Thursday, January 7, 2016

Really Cool Things about Indonesia

My last post was really not designed to make Indonesia look bad or to make you feel sorry for me.
Just to put into perspective that with all good things come some bad. Yin and Yang. Dark and Light. Winter and Spring. You know all the sayings.
Mostly it was a reality check to remind myself and others that with all the "fabulous lifeness" we are having there are some downsides so think twice before you have too much envy.

I wanted to balance yesterday's post though with some really cool things, big and small, about our foreign service life in Indonesia.

1) Ok. Let's get this out of the way first. There is this:

2) Indonesians are possibly the nicest people in the world. I am pretty sure I have never met one who is grouchy. They are also generous and open to sharing their country and culture.

3) This is a predominantly Muslim country but they are generally open to all religions. I have       Indonesian friends who are Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian and I have never seen any judgement or conflict between them. In fact the country prides itself on being religiously tolerant.

4) Which leads to this. There is also huge tolerance for religious observation. You will see women in    headscarves and conservative dress but at least in Jakarta you will also see women in miniskirts and tank tops, frequently in the same family. 
5) Cream Bath's. This is an amazing development by Indonesians. If you like the part where you get your hair washed at the salon you will LOVE cream baths. It is a hair treatment and head/shoulder/upper back massage all rolled into one. It usually last for about one hour and generally costs $12-$15.

6) Fruit. I was already in love with mango and we have mango season! With about 10 different kinds of mango! But there is also watermelon, pineapple, mangosteen, snake fruit, rambutan, soursop, coconut, longan. Oh, yeah, there is also durian but no one in our house has managed to get on board with that. To go with these fruits there is also fresh fruit juice almost everywhere you go. Cheap! My personal favorite is watermelon with lime. 

7)I know I complained about the movie selection but when you do find one you want to see the movie theaters are AMAZING! I know the recliners are coming to American theaters but we don't even come close to the "velvet room" experience with pillows and blankets and smaller theaters.

8) Indonesian creativity. There is a culture of artistry here that extends to so much of what they do. This is true with batiks, paintings, music, and dance. Their creativity also extends to problem solving. I am frequently amazed at the solutions that I see for fixing things. More often than not it's probably not how an American would do it but generally it works and I'm usually impressed.

9) I have grown to love the Call to Prayer. I'm not Muslim or in danger of converting anytime soon but the Call to Prayer is a beautiful reminder throughout the day to pay attention to what is holy. That said the 4am version is something I could do without and am grateful we can't hear it in our house.

10) Martabak. This is an Indonesian treat that is no way good for you. It is full of margarine, sweetened condensed milk, usually chocolate of some kind and cheese. It is definitely a treat to be eaten only occasionally and with as many friends as possible but soooooo Enak Sekali!

11) I have, lizards, frogs and geckos living in my yard!!

Not my yard but looks just like the ones who live there.

12) Z is going to a great International School and since she participates in two sports we get to travel to tournaments all over the region. Next stop, Singapore! It also means we host kids who are visiting Jakarta for tournaments. We've had great guests from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok.

13)I have a really cool job! And I get to work with really cool people both inside the embassy and out of it. In fact I get to work with some interesting, creative people who are doing their best to make a difference in this country and in the world.

14) Lastly. All the friends I have made. We will all come and go from each others lives as we travel around the world with the foreign service. But someone said to me recently. I never say goodbye because we will see each other again.

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