Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday-Leaving On a Jet Plane...

...don't know if I'll be back again!
(sniff, wiping tears)

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Expat Bubble

I will be the first to admit I am guilty of living in a expat bubble during my time in Jakarta. While I did venture out of my comfort zone from time to time, mostly I went to the same places over and over, just as any one does in their daily life. This is a list of the places that I found most useful in my daily life. If you are visiting Jakarta sometime soon perhaps you may find it of interest. 

First if you are moving to Jakarta it is worth your while to visit the American Women's Association and pick up a copy of the Jakarta Shoppers Guide. It is a very comprehensive listing of where to go to find everything from groceries to plants to a doctor. It is a very useful book. They also publish The Family Guide to Jakarta which has been a big help in finding ways to amuse my kiddos.

Like most things in Jakarta the best bet is to ask your friends/neighbors/co-workers where they shop. Jakarta is a huge sprawling traffic jam. You will want to shop close to home for most things unless you like sitting in traffic for long periods of time. One thing I found interesting is most malls have a Food Hall, Hero or other grocery in the basement food court.

  • Grand Lucky-Formerly known as The Club Store, this is where I do most of my weekly shopping. It is very expat friendly stocking a wide variety of Australian and American brands.
Sometimes I need something in particular for a recipe then I head to one of the  specialty import stores that cater to expats. They also often have specialty import prices.
  • Kim Chicks has been around for a long time. The original store in Kemang is now closed and a high rise is going up in its place.  It has a very nice new store in One Pacific Place and I understand there is a smaller store near it's old location. It usually has a great selection of cheese.
  • Gourmet Garage on Jl Kemang Raya near the turn off to Amigo's has a very nice grocery store downstairs and upstairs there is a excellent restaurant.
  • Ranch Market has several outlets around Jakarta and stocks a nice selection of many American products, including malt-o-meal cereals which are much cheaper than the usual cereals (I have a few issues with paying $10 for a box of shreadded mini wheats). I usually go to the store in Dharmawangsa Square or the smaller store at the American Club.

Going to the spa seems to almost be a sport among some. There seems to be a spa or salon on every corner offering a wide variety of treatments.  Much to my husbands relief I am really not that much of a spa person although I do enjoy the pampering from time to time. 

  • Mil and Mats in Kemang is more a beauty salon than a spa but they do offer the always amazing cream bath, facials, manicures and pedicures.  It is very expat friendly, I have no problem calling and making my appointments and my Indonesian is awful. 
  • Bimasena Spa at the Dharmawangsa Hotel on Jl Dharmawangsa is where I head for full spa treatments like a massage.  I always feel like a princess when I am there.  if you get a chance to have a spa day, make sure to arrive a few minutes early to take advantage of the hot tub or sauna before your treatment.  Still a bargain compared to prices in the states.
Restaurants Jakarta is loaded with great food from 5 star restaurants to street food for the more  adventurous. Just about every type of food can be found, except for true Mexican food (Sorry y'all Amigo's is fun but not authentic!)  I am only listing my absolute favorites.  Ask around and you will discover many more gastronomic gems. Happy eating!

  • Din Tai Fung Probably my absolute favorite eating place.  Founded in Taipei it specializes in Chinese dumplings. I love the soup dumplings and the Ayam Goreng Cabe. It has locations in Pondok Indah Mal, Plaza Senayan, One Pacific Place and my favorite (probably becuase it is in walking distance from my house) Senayan Arcadia.
  • Vietopia Has locations in Menteng and in Jakarta Seletan on Jl Senopati.  One of our favorite lunch sites.  Pho Bo (vietnamese soup) is a favorite but it has a variety of other Vietnamese dishes. 
  • Penang Bistro Malaysian food. If you go you must try the Roti Chenai.  Oh my I am hungry just thinking about it.  I also really like the mango chicken. 
  • King of Thai in Plaza EX has affordable and tasty Thai food in a fun casual setting.   It backs up to the bowling alley, you can watch the bowling while you eat.
  • Anatolia Great Turkish food, the only place I know that can get me to eat lamb and convince  husband to eat eggplant.  If you go in the evening on a weekend they often have belly dancers. 
  • Gourmet Garage- Same place as the import grocery but upstairs is a great dining experience.  It is really three restaurants in one.  The triple menu features Japanese, Italian and and American menu.  This works well with kids, they can have a burger with a milk shake while you enjoy sashimi and tea. 

Jakarta is a big city with lots of things to do.  I have four children ranging from 3-16 years of age so I do not get to go out often.  If you are young and single your list of fun things to do is probably going to be very different than mine. 

  • Movies There is a movie theater in every mall.  They show American movies with Indonesian Subtitles as well as Indonesian Movies.  The prices are much cheaper than in states and the seating is assigned so no more hunting in the dark for two seats together!
  • The American Club is the mainstay of entertainment for our family.  We swim, play tennis, exercise, and eat there. It has become our home away from home.  Membership is required.
  • The Sailing Club is our favorite escape from Jakarta.  It is about a three and half to four hour drive depending on traffic. Membership does have its benefits but it is not required.  You can enjoy sailing, walking on the beach, canoeing, bike riding and more in a peaceful setting with no hawkers pushing you to buy something. 

I hope this list helps someone out.  I know when we moved to Jakarta 2 years ago I had a hard time finding out where to go to get things done. We will be moving to Germany this summer so I wanted to share before we left and my memory began to fade. If you live in Jakarta feel free to leave your favorites in the comments!

Sailing Club

This was our last weekend in Indonesia. We spent it relaxing at our favorite get-away, the Sailing Club at Tanjung Lesung. There was no end to the fun and really we did enough things to keep me blogging for weeks so I will just hit some highlights.

On the way to the club we stopped at this bridge to take some pictures of the colorful boats in the river below. Almost immediately we were surrounded by these boys practicing their English. "Mister, mister, what is your name?" A couple of them dared David to jump, he declined and instead took this picture.

One of my favorite things to do is explore the beach and enjoy nature.

Sophie is the general manager and Grayson's favorite.  He starts looking for Sophie as soon as we pull in to the club.

Unusally low tides allowed the kids to explore the reef where they found lots of cool things; eels, octopus, shrimp, fish, and of course crabs, crabs, and more crabs.

David and Dave Baylis spent a pleasant afternoon hanging out in the pavilion and talking.

The weather was perfect for sailing this weekend. Cody took his brothers out in the optimist, a small boat that is almost impossible to flip, but when he had a chance he zipped off by himself in the much faster, but less stable laser.

We ate and ate and ate. David's favorite is the satay ayam, pictured above. It is yummy, but all the food is so good I have a hard time choosing a single favorite and enjoyed vegetarian soto, chicken nuggets, ubi ubi, bakwan, satay, nasi goreng and pancakes.

Obviously I had been out in the sun far too long when David took this picture!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Dear Lord I can smell it from here! Inside that bag (actually it is double bagged) is a DURIAN! The durian is further wrapped in plastic wrap and yet I can still smell it from here! I have agreed to taste this thing. What was I thinking!!!???!!! Durian is supposed to be a special treat, but smelling it right now I can't imagine putting that in my mouth. I think I would rather eat a fist full of habanero peppers! When David gets home tonight we will give it a try. GULP!

Monday, June 16, 2008


A while back I went to the AWA bazaar. This is not surprising since going to bazaars seems to be almost a sport here. It seems every association, school, or organization has a bazaar at some point in the year as a fund raiser. What made this baazar special for me was for once I actually won something in the raffle. I won ONE MILLION RUPIAH to go out to eat at the restaurant
of my choice. In case you are wondering 1 million rupiah is about $107 at current exchange rates. I credit this win to my bloggy freind Jenny who is the luckiest person I know, she always manages to win a door prize at the balls. We went to brunch with her shortly before the bazaar and obviously some of her good luck rubbed off on me!

I didn't even have to think twice about where I wanted to go for my special dinner. The choice was obvious. Scusa at the Intercontinental! Scusa is my favorite Italian restaurant, anywhere, not just here in Jakarta but anywhere. Scusa makes me want to move to Italy just for the food. We have only been a few times though because it is a bit expensive. We used my winnings and went there for dinner this evening. We were not disappointed.

I hope you are not dieting because I am about to screw up your diet. When we were seated we were given a choice of plain mineral water or sparkling water and we were each given a little loaf of brown bread with a small dish of olive tapanade. When we broke the bread open there was a pocket of crumbly cheese in the middle. I loved the bread! For an appetizer we ordered a trio of bruschetta, one traditional with tomato and basil, one with mushrooms (chanterelle I think) and one with a yummy thin sliced parma ham and shaved parmesan cheese. Dinner was off to a very good start.

Main course was a little harder to decide upon as there are many choices. I decided to go with a potato gnocci stuffed with goat cheese and topped with shaved black truffles and herbed butter. I also indulged in a very nice cabernet sauvignon. I am sure I gained several pounds but it was totally worth it. David went with fresh angel hair pasta and lobster tossed with tomatoes and chili. I tasted his and it was just as yummy as mine but a bit spicier. His dinner was so pretty I made him take a picture with his hand phone before he ate anything.

For dessert Dave and I split a dish of tiramisu. I only recently tried tiramisu for the first time. I probably would have tried it sooner but I read the recipe when I was first learning to cook and the thing that stood out to me was soggy lady finger cookies. The one dessert in the world I loathe is banana pudding with soggy vanilla wafer cookies, actually I loathe it because of the soggy cookies... in my mind both desserts were linked by soggy cookies so for the last couple of decades I have been missing out, but no more! I tried tiramisu at an event earlier this year and it was love at first taste! I am afraid I ate my half and a good portion of David's half of the dessert as well, afraid but not sorry.

We finished of with a shot of a very tasty lemon liquor to cleanse the palate.  It was a very satisfying dining experience.  Even better, it was free!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day David

Today David decided to teach Grayson a new rhyme. Sometimes Grayson a little to smart for his own good. The following exchange had Dakota and I in stitches!

Dad:Grayson I want you to repeat after me One two

Grayson: Three!

Dad: No, no, no, say what I say. One two buckle my shoe.

Grayson: Shoe!

Dad: No, no, say the whole thing.

Grayson: Whole thing!

Dad: One, two

Grayson: Three!

Dad: How about this, Seven Eight

Grayson: Nine!

Dad: Look Grayson like this, listen to Alonzo. Alonzo repeat after me: One, Two

Alonzo: Buckle my shoe!

Dad: You bone head you are supposed to say what I say! One two buckle my shoe!

Alonzo: One two buckle my shoe!

Dad: (Now beaming with success) Three, Four

Alonzo: Shut the door!

This went on for several more minutes in the same vein, but I was laughing to hard to get it all down. David is much more patient than me, I would have given up long before he did.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy We love you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Alonzo!

Friday was Alonzo's 8th birthday! WOW! He is getting really big! This year we didn't have the traditional overblown party but I don't think he missed it much. We started the day with breakfast at the American Club. The club makes amazingly good french toast and that is just what he ate, four huge slices.

After breakfast we went to a water park with a group from the embassy. It was just lucky happenstance that this was scheduled on his birthday, but when fate smiles I say go with it! We spent a pleasant afternoon floating on a lazy river, playing in the wave pool and racing down thrilling slides. If you are in Jakarta and looking for something to do with the kids on a hot afternoon Waterbom is the bomb! He even got a round of Happy Birthday and Pangjang Umurnya (Indonesian birthday song) from all the kids on the bus on the way home!

That evening David took the boys out for bowling and pizza with a few friends from the neighborhood while I hung out with Grayson who isn't quite old enough for bowling. David was pleased to discover he still has what it takes and bowled a 200, even though it has been years since he has had a chance to go bowling. Alonzo bowled a respectable 99, not bad for a beginner! Alonzo was very pleased with his score especially since Cody only bowled a 104 and he is sixteen.

We ended the day with carrot cake (from the American Club). We had the cake decorated with the Indonesian flag for our current post, and the German flag for our upcoming posting. We followed up with a movie and popcorn in the living room. He was one tired but happy kiddo!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

They Made It!

So many details to deal with for this move! One more milestone has been reached, our kitties have made it to Kentucky and are settling in to Teri's house for the summer. Since we will be traveling to a bit while we are home the kitties have been sent to Teri's summer camp for kitties. We will pick them up when we are in Kentucky for the big family get together, then take them with us to Germany.

Bing seems to be making himself at home.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Looking For Ideas

My niece is looking for a few good ideas.  Actually she is looking for a new blog name.  She is an navy wife, a mom to a busy little boy, and she lives in Hawaii.  Originally she called her blog "Jorden's World (The Rest Of Us Are Just Here)"   but it is about more than adorable Jorden so the blog's new (maybe temporary) name is "Momma's Living In Paradise".  She is looking for other ideas. Stop by her blog and see if you can help her out!

This and That and Everything Else

This is supposed to be my Project Support Beauty In Nature post, and I will get to that in a bit, I promise. If you are a regular reader you know the last few weeks have been very, very, busy in the Cyberbones household as we prepare to move from Indonesia to Europe.  Last week all our worldly goods were loaded into boxes and shipped off.  If all goes well those same boxes will eventually show up at our new house in Germany where I will get to unpack all those boxes.  It has occurred to me perhaps we should minimize our junk, as we seem to have far too much stuff.

Today the last of our pets are gone from the house and the only inhabitants left are human.  The fish moved last week to their new aquarium at the office.  The ongoing meal worm experiment was returned today to the classroom from whence it came, and now Mrs. Wolff can find a new home for the creepy crawlies.  There seem to be no shortage of volunteers to take a box of bugs. I will not miss the darkling beetles, the meal worms, or their great great great grand grubs, but I suspect the boys will. 

The cats also left today, although we are not giving them away. They are off to stay with the crazy cat lady, AKA Aunt Teri. They will enjoy hanging out in the Kentucky wilderness, bird watching, squirrel chasing and being spoiled rotten.  Sort of summer camp for cats.  Lucky cats.  They will rejoin us in DC to head to Germany.  Actually we will rejoin them in mid July when we head to Kentucky for some family fun.  Fluffy and Bing are well traveled felines.

My poor babies look so unhappy! 

Bye Bing, Bye Fluffy! Say Hi to Teri for me.

Now on to project support beauty in nature!  Lotus at Sarcastic Mom posted today about toilet paper and the waste it creates.  I guess we do kill a lot of trees in the interst of keeping our bums clean, but I do like a clean bum. 

 Since moving to Indonesia I have learned the solution to the toilet paper crisis, just don't use toilet paper.  Most bathrooms here don't have toilet paper, instead they are equipped with this handy little sprayer you see on the wall.  After you do your business you use this sprayer to clean your private regions.  Voila! No toilet paper waste!

The fancier bathrooms sometimes have a little sprayer hidden under the toilet seat so that when you turn the little knob on the side of the seat it will come out and spray you in the... um... yeah... this is a family blog so we will just say it sprays you where you need to be sprayed after using the toilet.  It is called the Eco-Washer and provides endless fun for my three year old son.  There is even a model called the Washlet featuring heated water, warm seat, anti slam lid, air freshener, and blow dryer.  My husband is fond of saying "For that price it better wipe my bottom!"  Well this toilet seat will!  Truly, this isn't a joke, think of it more as a bidet and toilet all in one. Now you can have that shower fresh feeling all day long.

While I am on the subject of Supporting Beauty In Nature I saw a wonderful segment this morning on CNN eco-solutions about a recycling project in the Philippines.  Did you ever wonder what happens to the big billboards when they change out the pictures?  I know I didn't. Well a group in the Philippines is doing amazing things with this often wasted material.  Take a moment to watch this video.  It is inspiring and well worth a few minutes of your time! 

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pack Out Complete

Well it is all over now. We are finally pack out and ready to head to Germany. This was a long and daunting process even thought the pack out only took two days, it was the most stressful time I have had in a long time. I guess the thing that makes it so stressful is the fact that you are constantly thinking about the weight of your goods. You see in the Foreign Service you only get to take 7200 lbs. with you to a post that is furnished. Seeing that Jakarta is a furnished post we only get 7200 lbs. It does not mater how big the family is it is still 7200 lbs. We packed out four shipments. Two air and two sea shipments, the air will go to Germany and San Antonio, while the sea will go to Germany and Hagerstown Maryland (storage).

We had a total of 178 boxes that went into 5 crates. Are you ready for the weight? Well I have to tell you that we were so close I would not let them close the last two crates until we received the final weight, just in case we had to remove any of the items. You see it is very expensive to have the Department ship excess weight. It comes out to about $3.00 Kg. I am not sure if the Department actually pays more for more weight or if they are charged by the shipper by container size.

The packers that we had were really good. They were even able to pack a few items that were strangely shaped. See if you can guess what is in each of the boxes. I will show a picture of what’s in the box when we get to Germany.

Box 41

Box 45

Box 166

Box 39

Oh by the way our weight was 7,071 lbs. Boy did we cut that one close.

Spirit Week Day 5--Rock Star/Bling Bling Day

This week is spirit week at JIS Pattimura. In Texas spirit week was always the week of homecoming football game.  Here they seem to think soccer is football?!? And as far as I know there isn't a homecoming game.  Guess we aren't in Texas anymore, Toto.  

They are celebrating spirit week the last full week of school. It adds some fun to a rather sad time of year.  International schools have a much more mobil population that your average school in the states, so the kids all know many of their friends will not be back next year. So far my kids have been respectable, time traveling, pajama wearing, funky kids.  Today they are rock stars, complete with a little San Antonio Spurs Bling Bling. 

Now I just have to say my babies look just adorable all gothed out. That isn't something I thought I would ever say as a parent, but really it is too cute. In case you are wondering Colin's hair is still spiked from yesterday, he even slept in it and it stayed spike. The only thing I did to it this morning was to put a little gel right on the very tips of the spikes and twist it back to a point.

As you can see from the background we have been busy getting ready for the move to Europe. The movers here are efficient, POLITE, organized and creative. The creativity has led to some interesting boxes. Can you guess what might be in these boxes?  

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lotus at Sarcastic Mom is having a contest.  Both David and I entered and we need your votes. To vote click here.  I am rack number 5 and David is rack number 8.   No really, I am serious, click here, have a good laugh, then VOTE!!!! Ask your friends to vote!!! 

Hurry the deadline is 12:01 am CST Saturday, June 7th.

Why are you still sitting there reading this?  Click here and vote.

Thanks for the vote, have a good day. 

Spirit Week Day 4 -Funky Hair Day

The dress up fun continues at JIS with Funky Hair Day. The boys wanted mohawks but we settled on a "fauxhawk" and a spiky do. They seemed to enjoy the hair-dos. What do you think, is it them? Is it funky?

Awww, they really do love each other. So cute.

Tomorrow is Rock Star/Bling Bling Day. I have no idea what we will do for that. I will think of something. That's what moms do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spirit Week Day 2--Just Got Out Of Bed Day

Look how pleased they are to go to school still in their comfy pajamas without even brushing that messy hair, don't worry I did insist they brush their teeth before leaving the house.

Colin looks like he thinking, "Stop touching me! Stop touching me! Make him stop touching me!"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spirit Week- Respectable Day

This week is Spirit week at school.  Today's theme is respectable day.  Thank goodness we had a piano recital a few weeks ago otherwise they would have had nothing to wear.  When I tried to take the picture of the two boys Grayson wouldn't be left out, so here are two respectable gentlemen dressed so nice, one little brother in his jammies, and Dad trying to keep peace.