back home we’re just an average family struggling to get by and pay all the bills. Here we are the “rich” folks. On Thursday I had a couple different people at the door trying to sell us stuff. One woman had a very plastic pair of men’s runners, another had a bag of kids clothes. On Saturday when I was out with the girls, we had people come up to our taxi with their hands out, we walked past people sleeping under a bridge while their recently washed clothing was drying on the railing. We had taxi drivers trying to charge us double. Then today again, someone came by selling candy, I politely told her that I don’t “shop” on Sundays, but if she would like to come back tomorrow that would be fine. The funny thing is that this same woman came to us a couple months ago and lied through her teeth to try to get money. We caught her in her lie as she told Hugo that her dad was sick, but she told me that her two year old son was sick in the hospital. I told her that if she came back later in the evening, she was at my door at 5:00, I would go with her to the hospital. Of course she never came back. Pretty bold of her to show up again, but I guess when you’re desperate enough you’ll do anything. Then this evening my neighbour was at the door, Ibu Umi. Her son had come home this evening very upset. He fixes motorbikes for people and he had been driving a motorbike with an engine tied on the back. At some point the engine fell off and he didn’t realize it. So he and his brother-in-law, Ibu Nina’s husband, went back to look for it. They probably won’t find it back as I’m sure it was picked up by someone else. Anyways, he asked his mother if she could ask me to borrow 200,000 rupiahs to buy a new engine. He will pay it back over the remaining three months that we are here. Ibu Umi was rather upset, this is a lot of money for them and they had already discussed among themselves that they didn’t want to borrow any more money from us and then this happens. In this culture, you give so that you can maybe receive more blessings yourself. So they feel this burden that they have to give back to us somehow for all the help we have given them. I recently found out that Ibu Umi was crushing peanuts for sauce using a big stick and a stone bowl. Like how African woman crush maize. So I lent her my mixer and told her to keep it at her house and if I need it I will come and get it. They were very afraid that it might break and they wouldn’t be able to replace it. I reassured them that I had no plans of taking it to Papua as we have a new one in our crate, a gift from friends back home, and that I had been planning to give this one to them anyway. Ibu Umi was so happy as she has been having a lot of trouble with her joints. Every other day she has to crush peanuts by hand and afterwards her daughter, Ibu Nina, has to massage her because she is in so much pain. My blender is just a small thing but it makes her life that much easier. I tried to explain to her that I don’t need anything in return. I have been blessed by God and my responsibility is to share that blessing with those in need. This concept is rather difficult for them to understand but I hope that she will get it and that it can become a way for her to understand our faith better.
Sometimes we feel a little overwhelmed with all the people asking us for help. I have decided that I would like to help our neighbours out. You can’t help everyone and I feel it is best to choose one or two families and help them out in a way that will benefit them for a long time. I also try to make sure that I have coins in my pocket when we go out on the motorbike so I have something to give to the old ladies and disabled who are begging on the roadside. If we allow ourselves to get too involved and think about it all the time, we won’t be able to live normally. I have to admit though, that every time we go out on the bike through Bandung and I see kids basically living on the median in the road, filthy, physically handicapped people, and old people begging by the side of the road, I feel very, very sad and very, very rich. Not only rich in money, but rich because my family and I are a part of the communion of saints.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Today I went with a few other MAF wives to go look at some fabric shops. It's rather overwhelming here as they don't have shops like back home that display everything really nicel. Here rolls of fabric are just stacked on top of eachother. So we didn't spend a lot of time looking. We walked around and just looked at stuff, making a spectacle wherever we went just because we are white chicks. The guys like the one sitting on the bike-type thing were always calling out to us to see if we wanted a ride. The passengers sit in the front and the guy pedals at the back.

On thursday we started watching a film - which we do once a week in Unit 7. This particular film is about a young couple that is expecting their first child. They live with the husbands parents and the mom is very traditional in her beliefs as to what you should and shouldn't do while pregnant. You shouldn't buy things for the baby until you are at least 7 months pregnant. You need to wear a little knife around your neck when you go out to keep bad spirits away. If the woman has a craving, the thought is that it is actually the baby that has the craving and the dad must get or allow the wife whatever she asks for. The belief is that if the cravings aren't directly fulfilled, the baby will drool until he/she is an adult. Yikes, that's a lot of pressure on the poor husband!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Unit 7!!

Here we are, a whole three days into unit 7 and I'm loving it a lot more than unit 6. Especially because the homework load is noticeably lighter. The idea of the higher units is for us to delve deeper into why people think the way they do and why they do the things they do. This country is still heavy into traditions and customs dating back many years. Example, "masuk angin" = this is a phrase that means the wind entering your body. Many people belive this to be true and that the wind can make you very sick so they will wear big heavy winter type jackets or vests that look like bullet-proof vests while riding motorbikes so that the wind doesn't get into their bodies. Apparently now, doctors are now starting to tell people that "masuk angin" is a myth. Anyways, it is very helpful if we understand the traditions and values of this culture. So each day we spend an hour with a teacher and interview them on a topic that we would like to know more about. We also spend an hour a few days a week reading a passage from scripture and translating it into english. It is interesting to note how some things are written slightly differently. Like when Jesus converts the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. In the English NIV it says that the people at the feast had too much to drink but the Indonesian translation says that they were satisfied. A slightly different meaning not? We also have to do one presentation a week and we get Fridays off. (yippee!!)
Christiaan got whatever Mikah had and has been home from school for two days now. Last night I went with a mom and her daughter (New Zealanders) to a hospital as the daughter has been sick for two weeks. They asked me to come along to translate for them as the mom has only just started unit 2. The girl, Jamie, was admitted into the hospital and they figure she has a respitory infection. Going to the hospital is frustrating here because they just don't explain things to you. And when you ask a lot of questions, like I did last night, they think you are weird. Indonesians don't ask questions. They view doctors as being half gods so they just do whatever the doctor says. If he says take these yellow pills three times a day for ten days, they just do it even though that yellow pill might be just vitamin C.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

You know you've been living in Indonesia for a substantial length of time, when you find yourself humming the call to prayer.....
Hi all! I've found an interesting website that talks about things that are in the news here in Indonesia. There are a lot of Christian's and muslims who post comments on the site and it is rather interesting reading. It is quite enlightening and sometimes saddening. Some of the recent posts are about a boy and girl who were caned in Aceh after being found together in a room-doesn't say what they were doing.... Another post is about a crazy article being circulated making some rather far out claims concerning the methods that Christians use to evangelize or "win" people over...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

To the person who left the anonymous questions about hearing aids, I can't help but be curious why you are asking... But here are your answers. Christiaan wears Phonak Extra 311 hearing aids. We bought these because they are water resistant and digital and are FM compatible. He has a pair that are transparent blue and a pair that are transparent red. We also have a pair of green camouflage nylon/spandex covers for them which make them very obvious, but protect them from dirt and moisture. His ear molds are also brightly coloured. So to answer your second question, no we do not try to hide them. In the past Christiaan has had longer hair, but not to cover them. Right now he has a buzz cut. The benefit of people being able to see the hearing aids means that people know that he is hard of hearing and hopefully make sure that when they are speaking to him they will be facing him and have eye contact. We try to make sure that Christiaan knows that his hearing aids are nothing to be ashamed of. But he is getting older and has expressed a number of times that he wishes he didn't have to wear hearing aids. I don't think that this is because he is particularly embrassed about them, but simply that he wishes he had hearing like the rest of us. A person wearing hearing aids still cannot hear as well as those that do not need them, they are not like glasses. I hope this answers your questions!
Yesterday morning we took Christiaan to an audiologist. I had visited the head office of this company when we were in Jakarta upon arrival here in Indonesia. I was quite impressed with their facilities. So we took Christiaan to their office here in Bandung to get impressions for new ear molds made and have them test his hearing aids. We met with the head of the branch and she was a very knowledgeable and helpful woman. She was very excited to meet me and wants me to come and speak at one of their parent support group meetings. I have to say that I was quite pleasantly surprised to hear that they had such a thing as a parent support group. She said that a lot of parents here don’t realize the importance of getting their children to wear hearing aids as early as possible. She feels that if someone like myself with a child that has successfully learned to speak and can go to a regular school would be an encouragement to other parents. I am very excited at the prospect of being able to speak to other parents here in Indonesia. This is something I never dreamed would happen here….

Friday, April 20, 2007


On Fridays we usually order supper. The kids like to have pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut and we like to have some cheap Indonesian food. I ordered my usual Ifu Mie. It's noodles that have been cooked and then deep fried so that they are crispy and then you pour a mixture of chicken, vegetables and sauce on top. It is soooo yummy and costs about 10,000 rupiahs. Hugo decided to be adventerous and ordered Nasi Goreng Babat. He was told it was nasi goreng with cow meat. So he started eating it and wondered why the "meat" looked like some kind of sea animal. (see photo) So we looked up the meaning of Babat in our electronic dictionary. It turns out he'd ordered nasi goreng with tripe!!! YYUUUCCKK!! Cow stomach? Eww... Hugo is normally pretty adventerous and will eat almost anything, but as you can see on the photo, it all kind of ended up on the side of the plate....

To all my faithful readers out there, yes there are a few photos missing. I couldn't upload them last night for whatever reason so I'll try now. BTW Chandra, the exchange rate is about 7,800 rupiahs = 1$ Canadian. Wild eh?
The last photo is of the deluxe toilet facilities available to those that are desperate enough...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Today we set out for a waterfall called Maribaya with our friends Jason and Robyn. We decided to take a dirt road near our house. But after only about 50 meters, Hugo and I wiped out in the mud and I had to go home and change and we decided to take the regular roads there. I have to say that once we got off the main road, the small road, while asphalt, was bad enough. There were many potholes and huge speed bumps and it climbed and curved rather steeply. But we made it there without incident, thankfully. I was hanging on pretty tight there. We paid to enter the parking lot with our bikes and then we had to pay again to walk the trail. There were signs around saying that you had to have a guide go with you. During the course of our walk, we discovered that it is only foreigners who need a guide. We first hiked to the falls and crossed on the yellow bridge. It was a little freaky. The water is brown and disgusting and there is lots of garbage floating at the bottom. Indonesians really know how to ruin their own tourist sights. On our way walking we passed by a lot of little warungs (shops) selling drinks and food. Everyone tried to sell us stuff at very high prices. After looking at the waterfall, we decided to walk to caves that were built by the Dutch and some others built by the Japanese during the occupation of Indonesia. On our way there, about a 45 minute walk on a trail made of cement bricks, we met up with a dutch woman and her Indonesian husband. They live in Holland but were here on holidays. We had a little chat with them. Then we checked out the caves. If you can, try to read the writing on the green sign, very funny English. The Dutch caves were very well made and quite large. The Japanese ones were smaller as they probably had a lot less time to make them. They gave us flashlights to use for 3,000 rups each. Pretty good business for them. After that we went to a museum with an interesting assortment of items on display. There were war medals from a number of countries, some stuffed birds, some photographs and some fossils, arrowheads and rocks. On our way back we met the Dutch woman again. She was having some trouble as the guys that acted as their “guides” were asking for 50,000 rupiahs, a fortune for a half hour of work. Unfortunately the dutch woman only had a 50,000 rupiah bill and nothing smaller. We changed it for her and told the guy that they were only going to pay 20,000 rups and nothing more. They tried to get more and her Indonesian husband was rather unsure of things, but in the end she gave them 20,000 rupiahs and walked off thanking us profusely. At the end of our walk, our guide asked us for 100,000 rups! A fortune! Our mistake was not negotiating the price up front but we gave him 50,000 rups and said thank-you and walked off. Sometimes it sucks to have white skin here, there’s this idea that we are swimming in money and have nothing better to do than get rid of it. After that we went to a tea house and had some lunch. See photo… We were pretty tuckered out after all that walking, but it was a nice time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cheesy Indonesian TV

While I was cutting Hugo’s hair tonight, we were watching an incredibly cheesy Indonesian show. It went something like this. There was a girl who lived with her aunt and her grandma. The grandma is quite ill and needs a lot of help. The aunt is a rebel with a tongue ring. They have no money. The girl has a friend who is a boy, but as we didn’t start watching at the very beginning I’m not sure what that is all about. But apparently he sold his motorbike and gave the girl 5 million rups so that she could pay the rent on the house she lives in with her grandma and aunt. Here when you rent a house you usually have to pay one year in advance. There was another story line going on at the same time. There was a rich couple with a teenage son. He was bored with his new car and wanted to exchange it for another one. His mom says no, but his dad says sure, tomorrow we’ll go exchange it. The story jumps ahead to the next night and the mom and dad are in their room and the mom is worrying about her son. The dad figures he’s just hanging out with his new car. Then they get a call from the hospital that he has died. The dad is distraught, this is his only child. Jumping ahead again, somehow he meets the young girl from the other story line and thinks she’s beautiful. He wants her phone number but she explains that she doesn’t have a handphone or a home phone. He quickly calls one of his helpers and orders him to buy a cell phone and bring it over. He gives the phone to the girl. She’s rather confused about what he wants and doesn’t take the phone at first, but he persuades her. When she is home her aunt finds out about the phone and figures that a rich guy could sure help out their situation. She makes a date for her neice to get a ride home from school with the guy. In the car the guy gives the young girl an expensive necklace. The aunt sees dollar signs and forces her to meet with him again. He gives her a ring and asks her to marry him. His wife has followed him and sees him walk the girl into the house. She’s understandably angry. At home he tells her he wants to marry this girl because she can give him a son and his wife can’t have kids anymore because she is too old. The wife goes to the young girl the next day with a bottle of acid. The aunt sees it and wrestles with the wife and acid spills on the aunts face. The young girl runs into her grandma’s room and the wife follows. The wife sees the grandma and they realize the truth. The girl is the wifes daughter! Yikes, never saw that one coming. They hug and cry and the girl is so happy to have parents again. The guy comes into the room and joins them in the hug. Then you see them all in the bedroom in their traditional garb, long shirt, skirt and special hat for the man, long white robe and head covering for the women and they all pray together. The hilarious thing was that throughout the entire show they kept playing the song “You are everything and everything is you…”
What a story! The sad truth is that polygamy is legal here and according to the Koran, you are allowed to have up to 4 wives if you want. I personally haven’t met anyone in a polygamus marriage, but some friends from school have. Also, my neighbour Ibu Umi has been actively pursued by a man that is already married with children. But she has no interest at all in becoming someones second wife…. Can’t blame her….

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sticky Rice...

The other day I went over to a neighbours house to drop off a pair of pants for altering. This is a neighbour that I haven't mentioned before. She is a seamstress and her husband builds houses and is currently renovating their house. When I went over there she was busy "cleaning" rice. Cleaning the rice involved getting rid of any husks and little stones that were still hanging around. I asked her how much the rice cost. 6,000 rupiahs per kilo. She said that there was cheaper rice, but it's "jelek" (Indonesian for yucky). She said that it doesn't stick together. This is a real problem here as people usually eat with their hands only. They use a few fingers and their thumb to squish the rice into a ball and then put it in their mouth. So if the rice doesn't stick together it's pretty hard to do this. Eating with your hands is a Sundanese cultural thing. I think they would be horrified at such products as Uncle Bens converted rice or minute rice. I have to say that I agree now. There is nothing tastier, at least when it comes to rice, than some nice sticky Jasmine rice....

Monday, April 16, 2007


Today I helped Ibu Misiah make lasagna. She’s made it before, but we didn’t really like it as she put a couple layers with cheese sauce in it. So I wanted to make it the way I make it back home. So I splurged on sauce, noodles, and ricotta cheese. No such thing as cottage cheese here. Anyways, wherever you are in the world, lasagna is a fairly pricey dish to make. Because my helpers have worked for Americans for quite a few years, they have developed a taste for American food. However, because lasagna is so expensive, they only eat it about once a year. They were telling me that right now European food is very trendy here so they like to teach their kids to like it and to know it so that when they go out and eat it with friends they can eat it. Basically, they are trying to make sure that their kids aren’t kampung kids. Kampung kids are kids that don’t know what’s going on in the world and who only eat rice and other traditional food and don’t dress trendy etc…. I found it so funny that they feel it is so important that their kids like our food as though it is so much better than theirs. That is so much the view here. Anything from outside the country is good and anything that is made within, but export quality is good. So you’ll see a lot of signs in stores proclaiming that their wares are export quality!
Now I just want to have a little gripe session. The longer we live here, things that didn’t really bother me before, have started to bug me. Number one, there is not one single closet in this entire house. There is only one armoire and it is in the boys bedroom. There are cupboards at the end of a few of the beds, but you can’t open them as long as there are sheets and blankets on the beds, and they are rather gross inside, so we don’t use them. My kitchen is sooo small. The upper cupboards are where I store containers for leftovers, all my dishes and some dried spices and even the frying pans and freezer bags etc… Don’t ask how I fit it all in…. Underneath the sink is taken up by a gas tank for my “stove” and my actual “oven” on the other side. The rest of the space is used for pans and some big bowls and baking sheets. In the dining room is a kind of pantry where we store the rest of the dried goods. So that is it for storage. There is stuff piled up everywhere, it is starting to drive me nuts… I have to admit though, the longer we live here, the nicer this house seems. I guess that’s because everyone else around us has much smaller and less convenient houses. If you look at our family photo on the left of the screen you will see four different houses. The one on the far left is our house. At the back you can see a small balcony with a little roof, that is a different house. To the right of that one is another house, which thankfully has been unoccupied the entire time we’ve lived here, on the far right is a pink house and that is where Bilal and Gerda live, although Gerda sleeps at her grandparents house, the one with the little balconey, as there is only one bedroom in their house. A few feet in front of us, you can’t see it on the photo of course, is another house. So you can how close we are living to everyone around us. Sometimes that bothers me, like when my neighbour decides to have a heated conversation on his phone at 11:00 at night, outside, in front of his house. Sometimes it really feels like camping here…. And of course, the fact that we have absolutely no yard, just a few square feet of tiled space only large enough to store a motorbike, is becoming old. I’m so ready for the kids to have a yard to play in. Okay, I’ve griped long enough, we’re just getting sick of school and sick of living with someone else’s stuff etc…. It is getting harder and harder to stay motivated to study. We love living here, but our goal is to live and work in Papua, and that’s where our crates are currently headed, if they don’t sink to the bottom of the ocean…

Sunday, April 15, 2007

These are a few photos that I couldn't post on saturday due to bad internet connections. In the first photo Brynnie is trying to jajan - that's the word Indonesians use to describe when a child goes to a warung (little shop) to buy snacks. She was pointing at everything and saying "mau!" Mau rhymes with cow and means "want" in Indonesian. The warung she is standing in front of is the one that we buy our water and gas from. The second photo is of our neighbour Ibu Umi making gado-gado for me. Gado-gado basically means a hodge-podge of things making up a salad. Her gado-gado is made with a peanut sauce and lime juice and hot peppers and garlic and shalots which she grinds up in with the mortar and pestle. Then she mixes the sauce with cabbage, potato, bean sprouts, some kind of dark green healthy veggie and cucumbers. If you want tofu with it you can, but we really don't like tofu. One portion costs 3,500 rupiahs, about .50 Cents. It is quite tasty, but because it is a cold dish, I find it a bit hard to eat a lot of. The third photo is of Brynnie sitting at Ibu Umi's picnic table for customers with Ibu Umi's granddaughter Asila. They love it when I bring Brynnie up there for visits and Brynnie loves hanging around there too. She's gotten a lot calmer and doesn't run onto the road where there is constant motorbike traffic.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

the gong we climb up to get out of the kampung... along the way we pass by the little shop in the second picture. There you can buy vegetables and meat, if you want. It's a pretty dirty little place so I've never bought meat there. A little farther up you can buy rice, wood stain, and cement (at the same place), then there's a little place that sells baso (gross balls made out of some kind of meat and tapioca) with noodles or rice - It's like a tiny restaurant and then farther up is a little shop that sells lots of candy, ice cream and some other staples like sugar and flour etc...

The other night we watched a bit of Indonesian Idol. I noted some major differences between Idol here and Idol back home. There is no screaming and yelling here when contestants are told they are not accepted or are not continuing onwards. Instead, there’s a lot of crying and they respectfully thank the judges. Those that are accepted or told they are going to go onwards say a very respectful thank-you, scream a bit and then bow down and kiss the ground. During the course of the show they also showed contestants in their rooms, dressed in traditional muslim garb, saying their prayers or sholat. There was one guy from Papua who they showed praying and, because he was very obviously Papuan and didn’t wear traditional muslim clothing or bow to the ground when he was praying, I suspect he is Christian. Also the music they sing is quite different. The music that is popular here has definitely been influenced by the Hindu culture. Actually, the Hindu culture has had a tremendous influence here as it was the first culture. The Islamic culture came later on. So there are many here who although of the Muslim or Chrisitan faith, still practice the rite of making offerings to the gods before harvesting their rice paddy’s or building a home. They will burn incense as well and then pray. They will pray in Arabic first and then their own language and finish in Arabic. However, this rite is mostly only practiced by the older generation. The new generation has been greatly influenced by the culture of the western world. The emergence of the internet and television has had a huge impact on the culture here. Before you would never see a couple holding hands in public, but now you do, although it is not common like back home. Also the clothing that is worn has changed. Now many girls wear very tight jeans and shirts. There are still those who dress in traditional muslim dress which is a loose long shirt, that covers the bottom, and a long skirt or long wide pants. There are also those who will follow the Islamic rules regarding dress to the letter, but not in the spirit as they will cover their bodies, but with skin tight clothing. Quite funny really. Needless to say I don’t love shopping here as most of the clothes are tight and small. Although, with some digging you can find neat stuff. That’s the story of shopping here, you have to be willing to dig through piles of stuff…

Shopping note: There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you get a 10% discount on Pringles chips that are nearly at their expiry date!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More thoughts/facts about Indonesia

Kraft Cheese singles that don't require refridgeration
Weird tasting Heinz ketchup from Singapore
Syncritism - Hindu mixed with Islam or Christianity
lanes on the road, but do they really mean anything?
tiny little packages of everything (most people buy only what they need for one day)
If you have to walk any farther than a few steps to get to the nearest warung (little shop)it's really too far away.
Guys wearing womens pants that are baggy on top and too short and tight on the bottom (yuck!)
Chicken flavoured Cheetos (only Aidan likes those)
A severe lack of proper storm drains so any time it rains, there's a flood on the road...
Watching really terrible english movies on TV, interspersed with 10 minutes of commercials every 10 minutes of film
movies for .50 CAD
Of course it might have been filmed illegally by someone sitting in a theater and then copied about a million times...
Really, really sweet tea
Fruity drinks with bits of black jelly floating in them (weird)
Really, really red hot dogs
No Tim Hortons timbits!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Today we went to Bandung Electronics Centre to get a new modem. This place is wild. It’s about 5 floors of electronics, cell phones, computers and gaming equipment. Anyways, we started out asking if people were selling PCMCIA modems for laptops. Everyone we asked said that they were out. Until we finally came to a store where they told us that they don’t sell those any more as they are old fashioned but they do have another external modem that you can buy or you can get something like a PCMCIA card that you plug into your computer and it has a special little chip that you put in it and it gives you internet minutes. So basically it acts like a cell phone, including antennae, and you can access the internet that way without using your phone line. Wow! Didn’t know that existed. It is so typical of people here not to suggest an alternative if they don’t have what you want-uugghhh! Anyways, the external modem was 175,000 rups and the other fancy doodad was 1.2 million rups so that sort of settled that whole decision post haste. So I’m very excited to announce that we are now able to surf the net again. Whew, it’s tough to go without a modem for a number of days. That is how we connect to the outside world!
Yesterday we studied pancasila (pronounced panchaseela). Contrary to what most of the world believes, Indonesia is not a muslim state. This was big news for me too. Pancasila means panca (five) sila (basis). These five basis form the philosophy of Indonesia. In 1945 when Indonesia became its own country the president at that time, Sukarno, decided this was how it was going to be. The five basis are:
Belief in the one and only God
Just and civilized humanity
The unity of Indonesia
Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives
Social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia

Of course which one and only God you believe in is up to you, but you must choose one of the six officially recognized religions. You must not lie. There have been people who’ve become Christian and who didn’t change their religion on their I.D. card. They were questioned by the police because that is considered lying to the government and it is the governments business here to know what your religion is. Back home that’s considered an invasion of privacy….

Monday, April 09, 2007

Modem issues...

Well, here we are on the other side of the world and our modem has fried. So that means begging internet time off of friends. For some reason I can't access our email at the local hotel which boasts free wireless internet access. Our wireless internet still works but that doesn't help much if I can't even use it to access MAF mail.... ugghhhh So if we don't respond to your emails it's just because we have limited internet time....
We wish you all a blessed Easter as we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Zoo!

Two days ago we took the day off school and took the four older kids to the zoo. The zoo here is similar to the one depicted in the book “Curious George Goes to the Zoo.” Wow, the animal enclosures are small and the animals look rather underfed. It cost us only 9,000 rups each person to get in, which is probably why the animals are underfed. The zoo itself is quite old, obviously, if it looks like the one in the Curious George book. I felt most sorry for the elephants who were all chained by their front legs and living in habitats most certainly smaller than Tina’s habitat was at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. I’ve also included a photo of the pygmy hippopotamus’s habitat. Hazina at the Greater Vancouver Zoo has nothing to complain about at all. The one main advantage of a zoo such as this was that we could really get up close to the animals in a way that we could never at the average zoo back home. We got to ride a camel and an elephant! I have to admit riding the elephant was a little intimidating as you are up very high. The elephant trainer rode in front and “bribed” the elephant with food all the while we walked. The cost of the ride was 2,000 rups per person. That’s about .30 canadian. We also checked out the museum/aquarium exhibit for 500 rups each. The exhibit consisted of many stuffed animals, particularly unique birds, and the skeletons of quite a few large animals. Aidan thought the monkey skeleton was the skeleton of a man. The most unique part of the museum was the many bottles of preserved animal fetuses… We got to see a baby horse, baby monkeys, snakes, eggs and some other interesting animal that I forget. In two other rooms of the museum were aquariums with some interesting fish. But the highlight of the day for the boys was when they got to use their allowance, 5,000 rupiahs, to buy a sword/knife set complete with sheath. The knife and sword are made out of bamboo and the holder is made out of foam. They are quite neatly made. I find it hard to believe that they are so cheap as there are obviously some man hours that went into making them. While we were walking around there were various people who would occasionally trail us in the hopes that we would buy something from them. But I have to say that they weren’t as aggressive as these types of salesmen can be. While we waited at the entrance for a taxi to come to take us home, we were the “zoo animals”. One old toothless guy asked if all the kids were ours and proudly told us that he has 12 kids himself.
Note: I found out yesterday that the elephants are chained up because last year one went wild running around the zoo...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Aidan's Latest Masterpiece

This is Aidan's latest creation. A few months ago he discovered the joy of making pictures and is really quite creative. Apparently these are all good guys that have special abilities when it comes to fighting bad guys. Note: even if it doesn't look like a guy, it is a guy - usually a guy holding something in his hand which will help him fight bad guys....
Hey check out my new cluster map. It's found below the Links section on the left hand side of the screen. You can see where the visitors to my site are from! Pretty neat stuff!
I'm not sure who the person in Indonesia is who is visiting this site. Who are you?
We are down one day of spring break and I think our pembantus (helpers) survived. It helps that we have friends down the gong who have a Nintendo game cube with four controllers....
This morning I was talking with the woman who tutored us when we first came here and couldn't start school right away. I asked her what she thought of Easter. She told me that when she was a kid she went to the local christian school as did about 90% of the kids from this kampung at that time. Now the quality of the school has gone down a lot so not so many go there any more. She said that she would go to the assemblies at the school, but didn't really listen or believe what was being said. She said that she was already firm in her own faith. Her opinion is that it's nice that we have something to believe in, but she's quite happy believing in the m*slim faith. She said that when Mohammed died, God asked him if he wanted anything and Mohammed asked that God forgive the sins of everyone so God promised that he would. So if she believes this then of course she sees no need for Jesus death on the cross. She believes that the most important thing is to be good to other people and then to follow the rules of I*lam like praying five times a day and fasting at Ramadan. What would you say to someone like this? Without offending them of course... My initial thinking is this is the kind of thing that requires a long time....