Thursday, November 29, 2007

Out the Window of a Plane

David and I were on a plane Tuesday when I glanced out the window and saw mountains. I had my usual reaction, being from relatively flat south central Texas, "Hey Cool! Look at the mountains." I am a bit of a mountain junkie.  I am waiting to stand on my first "real" mountain.  I have been to the Smokey Mountains, Big Bend, and of course the Texas Hill country.  All are rugged and beautiful but they are not "real" mountains.  I want towering cliffs, glaciers, snow capped peaks.  The Rockies, the Andes, the Himalayas, the Alps. You know REAL mountains. 

After pressing my face to the window like a 8 year old I said, "They look like volcanoes, look that one even looks like it's smoking.  

Dave said sorta slow, like maybe I'm not that smart, "Umm babe, it is smoking."

GULP!  Is it really a good idea to fly over a smoking volcano??  

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Busy Busy Weekend!

Whew I meant to up date the blog earlier this week but last several days have been crazy.

First I got hit by a stomach bug on Thanksgiving. About 2 o'clock my tummy suddenly cramped by 3:30 I was praying to the porcelain god for a quick death. David took over the cooking. At 5 I managed to make it to the dinner table but I couldn't eat. By dessert I was done for the day. Friday passed in a blur, mostly I slept although I did manage to wake up long enough to spill Gatorade in the piano. By dinner time Friday I was feeling better and was hungry, very hungry. I ate my thanksgiving dinner a day late but it was yummy all the same. David is a very good cook!

Saturday after the Yamaha music repairman finished mopping up the Gatorade, David and I went to the opening of the Ken Pattern art exhibition at Galeri Hadiprana. Ken Pattern is an amazing artist here in Jakarta. He is Canadian but resides here part of the year. He is best know for his stone lithographs that capture the extreme contrasts between modern life and the traditional life in the kampung areas. He also creates stunning acrylics. We enjoyed seeing his new works as they were revealed to the public for the first time.

After lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant Din Tai Fung and headed for the grocery store but stopped to check out the new One Pacific Place the new Ritz Carlton. WOW All I can say is WOW. This is so much more than a hotel. It is a city. It's own city. There are three high rise towers-- hotel, apartments, and business space, connected by what has to be the biggest mall I have ever seen. Most of the stores weren't even open yet but it was seriously overwhelming. The 2 story food court on the is themed as a board walk area complete with lighthouse, water, and moored sailboats. At the very top there was even a children's amusement park Kidzmania

That evening David and the kids surprised me with my birthday present. I say surprised because my birthday is Wednesday but David and I will be in Bali and he wanted to celebrate with the kids. I am thrilled with my pretty blue guitar. Now I just have to learn to play it!

Sunday was more laid back.We rearranged the living room and took the kids for a swim. Then after lunch David and I walked to Kinokuniya bookstore to buy a how to play guitar book. On the way David took pictures along our walk, perhaps inspired by yesterday's art exhibit. After dinner we set up the Christmas tree. Usually we would wait to set it up until about the 10th but David will be in Bali for several weeks (I have to come home after just 2 days) and I wanted everyone here when we set up the tree. We ended the day with the Grinch Christmas cartoon. It was a very nice way to end a busy weekend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Seven & Seven

Thank you Jae, for tagging Shannon! We have never been tagged before either. Shannon thought it would be kool for both of us to do the 7&7. We are excited and hope we can get others to play also.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

1. I like bad jokes.
Man 1: Do you know I what saw?
Man 2: No. What did you see?
Man 1: I did not see anything, but I saw a piece of wood right in two.
Man 2: LOL Ha Ha Ha
2. Did not learn to read until I was in 5th grade
3. My wife and I met in the 9th grade, but we did not date until 2 years after our 10 year reunion. Yes we graduated from the same school, same year, 1986
4. I am 5 of 9
5. My wife is forcing me to do this… ok not really
6. I have circumnavigated the continent of North America during which time I ran around the world in less than 2 minutes and stood on the geographic North Pole
7. With as much as I would love to have a daughter, in this day and age, I am not only thankful, but grateful I have four boys

  1. I lived in (or near) San Antonio for the first 38 years of my life.  Now I live in Indonesia and am moving to Germany next year.  Until we got on the plane to fly here I had never even been outside the US (unless you count border towns like Nuevo Laredo and Juarez.) now I have a ton of frequent flyer miles ( I HATE to fly)
  2. I have a maid and a driver, I have a staff! No, I am not rich (by American standards), my husband works for Department of State, and I am a stay at home mom, by the standards of the average Indonesian we are rolling in it. Weird world!
  3. I taught elementary school for 7 years.  Now I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, maybe a writer.
  4. I met my husband in high school but I knew all about him and his family because my best friend in 6th grade had a massive crush on his older brother(s).  We did not date until a few years after our 10-year high school reunion.  We e-mailed for a while and after some interference by the same friend started dating.  Thank you Kari!
  5. I like beer, dark beer, my husband hates all beer.  I am going to love Germany! David is the permanent designated driver.                       
  6. I am a dog person, really, I love dogs.  We have two cats, one of which thinks he is a dog and is trying to crawl into my lap as I am typing this.  He used to go for walks around the neighborhood with me and the boys, back in Texas.  Funny cat.
  7. I am the only female in the house, I have four boys (15, 7, 6 and 3) and a husband.  Even the cats are boys!  HELP ME! 

Monday, November 19, 2007

David's All Time Favorite Commercial!

Here in Asia we see a totally different set of commercials than we did back in the states. For the most part they look strangely familiar, nothing new or terribly different, just the names have been changed. There is one exception. One commercial which never fails to bring David to a halt just to watch. He must have seen this commercial at least a 1000 times by now but he still laughs out loud every time. Here for your enjoyment is that video.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day of Pampering: Part 2

Lest you think that Mom has all the fun, the boys got their chance at being pampered today.

Today was a short day at school so they were home by 11:30. I loaded them into the van and headed off to Kemang for haircuts. Not just any haircuts but haircuts while watching Tom and Jerry, each on their own private video screen, a shampoo, a toy AND a coloring book with colors to take home when we were done. All three boys 165,000rp (less than $20). Some things you just gotta love about Jakarta!

There goes Colin's hair! Look at that pile of hair in his lap, and there was more on the floor. By the time they finished with all three boys it looked like someone had shaved a golden retriever, there was so much blond hair on the floor.

"Ohhh, that feels good! Mom should bring us here to get our hair washed all the time!" Even Grayson sat to have his hair shampooed with out screaming. If Alonzo and Colin did it then it is good enough for him. He never wants to be left out.

Here's the after shot, don't we look handsome?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is that day of the year we stop to remember those who have served to protect our great nation. Please take a moment out of your busy day to remember those who chose to serve and protect. When you see a man or women in uniform please shake his or her hand and just say “thank you”. That is all they need to hear. In the six years that I spent on active duty and the six years I spent in the reserves I can’t remember a single time that anyone ever uttered those words.

All of those that served and wonder this way…“Thank you”. For all of those who had a family member serve and made the ultimate sacrifice…”God be with you”.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day of Pampering

Tomorrow is the Marine Corps Ball, so what's a girl to do but to do but head to the salon for the works. Today was great, an awesome experience, but a bit surreal for this Texas girl. I found myself with 3 others ensconced in our salon chairs, sipping diet coke and chatting about...well the things women chat about when their husbands aren't around.

While I was relaxing and enjoying conversation and talking to my friends a very nice lady was trimming, filing and buffing my toenails, removing callouses (not that I would have such a thing) and basically making my feet look pretty. She also provided an excellent foot and calf massage before painting my toenails a very pretty shade of dark sparkly pink. Basically she gave me a first rate pedicure. It was wonderful, but wait that's not all....

At the same time I was getting my pedicure another lovely lady was filing and buffing my fingernails, trimming my cuticles, as well as massaging my hands and arms all the way to the shoulder and then painting my fingernails to match my toes. In short, my first ever (but hopefully not last) professional salon manicure...wait still not done...

Now remember there are four of us. We are sitting close enough together to chat while we enjoy this treatment and getting manicures and pedicures all at the same time. Getting the picture yet? Each of us has her own chair, each of us has a woman at our feet working away, each of us has a woman working on our hands, we have the drinks of our choice and good friends to talk to. We are the picture of spoiled. What more could any woman possibly want? A cream bath, of course.

What's a cream bath??? Oh lordy are you missing out! If we could get something like this in the states for less than our weekly grocery bill women would go hungry just to have this done every week, if not everyday. First you get your hair washed, usually my favorite part of a haircut. Next a very nice lady plops a bunch of good smelling deep conditioner onto your head and proceeds to spend the next 15 to 20 minutes massaging your scalp. Then eventually she wraps your head in a hot moist towel and while the conditioner does it's job she massages your neck, shoulders and upper back for about 30 minutes. Next a quick touch up massage of the scalp just in case you have tensed up while she was rubbing your back. Then she pops one of those big old fashioned hair dryer things over your head but instead of blowing hot dry air this one gently steams the conditioner into your hair. Meanwhile she is now scrubbing your shoulders, neck, and upper back back with warm moist towels to remove any left over massage lotion, wouldn't want to stain the clothes later, would we? Eventually there is another round of hair washing followed by a blow dry and styling and a cut if needed.

So there you have it four women sitting surrounded by not 1, not 2, but 3 women each, all working on hands, or feet or hair plus a 4th each for the shampoo. It sort of resembled a well-oiled nascar pit crew.

What would you pay for luxury like this? Manicure, pedicure, cream bath, but no hair cut today. Well if you live in Jakarta the bill would be around 338,000 rupiah, plus a tip for each of the ladies bringing the bill to around 400,000 rupiah. How much in dollars? Well currently $1 = 9100 rupiah. You do the math.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

America We Need a National Costume!

Why you ask, does the United States need a national costume? Because those of us who spend our time overseas working for embassies, consulates, USAID and the like send our children to international schools and once a year they host a UN day. All the children are asked to come to school dressed in the national outfit of their various countries. Everyone looks so nice. There are the wonderful colors of Indian saris, the intricate patterns of Indonesian batiks, the vibrant silks of Asia shown off in the Korean hanbok, Japanese kimono and Chinese cheongsam. Europe was represented with the vibrant Scottish tartan, Spanish Flamenco dresses, and even German lederhosen. What do Americans wear? Well for the most part we look like a 4th of July parade gone astray, with a few cowboys and native Americans (mostly blond for some reason) and this year one lone Lady Liberty thrown in the bunch. To be completely fair the Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians have similar problems. The Australians mostly dress as sports fans showing their favorite teams colors many also sport the "Aussie hat" (David is often mistaken for an Aussie when wearing his hat), New Zealanders do likewise, while the Canadians plaster themselves head to toe with red maple leaves.

More importantly the children spend the week learning about the cultures of the other students. Jakarta International School (JIS) has children from over 50 different nations coming together to work, learn, and play together, just like kids everywhere. This year's UN day at Pattimura Elementary was held on Friday November 2nd. Parents came to school earlier this week to teach about different holidays, I did my turn presenting Thanksgiving while other 2nd grade parents taught about Divali and Idul Fitri. Parents also brought traditional foods to a food festival where kids could get their Pattimura passports stamped after sampling a dish from a country. Colin collected 13 stamps, and Alonzo collected 14 stamps, way to go guys. The week ended with a UN Day Concert followed by a parade of nations.

One of the big themes at JIS is creating responsible world citizens. Children are encouraged to recognize problems in the world around them and help work on solutions. Unlike schools in the states most of the fund raisers here at JIS support various charities such as Tolong Anak Anak, which helps homeless Indonesian children with a safe place to live and a chance at education. Even some of the songs selected for the UN Day concert reflect this goal. I found one song performed by the prep seniors (kinder), first, and second graders particularly moving.

Share Your Goodwill
By Teresa Jennings

When you have some food to eat,
When you have a coat to keep you warm,
And shoes upon your feet,
Remember there are people not as fortunate as you.
Remember they might need your help,
You know what you can do.
When you have a place to sleep at night,

You can share your good will.
Oh, share your good will,
Keep in mind humankind,
And share your goodwill.

When you have a school to teach you things,
When you have a chance to learn,
When you have a job, a livelihood,
A way for you to earn,
Remember there are people not as fortunate as you.
Remember they might need your help.
You know what you can do.

The concert lasted for about an hour. It involved children ranging from prep junior (pre-kinder ) all the way to 5th grade. All of the children behaved beautifully. Songs from a variety of countries were performed in many languages. We even had a surprise appearance by not 1 but 2 JIS Dragons, if you look close you can spot them dancing with 4th and 5th graders in one of the pictures above. Most of the concert was performed by a few grade levels at a time but for the final number all the children were brought back together for one last song We Can Make A Difference presented in the video below. Enjoy the bit of the concert in the videos above and below, UN Day is truly a moving, hopeful experience.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Life is Good

We have a new internet provider, it is supposed to be much faster than anything we have had in Jakarta before now. So far so good. I have been unable to get streaming audio until now. The connection was just too slow. Now I am listening to Y100 San Antonio's country music station while I am typing this post. I am happily getting a much needed country music fix, however I must say Dwi seems unimpressed by the "new" music. She came in this morning, cleaned the kitchen then scooted Grayson outside in short order.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Where are we going next?

This is where we are going next. The first person to leave the correct location will receive a free beer when they come to visit us.