Friday, October 26, 2012


Last year, we celebrated Halloween without real pumpkins. There were a few bright orange, traditional pumpkins in the grocery stores...but with a price tag of a whopping 700,000 rupiah (that's $70!), we passed. I considered carving watermelons last year, since they are cheap and in great abundance here. But we didn't actually get around to doing it.

This year, however, I found some small orange pumpkins at the local Hero grocery store in September. They were more reasonable priced, and so I snatched them up, and kept them in our fridge until today.

Then during our trip to Puncak a few weeks ago, we found some large pumpkins for sale at a roadside stand. So this year, we resumed a very fun tradition.
Sorry for the nudity - but this picture just makes me smile. CJ loved being right in the middle of the carving action. She had no problem pulling out the gooey innards.
I still love all our new experiences here in Jakarta, but I sure find comfort in family traditions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I miss Autumn.
Long runs with the crunch of leaves under foot. Rust, gold, orange on the trees and bushes. Cold, clean air that makes my nose tingle with each deep breath.
There are lots of things I can't change about living here the lack of seasons.
But I'm trying to do the best with what I can. 
For example, this past weekend our family transformed our house into a celebration of October!
CJ stood on the ladder giving directions to her siblings. 
(I don't know where she gets her bossiness. Ahem.)
(Or her dramatics.)
Soon the yard was filled with spiderwebs, ghosts, and a huge spider.

The garlands, the pumpkins, the cobwebs. They all help me feel a little more festive...a little closer to home.
Friday night the kids made haunted houses out of construction paper. Behind the paper door flaps and window flaps they drew bats, ghosts, candles, and spiders. Then I made a big bowl of caramel corn and we watched Harry Potter 3 (which is our favorite). I cuddled next to CJ, and she held my hand during the scary parts.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


On September 17, 2012, demonstrators became violent outside of the American embassy in Jakarta.
I was in my car on Cipite Raya, coming home from teaching school when my cell phone rang. It was my friend, Cherylyn. "Turn on the TV," she insisted. "You are not going to believe what you see."

As soon as I got home, I turned the TV to the metro-1 channel, a local Indonesian news channel.

 With the kids cuddled next to me on the couch, we watched as demonstrators yelled, burned an American flag, and attempted to cross the police barrier. 

Disbelief. Fear. Sadness. And gratitude. These are some of the feelings the kids and I experienced.

 My husband was inside the embassy. I called him on the phone. He described how he could see the smoke from the fires from his office window and hear the gun pops as police shot tear canisters into the crowd. He said he never felt in any real danger. But this is the closest he had ever been to witnessing such vehement anti-American behavior.

 The Indonesian police did their job well, and I am grateful to them.
Perhaps even more unsettling for me than the actual demonstration was at school the next day. I showed footage of the demonstration to my students and asked, "Where is this?" Their answers were quick: Egypt, Libya. It wasn't until I asked them to look closer that they asked incredulously, "Is that in Indonesia?" The discussion that followed revealed a mixture of misinformation, prejudice, and ignorance. Ingredients for perpetuated confusion.

I wanted to be sure to record the events of this day somewhere. Because someday, I will want my children to remember. Remember the day we watched our flag burn on television knowing that Dad was in the building right behind the crowd. And remember the day we watched brave policemen protect people not even of their nationality.