Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Day of 2007

It's New Year's Eve, again.  Last year we spent the holiday at the Tanjung Lesung Sailing Club. It was a wonderful, amazing, almost magical holiday.  We thought about heading down for the New Year's but decided we could never recreate the experience, especially with so many of our friends from last year now gone from Jakarta. This year we are just hanging out at home. 

David and I ended up driving all over Jakarta today searching for black eyed peas since the commissary is out and I just gotta have them tomorrow (for good luck).  We finally found them at Caswell's Mom's  in Kemang.  I really hope there is something to all this "good luck and prosperity in the new year if you eat them on New Year's Day" bit because these will be the most expensive black eyed peas I have ever eaten.  Sometimes things that are cheap at home are very expensive overseas.  If  you really want it you just buy it without too much thought about the price.  I guess that explains the jar of caramel vanilla coffee creamer that I payed almost $8 for last week. Still cheaper than Starbucks considering it will make a couple of dozen yummy cups of coffee.


While we were driving David took some pictures of the street venders selling noise makers for New Year's. The bright colors looked so fun that we stopped and bought some to take home to the boys.  Tonight at bedtime we let the boys make a New Year's toast (Sprite and cherries in a fancy glass) and blow on their noise makers.  Cody took his noise maker to a friends party where the teenagers are hanging out to ring in 2008.  I hope her parents are talking to me tomorrow.  Those things are seriously loud!

Grayson is helping us wait up for Cody because the fireworks outside are keeping him awake. Fireworks are not only legal here in the city, they are sold in the grocery stores.  Grayson is terrified of loud noises (rainy season storms have been fun) but I think he is sort of milking it tonight to get away with staying up late. Maybe he will sleep later than 5:15 tomorrow morning. 

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Family Photo


Here is our family photo taken Christmas morning. To see the "other" family photo click here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Selamat Natal & Tahun Baru


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (Indonesian Style)
We saw this on our way to the Embassy and thought it was funny how the commercial west influences the east... even in a country where 90% of the population is Muslim.

Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Idul Adha


Today the animals are gone from the street side in Jakarta but a week ago on a drive from our house to the high school we passed cows and goats standing patiently in stalls and empty lots all along the way. Last year I managed to be oblivious to the influx of livestock, perhaps because our car still hadn't arrived so my explorations of Jakarta were very limited. I saw a buffalo in the kampung area near my house and few goats tied at the end of the street but that was about it. This year I realized there are a lot of animals being sacrificed for Idul Adha. It really is a BIG deal. Much more than just another day off for my driver and pembantu.


What is Idul Adha? If you are like most Americans you may not have even heard of this Muslim holiday or you may have a vague idea that this is the time of the Haj, when Muslims from all over the world descend on Mecca. Curious David asked Haryono and I googled Idul Adha. Here is what we found out:

  • Every Muslim is supposed to make the Haj at least once in a lifetime. Idul Adha marks the end of the Haj.
  • The animals I saw are bought by individuals, families, or groups and on the morning of Idul Adha they are slaughtered and the meat is donated to the poor. For many poor here in Jakarta this may be the only time of the year they get to eat meat.
  • The slaughter of animals is done in remembrance of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael.
  • The date of Idul Adha varies from year to year and is based on a lunar calendar that is 11 days shorter then the western calendar. Last year it was on New Year's Eve, 10 years from now it will be on September 1st.
  • If you are squeamish DO NOT go for a drive on the morning of Idul Adha, we did and ended up saying "Hey look at that....over there!" to keep the kids from seeing the gore. The animals are slaughtered publicly. We did not take pictures as this is a religious event, to take pictures seemed intrusive and disrespectful.
I hope I have all the basic facts correct. If not just comment and I will fix it. I find learning about cultures other than my own to be the best part of living overseas. I try to keep an open mind.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Expat Life

Conversations among ex-pats in Jakarta this time of year all start the same way. "Where are you going for the holidays?" I have lost count of the number of times I have answered this question in the last two weeks. Everywhere I go: the grocery store, the swimming pool, even the salon it's the same question: "Where are you going for the holidays?"

Most seem taken aback when I tell them we are staying here in Jakarta. I have run into only a few others who are staying here. Most are heading home, where ever that may be,  to share  the holidays with family.  I can certainly understand this. If it didn't take 2 days to get home from here (not to mention a small fortune in airfare) I would consider it too. Those who can't take the time off to go home seem to be heading to Singapore or Bali. We will be staying here and enjoying our time together as a family since David will finally be home after several very long weeks in Bali.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Wolfie

This weekend we were very happy to have Wolfie from Alonzo's class visit our family. Alonzo had a lot of fun doing things with Wolfie and writing about it in Wolfie's Journal. Wolfie visits each student in Ms. Wolff's class. Each student then writes an entry in Wolfie's special journal so the rest of the class can share in his adventures. We were a little sad that David wasn't here to meet Wolfie but perhaps he will visit the school someday soon and introduce himself to Wolfie.


Here Alonzo and Wolfie read some of the older entries in Wolfie's Journal made by his other friends from school.


Wolfie kept Alonzo company while he practiced piano. Alonzo is working on a special song to surprise his Dad when he comes back home next weekend. He is getting pretty good.


Wolfie joined us for dinner, one of Alonzo's favorites, Southwest bean soup and cornbread with butter and honey. Wolfie was careful not to let his paws get all sticky from the honey.


Wolfie even slept with Alonzo in his bunk bed. He thinks it is very comfortable and cool to sleep up so high.

Wolfie didn't want Colin to feel left out so he spent a little time in his bed too. Alonzo didn't even know he was gone. Wolfie can be very quiet.


Wolfie introduced himself to our cats but the cats weren't sure what to think about him. He looks a little like the German shepherd next door that is always trying to eat them. Fluffy did finally decide that Wolfie was OK, for a canine.


Alonzo discovered a small hole just above Wolfie's tail so I performed minor surgery. All is well now but Wolfie found this to be a hair raising experience.

We would like to thank Wolfie for his visit. We all enjoyed it very much. He is always welcome at our home.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007